An Eye Opener About Fast Fashion

Hello lovelies,

Like many of you, I love to shop. I love a good bargain for a hot style. Many of my clothes have been bought from Forever 21, H&M, and Charlotte Russe – retailers who specialize in “fast fashion.” 

Fast Fashion Retailers – Many are My Favorite!

Trendy, of the moment, affordable style? Sure, sign me up. Stores like these are super attractive for a fashionista like me.

However, today my view of fast fashion has drastically changed, due to a documentary called The True Cost

This film showed me how my pursuit of a $8 top is at the cost of workers in Bangladesh, China, India, and Cambodia. Many of these workers are in dangerous working conditions to keep the costs of manufacturing low. In 2013, a large building collapsed in the Rana Plaza where much of the garment industry is centered. 1,100 workers died as a result of factory managers neglecting the deteriorating conditions of the building. This event is just one of the tragedies at garment factories in these areas.

Is it worth the cost?

Not only are people being affected by the low wages and dangerous working conditions, but our environment is taking a hit by the use of pesticides on the cottons used in the material. Dyes used for leathers in India are full of chemicals, which end up leaking in water supplies.

Most of these women make just $3 USD a day.

I don’t want to preach to others that they shouldn’t buy from our favorite retailers, but maybe we can slow down how much we buy. Maybe we can recycle more of our clothes. Maybe we can give our business to more fair trade retailers and designers. 

My mission now is to profile fair trade brands and also show looks I created from secondhand stores.

I hope you will join me! Let’s share our fair trade and recycled looks!

Love, laughter, and shoes-

xo Melanie.

 

Pale Girl in Paradise

Hello lovelies!

I’m a proud mix of Irish and Swedish decent, and though I am proud, it does make me, well, stand out in a tropical area.

Hafa Adai!

Hafa Adai!

After four years in mostly cloudy Germany, the Hubby and I didn’t get much sunlight. Now that we are in Guam, the sun’s rays blind everyone who sees us, lol! However, I just slather on the SPF 50 and let the freckles come.

At sunrise.

At sunrise.

A few nights ago, the Hubby took me on a date and I got to wear this fierce Torrid dress. What is so especially cool about it are the small dark blue spots with the leopard print. Looks great with my Charlotte Russe top!

Torrid 1

Paired with Forever 21 sandals and a Nine West bag.

Paired with Forever 21 sandals and a Nine West bag.

Feel like Marilyn!

Feel like Marilyn!

Just like my curves, I’ll work my pale self to the max. I’ll probably end up a light coffee color eventually, but I’m ok with who I am now. So, if any of you out there are pale like me, take solace in knowing that you’ll have great skin for many years. Take it from me, a 40 something with no wrinkles:)

Love, laughter, and shoes-

xoxo

Melanie.

 

Cozy Comforts and Cyber Monday Madness!

 

Hello all!

So, I admit it: I’m not a huge fan of cold weather. Though I’m originally from Michigan, I just could not get into skiing, snowmobiling, or any kind of cold weather sport. However, I do enjoy wrapping myself up in a cozy sweater and drinking some coffee with Kahlua!

As some of you curvy gals know, sometimes it’s hard to find sweaters that don’t add bulk or offer no shape. However, I found this great sweater dress from H&M which works with leggings, tights, or skinny jeans!

HM sweaterdress

Relaxing at the Edelweiss Resort in Bavaria.

Relaxing at the Edelweiss Resort in Bavaria.

HM sweater 3

I  recently got these cute Forever 21 booties. They’re very comfortable and go with so many looks!

f21 booties

Here’s some chic sweater dresses from H&M in straight and plus sizes! Both are under $35.

hmprod32X9MCNDhmprodDYI5HPQH

Yay for cute and warm affordable clothes!

Did you do any shopping on Cyber Monday? I got all my hubby’s shopping done, and I ordered items through my Ebates account. What’s Ebates? Only the most awesome way to shop online! Just sign up, select a retailer, and shop! You can earn anywhere from 1-18% CASH BACK from your shopping trip! I am getting over $17 back (so far!).  Sign up, save with coupons, and earn $!

Click here! http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=YQvuaf2PAQvnIFOicHk9Qg%3D%3D&eeid=26471

By the way, fashionistas – you get referrals for others who sign up! When a friend signs up and makes a shopping trip, YOU GET $25 back! Oh yeah!

I’m all about getting a little more green during the holidays – how about you?!!!!

Until next time, stay warm and enjoy some tasty hot beverage:)

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xx Melanie.

What I’m Wearing:

Sweater Dress – H&M

Leggings – FOREVER 21 PLUS

Booties – FOREVER 21

Scarf – KOHL’S

 

 

 

Passionate About Purple!

