Must have fashions for your vacation getaway

*This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own. 

Memorial weekend is a traditional time to meet with your family for a picnic or barbecue or maybe to do some camping. But is it what you really want? Just think about it – those few days can become a perfect mini-vacation! So, call your best friend, check plane tickets, and get ready for a beach getaway!

Here are some great summer time fashion essentials you might want to consider for your next weekend or summer getaway.


Of course, you need a swimsuit! You are going to impress everyone with your perfect tan, so grab a nice flattering bikini for your lazy beach time. But make sure that you also have a comfortable one piece swimsuit that is so good for swimming, playing beach volleyball or chilling in a bar.

Beach Clothes
Pareo (beach cover up)

A beach cover up is an absolute must-have for a vacation, but why not try something new (and so much better!) – a beach cardigan. It protects your skin from a sunburn and chilly breeze along with creating a sophisticated resort look.


You are not going to spend every minute on the beach. You care going to want to go exploring the area or maybe go on a souvenir hunt. You’ll need some cute shorts to wear around town.


Your feet need to rest – so flats are the best option for vacationing.

A few light weight tops

So versatile, so comfy and so flattering – the best way to instantly create summer mood!

A dress

A light, beautiful, bright dress is something you surely want to have in your suitcase – so great for taking walks on a pier or checking local cafes.


Even if you are absolutely not planning to be on public, that’s something you need just in case – you never know what kind of surprises are waiting for you!


Bright earrings are exactly what you want for your little vacation, like these colorful floral earrings – and there are so many colors of those at Xehar.com!

8 simple steps, and you are all set for a few days of that long-awaited getaway!

And yes, you still have time to order your new amazing summer clothes, because Xehar delivers your order in just a few days!

What are YOUR “must have” summer fashion essentials? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.



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Fashion Goals – Century 21


Me at my “goal weight” (around 175)

I have been overweight all my life. I have tired just about everything to lose weight – Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, Optifast, hypnosis, cabbage soup, pills, bing/purging, staving myself, exercising like a crazy person… nothing worked. I’d lose weight but the moment I stopped I’d gain the weight back – and more. I even had weight loss surgery (Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass) back in 1991. At that point I was 364 pounds. Seeing as how I’m only 5’3″, that was A LOT of weight.

After surgery I dropped down to 178 pounds. I was happy at that weight. I looked and felt great. I was even able to wear clothing that didn’t include a lot of X’s (XXL, XXXL, XXXXL…). I was able to wear a large. I was able to shop in regular clothing stores.

My weight eventually ballooned to the 270-280 range, eventually settling in the 250-260 range.

Fast forward to today. For some odd reason I have been losing weight without really trying. I do make a conscious effort to watch what I eat and drink. My husband also thinks it’s because I run around a lot at work. Whatever the reason is, I am happy that I have been able to drop some weight. Currently I am about 34 pounds more than what I was when we got married. I actually was able to fit into the dress I wore at our wedding. That was a great feeling.

(Left) Me about 3 years ago. (Right) Me recently. You can see in my face that I’ve lost weight (I don’t have a body shot of me currently).

My overall goal is to get down to 178 again (maybe 175). I’ll be over-the-moon if I can drop below 200 pounds. I have been over 200 pounds for the past 20 years.

With weight loss comes loose clothing. Recently I purchased a lot of clothing from an online shop that specializes in plus size clothing. I purchased the size I normally do, 3X. I did order a few 2X. I even accidentally purchased a size 1X top. I was SHOCKED when I tried on all the clothes and they were ALL too big on me – except the top that was 1X. Now I have to return all that clothing. That is a GREAT thing!

Things I’ve love to be able to wear some day soon.

Plus size clothing is so expensive. I am anxiously waiting for the time where I can walk into any store and purchase clothing and not have to shop at specialty stores or in special sections. I can’t wait to pay for AFFORDABLE clothing instead of over priced plus size clothing.

My goal is to shop at one of my daughter’s favorite stores – Century 21. Not to be confused with the Real Estate company. I thought my daughter was nuts when she said she wanted to look for a Century 21 store in New York City once when we went to visit.

Century 21 (or C21) is a department store that not only carries trendy and affordable clothing, but they also carry home goods, tech products, shoes, handbags, beauty products and more. They also carry products for men and children.

My daughter and one of her friends made a trip to the city once to specifically shop at Century 21 and she came back with a lot of great clothing that didn’t “break the bank.” When I checked them out online I saw that they do carry clothing for larger size women including large, extra large and XXL.

Not only do they carry trendy, stylish fashions, but they also carry designer labels like Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Betsy Johnson, Givenchy, Michael Kors, Jessica Simpson and Ugg, to name a few.

My “game plan” is to set aside a few dollars here and there. When I get under 200 pounds I am going to donate all my larger size clothing and take my daughter to New York City and shop at Century 21 for a new wardrobe. I’ve never been able to wear (or afford) designer labels, so it will be a lot of fun to FINALLY have the opportunity to do so. Talk about a fun day out.

I want to donate my larger clothing to force me NOT to put weight on again. Besides, once I see how lovely I look in beautiful clothing, and feeling better about myself and the way I look, I hope that will inspire me not to put weight on again.

My daughter is already anxious about going. She has been setting aside money too. She asks me almost every day if I have got under 200 pounds yet. Not yet… but hopefully in the next few months.

Century 21 has stores in the New York City/Tri-State area, and a location in Sunrise Florida (not far from Miami). It’s OK if you don’t live near a Century 21 store. You can shop online at www.C21Stores.com. They even ship internationally.

The brand is also available on social media. All of their links are found at the bottom of their website.

Have you ever shopped at a Century 21 store?

Do you think you’ll check the store out (online or a retail location)?

Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.


