What’s Good? List No. 2

Hey! You guys seemed to like my last “What’s Good” post, so I’m back again with another list of what’s good right now! All wrapped up in a few easily digestible bullet points ;).

  1. What’s New With Me: I’m back in LA after spending my summer (mostly) in NYC! Work wise, folks have been tagging me when they stop in their local Walmart because the new fall campaign is out! I was so excited to book this job and meet a lot of new people on a fun 2 day shoot in downtown LA. If you happen to see me in yours, tag me on IG and I’ll repost you!

  2. What’s Next With Me: I’m writing a blog post about attending my first New York Fashion Week (NYFW) runway show! Stay tuned I’m hoping to go live with it this week.

  3. What I’m Watching/Listening to: Well on my last list I mentioned the podcast “Culpable” which I just finished (so good!) to but honestly this week I’ve been binge watching Married At First Sight! Don’t judge me hahaha. There’s like 3 seasons available on Hulu and it is CRAZY PANTS like why would you ever do this?! From one angle, I get it because dating in real life and getting all the way to marriage seems impossible sometimes, but yeah this concept is WHEW. I just wish the editing wasn’t so terrible.

  4. What Piece of Clothing Can I Not Stop Wearing: Ooh 100% its been biker shorts!! I’m so glad these came back in - or that at least I discovered them again.

  5. Tip of the Moment: do your research before signing a long term contract. When it comes to modeling for example, if you’re just starting out, don’t just ask your mom or your friends or even just your lawyer that you had review the contract. Reach out and talk to at least 1 signed and experienced model. It doesn’t matter if you know them, if you phrase your inquiry professionally and politely you’ll most likely get a response. Also! If you want a serious response from someone, don’t just DM them. Pull their email from their IG profile and send a well-presented email and the chances of hearing back are much better.

  6. Personal Goal of the Week: Drink a gallon of water per day and only eat out at restaurants if it’s a social thing! Oh and get that NYFW blog post up ;)

Xoxo,

Erica

3 JCPenney Looks in 3 Days at theCurvyCon! Sponsored by JCPenney

Helllllo! Somehow it has already been 6 days since the Curvy Con ended! If you follow along with my Instagram stories you know I have partnered with JCPenney yet again this year! (Click here to see last year’s post!) I’m still unpacking and winding down from the whole whirlwind Curvy Con experience but I’m excited to share this first recap with you! In this post I’m breaking down my 3 JCPenney looks that I wore to the Curvy Con, including links to shop them!

Let’s Shop!

So, JCPenney has been a great partner of mine since early 2018 and they reached out to me again to do some sponsored coverage of the 2019 Curvy Con. The best part - they armed me with a $150 gift card and the mission of shopping for the perfect looks to wear while I’m there! I know, sounds fun enough, but then I get to bring my Instagram community along with me to shop too. While it does add more time to my shopping trip, I love seeing the responses from followers that prove sometimes a cute look I find that fits my size 18 body can change perceptions. I want women like me to understand that JCPenney is great place to go for style for women of all sizes.

Here are the 7 looks I tried on, with a goal of finding at least 2 looks!

Above are the 7 looks I tried on, with a goal of finding at least 2 looks! After a collection of votes from followers, here are the winning looks!

Look #1 - JCPenney IG Live Takeover!

On Day 2 of the Curvy Con I got the opportunity to take over JCPenney’s Instagram! I hosted a fun live Q&A about style and confidence with a fellow brand ambassador (Shaina from @outofthecorner). I found this look towards the end of my shopping trip and immediately loved it. Mixing patterns is one of the most exciting ways to breathe life into your wardrobe! I had first found this cute print button down top by Worthington, but it wasn’t until I found these subtle animal print pants that I knew I had an official “look.” It gave that perfect stylish professional vibe without being too stuffy or formal!

Look #2 - JCPenney Booth!

I thought I would hate this top, I really did…but I loved the fall floral moment once I put it on! (One point goes to shopping in person versus online). This top by A.N.A has sleeves with a cute tie detail that manages to add to the somewhat retro/vintage feel (which is something the brand A.N.A is actually known for!)

Biggest tip here? Try tying any button down top at your waist! I’ve always hated button downs because they’re boxy or seem too formal, but unbutton the last few buttons and tie it up, then pair it with a cute high waisted jean or skirt and all of a sudden you can see your shape again but still look put together!

Look #3 - JCPenney After Party!

This dress was hands down THE crowd favorite from the fitting room! If you know me you know I love a body con. This dress is from Bold Elements, a brand which is known for form-fitting silhouettes that highlight and flatter your curves! The material has a lot of stretch but is actually a nice density and NOT too thin (a.k.a. not sheer at all!). I knew immediately this was my after party dress and my after-party-after-the-after-party dress!

Tip! This was found in the main JCPenney women’s section not the plus section. If you’re anywhere near a 16/18/20, it’s definitely worth combing both sections as department store brands often run larger (or more true to size) than the fast fashion online stores that are so popular now.

Bonus! 2 More Looks!

Even before Curvy Con kicked off, I put together 2 more JCPenney looks for a fun content shoot! If you go to www.JCPenney.com and search “Curvy Con” you’ll see these 2 looks below come up as the first 2 options under the search results! Click each outfit and on the site all the individual pieces are listed and linked!

