A blog dedicated to plus size women who enjoy a classical and preppy lifestyle.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Emily Ley Simplified Planner | A Review

It seems agendas and planners keep getting released earlier and earlier. Or maybe it was just me, because I bought my planner earlier than I usually do. Typically I pick one up at some point in July but I found one which I thought would be perfect for me a few weeks ago.I've used a Simplified Planner in the past and while I liked it, the format didn't work for me at the time. That, and my dog got a hold of it. However, I saw that Emily Ley had released a weekly version and it was precisely what I've been looking for:
One side for work, the other side for blog/life stuff, and a little space to remind me to order pizza. I've been using a Lilly Pulitzer planner and was drawing a line down the middle of the space and writing notes in pink and yellow lions due to a lack of margins. The SP offered me plenty of margin space and I don't have to draw a line. Wonderful! So I paid the $58 for this planner, and got it last week. I opened the box excitedly and flipped through the planner. I then promptly put the planner back in the box, slapped a mailing label on it, and sent it back for a refund.

I can be foolish with money sometimes and spending $58 on a planner would be one of the many tick marks on the list of needless crap I buy. This Emily Ley Simplified Planner is, quite frankly, a piece of junk for the amount of money I spent on it. It's very well-designed, it's colorful, and I truly wanted to love it. It simply just isn't worth the money.

What did it for me was the paper quality, or lack thereof. The paper in the planner is see through, and is pretty much the same stuff that's sitting in your computer printer at home. I can see the printing on the previous page already, imagine the mess that the planner will end up if I use Le Pens in it. Automatic and total bleed through.

Overall, this planner comes across as something that anyone with a home printer or a Staples account could produce on their own. There's nothing to justify the $58 price tag, which is a shame. Had the paper been similar to the Lilly planners, I would have been over-the-moon-happy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Planning Ahead: 2016 Agendas & Planners

It seems too early for this, but the 2016 agendas are starting to come out.

No matter how you like to plan, there's something for everyone. If you have a lot of meetings and things to do, I recommend the Day Designer or the Simplified Planner. These both include a schedule to list appointments or meetings, along with checklist of what needs to get done. The Day Designer has a few more spaces for information, such as dollars spent that day and the top three things that need to get done that the Simplified Planner doesn't have. Check out the websites for both and see which may be to your liking; I'd say the DD leans business and the SP leans family activities. 

The Simplified Planner does have a weekly version available, and the Day Designer weekly edition is out in July. 

Don't need quite as much space as the DD or SP and like a touch of color, Kate Spade and Lilly Pulitzer both having something for you. Kate Spade has a cleaner look, mostly just a whimsical cover and a plain interior. They've got four covers and two sizes to choose from. Lilly Pulitzer planners are colorful inside and out, with stickers and new this year, a travel diary. There are three sizes and a million covers. They also released a version that have covered spirals, like the Kate Spade planners.

On a side note, I think this is an off year for both the Kate Spade and Lilly covers. I'm pretty meh on all of them.

Russell + Hazel is a highly customizable weekly planner that's a favorite among my friends in DC ("What happens if you lose your phone!?"). A weekly planner with a daily scheduler, you can add all sorts of things to these chic little binders. You can add an address book section, pockets of all sorts, note paper, etc. 

If you're on a budget, Target carries a great assortment of planners. They carry collaboration with Sugar Paper that's pretty and practical, and the Green Room line is colorful and fun.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hello, Weekend! | Beauty Product Review

This is a review of what's currently in my medicine cabinet. I've bought all of it, much to the delight of my Sephora Beauty Points Bank and the despair of my wallet.


Eva  NYC Clean It Up Shampoo: I first bought this two years ago at Ulta. The crazy pink bottle and tie dye label caught my attention and it and the matching conditioner came home with me. I've been using them ever since, although I switched to the deep conditioner. This shampoo makes my hair the softest its ever been and adds a nice shine. It's reasonably priced as well, around $8-10 a bottle. However, both Ulta and Drugstore.com often run BOGO sales on the line so it's worth waiting for those.

It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product: Most amazing leave-in conditioner I've ever used. I run it through my hair while it's damp, style, and head out the door.


Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel: Another product I've been using for several years. It really helps keep my skin looking bright. It does all right for makeup removal  (I use it in combination with a Clarisonic), and it does seem to help keep my hormonal acne at bay. This face wash may not be be a good idea if you have sensitive skin, though. It has acids (glycolic and salicylic) and several enzymes (peach, lemon, lime, and grapefruit) which can irritate sensitive skin.

Tarte TarteGuard moisturizer/sunscreen: I bought this to use for the spring/summer in place of my usual Clinique Dramatically Different gel moisturizer. It's just okay. As a sunscreen it appears to work just fine, but it doesn't moisturize at all. I'm also not crazy about the heavy floral scent, which is my chief complaint about every Tarte product I've purchased since 2012. I'm seriously considering taking this back to Sephora and going back to my Clinque while I look for a sunscreen.

