Weeks in Review: 45-53

I promised you a Week(s!) in Review, and here it is! Don’t worry that it’s 8 weeks long – I really mostly hibernate in Jan/Feb every year. It’s cold, it’s dark, bleh. Most days I’m home from work by 4:30, I take off my bra (OH, THE JOY), put on comfy clothes and just relax alone at home.

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In yesterday’s Catching Up  post I mentioned my highly technical “tipsy tripod.” I forgot I had a pull-back shot of it, so this is what I’ve been using when I shoot in the apartment. Fortunately Caleb usually naps  supervises from his sofa vantage point or I’d be afraid of him just touching these tables and toppling everything over. They’re very lightweight.

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A sample shot from “the studio.”

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I just thought this was a good message to be driving around in the world. Sometimes I can use a reminder. I was actually on the way to a friend’s birthday meetup that day and it *was* a good day.

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And then we went to Maine. It was supposed to be a 2-night stay, but due to WINTER it became a 4-night stay. So I wore this outfit A LOT. I had my long silk underwear on underneath so I was super sweaty cozy on the flight, but I was grateful when we got to 9-degree Maine.

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We discovered an awesome vegan restaurant called Green Elephant right around the corner from the hotel and we ate there two nights. You have no idea How Nice it is to actually have MULTIPLE OPTIONS in a restaurant. I had the Chocolate Orange Mousse Pie. It was UH-mazing. If you’re ever in Portland, even if you’re not vegan, you should have a meal there. My traveling companion is a confirmed carnivore AND amazing cook and she really raved about the food.

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The view out our hotel window. It was ALWAYS snowing. Sometimes harder, sometimes softer, but snow was falling from the sky the entire time we were there. Which is why our flights kept being cancelled.

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Good thing I brought activities!

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There was a cute lil park right outside our hotel with these fun lighted trees.

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Caleb (the tiny one) was hanging with his cousins back on also snowy Long Island while I was away. The ex sent lots of pictures so I could see how he was doing.

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And FINALLY there was a non-snow day on Tuesday and we hightailed it out of Maine by rental car. Just in time because they commenced having snow-storms again the very next day.

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I was happy to be home AND HAVE SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO WEAR. I had a Gwynnie Bee package waiting for me with this and another sweater in it.

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The kids were happy to be home as well.

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And yesterday, I finally got to a sunset for the first time in ages. It was windy and freezing and we only stayed long enough to take a couple pictures…but it was nice to see the sky again.

I was *supposed* to be blog photo-shooting this morning but I woke up to dense fog and misty skies…so we’ve rescheduled for tomorrow. So I *will* have some outfit posts up soon – one top I am IN LOVE with…and it’s even a TREND item and that’s not usually my thing, but. I’m excited to share with you.

Hope you’re all having a nice weekend.

xoxo Bettye

Catching Up…

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Totally random picture of my dog cuz come’on. Is he not the handsomest ever? And there had to be SOMETHING good about this post….

So…February has been a very challenging month for me…I’m not seeing the end of the tunnel yet either, but…the show must go on. And I don’t want this to be a pity party post, but I do want to explain why I have been MIA.

To start, I have some health/medical issues going on, nothing So Serious, but painful and at times incapacitating…they have made it difficult to meet up with anyone to shoot blog photos. I have a vision for this blog and I get frustrated when I can’t make it be The Way I Want it To Be…so I put off and put off, thinking an opportunity is right around the corner, and before you know it an entire month has gone by and there hasn’t been a blog post in ages!

