Tuesday, July 29, 2014

4 Plus Size Dresses For Less

For me to create a post that includes full-body pictures is a big deal. Because I like to keep my privacy as much as I like to talk to you all. Well, here goes nothing.

I'm still in the middle of my weight loss, even though I think I will always be a plus size woman; I have no shame in that, but I have areas I wish to tighten and tone. My usual response would be to hide until I obtained my idea of perfection. But that's not healthy or realistic. I should be open about where I'm at and document where I end up. 

An issue I have had is that as I continue to become healthier,  the size I wear changes. Depending on the designer I can fit anything from a size 12 (M) to a size 16 (XL). Also being a budget makes me not want to spend retail price on ANYTHING, especially if the item isn't going to fit in a few months.

So, what's a girl to do? Shop clearance. Shop smart. And never pay full price. Here's a few plus size dresses I got for less.

1. Ralph Lauren dress, ROSS for $30. Size 12. Retail price $96.
The best part? The dress has boning to hold its structure and follow the curve of my body without becoming too sheer or too tight. This dress is nice enough for a formal event, but sassy enough for a night out -- I've worn it to a Bachelorette party, New Years' Eve and friend's Opening Night at a new Theatre. 

2. Lace skater-style dress, Sears $12. Size L. There's no designer-name attached to this dress, but it's a double-lined, lace overlay. Upon joining their "Member Mobile Club" the dress became $12 instead of 15. It's a great casual dress, a bit flowy at the bottom, making it perfect to wear out with a flirty feel. I've worn it to street festivals and a night out for dinner and drinks.


3.Ralph Lauren dress, ROSS for $17. Size 12. Retail price $78. This dress has lace detail over the straps (my hair is partially covering it up) and a keyhole back in the same lace design. It has a slight sweetheart neckline and mini-skirt length. I have a long torso, so it might sit lower for most woman. I love this dress, I bought it the night before a friend's wedding, when I was frustrated and ready to give up. I had been to Macy's, Nordstorm's, Saks and Francesca's that day and couldn't find anything I liked in my size for less than $300.

4. GUESS dress, Carson Pirie Scott for $59. Size 14. Retail price $98. I love this dress because the color is vibrant and the small fringe detail gives the dress interest. It has a zipper in back and fits my body well. I bought it during Caron's Goodwill sale, combining a 20% coupon with a $25 off $50 promotion. I wore this to Capricorn's graduation and on my 30th birthday adventure.

So, it's a start. Each of the dresses has a different look for the occasion at hand. I know some people preach buying one great quality dress and keep revamping it--and while I agree with quality-- I don't think you have to accept paying full price. You can get multiple looks that make you feel and look great, on your budget, during your weight loss journey.

Today, the pink GUESS dress is a bit too big, so I am going to have it taken in by a seamstress friend so I can keep wearing it. With other dresses I would try adding a belt. I'm not ready to discard any.

Please feel free to add your shopping-weight loss tricks in the comments! We're in this together :)

Hugs and kisses,


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Find Plus Size Workout Clothes

Finding plus size workout clothes can be difficult. Being plus size and working out can feel like you don't belong amongst the hotties in crop tops. When I started I felt self conscious, so I tried to find cute workout clothes to make me feel more attractive while I set out on the journey to get fit. I thought, if people were going to look at me I at least wanted to feel like every part of my body I wasn't proud of yet was covered.

But, I didn't want to wear flow-y clothes that made me feel heavier or more unattractive. I needed to find the sweet spot in between. And not spend a lot of money since my size was constantly changing as I lost weight. Little did I know that was easier said than done. 

Here are my picks for some great workout gear that won't cost a fortune:

1. Leggings: A cropped pair and ankle length. Especially when I am doing cardiovascular workouts--my body moving fast and bending, such as on an elliptical machine--the last thing I want to deal with is the folded-over material on my yoga pants bunching up, or my loose-fitting pants moving. For me, and I think a lot of people, the tighter feeling of a legging is more comfortable. I like the slight constriction of the fabric keeping everything in place, as I don't have to think about my thighs or ass jiggling. (I can't believe I just wrote that) And it's nice to have more than one pair, so you can alternate without having to do laundry as frequently. Get a pack of two for less than $30 OneStopPlus.

2. Sports Bra: Underwire and a clasp are your friends. I've written about the battle of finding a good sports bra before. Me and sports bra have a love-hate relationship. I love the expensive ones while they last, but hate the price and the fact that it's hard to own more than one "quality" one at a time, creating a lot of laundry. Surprisingly, I was at Walmart with my guy and saw the above sports bra on sale for $5. It can in a DD actual bra size, had underwire, thicker straps and individual cups. I thought I'd try and with very low expectations. I worked out on an elliptical tonight and was VERY pleasantly surprised. I felt supported but not suffocated by too tight of a band or the uni-boob feel. This one is a diamond in the rough find, I'm going back to buy a few more! Get one for less than $12 or less Walmart.

