Dec 21, 2015

Preparing for 2016!

Although I'm not a New Year's resolution type of woman, this year I have started thinking about the new year in advance.  I want 2016 to be a game changer for me and I expect it.  Some of the changes I want to make are mindset driven.  Others will require me to take action and be disciplined, but the common theme for all of these changes is they will serve to increase the quality of my life.

Organization will be at the top of my list.  I now realize there are so many little nooks and crannies of my home that receive no care.  My server and coat closet are jumbled up with random items and each lacks an organizational theme.  The unfinished side of my basement has been a dumping ground for years.  One half is filled with unfolded laundry and the other half is simply a cluster f*** (excuse my French).  The day after Christmas I'm heading into the basement to prepare excess sheets and comforters for donation.  I'm also going to Walmart to pick up a few small, clear storage containers for my seasonal decor.  Once I've situated the basement to my liking I will start projects on the dining room server and coat closet.

Life and mindset changes have also been pressing down on me.  I've spent the last 2 years refocusing on bringing my appearance up to par with a new wardrobe and lots of new makeup.  Looking around my bedroom recently, I came to realize that I have ENOUGH and the funds I've been spending on self (not all of it) need to be redirected to creating memorable experiences for my child and myself, as well as saving and home updates.  The last week or so has been spent talking to my child about having enough and being satisfied with having enough.  However, I also have to remember that my habits and behavior serve as her mirror to life so it's time for me to be more cognizant about the way I do things.  In 2016, I have vowed that I will take her to the bank on a regular basis and teach her how to fill out a deposit slip so she can start putting more money in her bank account.

Last, but certainly not least, my interactions with others need some adjusting.  Stress is a real thing and affects us in so many different ways, namely for me it has resulted in me being unorganized and shopping too much.  I need to seriously practice not allowing others to displace their stress onto me. Enabling others to not stand in their truth gives them the green light to dump all of their "stuff" on me.  The soft heart I have for people whom I love and care about has created a handicap for all parties involved, but in 2016, if I'm going to stand in mine, everyone who enters my sphere is going to have to stand in theirs.  The only assistance I will provide is honesty.

Comment below about some of things that have been on your mind going into the new year so we can motivate each other to claim 2016 as a game changing year!  Voila!

Dec 7, 2015

Holiday Home Decor Haul!

Merry Christmas!
love, The Diva Plan

Between The Dollar Spot at Target, Dollar Tree, Ross and Walmart I simply cannot get enough of shopping for home decor items.  Today I came to the conclusion that with all of the affordable home decor available these days, there's absolutely no reason why I shouldn't be able to decorate every room in my home.  In 2016, I plan on being hyper focused on home (with a little style hauling mixed in of course:).

Light up reindeer $3 at Target
Gold garland tree $1 at Dollar Tree

During the holidays, the stores I mentioned above are excellent resources for spot decorating those special places in your home.  I started a tradition of restyling a gold tray on the dining room table and that has expanded to the server in the dining room and bookshelves and end tables in the living room. For some reason, I'm feeling like next year I will be expanding to the bedrooms.  At any rate, I'm always about affordability and this has allowed me to bring holiday cheer to my home without breaking the bank. Check out some of the items I was able to score for Christmas 2015.

Wooden "oh deer" wall art $3 at Target
Stocking holder $3 at Target
Wooden 'home for the holidays" wall art $3 at Target
Plastic candy dish and candy $1 each at Dollar Tree
Throw pillows $7.99 and $8.99 at Ross.

Nov 9, 2015

Tis' the Sequins!

Tis' the season for sparkle, glitter and glam!  The holidays are fast approaching so this is the perfect time to prepare for those special appearances.  Sequins are one of this season's hottest trends and popular retailers have an abundance of pieces to choose from.  Don't be shy!  Make a splash that will last in the memories of fellow party goers with sequins!

*Photos are courtesy of each retailers website.  Links to these items can be found below each picture and be sure to check out the great holiday collections that these retailers are now showing.  Sign up too for coupon codes.  Have fun!

This plus size sequin tulip-back cami by Forever for $22.90 would be fabulous under a black suit with navy heels and a furry clutch.  It is the perfect peek-a-boo sequin piece for women who don't like full on sequins.

