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Tag: chief of style

Black/Indigenous Reflections on White Supremacy (During a Pandemic)

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“You never completely have your rights, one person, until you all have your rights.” — Marsha P. Johnson

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve fallen apart and put myself back together over the past few months. People have asked me how I’m doing and my answer is almost always, “Up and down.” I’m trying to keep the faith, but real talk, it’s been hard.

Like a lot of Black people, I’ve spent the past few days, weeks, (months, years…) processing deep rooted trauma as a result of witnessing how little Black lives matter in all corners of the world. It honestly feels like I’m drowning in white supremacy/colonialism/capitalism. Couple that with being single at a time when I couldn’t possibly need love and tenderness more and you’ll see why it’s a miracle if I make it through each day at all, let alone in one piece.

Last week, I was doing some journaling and wrote down any and every thought that came to mind. I burst out in tears when I wrote the words, “I can’t breathe.” I wasn’t intending to be poetic (or trite). It’s honestly the only way I can describe a lifetime of feeling crushed by oppressive systems (racism, homophobia, sexism, capitalism, ableism, fat phobia, and white supremacy, which all work together seamlessly to make life nearly impossible for a BIPOC* person like myself) not to mention the ancestral trauma that lives within me.

Recent events have brought up so many feelings I’ve suppressed my entire life just to keep moving forward. But, during a pandemic there’s no escaping them. Quarantine is like a pressure cooker that threatens to explode at any moment (and has). My hope was we’d come out of isolation a kinder and more loving world, having realized we’re all in this together. Recent events make it clear that that dream is far from reality. What gives me some hope, though, is witnessing non-Black people having tough conversations and acknowledging their privilege and responsibility in dismantling the systems that not only put various communities at a disadvantage, but explicitly target them.

As challenging as this all is, I truly believe the only way out is through. So, I’m looking inward and focusing on what’s within my control so I can hopefully, one day soon, breathe.

#blacklivesmatter ✊🏽

*BIPOC=Black Indigenous People (Person) of Color

Amy Stretten Chief of Style, All Black Lives Matter

Photos by @lyvellg

Celebrating Women’s History Month with Cacique

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  “A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Hey babes! Happy Monday and Happy Women’s History Month! Can you believe it’s March already? 2020 is really flying by!

The above quote by Eleanor Roosevelt has always been one of my favorites. It honestly couldn’t be more true. After an incredibly tough 2019, I declared this my Comeback Season. (A reference to rapper/singer/actor, Drake’s 2007 mixtape.) Despite having what felt like a ton of bricks fall on my head last year and dealing with it almost totally alone, I’ve come to realize that I’m stronger than I ever could have imagined. I’ve been told over and over again by those who know my story that I’m an absolute badass for taking so many challenges head on with next to zero support. Pushing forward without any family, let alone my two pillars (my dad and my grandma who passed away in 2019 and 2017, respectively), has been incredibly difficult. But, I’m a fighter and I’m stubborn (#Taurus), so I refuse to give up.

One thing that has really helped me keep on keeping on has been prioritizing my self-care. Besides meditation, prayer, going to therapy and grief group and working with crystals and oracle cards, I’ve been intentionally shrinking my social circle, weeding out people (genuinely good people, don’t get me wrong) who just aren’t on my wavelength right now. My Sundays are now exclusively for self-care/self-love, so I give myself 24 hours to do absolutely nothing except what my spirit calls for. Usually that entails a long, hot bath or shower, lathering my skin with my favorite body cream, wearing my comfiest PJs, a face mask, some yoga or light stretching, chill music, hot tea, homemade brunch and a good book. I am incredibly intentional about who I spend my time with these days. And, on Sundays, it’s usually just Valentino (my adorable chihuahua pomeranian rescue/side kick) and me.

Another part of my self-care practice is treating myself to things that genuinely make me feel good. This includes comfortable, quality undergarments like the Cacique ‘So Light Boost Plunge Bra,’ their Extra Soft Cheeky Panty (both in ‘Cafe Mocha’) and this French Terry Sleep Robe (in Heather Gray) that I’m wearing here.

As you probably know by now, I’m a huge Lane Bryant fan and I absolutely adore their intimates line, Cacique. The fit and quality of their clothing and undergarments is one of the best—hands down!

What I love most about this bra is that it’s a boost bra (read: cleavage-making) with a plunge neckline and a light-as-a-feather feel that still provides lift, support and a shape that I love. Unlike a lot of boosting or push-up bras that feel heavy, the So Light Boost Plunge Bra is nearly weightless and has a super-smooth finish. There is no side boning and it features stay-put straps which give a more flexible and comfortable fit.

