Last week I got to accompany my health coach Amber to speak to a large group (about 500) of teachers about our healthy weight loss program.  In my pre-married-with-kids career life, large conferences were part of my regular routine so it was a lot of fun to briefly revisit that era.  Mom's out there know, breaks like this don't crop up often so I jumped at the request to go and cashed in some airline miles for my ticket.

It's about time I started showcasing the pieces I'm buying to rebuild my new skinny wardrobe, so here's what I wore the day of the conference.
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Loft cowl neck top - aqua (much deeper color in real life)
I accessorized the top with a really cool necklace that coordinates so great. I picked it up in Park City for my -15 pound reward. It has about 15 strands of tiny turquoise colored beads, anchored by a big dark wooden clasp. It's a substantial statement necklace and I dig it.
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Loft stretch cotton pencil skirt - black
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White House Black Market slingback oxfords (I also have these Double Diamond fishnets, but didn't wear them. Too muggy in Michigan!)
On the plane and to the BBQ that evening, I wore this:
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Loft tiered striped tank
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Banana Republic light short sleeve cardigan
I wore dark boot cut jeans and dark orange Nine West strappy sandals with gold accents that coordinated awesome with the orange striped tank. Tiffany blue polish on my toes that was hidden by the b/w slingbacks so I wasn't too matchy-matchy with my blue top, but went awesome when I switched to the orange outfit.
UPDATE! The above cardigan is the one I talked about in this Sucker Moment post.

I accessorized with a gold teardrop beaded necklace and large white Venice lace earrings that I DIY'd after seeing these in an Anthropologie catalog.
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Unfortunately, my 6:55 am flight out of Detroit was canceled (plane wouldn't boot up) which made me miss my connection in Chicago to Salt Lake City. After 13 hours hanging around the Detroit airport, I finally got a flight out. But it was delayed (weather) so I missed my rebooked connection to SLC and had to spend the night in Chicago. I was rebooked on an 8 am flight to SLC, but at 5 am I received an automated call that THAT flight had been canceled (couldn't crew it). I went to the airport anyway- ready to lay waste to O'Hare airport - and the American Airlines ticket counter agent got me on the next United flight to SLC.  I finally made it home Friday afternoon.  Fun stuff! I certainly didn't intend for my travel outfit to be put through it's paces, but it was a trooper and kept me looking put together, instead of crazed and exhausted like I felt.    
 
 
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Yesterday was simply a day I need to share with you. It showcases the real meaning of class and style.  It was a day that started out great but deteriorated quickly into one of those days. Then turned into one of THOSE days. 

I do some consulting for the company I worked for before I had the girls.  Yesterday morning I had a conference call.  Now, these conference calls are few and far between.  When they pop up, I schedule them after breakfast and before lunch, during the first play time of the day.  Normally, the girls are totally oblivious to the fact that I'm on the phone. 

Not yesterday.
Yesterday it was mass whining, wanting everything they can't have, wanting to be on my computer, etc.  I blame the full moon. The call wasn't going to be long and I got testy, snapping a few times to "JUST PLEASE GO PLAY!"

After the call I suggested we head to the mall, where they love to explore.  It was gorgeous out, I had a couple quick errands to run and wanted to check out a cardigan at the Banana Republic Power Lunch sale.  Then the next bout of chaos ensued.
My almost-4-year old, Angle Face, has outgrown her sandals and I pulled out a larger pair waiting in the wings.  She devolved into a demon, throwing the mother of all tantrums of her young life. And I didn't give in. I hate giving in to tantrums AND she has to come to terms with the fact that for the next many years, she will regularly outgrow clothes and shoes. Wishful thinking led me to believe if I had the big battle once, I'd avoid future battles over too-small items.
I dug in my heels.  So did she.  I cajoled, I reasoned, I ordered.  She screamed, cried, and flopped around. I yelled.  There were swats and time-outs.  The twins joined in the fray, getting frustrated that we weren't leaving and this was all taking so long.

Two hours later we were finally loaded up. Correct-size sandals still on the feet but hard feelings all around.  After those crazy episodes quiet down, the reflecting moments always come.  You think about how you could have handled it better, what you did wrong, what you'll hope to remember to do the next time. To regain a happy atmosphere, I suggested we get suckers at the mall.  They love going to Kara's Chocolates and choosing a sucker from their big glass jars.  It was so much fun hearing each girl ask the other girls what flavor they were going to choose.
"I want Woot Beer!"
"I want pink-lellow-lellow!"
"I want geen and balana!"

We all chose about 8 different flavors during the discussion, laughing and happy again.  We skipped into the mall in our long, hand-holding line.  We hit the Banana Republic right next to where we entered, 5 minutes before the end of the Power Lunch 40%-off sale.  On the first table by the door was the cardigan I wanted to evaluate.  Right on top was my size! I grabbed it and headed straight back to the dressing rooms.  We didn't even shut the door.  I just dropped the diaper bag, slipped the sweater on over my shirt, "Looks great! Let's go!", and headed for the registers, not checking out anything else.

