So I’ve recently gone without celebrating my one year anniversary of my blog. That’s probably due to the fact I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I made myself uncomfortable af and started taking blogging seriously.

It’s been a year where I’ve met so many people. Learning so much about myself and others has been pretty interesting. I’ve learned about the nitty gritty side of blogging. A major lesson I learned was, how important it is to stay true to yourself and your brand even with the temptation of a few coins.

As I’ve developed my brand and continue to do so, I’ll admit that there are times where I have gone weeks without blogging. I’m not perfect and outside of blogging, I have other things going on and a little human that depends on me. So yes, I take breaks and work on being centered, while remaining my own biggest critic.

I’ve had friends who have talked about taking that leap into the blogging world. My advice to them, just do it. Don’t over think it. If you’re interesting, people will read your nonsense like they read mine. So here are a few tips I have for someone who is aspiring to become a blogger.

  • Just do it! It’s fairly easy to say you want to blog but I also understand that it can be a little challenging to start but just take the leap and go for it. What do you really have to lose?
  • Always remember it’s YOUR platform. You have creative control over what goes on your platform. Don’t allow someone else to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do with YOUR platform.
  • Go into it without feeling obligated to write when you aren’t inspired. When I went into blogging I made the choice to be selfish. I didn’t want to feel pressured to write. I wanted to feel inspired to write. Most of my content is written based on personal experience and real life shit. Based on the feedback I’ve gotten, people have found my raw content to be my best work.
  • Social media and traffic. Dont get so hung up on those things. Lately with the way the algorithm on IG and other social media outlets, people are seeing a decline in post engagement. Dont get so hung up on the numbers. Continue writing and publishing your content. Allow your work to speak for itself.
  • Blogging will help you learn things about yourself and open you up to different opportunities even if you remain authentic. I’ve recently had the pleaseure of cohosting on The 3C’s Podcast. Who thought I’d ever be on radio? Not me. But I loved it!

While there is more to be said, I’ll stop here. Just remember, your platform, your rules. Get uncomfortable af!

Parenting sucks! Yep, I said it. People tell you all the joys of parenting but typically don’t tell you about the nitty-gritty aspects.

Babies are born and your sleep pattern changes forever. The little human vomits and craps. When you change them, they still cry. You feed them, play with them, worship the ground they crawl on and they still cry. In the end they humanize you and remind you that they admire you. They become rambunctious toddlers that you just want to tell to stop tapping the fish tank but see the enjoyment in their eyes when doing it. You enroll them into extracurricular activities and have to chauffeur them around while still keeping your own sanity. You have to wait for the season to be over for them to blow you away with what they learned and fill your heart with pride and joy. Ok, so maybe ONLY some aspects of parenting sucks

When people ask me, “How do you do it? How do you make parenting look so easy?” While I can’t agree that I make it look easy, I can say that I am forever looking for ways to evolve as a parent. I can read as many parenting books as I want, but the reality is that there isn’t one answer on how to raise every child. We have to grow and evolve with our children. We have to understand that times will continue to change. Having a connection with your kid(s) is important. Having that one to one time with my kid has proved to work for us. When I allow us to have time just for US with no distractions, she is much more receptive of that and much more open to talking to me about EVERYTHING and then I just want her to stop talk so much.

While I do what works for me as a parent, I’ll share a view things with you that I’ve learned. Now you don’t have to agree with me, but like I said, this is what I’ve learned:

Never think that you are “ahead of them”. Reality is that you aren’t. When they aren’t around us they are taking in some much of the world on their own and forming opinions. It’s up to us as parents to have “the essential conversation” with our children. Try to understand their thoughts and feelings. Now I’m not saying we will understand why the feel the way they do or think the way they think all of the time, but it is good to at least hear them out.

Guide them and teach them about self-expression. I love to dress how I feel and there have been times where I’ve “forgotten” to allow her to do that same. She doesn’t always want to wear what I pick. She doesn’t always want to listen to the music I want to listen to. She doesn’t always want to read the books I read when I was her age. She has a mind of her own and I have to accept that and nurture it.

