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.

Aug 21, 2016

#StyleRedefined: A Shoe of a Certain Height


Have you ever, in life, met a woman who didn't love shoes?  I know haven't, but I will admit that the shoe game as changed significantly for me over the years.  I used to be a heel wearing mama, but for some reason when I actually became a mama, my feet rejected the heels I once wore.  It was like a switch had been flipped and my feet rejected anything with a heel on it.  For years I lived in flat prison--ballerina flats, loafers and sneakers.  It was so bad, I wouldn't even wear a boot with small heel nor a wedge!  The pain I felt when I tried to wear heels was excruciating, but the chastising voice of my aunt, a retired nurse with a wonderful wardrobe, stayed in head. She told me to stop wearing shoes that set my feet flat on the ground because they offered no support and eventually my feet would be flat just like the shoes I was wearing.  The thought of it was worrying and eventually I decided to soiree back into the heel game--only this time, I knew it would have to be different.  I've made some mistakes along the way, but a couple of pairs of 4 and 5 inch heels later, I found my perfect heel height.  Thankfully, I've also found some great brands that actually make remarkably stylish, lower heeled shoes.

Today I draw the line at 3 1/2 inches (give or take) because the reality for me is that I'm overweight and my knees aren't what they used to be.  Therefore, wearing 4 inch heels, even with a platform, is out of the question. I do have one or two 4 inch pairs, but I digress...the good news for those of us who have sent our high heels along their way is, lower heels are trending and stylish shoes are being produced with lower heels.  This means we have an opportunity of a lifetime to purchase timeless, classy and comfortable shoes.  Keep scrolling to see my picks from the web.  Until next time...head up, shoulders back and be the example.  Ciao!

From my personal collection are these suede fringe sandals by Sole Diva from Simply Be.  At 3.5 inches, they are reasonably comfortable, but I caught them on sale for $29.49 so I thought I'd give them a chance.  BUYER BEWARE!  These shoes run big as they come standard in wide widths (E and EEE).  

Currently, I'm obsessing over nude shoes and this one is at the top of my list!  At 3.25 inches the Samba by Steve Madden has a classy edge with the cut out on the ankle and is on clearance for $49.99.  Samba also comes in black.


Saks Fifth Avenue Baines Strappy Pumps:
What's not to love about the Baines Strappy Pump from Saks Off Fifth?  It's in the beautiful trending color for A/W 17, aubergine (aka wine, burgundy, maroon--same color, different shades), and the straps set this shoe apart from the rest.  At 3.25 inches, this shoe makes it easy to step stylishly.


Faux Suede Cutout Sandals
A departure from the average shoe, this Faux Suede Cutout Sandal (which personally, I would've named Caged Peep Toe Bootie) from Forever 21 for $34.90 is uber stylish!  The block heel adds an extra level of stability for walking, which at 3.375 inches should be a breeze.

Style Idea:  Pair these shoes with a sheath dress to give it a less uniform look or with leggings and a duster vest for a trendy look.

Booties are the official fall staple shoe.  The Serenity Peep Toe Bootie by Marc Fisher is a simple stunner with a 3.35 inch heel.  I can personally attest to the comfort of a Marc Fisher shoe.  Hands down this is the most comfortable brand of heels I've ever worn.  This bootie comes in 5 colors and 2 different black finishes for $99.99.



Vince Camuto "Melsy" Suede Tassel Dress Sandal
I realize summer is almost over, but this is the best time to snag a deal.  At 3.25 inches, the Melsy by Vince Camuto is currently on clearance for $44.99 on hsn.com!  This is truly a delightful and ladylike shoe.  The Melsy is a suede heeled sandal, but the tassels give it life and so do the 4 gorgeous colors she comes in!  Melsy is going in my cart NOW!

