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Thursday, 12 April 2018

SHOPPING RANT & PENNINGTONS GIVEAWAY

I used to spend my money on shoes and accessories and stick to a pretty boring uniform when it came to my clothes. You folks have seen that on my Instagram and my blog over the years and no one has really questioned it. I would be able drop hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a cute bag but rock the same uniform it is threadbare. Why? Because shopping for clothes in person is rarely an option for people with bodies like mine.

Plus size shopping in Canada can be down right cruel and the options are limited. I can count on one hand the stores that I actually like and that fit my body, my personal style and my budget. The options are growing, and I'm thankful for that, but it's still frustrating as hell when you walk into a large store (I'm not naming names, but y'all know who I'm talking about here) to find an ocean of options up to size large and then find out that the two racks that they had for plus are now available online only.

I'm a big supporter in online shopping but online only options for plus size bodies makes me sick. How am I supposed to know what my size is at your store? Why don't you want to see or serve people like me in-store? The phrase 'online only' makes my skin crawl and it's the fastest way to lose out on my business. Retailers, take note. 

It's frustrating. It's isolating. And it's not fair.

I posted about this on my Instagram a couple of months ago and captioned it with my frustration on mall-shopping and a lot of you either commented on the picture or sent me a DM about it saying how relatable that post was. 

That post gained a lot of traction - so much in fact, that one of my favourite clothing brands, Penningtons, saw it and reached out to me. They invited me to come shop with them and they showed me their new collection; they helped me see how fun shopping for clothes can be.

I picked out a few pieces from them that are now in heavy rotation in my wardrobe. The blouse and the trousers pictured below are two out of four pieces that I grabbed and honestly, I live in them. I've since gone back and picked up a second pair of those trousers just because I wear and love them -that- often; they're so easy to style and to dress up or down and I honestly believe that everyone should have a similar pair in their wardrobe. They're effortless, cool and they have the perfect amount of stretch to them.

Penningtons is a brand that I admire because they offer their pieces in sizes X(14/16) to 5X(30/32) (and some up to 6X) and they're known for their killer sales (sometimes up to 70% off of sale items). Their fashion is accessible and they have something for a variety of plus size bodies. I've shopped with them throughout the years and I can honestly say their selection and their styles keep getting better and better every season. They've always been my first stop when clothes shopping and I love that I can actually go IN STORE and try things on. It may not seem revolutionary to straight sized people but that's a huge plus when you're plus sized.

- - - - - GIVEAWAY - - - - -

I wouldn't be praising this brand and all that they've done for me without giving anything back so I'm holding a contest over on my Instagram and Facebook page - the winner will receive a $50 Penningtons gift card and a little care package from yours truly. The rules and regulations are all outlined over on my Instagram/Facebook post. This contest is open until 11:59PM April 30th, 2018 and is open Canada-wide. GOOD LUCK to all that enter!! xo 

JACKET/ Addition Elle TOP/ Penningtons (c/o) PANTS/ Penningtons (c/o)

* ^ find the picture above on my Instagram/Facebook to see details on the giveaway! ^ *

Photos by Jessie Larabie
* The blouse and the trousers were bought using a gift card that was gifted to me by Penningtons

Saturday, 16 December 2017

BIRTHDAY POST/ advice for my younger self

I'm turning 26 today.
But I don't feel 26.

When I was a teenager I thought that by the time I was 25 I'd have everything figured out. I was supposed to be in a longterm relationship by then, I was supposed to be finished post secondary, maybe have a house of my own, definitely a career and a couple of pets.

But my life didn't work out that way.

And at first I was ashamed of myself. For many years I saw the people around me graduating school, falling in love and crossing things off their life's to-do list as I sat and stared at the unchecked boxes on mine. I felt like my life, and certainly my youth, was slipping away from me.

Looking back and sitting where I'm sitting now, in a life that I'm happy with, I'm realizing that I wouldn't have been happy with the life that I thought I was supposed to live. I knew deep down in my heart that wasn't something that I really wanted so quickly. I'm a Sagittarius, I like to explore and I want to experience everything to its fullest. Settling down wasn't in the cards for me, and it looks like it still isn't, but I'm okay with that. We're told that we have to do certain things by a certain age and that if we don't keep up with the status quo we're falling behind but that really isn't the case.

Here's some advice that I wish I took to heart when I was younger: Do things at your own pace. Timelines mean absolutely nothing when you're trying to get over or through things. Do things that you're comfortable with, when you're comfortable. Try not to compare yourself to those around you - you're all going through different things. Lift each other up and try to ask for help when you need it. Live your life for yourself and take care of yourself the best that you can. 

And here's another bit:
It's never too late.