This bra is perfect for low-cut tops and dresses or for lounging around while looking as sexy as can be! (If you’re wanting more coverage, they also sell a lightly lined t-shirt bra.) Band sizes range from 34-46 and cup sizes range from B-H. Virtually anyone can enjoy the supportive, sexy comfort this bra provides!

So, if you’re in need of some spoiling, head on over to Lane Bryant/Cacique and treat yo’ self right this minute! You absolutely deserve it.

xoxo,

Amy (a.k.a. The Chief of Style)

 

The Chief of Style in Lane Bryant Cacique So Light Soft Plunge Plus Size Bra, Panties, and Bathrobe

The Chief of Style in Lane Bryant Cacique So Light Soft Plunge Plus Size Bra, Panties, and Bathrobe

The Chief of Style in Lane Bryant Cacique So Light Soft Plunge Plus Size Bra, Panties, and Bathrobe

The Chief of Style in Lane Bryant Cacique So Light Soft Plunge Plus Size Bra, Panties, and Bathrobe

The Chief of Style in Lane Bryant Cacique So Light Soft Plunge Plus Size Bra, Panties, and Bathrobe

 

Thank you to Lane Bryant for sponsoring this post. As always, all views expressed are my own.

Photography by Rebekah Maynard.

Warm Up With Lane Bryant’s Resort Collection

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“A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.” – Earl Wilson

January is proving to be the longest month ever, am I right? While I’m really loving this new 2020 energy (so long, 2019, a.k.a. the worst year ever!), I am a bit tired of the cold. I’m longing for hot summer days and long summer nights! 

Thankfully, Lane Bryant recently released their new (online only!) Resort Collection featuring a selection of the cutest pieces, perfect for showing a little (or a lot of) skin on your pre-Spring/Summer vacation!

I took a little trip this past weekend to Malibu and I was really feeling the summertime vibes. I had dinner at this cute little Mexican restaurant near the beach called The Cliffdiver and had to snap some photos in their adorable front patio!

Here I’m wearing a full LB look: medium wash denim jacket, longline bikini top, crisp white skinny jeans, woven slide sandals and a woven floppy hat. I actually loved the denim jacket so much, I had to get it in white, too!

As soon as it warms up a bit, I plan to head to Joshua Tree. I’m looking forward to to sipping fruity cocktails under the night stars in an outdoor jacuzzi, wearing my favorite Lane Bryant bikini, of course.

Are you planning a getaway? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, wearing fashion forward plus size pieces from the Lane Bryant and Cacique online only Resort Collection

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, wearing fashion forward plus size pieces from the Lane Bryant and Cacique online only Resort Collection

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, wearing fashion forward plus size pieces from the Lane Bryant and Cacique online only Resort Collection

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, wearing fashion forward plus size pieces from the Lane Bryant and Cacique online only Resort Collection

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, wearing fashion forward plus size pieces from the Lane Bryant and Cacique online only Resort Collection

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, wearing fashion forward plus size pieces from the Lane Bryant and Cacique online only Resort Collection

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, wearing fashion forward plus size pieces from the Lane Bryant and Cacique online only Resort Collection

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, wearing fashion forward plus size pieces from the Lane Bryant and Cacique online only Resort Collection

 

Thank you to Lane Bryant for sponsoring this post. As always, all views expressed are my own.

What Queer Femmes of All Sizes Should Wear to Show Their LGBTQ+ Pride

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“If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?” –Ru Paul

I really love this time of year! It’s June, meaning it’s officially summer and LGBTQ+ Pride month; time for rainbows, parades and dancing in the street (covered in glitter, of course).

I have a love-hate feeling about the corporatization of all things LGBT (and sometimes Q) by companies looking to profit from a community with a long history of struggle with no awareness or appreciation for the activists who are responsible for the progress we’ve made toward equality. Namely, Black and Brown transwomen. The first Pride was a riot, after all. However, I sincerely appreciate brands that give back to queer communities through contributions to LGBTQ non-profits such as the It Gets Better Project, True Colors United and the Ali Forney Center, for example.

Most of my love for rainbow everything comes from wanting access to clothing and accessories that will allow me to show my Pride and also read hella gay. It may sound silly, but when you’re femme and no one can tell by looking at you, it can feel empowering AF to wear a universal queer symbol. It’s sad, but true.

