Define Brave: Katie K. Active Wear Review

Do you guys remember that time I raved about Taffy Activewear? Taffy is a stylish boutique clothing line with super high quality athletic wear for curvy chicks like myself. A few months ago, I found out that the creator of Taffy, Katie K. herself, also had another activewear line called Katie K. Active. I was offered the opportunity to be a #definebrave ambassador, and I’m excited to tell you more about this cool line of clothing.

Defining Brave with Katie K. Activewear

Katie K. Does something I wish all clothing lines would do- offer the same pieces in standard and plus sizes (Sizes 2 – 24, to be exact)! One thing I’m looking forward to about getting out of plus sizes is having better variety in clothes. Last week at Kohl’s, I saw an adorable t-shirt with bicycles all over it. Had I wanted to squeeze myself into the large, sausage style, I could have, but that’s not my jam. I want to feel comfortable in the clothes I’m in, not constantly be worried about an escaping muffin top. I was delighted when I was browsing the Katie K line online and was able to pick a plus version of every style they offer. I ended up choosing: The Katie K. Signature Capri,  the Signature Jacket in Black,and the Signature Racer Back Tank in Coral. As a bonus, I also received a Signature Headband to match my cute coral tank.

AlyssaCurran_KatieKaCtive3One of the first things you’ll notice about this line is the quality. As someone who usually wears Old Navy activewear, I’m not used to athletic clothes that actually have great fabric quality. The fabric on all three pieces is tough, yet soft, and the seams are all strong and even. The capris are perfect because they smooth out my wobbly bits, sucking in my tummy to give me the sleek look I’m working out for. The capris also have a nice reflective design on the lower leg (that match the same design on the sleeve of the jacket), a nice nod to visibility safety.

ThumbLoop_KatieKActive_DoubleChinDiary

The jacket might be my favorite because it has thumb loops!!! This is great for lifting weights or walking in less than desirable weather, because you can keep your wrists and upper hands covered. I was so jazzed about this I had to take a picture of this feature alone. You also have pockets with zip closures, and a hood. The jacket seems to be the same material as the pants, so you have a nice stretch but also a flattering cut that streamlines your silhouette.

KatieKActive4

The top is sweat wicking and comes in a criss cross racer style tank. My next purchase is definitely going to be this adorable coral cowl neck top (in fact, I’d probably wear this for a night out – not to the gym! It’s that cute!).  I’d really recommend you look into Katie K., and the time is right, because they’re running a 40% off sale right now only with code ALYSSA40! I may have to get myself a few items… Who can resist a sale?

Have you heard of Katie K. Active? Be sure to check them out on social media and say hi!

Correction: An earlier version said the capris do not have pockets. The Capris DO have pockets, they’re just so slim and sleek I missed ’em!

Stuff my lawyer made me say: This outfit was provided to me free of charge in exchange for accepting an Ambassador role with Katie K., helping to share news and information on social media. This post contains affiliate links, which might make me a few nickels if ya click ’em. (So click ’em!) 😉 Please let me know if you have any questions!

Stretchy Pants, and Remembering to Wear Jeans

Look down. What are you wearing today? Most of you are wearing slacks, or a skirt, or a dress, or Chinos, or khakis, or jeans. I used to wear jeans way more often. But lately? I wear a lot of stretchy pants.

“Sometimes, you wear stretchy pants.” Nacho Libre image from blog.logmycalls.com

Why do I wear so many stretchy pants? Because I work from home. And when you work from home, you wear your comfies, your cozies, the shirt with the unfortunate mustard stain right across the chest, or the pants with the hole that are just so darn comfortable. Because no one can see you! No video conferencing, no lunch meetings, no need to be dressed professionally — cuz gosh darnit, you do the best you can do when you’re at your most comfortable, right? Right! (It’s a miracle I brush my hair most days. And don’t even get me started on the days I put on makeup. I feel like a different person!)

I’ve worked from home before, and this time, I’m being cautious about my affinity for stretchy pants. Why? Because if you don’t occasionally remember to wear jeans, one day, you’ll be forced to go out into public, and you’ll put on your jeans — and they won’t fit. It starts slowly; a little more snug here, a little more fabric crease indentations in your skin there. You make a mental note to lay off the Nutella. But then next time you put them on, they barely button, and before you know it, you have a stack of 10 pairs of jeans that don’t fit, and a hamper full of stretchy pants. Jeans are an important barometer for maintaining your weight, especially a pricey pair that’s less likely to stretch out.