Today I'm 26 years old. I'm writing this blog post from my apartment in Toronto. I moved out from my parents house a couple of months ago and I'm finishing up my first semester in a post secondary program. I've tried college twice before, but it wasn't for me. This time it feels like it is. I wasn't ready then but now I am and that's okay. It's all apart of my journey and I'm ~hashtag blessed~ to have you all along for this portion of it.

DRESS/ H&M+ LEGGINGS/ H&M+ BELT/ Addition Elle 
BOOTS/ Dr. Martens HANDBAG/ Alexander Wang 'Mini Rockie'
Photos by Jessie Larabie

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

INTRODUCING: KJ of LUCKY LITTLE QUEER


KJ is the creative mind behind Lucky Little Queer. We've known each other for a couple of years now and I'm constantly amazed by them and their creativity. 

Lucky Little Queer's art really speaks to me. I've said it before and I'll say it again, feminist art is my favourite kind of art. Their pieces are absolutely beautiful and they all come with important messages. I have a floral piece that says 'girls supporting girls' proudly hanging in my room; I'm looking to grow my collection and I'm hoping to commission a tattoo from them in the near future. 

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They were kind enough to answer a couple of questions about Lucky Little Queer - they talk about where the name came from, what inspires them and where you can find them:

I started selling my art as Lucky Little Queer late December of 2016, so almost a year ago.

I’ve always been passionate about art and I’ve always had a drive to create, but until I started Lucky Little Queer I only tended to use it as an outlet for the things I was experiencing growing up, like working through trauma, discovering my queer and trans identity, and being mentally ill. I found creating art to be very healing for me, but I wanted to create positive, affirmative pieces that I could use as a tool to bond and connect with others. I realized that there really isn’t a lot of public art that is relatable for folks with identities similar to mine; I never really saw positive messaging surrounding nonbinary and gender-diverse identities, and a lot of common queer rhetoric focuses only on our struggles and social challenges we face. I started posting my own pieces online that featured positive messages surrounding queer identity, with flowers and bright colours being a main focus in my work. I saw that there seems to be a want or a need within our community to celebrate who we are, so my drive tends to stem from that.

I named my art business Lucky Little Queer because I seriously am a lucky little queer. I consider myself so blessed to be where I am in my life. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, I have such strong supportive figures surrounding me, and I am so lucky to be able to do the work that I do and have the encouragement of my community around me. I’m also just queer as fuck and want everyone to know.

You can find me on Instagram and Facebook at @luckylittlequeer. I sell existing pieces and I also love doing unique commissions so I would love to hear from you! 

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Lucky Little Queer will be selling their pieces at Happy Goat in Sandy Hill (317 Wilbrod) this upcoming Thursday (December 14th) from 3 - 8PM at the Straight GOODS Year End Art Sale.


Thursday, 7 December 2017

PLUS SIZE WINTER COATS/ fashion & function

Winter where I'm from chills to the bone; it's not uncommon for my hometown to get temperatures down to -30 degrees celsius. Canadian winters can feel absolutely unbearable at times and they seem to drag on and on and on.

I have exactly four winter coats in my collection and I've had them for years - only one of them is suitable for extremely cold days and only half of my collection have hoods. Finding outwear pieces suitable for horrible Ottawa winters, especially when you're plus size, is beyond difficult.

When I'm shopping for a new winter coat I look for a couple of things:

1) a cold rating - a lot of manufacturers will add a cold rating showing that a piece is suitable down to a certain degree
2) if it has a hood - very important for when you forget your toque
3) if it's waterproof - things like freezing rain and snow storms happen, unfortunately
4) the length of it - I feel more comfortable if more of my body is covered but not too long where it would make it difficult to walk
and last but not least...
5) if it's something stylish enough that I can bare to wear for the next 4+ months


My last couple of heavy duty winter coats have all looked the exact same - they've been army green parkas. The army green colour isn't as boring as a black or a grey but it still goes with everything, and I love how parkas aren't as bulky as a puffer but they're still warm. My current one (I blogged about it here) is from Eddie Bauer and I've worn it for the last two winters. It's definitely my favourite and it keeps me warm on those bone chilling winter days.

I'm lucky to now live in a city where winter doesn't hit as hard as it does in my hometown, but I still live in Canada so winter is something I still have to prepare for. Here are some stylish winter coat options available in plus sizes - I have them in two different categories, fashion (lighter weight) and function (for Ottawa-like winters), to help you find what you're looking for with ease.

These are all styles that I would personally rock but it's also worth taking a look at outdoor brands and department stores to see what they have available as well. If you're looking for something super warm - down filled is always a great option but parkas, like I said, are my personal favourite.

* the images below are linked to affiliate links 


FASHION



FUNCTION