Third Year Look Back: My 10 Most Popular Posts

In honor of my 3rd blogiversary, I'm looking back at the past year, and today, I've rounded up my 10 most popular posts.  These posts received the most hits over the last year, starting from the tenth most popular to the fan favorite.  As you'll see, the posts I've written as part of  the #UnconditionalBodyBeautiful series have been some of my most popular posts, giving me a lot of encouragement to continue promoting body positivity through the love of and experimentation with fashion!

#10.  A Homecoming Look + A Review of My Pick from Altuzarra for Target

On this post, I wear my college alma mater colors and review what I thought would be my favorite dress from the Altuzarra collab with Target (turned out, not so much).

#9.  Unconditionally Body Beautiful Part 3: My Journey on My Legs

On the 3rd installment of Unconditionally Body Beautiful, the other participants and I talked about our relationships with our legs.  My legs are strong and shapely and are one of my favorite body parts.  I just love showing them off with short skirts and dresses!

#8.  What's New at eShakti!!

I've talked about eShakti quite a few times on the blog as I'm huge fan of their custom fit and styling options and variety of offerings.  I've actually got several new eShakti pieces that I'll be sharing on the blog soon, including a piece or two from this post!

#7.  The Temptress

While I inevitably returned this dress because of some minor fit issues and my inability to find a bra that would work with it, I really did love the color and overall shape of this style.  I especially liked the pairing of the sexy dress with the "Feminist" clutch because believing in the inalienable rights and inherent equality of all people regardless of sex or gender expression is in no way incongruous with loving fashion or wearing sexy clothes!

#6.  Garden Party
The watercolor floral pattern and lace inset at the waist really sold me on this slip dress.  Not sure why this particular post was so popular, but I'm guessing that the pretty pattern and unique aspects of the dress won you all over as well! :-)

#5.  Leopard in Transition

Leopard is a great transitional print.  I tend to think of leopard as mostly a fall print, but it really can work year round, depending on styling.  For late summer/early fall, a leopard print dress paired with bare legs and a plum satchel is perfect! 

#4.  Unconditional Body Beautiful - Part 1:  My Body and I From the Beginning
In the first post in the Unconditional Body Beautiful series, I explored my earliest feelings about my body and relate the changing nature of my relationship with my body over time.   While I rocked crop tops at the tender age of 3, it took me a long time to get back there, and I'm most definitely still a work in progress!

#3.  Smart Glamour and Body Positivity
I was so honored to be able to work with Mallorie Carrington of Smart Glamour and to feature a fun cropped tee from her custom, made in the USA, body positive fashion company!

#2.  Snowy Whites
This post was not only one of my most popular posts this past year, it is also one of my own personal favorites.   I love the shades of white and beige, and I felt like a fashionable winter fairy! 

#1.  Unconditional Body Beautiful - Part 4: My Belly and Me

The most popular post on the blog this past year was also the 4th installment of the Unconditional Body Beautiful Series in which I discussed my relationship with my belly.  Loving my belly sometimes requires daily reminders, but I'm getting there, and wearing crop tops now seem more fun than scary!

Again, thank you so much for making my third year of blogging such a spectacular experience!!

Did any of your favorites make it to the top 10?

Black Velvet & 3rd Blogiversary!!

Today marks the 3rd anniversary of my blog! 
Dress:  Eloquii, c/o Sophisticated Curves (Available here)
It's hard to believe I've been doing this for three years!  My little labor of love has connected me to so many amazing people who I otherwise wouldn't have had the opportunity to know.  It's given me a platform to share my love of fashion with like-minded individuals, and it has connected me with some amazing brands.
Glasses:  Valentino
All in all, I've had so much fun blogging over the last three years, so I figured why not celebrate in style!
I decided to go with a fancy dress from +ELOQUII gifted to me by William of Sophisticated Curves.  I connected with William and Sophisticated Curves (an amazing resource for plus-size news and fashion) through my experience blogging, so wearing this dress for my blogiversary only seemed fitting.
Ear cuff:  eBay
Given that it's almost August, it has been too hot to wear a velvet dress.  Because of this, I hadn't gotten it hemmed yet.  You may notice that there is a seam past the knee that leads into the trumpet hem.  To get the proper placement for the trumpet, I'll be moving this seam up.
Even though I haven't yet had a chance to get it hemmed, I thought the extra length created a cool train, so I decided to go with it.  It's part Old Hollywood glam, part Morticia Addams.  Pretty good hybrid, if you ask me!

Clutch:  The Limited
The traditional gift for the third anniversary is wood, and I thought it would be cool to do a woodsy scene as a backdrop to my blog photos.  Due to the hectic wedding planning, I had to settle for a tree in my backyard, but it gave me a little of the vibe I wanted.
Thanks again for reading my blog and helping me celebrate three years!  I wouldn't be here without you! :-)


Eye See You

Happy Monday everyone!

Whew! This wedding planning business is taking more out on me than I had hoped.  Planning in such a short time is hard work, and we have gotten stuck on the food issue after our first choice didn't pan out.  I can't wait to share some more details with you, but let me just say that our wedding will be uniquely us, blending some classic wedding elements (formal wear, buffet dinner, etc.) with a ceremony tailored to our spiritual beliefs and blended family dynamic.  I'm hopeful all will pan out and be beautiful on our wedding day, despite our small budget and short turnaround time for planning, but right now I'm just feeling plain stressed!  :-/

To make matters worse, I finally got around to taking some blog pics, and it was so hot and humid, the camera (and my glasses) kept fogging up.  I got bit by probably a million mosquitoes (I might be exaggerating just a bit), and not one of the pictures turned out well!

