WHAT I’M LOVING NOW (Spring Edition)

I know it has been a minute (OK…OK…a few months) since my last post; but to say that life has gotten in the way would be an understatement.

Work at QM has picked up quite a bit which has kept me super busy as of late. With the uptake in work  came some crazy moments with my health (as many of you know I have been managing Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which when out of control can really have me out of it along with my migraines). But, after NYFW this past February, I took stock and refocused and got myself back in order. Sometimes as women, we forget how difficult it can be to keep everything in balance if we don’t make a conscious effort to do so. I used the Spring (a time of renewal and rebirth) to make a pledge to myself to literally add the “me time” to the calendar in pen– otherwise know as investing in #TeamMe.

What does that mean?

Well, I have added yoga back to my weekly calendar after a two and a half year hiatus. At least twice a week, you can find me at Yoga Herald Square sweating it out at a 60 or 90 minute hot yoga class– releasing the stress and easing the aches and pains that come taking care of business (and running all over town doing so).

#TeamMe also had really making an effort of getting my thyroid disorder under control as it was affecting everything else in my life (sleep, diet, energy, skin, hair, concentration….just to name a few). I was tired of feel sluggish and tired all the time and looking like I got hit by a MACK truck (yes seriously…..I felt like it too). It didn’t help that I was in the middle of prepping clients for Fashion Week shows/presentations and burning the candle on both ends and along the sides (is that even possible?). After spending the night in the hospital after a really bad migraine right before NYFW  and being told by my doctor (well being screamed at to be more accurate) that I pretty much was deficient in every vitamin and mineral known to man– and being threatened with a hospital stay, I sought the help of a nutritional coach to help me get back on the ball.

Which brings me to the first item on my “What I’m Loving Now” List….

 

HERBALIFE’S FORMULA 1 HEALTHY MEAL NUTRITIONAL SHAKE MIX– ALTERNATIVE PROTEINS

 

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One of the biggest problems I was having was that I was so busy that I did’t have time to eat. I pretty much would spend the entire day working and would get into a flow and not want to stop for lunch and then find myself having unable to eat because either my head would hurt so much from a hunger headache or from being so filled with air that I just wasn’t hungry anymore. It was not a good look. It was wreaking havoc on my thyroid and pretty much just messing me up badly. I ended up meeting Irina (a former member of the Romanian national gymnastics team) over at NYC Health & Nutrition and began a 6 week program to get myself back on track. Irina put me on a schedule that included vitamins and food (among other things) that would help me get back in control.

One of the things she introduced me to was Herbalife’s nutritional shakes. It was a great option to get the much needed nutrients (remember what the doctor said) that I was missing from my lack of eating like a human being. Now Herbalife has a whole bunch of nutritional shakes in a some amazing flavors (dulce de leche, cookies and cream, chocolate, etc). I personally opted for the Alternative Proteins Shake which currently only comes in Vanilla as it doesn’t contain soy and gluten (no-no’s for folks with my issue). But why do I like it so much?  “Formula 1 Alternative Proteins is a delicious healthy meal that satisfies hunger, helps manage weight and gives lasting energy, with balanced amino acids from pea, sesame and rice proteins. Each gluten-free certified shake is packed with 21 vitamins and minerals, herbs and fiber.” I make mine with Almond milk and it taste great or when I want to feel fancy or have more time (like on the weekends) I throw it in the Nutribullet with a banana and some chia and other fruit and make a delicious smoothie. I have the shake twice a day (my second one is either before or after yoga) and keep it moving).

You can meet Irina or one of her partners at NYC Health & Nutrition here in New York or in their office in LA. Just visit their website here for more info.  Tell them Tamara sent you!

 

FITBIT CHARGE

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Maybe it’s in my name or maybe it is just what it is….but I am a walker. I walk everywhere here in New York. To be honest, I think it is more because I don’t have the patience to wait for public transportation or a cab. I just joined the FitBit tribe last month when I got a Charge. I’ve had fitness trackers in the past, but this is by far my favorite.Not the brand’s most fancy one, but for me it does what it needs to do and more  (track steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes and sleep– and it has caller ID and it tells time– HA).  But why do I love it so much? Well, it syncs to your phone via their own app (Android & iPhone) and your computer. It also has the ability to sync with other apps including MyFitnessPal, UA Record, MapMyFitness and many more. It also allows you to challenge your friends to see who can rack up the most steps during the day, the week or over the weekend. The natural competitor in me loves that and online, they have community forums which can lead to you finding a workout partner or a new friend. I can easily see why this is the most popular of the fitness trackers on the market.

 

DESHELI HYALURONIC CAPSULES

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My skin suffered the most during this whole crazy period when my thyroid was really out of whack. I had breakouts that I hadn’t seen since junior high and that had me running to the dermatologists and to the spa to try and save my face. I started going for regular facials at the Desheli Spa & Rejuvenation Center in Midtown. Desheli, founded in 2008 in Israel, is known worldwide for their innovation in botanical, stem-cell, diamond powder and light therapies. They focus on improving the look and texture of the skin and hair of men women with patented deep hydration and anti-aging products. One of my favorite products are their hyaluronic capsules.

Look, it’s a fact, we are going to get older and our skin changes. Some faster than others and outside factors (pollution, health, etc) also contribute to the acceleration of the aging process. These capsules contain hyaluronic acid that fill cells with moisture and helps them stay hydrated throughout the day. Used morning and night, the capsules help stimulate the  cells regeneration process, helping to minimize lines and wrinkles, increases the tone of the skin, and slows the aging process. Desheli’s Hyaluronic Capsules contain natural oils and extracts that nourish the skin.

 

TROPIC ISLE LIVING LAVENDER JAMAICAN BLACK CASTOR OIL

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Another random and unwanted side effect of Hashimoto’s is super dry skin and hair (which causes the hair to thin and break a lot). Having dreadlocks,it’s hard to put some of the products on the market “designed” for natural hair  in my hair as they tend to be heavy and cake and not dissolve totally in my hair due to the nature of the style and also have parabens and other irritants that hurt my scalp. With that said, my new best friend is Tropic Isle Living’s Lavender Jamaican Black Castor Oil. I use it for everything! It’s a natural miracle worker. It’s great for treating everything from dry hair and dry scalp to helping to thicken your hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows! It is also great for helping with extremely dry skin and mild acne (did I say it was a miracle worker? For more uses, check out this great article.). By itself, castor oil can smell a little icky, but Tropic Isle Living infuses theirs with some great natural oils including lavender and coconut. I personally like the scent of lavender and it’s calming properties (I tend to do my hair moisturizing at night so it helps to calm me before sleeping).  Mr Socialite has commented on how thick and healthy and long my hair has gotten thanks to this all natural (yep…only ingredients…Castor Oil and Lavender Oil) gem of a product.

