TOP BABY PICKS FOR NEW MOMS

 

Baby. Overload. I just had a baby, a niece was born 3 months ago, another niece was born last week,  I'm pretty sure I have another niece on the way (could be a boy though, we find out soonish), AND I have a sweet little nephew on the way any day now (Oliver buddy, you get here this instant and stop making your mommy miserable)! Plus almost every single one of my friends has a baby or two, and the couple that don't are working on it. Suffice it to say...we got babies galore. I grew up in a small family with very few relatives, and only two cousins who lived really far away. I'm not used to large families, especially large gatherings of babies and children 😳 . Not my thing, makes me want to run far far away. My idea of torture. Luckily my group of friends has pretty much perfected the adult hang whilst wrangling children thing, it may or may not include some beverages, plus we have trained all of our babies to sleep through anything (see sound machine below!), so I'm cool with that sorta thing now. 

Anyhoo, due to all of these new life developments I've been getting asked by tons of family & friends about stuff on our private Instragram for our little girl. I've got a family full of copiers haha 😉 . Love y'all. So since a lot of the stuff I've found for Chandler seems pretty popular, I figured I would share it for anyone else that might like it too! Plus, I need a short break from working...I'm a tad overwhelmed, and this is an easy post to put together! 

1. Zozu Baby Bows:

($12 You can find these all over the place, a friend that asked yesterday said she found a ton on Etsy, but I've tried a bunch and like Zozu best: http://www.zozubaby.com/)

This is by far the most popular one. I searched so so hard for bows that were more simple than the usual ones everyone gets. As soon as I found out I was having a girl the search was on, she had bows pretty much before she had anything else. I'm super picky about clothing type things, imagine that. I also seem to be missing some sort of southern gene, maybe it's bc my daddy is a Yankee. I say soda and sneakers and a lot of other words my Mississippi husband stares at me funny for. I don't like big bows, I think ruffled pants need to burn a fiery death, I hate most character/animal/appliqué type clothing (though I got a few at baby showers that I suprisingly liked), I do not and will not ever understand those weird leg warmer/sock things...you know they make pants right...even some with ruffles on them I hear! I will never ever understand why moms of boys insist on putting them in John Johns past a certain age, or why they think their boys need bonnets. Bonnets are for little girls yo, and no the color blue doesn't make it any better. But hey, if you feel the need to put your little boys in $100 girly hats, more power to ya, guess that's why God gave me a girl. Rhinestones can die a fiery death as well, and rosettes can hop in there too. However, I will fully admit that I think bows are a gateway drug. I can feel it already. Like, I just need one that's a liiiiitle bigger, just a liiiitle bigger. I can see how the vicious cycle starts. I'm not sure there's a way to stop it. But for now, these bows are my thing. Solid colors, nude skinny bands instead of those thick colored ones, and smallish sizes. That's what's up. I started collecting them before she was even born, I'm pretty sure I have every solid color. Expensive but worth it. Anybody that knows how to sew though, you can totally make these way cheaper. I'm just lazy and like to be broke all the time. 

2. Billy bibs:

($25-$30 https://www.billybibs.com/collections/fall-collection)

Cutest bibs ever. Period.

3. Owlet:

($249 http://www.owletcare.com/)

This is just an extra peace of mind for mom and dad. When we first got her home we didn't get around to hooking it all up and figuring it out. It took a few days. So those first few days, we didn't sleep at all. We were just constantly checking her video monitor and looking to see her chest rising and falling to make sure she was breathing. I mean constantly. The screen goes dark after a minute or so, and that screen was lit up for days. She was sleeping pretty darn well, but we weren't. So we hooked it all up and almost immediately we slept. 

4. Fawn design:

($145.99-$155.99 https://fawndesign.com/)

I absolutely love this diaper bag. I'm seriously collecting every single color. It's a book bag and a purse type bag all in one. I'm a bit concerned about the quality bc it isn't real leather. So I'm worried it will fall apart quickly. Fawn folks...make a real leather version and you can have all my money immediately, even though you already get all my money. 

I tried a couple different book bags because I did a Facebook poll and every single mommy said they ended up getting a book bag.  I have the honest diaper book bag in black, I don't like it as much. I don't like the look as much. It seems bigger than the fawn bag, it even looks way bigger and bulky, but somehow it doesn't fit as much. It's harder to organize for me personally, probably works for lots of other moms. Fawn just works for me the way I like to organize things. I'm not a huge diaper bag packer, I don't feel the need to have a ton of stuff, so if you are one of those people then it might not be for you, it's on the smaller end.

5. Twistshake Bottles

($11.15 http://twistshake.com/en/)

I know I like most things neutral, shouldn't be a secret by now. I think most baby stuff is atrocious with all the bright colors and God awful prints. These however are awesome. So pretty! Before that we used the super cheap bottles recommended on MOC (down farther) that weren't too cute, but they served their purpose for sure! We made sure she didn't have any gas, acid reflux, colic, or other problems and ate really well before we switched to fun expensive bottles. We love Dr. Brown's as well. We just put faucet water *GASP* in them and measure out formula in a holder for on the go (The Mixie is amazing for this apparently, haven't tried). And yes for those wondering minds, I did not breast feed. Yes I know breast is best. Yes, I'm an incredibly selfish person who wanted to sleep more and not lose my darn mind. Yes my child's future is pretty bleak bc she didn't get the boob. I know, I know. Blah Blah Blah. However, how strongly lots of women feel about how important breast feeding is these days, I feel just as strongly about staying home face-to-face teaching my kid in the first year. So I keep my mouth shut in the mommy wars. Because nobody wins when you're a judgy witch. 

*If you'd like some tips for one-on-one play with your child, my mother has given me plenty as an early childhood specialist. Ask her though bc my daughter is currently getting a lot one-on-one time with me and the Real Housewives so I don't have time to tell you #judgeme. Some of you know she's been the Director of a Pre School for about 30 years, she's a wealth of information and she loves to chat!