My 40+ ladies, please do not be afraid of this great, on-trend deal from Forever 21 in gunmetal for $32.90!  Pair with a off white blazer, black silk cami and heels and you will be on point and age appropriate.
Black sequin blazer by Eloquii is available in sizes 14 to 24 (price not available yet).  I am totally in love with this piece because it can be styled so many different ways.  Very chic!  

Be different and daring in this long sleeve, short sequin top by H&M for $29.99!  Wear with wide leg black slacks and statement earrings and you are seriously in there for the holidays.

Black sequin jumpsuit by Eloquii available in sizes 14 to 28 for $149.90.  Top with a faux fur stole for full on glam!

Also from H&M, this silver and black sequin skirt for $39.99.  Pair with a cream turtleneck and pointy pumps for an easy going, holiday look.

Plus size ladies!  This plus size geo-patterned sequin top from Forever 21 is different and on fire with glam!  Pair with an off white or grey pencil skirt or wide leg slacks and you will light up the party this season.
Wait for it.................Oh My Love All Shook Up Mini Dress by Forever 21 for $98.  This dress is F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!!!!  If this piece is too leggy for you, pair with a crepe boyfriend blazer, black tights and sexy heels and wala magic!

Sep 29, 2015

Bordeaux, Oxblood, Wine...Oh My!

Although it is officially fall, many of us have yet to fully embrace seasonal wears due to the climate in our regions, but there's certainly nothing wrong with getting a head start.  While we're waiting for the weather to change and the leaves to turn orange and brown, we can use this time to digest fall's hottest color trend that goes by fancier names for burgundy and maroon.
Suede gloves by H&M for $14.99.
Pair with a grey or camel wool coat
for a luxe look.

Understandably, this is a color trend that may be difficult for some to incorporate into their fall wardrobes, but all you need is a touch to be on trend. More daring fashionistas may feel comfortable with full-on pieces, but it doesn't take much for this rich color to make a statement.  Keep scrolling for great (and of course affordable) finds in this season's trending color!

*All photos are courtesy of each retailers' website.
Faux suede pumps by Forever 21 for $22.90 classic and office appropriate.  Pair with wide leg slacks and a structured coat for an uber professional look.
This simple tote by H&M for $19.99.  Because sometimes a tote is all you need.
725-320- Alexander McQueen Cat Eye Red Sunglasses w/ Case
Alexander McQueen Cat Eye Sunglasses are offered by Evine Live (formerly Shop NBC/Shop HQ) for $169.00 or 4 Value Pays of $42.25 are the perfect accessory to keep winter's bright light out of your eyes.

Faux Suede Strappy Flats by Forever 21 for $24.90.  Pair with a turtleneck and a wide leg slack, a pleated midi skirt or boyfriend jeans for a relaxed, trendy look and get this...they have a gold heel!
I snagged this Steve Madden Trifold Wallet from Ross for $14.99!
Image 3 of FUR HIDE CLUTCH from Zara
Fur hide clutch by Zara for $59.99 has a detachable
strap and can easily go from day to night.  Clutch
this baby with manicured hands and a stack of
gold rings or bracelets and you will be the
trending topic for fall!

Sep 27, 2015

Trending Fall Fashion for the Everyday Woman

Designer showings at fashion weeks in New York, Paris and Milan respectively, always set the tone for the trends offered by popular retailers.  Retailers take on the challenge each season of reinterpreting runway fashion and making it relatable, as well as sellable to consumers.  The less fashion conscious may not even realize that the item(s) they are purchasing have been re-imagined based on high end, runway fashion.  Check out the budget friendly picks below that are trending for fall/winter 2015-16.

*All photos are courtesy of the retailers' websites.