 

VANITY PLANET’S SPIN FOR PERFECT SKIN

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Who doesn’t love the feel of a clean face? Between the recent breakouts, my hot yoga workouts and my general obsession with my skin, I am always looking for the perfect product or tool to help achieve the feel and look of gorgeous clear skin. Vanity Planet’s Spin For  Perfect Skin cleansing brush set is definitely a must have for the skin obsessed. This 5 piece system (1 facial cleansing brush, 1 exfoliating facial brush, 1 body cleansing brush, 1 pumice stone and the handheld device) needs to be part of your daily and weekly routine. Let’s face it (pun intended) we live in environments which wreak havoc on our skin. From smog and other air pollutants, the sun, sweat and more….and the fact that we are aging (hello, we aren’t getting any younger), we want our skin to look its best. The Spin For Perfect Skin system pretty much can help you do that from head to toe with brushes (and a pumice stone) for all your needs. What separates this  brush systems from many of the others out there is that it actually spins in gentle circular motions versus a side to side movement. I personally like this because I feel like I am getting a gentle exfoliation with each wash as well as a thorough cleansing. Afterward, I did the astringent test– you know, when you go and follow your cleansing with an astringent. Most times you find yourself still removing a layer of dirt and asking yourself “did I actually wash my face?” But, with the Spin For Perfect Skin, I haven’t had to ask myself this once! Oh and yeah…your misters are going to want to get in on the action too…smdh. Just ask Mr. Socialite who finds this thing pretty cool.

 

GARNIER MICELLAR CLEANSING WATER 

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The French have been raving about Micellar Cleansing Water for over a hundred years. We here in the States are a little tardy to the party on this one. Found at most local drugstores, beauty specialty stores and department stores, (I am found of Garnier’s and I get mine at CVS), there is no longer any excuses ladies to sleep with makeup on. None. Nope. Nada. I don’t care how tired you are coming from work or the club or wherever, you can now clean your face before bed. Why? Because this one product simplifies the nightly cleansing process from 3-4 steps down to just 1– and no rinsing is involved! I know you are looking at the screen all skeptical, but it works and it’s pretty simple (and ingenious) actually. Micellar Cleansing Water features micelle cleansing molecules that pull oil and dirt away from the face (see the images below for the explanation). And because there is no alcohol, fragrance or harsh chemicals in micellar cleansing water, it’s pretty much safe for all skin types (particularly those who suffer with dry and acne prone skin– yay me).

 

 

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TRADITIONAL CLEANSERS work individually to dissolve oil, dirt and makeup so you have to rub your face harshly and rinse with water to clean your face completely (image via Garnier)

 

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MICELLAR CLEANSING MOLECULES cluster together to lift the oil, dirt and makeup on contact. So basically you don’t have to rub or rinse! (image courtesy of Garnier)

 

That’s what I have been coveting so far this spring. All the images (except for the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water) are clickable and will lead you to the brand’s page so you can get one too. Because you can get the Cleansing Water at most major chain drug stores, start there first.

And also….this isn’t a sponsored post. I bought each product mentioned here and reviewed each on my own without any solicitation.

Hope you find these products as great as I have found them.

Until next time my lovelies!

 

THE CS BOOK CLUB: Brittany Gibbons’ Fat Girl Walking

The last few months, I think I have gotten the same piece of advice/instruction from almost everyone I know—“Stop stressing.” And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. Mr. Socialite says it daily. My mother has been saying it a lot lately too. Even my physician went as far as to write a prescription literally saying….”Stop Stressing and go have fun.” Thanks Doc. Great advice but easier said than done.

The sad part is I know I stress a lot. Sometimes it’s warranted and other times it’s due to the stars. Yes, I said the stars. Being a Virgo has its privileges but there are some nasty side effects—one of them being the never-ending quest for perfection and the stress that comes with this (Ask me how many times I have actually started this post and why it’s taken me almost two weeks to finally post it, SMDH). But I am learning to manage stress and being a Virgo a lot better as I get older. One of my coping mechanisms is reading.

Just as much as I like to write, I love to read. Magazines (I’m subscribed to a million of them), the newspaper (I blame you Mama Socialite for that one….I read 3-4 different local newspapers every day. Seriously how different can each retelling of the same news item be?) , Blogs (Bloglovin’ is one of my most active apps on my phone) and of course books.

Books are like the ultimate vacation. Where else can you travel to exotic places, time warp to the past or future; or even live someone else’s life (without being on the lam) for free? Alright….maybe for the cost of the book or download but free if you go to the library (support your local library!). For me, books are the ultimate escape from the everyday. And sometimes they are almost as good as a therapist or sister-friend. So it’s no surprise that I am launching the Curvy Socialite Book Club. The CS Book Club will feature new and old books alike (truthfully what catches my fancy at the time) with my thoughts on the book, the author and more.

To kick things off, I will talk about fellow blogger extraordinaire, Brittany Gibbons’ book, Fat Girl Walking.

Many of you know Brittany Gibbons already—maybe not by her real name but at least by her blog’s name, Brittany Herself. She is ranked as one of the top bloggers in the Plus Size/Curvy, Mommy and Lifestyle categories. I think Brittany first came across my radar after I read some coverage about an experiment in body image and self-love were she had sex every day for a year with her husband, Andy (yeah you read that right—yeah she tells us all about it in her book). To be honest, I always thought she was brave as she bared everything for the world to see (she’s also known for wowing the crowd as she stripped down to a bikini during her TED Talk a few years back). But how did Brittany Gibbons become the fabulous body positive activist and champion for the everyday woman? Simple…she was just herself.

Fat Girl Walking is one of those books that reads more like a conversation with your BFF rather than an autobiography. In it, Brittany shares her life story of growing up as a “big girl” in Ohio and dealing with mental illness, obesity, family, dating (not easy at any size) , eating disorders and more. Chock full with hilarious stories riddled with pop culture references as well as some of raw painful moments that out right broke my heart, I found myself sitting their laughing out loud (and sometimes at the most inopportune times—try cracking up in the quiet car on the Metro North….if looks could kill….) and even shedding tears throughout the whole read. She pretty much bares her soul to the reader to giving us all the good, bad and sometimes out right gross details of it all (yeah the post childbirth stories will have you second guessing kids if you don’t have them already) At the end of the day, she takes us on an intimate journey of how she came to love herself despite—rather in spite of—her size.

Fat Girl Walking is definitely a must for your summer reading list….no matter your size.

