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Stop Saying ‘No’ to Living the Life You Want

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“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. […] Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.” – Helen Keller

“No.”

It’s a powerful word. One I’ve heard many, many times. Still, for whatever reason (maybe because I’m a typical, stubborn Taurus or because I’m determined as hell), I never ever ever give up. Never in my life have I let the word “No” stop me. I’ve been laid off, told I didn’t have enough experience, reminded of my lack of qualifications, dumped, pigeon-holed, misjudged, misunderstood, shown the metaphorical “exit,” not been granted entry, and I haven’t always fit in. There’s really no one, simple road to success and my winding career path is an example of that. But, lately…lately, thankfully, I’ve been hearing “Yes”…a lot.

As you may (and hopefully) know, in a couple of weeks, I’m throwing myself a party to celebrate the launch of this very site. (Yes, you’re invited.) You see, I’m determined AF, but in the past I allowed “perfection to stand in the way of good enough” as they say. I’ve never thought twice about taking risks when I didn’t have much at stake and I didn’t care about the outcome. But, I’ve definitely let my fears and insecurities hold me back from achieving what I want most. I have big – huge – dreams, but I stood in my own way for far too long, living small and playing it safe. I’m so over that! And the party I’m throwing will be to celebrate this transformation.

Since I’ve moved out of my own way and become laser focused, I’ve seen so much success. In just a few months, I’ve gained nearly 10,000 followers on Instagram, I’ve secured about one dozen brand partnerships, including sponsorships for my launch party (my gift bags are killer, y’all!), and I’ve received interest from several news outlets who want to share my story with their readers. I’m really just getting started, but I’ve seen so much growth in such a short period of time because I Decided (with a capital D) to be Brave (with a capital B) and get serious about making my dreams a reality. As a result, I’ve found support from my friends, family, followers…and I’m so very grateful for you. Thank you.

I may not know you IRL, but I think it’s safe to assume that you’ve held yourself back before, too. If so, I have one question for you: WHY!? Why are you sabotaging yourself from having that thing – whatever it is – that you want most? Seriously, there’s a reason and if you’re honest with yourself, you probably know what it is. Name it and stop it! Life is too short and you’re too incredible to live a mediocre life (whatever mediocre looks like for you).

What big dream do you have that you’ve been struggling to reach? Share it in the comments. Maybe I’ll have some suggestions.

May the fierce be with you, babes.

xo

Outfit details: Top: Forever21+ | Skirt: Torrid | Shoes: Macy’s | Necklace: Amazon

Photographer:  Jorge Lopez (IG: @jorgelopezmedia)

A Low-key Patriotic Look in Slink Jeans

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“You’re always with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company.” -Diane Von Furstenberg

Because I’m a person of color and particularly because I’m Native American, I have a complicated relationship with the federal government. Nevertheless, my grandfather proudly served in the Army and I am grateful for the rights and privileges I receive as an American, many of which are thanks to the sacrifices made by our armed forces. That said, rather than decking myself out in Stars and Stripes this Independence Day, I opted for a low-key patriotic look. As such, it was the perfect opportunity to show off my new Slink Jeans.

I’d heard so much about SLINK Jeans (which stands for “Sexy Lovable Intelligent Noticeable and Kind”) and their denim on Instagram. It seems a lot of plus size models I know and recognize have shot with them. And, best of all, they carry sizes 0-24. I love brands that carry straight, bridge, and plus sizes, so no one is left out. So, naturally, I wanted to check out their jeans.

They sent me their frayed hem high/low (also known as “distressed step-up hem”) “Dorothy” jeans ($98) and a high-low short sleeve scoop neck t-shirt in red ($48). As soon as I took them out of the box, I could tell the jeans, in particular, were super high-quality. They’ll definitely last a long time. And, they’re made with 2% spandex, so they’re not only stylish, but they’re comfortable, too. (2% spandex seems to be the sweet spot for me with denim.) Sturdy enough to hold its shape, but stretchy enough to fit these thick thighs I’m working with.

The shirt is made of the most comfortable rayon/spandex blend, but it feels like a stretchy, loosely woven cotton. It’s so comfy, I could sleep in it! It truly is a great basic piece that can be worn in a variety of ways. (I’ve paired it with a pencil skirt twice — once tucked in and once belted and worn out).