But enough of my whining!  I'm so grateful to you for sticking with me during this slow period.  By mid August, I should be back on track with regular posting, but my 3rd blogging anniversary happens a little later this month, so I do have a few posts planned to commemorate that!

I wanted to let you know that I see you out there, and I'm thankful to all of you who support what I do.

Today's look is a literal take on vision with two fun eyewear prints. 

Top:  Torrid (Available here)
The first look is one I wore to work not too long ago.  It was a simple summery work look, but the quirky printed top gave it a little flair.
Pants:  The Limited
Sandals:  Payless
Bracelets:  LOFT, Ann Taylor
Glasses:  Firmoo.com
Earrings:  New York & Company
The second look features an eShakti dress that I got last year with a low-key, make-up free styling.  
Dress:  eShakti
Booties:  Target

I wore this the day the man and I signed the contract for our venue and picked out our wedding bands.  We also ate dinner at the restaurant we went to the night he proposed (many years back) because we can be so sappy when we want to be.  :-)
Satchel:  The Limited
Unfortunately, I was having issues with weird lighting and a foggy camera while taking these, so the pics aren't great, but I thought I would go ahead and share anyway.

Bangle:  Target
Earrings:  The Limited
Everywhere we went that day, people were commenting on my dress.  It's such a fun and easy dress, perfect for a hot summer day and quite the conversation starter!  Paired with beige booties and a single bangle, the look was no muss, no fuss.

Less than two weeks until the big day, so I think I'm going to be relying a lot on comfortable standby clothes like these that I don't have to think too much about.

Be back soon!

For the dress in other looks, see here, here, here, here, and here.



So, it's time again for another installment of  #UnconditionalBodyBeautiful!! 
Skirt:  Eloquii (Available here)
I was so late with last month's post that this one seemed to come so soon, and here I am late again! 
Tank:  Torrid (Available here)
Shoes:  Sugar (Available at Kohl's here)
I've been mad wedding prepping as the man and I are tying the knot after over eight years.  We previously had a wedding planned three years ago, but had to cancel it due to a family emergency.  Now, we're pulling a wedding together with three weeks of prep time and a very small budget!! We are crazy, and I am stressed and tired.  I apologize that I've felt the need to step away from the blog a bit recently as there has just been too much going on. 

That said, I wanted to give you a quick heads-up on what to expect in the coming weeks.  I had a color series planned for July, but it will be pushed to early August, so expect to see lots of color early next month!  Also expect to see some wedding photos soon! :-)

Clutch:  The Limited
Sunglasses:  Calvin Klein
As it is July, it is hot where I live.  Warm weather calls for less clothing, and bare arms are no exception.
For so many years, I hated my arms.  I tend to gain both muscle and fat quickly in my arms, and they were always one of the larger parts of my body, sometimes seeming disproportionate to the rest of me.  Once while wearing a sleeveless dress (and 35 pounds thinner than I am now), my mother who hadn't seen me in a while exclaimed, "Oh my god!!  Look at your arms  They are so big!"  While she later apologized for her reaction, her words stuck with me.  I became much more self-conscious of my arms. 

Shortly after this comment, my attempts to lose weight began.  My healthy attempts at losing weight eventually turned into an eating disorder as I became obsessed with calories, fat grams, and calories burned through exercise.  I honestly don't link her comment with this series of events, but I needed to spell out the timeline because while I had a ton of body issues at my thinnest, I was generally content with my arms at that time.

As I started to put weight back on though, my arms definitely became a source of self-hatred, and I often looked to cardigans to cover up my arms.  As my weight continued to increase, my fashion preferences started to change as well, and I began my love affair with blazers.
Jacket:  Eloquii (Available here)
I still love a good blazer.  They are such an amazing completer piece and give every look a more polished and sophisticated feel.  I wore this look with jacket to work with just a simple black tank, and it felt really pulled together.
Glasses:  Valentino
As much as I love jackets and blazers, I realized at one point that I was often wearing them more to cover up my arms (and other bits) than I was as a fashion choice.
Earrings:  New York & Company
With blogging, I slowly started to wear more sleeveless clothes for pictures, or I would take off my jacket to show what was underneath.  Eventually, this led me to be more forthcoming with doing the same out in my real life. 
Now, I'm at the point where I'm generally fine with showing my arms.  For work, I still prefer my upper arms to be covered because I think it's more professional, and I still have a hang-up every now and then, but for the most part, I've learned that I have the right to bare arms!  Oh, and so do you! 

Don't be hot this summer - lose the cardigan, the blazer, the jean jacket, whatever you're using to cover up!Have you missed parts of the series? 

Catch up here:
Part 1:  My Body and I from the Beginning
Part 2:  The Heart (Bust)
Part 3:  My Journey on My Legs
Part 4:  My Belly and Me
Part 5:  My Buttocks
Part 6: Body Hair
Want more?  Read what the other bloggers of #UnconditionalBodyBeautiful are saying about their arms:

Zadry Ferrer-Geddes, Curves a la Mode

Katherine Hayward, The Glitter Notebook

For the skirt in another look, see here.
For the jacket in other looks, see here and here.