Nike driFIT, tank top, womens, kohls

3. Tank Top: Long enough and keeps its shape. Similar to the closer feeling of leggings, I prefer a tighter fitting tank top when I am working out. This choice has less to do with vanity and more about I like the feeling of my breasts and stomach area held in a bit. The problem I've had is I have a longer torso (I'm 5'8), so finding a tank top that fits both of those requirements can be difficult. The Dri-FIT tanks give me support and length to get through my workouts. Also, they do hug the shape of my body nicely, so I feel more attractive in them. Get one (or more) for only $18 Kohl's.

target, shirt, women, clearance

4.  Basic, Cheap T-Shirts: Lightweight and cotton. Hey, I know tank tops aren't for everything. But, if you're trying to lose weight, chances are you don't want to remain the same size anyway. You can find cheap clearance t-shirts at Target during every season of the year. Get a v-neck that shows a bit of decolletage to make you feel sexy. Get one in a color that makes your eyes pop. Get one with a pretty pattern or slogan. Whatever makes you feel comfortable and happy can be found at a great price. Most clearance shirts range from $4 - 10 Target.

workout sketchers shoes womens

5. Slip-On Workout shoes: Breathable, yet stylish and supporting. When I have my leggings on, I don't like the look of socks/shoes. I feel like it breaks up the length of my leg even more, something I'm self-conscious about. So, these shoes are perfect as they are slip on, breathable with fabric and supportive enough to make it through my cardio or strength-training workouts. Their price is reasonable if you compare them to some of the higher-impact shoes available. Get them for $54 DSW.

Well there you have it -- my top picks for plus sized workout clothes. I included the prices because I think it's great to feel good and pay reasonable prices, especially since many of us will become a smaller size as we continue to work out. Good luck out there! You can look great for less no matter what you're doing. Please feel free to share what works for you in the comments.

For more on plus size fashion, check out my posts about Finding Plus Size Jeans on a Budget and Finding Plus Size Job Interview Clothes on a Budget.

Get it, girl,


Friday, July 11, 2014

Secret Stuff We Do When Home Alone

Imagine you're home, it's just you and you know no one will be showing up anytime soon: What do you do? Which behaviors do you change (hide?) when your significant other or roommate leaves?

I wanted to know, so I took a survey.

Here's the secret stuff I found that people do when left on their own:

Danielle: 27 year old female, lives with older sister -- I chill out. It's wonderful. I love her, but she's like a whirlwind and I just freaking enjoy some peace and read. I'll fall asleep watching the History channel and I eat sausage and bacon pizza because she's a vegetarian, so I don't have to worry about getting a pizza that works for both of us.

Nadja: 32 year old female, living with a roommate -- I walk around naked and sleep on the couch to watching movies. I like sleeping on the couch, but I don't like wearing clothes to bed, so I can't really do it when my roommate is home. She's a prude! 

Me: 30 year old female, living with fiance/ no kids -- I become a little paranoid and think every sound is a serial killer. I also listen to music loudly and sleep in the middle of the bed. All mine!

Cooking: If it is just me, I don't. I live off of a diet of arugula, grilled chicken, coconut water and too many sushi dinners. Maybe potato chips because I don't usually buy them. I only cook when he comes back, or if a friend is over for dinner.

Lana: 30 year old female, living with fiance/ no kids -- When my fiance is out of town or even just working the over night at the vet clinic and I have "me" time I do all the things I normally compromise on.

I watch my stupid WB shows that she won't watch (supernatural, the Carrie diaries) or the history channel, and I order sushi (she can't even stand the sight of the stuff). I sleep in the middle of the bed with two cats and a pug so I don't get lonely. I also read a lot. When Kelly and I are home together, which isn't as often as I'd like since our work schedules are both weird I always feel like I need to do things with her, spend time with her, enjoy her company. Which means solo activities like reading that new Steven King book go on the back burner. And I'm completely ok with that. I want to spend time with her. But sometimes its nice to curl up with a spicy tuna roll, a new book, and that WW2 documentary without feeling guilty.

Jenna: 31 year old female, married with 2 young kids -- When my husband is on shift (24 hours every 3rd day), I sometimes do the thing he hates the most...eat in bed. Its ice cream though, so in my opinion it doesn't count. It drives him nuts. And sometimes if I sort the laundry on the bed at night, I will get distracted w the movie I'm watching and end up just moving it all to his side and going to sleep it eventually gets put away.