Material things are nice but showering children with knowledge has proven to be much more beneficial. The time we spend with our kids is what matters most to them. They don’t need the latest gadget i.e. “Fidget Spinner”.

It truly does take a village to raise a child. We’ve been blessed to have friends and family members that provide support and advice to help us get through this parenting “thing”

It is possible to be an authoritative parent without turning your home into a “boot camp”. The hubby and I are authoritative parents but we also learned how to discipline while teaching lessons. There are things that AJ knows not to do simply because with discipline comes the conversation of why she is being reprimanded for her actions. Why converse about it? Because how will she learn what she’s done wrong if there is no dialogue about it?

Lastly, have fun. Parenting has its ups and downs but there are so many joys. I know sometimes I feel like I could do more for my child but when I see her smiling everyday and the excitement in her eyes when I come home from work, or when she sends me out on a mission to come find her in the house when I walk through the door (although she sucks at this game because she’s always giggling really loud) I’m reminded that I haven’t failed her as a parent. I’m reminded we haven’t failed her.

Mommy daughter

Plus size fashion

Shoes: Asos

Shirt: IzzyandLiv

Pants: Dressbarn

Blazer: Torrid

With Earth Day in the rearview mirror, we are still in earth month. To keep the theme of thrifting going, my blogger friends and I got together and went to Savers and created outfits by using sustainable clothing.

Now I for one like to purge my closets periodically to make room for new articles of clothing. Usually, I throw them in a bag, the bag goes into the basement and collects dust for months at a time. Sometimes, I am guilty of throwing away my use clothing versus donating or selling them. Why you may ask? Because quite frankly most of the time I’m too lazy to bring them over to a donation center. Which ends up turning into clutter in my home. So in honor of Earth Month, I decided to pack a few things away and give them away. In the midst of that, I filled my closet up with “new” clothing from Savers because if you’ve been following me for a while now, you know I love clothing.

Have you ever sat and wondered? “What am I doing to make the environment better?” Yeah me neither, but I do remember being in the fifth grade and being in environmental studies group, where we would meet quite often. I believe it was once a week if I’m not mistaken, but that’s where I learned about recycling and the environment and our impact that we, as human beings, have on the environment. So with stores like Savers that allow you to donate clothing there and also for as consumers to go there and also purchase clothing, great quality clothing I might add, that helps save the environment by lessening the amount of clothing being thrown into landfills.
Not to be all up in your business (when someone says that, they are being up in your business), but when you have clothes or items you need to “get rid” of, how do you dispose of them? Are you doing it in a way that it can be reused or are you like the “old me” and just tossing them out in the trash? Did you know that in Boston alone 63% of the population admitted to throwing away what could be reusable clothing?  Not because they are vindictive and don’t care about the Earth, but it’s because they are at times misinformed about what a donation center will or won’t takes.

My advice to you as we come to the end of Earth Month and many of use are in spring cleaning mode, find your local Savers donation center and have them make what you may consider “trash” another persons “treasure” like my ladies Gen, Char, Vana, Veronica, and I did!

 

Photo cred: Houseofamparo

Jacket and shorts: Savers Thrift Store

How many times have had an upcoming date but “nothing to wear”? If you’re like me, you probably have a ton of choices in your closet but in that moment nothing seems suitable for date night. So what’s the next stop? Shopping. But where to go? The thrift store! The thrift store? Yes honey, the thrift store. Are there plus size options available at the thrift store? Why of course there are. There is a way to slay smart.

My fellow blogger gals, Char from Plussizebeausion, Veronica from Houseofamparo, and Genevieve from Lagosdaysparisnights and I decided to get together and challenge ourselves to come up with a thrifted date night look.