Wrap Up!

That’s it! I love that JCPenney is offering some great options for fall. And even more, I love that they are placing such value on repeatedly participating in Curvy Con, an event created specifically for the plus size community, and on partnering with plus size influencers. It says a lot to see where brands are spending their dollars and clearly JCPenney sees the value in investing in us and knows our true spending power.

One last tip! Chat up the employee that checks you out. The lady that checked me out ended up letting me use a JCPenney coupon even without me asking for one. In the end I was able to get all 3 looks (not including shoes) for the $150 I came in with!

Let me know your thoughts!

XoXo,

Erica 💕

NYFW is almost here! List: 4 Runway Shows Where You Can See Plus Size Models

New York Fashion Week. Something I never imagined I’d attend or have anything to do with in my lifetime. Guess what, time passes, things change, your life can completely change!! Now I make it a point to be in New York for fashion week each season, even if I don’t book a show or don’t get to attend the ones that get all the media coverage. Being here for it allows me to network with other models, other bloggers, learn how the casting process works, hear which shows everyone’s taking about, and see how people hustle.

Plus models are becoming a more accepted sight on the runway, but still there are only so many designers that design for and/or include plus in their shows. Here is a quick list of 4 designers that I look forward to and hope to see plus size models on their runway this September!

CHROMAT

Always leading in body diversity on the runway, displaying a wide range and no rules when it comes to age, ability, gender identity, size, race inclusivity. I had the opportunity to cast for Chromat a couple of times now and just being able to do that as a size 18 was a trip. From a model’s perspective or aspiring model’s perspective, the rising inclusivity doesn’t get any more exciting.

CHRISTIAN SIRIANO

Looking for the top plus size models in the industry? Oh they’re all walking for Christian Siriano. Ashley Graham, Precious Lee, Marquita Pring, Candice Huffine…regulars on his runway. The show locations and gowns are always impressive, and the rooms are now filled with his celebrity clients as he’s become known for dressing plus size celebrities when other designers haven’t been willing to accommodate a body with curves to spare.

SAVAGE X FENTY

Not a show that’s part of the official NYFW, but a powerhouse show of course. Like Chromat, body diversity is plentiful and sex appeal in all sizes is unquestionable. In particular, the format of the savage shows have been non-traditional, so I look forward to seeing what Rihanna’s team has dreamt up this season.

TOMMY HILFIGER

Last season, Paris Fashion Week debuted the TommyXZendaya collection. Several plus models, at least 7, were booked in the show, and most notably, the show made a even bigger statement with an all-black cast of models. While that was a special collection, I would strongly hope to see Hilfiger continue to use plus size models in his show this season.

BONUS! One more runway show where you’ll definitely see more plus size models than any show will be at Curvy Con! If you’re not aware, there is a runway show on Sept. 6 and this year there are multiple brands showcasing their latest on ALL plus size models. I’ll be attending Curvy Con for the 3rd year in a row and I believe limited tickets are available at www.thecurvycon.com.

Stay tuned for more content coming about Curvy Con and NYFW. I’ll be sharing more about the upcoming runway shows, and of course be sure to let me know your thoughts and what else you want to know about NYFW!

XoXo,

Erica :)

3 Summer Styles from the Katie Sturino Collection! Sponsored by Stitch Fix

Hello! It’s been a really crazy couple of weeks between my Miami trip, new modeling clients, and new partnerships! I’m excited to be back on the blog with another post in collaboration with Stitch Fix ! This may be sponsored but all opinions are my own and I wanted to share them with you before the month of July slips away! (cry face)

Earlier this month I was given the opportunity to choose a few pieces from the Katie Sturino X Stitch Fix collection, 3 of which I received and then styled with summer in mind. Keep reading to see each look!

If you like to follow body positive boss babes on social media but you’re not familiar with Katie Sturino, definitely check her out! I’ve never met her but I know her through Instagram for her #supersizethelook posts and being a presence in the industry. This collaboration between Katie and Stitch Fix aims to be inclusive by keeping the price points below $100 and making everything available in size XS-3X! Right away I loved the cheeriness of the logo, which gives you an immediate sense of the vibe they are going for with the collection. Beautiful colors make me happy and it reminds me of the joy I got from amassing colorful office supplies when I worked in corporate (where I wondered if the colleague that seemed satisfied with just the sad, beige manila folders was secretly a sociopath…)

My first impression of the collection is part preppy, part boho, clean and easy take on summer favorites (think J. Crew). There are pieces like caftans, wrap dresses, and A line skirts, largely in textured solids and staples like polka dots and stripes. Does that sound like my style? No! haha - which is why I love this. Challenging my style and trying new things is what has helped me to learn my body! And that’s where confidence grows - understanding that if a piece of clothing doesn’t work, your body is not the problem. I would have loved to see even more variety of vivid prints using the collection color palette, but overall its a nice array of summer-friendly classics: very lightweight, colorful, and ladies-who-brunch appropriate.

First look!