Brittany Gibbons…herself

#SHOPSMALL—Small Business Saturday

For the past 88 years, the official start for the holiday season was the arrival of Santa Claus at the finale of Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York. Whether you watched at home or braved the cold to watch it live in Herald Square, everyone eagerly awaits Jolly Old St. Nick’s hearty chuckle signaling his arrival and ushering in the final countdown to the Big Day—and all the shopping that goes into preparing for it.

Santa Claus waves to the crowd during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 27, 2014 in New York City. The annual tradition marks the start of the holiday season. Getty Images/Andrew Burton

Black Friday now actually starts on Thanksgiving Day (seriously there were folks on the news camped out in front of stores having their turkey as they waited in line for the their door buster sales). And for those of us who do not brave the frigid temps, the long lines and sometimes insane shoppers, there is always Cyber Monday (which for some retailers has been going on for over a week). But how many remember to #ShopSmall?

What am I talking about?

Well four years ago American Express launched a “shopping” holiday to encourage the patronage of “brick and mortar” businesses—small and local—within our communities called Small Business Saturday. In all the holiday rush, many of these gems get loss in all the rush and excitement offered by big box retailers and e-commerce stores. Personally this is my favorite shopping day of all.

Shopping locally is a great way to find unique gifts (many small businesses feature the wares of local artisans, specialty items and more) and to give a boost to your local economy. In recent years, Small Business Saturday has gone on to include small e-commerce sites that may get lost among the Amazons and E-bays of the digital world. This year, I want to share the businesses where I #ShopSmall.

THE THRITY HOG & NOIR ET BLANC (NYC)

Located in the chic NoMad neighborhood in Manhattan, the Thrifty HoG is known for upscale vintage apparel and resale store specializing in items for the whole family and the home. Besides scoring some amazing finds (like vintage Louis Vuitton sneakers and super sexy Proenza Schouler booties), you’re not only supporting a local business but you will also be helping the homeless via Hearts of Gold, a charity founded by Deborah Koenigsberger whose mission is to help homeless women and their children build sustainable lives. All of the proceeds from the Thrifty HoG goes to support the various programs (including job training, school supplies and more) provided by Hearts of Gold—celebrating its 20th anniversary– throughout the year. On Small Business Saturday, the Thrifty HoG is offering 30% off your entire purchase.

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Deborah also owns the upscale women’s boutique next door called Noir et Blanc. Noir et Blanc (or NEB for short) features a curated selection of contemporary American and European designers handpicked by the owner herself. With brands including Tracy Reese, Chen Luu, Donna Morgan and Ali Ro, Deborah and her staff will definitely have you bringing the catwalk to the sidewalk with the beautiful collections they have in store. Shop Small with Noir et Blanc which is offering 40-50% off their 2014 winter collections.

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The Thrifty HoG is located at 11 W 25th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue and Noir et Blanc is next door at 7 W 25th Street in Manhattan.

SULA NYC

I have been singing the praises of SULA NYC for a while now. This New York-based luxury spa brand’s entire beauty collection is based around the core ingredient of argan oil. Founded by Patricia Reinders, SULA NYC is sustainably sourced in Morocco, is 100% organic and is never tested on animals (they’re Leaping Bunny certified). The brand has quickly established itself with high quality products with proven results. Shoppers can enjoy three of SULA NYC’s most popular products (including the famed signature scented moisturizer, Fruit of Desire) in a beautifully packaged gift box. Sold in select boutiques and spas worldwide, you can shop SULA NYC’s website for this set and other amazing products. The gift set retails for $55.

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NATURALLY ME (NC)

Founded by a mother who was looking for healthy, all- natural remedies for her children’s different skin care issues, Naturally Me had humble beginnings as a labor of love. Owned and operated by Chaundra Smith, Naturally Me is a North Carolina-based certified vegan body care and candle company. Created on the belief that what goes on the body is as important as what goes in the body, Naturally Me features amazing products including the All Over Butter (an all natural steroid-free body butter that can be used on everything from your scalp to the soles of your feet—it’s my go to moisturizer from my hair and body—especially in the winter) and their deliciously aromatic soy “dessert candles” (seriously there’s one that smells like chocolate chipped cookies)— all still handmade by Chaundra herself. Naturally Me can be found in select boutiques around the country and via their wesite. For the next few days, including Small Business Saturday, everything is 50% off!

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Interesting…as I just finished my last featurette, I just realized that every brand featured today is woman owned and operated. How cool is that? So not only are you supporting small businesses when you shop the stores/sites featured here, you’re also supported 3 womenpreneurs who are also mompreneurs!

So today as you continue your world wind shopping spree, please #ShopSmall and support these and other local businesses today on Small Business Saturday!

ALL ABOUT THAT FACE (The At Home Spa Series…Part 1)

My name is Tamara and I’m a beauty addict.

There I said it. The first step is admission…right?

You see, for me, the love affair with skincare/cosmetics and make up was born more out of necessity than the actual love of playing dress up or desire to look older for a crush. I was a teenager who was plagued with bad skin. Well not really bad skin…more like sensitive skin that just looked really bad.

The teenage years, the 7 to 9 year period in a young person’s life, that parents the world over dread. Raging hormones cause extreme mood swings and wreak havoc on the body—especially the face. For me, when the breakouts started the real lessons in skincare began. Trial by fire—and almost in a literal sense.

Remember the “Noxzema Girl?” Also known as Rebecca Gayheart (I just found out her name the other day), the Noxzema girl had teens around the country (and maybe even the world) believing that slapping on some cold cream every night was the cure all to acne prone skin. Don’t get me wrong…it did work for some. But this chica soon learned she had sensitive skin. And my using the famed product resulted in mild chemical burns on my cheeks (where the breakouts were the worse) and extreme scarring. Hence sensitive skin that just looked really bad.

Over the years, I would experiment with a variety of products– from all natural soaps, glycerin soaps, high end products (my mom was a huge fan of Chanel and Lancôme) , beauty counter staples (like Clinique) and later cocoa and shea butters (which actually over time helped fade the scars). It took a few years, but my skin finally cleared up– just in time for college. By then, I was already a skin care junkie.

Fast forward to present day.

One of the perks I love the most about being a blogger is getting the chance to test some of the newest beauty products to hit the market. From established brands to those just bursting onto the scene, I love trying them all. Lou (my postman), Alex (my FedEx guy), and John (my UPS guy) are the couriers of my addictions. I literally do a happy dance when I hear the doorbell ring. A new product to test!

After Fashion Week my skin needs a chance to recuperate from the 24/7 make-up, lack of sleep, and all the wine and champagne (water? What water?). Add to all the stress of 7 days of nonstop running around the city and partying– the onset of fall and its blustery winds; all of which do a number on one’s visage. For the past month or so I have been all about the face (get it? Thanks Meghan Trainor for the title idea) — testing a number of products. Some were hits and others…not so much. But after a four week trial period I’ve come up with a list of faves that I think my fellow beauty addicts will be adding to their home spa arsenal.