I knew I needed to start remembering to wear jeans when my allergist, whom I see weekly, remarked that it was nice to see me wear jeans. You know you have a problem when wearing jeans scores you a compliment. So now, I make a marked effort to wear jeans at least three times a week. Today, the navy blue star pajama pants won, and then even after my lunch break shower, I put on my Taffy Activewear Yoga Pants…but tomorrow, I will wear jeans.  Baby steps, people. Baby steps. Regardless of the ongoing challenge I now face with having to remember to wear jeans, all I can think is, I sure am lucky to have a dilemma like this. The possibility of tight jeans is way worth working from home. And so far, my jeans haven’t been tight. Thank goodness for small favors. (Maybe I should just kill two birds with one stone and buy myself a pair of pajama jeans. Hey, my birthday is in a month and a half…)

Do you have a certain clothing item that serves as your reminder for how you’re doing with eating well and exercising? What do you normally wear to work?

 

 

Holiday Gift Guide Review: Taffy Activewear for Plus Sized Gym Goers

Happy Monday, everyone! Can you believe there’s just three more days until Thanksgiving?! Yikes — I need to get my butt to the grocery store to load up on Turkey and all the fixins. Matt and I are hosting this year; but that’s another blog for another day. Today, I’m excited to tell you about Taffy Active Wear, stylish activewear for women with curves. My love affair with Taffy began a couple years ago when I won a pair of workout pants from Taffy on Authentically Emmie. These pants quickly turned into my every-day-after-work pants and my all-the-time-on-weekends pants. They were soft, but had enough structure to suck in the less than desirable pouchy parts of my belly. Plus, they had the perfect amount of flare in the leg. As a tall gal, I like a basic flare, but I don’t need bellbottoms nor am I looking for a straight-legged taper. These are the best pants ever, basically. (I’m so obsessed with these pants I wore a hole into them. Don’t worry – a fresh new pair is on its way. My weekend wardrobe requires these pants. For serious! Pssst. They’re on sale for $22.99 right now too!)

In conjunction with the Latina Lifestyle Blogger Collective (I am an honorary Latina!), I was sent a full Taffy outfit to review. Here’s my review in one word: excellent. You know how sometimes you buy exercise clothes and they’re cut like normal clothes? That doesn’t work for activewear. Especially when you’re plus sized. You need clothes that move with you, that bend and crease, that don’t give you horrible wedgies or VPL. You also want them to be cute! Case in point: the Taffy Wide Waistband Fitted Capri, the Essential Tank Top and the Taffy Essential Jacket.

Rockin' my Taffy Activewear at the Shoulder Press

Rockin’ my Taffy Activewear at the Shoulder Press

1) The Capri pants are perfect for basically any kind of exercise, because while they help you suck it in, they also don’t ride up (or worse – fall down). These were so comfy I ended up wearing them the whole night after I finished at the gym. I also like the mesh detailing along the sides, which adds a sporty contrast.

2) The Essential Tank Top is adorable with the dove imagery on the front. I actually would wear this as a normal shirt! It’s super soft. One note is that it has a little bit of sheerness, which was actually sort of sassy and sexy with the neon sports bras I favor. I also like the “Work of Art” messaging, because all of us are truly a work of art!

3) The Essential Jacket is my favorite of all three items. I normally don’t wear white, and this jacket may have converted me (You can get it in black, too). The 2X fit me perfectly – enough to feel like I was downplaying the areas I’m self conscious about (tummy), but enough to be nipped in at the waist and show off my hourglass figure. I really liked this fabric, too – it was warm without being stuffy, and I was able to wear it on the treadmill without feeling too hot. I loved how it tied together the whole outfit, and I’ve actually worn this out shopping several times as just a cute, sporty jacket. You can also tell that ALL of these items are really high quality. The zipper pulls, seams and linings are all deluxe feeling. As much as I love Old Navy activewear, I can tell sometimes that its low price translates into low quality. Not the case with Taffy. One more small thing — each piece has a cute little candy logo on it. My galpal Susannah actually noticed it and pointed it out, saying, “Is that candy?!”. It is, indeed, and it is adorable.

If you want to give Taffy a try (you won’t regret it!), you can save 25% with the code LLBLOG for 25% off entire site until Dec 31, 2013. That also includes free shipping — AWESOME deal. (I may need to do a little more shopping. Don’t tell my husband. I mean, how can I resist this adorable tunic tank? It’s only $14.99. Old Navy prices — Taffy quality!) Taffy would be perfect for a gift for YOURSELF (don’t forget to gift yourself this season — we all need a lil’ pampering) or for a wonderful, health conscious gift for plus-sized ladies in your life. I happen to know somebody who’s getting a special Taffy gift from Santa this year! One other thing I also really love about Taffy that you’ll read more about in my upcoming Double Chin Diary giftguide is that from now until December 31, Taffy is giving back 10% to Philippine relief via UNICEF. Giving your money to a socially-conscious company is a great way to give back this holiday season.