Aug 7, 2016

#StyleRedefined: 40 IS the New Sexy


We live in an action packed society and as a result time can get away from us very easily.  If we aren't careful and observant, we could find ourselves living an existence of cardigans and pixie pants.  Not saying there's anything particularly wrong with these classic pieces, but let's face it, the mere thought of it seems very uniform like and boringly safe.  I mean cardigans and pixie pants have their place, just not here.

At a certain age, many women feel undeserving of pushing the button when it comes to style.  We feel more accomplished by being resourceful and nice.  Thus, the cardigans and pixie pants.  But if you haven't heard, being over 40 is actually the beginning of the freest time in a woman's life. It is at this stage that we begin to care a little bit less about what other's think of us and perfection makes us weary.  Soooo...why shouldn't our style reflect the same?  After 40, our style should reflect our triumph over troubles and acceptance of who we really are.  More than anything, our style should reflect that we are no one's perfect woman, but a woman who many desire to know and understand. For us, sexy doesn't have to be a bodycon dress or a 5 inch stiletto.

After 40, sexy is commanding a room and owning it.  Sexy is a quality black pump.  Sexy is a manicure with an unexpected color. Sexy is a midi pencil skirt with a geometric print.  Sexy is the perfect shade of red lipstick.  Sexy is a statement ring with an obnoxiously large stone. Sexy is a broach on a moto jacket with cobalt palazzo pants.  Sexy is anything black and off the shoulder. Sexy is a revealed shoulder, ankle or calf with a well rounded personality.  Most of all, for us ladies over 40, sexy is not feeling limited because you've reached a certain age.  Now let's get out here and show the world the true meaning of sexy.

Let them watch as you walk away in this, sweet, yet sexy polka dot, midi pencil skirt from Eloquii for $69.99.

My favorite summer shoe, the Ballad by Marc Fisher.  It has a super sexy vibe.  The heel not to high and it's very, very comfortable!  I got them from hautelook.com, but Nordstrom Rack also has them for $54.97.

This multi stone ring by Larisa Barerra for HSN for $49.99 is sexy because it's different and it doesn't put you in a style box.


This asymmetrical, off the shoulder top by Bailey 44 at Nordstroms is appropriately sexy and the ruching is a win for the mid section of our bodies.  At $128, I would definitely be looking out for a sale.

Aug 5, 2016

Food is Fashion at Boundary

An artistic angle behind the bar at Boundary.
Pushing the boundary is an understatement for how the past week or so has gone for me. Truthfully, the entire month of July was super hectic and it ended with a bang.  I won't get into the details because Thursday night made up for everything I went through in July.

Thursday evening, I had the pleasure of being surrounded by a gracious group of influencers at Boundary Restaurant at the Cheshire Inn in St. Louis, Missouri for the Fashion x Food event.  The mature and sexy atmosphere at Boundary was the perfect backdrop for all of the dynamic thinkers at the event.

Aperitifs were on deck from Effen Vodka and Makers Mark and being that I'm a vodka lover, darn near a connoisseur, I chose the Black Cherry Bloom, made with Effen vodka, as my drink for the evening.

Soon after my arrival, the drinks and people took a backseat to my appetite as I indulged my palate in the fresh, local fares at Boundary.  I truly gained an understanding of chefs and restaurateurs who are passionate about incorporating locally grown ingredients into their dishes.  The passion could be felt in the atmosphere, seen in the presentation of the food and most definitely tasted in their dishes.

With all needs fulfilled, I was back to mingling and enjoying myself, as well as back believing that August is going to be a great month for me!  Keep scrolling to see snapshots of my evening experience at Boundary.  Ciao divas and gentlemen!

*Sponsored post

Black Cherry Bloom with Effen Vodka was my drink of choice for the evening.