What’s even more tragic is a lot of LGBTQ+ Pride wear isn’t made in plus sizes. While 68% of American women wear a size 14+, according to Racked, plus size clothing only makes up 2.3% of the selection at major retailers. And, from my own (admittedly un-scientific, yet probably still very accurate) assessment, there weren’t many size inclusive options for plus size folx to show their pride this year.

One exception is well-known plus size retailer Lane Bryant‘s lingerie brand, Cacique (which is known for its high quality and recently expanded size range to include even more sizes: 0-28!). This year, they designed a collection of several absolutely adorable bra/panty sets and pajamas.

*See below for links to some of my favorite pieces from Cacique’s Pride collection!

I’m really excited to share that I was asked to model Cacique’s Pride collection this year! (Be a doll and leave some love on my IG: @chiefofstyle, Cacique’s IG: @caciqueintimaes and Lane Bryant’s IG: @lanebryant as well as on their Facebook and Twitter accounts!)

Cacique contributed 10% of the purchase price of their Pride collection (a total of $30K!) to GLSEN, which aims to end discrimination, harassment and bullying of LGBT students in school. Love!

Here are some of my favorite pieces from the Pride collection:

Pride to me means loving who you are (all parts of you), exactly how you are. Thanks to Cacique, no matter your size, you can show your Pride. And, just as sweet, know your dollars are going to a good cause!

Oh, and I almost forgot! Cacique and Lane Bryant are having a semi-annual clearance sale right now!

(Run, don’t walk!)

Chief of Style wearing Cacique by Lane Bryant LGBTQ Pride Collection with rainbow lace and hearts

Chief of Style wearing Cacique by Lane Bryant LGBTQ Pride Collection with rainbow lace and hearts

Chief of Style wearing Cacique by Lane Bryant LGBTQ Pride Collection with rainbow lace and hearts

Thank you to Cacique for sponsoring this post. As always, all views expressed are my own.

My Big Fig Mattress Review

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For those who don’t know (which is probably most, if not all of you), I suffer from lower back pain due to a spine condition called spondylolisthesis. There’s not a single moment during my day when I don’t feel at least some type of discomfort (or excruciating pain) in my lower back (specifically, my L-5, S-1 and S-2). Over the years, the issue with my lower back has contributed to pain felt in my upper back, shoulders, neck and radiating pain down my the backs of my legs. In order to keep the pain at bay, I have to switch my position regularly and take pain medication. That said, my lower back pain has made falling asleep and staying asleep rather difficult.

I’ve purchased three mattresses in my adult life. All of them claimed to be ideal for back pain sufferers, but none of them helped me. Enter the Big Fig mattress

I first heard about Big Fig on Instagram. One of my fellow blogger-friends shared her experience sleeping on a Big Fig and I was curious. I did a little research of my own and I felt cautiously optimistic that this might be the ideal bed for me. So, when I was given the opportunity to try one in exchange for a review and some promotion, I jumped at the chance!

I was admittedly very nervous about trading in my two year-old department store mattress for a Big Fig first and foremost because I never got the chance to try one out to see how comfortable it was. But, I stepped out on faith and hoped and prayed I would like it once it arrived.

Had I known two years ago that I’d have the best sleep of my life on a Big Fig mattress, I would have never bought a department store mattress!

Sleeping on my Big Fig mattress is like sleeping on a cloud, but a supportive cloud that doesn’t make you hot when you sleep (like many memory foam mattresses). Big Fig is made for larger bodies (the name Big Fig comes from “bigger figure”), so it’s a plus size-friendly mattress, but can work for anyone of any size. Some of my favorite features of the Big Fig are:

  • ThermoGel cooling technology which regulates temperature
  • 1600 pocketed coil springs to support the neck and back
  • three layers of high density poly foam for a firm cushion
  • foundation supports 5x the weight of a typical foundation
  • And, all mattresses come with a 20 year warranty!

If you’re on the market for a new mattress (or yours just doesn’t cut it anymore), do yourself a favor and consider investing in a Big Fig mattress. I promise you won’t be sorry!

They even make their mattresses in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen King and California King. And, best of all, the process to order a mattress along with their white glove delivery service couldn’t be smoother. From ordering to sleeping, Big Fig gets it right.

They’re currently having a holiday sale for $199 off the cost of a mattress and white glove delivery with code WHITEGLOVE. Why not start 2019 with a good night’s sleep? New year, new you, right?

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style and her Big Fig mattress

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style and her Big Fig mattress

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style and her Big Fig mattress

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style and her Big Fig mattress

 

*Thank you to Big Fig Mattress for sending me a mattress to review. As always, all views expressed are my true and honest opinions.