6. Tubby Todd

($67.99 for Basics Bundle http://tubbytodd.com/)

I. Love. This. Stuff. Perhaps your smeller is different than mine, so your mileage may vary, but I LOVE how this stuff smells. My daughter has really sensitive skin and eczema. We've tried lots of soaps. They all cause problems and the sensitive ones don't even have a yummy smell. How boring. This is different, it's sensitive enough and it smells awesome like lavender and orange jello powder. I didn't choose the crunchy life, it chose me. So this cleared it up and she looks like a little porcelain doll now...until she gouges her eyes out or scratches her face up...which is pretty common...we don't use those mitt things bc I could care less if she scratches her face up...we aren't trying to win any beauty contests. Plus she likes to eat her hands constantly so who am I to judge? Get your freak on little weirdo. 

7. Moms on Call Book/App:

(http://momsoncall.com/)

This one is controversial. My child slept through the night at 6 weeks though (7:30pm-7am), so you decide for yourself. Every single question I've ever had was answered in this book, without fail. It was written by two on call pediatric nurses, you know the ones answering the phone at 2am when your newborn is losing their mind and you don't know why...yeah those nurses. They've heard it all and I swear they know it all. They also have about 8 kids between the two of them. From what to dress your baby in to sleep, the temperature of the room, how much to feed and when, etc etc etc. We started this the day we came home from the hospital. I had read the book 3 times to know it backwards and forwards, and downloaded the quick reference app (no you can't just download the app and not read the book and get the same results lazy bones, the book has too much extra info you'll miss). A few times we have deviated from the "magic book" and every single time we have regretted it. It never works when we think "we know what's best". We don't. We know nothing. So I will say this, if you are going to try this, you have to go all in and completely try it all, every single thing in this book. If you change one little thing it won't work I promise (we did however change swaddles, more below). But if you do it all exactly as they say and are consistent, I promise it will work like a charm. It does have a bit of the cry it out method, but if you start it right off the bat (3-5 mins at a time when they are super young), then you won't have to do a whole night or three of screaming and you crying outside the door. A huge part of this is putting them right in their crib from day one. Apparently they can smell your milk and when they stir in the middle of a nap it wakes them up and they get hungry and cry. When they are a room away they don't wake bc they can't smell it. I asked a bunch of moms on FB about this before she was born bc I didn't know a soul who put their babies in the crib right away and I was scared, our parents did it when we were babies, but nobody does it anymore. I only had one mom out of like 40 that said she did it, funny enough her dad is the OBGYN that delivered me, so I felt pretty confident listening to her. Completely up to you though, I firmly believe we didn't "just have a good baby," I put all the credit on this magic little book and having the kahunas to follow through with it. I'm no doctor though, talk to yours, do your thing, safety blah blah blah. 

8. Adult Bed Pads:

(Walgreen's)

Whaaaaaaatttttt?!?!? That's weird right? I don't even remember how I thought of this. We use these as changing pads. Super cheap, disposable. Fit nicely in my diaper bag. I just kinda figured that the reusable changing pads folks lay on the bathroom changing tables roll up on themselves and get dirty that way anyway right? So I just throw this sucker away once I'm done. Though to be honest, we are super chill parents. She started going out to eat with us and shopping with us at 1 week old. We are already picking her pacifiers up off the floor, wiping them on our shirts, and shoving them back in her mouth. OH MAH GAHHHH right?!? Call the Po-Lice this lady is crazy!!! Or am I? Am I the crazy one you clean freaks??? Let's think on that.

9. Swaddleme Swaddles

($24.99 for Two https://summerinfant.com/home)

This is the only thing we changed from the Moms On Call book. We use these velcro swaddles instead of the ones they suggest. It's just easier than a blanket swaddle and we feel like we can get them just as tight. We started with the Original in size Small, and that's all we needed, didn't even go up a size. She wore them from the first day in the hospital (a little big bc she was 7lbs) until about 2 months old when we dropped the swaddle and just used footie pajamas (footies down below). 

10. Tommy Tippee Bibs:

($7.99 For Two Bibs)

Baby neck rolls + dribbled milk = stinky neck cheese. These prevent the milk from dribbling down as best as possible. Not cute though. At first you have to pull them tight yourself, but they will soon fit.  For cute ones see above and I also like Copper Pearl bibs, but they are just supposed to be for drool and don't work well for feedings.

11. Dohme & Portable Sound Machine:

($49.39 Dohme & $6.99 Portable)

This is the sound machine that we use. It's the one recommended in the Moms on Call book. They say to not have one with lullabies or ocean waves or anything like that. And no lights, the room should be pitch black (no night lights, black out curtains, etc). This is true white noise, it's got an actual little fan in it. This has made it so that she will sleep through anything anywhere anytime. We can watch loud movies, vacuum, have parties, you name it and she doesn't wake up bc she's used to sound. We have a portable sound machine on both car seats in both vehicles. They make other noises, but we just use the white noise one. We use it for long car rides to keep her asleep or in stores, restaurants, doctor's offices, etc. Life Saver. 

12. Adelisa & Co. Macrame Swing Chair:

($65 https://www.adelisaandco.com/)

These are made in Nicaragua and give back to the communities in which they are made. Pretty cool, and pretty pretty! 

13. Green Sprout Burp Cloths:

($20.97 Cloths)

We haven't needed burp cloths until recently when she started getting super active and puking on the move. The tommy Tippee bibs we use for feedings to wipe her mouth, so we don't need other cloths until play time. We've used all kinds of burp cloths, even the cloth diaper ones, bc we got so many. Hands down these are my favorite. Super soft and absorbent. And they curve over your shoulder perfectly. They come in lots of fun bright colors too, but we all know how I feel about that already. But if that's your thing go for it! 

14. Mamas & Papas Booster Seat:

($69.99 Booster Seat)

These are great for travel once your little one is sitting up and eating. I love it because, SHOCKER, its neutral. It has a little toy things to put on top too. 