Ponchos, capes and long loose cardigans are a hit this season!  This Multi-Stripe Poncho Cardigan from Forever 21 has a fringe detail at the bottom which is also trending for fall.
Faux Leather Envelope Bag from Forever 21, shown here in the color wine, which is a huge trending color this fall!  This classic shaped, affordable bag is a great way to get in on the color trend without doing too much.
Faux Leather Pleated Midi from Eloquii covers 2 trends in one with the pleat detail and the midi length and both were trending in fall runway collections.  When it comes to skirts this season, think flowy and fluid.
Platform pumps are no more!  No rise pumps have made a comeback in lower heel heights like this Annetta Pump from Banana Republic.  Good news for 40+ women like me who are always on the go!
Sam Edelman "Belinda" Fringed Leather Boot
This Belinda Fringed Leather Boot by Sam Edelman for HSN is loaded with trending fringes!
Fur isn't going anywhere, but this Navy Together Faux Fur Shawl by SimplyBe is perfect for a less flamboyant fashionista.  Just a touch on the shoulders and voila!  Side note:  I'm loving the idea of navy and black pieces together for fall and winter.
Wide leg slacks that flow with your strut like these Wide-cut Pants from H&M is the cut that is trending in slacks for fall.
The peep toe bootie is still standing.  This Schutz Lace Cutout Bootie and many others can be found on Neiman Marcus Last Call.
One of my personal favorites for Fall is sequins.  The Joanna Hope Sequin Dress gives nothing but full on glam and can be found at

Jul 20, 2015

Are You Ready for the Essence BeautyBox?

Essence BeautyBox
Most of the time, I try to stay abreast of late breaking beauty and fashion news, but this one got past me big time!  Luckily, my sister friend tagged me in an Instagram post about a new offering by Essence magazine.

Although a proclaimed product junkie, I've never been in the most comfortable seat on the subscription box bandwagon. In order for me to sign up for a monthly subscription, I must feel dedicated to the claims the brand is making.  In other words, if it doesn't make me feel inquisitive, excited and willing, then it's not going to happen.  Well let me state for the record that it took me all of about 10 minutes to be ALL in for the new Essence BeautyBox!  Not since my Curl Kit subscription have I discovered a monthly subscription box that made me feel like it was made specifically to fit my beauty needs.  Since Essence has always had an unwavering dedication to providing positive imagery for black women, I trusted their latest offering enough to put my card number in immediately because I want to be in on this one.

The Essence BeautyBox will begin shipping in October and promises 5 luxe samples in every box with 3 subscription plans to choose from.  The monthly plan is $15 per month; the 6 month subscription is $90 and the 12 month subscription is $165.  Although the 12 month subscription is $165 up front, you do save $1.25 per month ($15 per year) by paying the higher amount up front, as opposed to paying monthly. Either way, if you are a beauty buff who has been longing for an innovative subscription box that caters to your beauty needs, the Essence Beautybox may be what you've been waiting for.  Check it out today!

Jul 6, 2015

Lost in Translation: Affordable Style for the 40+ Woman

This Sequin Blazer by ASOS Curve is the perfect versatile piece for us.  It can be worn with a pencil skirt or skinny slacks and heels for fine dining, an art show or hubby's important dinner with the boss.
For women age 40 and beyond, it can sometimes feel like our style choices are limited to department stores, plus size specialty shops and Walmart.  Not that there's anything wrong with these choices, but don't you feel slightly odd walking around Forever 21 with your collagen blessed, size nothing, younger counterparts?  I know I do, but I go in anyway to partake in their incredibly affordable finds. Regardless of how it makes us feel, there is fashion for us to be found in places like Forever 21, H&M, ASOS and many others.  Using some of the individual pieces these stores offer, we can create complete, age appropriate looks and have fun doing it.  Check out the photos in the post for fabulous fashion finds for the 40+ woman.

This Scuba Knit Midi Skirt by Forever 21 (also offered in plus sizes) would be perfect with the sequin blazer shown above.  Add a low heel pump, cami, clutch and statement necklace for a complete look.  For a daytime look, pair with a tee, flats or sandals and a statement bangle for a comfy, yet stylish presentation.
This geometric statement necklace by H&M is for us!  Perfect for a day at the museum with the kids or a rare night out with the girls or hubby.
Show your individuality with this Fringed Backpack by H&M.  Perfect for a day at the park with the family.  Pair with boyfriend jeans, a comfy tee and espadrilles for a stylish, on the go look.
This Baroque Paisley Slit Maxi Dress by Love Culture screams date night or lunching ladies and it's long enough to conceal the slit when walking or sitting.
Simple pieces like this Maxi Wrap Dress by Forever 21 Plus is what 40+ women should look for when shopping in popular, trendy, affordable retail stores that are geared towards younger demographics.  Pair this with a floppy hat for a day trip to the winery or by itself for entertaining at home.  Also comes in black.