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  • What: “Catarina Cropped Jumpsuit”

  • Size: I’m surprisingly wearing a 1X! While I like the fit of the top and I do think the silhouette looks good, the torso is definitely a smidge too short on me and I should really swap for the 2X. (Hint: for easy size reference/comparison, you can always find my measurements here!)

  • Style: I picked this piece because I know anything with a tie at the waist will be at least flattering to my midsection. Here, I paired it with my favorite new wedges, a classic denim jacket, and a contrasting mustard yellow cross body bag that I also received in a Fix from Stitch Fix (pictured above). I’m here for the summery combo of red and yellow, and nautical slash patriotic combo of red, white, and blue (yes if you can’t tell there are teeny tiny white polka dots on the jumpsuit print!) I would probably only ever wear this with a heel because being pear-shaped, wide leg pants are often a complete fail on me. Then you add a crop and a flowy material and I just look dumpy. The heel keeps the long leg line that I like.

  • Where am I wearing this? Hello Labor day BBQ! I never typically gravitate towards pieces like this (all over tomato red?! ) but I do like that I don’t always have to wear body con everything! Especially when I want to eat, drink, and relax but still look put together. Jumpsuits can be great for trekking all over the city and looking effortless, and I would love to show up at your Labor Day hang looking like perhaps I came straight from my yacht.

Second Look!

  • What: “Alessa Wrap Swing” in Blue

  • Size: 1X. Since the cut of this dress flows away from the hip, this size worked well even though I would normally wear an 18 a dress with no stretch. I wouldn’t want it any bigger in the top, but being so hippy is making the dress a little shorter than may be intended.

  • Style: I picked this dress again because a wrap style with a waist tie is generally always flattering to my shape. With the dress being very feminine (yet without being frilly) and a teeny bit on the short side, I opted for my favorite gray lace-up heels - adding a little edge but still passable for summer. In my mind at least, the shoe also helps balance the amount of leg showing which is one thing I can sometimes be self-conscious about. Again paired with cute little yellow bag from the first look - I love the way it pops against this really satisfying shade of navy.

  • Where am I wearing this? Honestly I could wear this to so many places, especially if I switch to a white tennis shoe/sneaker. As soon as I tried it on I immediately went online to order some lightweight shorts to wear underneath so I can be chub-rub free and get the most out of this during my summer in NY. An easy, flattering wrap style for any day you’re feeling a little sweet and adorable.

Final Look!

  • What: “Elisa Button Up Top” in Rainbow

  • Size: 1X. The fit here was perfect!

  • Style: I picked this one because it’s a statement piece! I was little intimidated by the thought of ALL these loud colors together, but I thought of @ColorMeCourtney’s joyful, color-soaked vibe so I decided to go all in and play up the color instead of minimizing it. Button-up shirts can sometimes be boxy, so I tied it at the waist and then paired it with a long pencil skirt in the perfect shade of green, my neon yellow heels, and a brand new coral clutch that I received in a previous Fix (which plays off the red, orange, and light pink in the top). I even added an old pair of earrings that matched the blue.

  • Where am I wearing this? Hmm, maybe I’ll wear it to an event at the Curvy Con! It could be a fun departure for me in an environment where everyone is dressed to impress but in a daytime fashionista type of way. I love showing up to plus size community events wearing brands developed by plus size and/or body positive designers/influencers/brands. Just as easily, I could pair it with some white pants or jean shorts, add in the same yellow bag from the first two looks and wear it out to lunch with friends.

Click HERE to try out Stitch Fix and be sure to let your stylist know if you’re interested in the Katie Sturino X Stitch Fix collection! You can also contact Hello@stitchfix.com for specific help with your account to find out about availability of the specific pieces that you want. To find out more about Stitch Fix as a super convenient personal styling service, I suggest checking out my previous posts (here and here)!

XOXO,

Erica <3

 

What’s Good? List No. 1

So I wanted to find a way to share more with you but in a way where you can also read a little less! This is not sponsored in any way, I’m just giving you easy access to what I’m up to, inspired by, obsessed with, etc. No rules, no ranking, just what’s good right now <3

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  1. What’s New With Me: I’m heading to Miami this week! For the past 2-3 years, I’ve watched Miami Swim Week and Miami Curve Week happen on Instagram. Then last year, when they added the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit open casting call to the same weekend, it was a wrap - I’m going. Still in disbelief that I’m going to be at the freaking SI casting in T-4 days. Why haven’t I been preparing?!?!? (Cry face) Hopefully I can share some of the behind the scenes with you :)

  2. What I’m Watching/Listening to: Ooh well I’m super into podcasts, especially ones about true crime. Currently listening to “Culpable” - an investigation into the mysterious death of a young guy that policed filed away as a suicide. So far so good. The last podcast I listened too that really got to me was Dr. Death - INSANITY you have to check it out if you haven’t yet.

  3. What Piece of Clothing Can I Not Stop Wearing: Eek, it’s honestly gotta be the black wrap set that I recently got from my friends at Fashion Nova (pictured above). It’s lightweight, and emphasizes the waist while not having to wear anything tight YES PLEASE. I’ve worn it at least 3 times, I’ve ordered it in 2 other colors/prints and its definitely coming with me to Miami. HERE’s the link if you’re interested.