If you follow me on Instagram then you know about my trip to Maine and how we got stuck there in blizzard after blizzard and finally had to just drive home because if we’d waited for a flight to actually leave the ground we might still be there! I missed both Valentine’s Day AND my blog’s One Year Anniversary (Happy Blogiversary to Me!). I’d had plans for a special anniversary shoot, but that didn’t happen and I don’t see it happening in the near future so I’m going to have to come up with something closer to home. Like…right here in my living room 😦

That’s another issue I’ve been having. When I started the blog it didn’t really occur to me just how much I was going to have to rely on other people for blog photos. I’d been getting Outfit of the Day shots done pretty regularly, but One Photo in the parking lot at work, and Ten-ish Photos in an interesting location are very different animals. And my friends have been great…but a year in I’m sure they’re getting weary of me asking them to do photo shoots with me, and they all have their own lives and their own issues and I totally get it. I’m SO appreciative of the time they gave me over the last year…but I’ve got to come up with another plan. I know some people do selfies with their tripods but I have a cheappieceofcrap tripod that doesn’t support the weight of my camera and lens so I can’t trust walking away from it. I’ve taken some blog photos in my apartment by creating a “tipsy tripod” out of two end tables stacked on top of one another but I’m not a fan of doing blog post after blog post with pictures of me in front of the window in my living room. Yawn. It bores me just thinking about it. The photography is a very important element to me and I’m so frustrated that I’m being unable to achieve what I envision in my mind’s eye.

And last but not least, I’ve had computer issues for the past month. My computer got wiped out by a bad virus* (yes I have anti-virus software and no they are not foolproof). It was awhile before I could get that looked at (cuz money). The computer guy thought he had it fixed, but no. So he gave me a used computer from his business (I couldn’t buy new cuz money). That had its OWN issues and he eventually came back and brought me ANOTHER used computer this week, and knock on wood, so far so good. But trying to do ANYTHING on computers that keep fritzing out on you is very frustrating and eventually I just threw in the towel and Let It All Go.

So, that is my story. I’m sorry this was so unbearably long, but I wanted to explain my trials and tribulations. And as I mentioned while commenting on someone else’s blog, Life is Not Always Pretty in Blog-land. Sh*t Happens. Things Break. We don’t feel well enough to shoot. Blizzards. Photographers (shockingly, ha) are not lining up at my door hoping to take my picture. Wah Wah Wah. Poor Me. I don’t want to be that person…but this month…I really felt like that person. I’m hoping the new month ahead, the new season, *something* will bring about a change, cuz right now I can barely get out of my own way.

I’m not looking for “oh poor you,” I just wanted to explain my absence.

I’m going to stop talking now 🙂  And tomorrow will do a big “Many Weeks in Review” catch-up post and hopefully next week be back on track. Cuz I really miss blogging when I don’t do it. I’m always thinking of post ideas or things I want to share…and I miss you guys 🙂

xoxo Bettye

* Oh! The virus, just to give y’all a heads up. It was a phony “update your Java” pop-up. Computer guy said if you ever see that, don’t click it, but go to the Java website instead and see if there’s actually an update and download it from there if it is.

Just Keepin’ It Real

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So, I know I’ve been sharing a lot of casual outfits lately…and especially “jeans’n’sneakers” looks, which is not really my normal MO, but….

a) I think I have worn every cold-weather item in my closet multiple times for the blog, I’ve mixed and matched just about every possible combination I can come up with. Soon I’m going to be wearing things inside and out and upside down just to show things in different ways. I keep a really small wardrobe and I’m still a couple items short of completing a couple different outfits (HOW CAN A PLAIN WHITE SHIRT BE SO HARD TO FIND???). I repeat outfits a lot in my daily life, but it would be pretty boring for you guys to see that on the blog, so…I’m trying to stretch it out as far as I can but we’re getting down to the bare bones. Pretty soon it’s going to be “you can’t see it, but I’m wearing a different bra today,” ha.

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b) When I get items from Gwynnie Bee and they’re not something I would actually wear in my actual life, I don’t share them in an outfit post. My aim with outfit posts is to show what I *actually* wear in my actual life.

