Jan 8, 2017

#StyleRedefined: The Obamas' Exit Style

For the past 8 years, I've waited for the moment when President Obama finally had enough of the rhetoric and lost his cool.  Not so much because I wanted to see him show out, but more so because I was tired of seeing him getting pushed the the edge of misunderstanding.  Of course that moment never happened and our Commander and Chief made his way through 8 years of tortuous criticism with great integrity.  

Then I had an epiphany.  What if the First Family could use their exit from the White House on Inauguration Day to make a statement and what if they used style to do it?  It's actually a very brilliant idea.  Can you imagine how relieved they will be to somewhat return to their normal lives and go from having their every move five thousand times magnified to one thousand times magnified?  But I just feel like that walk to the helicopter or perhaps an Escalade since they are staying in D.C., could be made epic if they use that opportunity to push the button.  Not thee button, but you get where I'm going.  I mean after all, the whole world will still be watching.

A woman can dream okay?  However, in the time I've spent imagining this thing actually happening, I came up with exit attire for the entire First Family.  Since I know it would be inapropos to take things too far, the ensembles I created actually are not too far fetched.  So Mr. President, First Lady, Malia, Sasha...if you happen to read this in time I say go for it!  Keep scrolling to see my style picks for the Obamas' exit from the White House.  Voila!

Exit Barack:  After watching President Obama and how he operates for the past 8 years, I truly believe he is a simple man.  This is a relaxing, but still appropriate look for him to have as he steps down from leadership and makes his way to the Escalade and nothing bad can be said about these jeans.  Once he's in his mode of transportation, he can ask the driver to pop in the Kendrick Lamar CD, plug his Beats headphones in, tilt his scully to the side and breathe.  

Exit Michelle:  Behind every great man is a great woman and Michelle definitely proved herself to be exactly that.  She set the bar of class, elegance and intelligence very high for women everywhere so of course she deserves to have the most fly exit out of the whole family.  From this look I'm most loving the Chanel tote for all of her personal belongings.  The Chanel cuff serves as a nice balance between the pink turtleneck and black booties and the gold Daniel Green slippers are diva certified!

Exit Malia:  Can you believe we've watched Malia go from a 10 year old to a 18 year old who is headed to Harvard?  I've truly enjoyed watching her grow into a young lady and do 'her'.  I get the feeling she is a clone of her dad's younger self and I also believe she will be the one who will most enjoy having the spotlight turned off.  She seems so chill and unbothered and these are the reasons why I think this look embodies the way Malia would like to exit the White House and begin her true journey to adulthood.

Exit Sasha:  Sasha is black girl magic in the making, but she's also a typical teenage girl.  She cares a little more about what people think of her, yet she represents brown girl beauty so effortlessly.  She's still finding her way around when it comes to style, but the beauty of it is, she can take style risks unknowingly and set trends while doing it.  This is the perfect look for a girl her age whose looks must be parent approved.  The Heiress Jordan's calm down the midi dress.  The bomber is a must and what teenage girl do you know who doesn't love Bryson Tiller?
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Jan 1, 2017

#StyleRedefined: If I Could Have Styled Hillary Clinton

I know!  I know!  It's over!  The votes have been counted and recounted and the lesser of the 2 evils didn't win.  By now, I think we've all accepted it so now we're just in a wait and see pattern.  But I can't help but think, in retrospect of course, if Madame Secretary had pushed the style button a little harder and longer, would it have helped her?  Okay probably not, but also in retrospect since she didn't win, it was a great opportunity to take some style chances and in doing that, she could have inspired millions of women of a certain age all over the world.  

From Hillary's perspective I get it.  She probably felt a strong need to fit into a man's world.  But what I cram to understand is why as women would we ever feel the need to assimilate ourselves with a polar opposite?  Oh and from this point forward, when a woman is positioning herself for power, I'm going to need her to slay ALL DAY!  Keep scrolling to see my dream campaign wardrobe for Secretary Clinton.