Kylie: 26 year old female, married / no kids -- Every time my husband isn't home I make frozen French toast sticks and pour tons of syrup all over them and have a glass of milk. Childhood favorite.

April: 30 year old female, in relationship / no kids -- Wax my 'stache.

Carla: 33 year old female, lives with girlfriend / no kids -- I miss her. That's boring, right? I do! Oh and I eat Oreos like a motherfucker.

Leia: 3- year old female, live with boyfriend / no kids -- I sleep diagonally in bed or sneak the dog on the bed which he doesn't allow. And I always deep clean the house when he's not home so he doesn't get in my way.

Dana: 37 year old female, live with boyfriend / shares kids with ex-husband -- Are we being honest? Masturbate. Whenever. I NEVER want to get caught doing that. Or watching porn, I'm a lady.

Rachel: 29 year old female, married / 3 kids -- This is too funny because we ALL change when our significant others are away! I get to watch my chick flicks, hang out with my other mom friends more and drink a little more often than usual. Being a mom I also have to juggle the kiddies by myself but that also means not necessarily making 'real' dinners...mac n cheese, peanut butter and jelly, cereal....you get the idea. I don't have to worry about when he'll be home so I can have the house clean and dinner ready I'm also a HUGE bed hog! No cats or crafts in my bed! It's me, me ME!

Natalie: 28 year old female, lives with male roommate / no kids -- I go out with girlfriends and paint the town red and let my dog sleep with me. And I put a knife under my pillow, don't judge me.

Anya: 28 year old female, lives with roommates / no kids -- I talk to myself (in French, English, or Russian), listen Russian music and sing, walk in my underwear, i spend a lot of time pampering myself (bath, body lotion, and everything else)

Capricorn: 31 year old male, living with fiance / no kids -- I think I spend less money when I go out. (Which is funny, because I told him I think I spend more money.)

David: 30 year old male, married with two young kids -- I order a lot of pizza. I've ordered pizza twice a day from the same place before, because I wanted different toppings. I feed the kids their healthy food, but for me it's pizza. Luckily she's never been away that long, so I didn't eat myself sick or gain a ton of weight.

Tracy: 31 year old female, living with roommate / no kids -- I walk around naked and watch Netflix.

Karen: 30 year old female, lives alone, spending 1/2 week with boyfriend / no kids -- I SLEEP. We haven't found the best way to sleep together yet, I like a fan on, he hates it. I sleep with the tv on and I'm trying to stop when he is over. When he's not around, it's me, my fan, and the tv all night.

What's the verdict?
Bed and food issues! The majority of surveyed participants noted that their sleeping and eating arrangements change when their significant others were away. We sleep in the middle, with pets, or with projects. There you have it. I wonder if this equals better sleep, or just different.

When it came to food, we either opted to eat more comfort foods or didn't cook at all. I guess it's a guilty pleasure :)

Do you do something entirely different when you're alone? Tell me!

Sleep well,


Copyright © 2014 Lady J
All rights reserved

Monday, June 30, 2014

Turning Thirty: Making Fun of Myself

Well... It happened. I'm 30 now.

Instead of being a big baby and complaining about the death of my twenties I am going to be happy and grateful.

I'm a quirky, tenacious mofo and I'm going to be hot till I'm dead. This is my new mantra.

On the days that those words don't work, I'll look at this picture and realize I've come a long way, but my moxie was always strong.

And in the end I think that's what we need to really remember and protect: our moxie.

I'd like to explain this picture by saying I was really into the idea of becoming the next cat woman and loved my dollhouse. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Fault In Our Failures | Finding Success

We've all had those times when social media seems to remind us of how well everyone else is doing -- their new jobs, great hair days and beautiful significant others show up in our Facebook timelines. And if you are lacking in any of these areas, well, the feeling of inadequacy hurts.

But that's just one piece of the puzzle. As a cognitive bias known as Self-Enhancing Transmission Bias dictates, it's human nature to share our successes and keep our failures quiet. Put your best foot forward.

What we don't think about it is the sharing of our failures, the showing of vulnerability, is what connects us to one another on an emotional level. It can also be the push someone needs to try again, because they know they aren't alone and most people don't get it right on the first time.

I think failures are important.They serve as real examples of job tips and tricks. And I also think success is largely an accumulation of failures with the strength to keep and the wisdom to know how to do better.  

In the spirit of starting a honest dialogue of sharing failures that lead us to success, I asked a few friends to share some of their greatest failures that lead to success.

1. I Got Kicked Out of College: I was aimless. I was wandering through school, not knowing what I wanted to major in and taking as many Gen-Ed classes as I could. Lack of motivation and depression lead me to not showing up to classes, missing assignments and eventually failing an entire semester and wasting my own money. Overcrowding at a public university stopped me from being able to get into many of the classes I needed to move on. I felt so stuck.