  4. Tip of the Moment: Yesterday I opened my friend Ashanna’s eyes to a whole new world of filters, so I figure I might as well share it here too! Avoid using Instagram filters at all and instead try the app VSCO. No, it’s not new and a makeup artist had referred it to me about 6 months ago. Just lightly using some of the most popular filters and saving them as your favorites, makes it so easy to make your content look more cohesive, or just make each individual picture look just that much better.

  5. Personal Goal of the Week: I’ll be honest, the goal I set for myself when I woke up today was to follow a low carb & low sugar diet to prepare for Miami (eye roll I know, but I just want to feel my best and not bloated!). But by 12pm I had already started down the far too common path of self-sabotage yaaayyy! :|….. Sooo, my new goal of the week is to drink1 gallon of water every day, do 150 crunches and squats every day, and do everything in my power to avoid a stressful, up all night packing, type of night before I leave. Boom. I got this.

Xoxo,

Erica

Find Your Perfect Piece - At Home! Sponsored by Stitch Fix

Hey! I’m back at this to share with you my latest experience with Stitch Fix! This post is in collaboration with Stitch Fix but all opinions are my own. Before I even dive into it, if you’ve been considering trying out Stitch Fix, click here to sign up already because I don’t want you to miss this limited time offer for my followers! If you schedule your first fix by June 1st you will receive a $25 credit!

Now, if you are totally new to hearing about Stitch Fix, I recommend checking out my previous post for a basic intro! This is my second time partnering with them and here’s why I love it: THE PERSONALIZATION. A personal stylist to pick pieces to match your personal preferences and needs, where you get to try them out in your personal space on your personal time! That’s really what you’re paying for with just a $20 styling fee per fix and what makes it all worth it.

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  • YOUR PERSONAL STYLE & NEEDS: Let them help you find the perfect piece!

    • This time around I specifically wanted to find a dress that would be great for spring/summer that’s feminine but not frilly, classy and cute not matronly. In particular I have a brunch event coming up where I will be meeting my boyfriend’s mother for the first time! (probably should write a whole different post on that! Lol) My closet full of super sexy body cons was not going to cut it!

    • Stitch Fix allows you to request a fix for whatever special event is coming up - whether you want an entire new outfit (even accessories!) or like in my case, 5 dress options. When my fix arrived, what I noticed for the first time is that my new stylist left me a detailed explanation of her choices! See the note she included above! She gathered insight from my style quiz answers and even what she saw me wearing on my Instagram.

  • YOUR PERSONAL SPACE & TIME: Your home, your closet, your pace!

    • What I love most is being able to try out what the stylist picked for me at home.. Everyone is different, but I much prefer to take my time without the pressure of anyone waiting on me to decide! (Plus, you’re not trying them on with a Stitch Fix stylist present so they can’t see your face if you don’t like it! lol) The amount of time I’ve spent looking online for clothes myself…it’s a black hole where time and money disappears and nothing unexpectedly awesome ever ends up in my closet.

    • Now that I’ve been sent 5 new dresses, I have full access to my closet to see if any of these will literally fit into my life and style, and most importantly, which one is going to make the boyfriend’s mom see me as the smart and classy catch that I am. ;) Tip: always try clothes on in good lighting, with your hair/makeup at least lightly styled as you would normally wear it, with your accessories within reach, and actually putting on a shoe. Can you put together a look that you would walk out the door in right now?

  • MY OPTIONS & MY STYLE: Let’s try on and style these pieces!

1st piece: this one was my favorite to style because the colorful print is a statement on its own and allows me to just play with adding in neutral and complimentary pieces! I knew I had lots of options to go with it, and I decided on these new camel wedge heels, a cropped mustard jacket, a neutral bag and some black and tortoise shades. I would probably go up one size in this dress because it was a little short for my comfort.

2nd piece: I was excited to see a teal dress since I’m loving everything in this color right now! I like a sporty neckline because it shows off my shoulders and long neck, but this dress cut reminded me of a skater style dress which I almost never pick for myself so I was interested to try it! It’s fairly casual, but I went with my favorite lace-up block heels to lengthen my legs, some on-trend glasses, and mini backpack. I love each piece has a cool sporty vibe and are all various shades of teal so it works together without being matchy.

3rd piece: I love this dress! The lines created by the pattern are flattering to my curves and it has great movement plus a tie at the waist. Since the pattern plays as a neutral, I added pops of color with the jacket and shoes, and knew that the sneakers with dresses trend would work here as a cute alternative option. My feet hurt often from modeling so I love when a dress works multiple ways and I can still be comfortable and feminine! How cute is the way the skirt is cut on the sides to show a little leg? :)

4th piece: A simple faux wrap dress with an attached tie that starts at the front and wraps back around, giving my shape a lot of definition which I love. It’s a snake skin print and a nice alternative to the super sexy snake print everything else I’ve been seeing. I didn’t style this one, just threw on a heel, but doing that made me realize that I this is one of my absolute favorites. Not too frilly, with a little flow to the skirt, and very versatile without being too basic. I can pair it with colorful accessories, build on the black/white theme, or layer in neutrals like tan/camel.