Do you have any questions about Taffy? What activewear do you usually find yourself wearing?

FTC Disclosure: I was chosen for this opportunity by the Latina Lifestyle Bloggers Collective in conjunction with their annual Holiday Gift Guide. All opinions expressed are my own.

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lyssaloves

April is bringing sexy back

Dear Dad, just skip this post.  Thanks <3

“So let me get this straight, you work here at Torrid, and you’ve NEVER tried on a corset?” I asked in disbelief.

“Nope, not once.”  the curvaceous cashier at my favorite plus-sized store replied.

“Oh girl, one day, just for the hell of it, you should try one on.   It’s such a self-esteem booster.  It’s the only thing I own that makes me actually feel sexy.”

The cashier laughed and wished me a good day as I walked out of the store with my black bag containing the latest of my boob-pusher-uppers to add to my collection.  My very first corset came as a hand me down from a buddy and ever since she first laced me up, the corset has been my go-to for whenever I felt I needed a boost.

I left the store and pondered about the experience I just had.  Looking sexy is not something that’s high on my list of priorities but when I have the opportunity to, it definitely makes me feel awesome about myself when I look in the mirror and think, “Damn, I’d hit that.”

I couldn’t help but wonder what the cashier at Torrid does to feel sexy.  Before I discovered the corset, I had nothing.  There was not a single thing in my whole collection of clothes that made me feel as sexy as I do when I smash together my boobs and smooth out my waist with the help of a corset or bustier. I know some of the women in my life feel sexiest in a beautiful set of bra with panties but my disliking of my stomach keeps me from feeling 100% confident in a get-up like that.  Though there are plenty of plus-sized beauties out there who are ROCKING just the bra and panties look, such as one of my body image heroes, Tess Munster.   Whenever I’m feeling self-conscious, I like to think of Tess, a woman who has defied the standards of modeling.  She helps give me confidence to at least try.

Finding  the confidence to get into any sort of lingerie is hard to do.  It’s possible that the girl at Torrid, like many others, just have never tried to purposely push together her boobs or has seen how great her butt looks like in a pair of lacy boy-short panties.

This shared photo is the stunning model, Tess Munster, being absolutely amazing in her bra and panties. Please click this photo to visit her Facebook page! Photo by: Captured by Chelzea

 

Unfortunately I know the reason I never tried corsets or other sexy undergarments was because I simply couldn’t find anything that would ever fit.

Today, as the United States continues to grow in size, the demand for plus-sized lingerie is increasing.  Ten years ago it was nearly impossible to find a cute bra in a size 42 D but these days, it’s not nearly as big of a challenge as it once was.  Of course, I still wish that the bras I see in the Victoria Secret window would fit, but at least I know I have other options if I’m wanting to feel sexy.

For the ladies out there:  What do you do when you want to feel sexy?  Is there anything you like to “slip” into?  Or maybe “shove” into if you’re rocking a corset?

Men:  What’s your favorite thing a woman could wear in the bedroom?

 

I hope you all have a glorious weekend and if you get a chance, I dare you to put on something sexy and admire yourself in the mirror.  😉

Love,

AprilSignatur

 

 

 

 

PS – Here’s why I love corsets:

April rocking her first corset and embracing her curves for the camera!

April rocking her first corset and embracing her curves for the camera!

Fat girl fear debunked: my right to bare arms.

My mom is a photographer, which means that several times a year, whether we want it or not, we’re subject to family photo shoots. Most of the times I’m grateful for beautiful, professional portraits at no cost — I mean, who wouldn’t be, right? Good photography is expensive (but well worth the cost. Don’t get me started on that — pay for a professional for your wedding, your maternity and infant portraits, and your professional headshot. It’s SO WORTH IT! Memories last forever, and so does a crappy underexposed selfie of yourself on LinkedIn).

Beautiful Photography by Lynnette Joy. 3/4 sleeves for the win!

Beautiful Photography by Lynnette Joy. 3/4 sleeves for the win!

She’s taught me and my sister how to pose to slim our bodies, but there’s one body hangup that I KNOW drives my mom crazy. My fear of my arms! Why does it drive my mom crazy? Because if I’m sleeveless in a photo, I ask her to photoshop my arms to be smaller. Ridiculous, right?! She probably wanted to kill me as she designed my wedding album because I asked her to photoshop my arms in like, every picture. And that was 30 pounds lighter than I am now. Hahahah. Vain and horrendous, but at least I’m being honest! I carry most of my weight through my abdomen, ass and arms (AAA!). My arms, no matter how much weight I’ve lost in the past, still remain pendulous and large, reminding me of bat wings. I need to get over it.