Now if you are a thrifter then you know there are some hidden gems to be found in the thrift store. If you’re not, then let me give you a little insight. I’ve purchased a Vera Bradley weekender bag for $20, Lane Bryant and Eloquii outfits for under $5, and even a pair of Jessica Simpson shoes originally priced for $80 for $5! While the deals are great I can understand why some may feel like it’s too daunting to go to a thrift store and sift through racks and racks of clothing, but the silver lining is that you can save yourself an average of 77% on cost when purchasing from the thrifts store (disclosure: that figure of 77% is a figure I just pulled from my brain because I actually like that number, but I’m sure most of the time you can save around that much).

Like any other day, I like to curate looks that reflect my personal style and push me to keep stepping outside of my box. So I went to my local thrift store and browsed through what they had for about 43 minutes before selecting someone’s granny’s house dress. Why do I call it that? Because I have seen someone’s granny wear a similar dress. I was also able to find a clutch to match. I added a few things from my closet and was able to create an outfit after spending under $15!

Although the wind wanted to steal my greatness, check out the look below and tell me about your experience with the thrift store whether it’s dressing for date night or just a night out!

dress: Savers

pants: DressBarn

shoes: Lane Bryant

bralette: Torrid

This past weekend I celebrated my 29th birthday and dammit I felt good and knew I looked good. I dare you to try to tell me different! While I did enjoy the festivities I also did a lot of reflecting as I sat under the hair dryer. I thought about how much I’ve grown. I pondered on how much I’ve learned in my twenties. Most importantly, I realized that I’m under 30 and the amount of F’s I have left in me diminishes from day to day.

You may ask, “but Bianca you’re so young. You haven’t really lived. So how can you claim to be that way already?” Simply put: because I can. I’ve seen and been through a lot and will continue to see and go through a lot throughout my duration of life. In the meantime, I will give you a list of things that have brought me to where I am and why my F’s are diminishing. Shall we proceed??
1. I don’t tolerate bullsh** excuses anymore- I get it, we have all made excuses for why we “can’t” do something but, I have more respect for someone who tells me they just don’t want to do some thing vs someone who tells me they “can’t” do something.

Gif: Broadwaybox

Dos. I refuse to be someone I’m not. I’m fat, black, and not bad looking (if I do say so myself). It took me a long time to learn how to love myself unconditionally so I refuse to be someone I am not or portray myself in that way. Which brings me to…..

Number 3. I have no tolerance for people who try to push their own insecurities on me. It happens to many of us more often than we realize and I’ve learned that I am responsible for how I handle situations like that. If I don’t remove myself from those situations, I have no right to play victim.

IV. As my girl Chardline from Plussizebeausion likes to say, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Took me going through my early twenties to realize what that meant (I never claimed to be the sharpest knife in the draw). When the light bulb finally went off in my head that saying helped me on my journey to finding self love and has taught me that I am not meant to be like everyone else. I was born to shine no matter how clumsy I’ve been since exiting the womb.

Senk. Whether you like it or not, people will always judge you. I could hit the lotto tomorrow, give back to my community, house homeless vets and families, build schools and place qualified teachers on them. Even with all of that, people will still judge me and find a reason to be mad at me. So I’ve learned to not care about the judgement of others.

Liù. I don’t feel guilty about loving myself and working to become a better person everyday. We all have our flaws and I’m a person that has more flaws than I can count on my hands and toes.

Sept. Holding on to grudges and negativity is taxing af. I’ve learned to let things go. When I would hold things in, it would give me this burning feeling in my chest (no it’s not heart burn or a heart arrhythmia). I forgive but I don’t forget. I speak my mind and move on from it.

8. I don’t front just to kick it and I don’t feel obligated to deal with anyone I don’t feel like dealing with. I was never meant to “fit in”. I can recall being in the 1st grade but not having “friends” because I didn’t “fit in” with any of the crowds. As an adult, I get it and I own it. I was meant to walk to he beat of my own drum.
There are a number of things that as someone under 30, I give no F’s about but I’ll cut this short. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll write a book about it.

Anywho, see ya on the next blog post, or not,

Bianca

*this post contains spoilers*

“The women did what they were told to do. They didn’t ask questions or take the task any further. I asked questions; I wanted to know why.”