DERMOLOGICA DAILY MICROFOLIANT

Dermologica Daily Microfoliant

Not a new product by any means (it first hit the market in 2001), Dermologica’s Daily Microfoliant is a definite must have as we transition into the fall and winter. A powder exfoliant, this rice-based formula activated with just a little water to gently but effectively lift dead skin cells for smoother, brighter skin. A half to 1 teaspoon’s worth goes along way– releasing active ingredients papain, salicylic acid and rice enzymes. I guess that’s why it’s been one of the brand’s best sellers worldwide since its debut. Safe for daily use, I use it every morning after cleansing my face. Afterwards I follow with a serum and a moisturizer with an SPF.

MONAT REJUVENIQUE OIL INTENSIVE

Rejuvenique Oil Intensive by Monat

Speaking about serums…I’m in love with Monat’s Rejuvenique Oil Intensive. Actually a dual purpose product (seriously who doesn’t love a product that multitasks?), the Rejuvenique Oil can be used on both your hair and skin. For the purposes of this trial I focused on its benefits for use on my skin. Utilizing its key ingredient Abyssinian Oil (derived from the crambe seed), Rejuvenique Oil does what its name suggests—rejuvenates the skin by replenishing and repairing the skin by providing nutrients, Omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants that help prevent premature aging. With the late nights (as I write this post at 1am…) and lack of sleep due to stress, work and life in general, why look older than you are? This product is super light and absorbs quickly into the skin. I use it twice a day (in the morning after cleansing and before moisturizing and in the evening as a treatment). A little goes a long way. For those of us who are a little wasteful with oils, Monat has conveniently included a dropper which miraculously supplies the perfect amount to cover your face and neck.

CLAYSPRAY MATTIFYING RED CLAY

ClaySpray Mattifying Red Clay Masque

I have declared time and time again that I have the oiliest skin in New York. But after recent weeks, I am about to relinquish this title. Thank you Clayspray! I am singing the praises of the brand’s Mattifying Red Clay because it literally has changed my T-zone from an oil slick mess to a normal forehead, chin, and nose. Though many an aesthetician has told me I should thankful for oily skin (they claim it “keeps you young”), I can’t stand the shine that takes the sexy dewy look (let’s face it you can achieve that with bronzer) to looking like I just slathered Vaseline on my face. Since using the Mattifying Red Clay masque, it’s like I have a whole new face (I’m close to saying “bye Felicia” to my blotting papers). Why does it work? Well, the masque uses enriched mineral clay which helps regulate oil secretion in the skin, helps combats blemishes and purifies by really giving you a deep cleanse. Added benefit…the Mattifying Red Clay has minerals that have anti-aging capabilities including silica to boost collagen, iron to activate circulation and magnesium to heal the skin. It absorbs impurities while helping regulate the oil in your skin. Used in conjunction with ClaySpray’s H2O Spray (mineral rich mountain spring water), twice a week I use the masque on my t-zone. I let it dry and then rinse off followed the remainder of my facial routine.

ILLUMASK ANTI-AGING MASK

illuMask Anti-Aging Phototherapy Mask

Don’t we all wish we had the latest and greatest beauty products and technologies at our disposals like our favorite celebs? Please…many have an aesthetician on call (or better yet on staff) for their skin care emergencies. Since many of us aren’t that fortunate and daily trips to the spa aren’t in our budgets, we have to opt for the next best thing. Introducing illuMask. Now this is a product that brings the daily spa treatment right into your home. IlluMask uses phototherapy (the process of using “good” light to treat the skin) which has been used by dermatologists, spas and skin clinics forever. With illuMask you can get a top quality high end treatment in the comfort of your own home using a similar technology. I admit, it does look a little space-agey. It uses red light to even the skin and reduce roughness and infrared light to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The other thing—invoking the spa experience) you are forced to be still for 15 minutes (the length of the preset treatment). For a month (each mask is set to give you 30 treatments—yes they advise for optimal results to use this everyday) I carved out 15 minutes where I would put on some relaxing music (thank you Songza for your Yoga activity setting) and let the mask do its thing. Because there is no way for you to see (no eye holes) there’s no checking your email or texting to be done. But it is worth it. It works. Mr. Socialite (like most men…doesn’t really notice much) made a comment about my skin looking really nice. So illuMask is Mr. Socialite approved.

SILK’N REVIT MICRODERM

Silk’n ReVit Microderm

After attending a holiday preview event a little while ago, I was introduced to the brand Silk’n. A boutique brand, the company is known for providing professional aesthetic devices for home use. In a contest at the event, I won a ReVit Microderm Kit. It is everything! ReVit is all about creating beautiful skin—ReVitalizing it by removing dead skin cells using a very soft vacuum like process with a gentle “diamond peeling” tip. Sounds fancy right? Let me get down to the nitty gritty… ReVit literally slough off the dead skin cells helping to improve skin tone, texture and elasticity as well as reduce the appearance of age spots, fine lines and acne scarring (yay!). And the best part…it only takes 5 minutes. The other thing I love about it is that you can see the results after each use. What do I mean by that? Well you can literally see the skin flakes (gross but sooo cool—skincare geek) after each treatment. Recommended for use twice a week or as needed, the kit comes with three detachable diamond peeling treatment heads—Precision (for small and hard to reach areas), Fine (for a more gentle treatment) and Coarse for a more powerful exfoliation. Perfect for the face, neck and hands (the places that can show the most damage), the ReVit is definitely another must have for your at home spa. Be careful while letting others in your household try it. They’ll get addicted and you will find out that they are using it twice a week too (yes I’m calling you out Mr. Socialite!).

Alright…now I feel like a pusher (you know, that person who introduces you to the drug—thank you  former First Lady Nancy Reagan and the whole SAY NO TO DRUGS campaign of my youth for instilling that in my head)—talking about how amazing you will look and feel after using these products. You know you want to try ‘em. You know you’ll like ‘em. It’ll be worth it…believe me. You know you can trust me. LOL. Besides it’s the holiday season and between Thanksgiving and the one million parties that will take place between then and New Year’s you skin will need it. Just click on the links in each post…you want regret it!

* To learn more about each featured item, click on each product title to visit the brand’s site.

THE CURVY SOCIALITE’S PICKS FOR FATHER’S DAY 2014

 

 

You forgot it was Father’s Day this weekend…didn’t you?  Let me give you a second to let the panic set in. Are you done? Ok…good. Take a deep breath and fear not. I have a few solutions for you gift dilemma for dear old Dad.