Not pictured: Clinique Acne Solutions toner. I've been using this stuff since college and refuse to even try anything else. This toner has a powder in it that helps with exfoliation. I'll use this in place of face wash in the mornings.


Say Yes to Blueberries Blueberry & Lavender body wash: I used to swear by Dove's body washes as the most hydrating ones I've ever used, but they've been replaced. It's a great moisturizer and it has a soft smell that doesn't stay on your post-shower.

Venus Swirl Razor: I love how the little silver ball lets the razor head move up and down to get into tricker areas like arm pits and around the knees. It's better than the other Venus models on the market so if you're needing a new razor it's worth getting. The blades are good as well, but at nearly $5 more expensive than their Embrace sisters, they're not quite worth it, in my opinion.

Nest Fragrance Rollerball Trio: I like to put my perfume right after I get out of the shower. I love all three scents in this collection, with Indigo being my favorite. 

Keratosis pilaris (also known as "chicken skin"): I have that rough, almost acne-like skin condition on my arms and it bugs the hell out of me. To keep it in check, I use Queen Helene Oatmeal & Honey Scrub to exfoliate the dead skin off my arms. I follow up with SheaMoisture's African Black Soap, getting the bar extra sudsy and letting that sit on my arms for a bit. Post-shower, I use Eucerin's Professional Repair lotion for extremely dry skin. 

-Rebel Wilson partnered with Torrid to create a 25 piece collection that will be available in November. Of course, there will be a koala print t-shirt.

-When the economy expands, so does the plus size market. "No category in apparel retailing is more volatile than plus-size women’s clothing...but the seesawing availability of clothing in stores frustrates many shoppers."

-Huffington Post listed 22 of the most frustrating issues of being a plus size shopper. My favorite? "It's like trying to decide which expensive burlap sack to buy."

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How to dress for a professional interview | Plus Size Edition

With graduation around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to review what to wear to a job interview. You'd be surprised at the amount of people who just have no idea how to dress for an interview anymore.

If you're graduating from high school, you'll still want to pay attention. You'll want at least one professional outfit to take to college with you. A growing number of professors require business attire for presentations, not to mention they're great to have for internship interviews.

This post in particular is going to deal with dressing for a professional interview, such as attorney or accountant. This may be too stuffy for positions such as graphic designers, but it's a good base to work from. 

1: blazer // 1b: pants // 2: shell // 3: sleeveless button up // 4: short sleeve sweater
5: black pumps // 6: nude kitten heels // 7: navy bow flats
8: Sailor's knot necklace // 9: pearl studs // 10: watch
11: Longchamp bag // 12: Cognac hobo purse // 13: Black satchel

Let's start off with the base of the outfit: the suit. For a formal professional interview I think you need a suit; a blazer with your choice of pants, skirt, or a dress. I featured this Halogen suit from Nordstrom as the blazer has a bit of personality. I love the slightest of peplum and the neckline. Gray is also a good choice for suits, you can mix and match with other pieces you own and is appropriate for all seasons. Skirts shouldn't be shorter than 3" above your knee. Oh, and make sure you hem your pants. I used to have a coworker who would just cut her pants to the right length. Trust me, my manager noticed that immediately.

Underneath your blazer you have a lot of leeway of what you wear. I recommend keeping prints and bright colors to a minimum, though. Also, don't confuse a regular cotton t-shirt from a shell. The best way I can think of to describe a shell is a fitted collarless blouse, typically with short sleeves or sleeveless.

Shoes should be closed toe and closed back. I've only heard amazing things about the comfort of the Michael Michael Kors Flex pumps. They're in the $100 range, and if you wear heels a lot they sound like they'd be worth the cash. Obviously, a job interview is not the place to wear hooker heels, i.e. heels above 3", and easy on the platforms. Pointed toes look the best for pants, as it creates a nice line.

Accessories should be minimal: one necklace, simple earrings, and either a nice bracelet or watch. I've heard a lot of people say you shouldn't wear a watch to an interview in case you look at it, but I like them. Surprisingly, they can make great conversation piece.  Handbags should be nice and complement your look. 

Keep your hair and makeup natural. I do think for this level of job position you need to wear a bit of makeup, even if it's just some concealer, mascara, and lipstick. Make sure your clothes are pressed and shoes and bag free of scuffs and dirt. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Prep'd Picks | Easing into Summer

Maybe it was the fact the past week was in the 90s, but I am totally in a summery mood. I want all the bright colors, the sandals, and most importantly, the linen. I love linen and have a morning planned later this week to get some ironing done.