EFFEN® BLACK CHERRY BLOOM

INGREDIENTS

  • - 2 parts EFFEN® Black Cherry Vodka
  • - 1 part Blood Orange Juice
  • - 3/4 part Lime Juice
  • - 3/4 part Agave Syrup
  • - 3 Fresh Strawberries
  • - 3-4 Fresh Mint Leaves
  • - Pinch of Cayenne Pepper

HOW TO MAKE

In a mixing glass, muddle all ingredients except vodka. Add vodka and shake with ice. Strain into a Collins glass over ice. Garnish with a mint leaf and strawberry.
*Recipe from effenvodka.com.  Drink responsibly.
It's easy to love a restaurant with a sexy bar and Boundary was not lacking at all.
#OOTN for Fashion x Food
Tunic:  Simply Be
Pants:  Old Navy
Shoes:  JustFab
Necklace:  Scholarshop
The smooth, thick texture and taste of this chocolate mousse was like sex with an extra surprise on the bottom.  LVBS grown people!
It always goes back to my old favorites, but I found a new twist on an old favorite in Boundary's tasty macaroni and cheese.


Jul 18, 2016

Long Time No See...

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
It's been a while since I've posted to the blog.  My sincere apologies and I have no real excuses except for life taking over.  The good news is I do have some exciting things coming up ahead that I will most definitely be sharing with my Divas.  Look out for event footage, product reviews, as well as footage of me trying some products for the first time!  Meanwhile, I'm going to give you all a peek into what I've been up to over the last month or so.  Maybe some of it will interest and inspire you.  Let me know what you all have been up to also--I'd love to hear!  For now...ciao!

Sweet treats were required for my daughter's 12th birthday.  She thinks her birthday is a national holiday and for the 12th year I pulled it off without a hitch.  Many thanks to Sugar Coated STL for the sparkly, sweet treats!  They were delicious and they are all GONE!

As a part of my daughter's pre-birthday festivities, I absolutely had to get tickets to Bring It! Live.  The show exceeded my expectations.  It was lively and fun and I think I may have had more fun than the girls did.  Hey...A 40+ mama still has the right to kick it!  LOL!

Every year my daughter and I go to our community's annual fireworks show, but over the past few years, she's left me sitting alone while she hangs out with her friends.  It's cool though, my Mango-rita and I just sat back and enjoyed the view.  Tee hee hee...  Sandals from JustFab and Gucci tote was a gift from a generous friend.

My summer started with me making a final push to complete my daughter's room renovation.  The pic above is a snapshot of the beginning.  It took me about a year to buy everything that was needed to complete it.  She is STILL over the moon about her new room!  Headboard from Overstock, nightstand from Target and picture from At Home.

I started reading this book a few days ago, but I actually started seeing excerpts of it on Instagram when I started following a user named r.h.sin.  It's a book of poetry about love, pain and the emotions that come with it and I am LOVING it!

I know you all have seen this picture in a prior post, but in between everything I've been doing, I've also been making time to date.  Dating is so much more fun than it was say 20 years ago!  My shoes are by Marc Fischer and dress by Rachel Roy.

Jun 5, 2016

Dating Over 40 is...

Discussing dating with other single women over 40 is like asking a group of women how to make a roast.  Each of us have our own way.  Some of us put it in the slow cooker and let it cook for hours so the meat can be tender and the flavors can have time to mingle.  Some of us put our roast in the oven with plenty of seasonings and vegetables and in just a few hours we have a complete meal.  Yet others, will first braise the roast to quickly brown the outer portion and then proceed to let it fully cook.  Each of us has our own way that works for us and makes us feel satisfied about what we're doing.  Did I just compare making a roast to dating?  Yeah I did.

By the time we reach 40, both women and men are pretty set in our ways.  We have a certain way we like to do things and because our way has worked for us for so long, we prefer to stick to that and no one can tell us any different.  I believe this to be so because by the time we reach this stage in life, we've experienced and overcome almost every human emotion possible.  We feel strong and sure about who we are because of our life experiences, but there's one thing that can turn our worlds' upside down and make us rethink life altogether..  That one thing is love and yes love or even the possibility thereof can do exactly that.  Except....after 40, we aren't willing to make any changes until we know for certain we're making a sure bet.  After all, most 40+ singles aren't trying to play the fool...again.