5th piece: Another simple faux wrap dresses with front tie. While I clearly didn’t go so far as to style these last two, it wasn’t until I tried them on in good lighting with a heel that I got a sense of how I felt about them! Again, this my criteria of accenting my shape and fit perfectly. I felt great in it, but the ruffle of the hem and the sleeve leans a little frilly for my usual style..

I have my favorites so far but I’d really like to know what YOU think to help me ultimately decide! See the poll at the end of this post and VOTE for your favorite or favorites!

Try Stitch Fix out for yourself! If you use this link and schedule your first fix by June 1st, 2019, you’ll receive a $25 credit!!

Thanks for reading! And thank you Stitch Fix for sponsoring this post! If you have any questions for me about styling for a pear shape or my experience, let me know in the comments!

XO,

Erica <3

Styled outfit photos shot by Kaitlin @kaiitycakes.

Where I Shop for Size 13 Shoes!

Boots pictured here are from Smash Shoes :) Wearing a 13W. Click image to shop.

Boots pictured here are from Smash Shoes :) Wearing a 13W. Click image to shop.

I get asked about where I find my shoes ALL THE TIME! So, I thought I’d condense the info in a quick and easy blog post. I’m 5’11.5” tall and I wear a women’s 13/13W. Here is my list of favorite places to find shoes in my size. None of these are paid promotions - just an honest run down of where I frequent! If you have big feet and additional resources not listed here for ladies like us, drop a link in the comments!

  1. Nordstrom Rack

  2. Zappos

  3. Smash Shoes

  4. Torrid (Their shoes run big on me! I usually fit a 12)

  5. Lane Bryant (they only go to a 12W, but they usually fit me!)

  6. Payless Shoe Source (although I just found out they are going out of business!!!)

  7. new addition! One of my fave clients, Fashion To Figure is launching a collection of shoes and accessories with Nadia Aboulhosn on Sept. 19, 2019. The shoes will be going up to a 12W and the sizing is generous - I’ve tried them and so I know that all the over the knee boots fit me great so far!

Also! Join me on Poshmark to find discounted size 13 shoes! I even have some listed that are brand new and still in the box! https://poshmark.com/closet/curvyandtall

I know the struggle to find cute shoes in bigger sizes is real! I have way more shoe options in my closet than I used to but it’s still a sad collection compared to the options available to everyone else. If there are any other tips related to shoes/shoe shopping you’d like to hear about, let me know!

XO,

Erica <3

Fall Wardrobe in a Box! Sponsored by Stitch Fix



So it’s November and I still don’t understand how that happened! I feel like I’ve been seeing holiday decorations up for weeks and I’m just not ready for it all! Plus, here in LA it’s still 80 degrees and sunny on the forecast so you’ve got do something to get into the spirit of the season. One way to do it - refresh your wardrobe!

When Stitch Fix reached out to me, I was happy to partner with them and give their service a try for the first time! I took maybe 10 minutes or so to fill out the detailed style profile and they sent me a personalized Winter Fix!

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The style profile helps the Stitch Fix stylists take your body shape and style preferences and curate a fix just for you. You pay $20 for each fix, and if you decide to keep and purchase any of the pieces you can apply that $20 towards your purchase. In other words, you haven’t lost a cent! And if you love everything you get a 25% discount on your entire fix.

My Winter Fix came in 2 boxes that included jeans, jackets, tops, sweaters, a dress, and a purse (which I especially excited about!) A typical fix comes with 5 pieces, but they sent me double so I could show you the variety they have!

I found that there were a lot of interchangeable looks as well as some great basics that would work in any season. Here is how I styled them!

First look: All 3 of these pieces came from my fix! Thankfully the denim fit perfectly! In my profile I said I loved a skinny jean and they got it right. The flannel top was super soft and I loved the fact that it fit my curves well and wasn’t boxy. The shirt and jacket are great layering pieces but if it stays warm through the winter the top works great on its own!

Second look: these fitted black jeans and burgundy sweater are 2 pieces I can use for so many looks! I paired them with a strappy tank for an LA fall night out look - not too fancy, not too casual - dinner and drinks vibes. I’m especially in love with this clutch! I’m not often one for an all over animal print (more power to you ladies who are!), but I love a classy touch of it. The Stitch Fix stylist got my vibe right with the look of this great quality bag. My only wish is that it had an optional wrist or shoulder strap! (Without one I’m the type that will lose my purse and be the one crying at the bar…) The great thing is, they want to help make your fixes better each time so their stylists want to hear your feedback!

Third look: cozy-central! This soft roomy sweater worked great with the jeans from look one, and I paired them with a winter boot from my own closet and finished the look off with a wintery red lip. I love the choice of the heather gray-ish color and I can tell from the entire fix that they definitely listened to my preferences for neutrals and jewel tones.

Final look! And also my favorite :) One thing I wanted to make sure the stylist knew is that I am proud of my shape at this point in my life and I love showing off my arms, waist, and hips. When I pulled this cowl neck fitted dress out of the box I knew it would look great on. I added my own boots and a thin black belt just to further emphasize my shape. Then this military-inspired jacket is just beautiful.