Purple Modcloth 1

Purple has been my favorite color for as long as I can remember. Even my dad can recall me wanting to wear a particular pair of purple pants (wow, check out my alliteration!) when I was 2 years old. If you were to take a look inside my closet, the prominent things you will see are: leopard prints, black, and purple! Though I’ve been making an effort to branch out my color scheme (indigo is hot with me now), I always return to my original favorite – purple.

So, imagine how thrilled I was to find this purple knit dress from Modcloth! I LOVE IT!

This dress is the Trifecta of dresses – stretchy knit, machine washable, and POCKETS!

Purple modcloth 3

I know I’m going to have to get another one of these dresses in another color…but which color?!!

You know what else is fun? Wearing new booties! Here I am breaking in these Forever 21 dark brown booties. They’re super comfortable!

F21 brown boots

And yes…I’ve got purple tights. Maybe it’s time for an intervention?

Nah.

Hey Lovelies – which color are YOU passionate about?

WHERE CAN YOU BUY THIS LOOK? Click the links!

Buckled Moto Booties – FOREVER 21

Coach Tour Dress in Noir – MODCLOTH

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xx Melanie.

 

Blogger on a Budget: Transitioning Looks for Fall

Hi all!

If you’re a fashion addict on a budget (like I am!), you’re probably on the lookout for pieces to wear for more than one season.

I’ll be showing ways to transition summer favorites for cooler days in my next couple posts!

Budget Blogger Tip: Buy summer looks at the end of season to save cash, then layer cardigans, sweaters, or add leggings!

One of my favorite pieces I got this summer is this tribal jumpsuit from Deb Shops. Jumpsuits are great for dressing up or down, and as I’ve discovered, easy to layer for colder weather!

On a warmer day (like today was), I can rock the jumpsuit with just a belt and sandals:

Deb jump 2

Yep...Mama got back!

Yep…Mama got back!

I found this belt for just $5!

I found this belt for just $5!

F21 sandals

Then, on a cooler day, I threw on this cute open arm sweater I found in a thrift store! Later, I’ll add booties and a sweater dress. Presto! Year round outfit:)

Deb jump sweater

And guess what? I’ve got a new giveaway prize to announce in the next post! So stay tuned!

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xx Melanie.

WHAT I’M WEARING:

Tribal jumpsuit – DEB SHOPS

Belt – AMAZON.COM

Thong sandals – FOREVER 21

Sweater- a thrift find!

What “Being Fat” Has Taught Me

forever maxi 1

Hello All!

I just celebrated a birthday (I’m keeping the number a secret – for now!) and I’ve been reflecting on the changes I’ve gone through in the last few years.

After a car accident two years ago, I injured my back and my ability to exercise got compromised. My weight went up, my size grew from a size 12 to a 14/16, and I realized that I had become fat.

At first, my size depressed me. I felt unsexy and undesirable. Not being able to go into just any store and find my size added to my funk.

I’m a strong believer that “everything happens for a reason,” and I’ve learned lessons and developed a stronger sense of compassion throughout this chapter in my life.

1. Size Doesn’t Equate Sexiness.

After I discovered blogging and found sites such as The Curvy Fashionista, Daily Venus Diva, and Tess Munster, there are a LOT of sexy, confident, and inspirational curvy women out there. They own their size and make it work. I’ve learned that it’s not my shell that’s sexy; it’s the way I own it! I wasted time during my smaller days obsessing over “needing to lose 10 lbs” versus living in the moment. I won’t obsess any more.

2. Fashion is Still Fun!

True, there are some retailers I can’t shop from now. However, I’ve discovered Forever 21 Plus, Deb, Asos Plus, Elloquii, H&M, and Zara. Thankfully, more retailers are getting on board and adding additional sizes with fashion-forward styles. I’m so glad I can still enjoy clothes!

Werk!

Werk!

3. Don’t Hide.

Fat people (especially women) have been conditioned to be ashamed of their bodies. We don’t want to draw attention, we hide in bulky clothes, and walk around as if apologetic for our size. I’ve learned that life does not stop because I’ve gained weight. I still have a voice and talent to contribute. If someone seems uncomfortable because I’m fat, that’s their issue. I can’t control that. However, I can control how I deal with my weight day to day.

4. Everyone Has Body Issues!

Recently, the Hubby and I went to a cookout that his work was hosting. The event took place by a beach, so naturally a number of people were swimming and sunning. What struck me was the number of body self loathing comments from these fit military people! These weren’t the “competitive” type of body comparison comments (I’m so fat – no, you’re not, I’m fat!), but a sincere wistfulness to look better. I realized we all have our body issues. Isn’t it a shame we can’t “just be”?