If you’re lucky, you have a father like I do. He sends wish lists (usually after Christmas the year before) of what he would like for the coming year and all the festivities (birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Father’s Day, etc) that it brings. If you aren’t as fortunate as I am or need some ideas aside from the annual tie (have you noticed he has never worn any of the ones you’ve given him in the last decade?) or the power tool (seriously do you want him tinkering around with a table saw?) here are a few ideas that might help you in your hunt for the perfect present.

According to Forbes, like women, there are essential pieces that every man should have in his wardrobe. No I am not suggesting you buy your father a whole new closet but maybe you can work on adding a few key items to it.

A HANDSOME WATCH

It doesn’t matter what line of business your dad is in (or no longer in if he is retired) he needs to tell time. A man doesn’t really have too many options for accessorizing. Aside from a wedding ring (if he’s hitched), the only “jewelry” many men wear is a watch. Though I find a fancy watch appealing, I think a good everyday watch for Daddy dearest is a great gift idea. Each time he puts it on, he’ll remember his favorite child gave him a snazzy timepiece. One of my favorite go to brands for a well made watch for daily wear is INVICTA.

Based in Switzerland (no one does a watch better than the Swiss) and founded in 1837, INVICTA is known for exceptional quality at an affordable price—perfect for a watch you want Dad to use regularly not just for special occasions. Here are my picks for Father’s Day:

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These can be found at your nearest INVICTA retailer (check the site for stockists), online or at the fabulous men’s boutique, St. James & Company in New Jersey.

THE PERFECT SHOE

We’ve all heard the phrase, “the shoes make the man.”  According to AskMen.com, the statement is definitely true and the quality of a man’s shoes reveals how much he respects himself. Match.com (yes the dating site) and author, Donna Sozio  (Never Trust A Man in Alligator Loafers: What His Shoes Really Say About His True Love Potential), went as far to say “The shoes a man wears and the way that he treats them are fail-safe indicators of not only his romantic personality, but also how he’ll treat his woman.” Now at the end of the day we want our dads to look good (for his wife/partner, a blind date or just for us when we take him out). But shoes have to fit your father’s personality. Here are some of my top choices from two of my favorite online retailers:

VIONIC is a footwear brand that marries science/medicine and fashion. I already know what you’re thinking….and no their not your grandpa’s orthopedic shoe. It’s no secret that many men (and women) suffer with foot, joint and back pain from wearing the wrong shoes, worn out shoes or just sacrificing comfort for the sake of fashion (yes men do that too). Vionic puts an end to this with a great men’s collection. With the summer season upon us, I am loving Vionic’s Regatta Deck Shoe (offered in suede and leather) and their Conner Casual Slip On. Both of these casual yet comfortable styles feature Vionic’s breakthrough Orthaheel technology developed by experts in biomechanics and foot health ensure relief from issues including plantar fasciitis, knee, back and foot pain.

 

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PLANET SHOES is quickly becoming one of my favorite sites for shoe shopping. The whole mission of the company is to “help customers make healthy choices for themselves the environment and the community.” Basically they sell great shoes that look good, feel good and do good for the environment. Planet shoes features brands from across the globe including the Spanish based shoe company, Pikolinos and American company, Red Wing. They have so many great shoes for men.  My favorites for Father’s Day choices include:

 

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THE MAN BAG

Everyone has a favorite bag—yes even men. Anytime I hope on the Metro North I see some very worn “favorites” seated next two well-suited gentleman as well as those in casual fare. They may not think they need a new one (hello, the handle of their brief case is holding on by mere threads), but they sure would appreciate a bag for Father’s Day. Here are my picks from my go-to men’s boutique, St. James & Company…

 

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GROOMING

No matter what a man says to you, he cares about how his skin looks. Please, they don’t want razor bumps, acne or wrinkles any more than a woman does. But he’s not about any 4 step cleansing processes either.  Enter MENAJI.

Founded by beauty expert and professional make-up artist, Michele Probst (alongside a team of dermatologists and chemists), Menaji is a line of men’s skincare and grooming products that are all about enhancing his skin. I am a big fan of their Gentleman’s Kit. It gives the father in your life all the core products needed to cleanse, replenish, rejuvenate and maintain their skin. Dad may look at you funny when you give it to him (Mr. Socialite did when I asked him to sample them) but all you have to tell him is that some of the most well-known men in the world (Johnny Depp, Kevin Bacon,  Kevin Costner, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw….hell, even President Obama and Regis Philbin) use it.  You can order this set via the Menaji website for $125.

 

The Gentleman’s Kit (Aftershave Hydrator, Face & Body Scrub, Eraser, Lip Agent)

 

These are just a few ideas for Daddy.

With that said, Happy Father’s Day from the Curvy Socialite

WHAT’S IN MY BAG?

Randomly last week, Mr. Socialite filled me in on what he thought was one of the biggest mysteries known to man—what is actually in a woman’s purse.

After giving him a serious side eye, I had to admit that the knowledge of what’s inside a lady’s handbag is really one of the world’s burning questions. Think about it. For 60 years folks pondered what Queen Elizabeth could possibly carry in her purse. It was such a hot topic in the UK that it inspired a book (What’s In the Queen’s Handbag and Other Royal Secrets by Phil Dampier).

Walt Disney went as far as to make it seem like a purse was some kind of magical land of wonderment when he had the beloved character Mary Poppins pull out everything in her seemingly bottomless carpet bag from medicine to magical umbrellas to even a small potted plant in the 1964 musical film. The curiosity is still a big thing today. US Magazine has made discovering what lives in the depths of our favorite celebrities’ bags a regular feature—giving readers a glimpse into what makes them tick.

For those of you who know me offline, I am always carrying a large tote. Because of my life as a publicist and blogger, I need a bag that can carry all my essentials needed to get through my day. Though it changes from season to season or at times based on my whim that day, my handbag has to be able to carry my arsenal necessary to sustain me throughout the day.

For spring 2014, my go-to handbag is my MICHAEL Michael Kors Jet Set Signature Tote in Vanilla. Because I carry a lot of “stuff,” having a bag with a lot of pockets is key to me staying organized. This signature tote has double compartments, slip pockets on the outside, zipped divider, and pockets throughout the interior ideal for all your little knickknacks including your smartphone, and more. The light, airy color reminds me of sunny days making it perfect for the warmer weather.

MICHEAL Micheal Kors Jet Set Signature Tote in Vanilla

So my lovelies, here’s a snippet of what’s in my bag…

I never leave home without my SAMSUNG Galaxy s3 (though I am about to upgrade to the S5). I hate to admit it but I’m lost without it. I keep track of everything on it. Currently my favorite app is the Any.do Calendar App which takes the traditional phone calendar to the next level with Google Maps integration, customizable settings, sync capability with my online calendar as well as it works seamlessly with its sister task app. My smartphone just makes life so much easier. But because Manhattan seems to be an energy black hole, I also carry an old school agenda as backup.  A dead battery or no access to an outlet is no excuse for not knowing what I have on deck.