15. Binxy Baby Shopping Hammock: 

($49.95 http://binxybaby.com/)

I get asked about this almost every time I'm out. This thing is awesome. I just pop it on a grocery cart really fast, plop her in it, and get my shopping done. She does awesome. Plus it leaves way more room in the cart than putting your car seat in it. I only take it on short trips though bc we don't like her to be in "baby gear" much. They have limited head/neck movement in most baby gear so I prefer not to put her in much. It's so much easier to use baby gear and put your baby in a swing, bouncer, rock-n-play (apparently this is the number one baby holder that sends babies to Occupational Therapy, they say it's what writes their pay checks basically so just beware of that sucker and use it wisely), bumbo seat, etc, so I totally get most parents using that stuff, I feel ya, I do! But we don't have any of that and try really hard not to for personal reasons, so I wear her on longer shopping trips. I have a pretty wearer below!  

16. Nano Urban Highchair:

($150 Chair)

It's an all white highchair, not much to say. Looks better than those bulky things with icky prints in my opinion. She plays in it while we eat dinner at night now. I like it.

17. Mamas and Papas Armadillo Flip XT Stroller:

($549.95 Stroller)

This sucker took some time to love. I got it bc the videos of it seemed super easy. Unloading and loading it, popping it open and closed. I was sold. Plus, I liked the leather handles and all. Well we got it and it was hard at first, we weren't too bright. It took a little while for us to keep remembering how to open and close it. But now that we have it down it's awesome. It's super quick and easy to use. Highly Recommend.

18. Nuna Leaf

($219.95 http://www.nuna.eu/usa/)

I LOVE all things Nuna, except the bulky highchairs of course. Its a European company so they do the sleek neutral thing really well. We got this before we found out about baby gear, one of the first things we bought. So she uses it rarely bc I won't let her, but if you are into baby gear I highly recommend it with the attachments. She loves it and it's purty. 

19. Gerber wash cloths:

($6.44 Cloths)

These aren't actually wash cloths, they are supposed to be cloth wipes. I believe they are for the folks that cloth diaper and want to be green. I cannot stand those thin little wash rags that they make for babies. They get stuck on every piece of velcro you can possibly find while you wash and dry them. Hate that. So I use these little guys, they keep their shape, are super soft, and don't get all snagged and stuck on stuff. They obviously come in colors as well, but surprise surprise I like the cream ones. I have a really cute pink striped and mint polka dot set though too!

20. Nuna Sena Pack-n-Play/Travel Crib:

($249.95 http://www.nuna.eu/usa/sena)

We travel a ton. We go places most weekends, so this is a must for us. She will be able to play in it once she's older, and she sleeps awesome in it right now for travel. It's super easy to pop up and down. It's a lot bigger than most of the ones like Fisher Price and Graco. Plus it's simple and doesn't have a print all over it. I like how simple and classic it is. Most of our big stuff like this we got in neutral colors so we can re use it all for the next baby (God willing!). Plus, I can't deal with all the bright colors and pink things. 

21. Bebe au Lait Blankets:

($32 Blankets)

I love these. I think they are better than Aiden & Anais. They hold up better to a bunch of washes, and I love the prints. I just looked and the current prints as of today aren't the best, but wait it out...they get good ones! 

22. Old Navy Footie Pajamas:

These are my faves. They come in a few different colors. I like the solid colors. Folks might call them boring, but I like simple duh. They zip up, easier than snaps (snaps will make you want to scream once they get wiggly in a month or so), they have footies and little hand covers so they won't scratch their face. Again, I could care less if she scratches her face, we aren't trying to win a beauty contest, she's a little baby, things happen...but if you do...you're set with these! And the zipper on most sizes has a little cover so it doesn't stab them in the neck. Truth, I also have another favorite footie brand for her pajamas that are pastels and crazy soft that I'm getting monogrammed, but I realize that's ridiculous and most people won't want/need those. So here's the practical ones. If you want fancy pants pjs though, holler at me. 

23. Puj Flyte Bath:

($34.95 Puj)

Back saver. This little guy is awesome. It's a thick white foamy material. It's sturdy but squishy, it can hang to dry, and there are holes for the water to run out so it never over flows or gets too high. It also fits all kinds of sinks, even those old school shell shaped ones. We used it for the first couple months, and just wash her straight up in the tub now without any kind of washing apparatus. Worth it for the first couple months though, I promise!  

24. Wild Bird Linen Baby Wearer:

($64.95-$99.95 http://www.wildbird.co/)

These slings/baby carriers are soooo beautiful. I'd have one in every color if I could. Just go look, trust me. 

BONUS PRODUCTS:

As if this post wasn't already long enough! Truth is I totally forgot to put these little suckers in my pics, ha! Oops.

Milk Made Goods

($34.95 http://milkmaidgoods.com/)

Awesome. Can use these as ponchos, nursing covers, blankets, shopping cart seat covers, carseat covers, etc! Beautiful prints too!

Emily Ley Baby Book

($62 Baby Book)

Love this book. So easy. We have a photo printer at home so we just print out any pictures we want, and I use cute sparkly washi tape to put them in. It's awesome. I also love that it's not super cutesy and girly. This is a great gift and you can buy extra packets for Adoption, NICU, Loss, Infertility, and Foster! So neat! 

That's it and that's all folks! I hope if you are a mommy to littles or a soon-to-be mommy, that you found some great ideas! Or that if you are a grandma, aunt, friend, etc that you found some neat & modern baby shower gifts! 

 

THE LONG ONE

Today I'm going to demystify the blogger world for most of you folks. There are bloggers and social media guys and gals out there making millions of dollars just by posting stuff online. Yes I said millions. Most of the really popular instagrammers, especially the fashion ones...those pretty perfect pictures they post...can go for upwards of $10,000 PER INSTAGRAM PICTURE. Pretty much every single thing you see in their blog posts or Instagram posts they receive for free. Beyond that, not only do they get free clothes, accessories, makeup etc, but they also CHARGE to wear these free clothes and post photos of it. The trips they take, all free and paid for. Usually this turns into brand collaborations or even their own clothing or beauty lines. It can be pretty darn lucrative. It's a pretty sweet gig, especially if you truly love fashion and beauty stuff. But it isn't easy, they really do work their butts off for it.  It actually takes a lot of hard work and organizing and blah blah blah. And generally, they work more than 40 hours a week, it's definitely not a 9-5 job.