-Katherine Johnson

So a few of my fellow blogger babes decided to write about women who inspire us in honor of Women’s History Month. So of course it would be cliché of me to talk about the real life “Hidden Figures” star Katherine Johnson.

Going to see this movie was unplanned. I was going to wait a while to watch it in the comfort of my own home with my feet up, phone in one hand, Ipad in the other and walking in and out of rooms catching scenes because that’s how I watch movies at home, but I digress.

Admittedly, my friend and I missed the first 10 minutes of the movie but, when I saw the other 117 minutes of the movie I felt so empowered. I was proud to see a game-changing African-American woman on screen that played a major role in NASA‘s success.

As a woman, well not only as woman but, as African-American woman we face adversities on a daily basis. While many may not want to believe it, when you’re a women the odds are already stacked against you, especially when you are walking into a male dominated field. Throw in being an African American Women in the equation. Need I say more or do you get where I’m going with this? Often times, we aren’t taken seriously but Katherine Johnson fought against the odds.

One of the most important things I got out of seeing her character played out on screen is that we as women are often overlooked. We are told many times not to ask questions. Many times directions are given and we just follow them. Katherine Johnson was in a woman who didn’t just follow directions, she asked questions. I’ve been at jobs where I’ve been told, “Hey you should do ‘this,'” with no explanation given to me as to why I should do “this” or what “this”. Well one day being told to do “this” by a manager got me fired from a job. Needless to say, I ask questions without apprehension all of the time.

While Katherine Johnson possesses scads of accomplishments and accolades, her words are a reminder that we should always ask questions without apprehension.

In the past year or so The Body Positivity movement has made some pretty substantial waves in the plus size community. There has been more talk about it in the last year, to my knowledge, than there has in the past. I want to keep it 100 about body positivity and I’m probably going to say things that most have been thinking. So shoot the messenger if you want…

I did my due diligence by googling (not diligent enough for you?), “what is body positivity?” You know what came up? A number of articles and websites. So I choose to go with ‘Psychology Today‘. “Why would you choose to go by that website?” One may ask. Well it’s because the responses I read by 3 different people vary. Click the link above to read. I’m writing this on my lunch break on my phone and just can’t be bothered with clicking back and forth between screens.

Have you ever asked someone what the term ‘body positive’ means to them? Well I have. I’ve asked my friends, family. and even people who I’ve encountered that ‘champion’ for body positivity, that exact question. What did I find? Everyone had a different answer. Which leads me to believe the term ‘body positive’ is one of those loose terms, that for the most part, is left up to interpretation.

The plus size community has been abuzz on social media about this whole body positivity thing. I’ve seen plus size ‘body positive’ activist take a nose dive down the throats of others that label themselves body positive because they snap a picture of themselves at the gym. Better yet, telling someone who has had WLS that they aren’t body positive (and yes, I went there). 


 In the same breath, a lot of those same people are the ones telling US that we shouldn’t be policing each others bodies.

 So, what does the term ‘body positive’ mean to me? To me it means loving your body and taking care of it not just on the outside but on the inside as well. MY interpretation of the term is taking care of your body. Not feeding it with crap. Living an active lifestyle however you choose to. 

I can love how I physically look on the outside but, if my insides feel like crap and I choose to change what I’m doing so I can feel better, does that suddenly mean I’m not body positive? Whether that he drinking more water, eating more veggies, exercising, going down to one pack of Reese’s a day instead of two. You know. Stuff like that. 

If I wear make up, does that mean I’m not body positive? If I wear a girdle under my pencil skirt, does that mean I am not body positive? If I shave my armpits, legs, arms, and ass hairs (don’t front like you don’t have them), does that mean I’m not body positive?

To the body positive activist (not all of you but enough of you) that feel like they have the RIGHT to tell someone they aren’t ‘body positive’, heed your own advice. Stop trying to police other people’s bodies. If you don’t agree with my stance on this, that’s ok. We can agree to disagree. Remember, it’s all about interpretation.