Memorial Day Campaigning

I've rarely ever seen Secretary Clinton looking relaxed.  A lot of the after election commentary was about her not connecting with the people.  This ensemble is relaxed, yet refined with a unsuspecting high end finish.  Who cares about the Gucci loafers anyway?  Secretary Clinton can afford them.

Knuck if You Buck Debate Night

During the presidential debates Secretary Clinton had all her facts in order, but the stuffy looks she wore took away some of her edge.  So the question I ask is, why not spit facts stylishly?  Chanel ballerina flats are the perfect cure for the pacing back and forth.  A red lip means business and every woman in America can relate to a nice angled bob.  The look is completed with Kate Spade file folders for those facts and promises.

I Ain't Sorry Concession Speech

A woman with a wardrobe rarely regrets anything.  She just lives to get dressed again.  Enough said?  Okay.  Exit with Adidas Superstar sneaks with gold stripes.



New Year New Me?


Happy New Year divas and gents!  I haven't posted in 3 months solid and that in itself speaks to my 2016 mindset.  Last year I was sluggish, apprehensive and to be honest, all out lazy.  2016 was a year of transitions for me.  My child started becoming very social, which turned me into her (and her friends) weekend chauffeur.  In between drop offs and pick ups, I most definitely could've been doing things to grow my brand, but instead I usually sat on the couch watching the clock.  It's a mother thing.  Doing this caused a lot of my dreams to fade away, but luckily I can still see the outline of them.

We had a new addition to our family in 2016 as well and I am now an auntie!  This process took up most of my year as I spent a lot of time coaching and talking to my sister about motherhood and what to expect.  Watching her operate as a new mom woke me up to the fact that my child isn't a little kid anymore.  It made me realize how far I've come in my mothering journey and how close we are to high school graduation.  Realizing this made me refocus on building her some kind of college savings and we discussed a LOT of dos and don'ts of preteen life.  Ughhh!  LOL!

Introducing Quincy, my newphew!
One big thing I worked on in 2016 was actually taking action on parts of my Diva Plan.  Most of my focus was put on the budgeting part of my plan and with that there were actual physical habits I had to create like going to the bank and withdrawing cash for my 2 week budget; regularly stashing away loose change and dollar bills; checking my credit score and report more often and sticking to my shopping list.  With those habits in place, now I need to find a way to take budgeting and saving to the next level.  Special thanks to Coach Andrea of The Financial Hack for the great advice she lent in those Monday Periscope broadcasts.

My stash!  Notice the credit cards are stashed away too!
So with ALL of that being said...I want to thank everyone who has supported The Diva Plan throughout the years.  The Diva Plan ain't going nowhere!  Matter of fact, as I write this blog post, I'm thinking and working on ways to make it better than ever.  Indeed life can sometimes take over our dreams, but this year is all about me focusing on my dreams while allowing others to live out theirs.  Voila!

2017 is all about me!

Oct 2, 2016

#Style Redefined: Forever 21 Over 40

My beloved round, wire framed shades I got from Forever 21 for $6!  These were my summer go to shades!  (Necklace from H&M and cargo vest from Charlotte Russe.)

Walk through any mall in America and I can promise you that 95% of the stores have no interest in appealing to the 40+ shopper.  I don't need even one hand to count the stores that actually don't limit their marketing appeal to one age group. 

By now most 40+ women have faced and overcome many challenges so we should have no problem breaking the age barrier of stores that appeal to a younger demographic.  Right?  Well...believe it or not, I've run across many 40+ women who squirm at the thought of shopping at certain stores because they don't feel it is 'for them'.  Yet most of the time when I am asked about something I have on, most are shocked when I say I got it from Forever 21.  Clutch the pearls!  Yes indeed, Forever 21 played a huge part when I decided to build my wardrobe up and get my style game back right.