When the letter came in the mail that I was "dismissed" from the University, I felt fear. I knew I was better than that and I was going to figure out how to finish school somewhere else, because this school obviously wasn't for me. But for the first time in a long time, I felt motivation.

So, I went to community college and got straight A's in Summer school and for a semester until I earned enough credits to attempt to transfer to a better university. I wrote a letter explaining my previous bad behavior, obtained letters of recommendations of professors I had done well in their classes, and was attempted to a private university, paying for it by student loans.

Two years later I graduated with honors. While I'm not proud of fucking around and wasting my own money, I got myself out of a dead-end situation and ended on a positive note. That failure was worth it, I don't know what would have happened if I hadn't gotten kicked out and moving on was the only option.

2. I Got Fired: I got fired from a job I hated and thought was beneath me: Working as a personal assistant. I was so sick of getting coffee and running stupid errands I thought I was invisible because a monkey could do my job. Turns out not a monkey, but a college student could and DID take my job for less money.

The main complaint my previous employer had? My poor attitude. And she was right -- I was miserable doing menial tasks and making shit money that I walked around like a pretentious zombie. I wasn't strong enough to just quit, so I stuck around until I got fired. The woman I thought couldn't function with me decided I was replaceable. That was a large slice of humble pie.

But I tallied up all the skills I learned, emailed some networking contacts I had met, and started interviewing for jobs I actually went to school to do: Communications. Now I work in an office with people I respect and enjoy and am grateful for my job, even on the bad days. Getting fired was the best thing that happened to me. Keep going.

3. I Was Honest About My Miscarriage: I became pregnant when I was 19 years old. It would have been my ex-boyfriend's baby, who was my ex-boyfriend at the time of conception. When I found out I was pregnant I was very scared and felt ashamed of myself, sleeping with someone who had broken up with me and having sex with him as part of a ploy to keep him in my life.

Whether it was stress, or just not meant to be, I had a miscarriage. I had been pretty sure I was going to get an abortion because it didn't feel like the right time to become a mother, especially to a father who wasn't a man I wanted around. But the truth was I hadn't had the initial consultation yet. I was very scared.

I was sad about the miscarriage, but I was honest with myself: an abortion had been an option, this was an incredibly sad moment in my life, but for whatever reason this wasn't the time I was going to become a mother. It felt odd to think about the baby that might have grown up, but I think even if I had, had the abortion it would be natural to wonder what might have been. So I didn't dismiss thoughts when my mind began to wonder about a potential baby. I gave myself a time to mourn, but knew moving on to make better, healthier choices for myself in all walks of life would be the lesson learned.

I wasn't a monster for considering my options. I was a scared girl and I owed it to myself to be more mature and healthy from this point on. I took myself and life more seriously, not living by "YOLO" and thought my actions through. Also, I stopped thinking sex equaled love, and only chose to do it when I wanted to, for the reasons of pleasure, not hoping to rope someone back into a relationship.

4. I Gained Weight: I was never a thin person, but I was relatively healthy and always felt attractive for my size. But somewhere around 22 I gained about 60 pounds. It crept up on me from poor diet choices as I had always been a person that went to the gym, but I never knew what I was doing once there. Gaining weight completely changed my outlook on the world, as I no longer felt attractive and didn't care about the clothes I wore or the way I looked. I lost my sense of self and looking at pictures made me cringe. I had failed big time.

So, one day I decided enough was enough. I started eating vegetables. I started paying attention to the exercises I did at the gym. After the first month I had lost 25 pounds and felt remarkable. I found a way to lose weight after seeing the number on the scale stay the same for so long.

A year later I have lost 70 pounds. I still have more to go, but now I know I can do it. Lately I have regressed a little, given in to eating more sugar, but summer has motivated me to get back to eating well. You can always find success if you don't give up. Wake up and start new. If I had never failed, I wouldn't know I could pull myself out of a dark place. While I didn't enjoy being fat, I like knowing I have it in me to make it better.

Wow. Ok, those are deep failures that lead to success stories. I don't know about you, but I feel motivated. Right now I could use it as I'm turning 30 next week and reflecting on what I accomplished in my 20's. Big transition for me.

Even though there isn't any humor in this post (which is my normal sentiment), I think it's important to take a step back and self reflect. While I understand why we want to highlight our strengths and good times, I think there's something beautiful in admitting the times we struggled and found out way out.

Feel free to share your failures (and successes!) in the comments. I'd love to hear them.

Hugs and Kisses,

Copyright © 2014 Lady J
All rights reserved
Copyright © 2014 Lady J
All rights reserved