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c) My heel really really really hurts! I have plantar fasciitis in my left heel and it is so so painful…that I wear sneakers a LOT more than I usually do just in an effort to keep my feet a little more comfortable. All day long I look forward to getting home and putting on my wonderful orthotic slippers (oh MAN do I sound old!) and getting some relief. Next is a pair of orthotic sneakers. Oh yeah, this is one sexy fashion blog 🙂

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So, the point is, I’m just trying to keep it real. Bear with me. It’ll be spring soon and there’ll be some new looks…and lots of try-on hauls!

These pictures were taken on a cold day in Rockaway Park, Queens. Me and my blogger friend Marcy of Fearlessly Just Me were looking for an interesting spot and I just loved this old “Sea-Port” building. We decided we really need to do a behind-the-scenes vlog because shoot days are pretty hysterical with us changing clothes in the  car, trying to sneak into places, climbing on things for “that perfect shot,” etc.

I love this soft Style&Co sweater. It has an interesting detail of cable stitch along the hemline and allover on the back. Kinda “business in the front, party in the back.” It’s nice and loose fitting so a silk tee or turtleneck fits easily underneath.

And this has been my favorite scarf this winter – it is so so long! Which is very nice on a plus size body (read: fat neck) because there’s actually enough length to wrap it around several times and not just have little stump ends left over like with normal length scarves.

I’m looking forward to maybe a big snow later this week! Ooh, and a super secret work trip…but I’ll share that when the time comes…

What I’m Wearing:

Wanted: A Plus Size Miracle

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This cardigan is one of my favorite purchases of the fall/winter. It’s soft and cozy and moozhy* and warm (love) without being overly thick and stiff and bulky (hate). I would love more like this. But here’s the thing – there are *very* few plus size options in the moozhy realm. Site after site, when you search on “sweaters,” there is a plethora of thin knits, mostly crew and v-neck, or cowl neck (a personal NON-favorite)…and they try and pass off jersey-type knits as “sweaters.” I am on the search for more textural knits, chunky knits. It’s like finding a needle in the haystack for this plus-size gal…whereas my straight size sisters have TONS of options. Maybe the designers think the plus size gals are fluffy ENOUGH, we don’t need fluffy sweaters ADDING to our “bulk”?? Ahem. It’s a hard cold world out there. This plus size girl wants all the comfy cozy FLUFFY she can get!

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Question: if the average woman’s size in the US is 16, then why are there SO many more sizes available UNDER size 16 and so FEW sizes available ABOVE 16?. If you search at, say, Nordstrom, which actually HAS a large plus size section (relatively speaking), on “sweater,” in the straight-size section you get 2000-ish results. If you search on sweater under plus sizes….184. Come on! And OF those whopping 184 plus size sweater options, how many are something other than a fine, thin knit?? VERY. FEW. Where’s the boucle? Where’s the chenille? Where are the super-soft chunky knits? Where are the big half-your-face covering turtlenecks? I’m not saying they don’t exist AT ALL, but there are very VERY few of them. I think there are two. And I own them both (funny not funny).

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And to complicate matters even further…I would like to start moving my grey cold weather palette towards blush, oatmeal, soft soft pink as we head (soon. right? soon?) towards milder weather. I see these colors EVERYWHERE online. In shops, on fashion bloggers, on Instagram. But guess what? That palette virtually Does Not Exist in plus sizes. WTF??? Is it too much to ask for a cozy soft textural blush knit cardigan? Is it? Apparently it is.

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Grr. You know what else is annoying (I’m on a roll now!)?? Going into a store that carries “straight and plus sizes,” and seeing rack after rack after rack after RACK of straight sizes…and I’m talking the LONG racks, like at TJ Maxx or Burlington or Nordstrom Rack or Macy’s Backstage…and seeing two racks – two SHORT racks for plus sizes. IF PLUS SIZE WOMEN MAKE UP HALF THE FEMALE CLOTHES-WEARING POPULATION, WHY DO WE ONLY HAVE LIKE 10% (this is an estimated “eyeballed” estimate) OF THE CLOTHING OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO US??? How does that make sense??

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Sigh. I just want a pretty sweater. I’m not talking a giant miracle here. Or maybe I am. I’d like a plus-sized miracle, please.