Samsung Galaxy S3 (Image Courtesy of Phandroid.com)

I am a huge supporter of independent designers. I’ve been a fan of the SK Wilbur brand for years. I am currently using the handmade brown and beige zebra print “mini” as my wallet. Given to me by the designer himself, I carry everything from my train ticket to cash in this super cute accessory.

SK Wilbur Mini in Brown & Beige Zebra

With the schedule I have, sometimes it’s hard to take time for a lunch break. I recently started subscribing to Graze Box, a subscription service which allows you to pick healthy, delicious snacks. Four tasty treats come in a box (delivered at a frequency of your choice) in perfect portions. I carry one of the options with me to stave off hunger and lightheadedness with the long stretch in between meals. I’ll be doing a full review soon. (Wanna try Graze box for yourself? Use my friendcode CKTJKRQ3P to get your first and fifth box free!)

Graze Box sends tasty but healthy snacks that are perfectly sized for a quick bite.

Because I spend at least an hour a day on a commuter train of some sort, I treasure my ASUS Memo Pad 7. This chic seven inch Android tablet is perfect for catching up on client emails, social media or enjoying some downtime listening to Pandora or playing whatever my gaming addiction of the moment.

ASUS Memo Pad 7

Now that the weather is getting warmer, my beauty needs have morphed a bit. The higher temps bring an oily face. I swear by Boscia’s Green Tee Blotting Linens. They quickly suck up the oil without removing your makeup.  Also in my bag beauty wise is Grand Central Beauty’s S.M.A.R.T. Skin Perfecting Serum + Primer. Alone or under makeup, this Serum + Primer works instantly to smooth and moisturize  your skin without any sulfates, parabens, mineral oil or strong fragrances (simply put it looks good and is good for your skin). And because you always want to have healthy, kissable lips, I make sure I have my limited edition Carmex Ultra Hydrating Moisture Plus lip balm in Chic in my bag at all times. The lip balm we have come to love has paired a fashion forward exterior designed to match one’s style and personality with the brand’s patented moisturizing formula and SPF 15 sunscreen to keep lips looking luscious, healthy and protected.

Boscia Green Tea Blotting LinensS.M.A.R.T. SKIN PERFECTING SERUM+PRIMER by Grand Central BeautyCarmex Moisture Plus Limited Edition stick

Now you know what I carry….so what’s in your bag?

CONFESSIONS: BLOGGER EDITION

The Curvy Socialite is in the September Issue of Ladies’ Home Journal

Ladies’ Home Journal, September 2013

So D-Day is finally here.

I got the September issue of Ladies’ Home Journal in the mail yesterday. A mixture of excitement and dread filled me as I held the magazine in my hands as I stared at the headline, “Love Your Body at 30, 40, 50+.” As I mentioned here a few months back, I was selected as one of the women to be featured in a piece on body confidence. Who would have thought I’d be featured in a piece about that.

So confession time…

Body confidence—or rather a lack there of—has been an issue for me for most of my life.

My vision of how I see myself and what others perceive me to be has dominated decisions I have made, paths I have taken and just how I lived my life in general. It started from a young age at home where I was constantly told that I was too big or too muscular (I was an athletic child) and that I need to be smaller if I ever want to have a boyfriend or get married. I wasn’t considered a pretty child with my thick calves, overdeveloped hamstrings, muscular arms and thick waist. I wasn’t lithe like my younger sister and my mother and every family member made sure I knew that. “You’d actually be pretty if you were skinny,” was a regular comment I’d hear from family growing up. The seed that being of a thicker frame being considered ugly and not attractive was planted back then.  I’d look at all my thin friends and family members and wonder why I wasn’t built like them. What was I doing wrong? What was wrong with me?

For years I was obsessed with becoming smaller. I tried fad diets, diet pills, purging, and starvation…whatever it would take to make myself be considered “small” and pretty. I’d read all kinds of crazy articles about dieting, celebrity diets and listen to what some of my friends and teammates would do to stay small. As a gymnast, I was bigger than many of the other girls on the team.  I was a super toned athlete (think a Serena Williams or a Mary Lou Retton or Shawn Johnson) versus what many thought was the ideal look for a tumbling pixie (think Gabrielle Douglas). I would sabotage myself and pretend to be injured or “not ready” for a meet so that I wouldn’t have to go up in front of crowds and perform. Why would they want to see how fat I looked in my leo?

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Going to college didn’t make the situation any better.  Seeing girls from all over the country and around the world that were beautiful and thin just made me hate myself even more. I would work out a lot and eat as little as possible. Many times, I would take my meals up to my dorm room and eat (or not eat) there. Who wanted to see a fat cow stuffing her face?

My weight would fluctuate dramatically for years. I’d be a size 4 one moment or an 8 a next. But when I entered into the real world, the real roller coaster began. I ballooned up to a 12. For many that wouldn’t be considered fat at all but because now I was a double digit size, I thought my life was pretty much over.  “Well meaning” friends and family had a lot to say about my expanding size. Offering tips or publically letting me know that I was too fat to order anything other than a salad. And dessert…perish the thought!

By my early 20s, my self worth was so wrapped up in my dress size. I was always depressed. I was already in and out of really bad situations with “boyfriends” who used and mentally abused me because they knew they could do that because at the end of the day I was too fat to be cared about. That’s when the binging and purging really started.  I knew it was wrong and could seriously harm me, but I didn’t care. I had seen the after-school specials and made-for-TV movies with Tracey Gold and others who suffered from anorexia and bulimia. I knew it could kill me. But I didn’t care. All those did were give me tips on how to hide what I was doing better. I had to be as close to a size small dress size as possible—at any cost. Ironically, I actually was a plus model for a few years and did rather well with it. Though I smiled for the camera, secretly I was stressing on how fat I was going to look in the pictures that came out. I was generally a size 8/10 back then.

Tracey Gold on the cover of People Magazine

Around this time I met my significant other.  Much older than me, he always saw me as a person. it would make him angry how obsessed I was about food, my looks and specifically my weight. But he is a patient man. He tried to use reverse psychology to get me to eat “real” food versus the “rabbit” food I ate regularly. I began putting on more weight but he didn’t mind. He would tell me every day I was beautiful. But it wasn’t easy for him either. When I got to a size 14/16 we’d end up in fights when it was time to go out on the town. I couldn’t wear that dress because it made me look like a cow. I couldn’t wear that top because you can see my rolls. Those pants…hell no…they made my thighs look huge. Mind you, during this time I was still going to the gym almost every day. But still I got bigger.