If you want to jump on the frayed hemline trend, you should definitely try a pair of SLINK jeans! They have several styles that feature distressing on the ankles. Best of all, both Nordstrom and Macy’s carry the brand, if you’d like to try them on before buying. It might be a good idea given that their clothes have so much stretch, you may want to size down. I wore my usual size in the jeans, but could have worn a smaller size shirt.

So, what are your plans for the 4th of July? I’ll be baking funfetti cupcakes to bring to my family’s BBQ/pool party.

However you decide to enjoy the long, holiday weekend, please be safe.

Clothing was provided at no cost by Slink Jeans in exchange for an honest review. As always, the opinions expressed are my own.

Outfit details: Jeans & t-shirt: Slink | Jacket: Charlotte Russe+ | Shoes: Forever 21 | Jewelry: The Limited

Photographer: Steven Means (IG: @stevenmeans67)

We Are All Wonder Women

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“The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet.”Mohadesa Najumi

The story of Wonder Woman’s origin is an interesting one. “Wonder Woman is the most popular female comic-book superhero of all time,” according to Smithsonian Magazine. “Aside from Superman and Batman, no other comic-book character has lasted as long.” The strong, athletic and bad ass, crime-fighting Wonder Woman remains a feminist superhero that little girls and women alike look up to and aspire to be.

I felt like Wonder Woman as soon as I put on this fab floral dress from Forever 21+. If you know me, you know I love pieces that are multi-functional. This particular piece can be worn as both a dress and a duster that gives off a sweet, vintage vibe with a lot of high-fashion fierceness. And when it catches the wind…*swoon.*

I paired this gorgeous piece with dark wash denim jeans from The Limited (I’m praying they come back!), a basic black tank top, and adorable, pale pink ankle tie heels from Forever 21. It’s a look I hope would make the mythical Wonder Woman proud.

Outfit details: Dress/duster: Forever21+ | Shoes: Forever21 | Necklace: Rue21 | Watch: Michael Kors

Photographer:  Jorge Lopez (IG: @jorgelopezmedia)

Over it All

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“Self respect, self worth and self love all start with self. Stop looking outside of yourself for your value.” – Rob Liano

Lately, with 90s fashion making a comeback, whenever I go shopping, I’m often nudged down memory lane. When I saw these overalls hanging on the rack at Charlotte Russe+, I immediately recalled childhood memories. As girly as I was, I always loved a good pair of overalls. (I think it was the detailing. It’s always about the details.)

As a nod to a remixed denim staple, I paired these distressed skinny-leg overalls with a cute pair of spotted lace up gladiator heels (another update to an even earlier vintage style), met my photographer on Venice Beach, and shot a few photos. I love pattern mixing and I love how casual-trendy this outfit looks.

How would you style a pair of overalls? Or would you not even dare?

 

Outfit details: Overalls and Jacket: Charlotte Russe+ | Shoes: Charlotte Russe | Earrings: Amazon | Watch: Marc Jacobs

Photographer: Steven Means (IG: @stevenmeans67)

Everything’s Coming Up Wildflowers

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A rose can never be a sunflower, and a sunflower can never be a rose.

All flowers are beautiful in their own way, and that’s like women, too.

– Miranda Kerr

If you’re from Southern California, you likely heard about the wildflower “super bloom” at Carrizo Plain National Monument in San Luis Obispo County. For more photos of the beautiful yellow, purple, green and orange colors on the “velvet rolling hills” of the Temblor Range, check this Los Angeles Times photo story.

The wildflower eruption only lasted a few weeks, so I was lucky to catch it. In effort to create a whimsical photoshoot, I paired the beautiful landscape with two fabulous pieces of the same pattern from Forever 21 plus: a short romper and a long wrap dress. I love how the styling of the shoot came out and I hope you enjoy it, too.

Valentino came along for the journey to Carrizo Plain in California to see the Desert Superbloom of wild flowers.

Outfit details: Romper and Dress: Forever21+ | Shoes: Target | Necklace: Forever21 | Shoes: Merona

Photographer:  Jacqueline Vergara (IG: @animejax)