My take on Stitch Fix? It’s dangerously convenient! Think about it - you’re submitting an extensive list of personal preferences, and without having the shop around on a bunch of different websites or spend hours at the mall, for just that $20 you get a box with several different items sent to you to try on. They have some great quality brands and carry up to size 24W or 3X. You might receive pieces you that you wouldn’t have picked for yourself, or you might get something that’s exactly up your alley. If you don’t love what they pick for you or it’s out of your price range, you can send it back at no additional cost and give them the feedback they need to get it right the next time. In my case, they sent me 10 pieces and I see myself keeping 9 out of 10! The only problem is going to be finding room in my closet!

Click here to fill out your own style profile and let me know below if you give it a try!

Thanks for reading!

Erica <3

Thank you Stitch Fix for sponsoring this post!

Photos by Kaitlin @kaiitycakes

Shopping and Styling JCPenney Looks for #theCURVYcon! (with links!) Sponsored by JCPenney

Its 2:37am and I’m sitting in my friend’s living room in her cute little Washington Heights apartment half-watching the new season of the Great British Baking Show. No better time to start a blog entry right?? I’ve been in New York just over 2 weeks now for NY Fashion Week, shoots, and Curvy Con, and it has been an exhausting blur. I’m in the middle of a 5 week road trip and getting excited for the international leg of my trip that's coming up in 2 days (what’s up London Fashion Week?!). Before I my memory fails me, I want to start sharing more things with you! First up…

#JCPenney at #theCURVYcon!

There is sooo much I can say about #theCURVYcon. The highs, the lows, the sweat and the star power. But that will be set aside for another post. Full disclosure folks: I partnered with JCPenney at Curvy Con to do some sponsored coverage of the event, including this post, and to find some hero pieces to wear to the event They approached me and since I was already planning to attend it was a perfect match.

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I first worked with JCPenney this past spring and took my IG followers shopping with me to find a cute dress for a pop-up shop in Brooklyn. I loved that the overall tone of the engagement from women in response to what I was trying on was surprise at how many great options I was able to find in store! Helloooo, I couldn’t have found a dress I loved more than this blue one. :)

So I was excited to have the chance to partner with JCPenney at theCURVYcon and show that I could again find some great affordable AND on-trend options for women my size.

Let’s Shop (IN Store - gasp!)

Ok no, shopping in store is not really that retro - its not like there isn’t still a mall every couple of miles. But for me, the vast majority of my clothes just arrive at my front door, whether I’ve purchased them or been gifted them by this brand or that. Actually, my place is admittedly looking like the mid-stages of hoarding, with dangerously high stacks of clothes I haven’t worn yet and all sizes of pretty boxes that every brands seems to be using now in their packaging. I don’t know about you but my heart hurts every time I have to throw out something pretty, so I have to keep them all, clearly…

Clothing storage concerns aside, thankfully knowing I was now working with JCPenney for Curvy Con was a relief - “yes, that’s 2 days worth of Curvy Con outfits that I don’t have to pull out of thin air!!” If you haven’t been, it’s basically a 2.5 day fashion show so you want to represent.

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So after a couple runway castings, I stopped into the Manhattan JCPenney and about 10 minutes in this top immediately caught my eye. It’s by the brand Bold Elements and it’s right on trend with the popularity of sheer/mesh pieces as well as embroidered/laser-cut details. The lacy-style, high neck and half bell sleeve gave it a sophisticated appeal that I liked. And it’s not pictured, but it has an exposed gold zipper all the way up the back. I tried it on over my own bra that I had on that day. I LOVE a piece that has a contrast of sexy and sophisticated - that’s what I aim for most days actually.

I tried on about 7 other options and left the store with a couple options for Curvy Con that you’ll see below. Plus another option I had to have for my upcoming trip to Greece!

The JCP Booth @ The Curvy Con - Look #1

Shocker! I snatched the same top in pink/blush as well (if you love something get in at least 2 colors, right? #firstruleofhoarding)

This version of the top gave me super feminine vibes, which is not always my aesthetic. So I kept the outfit light by pairing a white spaghetti strap body suit underneath, and thin brushed-gold hoop earrings. I also got it in the XXL instead of the XL to keep give it a little more flow and movement for a day look.

Then there are these jeans….I fell in love these jeans. Just check the length and the fit - being 5’11.5” and having the rise and the length fit, along with a good amount of stretch and no gapping, is an easy yet. If I make it back to the store this week I’m going to check for a pair in black.

I loved the light wash, especially with the lightness of the top. It gave me a flirty but casual day look which I’m all for. Then I tied it together with my own pink and clear (a.k.a. nude!) block heels that are life savers for long NY days like this (although I stashed a pair of rose gold strappy flats in my bag for the afternoon.)

JCPenney Look #2 - Quick Change!

At the booth I spotted this cute, Chanel-inspired jacket that is part of the JCPenney pre-fall collection (designed by the lovely @alltheprettylayers)

  • Jacket - XXL; Brand - Worthingon

  • This brand is carried in the women’s section and the plus size section to my knowledge.