Fast forward to a few months ago my blogger friend, Alice, telling our blogger collective about this opportunity with Ladies’ Home Journal to be a part of a feature about body confidence and…we’d be shot in our underwear. I mentioned it to my mister and said I was thinking about applying (more as a joke than serious). He was all for it. So were some of my friends (including Black, Latina & Fabulous blogger, Amaris Acosta). Not thinking they’d actually call me back, I applied. A few days later, I got a call that LHJ wanted me for the shoot. DAMN.

The week before the shoot I was in California. The entire time I was out there I was stressed over the upcoming shoot. I worried about every morsel of food that I ate and worked out as much as possible while on the trip. The trip also served as the medium for another first…the first time I wore a bikini since I was 7. I wore it…but didn’t really take pictures in it. I still hated how I looked.

The day of the shoot finally came around. And after a crazy morning (I had lost my wallet), I finally made it on set. Everyone was so sweet. The staff at Ladies’ Home Journal went out of their way to make all of us “models” feel comfortable. Hair and makeup made us look gorgeous and the gorgeous lingerie. The photographer and his team gave helpful hints as to how we should pose and still be natural. And for the most part, I had a great time.

When I did the interview for the quote to accompany my picture, I talked about how the diets and pills and how I was working on building my self esteem. How my focus was on being a healthier me (all true). I kind of fibbed a little when I said I loved my curves. It’s more like I am coming to grips with them and learning to love myself. Looking back on all the things I did to myself in my never-ending undying quest to be the perfect size2, I knew I had to stop. I already proved my family wrong by getting into a loving happy relationship with a man who loved me for who I was not what the scale said. I have even become a proponent of thick, pleasantly plump, curvy and full figured communities. I love to see beautiful curvy women like Asia Mone’t, Liris Crosse and Christina Mendez in ad campaigns in all their full figured “goddessness”.  I’m in awe at how gorgeous and confident in themselves they are. I want to be like them.

After a trip to the GYN last month, I found out that I actually suffer hypothyroidism (pretty much my thyroid isn’t functioning properly and causes issues like weight gain, depression, decreased heart rate, hair falling out and more). Turns out that it can be genetic (I just found out that there is a history of thyroid issues in my family) and can also be triggered by stress (a constant state of being in my life). The mister thinks that part of it could be from my abusive behavior towards my body. Whatever the cause, I am working on managing it. Because like I said in the article, I am about a healthier me.

But as I sit here looking at page 88… (I have a whole page to myself) typing this post with mixed emotions, I am crying. Pausing from time to time because I can’t see through my tears to type, I look at this picture of me and others from when I was younger and realize how far I have come—and how far I still have to go. To be honest, I am not super happy about the picture (in my opinion my face looks way too big). But I am a little happy with myself because I can say I did it. I took a picture in my underwear for the whole world to see. I did that. That is something to be proud of.

PS…I’m still camera shy and it will take me a while before I start posting more pictures of myself here or anywhere else…but this was a start.

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QUIET IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS: RAIN AFRICA (Beauty & Shopping Review)

There is no denying that New York City lives up to its nickname, “the City that never sleeps.” There is always something going on—a parade here, a protest there, maybe a street fair and a high profile political figure’s visit thrown in for good measure. It’s enough to drive anyone (even this Big Apple native) crazy.

With the mercury rising and folks enjoying the busy streets on summer vacation, New York is especially busy. Browsing the shops of Rockefeller Center can be a little hectic with all the people milling past you posing for pictures, strolling in and out of stores or sampling some “street meat” at one of the many food carts on the corner.  In the midst of all that chaos is a beautiful oasis known as RAIN AFRICA. From the moment you step in off the street, you’re drawn into a sanctuary. To say in a short time that this has become one of my favorite hideaways in the city would be an understatement.

Rain Africa is an amazing boutique that specializes in handmade, African products. The store (and over all Rain Africa company) prides itself on its commitment to not only bring their customers high quality products but also products that are ecologically responsible and are ethically traded. Each item sold there are crafted from oils and other materials wild-harvested from indigenous plants sourced throughout Southern Africa and are presented in 100% handmade packaging that is recyclable and deliberately made to be multi-purpose.

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Over the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of getting to know the staff and the products very well. Every person working at Rain is intimately familiar with each item sold, their ingredients, their properties and more. They gladly suggest gifts, products you might enjoy and their favorites—giving you one-on-one, hands on experience as they take you through the store.  The staff will gladly take you through the various “stations” and tables in the store on what you quickly find to be a tour for your senses—as you touch, smell and see what makes the products at Rain Africa so wonderful.

The store is full of what seems like an endless supply of beauty, spa, home and baby items crafted specifically to tantalize. I had the pleasure of sampling a few of their products that definitely have me craving more.

Their newest collection is called BIOLOGIE and features a line of high quality all natural and organic products designed not only cleanse and moisturize but also to heal. I had a chance to try both the Shampoo and Conditioner. With natural hair (I have dreadlocks) and a very sensitive scalp, I am very particular about the products I use.

The Biologie shampoo is quickly becoming a favorite of mine because of how light, fragrant (but not over powering) and easily rinses out it is. Made with healing ingredients including Baobab Pulp, Rooibos, Rosemary Oil, Spearmint Oil (great for migraines, fatigue and stress) along with vitamins A, E, D, F and Omega fatty acids, this shampoo gently yet thoroughly cleanses your hair removing all the traces of the grime and grit from your day.

Biologie Shampoo $20
Biologie Shampoo $20

The conditioner features Jojoba, Marula Oil, Vitamin E, Sesame Seed and Spearmint Oils that adds moisture without weighing down your locks as well as soothes the scalp. As the season’s change, I tend to get very dry scalp and one thing I noticed with regular use of both the shampoo and conditioner that began to change. The Spearmint Oil also seemed to “open” my scalp up not leaving me with a tight feeling as I have experienced with other shampoos and conditioners. Both are made for all hair types, it is safe enough for everyday use. The Shampoo retails for $20 and the conditioner retails for $22.

Biologie Conditioner #22
Biologie Conditioner $22

I also tried what has now become my signature scent (sorry Daisy (the original one), you have been eclipsed after all these years)—the African Rain Mist. As many of you already know, I am not your typical woman when it comes to fragrances. I tend to gravitate to musky, woodsy smells—almost like a man’s cologne.  African Rain Mist features subtle tones of lemon, mandarin, freesia and moss that are absolutely intoxicating.  An example of the multi-purpose nature of Rain’s products, this mist “triples” as a room refresher, linen spray as well as a perfume—and it’s unisex. The fragrance….super sexy.  As African Rain is non-pressurized and does not contain CFCs, it is “ozone friendly” and sensual at the same time. African Rain Mist retails for $24.