So, the takeaway for me is –

Sure, I would like to lose weight. My energy would be better, it’s easier on my back (which is doing much better!), and it’s good for my overall health. I believe that I will end up losing weight as I continue to get stronger. But, I’m not going to stop fully living my life or being happy because I’m fat.

And if I do go down in size, I’m not going to cringe at my pictures or “fat shame” myself. I am still ME!

I hope we all can embrace who we are for what we are!

forever maxi 3

forever maxi 4

forever maxi 6

WHAT I’M WEARING:

Maxi Dress – FOREVER 21 PLUS

Necklace – H & M

Sandals – FOREVER 21

Bra – VICTORIA’S SECRET

Earrings – thrift shop find!

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xx Melanie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paris, Part Deux

Ah Paris! This is our third time visiting, and with each time, I fall in love with you a little more. Paris is truly the “City of Lovers!”

In fact, the Hubby and I decided to “lock our love” on a bridge over the Seine, a tradition of many couples.

Four years of a wonderful marriage, nine years together!

“Come What May, I will love you until my dying day.” -our vows.

Lock in Paris

This day, I opted to be comfy by dressing in layers since we’d be out all day.

Locked Mel

But of course, I added a little sparkle with these Eiffel Tower earrings to jazz up my look!

mel cu eiffel ear

One of my favorite things about Paris is visiting museums, and I loved seeing the Musee Rodin which included the iconic statue, The Thinker.

Of course, everyone has to “think” with The Thinker!

Mel and Thinker

 

The Musee Rodin has an AMAZING garden full of fantastic sculptures! Also, a beautiful pond area and café to enjoy a coffee!

Musee Garden full 2

Channeling "Eve's Shame"

Channeling “Eve’s Shame”

The Three Shades.

The Three Shades.

Spring is everywhere!

Spring is everywhere!

Rodin Museum1

There’s a great view of Napoleon’s Tomb (and with the over the top ornate décor of his tomb, there’s no doubt in my mind that Napoleon would’ve been a fashion designer if he didn’t decide to rule the world).

Napoleon tomb 2

We checked it out, and yep – this is an example of “Little Man Syndrome.” Great taste in final resting digs, though!

Stunning!

Stunning!

IMAG2425

There are few places in this world that can make me drop my mouth with awe. Paris is one of them!

More Parisian adventures to come!

On another note…I found out today I have 100 followers on Bloglovin now! Thank you so much for following and reading. Your comments and likes mean so much! Please leave your links so I can follow you too!

Love, laughter, and shoes!

xx Melanie.

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Perfect Paris, Part 1

Bonjour all! I got back from a mini-vacation and I’m so excited to show and tell you all about it. Definitely the BEST part about being stationed in Germany is the ability to travel to fantastic places! One of my very favorite places is Paris, the city that offers it all – fashion, art, museums, delicious food, breathtaking views, historic sites…what can I say, it’s AMAZING.

This was our third visit, so the Hubby and I took three full days to check off some things on the bucket list. First for me was to check out an exhibition I read about in Glamour a couple months back, Glossy Paper – A Century of Fashion with Conde Nast. Presented by Vogue, this photo exhibit included historic images by legendary photographers, including Richard Avedon, Horst P. Horst, Patrick Demarchier, and Irving Penn.

Seeing original prints that dated back to Vogue’s earliest days just blew me away, plus the exhibit included some classic designs by Coco Chanel HERSELF, Yoji Yamamoto, Christian Dior, and Lanvin! Even Hubby was impressed with the works (and I feared he would be bored silly) and I enjoyed educating him about the various photographers. However, unfortunately, the museum had a strict “no photos” policy 😦 If any of you lovely European bloggers get a chance, GO SEE THIS! It will be at the Palais Galliera until May 25.

Ah, the Eiffel Tower. Le sigh!

Ah, the Eiffel Tower. Le sigh!

Outside the Palais Galliera.

Outside the Palais Galliera.

Musee Galleria5

 

So excited to go in!

So excited to go in!

Comfy and stylin'!

Comfy and stylin’!

This bag holds EVERYTHING!

This bag holds EVERYTHING!

Musee Galleria2

The day was GORGEOUS. Warming up to 70 degrees, the Hubby and I strolled down by the Seine to see the original Statue of Liberty. She is MUCH smaller than her sister in New York, but still a lovely sight!

Shades Statue Lib

The Original!

The Original!

The following day was stuffed with activity – which I’ll tell you about in tomorrow’s post! Au revoir!

 

WHAT I WORE:

Gray Moto Jacket – FASHION TO FIGURE

Gray Leopard T shirt Dress – H & M

Gray Leggings – FOREVER 21 PLUS

Brown Studded Bag – JUST FAB (best travel bag EVER!)