However, It takes a while to get to this level, usually years of consistent posting. Most of the market is tapped out now, so unless you are offering something vastly different, you won't ever get to that level. Especially if you are doing fashion or makeup and beauty posting...it's too saturated to be a new comer these days, yes even in the plus size market. There are actually tons of us plus bloggers, and some very popular, very successful ones. Mommy blogger market, fitness market, makeup & hair market, all those are pretty tapped out too.

I however became somewhat of an anomaly. I started getting approached by brands pretty much right out the gate. It had a lot to do with the quality of my pictures, so a huge thanks to The Husband and Sharon for that. I started getting free stuff, I was right on the edge of charging for wearing the free stuff, I actually had a brand tell me that I needed to start charging them (excuse me, but hhhhwhat?!?). If I didn't have free stuff, I got huge discounts. Not to mention affiliate links and a whole host of other stuff. It happened very quickly for me, which is pretty unheard of, especially this day and age. I still have outfits I haven't posted yet, stacked up in my closet. I'm not sure why it happened, I have no idea, your guess is as good as mine. But it has been a blast, and I feel really lucky to have lived it these past few months.

I say this bc people are probably wondering why I'm about to give all that up. I'm going to disappear and I didn't want to just leave everyone hanging. 

I never intended on posting about this, I was just going to take everything down and go away. I've always said I will be honest about it if asked though...so...I am having bariatric surgery. I've been working on making it happen for a little over a year now. Lots of people are really nasty about it though. In the plus size world they are either jealous that it's not them getting it, or pissed you are abandoning that "world." The fitness freaks think of it like cheating (I actually used to think it was like cheating, hangs head in shame! Now I know how hard it actually all is.) and blah blah blah...you can never please the fitness freaks though, unless you are looking at yourself in the mirror and picking apart your body flaws like they do to themselves daily. "Loving your fat body is absurd if I can't even love my "healthy" one!!!" "Shame on you for being fat and happy!" Or something like that. So I was hesitant to make an announcement.

I started my blog just because I always wanted to have a plus size fashion blog. I have owned the URL name for years, just never did anything with it (it's not as easy as it looks!). So I knew going into it that I didn't have much longer to do it. I honestly didn't think the surgery would be happening this soon though, I thought I had at least another year to go. So I was planning on blogging for another year at least. But now that I won't be traditionally "plus sized" much longer, I'm shutting it down.

I know this kind of flies in the face of what my blog seems to stand for. I know it might make some people angry. So I want to be honest and clear up the reason why I'm doing it, and why I'll be leaving the plus size world. 

I am still pretty darn confident in the way I look. I really truly did grow up with an awesome mom who gave me great confidence, no matter what. I also have a husband who I started dating in high school. I was way smaller when we started dating, like well over 100 pounds smaller. I was a size 8-10 when we started dating, and stayed that way for about 3 years of dating. Then I blew up on him, ha! He stuck with me through it all. He's never said a negative word to me. He still calls me beautiful, still gets that look in his eyes (brown chicken, brown cow! Kidding...I meant the loving look guys...the loving look.), and has been nothing but supportive and made me feel like the most beautiful girl on the planet all these 11 years and 100+ pounds, no matter what. I'm one of the lucky ones. I also have had really awesome best friends. None of which are big at all, all of them are tiny. They've always told me I'm beautiful and blah blah blah. So thanks for being awesome guys.

I imagine this all has a lot to do with my confidence. Not many bigger girls have a support system quite as awesome as mine. Though I did have a brother who I regularly wanted to punch in the face, who called me fat from toddlerhood lol. Thanks bro. I was able to not believe him though and just brush him off bc of the rest of the folks around me. Plus, he's my brother, that's just what they do right? No? Well I'm still taking applications for replacement brothers lol! Kidding. Sort of. Love you bro. 

In fact, I'm pretty worried about how I will look after the surgery. Right now, thanks to my fat butt, I'm pretty tight still, haha! Everything is filled out nicely, nothing really sags or anything. I'm good. After the surgery there's a very real possibility that I will be a saggy flabby mess with tons of extra skin...I definitely will have trouble feeling pretty if that happens, and from what I gather from my doctor, there's a HUGE chance I will be one of the ones that happens to. Something I've never really had to grapple with, I've always felt pretty good about myself (yeah suck it fitness freaks! 😝). So it might actually be a tough thing for my body image. Womp womp. BUT, I'm not doing it to be pretty.

So why am I doing it then? If you've read my "about me", you know I'm a yo-yoer. Not just your average kind. Big time. I can lose 100 pounds pretty easily. I'm a tough lady, and I know exactly what to do, the right way, not with any fancy pills or drinks, with whole foods (so this surgery diet is gonna SUCK if you know anything about it). I've even managed to keep it off for more than 3 years before. But it's always been really hard work for me. It's easier for some people to "look good". It's not for me, it takes a lot of hard work. Some people can sit at home all day and eat whatever and never become obese. Not this chick. So I get lazy and let it all come back every once in a while. That's life. Bariatric surgery will be another tool in my belt. Notice I said TOOL. Yes, I will still have to exercise and eat right to keep the weight off, because guess what? You can stretch your stomach back out and end up right back where you started! So I'm using it as a tool to keep myself in check and keep the weight off long term. 

I'm also ready to have a family sometime soon. I've always known that I didn't want to be a big mom. My mom was awesome. Doing cart wheels with us, playing kick the can with us, all kinds of active stuff. I never ever want to be the mom sitting on the couch or on the sidelines just hollering at my kids. I want to be right in there with them and be an awesome mom like my mom was to me and my two brothers. I also want to set good health examples for my kids. Duh.

