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

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SHOPPING NEWS: Ideeli Launches TAHARI Arthur S Levine Shop & New Promo!

By now, the lauded September issues of all your favorite fashion magazines should be arriving in the mail. My local postman, Lou, says he’s been hitting the weights all summer in preparation for the “bibles”: coming from the likes of Vogue and In Style. The arrival of these style guides signal the change in the fashion seasons and herald the arrival of pre-fall– a season that lives on the fashion and retail calendars that celebrates the transition from summer to fall with the arrival of all the must-have boots, jackets and handbags to help build the perfect closet. 

Ideeli wants to get in on all the pre-fall celebration too. TODAY ONLY, Ideeli will be helping  curvy fashionphiles build the perfect wardrobe with a fabulous promotion:

SPEND $85 AND GET $15 OFF YOUR PURCHASE

SPEND $125 AND GET $25 OFF YOUR PURCHASE

Not bad right? Especially since the online shopping destination is adding some amazing new brands to their plus size shop ever week. This week, Ideeli is hosting a special brand event for  TAHARI Arthur S. Levine which launches today with some beautiful graphic prints– perfect for this season’s wardrobe revamp. Here’s a fave of mine from the brand’s new plus shop.

TAHARI ARTHUR S. LEVINE Natural/ Black Plus Long Sleeve Keyhole Print Dress with Tie Belt $69.99

But TAHARI Arthur S. Levine isn’t the only brand on sale today. Ideeli knows that when building the perfect wardrobe, one must also have the basics (classics and accent pieces to build on)– tops, bottoms and dresses. So to help in this arduous (but super fun task), Ideeli has added some amazingly chic pieces from Miraclebody, Philosophy, Lafayette 148, Marina Rinaldi, Seven7 and more to today’s big sale as well! 

Here are my pics from today’s sale!

MARINA RINALDI Fuchsia Sleeveless Side Pleated Sheath Dress  $299.99
MARINA RINALDI
Fuchsia Sleeveless Side Pleated Sheath Dress $299.99
MARINA RINALDI Black Plus Mid-Rise Skinny Leg Pant $69.99
MARINA RINALDI Black Plus Mid-Rise Skinny Leg Pant $69.99

uniquespectrum mllegabrielle

JESSICA SIMPSON Jet Black Oscar Drape Short  $29.99
JESSICA SIMPSON
Jet Black Oscar Drape Short $29.99
MSK Black Plus Asymmetrical Neckline Dress  $29.99
MSK
Black Plus Asymmetrical Neckline Dress $29.99

 

I’VE GOT A SECRET (The Curvy Socialite & Ideeli)

In recent weeks I have been on this mission to “curate” my life. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting ready to start a new chapter (stay tuned my darlings….all will be revealed in due time) but I have been on a “de-cluttering” kick. Paring down and “lightening” up your environment is a great way to make room for new things. .

So part of this new chapter has me changing up my style a bit…”upgrading” my fashion sense so to speak. My very late “spring cleaning” has me at a point that my closet is nearly empty. Between what I have donated, given away or sold…there really isn’t much left in the wardrobe. This near Herculean (lol…see my reference to this summer’s certain blockbuster… I can’t wait to see Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the movie about the ancient Greek hero) task has me trolling…er..browsing the internet looking for ways to add some of my favorite designers to my wardrobe without breaking the bank.But fear not! There is a remedy for that. 

Enter ideeli.com.

Ok, I know you are probably sitting there shaking your head saying Ideeli isn’t new. Technically speaking, I never said it was. For those of you not familiar with the site…ideeli offers its members online access to designer brands at up to 70 percent off retail prices every day. Daily,ideeli’s limited-time sales feature the most sought-after brands in women’s apparel, shoes, beauty and accessories, plus must-haves for men and home. This online shopping gem has brought many a fashion maven its inspired take on style and the best trends since 2006. As of January, Ideeli joined the Groupon family– opening up a whole other realm of savings possibilities.. 

There are a lot of  new things going on over at Ideeli (besides its marriage to Groupon). The site has been making a concerted effort to expand and broaden their offerings– with particular attention being given to the curvy/plus size category. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret…yours truly is teaming up with Ideeli to help make this happen! Part of the next chapter in the Curvy Socialite novel…but I’ll share details at a later time.

In the meantime, check out today’s sale in the Plus Size category whic features brands including Lafayette 148, Anne Cole Signature, Tadashi Shoji, Taylor, Mlle Gabrielle,  R & M Richards and more! Everything from basic tees, to evening gowns, swimwear, those trendy patterned pants everyone’s sporting this season, cocktail dresses, day dresses, blazers and everything in between can be found in Ideeli’s Plus Size shop. And an added bonus…Today and tomorrow enjoy free shipping site wide!
 
Here are a few pieces I’ve been eyeing for my closet….
 
MLLE GABRIELLE Multi Plus Diamond Print Pant
TAYLOR Gold/Black Plus Printed Sleeveless Fit-and-Flare
Black Plus Sleeveless Fit-and-Flare with Sheer Panel Trim
 

 

 

 

CONTEST ALERT: “Pin it to Win it” with Rafaella!