Blue Leopard Sneakers – FOREVER 21

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Throwback Thursday Throws Me a Curve

Ah, #ThrowbackThursday. You clever bastard. I search for fun pics to post, and I am stopped cold by finding pics of me from 10 years ago, looking, well, FABULOUS. Funny enough, during this point in my life, I thought I needed to take 10-15 lbs off.

Circa 2004.

Circa 2004.

But here it is 2014, and though I feel I’ve come to a healthier state of mind in terms of body acceptance and pushing to expand the idea of what we consider to be “beautiful,” I cannot escape the fact that I am too heavy now.

Yesterday during a doctor’s checkup, I stepped on the scale (always my favorite part) and noticed that 5 lbs crept on over the last month! How could this be?

Was it the Girl Scout cookies I inhaled over the past week? The popcorn at the movies? The Chex Muddy Buddies we devoured while watching March Madness? All of it? Probably.

I’m not going to beat myself up over the gain, I won’t go there. However, I need to put the brakes on the treats. There’s no denying that getting heavier isn’t going to help my back get stronger,  make the joints feel better, or lower my chances or developing diabetes or heart problems. It’s more than a vanity thing for me.

So, I’m going to do this a step at a time. Add more veggies, watch the sugar, drink more water. Walk as much as I can handle while doing physical therapy. And of course, rock some fashion while doing it all!

I don’t expect to become a supermodel. I just want to feel good and if that means having to lose some of my caboose, that’s ok!

Mesh top 1Mesh top 2

Blue nails

"London calling" socks!

“London calling” socks!

Feeling “blue from my top to my toes.”

 

It’s a struggle sometimes to “age gracefully.” Most of the time, I’m feeling good, working it for all I’ve got, but then there’s that pesky white hair in my eyebrow -the deepening line around the mouth- the softening jaw, that can throw me into a funk.

I think that’s normal, though -to fight through the feeling of “aging.” We want to feel healthy and look good. It’s just navigating the delicate balancing act of accepting what looks graceful versus becoming a plastic freak show. I don’t want to be a slave to my weight or my age.

So here’s for trying to eat better, exercise a little more, and living in the moment. Cheers!

Look for my next post to come from PARIS! Au revoir until next time!

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xx Melanie.

WHAT I WORE:

Mesh top and maxi skirt – PASSPORTS

London socks- FOREVER 21

Blue leopard sneakers – FOREVER 21

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The Great Wait for Spring!

March is one of those “waiting” months. Waiting to shift out of winter, but it’s just a bit unsure when or how. Back in my home state of Michigan, Winter has set up camp for a LOOOONNGG while with no urgency to leave! Thankfully, here in Germany, it’s been more of a long Fall with sneak peeks of Spring along the way. Of course, the warmer spells whets my appetite for SPRING FASHION!

Today was on the cooler side (low 50s), so I had a good excuse to break out my brand spanking new faux leather moto jacket from Fashion to Figure.   I LOVE this jacket, mostly because it’s nice and roomy in the front with plenty of zipping up space! If you are busty like me, you know how HARD it is to find a jacket that has a good fit and zips all the way up!

Ready for a day strolling the downtown!

Ready for a day strolling the downtown!

FF leather CU

LOVE the watercolor design!

LOVE the watercolor design!

A Crazy Cat Lady needs her kitty earrings.

A Crazy Cat Lady needs her kitty earrings.

 

My cats are going through Spring Fever, too. Whenever we luck out and have a warm, sunny afternoon, Casanova & Roxie can’t wait to sun themselves on our balcony! They can’t seem to understand that we can’t make the sun happen on command…:(

Ahhhhh...sun!

Ahhhhh…sun!

TODAY’S BARGAIN BEAUTY FIND!!! One of the spring trends I’m loving right now is the color blush. While dragging the Hubby around downtown Kaisersalutern (he was a really good sport), I spied this fantastic Glam Eyes HD five color shadow by Rimmel London. Named Burgundy Palace, it’s hardly a royal’s extravagance -just $3.50!

Love the crown!

Love the crown!

Rimmel 3

...and on my eyes!

…and on my eyes!

Thankfully, we don’t need to wait to wear spring eye colors!

And so, with this Saturday winding down, I pack my newest purchases in my closet to wait…and wait…for Spring to stay for awhile. Let’s hope it’s soon!

What are YOU looking forward to finally wearing?

WHAT I WORE:

Moto Jacket – FASHION TO FIGURE (1x)

Gray Skater Dress – FOREVER 21

Gray Leggings – FOREVER 21 PLUS

Pink Tunic – OLD NAVY

White Scarf w/design – TAKKO FASHIONS

Earrings – JOLLYCHIC.COM

Camel boots – GRACELAND

 

Love, laughter, and shoes!

xx Melanie.

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