Now admittedly, I have a hard time shopping in Forever 21 stores because they are so overstimulating.  If I were to shop in store it would have to be on a weekday afternoon because shopping on a weekend at Forever 21 is like going to a 3 ring circus.  On the weekends, the store is overcrowded and messy and just not befitting of how a diva likes to shop. I owe a kiss to whoever created online shopping because I make most of my Forever 21 purchases from the comfort of my sofa.  

So here's the challenge ladies, especially for those who are trying amp up their style on a budget. Sign up on the site and find one piece that you feel comfortable with and order it.  I've done some of the work for you by including age appropriate finds from the Forever 21 site.  Keep scrolling to see finds handpicked by me that work for us.  Ciao Divas!

P.S.  Keep in mind that I shop the plus size section, but the good news is that most styles are available in the regular sizes too!


Plus Size Peplum Top
This flutter sleeve peplum top is so cuuuute!  I just purchased it online and plan to pair it with a leopard pencil skirt, but it would also look good with jeans and pumps or wide leg pants.  Price $17.90.
Link:  Peplum Top

Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses
When buying designer shades, I usually choose classic styles, but at Forever 21 I can try trendy styles without breaking the bank.  Surprisingly, the quality of their shades isn't bad either.  I've been able to extend the life of shades I bought from them by keeping them in a case and I always get complements on them.  With this pair, I was able to get in on the blush and rose gold trend.  Price $5.90.
Link:  Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses
Rhinestone-Embellished Beanie
Every winter I try to get better at not looking a complete mess when it gets cold.  Well I think this beanie will be a great help with my mission, even if my hair is a mess underneath.  I ordered this hat in black, but I think the red is very on trend.  Price $9.90.
Link:  Rhinestone-Embellished Beanie


Plus Size Ribbed Knit Tunic
Don't worry, I will not wear this as a dress.  Sometimes I try to see beyond the way a piece of clothing is presented.  My plan is to layer this over faux leather leggings and top it off with a long cardigan.  I think this piece would also look good with tights, heels and a long cardigan or tights and over the knee boots...if you dare.  Price $16.99
Link:  Ribbed Knit Tunic.

Twist-Front Beanie
What says "grown woman" more than a turban?  I love this knit spin on the always stylish accessory.  I say add a broach and show the world how to be warm and trendy.  Price $6.90.
Link:  Twist-Front Beanie

Plus Size Longline Knit Cardigan
THIS is a wardrobe staple for fall!  I mean what's not to love about a longline cardigan aka duster?  It makes any outfit automatically stylish and can be thrown on for any occasion.  I've ordered 2 so far from Forever 21 and I have so many plans for them from jeans to dresses.  Forever 21 also sells them hooded.  Price $17.90.
Link:  Longline Knit Cardigan

Plus Size Asymmetrical Tunic
Once again...I will not and did not wear this as a dress.  I purchased this piece because I loved the neckline and the layering possibilities.  Wear with leggings for an easy and comfy look.  Although, I could picture this tunic with wide leg slacks, heels, a clutch, layered necklaces and strolling through a classy, modern venue.  Price $12.66.
Link:  Asymmetrical Tunic

.Plus Size Mesh Knit Bomber
I'm a firm believer that a 40+ woman should have at least one, if not a few cutting edge pieces in her closet.  I'm not a fan of the bomber jacket trend for 40+ women, but it's something about this Mesh Knit Bomber that made me say, "Yes!" and yes I bought it.  So what I see is a John Galliano-esque look with a midi, black pencil skirt and booties and maybe even a scarf.  Besides that, this jacket can be styled a million different ways and still be just as appropriate for us.  Price $24.90.
Link:  Mesh Knit Bomber

Plus Size Tank Dress
Again...layer, layer, layer!  Currently, I own this dress in black and the dusty pink shown above.  I've paired them with a cargo vest, a belted cardigan, a kimono and countless other ways.  The possibilities for this dress are endless so don't be afraid to buy into this basic tank dress.  It washes well too!  Price $14.90.
Link:  Tank Dress

Aug 28, 2016

#StyleRedefined: Luxe & Lazy

Brown & White Stripe MugBrown & White Stripe Mug
Sunday mornings are the most likely time for me to get in a little time to myself and mornings definitely require coffee!  This Brown & White Stripe Mug from Henri Bendel would be the perfect addition to my Sunday morning chill sessions!  