Kate Spade iPhone 6 phone case: Last year I had their 3D toucan iPhone 5 case (you can get it on Ebay) and it was probably my favorite phone case ever. This year I saw their flamingo case and it instantly went on my "stuff to buy for summer" list. As a flamingo collector since I was a kid, I couldn't be happier.

Old Navy Pixie Pant chino shorts: I saw these shorts in store and hoped to hell they were available in plus sizes. They are, and I bought them on the spot. These Lilly-A-Likes have an adorable beach print on them, complete with sailboats, cabanas, and sunbathers. They have a 5" inseam which I'm afraid may be too short for my tastes (I'm a bit lazy when it comes to shaving ALL the legs) but they're so cute I may just shave above the knee for them.

NYDJ White linen pants: I love linen everything, and I love white pants in the summer. These linen pants have a good amount of stretch and the Nordstrom website advises the size down as they will stretch out. The pants have back patch pockets, but I think they could easily pass in a business casual office. My one concern is that they're not lined, but since there's the stretchy material in them they may not need it. Don't forget: when wearing white, wear nude-to-you underwear.

Charter Club linen tunic: Did I mention I love linen? This Lilly-and-Tory Burch-A-Like tunic is absolutely fantastic for summer. I love everything about this tunic: the happy sunshine color, the embroidered trim, and the fact it's from Macy's and I can typically find a coupon for good savings.

Lands' End pink & blue stripe dress: For something a bit more put together than the current athlesiure look. Cotton pique is just as comfortable as yoga pants, with a flattering length and cute details. Perfect for those early mornings you gotta get to the farmer's market at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds and heat.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Blog Updates

As you can see, I've changed things up yet again. I'm sorry, I'm really indecisive when it comes to blog design. I see a design element on another blog, become obsessed with it, and then try to recreate it. Usually, the results don't match what I see in my head. Namely, the sliders I've had for the past two blog designs. I like sliders, I think they add visual interest but they started to lock up the blog for a couple of readers so it was time to trash them. There are still a few kinks and additions that need to be made to this design, so if a link doesn't work or something looks off, please let me know!

Also, if you can't find something you're looking for--such as a recent request for plus size maternity clothes--please don't be afraid to email me. I don't mind helping people, although I will let you know I don't know a thing about maternity clothes. That was a new experience for me (surprisingly, they weren't quite as expensive as I've imagined). 

I am also going to start posting outfit pictures, which is the number one request from readers. For a long time, I wasn't able to connect my name with my blog at the request of my then employer. Security clearances are funny things. Now that I can put my last name on my writing, it's just a matter of finding a photographer that isn't the timer on my camera. My little sister is visiting me for the week and I'm hoping to get some pictures later this week.

Big thank yous to readers letting me know about new brands or cute items they've come across. I'm working on a post that will feature reader-found items so if you know of anything, again, let me know.

I am also changing the posting "schedule" around. I'm going to focus on getting posts out on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday. The latter half of my week is spent working overnights on the news desk, resulting in Sunday truly being my day of rest. It's rather taxing to listen to the police scanner discuss two stolen kayaks that resulted in three county chase. Proposed headline from publisher: Yak yak, where are those kayaks at?

As always, if you have questions, comments, concerns, qualms, manifestos, etc., don't hesitate to email me. I may not respond right away, but I do read them. ker@theplussizeprep.com

Prep'd Picks | Late Spring Additions

Old Navy Sundress: If you're looking for a sunny yet more subdued sundress, this adorable dress from Old Navy is a great choice. I love the retro beach print on the bottom of the skirt and it looks to be pretty flattering. My one concern are the spaghetti straps, but I think I could get my tailor to easily replace those with something thicker--no strapless bras for this blogger. 

Lauren Ralph Lauren polka dress: Something cute and light that would be acceptable for work and the weekend. I can't say it enough but I love pieces like these; yes, you can throw a blazer over it for work. The dress is a 50-50 of tan and grey and would mix well with a variety of items that you probably already have in your closet.

Sejour embroidered cardigan: Cute, colorful, cheerful. Also matches the embroidery on my bedspread.

Lands' End elbow-length linen shirt: Lands' End makes the best available linen clothes on the plus size market. My favorite dress is a Lands' End linen dress from back in 2012 that's still in perfect condition, were I to iron it (it's sadly still packed from my move). You should also sign up for the Lands' End emails, they're full of amazing deals. Unless you need something right away, there's no reason why you should pay full price for anything from Lands' End, I get sale emails nearly every other day and 20%-35% off  of full price items sales are common.   

Old Navy tassel sandals: These are cute and under $25. Like Lands' End, there's little reason to pay full price at Old Navy, I get more emails about 30% sales than anywhere else. My only beef with these sandals is that they're not available in a size 11.
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