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So  if you have been challenged by this same thing, there are some things you can do. When I get those little pop-ups on online shopping sites that say “how’d we do?” or “how was your shopping experience?” I take the time to respond. I say, “Gosh, you have so many great items! I really want to buy Item X but I don’t see it in a Size 24. Where do you keep the sizes for ALL the ladies??” Now I know perfectly well they don’t CARRY size 24 (or 20, 18, 16, 14 and maybe even 12…and CERTAINLY not size 26, 28 or 30), but I’m trying to make the point that MY MONEY IS JUST AS VALUABLE AS THE SIZE 0-10 GIRLS, WHY DON’T YOU WANT IT?

I’ve also been thinking about getting together a letter-writing campaign to straight size brands saying essentially the above “we want your nice things, we want to give you our money, please make this possible.”

Blogger Sara Chiwaya at Curvily started a hashtag campaign a few years ago called #PlusSizePlease…in which if you see a straight size item you wish was in a plus size, you take a pic and put it on social media with the brand’s name and hashtag #PlusSizePlease. Read more about it here . I don’t know how active this is any more but it could (and SHOULD!) be resurrected.

Vent over.

*moozhy: my word for soft, cozy, warm, textural, maybe a little puffy

What I’m Wearing:

Mixing It Up. Again.

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you know about The Invisible Dress, because I have mentioned it 12,483 times…and have worn it almost as much. It’s just a simple black sleeveless swing dress I got from ASOS Curve last spring and I’ve dressed it up and dressed it down, worn it alone and with other pieces over it. If you’re not familiar with The Dress, you can see it here and here .

Well it occurred to me recently that not only can I put things OVER it, I can also put things UNDER it…and wear it like a proper jumper (not an English “jumper,” which is really a sweater).

So that’s what I did here. I actually had done a little video with the two outfits, but I, in my vast experience, managed to accidentally delete one clip and that was the better one, so…I need more practice.

Enough talking, here are the looks:

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I paired it here with a lightweight polka-dot blouse, sleeves rolled up, collar buttoned up. I would wear this to work or to a professional meeting away from the office.

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I like the juxtaposition of the faux-leather moto “bad a**” (ha ha) jacket over the more, literally, buttoned-up conservative outfit underneath.

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Side note: it’s so funny, when I look in the mirror I feel like I have SO much make-up on…but when I see the pictures later I’m like, do I have ANY make-up on?? Need to work on that.

The second look is more casual. I would wear this to work but also to meet friends after work for coffee or dinner.

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Side Note: I do not own a full-length mirror…and sometimes shoe choices look alright in my mind’s eye or in the bird’s eye view I have of them from above…but if I see myself in a mirror somewhere else later or in a picture…I am horrified. Like right now. In the video clip I talked about how I would really pair this look with a pair of white sneakers but one of my white sneakers has been missing for months (think it’s with the black duster??) so these seemed casual and appropriate. In my head. They. Are. Not. Please pretend I am wearing almost anything else on my feet here.

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Okay, so this blue Tencel chambray blouse dresses this look down a bit I think, to a more casual level. In the video I rolled up the sleeves and it looked better but you’re not seeing that here.

If I was going out I might put a denim jacket over this or an olive green utility jacket, to keep with the low-key vibe.

So I now have like 3 dozen different ways to wear this one dress, ha. Do you have one item that you accessorize a gazillion different ways? Can you think of a piece of clothing you have in your wardrobe that you always wear a certain way…that you could maybe do something completely different with? You’d be surprised.