My dad has yo-yoed my entire life. He was in the military, so he was super fit when I was really young. But almost all of my life my dad has been on a diet of some sort. Up and down, up and down. If you know my family, you know I take after my dad 100%. I look nothing like my mom or brothers. I look just like my dad with boobs and long hair lol. So I don't want this to be my life, I don't want to be like him in that regard. It's not good for my heart to keep going up and down, up and down. It's not good for a lot of things actually. 

So in the last year or so, all the sudden a bunch of things started happening out of the blue. I've always been "fat but fine." I never got winded going up stairs, could keep up with all my "normal" sized friends. Even did silly things like color runs and kept up even though I was 100 pounds over weight. I knew I wasn't healthy, but I was young and ok. I was visually fat, but otherwise no health issues and no problems keeping up. 

Well that all changed last year. I suddenly got high blood pressure and was put on medicine. I hate medicine. My family doesn't tend to take much of it. My mom got a hysterectomy and took regular Tylenol for crying out loud, haha! So medicine makes me uncomfortable. Call me crazy, whatever. 

Second, my legs and ankles started swelling like whoa. If I stood too long or sat with my legs hanging down too long, big monster feet and legs. THATS BAD. Just like a pregnant woman but all the time. I'm a fat ass, but I've never had cankles lol, a point of pride for me haha! So now I had monster feet and ankles, and that was no good visually or health wise. 

Then around New Year's my back went out on me. I wasn't even doing anything, I was literally sitting on the couch at my mom's house. Worst pain of my life, could barely move. Had to sleep in a recliner for weeks. That doesn't happen to healthy people. So yeah, that was bad, and I still have back pain if I don't stretch. No good.

The next thing is my bum knee. I have no clue what's wrong with it, but it makes a terrible grating sound when I go up stairs and it hurts. I imagine having 100+ extra pounds on it led to that or hasn't helped.

The last thing, and boys, look away for this one, it's girly. I've had regular periods my entire life. Like clockwork. Pretty short, 3-4 days, pretty light. I've never really had cramps. Been pretty lucky. Then that all stopped. No periods. That's scary. Because guess what? You can't have a baby without a period. 

I've been married for 4 years. Bought a house, The Husband and I both have good jobs, and our business, so plenty of extra money on the side for a kid or two! We are finally at a great place to have kids at the ripe old age of 28...but now I have no periods. Fabulous.

Of course I could go into the doctor and have her prescribe me all kinds of pills to get my periods artificially started, have a dangerous and scary pregnancy due to my high blood pressure (pre eclampsia anyone?), and be a mom who can't run around with her kids bc of her bum knee, back, and blah blah blah. Not for me.

I also developed acid reflux and heart burn. I always thought people that complained of that stuff were big babies. It couldn't be that painful and bad right? Wimps. Wrong! That crap hurts yo.

Oh yeah, and I started snoring this year. If I never have to take another elbow to the rib, or wake up to The Husband violently shaking the bed again...I'll be happy...I'm pretty sure he will be too.

Most people that know me, even close friends, have no clue I have any of these problems because I'm not a complainer. I was raised to suck it up buttercup, smile, and get on with life. So I have. Problem is...I kinda don't wanna die young if I don't have to, ha! If I can control that to an extent...I'd like to. 

So, all of those health issues have brought me here. I'm scared of what my body will look like at the end of all of this. But that's just superficial. After surgery I will, for sure, not have most of these health issues anymore. I will hopefully be able to have kids (can never be too sure about that though), and live a healthy, happy, LONG life (well at least longer than my current outlook) with those kids and my family. 

So that's why I am doing this, and that's why you won't see me here anymore. I have no clue what size I will end up being. Size 12 is technically still considered plus sized, and I could end up being that, bc YES that weight for me and my height is in the healthy range believe it or not. You read that right, a "plus size" size for me is considered a healthy weight range according to BMI. I know this because I've been a size 8, 10, 12 and on up. When I was a size 12, my weight was a proper BMI. So ahem...fashion industry...could you drop the "plus size" on sizes that are technically considered normal and healthy, and sell them in normal stores??? Thanks. 

So who knows, I could still be considered "plus size" after surgery, but we won't know until it's all over in about a year and a half. I might end up really tiny, though I highly doubt that lol. I think I will always be "curvy" no matter how much I lose. So we will see. I know one things for sure...say adios to my boobs. They will be sad deflated tube socks...breast feeding moms feel me! Can I get an amen! Boob job in my future for sho, no shame. 

One of my good friends says I should document the whole process here. She said it would be really interesting to her. So if a good bit of you request to see the whole process, then maybe I will. You know I'm not generally shy about stuff, haha! If you want all the dirty details...you might just get them. No guarantees though. 

Well, it was fun while it lasted! I love you guys, and so appreciate all the kind words you've sent my way in the past few months. This has been crazy fun, and I never imagined it would blossom into what it has in such a short time. It was always a dream of mine to do a plus size fashion blog, so I appreciate you guys allowing me to and accepting me with open arms!

BLUE AND WHITE KIMONO

 

Outfit Details:

Blue & White Kimono, White Skinny Jeans, White Tank Top (Similar), Wedges (Similar), Kendra Scott Necklace, Tiffany Gold Studs, Marc Jacobs Watch (Similar)

Labor Day is coming up in less than a week! Do you know what that means? Put all the white things on your body and wear wear wear them! No white after labor day remember? I mean I personally don't give a hoot, but your grandma and/or mother might. I will be wearing my white skinny jeans into Fall and Winter, with darker colors of course, but still, someone try and stop me! So in an ode to the end of Summer, here lies my last bright white outfit. It has some blue in it too, but of course!