Just in time for the holidays!

It’s contest time ladies!

RAFAELLAthe women’s sportswear division of Perry Ellis, want to give someone a very special holiday gift through their “Pin it to Win it” Contest.

It’s really simple to enter….

All you have to do is create a Pinterest board with your 4 favorite Rafaella items and enter it on the Rafaella Facebook page on the contest tab.  A winner will be chosen once a week and will receive the items they pinned (pending availability).
The contest runs through the 21st, last winner will be announced the 23rd. They will be contacted by the information they provide on the entry form.
The full rules are listed below. The official hashtag for the contest is:  #holidaycontest
GOOD LUCK!

 

ANN NAHARI LAUNCHES LINGERIE BRAND; CHRISTINA MENDEZ CHOSEN AS THE FACE OF THE DEBUT COLLECTION

Ann Nahari, the California-based luxury plus size fashion brand, recently launched a new lingerie division under the name Ann Nahari Intimates. The full figured fashion house teamed with famed plus model Christina Mendez as the face of the new division.

As with its ready-to-wear collection, Ann Nahari Intimates is designed by Sumiyyah Rasheed. Originally launched in 2000 under the brand name Full Figure Design, the new lingerie division is a complete revamp and rebrand of the collection for the Ann Nahari woman.  “We have upgraded the whole collection with better fit and fabrication,” says Ms. Rasheed. “The new collection reflects both sexiness and comfort with styles that are on trend.” 

After testing the collection with a small market in the southern California area to rave reviews, Sumiyyah decided to roll out the lingerie collection, which was designed to complement the ready-to-wear collection for the brand.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the debut collection..

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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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SHOPPING EVENT: #NYCurvyCloset sponsored by Simply Be

SHOPPING EVENT:  #NYCurvyCloset sponsored by Simply Be

One of the UK’s best loved plus brands is teaming up with some of the curvy world’s favorite bloggers to bring you an exclusive shopping event….#NYCurvyCloset.

Come out and some of your favorite plus size personalities at this amazing event catering to sizes 10-28.

Shop clothing, accessories, shoes and lavish in some awesome giveaways. EVERYTHING IS UNDER $50!

Open to the public but register for early admission! http://nycurvycloset.eventbrite.com

See you there!

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

“DARE” TO BE BOLD: New Plus Magazine Launches with Spring Issue

Okay. Okay. I can here some of you muttering under your breath already with, “not another one.” This isn’t the first nor will it be the last plus magazine that will burst on to the market but I have to say I’m hoping Dare Magazine will be one that will stay.

DARE Magazine

What’s so special about Dare?

Well, it’s founder, Diana Di Poce, a senior at Ryerson University in Canada, is looking do something that her predecessors did not.  She’s NOT trying to change the world or “rally the troops” so to speak like others of her generation and even other magazine before her. Rather she’s trying to provide a source of inspiration for curvy girls throughout Canada and beyond. Geared toward the woman size 12 and above, her purpose of the magazine is to acknowledge and inspire the woman with the fuller figure and all women in general of all shapes and sizes.

In a recent interview, Di Poce said, “I wanted to keep it more general in the way that any woman can look at the magazine and get inspiration from it…just like how I pick up an issue of Elle or Flare…even though I won’t fit these outfits and I won’t look like these models, I still get inspiration from it.”

Born of her final school project, the Fashion Communications major picked the ideal time to launch with the burgeoning acknowledgement plus size women are receiving from the fashion and beauty industry– though there are still some brands that are dead set against anyone over a size 8 wearing their clothing (let’s not even talk about the Abercrombie founder’s comments about not wanting “fat” or “ugly” people wearing his clothes. It’s his prerogative at the end of the day; the public’s choice whether or not to support.If you want to read the story for yourself, click here.)

I’m looking to see more and what the direction the magazine will take. But for now, it is piquing my interest and I am throwing in my support.

To find out more about Dare Magazine, visit www.daremag.ca.

BREAKING NEWS….eloquii by The Limited is being phased out!

A little over a year ago, the plus size fashion world was all a buzz with the launch of eloquii, a fashion forward plus line by The Limited. Featuring accessories to outerwear and everything in between, eloquii sought to bring looks from the catwalk to the full figured fashionista without sacrificing fit and quality. They gladly showcased their collections in beautifully shot campaigns with some of the industry’s top models including Tara Lynn and Kaela Humphries.

eloquii looks

Just moments ago, on their official Facebook page, eloquii announced that the brand was being phased out in a open letter to their fans.

 

A Special Message to our Fans

For more than a year, eloquii has served you by delivering quality, must-have fashion in sizes that highlight your confident curves. In return, you have given us great feedback about how we can better serve you. 

We look forward to offering you new fashion at www.eloquii.com through the summer. However, after a year’s test at market, we have decided to phase out eloquii and we have begun discussions with others who have expressed an interest in the future of the brand and/or its products. 

Thank you so much for your support and for your feedback as we developed and refined eloquii over the last year. We recognize that eloquii plays an important role in our fans’ lives and look forward to better serving our clients in the future.

So sad to see a line with so much promise go.