Jul 3, 2015

Plus Size Fashion Off Season

Imitation Leather Pants from H&M can be dressed up for down for night or day.  You can truly make these skinny leg pants your own.  ($30, available in sizes 20 & 22)
Today I was walking along, minding my business and thinking about shopping, as usual.  When suddenly it came to me that I really need to start back shopping off season.  Although I love looking at the new arrivals category when shopping online and the mannequins in store windows (that are set up to entice you to buy what's new), the bottom line is the best deals are found off season.  

Being a plus size woman, I can truly relate to the urgency and anxiety that befalls us when we see new, fashion forward, regular priced items.  Of all genres of fashion, we have truly been made to feel like we have to buy it now, but plus size fashion has come a long way.  Our choices are abound so the time is now for us to partake in off season, fashionable deals.

Here's the thing and this point is relevant for all sizes, when you shop off season you have to be open to buying items that you weren't exactly looking for.  The key is to consider how the item(s) will fit into your wardrobe.  If you have trouble thinking outside the box, then go for basic items and basic items with flair.  If you are an open minded shopper who doesn't mind experimenting with style, then off season shopping is your world.  What are you waiting for?  Go for it!
This Longline Jacket by SimplyBe is basic, but on trend and would look fabulous over a dress with heels, wide leg slacks or the Imitation Leather Pants by H&M shown above.  Add a broach to the lapel to pump up the volume on this piece! ($49.95, available in black or tomato and available in sizes 6-28)
Off the Shoulder Tee Shirt Dress from ASOS Curve is simple and sexy, but doesn't give too much away and can be worn countless ways.  Sport this to the farmer's market on a crisp fall morning with a pair of print plimsolls for an easy going, but put together look.  ($19.93, available in sizes 18-28)
Pair this Marled Knit Cardigan from Forever 21 with leggings and moto boots for weekend errands or wide leg slacks and pearls for the office.  Either way, it's a great off season deal! ($24.99, available in XL-3X)
These Side Stripe Pants, also by SimplyBe, paired with an off the shoulder sweater or white tee and a statement necklace can serve as a classic wardrobe staple with a twist. ($16.95, available in sizes 8-28)
Watercolor Plaid Chiffon Blouse by Forever 21 is currently on clearance for $10.99 and only available in 1X (2X & 3X are sold out).  This blouse paired with a skirt, slacks or jeans can easily go from the office to happy hour or a PTA meeting with ease.  Pair with boyfriend jeans and a low heel pump or slingback heel for a trendy look.

May 31, 2015

Affordable Patio Decor!

Rug:  Five Below, $5
Metal flower:  Five Below, $3
It's that time of year, where the grass has gone from brown to green and flowers are blooming everywhere!  Yet my patio was lackluster, colorless and dusty so a few weeks ago, I decided to challenge myself to redo my patio.  My budget was tight so Five Below, Dollar General and Family Dollar were visited frequently as I set myself upon this journey of patio delight.  Although I have a strong interest in interior decorating, I'm not an avid decorator so I second guessed myself a lot, but I learned that you have to put everything together to figure out exactly what you need and to complete the vision.  With that being said, I will be adding fillers to my patio as the season goes on. Check out the pictures below, as well as the grand total for my patio redo.

Note:  The patio set, hanging basket chains and white Adirondack chairs I already had.

Door mat:  Dollar General, $10

Pillows:  Old Time Pottery, $6.50 x 4
Lantern:  Old Time Pottery, $12.99
Place mats:  Dollar General, $2 x 4
Glass lanterns:  Family Dollar, $1 x 3
LED votives (6-pack):  Target, $6.99
Boston Ferns, Lowe's, $10.99 x 2
Ceramic bird, Old Time Pottery, $3

Owl ground stake:  Dollar General, $1
Solar lights:  Target, $1 x 4

Grand total=$104.96