This here kimono came from a boutique in Mississippi called Material Girls. These boutiques are quickly spreading all over the state, and for good reason! They have a great, nicely edited selection. I usually stop in to the one nearest me for my Kendra Scott fix...I know, I know...I'm seeking help soon you guys. They don't sell plus sized clothes (womp womp), so I usually just browse the clothes quickly, then move on to the jewelry. All of my best friends happen to be size zeros, or very close to that. So I live vicariously through them, simply because I freaking love fashion, and always imagine specific friends wearing certain things. So I regularly text pics of stuff I find to them, like YOU HAVE TO BUY THIS!!! Also, as you might have read here, sometimes a unicorn pops up! This particular day, I found another unicorn! By now, I am a pro at zeroing in on stuff that might work for me, in regular sized stores. Typically things like kimonos will work for bigger girls! This one is a size large. I don't wear a large, ever. Soooo ladies...try stuff on! Just do it!

I paired the kimono with a white tank top. Any tank top will do, mine is a super soft Ralph Lauren tank, but it's sold out now. The jeans are by Michael Kors, and I have worn them all summer long. I love them. They are super comfortable. They drag on the ground if I don't wear heels or wedges, so keep that in mind shorties (I'm 5'10ish and they are a size 20). They are on sale right now for 40% off, so hop on it! The wedges are the same ones seen here. I have looked all over the place, but they don't seem to be for sale anymore. I found a very similar pair though, and linked that above. I could have sworn I saw them in Belk last week though. So give it a shot! I imagine they are pretty cheap right now if you can find them!

My necklace is the "Rayne" necklace by Kendra Scott, in "Mother of Pearl." I wear it a lot because it just goes with everything...are you guys noticing a theme to my blog yet? Ha! Go read my FAQ here, under "Fashion Rules." If something is on the expensive side, I tend to buy it in a neutral color, unless I just absolutely fall in love with a random color and HAVE TO HAVE IT NOW. I get more wears out of stuff that way. You see my gold & white Marc Jacobs watch? That sucker has seen it all, I also have it in silver & white. Because they are neutrals, I've worn them like WHOA for years. My gold ball studs are from Tiffany, my mama got them for me years ago for Christmas. She loves me. She also knows that they are a classic that will never go out of style, and will last forever. These are keepers. If you don't have silver ball studs, gold ball studs, and diamond studs (classy ones, not giant ones like you're in a rap video) then that should be a goal. They will last more than a lifetime and be worth every penny! I pretty much never have naked ear lobes. I swear, if your face is bare, your hair is a hot mess, and you are in yoga pants at the grocery store...popping in some studs makes a world of difference. They brighten up your face or something. I don't know what it is, but they can make you look semi put together, even on your worst day.

*Lipstick: my old faithful "Syrup" by MAC, with "Hip n' Happy" MAC lip liner below it, and MAC Plushglass gloss in "Ample Pink" on top of it.

Photography by The Husband 

RED AZTEC PRINT DRESS AND SHOOTIES

 

Outfit Details:

Red Aztec Print Dress, Braided Belt (Similar), Brown Shooties (Boots), Target Earrings (Silver), Kate Spade Watch, Lane Bryant Bangles

I posted a dorky picture of myself, in this outfit, last night on Instagram.  It got picked up by Tess Holiday's folks, and as of my writing this, has over 2,500 likes. So funny. Hop on over to my Instagram to see the pic, and read why it makes me giggle. If you are a new lady joining me because you found me on Instagram, WELCOME! I'm so happy you found me, and hopefully you'll stick around for my ramblings and fashion obsessions. As a result of that post, the booties became super stars! Everyone wants to know where they came from, welllp, click on the link above, and read below for more info!

This dress got a lot of love on Instagram too! You can find it at Belk online, for all you yankees and westerners, or in your local store for my southern gals. It's only $43.99 right now! Awesome deal. Also, it can easily be worn into Fall, with some tights and layers. I belted it with a Fossil Belt that is probably older than your dog/cat/animal of choice, and probably just as loyal. I found one like it though, and linked it above. It isn't meant to be worn like that, it's supposed to go around a skinny lady's waist. As you have probably learned though, I don't follow the rules, I shop everywhere and do what I want (I'm sticking my tongue out at you fashion industry!).

Ahh, the shoes. Shooties. Booties. Brown Boots. Magical mystical brown shoes covering my chipped toenail polish like champs. These are from Belk as well. They are made by Unlisted, and some of you might know what that means...CHEAP...or "inexpensive" for you sensitive types. These babies are only $49.99 right now! GET THEM...Fall is coming. You can obviously wear them in any season though. You will see these guys again, probably with skinny jeans or tights, come Fall. 

The earrings are from Target, as linked above. The link only takes you to the silver ones though, the gold ones I found in my local store, not that long ago. My watch is a mainstay on the blog and on my wrist, it is linked above too. Same story for the bangles, Lane Bryant is one of the only places that makes bracelets that fit big girls; I wear them a lot. My nails are a special polish that I will tell you guys about soon! If you weren't into the gel system here, this stuff is the next best thing, better than regular polish. Keep an eye out! Lipstick is "Impassioned Amplified" by MAC.

Photography by The Husband

ROYAL BLUE TOP AND LINEN SHORTS

 

Outfit Details:

Royal Blue Top, Linen Pull On Shorts I, II, III, IV, V, Kate Spade Beige Faux Croc Purse, Kate Spade Watch, Etsy Morganite, Diamond, and Rose Gold Ring, Jessica Simpson Wedges, Kendra Scott Earrings

This outfit has a unicorn in it. Look really close, I promise you'll see it. No, it's not hidden in those fancy pants (er shorts) I have on. It's my shirt! I'll explain down below. In the meantime, check out that purse, that's fancy too huh? It's full of random kleenex, granny style, that I was using to wipe my brow. Only thing missing were some fuzzy hard candies! But really, today we broke records in central Mississippi! I'm not sure about everyone else, but my thermometer at home read 104 degrees in the middle of the day. Plus some of that sweet sweet humidity. Today was the perfect day to take a stroll downtown, it was super comfortable! Just ask my husband, he had a blast! We also may have contracted West Nile while we were at it. If I did, Brett captured a picture of the tiny satan on my leg, so I have evidence! 