I already had the perfect base outfit on so I threw it on and put up a pic with a voting button on my IG story. After 600 of you voted yes (versus 130 nos) I put in that order to add one to my closet back home. (notice a problem? ;) )

After Party JCPenney Style - Look #3!

Curvy Con ended with the fun after party hosted by JCPenney at the chic Andaz Hotel on 5th Avenue. For this evening, I wanted a dressier vibe for my next JCP look. Now, the caution with combining faux leather and see-though material is that it can easily be, let’s say, the opposite of classy. However, again the actual cut of this top is almost demure, and then I paired it with my own to-the-knee faux leather skirt and then to make it playful I added a bra with on-trend, harness-inspired straps. Having your bra exposed may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it allows the intricate details of the shirt to be seen and it’s playful. Plus this top actually looks like it could be handmade (aka expensive).

I got this black top one size smaller than the pink one since I know I will mostly wear it for going out in the evenings when I want a slimmer, sexier fit.

  • Top XL, Brand - Bold Elements; Original price $44; Sale price $22.40

Wrap Up

My takeaway? As a curvy woman who likes to accentuate her body shape, stay on trend without being too flashy, and doesn’t (yet anyway) spend money often on high-end designer brands, I know that I can find great options here and there at JCPenney. No, it may not necessarily feel like I’ve hit a fashionista gold mine right when I walk in. BUT, when I’ve taken my time to really look through what they have to offer and give new styles a chance I’ve been really successful. One great thing? The sizing is forgiving when you compare it to a lot of these fast fashion brands that I’ve gotten used to wearing where at a 16/18 I find myself barely fitting into a 3X - the biggest size available. At JCPenney I’ve found I can often size down (e.g. perfectly fitting that black XL top when I usually get a 2X, and fitting the size 18 jeans when I usually wear a 20). Plus, it doesn’t hurt that after you find a cute outfit you can always stop by the in-store Sephora that most locations offer……#winwin #morestuffformybeautyhoard

Have questions about shopping? Styling? Let me know :)

Erica <3

Thanks JCPenney for sponsoring this post!

#AllAtJCP

Health & Wellness: Let's Try Meal Deliveries - Part I

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Hi guys! So, one of the big things I wanted to try this year was a meal delivery service because, as mentioned in a previous blog post, I don't want to worry about cooking and I need to break the habit of ordering take out! So this week I have the chance to try Model Meals! It's a fresh, already prepared meal delivery service, where the meals are based on the Whole 30 plan, which really appealed to me. 

Full disclosure, after mentioning on my IG story that I was considering trying Model Meals, they reached out and offered me $150 worth of meals to try.  So, I placed an order on a Friday and placed my order to have half my meals be delivered Sunday and the other half on Wednesday.  I'm going to add my reviews of the meals as I go this week, but if you're already thinking about trying them, use my link for $25 off your first order! -->  https://www.talkable.com/x/hnrn9s  <-- 

Meal Reviews!

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Monday 3/5/18 - I tried the Buffalo Chicken Salad & Dill Slaw

Verdict:  Decent!

I liked the flavor of the chicken.  The slaw doesn't taste great just on its own because its not really dressed, so I ended up mixing everything together which probably is the way it was intended to be eaten. I'd call this a pretty light lunch. If you wanted to amp it up, you could easily make it into a sandwich or wrap. 

 

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Tuesday 3/6/18 - I tried the Pork Carnitas Fajita Bowl

Verdict: THIS WAS SO GOOD!!!

I was really surprised by the amount of flavor!  The pork was good and the veggie were flavorful.  It didn't come with  microwave instructions, which at first I was pissed about because I wanted it to be as quick as possible.  But it was super easy - I heated up a saute pan, sprayed it with a good amount of coconut oil, and cooked the meal for about 5 minutes and it was perfect. 

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3/6/18 - I also tried one of the RXBARS

So on they offer a few thing in addition to regular meals, and one option is this brand of protein bars called RXBARS.  I'm not a big fan of protein bars, but I gave it a go and unfortunately, I'm still not a fan. I didn't get chocolate chip flavor, or really any flavor of anything. So, I left this one after a few bites. 

TO BE CONTINUED...

2018 Priority #1: My Health!

This past December, I spent more time than I ever have thinking through my priorities for 2018, manifesting my 5 year vision, and brainstorming business generating ideas. I'm still not done- you should see the amount of flip chart paper all over my bedroom.  But the first thing to pop on my list of priorities was my health. 

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After years of fluctuating in weight - losing 75, gaining 60, repeat -  I've decided that anything extreme, or where I feel restricted, is not the route for  me.  I have prided myself of being really good at weight loss competitions because when I get serious I've always been able to drop weight quickly.  We used to do a "Biggest Winner" competition at my corporate job (yes, the PC version of Biggest Loser) and my team was always in top or winning.  I also did Optifast in 2015. If you've done it let me know! It is NOT easy, but I managed to stay on it for maybe 6 months and I lost a good 80 pounds.  Gained it back of course. I always do the "hey I did a great job, let's celebrate with a day/weekend/week/month of eating whatever I want."  Makes perfect sense.......

Photo above is me with about a 90-100 lb difference.