African Rain Mist $24
African Rain Mist $24

Rain Africa is located in the heart of Rockefeller Center at 59 W 49th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in midtown Manhattan.   Also, through the end of the year, Rain is also hosting a pop-up shop on 8th Avenue and 46th Street.  Both shops are easily accessible. Stop by…tell them the Curvy Socialite sent you!

For those of you not in the New York area, you can also shop online at http://www.rainafrica.com.

 

 

STRIKE A “POSE”: A New App for the Fashion Lover

Courtesy of MannersandMoxie.com
Courtesy of MannersandMoxie.com

In the ever-changing medium of social media, there seems to be an endless array of ways that we can share who we are with the world. I feel like every time I browse the tech sites, there is a new app or website that is being mentioned. Admittedly, my favorite apps tend to be more on the traditional side as they tend to lend themselves more to fashion and beauty blogging and my android phone. But recently, I came across a new app that may be the “app of all apps” for fashion bloggers and enthusiasts worldwide. Introducing POSE.

Described by some as the “Instagram of Fashion,” Pose is an online and mobile community where fashionphiles share their style.

Why do I like it? It’s an easy way to find great outfit inspirations, do some trend spotting and shop! What separates it from say Instagram or Pinterest, which are both popular with the fashion and style minded, is that Pose is dedicated solely to fashion. How can you go wrong with that?

Here are a few other benefits to Pose for the fashion lover– one of the things that I like about this app is that it allows “posers” (yep, that’s what users are called) to tag images with not only what it is (I.e., heels, dresses, etc) but with the brand (Michael Kors, Miss Selfridge, etc)—making it easy to find that piece that you know you can’t live without easily. In some cases, you can outright purchase the item through the app. Also, another feature I like– posers can save their favorite looks by creating “collections” (similar to boards on Pinterest). Cool, right?

Pose is still a relatively young app (about a year old or so) but is quickly becoming a favorite with major brands, bloggers and other influencers alike.

Interested in trying out Pose? It’s available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices as well as on the web and via Facebook. You can download the app at www.pose.com/d.

I just joined Pose myself, you can find me at: http://pose.com/u/curvysocialite/

 

FUN IN THE SUN: Reviews of Becca Etc Swimwear & Tanee Tan Corrector Pen

So it’s officially the unofficial start to summer. LOL.

With the temperatures in the tri-state area hitting the 90s the past few days (seriously if it is this hot already, what’s it going to be like in August?), all I can think about is spending time at the beach. Who wants to be stuck indoors when you could play all day in the sun? I know I don’t.

The Santa Monica Pier & Veterans Memorial
The Santa Monica Pier & Veterans Memorial

Not too long ago, I got to test drive my beach time while I was in California. I got to spend an afternoon in Santa Monica with Black Latina & Fabulous‘ Amaris Acosta and Tanya Sotillo of the amazing new lifestyle portal, Luxe Colore. With the three of us based in New York (which at the time was still on the cool and damp side) we wasted no time getting acquainted with the sands of the Santa Monica Pier.  My California trip also the perfect time to figure out what was going to be my staples in my beach bag this summer. Definitely a great opportunity to review some a new product and a new swimsuit.

The Curvy Socialite at the beach in Santa Monica
The Curvy Socialite at the beach in Santa Monica

So what’s going to be in my beach bag this summer?

BECCA ETC  BLACK CROSS BACK HALTER WITH BUCKLE W/ DRAPED BIKINI BOTTOM

Plus size bikinis are all the rage thanks to bloggers like Gabi Gregg of GabiFresh and Chastity Garner Valentine of Garner Style: The Curvy Girl Guide, rocking “fatkinis” and looking fabulous doing it. Now I admit, I am not always the most daring of girls when it comes to showcasing her curves in an itty bitty bikini, but I have to say that I will gladly due it in this fabulous bikini from Becca Etc.

Designed by Rebecca Virtue, the 2013 collection for Becca Etc is all about options (something that girls of a certain size didn’t have until recently). Full of prints, vibrant colors and interchangeable options (for cut and length), the collection features perfect vacation inspiring names like Sanctuary, Zanzibar and Havana. My black bikini came from the Color Scheme collection which also comes in Peacock (Blue) and Hibiscus (Fuchsia).

What do I love most about this swimsuit? Hands down…the fit. With a fuller figure, my biggest worry always centers around fit. Because my top and bottom are two different sizes I have a hard time finding the right suit. If you’re like me, bikinis/tankinis are actually the best option as they allow you to customize your size. I also have a fear of reprising Nipplegate (Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction during the half time show at the Super Bowl a few years back), I always look for optimal coverage and with an ample top, that can be hard. But the cross back halter from Becca Etc, takes care of all of that. With an adjustable back and support all through the top, the girls aren’t going anywhere! Giving the top a more fashion forward appeal are shirring in the bust and some antique finished hardware (double heart buckle).  Ladies you have a choice of bottoms including skirts, boy shorts and full coverage panties. I opted for the draped bikini bottom which provides a full coverage bottom for comfort without sacrificing style. Retailing for $144 ($86 for the top and $58 for the bottom), this Becca Etc bikini is a must have for the summer.

PS, did I mention that this was the first time as an adult that I wore a bikini????

Shop the 2013 Becca Etc swimsuit collection here.

My beach bag: Becca Etc Cross Back Halter Bikini
My beach bag: Becca Etc Cross Back Halter Bikini

 

Close up of the shirring detail and hardware on the bikini top
Close up of the shirring detail and hardware on the bikini top

 

The 2013 collection in Peacock Blue
The 2013 collection in Peacock Blue

TANEE TAN LINE CORRECTOR PEN

Now what’s going to beach without getting an awesome tan (yes even me with darker skin loved the bronzing effects of the sun)? After spending what seemed like a never ending winter in doors, I was definitely ready for some fun times in the sunshine. I love how healthy sun-kissed skin (with the right protection of course) looks but I HATE tan lines. They just seem to mess up your whole look afterwards.  But, have no fear…there is a fix for that. Introducing Tanee— a revolutionary 2-in-1 bronzer and sunless tanning liquid that comes in a compact cosmetic pen. This little miracle in a pen will temporarily disguise unwanted tan lines until you get a chance to get back in the sun again.  It’s super easy to use– seriously it works just like a marker and it works. Let me just say that if you are a little darker, it may take a few applications to work but it will work on all skin tones.  So no more worries about having tan lines from your day at the beach and trying to figure out how to cover them when you head out that night. Tanee is definitely going to be a staple in my beach bag this summer. Retailing for just under $6, you can’t go wrong.

Want one for yourself? By the Tanee here.

Tanee Tan Line Corrector Pen
Tanee Tan Line Corrector Pen