In order to come up with these blog posts, I look for inspiration around me and then I allow that inspiration to drive what each post will be about.  The lateness of today's post is a clear indication that I was having trouble.  I thought about this all week and came up with a few possibilities, but none that I truly felt inspired about.  Then today, in a meaningful conversation with a girlfriend, I found the inspiration I needed to write this post.

When it comes to the life of a woman, you already know the spill...we have a lot on our plates.  We spend our days and nights (well I know I do) thinking about how to make things work out.  As a result, we worry endlessly about EVERYTHING.  For example, literally, right now as I'm writing this my gas cooktop went out in the middle of me making dinner.  Geez!

But even in the midst of all of this, somehow we find time to have those moments, hours and if we're lucky, an entire day where we can just sit back and do what we want and basically chill out.  Admit it though, even during those times we are doing something, but at least we're doing what we want to do and we get to kind of do us and relax a bit. That something is different for everyone, but for me, it's during these times I feel the true essence of my personal style because I have things around me that I'm passionate about.

So here's the thing, I'm a firm believer that by the time we reach 40, we deserve to amp things up a bit and that includes lazy days.  We deserve to add a little ambiance and a few accessories to our long awaited do nothing days.  I'm not talking about things that are time consuming and expensive, rather things that will add to the comfort of our 'me time'.  You know the play from here.  Keep scrolling to see what's on my 'me time' wishlist and also some products that I'm currently enjoying.  Until next Sunday, ciao divas!


Conair Facial Sauna System
Before this year ends, I'm going to buy myself a face steamer.  Now this may seem elementary to some, but I decided I wanted one of these from experiencing the burst of steam I get when I drain pasta in the colander.  It is such a thrill, but being that I won't be making pasta that often, I've decided I need to get something I can use on demand.  The Conair Facial Sauna System is available at walmart.com for $22.00 and it comes with some cool attachments.
Me rocking a turban!  I often relax in bed with it on too!

Ready to chill, but not feeling comfortable with bed head?  Well all you need is a turban and you will be relaxing in style.  Pump it up by adding a broach or put on earrings to give it a more glam look.  This simple black turban is available at H&M for $9.99.
Image 2 of ASOS Seedbead Turban Headband
A headband for your turban?  You better believe it!  This Seedbead Turban Headband from ASOS  offers a simple way to fancy up a turban so you can move on to enjoying your free time.
PLUS SIZE maxi, plus size long dress, Sundress, Indian dress, plus size Caftan, plus size Beach cover up, plus size dress (Green GB) 59"
Oh how I love a caftan!  Specifically a cotton caftan that I can feel relaxed in all day long and not get sweaty in AND that I can get up check on the family, cook dinner in and go back to relaxing in.  This beautiful cotton caftan comes from the Etsy shop A Different Weave for $36 and also comes in plus sizes.
Image 1
The thing I love most about a mask is that it allows you to quickly do something great for yourself.  After about 15 minutes, you will feel accomplished, refreshed and glowy.  The Fango Active Mud Mask by Borghese is one of my personal favorites and currently the only mask I use.  The first time I tried it I was absolutely amazed at how clean and fresh my skin looked.  The wonderful thing about this product is that you can use it on your entire body.  It is available in smaller sizes, but this 17.6 oz jar is $72.00.
My skin after using Borghese's Fango Active Mud Mask.
Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels
I'm very leery about trying new products on my beloved skin, but trying the Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels by Skyn Iceland is one of the best product risks I've taken!  True to their name,they will give your under eye area a cool sensation, but they are ultra relaxing and after about 10 minutes your under eye area will look refreshed and awake.