So let me be the first to say, I can be a clothing hoarder with attachment issues. Now that I’ve admitted to that, let’s proceed. For the past year or so, I’ve really been working on that. I invite friends over to take what they want from my closet because I tend to buy things that make me swoon in that moment then discover months (sometimes years) later that I have yet to wear. It just became a huge waste of money.

I continued to purge my closets, while admittedly purchasing clothing here and there in the meantime, I discovered Dia & Co. as I was following some of my favorite plus size bloggers.
What is Dia & Co.? They are an online personal styling service for women sizes 14 and up. They have you answer a series of questions in regards to your body type, height, what sizes your top, bottom, and bra are etc.. Dia & Co. will then ask about your fit and your personal style. So if you don’t like animal print, you can choose that as a style option they should avoid sending you. After providing them with all of that information, one of their stylist there will hand select the clothing and accessories that best fit your personal style. The part that I LOVE about all of this, is that I don’t have to keep everything they send me

 

Now I’ll admit, they do ask a lot of questions. At one point I thought they were going to ask for my birth certificate with as many questions as they asked but, I get it. They want you to be satisfied with the items they send you and want to make sure the fit and style works for you. Out of everything I received in my box, probably only one thing was a miss but I didn’t think that was a big deal.

When you receive your clothing from Dia &Co., they give you 5 days to try on the clothing and pick what you want. Whatever doesn’t float your boat and you prefer not to keep, you can send it back to them in their prepaid postage return bag. This is great for a few reasons. 1. You won’t become a clothing hoarder like me and have to invite your friends over to take it off your hands. 2. You get clothing that you may have seen online but were unsure if you wanted to purchase because you weren’t ready to commit to something that might not fit. Let’s say you like it and it doesn’t fit, you can send it back and exchange for another size.

You’re probably thinking, “Well all of this sounds great but, what’s the catch? There really isn’t a catch but like any successful business, there are fees associated with it. There is a $20 styling fee because, nothing in this world comes for free BUT, that $20 gets credited to whatever you decide to keep. They offer a few different subscription plans so you can choose when you’d like to have your box sent to you. Whatever you choose to keep you will also be charged, what I call, a very fair price for with up to 20% if you keep everything. Let’s say you get tired of Dia & Co for whatever reason or decide to take a brief break from them. Dia & Co. allows you to “break” or “pause” your subscription.

So, looking to create more closet space and de-clutter your life? I’d say you should at least try them out! Check out a few of the pieces I got below after giving them a try.

P.S. I’ve added some behind the scenes pics in the mix because I’m a mess and this is a known fact.

BCDHandmade, Dia&Co,

because, what is seriousness?

Blue Dress: Dia &Co.

Blazer: Torrid

Black Heels: Torrid

Both Crochet Bags Handmade by me

Black Sweater: Dia &Co.

Distressed Denim Jeans: Dia &Co.

Red Wedges: Torrid

Color block earrings: Kadokele

Necklace: Gift

plus size fashion blogger

Guess who mixed a bunch of prints together and is still wearing their plus size shorts dead in the middle of winter??? This lady right here! A few months ago I warned that this would happen since they just sit in the closet until summer. I’m a woman of my word (at least I like to think I am) and I brought out another pair of shorts I purchased from Torrid Summer 16′. While you may be thinking to yourself, “damn, that outfit is pretty busy”, I’d like you to know, I can be extra. Sometimes busy can be good.

This look is my idea of a “fun” plus size Valentine’s Day outfit. I admit , I tend to get bored pretty easily with “traditional trendy fashion.” I don’t believe fashion should just be boring and trendy. I like to have fun with my looks and always advise others to do the same. Read More →

In the past, I’ve briefly touched on me having WLS and having the Lapband placed around my stomach a few years ago. I have so much to say about my experience but I’ll spare you with my hour long rant. Maybe I’ll make a video about it instead…

So anywho, let me give you a quick rundown of my experience, why it didn’t work for me, what I learned, and why I’m not against WLS.

Let me take you back to 2011….  Read More →