The absolutely great thing about dating in our 40's is that by this time, most of us have reached our confidence pinnacle.  We know who we are and make no apologies for it and we send our true selves on dates instead of our representatives.  To be clear, after 40 dating becomes a take or leave it type of situation.  No hard feelings.  No time wasted.  In the rare instance you are a 40+ single who doesn't feel comfortable dating, my advice would be to be poised, listen and pay attention to your suitor and try to have a great time regardless of the situation.  I mean unless it's just the worst.  Oh and smile a lot!

For me, dating in my 40's has had its high and low points.  I've met men who tried to promise me the world before the first date and had I been in my 20's or even my 30's, I would've fallen for the bait, but in my 40's talking about money and what you can do for me doesn't impress me AT ALL.  I mean did he not notice that everything he promised I'd already done, accomplished and had?  But I've also met some really balanced and chivalrous men who I vibe with really well.


The most common theme in conversations I have with other single women my age is that what we want most is to be happy and enjoy life.  So no matter how we cook our roast, if the end result isn't well done and savory, then we aren't interested.  The roast will not be served!  As for me, right now I'm braising and loving it.  Damn it feels good to be a grown woman!

May 16, 2016

My 100th Healthy Journey...Really!

To be honest, I'm currently off track with my walking, but it is by far my favorite exercise.  I enjoy getting out and walking around my neighborhood, listening to the birds and looking at the spring greenery.  I am finding that walking is not only great exercise, but extremely therapeutic!
Admit it, most of us have made several attempts to live a healthier lifestyle by eating better, working out more, etc, etc, etc.  I've tried countless times and each time I fell off very quickly due to lack of discipline, lack of commitment and patience.  Well I'm at it again and I'm hoping this time is different. Lord please let it be!  Somehow I feel like it will be, but I'm learning that my quitter attitude is more profound than I thought and I'm also learning not to let setbacks stop me from reaching for my goals.  Most importantly, I'm learning that each day is new day to begin again.

This go round, my healthy journey started very abruptly on a day where I was in a horrible mood with a long running effed up mindset.  One recent Sunday morning, me and my effed up mood sat down to sulk and of course get on social media.  As I scrolled through my Twitter feed, I noticed some posts from a hash tag I had participated in before.  #ThinkBIGSundayWithMarsha is all about posting positive messages to inspire and it instantly helped my mood.  As I scrolled through the hash tag postings, I began to ask myself, "When?" It was at that moment I went in the kitchen and started slicing lemons, limes and cucumbers that I bought a week earlier for detox water and since then I've been off and running...well walking.  I could go on and on about ups and downs I've had since starting this journey, but keep scrolling to see the discoveries I've made over the past few weeks of my health journey.  Voila!

P.S.  I'm 4 1/2 pounds down and so grateful!

This is the detox water that started it all.  Sliced lemons, limes and cucumbers in a 16 oz. bottle overnight in the fridge and it's done.  I've tried detox water before with lemons and limes only and I must say that adding the cucumber makes all the difference in the world for the taste.  Adding the cucumbers makes it much smoother.  Although there's no scientific proof that detox water helps with weight loss, it may help with digestion and metabolism.  However the week that I drank it consistently, I did take off a few pounds fairly quickly.
I'm not huge on breakfast so it's been very easy for me to adapt to making healthy choices in the morning.  My favorite for the past 2 weeks has been sliced strawberries and bananas and a boiled egg.  I find this meal choice to be very filling and it takes me straight through to lunch with no hunger pains.
Broiled fish and baked boneless, skinless chicken breasts got boring for lunch and especially since I was repeating them for dinner so I had to get inventive.  I'm truly enjoying coming up with different healthy ingredients to fill the Market Pantry Whole Wheat Tortilla with.  In this pic, I chose Curly's pulled chicken, black beans, corn and spring mix.  Not bad!