So why is this top a unicorn? Because, it is not a plus sized top, but it fits me. I found it in the "regular" section at Macy's. This is where things get complicated, and this is why people asking me where I shop all the time is a hard question to answer. Not only do I scour the plus size sections in stores (when possible) and online, but I definitely scour the regular sections too. Ugh, I know, that's a lot. I just can't help it because every so often I find a sparkly shiny unicorn, hiding amongst the stuff that won't fit me. I'd hate to miss out on that! So this top is a size XL, and I love it. In fact, I've worn it more than any other top this summer. So be on the look out for those unicorns! Ya never know what you might find! Try things on, it's worth a shot!

These shorts are what they are calling "soft shorts". They feel like linen to me, so that's what I'm going with. I assume some versions come in a spandexy type cotton, and I would say that those probably aren't the best idea. That just seems weird and tacky, like they are trying really hard not to be athletic shorts, but failing miserably. So go for the linen feeling ones. They are insanely comfortable: elastic waist band, slip-on, pockets, you get the idea.

The wedges are by Jessica Simpson, and they are on sale for $39.99 right now! That's a crazy good price, so snatch them up before everyone else does! The purse is Kate Spade, and I got it at T.J. maxx, so it's just one of those things I can't really link to. That place makes me crazy, I generally don't shop at stores like that because of all the disorganized stuff. But my mom promised I would find some good stuff, and she was right! Funny how that works, huh? The watch is also Kate Spade, and I have had it for years. It's two-tone, gold and silver colored, goes with everything. The earrings are Kendra Scott again, I can't get enough. I need a Kendra Scott anonymous meeting. The ring I linked to in the last beauty post as well. It's actually an engagement ring, but the husband gave it to me for my birthday, and I don't care, I do what I want. 

Photography by The Husband

NAVY POLKA DOT WEDDING GUEST DRESS

 

Outfit Details:

Nine West Heels, Navy Polka Dot Dress I or II (Similar), Kate Spade Clutch I or II (Similar), Ray Ban Sunglasses, Kendra Scott Earrings

I don't know about y'all, but my life has been FULL of weddings lately. Either filming them (that's ma job yo), being in them, or attending them. This is the perfect wedding guest look for summer, and in the deep south, you can just throw on a sweater or cardigan for Fall and be set too! I absolutely love polka dots. I know that's super cliche and bordering on tired, but I don't care. Polka dots make me happy. I'm going be that 90-year-old lady wearing pig tails, polka dots, orthopedic shoes, and cursing like a sailor when you try and run me and my poodle over. Promise.

I got this dress at Macy's not that long ago, but with all things plus size, it sold out really fast! If you are new to plus size fashion issues, well here's another one...not only do we pretty much have to shop online for everything, but when something cute comes out, it gets snatched up quick for the most part. We have limited choices for sure, but it is getting better! I have linked to two similar options. One that is a breezy navy chiffon dress with sleeves (comes in other colors too!), and then a navy polka dot Michael Kors dress. The MK dress is a bit shorter, but it's a wrap dress, and those look good on everyone! 

These shoes are Nine West, and I have 4 different pairs. I'm not kidding. I have two nude peep toes by them, and 2 nude pumps in varying heights by them. You can never have too many nude heels! The key is to get them as close to the color of your skin as possible, it elongates your legs. Obviously I am insanely pale, so "nude" generally is not the color of my naked skin, ha! Nine West makes the lightest colored ones I can find, that are comfortable, and come in all kinds of options. Pardon the toe cleavage...fat girls + summer heat = swollen ankles/feet...pregnant women feel my struggle. *Fat Foot Fist Bump*

My sunglasses are Ray Bans, I have them in gold and silver so they will go with anything. I've had them for years, pretty sturdy. I have linked to similar Kate Spade clutches, that one was on sale a few weeks ago, so it got scooped up. I have a Kate Spade store near me now, which is extremely dangerous, but also awesome when I can pop in and find sales like that! Clutches are a must for weddings, and this one actually has a wrist strap inside if you are into that. My earrings are linked above as well, but you can't see them. Just trust me, the best Kendra Scott earrings. They go with everything. Go click! 

Photography by Sharon Coker.

MULTI COLORED CHEVRON MAXI DRESS

 

Outfit Details:

Chevron Maxi Dress (Similar), Kate Spade Statement Necklace I and II (Similar)

In the deep south, we don't actually get cold weather until after Thanksgiving sometimes. A lot of times actually. I have had more 70 degree Christmases than I care to count. That's just life. So while some fashion bloggers are already breaking out Fall type stuff, I'm over here like...you're kidding right? It was 102 degrees yesterday, PLUS crazy humid. I'm gonna keep rocking dresses and shorts until I'm sitting under the Christmas tree unwrapping presents! Kidding, I love Fall clothes too much. You'll probably catch me in a wool coat, walking around with sweat dripping down my butt crack, pretending I'm cool as a cucumber sometime soon.  But in the meantime...

This dress is really lightweight and breezy. If you are big busted it's awesome, your bra straps will for sure be covered. I'm bottom heavy, big ole booty, so I don't have a really big chest. If you do though, there's a lot of room in the top black part, I barely filled it out. Sadly, this dress is sold out at Macy's, and I'm sure you can see why. It's super cute. However, the link above will take you to a chevron maxi made by the same designer at Macy's. It comes in black and white, or navy and white. It's just as cute and roomy on the top. BONUS: those dress are only $18.99 right now!!! At the very least, get one and throw it in your closet for next summer. Plus, pretty much all the maxis are on sale at Macy's right now...go load up!

I love this dress because of all the bright colors. I promise I wear more than blue, haha! I hate nothing more than when I hear someone say, "oh I can't wear that color" or "oh I don't wear sleeveless things" or my least favorite, "I don't wear shorts." WHY NOT?!? Who cares? Seriously, I promise that you are more concerned with how your bingo wings look than anybody else you come across. Nobody cares, they are more concerned with how they look! So do whatever you want! 