I apologize for all the technical difficulties. Between the video attempts and the fact that my computer has been dying a rapid death for the past weeks and I’ve been working on an ancient laptop without full *anything* capability, I’ve been a little out of blogging sorts. I hope to only get better from here 🙂

What I’m Wearing:

  • ASOS Curve Sleeveless Swing Dress, size 22. Sold out, similar here (this actually looks like the identical dress to me)
  • Who What Wear polkadot blouse via Target, size 22. Sold out, similar here
  • Blue Tencel blouse from Charlotte Russe, size 24. Sold out, similar here

Gwynnie Bee Try-on Haul

So…before I get into the trying on, I wanted to share with you one of my goals for the blog for 2017 – VIDEO. Not instead of the written blog, but in addition to it. I think it’s nice to feel like you’re sort of having a conversation with a person (albeit one-sided) and video can help things feel more like that. Also, it’s helpful to be able to see the movement in clothes – how does the fabric fall and drape, what happens to the dress when you move or sit…all shown better in a video than a still photograph.

My defined goal was to have a YouTube channel up and running with some decent production quality vlogs…by July. But it’s all harder than it seems (!!!) so guess who gets to be my test audience? YOU! Ha. I don’t know if I should say “You’re Welcome” or “I’m Sorry,” but I’ll be sharing short videos here as I practice this new skill. Please share any thoughts or critiques. I know in the beginning these will be pretty rough – I don’t really have proper videoing equipment or lighting or anything, I’m just using what I have for now til I see if this is something I even really like doing.

So. That brings us to today’s post. I hadn’t really meant to share anything so soon, but…I video’d two Gwynnie Bee items that arrived this week for a Gwynnie Bee Facebook group I’m in (we like to share our “try-on’s” with one another so other people can tell if the item is something they’d like to put in their online closet), so I wasn’t thinking of things like, oh, sweeping up the dog hair off the floor, or maybe brushing my hair or putting away all the mess in the line of the camera. But I just had a little fun with it and then thought, you know what? I could use this on the blog with the caveat LOW EXPECTATIONS = SMALL DISAPPOINTMENTS, ha. It’s really a mess. But that’s why this blog is called Fashion SCHLUB and NOT I’m A Pretty Pretty Princess.

So here you go. Note: I don’t always hate *everything,* ha. And pardon my voice, I’ve been on and off sick since Thanksgiving.

SCARY.

Your Mama Ain’t Always Right

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I. Love. This. Dress. I love it almost as much as the invisible black dress I’ve worn 12,657,921 times since I bought it from ASOS last March. Guess where I bought this dress from? ASOS! ASOS Curve, to be exact. They have such a great selection of plus size clothing. I was asked the other day what plus size brands are my favorite, and I have to say if I had to purchase from only one brand forevermore…it would be ASOS (this is not a sponsored post! I just love them that much).

It looks kinda like a sack, you say? HELL YEAH IT DOES!!! That’s exactly what I love about it. It just skims away from my body, there’s nothing to shift or tug or adjust. It’s like wearing your nightgown out in public. And we all know that’s my Fashion Holy Grail 🙂

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In spite of it being sack-like, I think it falls nicely in the category of “minimal.” It has very simple, clean lines…the only detail being the ribbing on the body (the sleeves are smooth), which seems a little spage-agey to me. It reminds me of the Robot’s arms&legs from Lost in Space.

My mother used to say you couldn’t mix black and navy. I happen to think black and navy is very chic. Mama ain’t always right.

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What did I tell you?? There’s always one…

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We shot this in the West End of Long Beach, a charming beachy community. It turns out there’s a story behind this be-flagged box in the street. A resident of the street turned the car-blocking (it’s a narrow one-way street) planter into a memorial when he discovered that a neighbor’s daughter was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. He painted the planter, added the flag pole and flags and put a protected September 11 remembrance flag on the base. He regularly updates the memorial with plants or flowers and decorations appropriate to season or holiday.

My friend Marcy of Fearlessly Just Me took these photos. We’ve been taking turns photographing one another for our respective blogs.

What fashion advice do *you* ignore?

What I Wore:

  • Asos Curve Ripple Stitch navy knit dress, size 26
  • Black faux leather moto jacket by Bongo, via Sears, 3x
  • Black footless fleece-lined tights from Maurice’s, 3x
  • Faux black leather booties from Avenue