Already at the register was a woman, maybe 40-something, with her teenage daughter. They were working with the salesgirl on what sounded like the transfer of some items from the larger Banana Republic north of us.  Being on hold with the other store, the girl waved me forward.  We were on a roll! I plopped down the cardigan and zipped open my bag for my wallet.  The wallet that wasn't there.  The wallet, I realized in a sickening flash, that was sitting at home by my computer.  And no cash for the suckers. My hands flew to my face in shock and I told the girl I'd forgotten my wallet.  She said, "Oh don't worry! We'll save it for you and honor the sale price." I didn't care about the sweater.  I cared about those suckers.  The woman next to me said, "Dang that is SO frustrating! I hate when that happens."  I laughed and answered, "I know! And I almost never carry cash anymore and promised the girls suckers. It's going to be a fun fight when we walk out this door." And we both laughed, mother's who've been there, done that.
As if on cue, all three girls started asking about their suckers.  I leaned over and told them, "We have to go get some money first. Mommy forgot her wallet but we'll get a treat."  Now, I live a solid chunk of miles from this mall.  We weren't coming back that day.

I then turned back around to find the woman holding a bundle of $1's.  "I'd love to get your suckers for you. How much are they?"  I resisted. (My girls would survive just fine.) She insisted. (She's a mom. She knows the value of promised treats.)
So I accepted the dollars and, very teary eyed, led my girls out. 

Three rainbow-stripe watermelon suckers later, we were motoring back to the Banana Republic.  Luckily, she was still there.  I handed her the change and each of my three girls very sweetly said, "Thank you for my sucker!" I also thanked her profusely and she said, "I hope you have a better day."  We definitely did. She saved it and we ended it great.  I was so glad I'd let her help us.  It was the most valuable $2.56 that woman has spent in ages. 

The minute we got home I found five dollars and tucked them into a pocket in my diaper bag. I'm now on the hunt for the next mom in need of her own Sucker Moment.
When I find you, please let me pay this forward.
 
 
Well I am finally, blessedly over that beast of a cold.  It settled in my lungs and I couldn't speak five words together without coughing for five minutes. Brutal.  Many decongestant pills later, I'm finally nearly my normal sassy self again. I'm avoiding reclaiming my house and working on a fun blog post instead.
Today is the second part of a question submitted to Ask Image Interpreters. Definitely check out Plus Size Answer Part 1, where I covered the top 3 items I would suggest buying to flatter a plus size figure. Today we're going to cover a few more tips and address some "myths" about plus size dressing.

On the Yahoo Style channel a few weeks ago, a plus-sized stylist did a piece on "Debunking Plus Size Myths."  Here are some of the myths she talked about and my opinion of her answers.
  • "Myth 1 - Skinny Jeans are for Skinny Girls." The stylist said, "it's all about proportion" and any plus-size gal can wear skinny jeans if she pairs it with volume on the top. I totally disagree! As I showed in part 1, pants that taper in to the ankles, which skinny jeans and leggings do, create an ice cream cone effect. You end up looking like a big V, with the widest parts of you being the focal point. I agree with Stacy & Clinton from What Not To Wear when they advise women looking to camouflage wider torsos to choose pants and jeans that fall straight down from the widest part of their hips. It's elongating and slimming.
  • "Myth 2 - Avoid form fitting clothes." I agree- this is a myth. Clothes that fit your form in the right way are much more flattering than clothes that fit like a tent. Remember - skim don't squeeze. One of the best ways to use this "fit to flatter" rule is by creating a waist.
Let's look at some examples.

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No waist...
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...waist!!
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No waist...
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...waist!!
See what I mean?  The clothes skim and create a flattering shape at the right spot.
(The above pictures also extol the virtues of a V-neckline over a rounded one.)
  • "Myth 3 - Avoid Prints and Patterns." I agree with the stylist that prints can be very useful in both camouflage tactics and drawing the eye where you want it to go. Observe.
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This top is fabulous! With the print on top and a nice dark jean on bottom, all the attention is focused on her lovely face and narrower waist. The top is seriously working overtime to create a long and lean look; it has a V-neckline, it creates a waist with the tie, it skims the hips without going too low, and the half-sleeves show off narrow forearms. 
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Per Stacy & Clinton, keeping prints in proportion with your size helps you avoid looking like a curtain or couch.  The diagonal swirling paisleys and bright border draw the eye to the narrowest parts of the body and down to the legs. The sleeve-length is great, not cutting her across the widest part of her upper arm.
  • "Myth 4 - Only Dress Monochromatically." The stylist countered this myth by showing how color-blocking can be slimming. I prefer creating a column of color. And I want you to check out this "Using a Column of Color" post by one of my favorite image consultants, Imogen Lamport. Rather than dressing in only one color, you create a column of color, either on the outside or inside of the body.  The column is elongating and slimming while the accent pieces maintain visual interest.
So, dear C., I hope these two posts have given you renewed hope for a flattering wardrobe. I'd love to see some pictures of new looks you try out!
Stay tuned this week for a review of sample sale sights, a maternity themed Ask Image Interpreters, and our first question submitted by a man!
All the pictures in this post are from ideeli.com, one of the great sample-sale sights I'll be reviewing.
 
 
Oh my goodness, dear readers! I am going on a week of battling the most unrelenting, energy-sapping, brain-fogging, I-didn't-know-a-person-could-be-this-congested, lung-hacking, miserable, please-just-give-me-a-new-head, cold!

I hope to finally kick it this weekend and be back to my old self next week.  For now, please enjoy this quick shot of the newly married royals hosting the Obamas.
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William & Catherine host the President & First Lady
I LOVE the simple dress Catherine chose.  She looks appropriate, classy, and understated.  She smartly chose something that would not compete for top-billing, no matter what Mrs. Obama chose to wear. 
Can't see the front, but the spring frock and cute jacket are nice on Michelle.