This necklace is Kate Spade, it's one of my favorite brands on earth. They totally reel me in with all their clever marketing, and I don't even care. In fact, if they made plus size clothes, I'd probably lose my mind. It would be bad, they would get all of my money, so it's probably best that they don't. The necklace can be made longer or shorter, but not much, and it's fairly lightweight as far as statement necklaces go! I have linked to two similar necklaces up at the top. 

Photography by the Husband

PLUS SIZE PAJAMA PARTY

 

Outfit Details:

Ralph Lauren Navy Polka Dot Short Pajama Set (Similar), Ralph Lauren Coral Stripe Short Pajama Set, Tiffany & Co. Silver Ball Earrings, Gold & Silver Fleur De Lis Ring.

Oh hey Channing Tatum's face (on the cover of Vanity Fair), let's casually sit in bed together and sip on some coffee. Oh, you want to help me write some thank you notes too? But of course! Your wish is my command.

I'm a pajama girl, always have been. I love nothing more than a fancy pair of matching pjs to sleep in. I routinely get a new pair for birthdays, christmas, etc etc etc. Every special day deserves a fresh pair of jammies! Plus, I work from home for my day job, so occasionally I don't feel like getting dressed like an adult. On those days I'm glad to have my fancy and comfy jammies! Side note: That adorable address book is made by Emily Ley, and if you haven't discovered her yet, you're welcome. I LOVE everything she makes. 

These pjs are all Ralph Lauren, the polka dot one is my fave, but unfortunately it's sold out. I linked to another polka dot version up top though. The coral striped one below is actually on a big time sale right now, so if you click the link you are in luck! Ralph Lauren also makes a few pairs that have longer shorts if that's your thing.

In another post I will tell you my secret for long-lasting nail polish. It's a pretty neat little system I have, and I love it. It's gel polish, and it's COMPLETELY dry within 15-20 minutes, start to finish. Not kinda dry and you need to be careful. I'm talkin, pull on some really tight jeans and not mess up your nails, dry. I'll also show y'all my all time favorite monogrammed pjs. Super soft, love love love them. Keep an eye out! 

Photography by The Husband

NAVY BLUE RUFFLED MAXI DRESS

 

Outfit Details:

Kiyonna Maxi Dress, Kendra Scott Statement Necklace, Target Earrings, Sam Edelmen Sandals

Hey! Guess what? I'm wearing blue again! Guess what else? I have A LOT of other blue outfits in my closet. So if you are into blue, you're in luck! If you're not, take a hike! This is one of my absolute favorite outfits for summer. So if you see me a lot, you've probably seen this dress, many times. Repeat offender. 

This dress is called the Maritime Maxi Dress by Kiyonna. I'm wearing it in mariner blue. It's a true wrap dress, not a faux wrap. I am 5'9-5'10 and it sort of drags on the ground in the back, so keep that in mind if you are a shorty. It is super comfortable, and hands down my favorite maxi so far.

My shoes are the Gigi shoes by Sam Edelman, in gold. They have a faux alligator/croc texture. They are pretty flat and lightweight. Fun easy, summer sandals. One of my big fashion rules is that every summer I get sandals in all the neutrals. So I get a white pair, black pair, brown pair (sometimes a dark and lighter one), silver pair, and gold pair. If i had a particularly sturdy and well made pair from the year before, I will keep it in rotation until it gets worn out, and then replace it. Some sandals last years, some don't, usually the amount you spend on them correlates to how well made they are, up to a point of course.

My necklace is the Harlie Statement Necklace in Mint by Kendra Scott. It can be worn long, short, or in between. There is no clasp on the back, just double hooks so you can hook either side on whichever rung you want. You can customize the length to fit your outfit. My giant gold half sphere earrings are by Target. They are studs with posts, not clip ons. I couldn't find them online, but I just picked them up at Target not too long ago. If you hurry in you might still be able to snag a pair! 

Photography by Sharon Coker.

ROYAL BLUE MAXI SKIRT & WHITE TANK

 

Outfit Details:

Tart Maxi Skirt, Dolce Vita Sandals (Similar), Calvin Klein Top, Target Necklace (Similar), Charming Charlie Earrings (Similar)

Y'all, it's HOT in Mississippi right now. I know it's hot all over most of the country, but summer in Mississippi is like walking through invisible clouds of soup. It's wet and sticky. Gross. So pardon me kind sirs and madams if you find me in this beautiful maxi skirt, standing over your AC, airing out the under carriage.

This skirt from Nordstrom, is so soft and silky, and it has pockets. Duh, bonus. The top from Macy's, is a lightweight fabric with a gold zipper down the front. I assume they put that there so you could decide for yourself about how scandalous you want to be that day. Kind of them. Also, it's white, so if you are sweating your little southern kahunas off, it won't show up! 

Those earrings are from Charming Charlie, if you don't have one near you, I'm sorry. They no longer sell them, these are pretty old, but I have linked to a similar pair at the top of the post. It's a super inexpensive place to buy accessories. Purses, jewelry, scarves upon scarves upon scarves. I would never buy a purse from there because it wouldn't hold up as well as a real nice leather purse, but it's great for fun fashion jewelry! It's a little overwhelming at first, but just jump right in, it's color coded. My necklace is from Target, and it isn't available online. You might be able to find it in your local store though, because I just bought it. The gold bangle bracelets are from Lane Bryant. They came as a big bundle of gold, rose gold, and silver. If you are "big boned" like me, it's hard to find bracelets that fit. Lane Bryant makes them big enough. Other than that I do a lot of custom bracelet ordering from Ippolita, which can be found online or at your local Saks. They are a bit pricey, but they are REAL gold and silver, so they will last forever. 

My shoes are from Nordstrom, and they just stopped selling them. I have linked to a similar sandal at the top. These are pretty padded, but they have gold metal on the heel, the part that actually touches your foot. So from behind there's a little flash of metal, a little odd feeling at first, but kinda cute. Great inexpensive summer shoe.

Photography by Sharon Coker.