Behold, my unphotoshopped arms on my wedding day!

Behold, my unphotoshopped arms on my wedding day, now on the interwebz for the world to see!

My mother lovingly slimmed down my arm in this photo!!!

My mother lovingly slimmed down my arm in this photo!!! Can you tell?

My self-consciousness about my arms means I own more cardigans than anybody on the planet. Gray, black, white, turquoise… I’m a cardigan fiend. It means that I wear these cardigans even when it’s 103 degrees out, like it was today. But today, I did something pretty brave. I left the cardigan in the car when I got back from my lunch break. And surprise, nobody said anything about my arms, and I was a lot less hot than I would have been in my cardigan. Stupid insecurity? Yep.

My husband notices my weirdness about my arms, too. In Mexico, I had put on this  adorable, polka dot tank top with a little bolero, a fancy little short sleeved jacket to COVER YOUR ARMS. He asked why I put it on and I sheepishly had to admit I was self conscious about my arms. And that was in front of my HUSBAND — the man who’s seen the worst of me probably a heck of a lot more than he’s seen the best. We’ve been together almost 11 years and I’m pretty sure he knows me better than I know myself. A little pep talk from my hubs and the bolero came off, and once again, nobody said anything and my arms lived to see the light of the day.

My husband helped me get over my arms in Mexico. Cute tank top, eh?

My husband helped me get over my arms in Mexico. Cute tank top, eh?

Despite all these arm-fearing situations, I have come a long way in accepting my arms because three years ago, I would have never stepped foot in the gym in a tank top. It would have to be sleeves all the way, because god forbid somebody see my big fat upper arms. Ridiculous! It’s only when we take a step back sometimes out of our own insecurities that we see how stupid and miniscule they really are. Letting my insecurity of my arms affect my physical comfort is stupid. My arms may be big, but like the rest of me, they’re a work in progress, and quite frankly, I highly doubt many people have looked at my arms and been like “LAWD! She should NOT be wearing that tank top!” And if they do… well, who gives a fart? (You thought I was gonna drop an F bomb, didn’t you?! I didn’t!)

I have a right to bare arms. I have a right to show off my arms no matter what state they might be in. I have a right to say yes to tank tops, tube tops, strapless dresses, deodorant, arm tattoos….you name it. Arms are arms are arms. So this is my new mantra… I have a right to bare arms.

Who’s with me? What ridiculous body insecurity do you have? Let’s get it out in the open today and I’ll comment back with my thoughts… this is a safe place! Get it out in the open. When we address our inner demons, they become a lot less scary! Take the power back and tell me, what’s a stupid body insecurity you have? Why?

Plus-Sized Pretty: Professional Edition

Hi everybody! How are you doing?

I’ve started my new job and love seeing all of the beautiful clothes women wear to the office. It’s got me thinking that it’s time to go shopping! Feeling put-together and primped always helps me feel on top of my game. Here’s a few looks I’d love to grab to update my work-wear wardrobe. Do you have any go to outfits for work? What are they?

 

This faux two-piece dress has an adorable pink and white bird print that I think is so fun and playful. With how trendy birds are lately, I feel like it’d be spot on with fashion trends but also comfortable and casually chic at the office. I love the little tie at the neck – very Mad Men!

Source: eshakti.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

While I’m on Eshakti.com, I couldn’t help but pin another cute bird dress! I love the birds on the line and the vintage cut of this dress, which would be flattering on chicks with “birthing hips” like myself!

Source: eshakti.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

While I wouldn’t wear this ensemble with white pants, I love the pop of purple underneath this fun dalmation print cardi. You’d certainly stand out among the cubicles in this peppy puppy print.

This shirt is adorable and $7! Um, sign me up! I love lightweight and airy tunic tops like these because they’re casual, yet flattering, and match well with almost anything. Wear a tank underneath to make sure there’s no scandalous slippage and you’ll be in good shape.

I have one blazer and can tell I need to drastically improve my collection. I like this one because the sateen gives an ordinary outfit a bit more shine, and the shorter sleeve length is nice for offices with stuffy air conditioning. One thing I’ve noticed though, it’s crazy hard to find a cute plus blazer that isn’t super boring! Anyone have any tips for me?

 

I need to get out of my black pant rut, and I think another go-to look for a work wardrobe is a nice pair of khaki slacks. This will go better with some lighter blue and green colored tops I have.

That’s all I can find for now, but tell me – where’s your favorite work wardrobe shopping spot? I’m definitely disappointed at the lack of cute plus-size blazers I’m finding, so if you have any good ideas, please please please let me know!