So my approach now, is to find ways to eat in a balanced and SUSTAINABLE way that doesn't require any additional attention like counting macros or weighing my food.  I don't want to be suffering through dressing-free salads and cold baby carrots every day of my life - I love food way too much.  I'm also busy and have a lot going on and don't want to let an obstacle like finding time to COOK AND CLEAN get in my way.

With that my first vow/priority is to cut back on eating out/ordering in.  No ordering in when I'm by myself, and only eating out socially 2-3 times a week.  I don't know if you understand but this is HUGE for me.  My life the past X months was a sad abyss of hoping the same delivery person doesn't work for more than one of the food apps I have.  

My second vow was to experiment with a meal delivery service.  What could be easier than having ready-to-heat meals - that aren't covered in a layer of ice - at the ready.  This is something I'd thought about for a while and when I realized the savings versus eating out, I was sold. More on my delivery service venture in a future post :) 

My third vow was to get myself to the gym at least 3 times a week.  Ideally 5-6, but I just need sustainable progress here.  Nothing too overwhelming.

And lastly, I want to start hiking again! Not real hiking, just LA hiking.  Once a month, inviting friends and acquaintances from various circles to meet up at a local spot - accomplishing a workout and some networking all at once.  Seems easy enough....

My actual GOAL?  Yes, to lose weight and get stronger - not because I don't like my body or because I can't book work at my size - but because I've been feeling like TOTAL crap for months and with as much as I want to accomplish this year, I want to be ready for any and everything. No more losing 75 pounds or hoping to fit in a size 14 by X date.  I just want to feel healthy and be confident.

There you have it - my health stream of consciousness lol. Best of luck to anyone that reads this with your own journey this year.  Let me know if you're doing any of the same things or anything vastly different.  Always curious :) 

#stayready2018

What, a calendar giveaway?! #monthofthanks

Hi there!

So, if you follow me on Instagram you might possibly be aware that I have been doing a #monthofthanks for all of December, with various giveaways and shout-outs to say thank you to all of you that have shown me support.   I can't tell you how much I've been positively impacted over the past year and half by starting this modeling career and having more support than I could have ever imagined - especially since the very thing that held me back from starting was the fear that people I knew or didn't know would judge me for even thinking I had what it takes to be a model.

Well, I have one last opportunity to do a giveaway this month so here are the full details to enter! 

WHAT CAN YOU WIN:

  • A $100 Fashion to Figure gift card, OR
  • The first ever Erica Lauren 2018 Calendar! (words I never thought I'd say/write haha )  I'm running only a few copies exclusively for this giveaway and they will not be available for sale anywhere!!!  The photos included in the calendar include the ones from my Best Nine of 2017 post, as well as a few never posted images from 2017.  The calendar can also be signed if desired.  
  • The winners (there will be at least 2 chosen) will have a CHOICE of which prize they want!

3 STEPS TO ENTER:

Step 1:  Visit this link http://thebwordmerch.bigcartel.com/product/beinyourskin-plus-size-editorial-wall-calendar-standard

Step 2: Order the #BEinyourskin 2018 plus size editorial wall calendar, produced by @the_B_word_ Brianna McDonnell.  This is a very cool body positive project that I was excited to be a part of - I am featured in the month of August in the Baywatch-inspired photoshoot.

  • Purchasing the standard version is only $10 and will get you one entry into the giveaway.
  • Purchasing the exclusive version is $25 and will get you double entry into the giveaway.

Step 3:  Be sure to use code ERICA at checkout!   This is the only way your entry can be tracked specifically for my giveaway.

EVERY order of the #BEinyourskin calendar using code ERICA will include:

  • 1 #BEinyourskin calendar, AND
  • 1 signed 8"x10" photo of me :) 

Alright, time is running out so enter TODAY! (Seriously though, tomorrow is 2018 (eek!) and you have to enter by January 4 so that the winner can be chosen and calendars distributed ASAP!  

Thank you so much for all the support this year <3 

 

Issa Blog!

As I've read - you can never be a successful blogger without actually starting a blog. 

You for sure don't want to be 40 (or 50, or 80) and remembering how you used to talk to your sister about creating a blog together, but never did...never with her, never on your own...just never.

Do I know EXACTLY what to write a blog about though???  NOPE! But I know I have a varied background, varied interests, and often particularily strong opinions about food, poor customer service, and eyebrows, to name a few. Soooo with that, I'm here to share myself and my experiences (and of course those very important opinions!).  Then, in an ideal world, this experience of sharing will lead to a magical light bulb moment where I wake up in the middle of the night with THE perfect niche idea to focus on, and it will take me down a lucrative path to live my best life. (If you're wondering, my best life involves an unlimited travel budget where I finally get to stay in the fancy bungalows I only see on reality shows and Instagram.  And also involves a maid and personal chef.  And personal trainer.  And one of those electronic cat litter boxes that cleans itself. #seriousgoals

I don't claim to be an expert in anything.  Right now.  Thing is, it's not that I'm not an expert....it's the claiming it that doesn't come easy.  Finding your voice is the challenge I'm here to sort out for myself. Follow me or not, I'm excited to see where it takes us!  Welcome to the blog.

Erica Lauren M., expert in TBA. 

@theericalauren