*I have partnered with C21 to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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How to Navigate “Sprinter” with TJMaxx.com


Are you experiencing crazy weather in your “neck of the woods?” Here in New York I think we’re experiencing “weather whiplash.” The weather goes up and down all week long. One day you are cranking up the heat because it’s bitter cold outside, and then the next day you are wearing a short sleeve shirt with the windows opened. It’s crazy!

I have heart people use the term “sprinter” (Spring + Winter). I have to agree – this is some crazy “sprinter” we are having.

How exactly are you supposed to dress during a “sprinter?” Do you dress for the cold – or for the warmth? Or do you dress a little in between?

I would recommend dressing in layers. That way if it becomes to warm you can remove an article of clothing, such as a scarf or a sweater.

If you are looking to spruce up your wardrobe so that you are prepared for whatever “sprinter” has to offer, check out what is new at your local T.J. Maxx.

Here are just a few looks you can create with pieces found at T.J. Maxx.

Look #1: Pair a classic LBD with a leather jacket, ankle booties and a colorful scarf.

Look #2: Wear a long-sleeve tee under an over-sized anorak with cuffed jeans and fashionable sneakers.

Look #3: Keep it work appropriate by swapping out your traditional blazer for a bomber with a midi skirt and heeled booties.

You can find these types of clothing at your local T.J. Maxx department stores.

I think Look #2 is more my style. I could see myself wearing clothing like that. I work as a teacher’s assistant with a kindergarten class. I do a lot of getting up and down and deal with a lot of paint, glue and glitter. I need to keep it more casual. Plus I’m a “jeans and sneakers” kind of girl.

Not all styles are available at every T.J. Maxx store, however you should easily be able to find similar styles or just use these as an inspiration to create your own “sprinter” look/wardrobe.

While you are shopping for some new “sprinter” looks, be sure to check out their home section. There you’ll find not only great things for your home, but also fun and beautiful holiday/seasonal decor. Easter is coming up and I’ve already seen some nice Easter/Spring decorations at our local T.J. Maxx store. In fact, T.J. Maxx and it’s “sister stores” Marshall and Home Goods are my #1 go to stores when I am looking for holiday/seasonal decor and more. I always love their selections.

To find a T.J. Maxx near you visit TJMaxx.com. In fact, you can also shop online at T.J. Maxx.

You can also find the brand on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. You can find their links on the bottom of their website.

Do you shop at T.J. Maxx?

Which “sprinter” look (one, two or three) is your favorite?


*I will be receiving a store gift card in exchange for my participation. There was no other compenstion. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Five Steps to Make Shopping a Breeze



According to a survey by Retailwire.com, one of the top 10 reasons women hate to shop for clothing is: Lack of awareness of what looks good on them. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? What, with so many great styles and options to choose from each season—and new trends popping up every few months.

Perhaps that’s the problem—women feel overwhelmed by all the choices. Shopping becomes a chore and a bore.  We can either respond in one of two ways: we just avoid shopping all together and find we have nothing to wear, or we buy everything in sight. And our closets simply explode—becoming bigger and bigger, not better and better.  Neither seems a sensible option.

In Quintessential Style: Cultivate and Communicate Your Signature Look, an entire chapter is devoted to shopping. We refer to it as creating your personal collection.

Shopping should be likened to an interviewing process, where you are the boss. You have certain criteria, and if the interviewee doesn’t meet that criterion, the potential candidate is eliminated right away. When there are only a few hopefuls left, you ultimately get to choose the best candidate (garment) for the job.


You can bypass about 95% of the clothing in a store through a simple process of elimination. But there is one caveat. You must know yourself: your best colors, the best styles for your body type, and most importantly, what it is you want to communicate through your appearance for the life you are living TODAY.

Here’s how it works. When you get to the store:

  1. Locate your size. (Sizes can vary. Don’t get stuck on a number).
  2. Eliminate all colors that are not flattering.
  3. Eliminate all prints/patterns that are not flattering.
  4. Eliminate all styles that are not flattering (for your body type).
  5. Eliminate anything that doesn’t fit your lifestyle and/or the event you are shopping for.

What’s left? Probably only a handful of garments. And those garments are precisely the items that should look most complementary on you. Go try them on. Don’t waste time on the rejects.

Once you discard the negatives, only the positives remain, and you get to choose. Don’t like any of them? Move on to the next rack or store.

Before you know it, you’ll find that you not only have a collection of garments you love and that go with you, but also a closet full of clothes that go with each other.

The key is knowing yourself and what looks great on you. The better you know yourself, the less shopping mistakes you’ll make, the more time (and money) you’ll save, and the more confident you’ll feel knowing you made the best possible choice for you. That’s quintessential style!

Multi-coloured wardrobe showcase, closeup

Authors Bio’s:

About Janna Beatty

Janna Beatty, owner of one of Texas’ premier makeover studios, is co-author of the book Quintessential Style: Cultivate and Communicate Your Signature Look (www.Qstylethebook.com). She has studied in New York and Paris with some of the most respected advisers in the fashion and beauty industry. A successful business owner for more than 30 years, Beatty speaks to corporations, professional organizations, and women’s groups. She also has been a guest on radio, podcasts, and television.

About Sharon White

Sharon White is an award-winning author who lives and writes in Central Texas. She has written for New York Daily News, Huffington Post, Fashion Bible and other online and print magazines. She publishes a popular lifestyle blog (qstylethebook.com) based on her book, Quintessential Style. 


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Fun fashions from LuLaRoe (giveaway ends 9/1/16)


Back to School

It’s back to school time. Time for us to pick up any school supplies we don’t already have in stock. It’s also the time to pick up some clothing for our kids. Our daughter is in college so she mostly rolls out of bed into sweats or yoga pant, a t-shirt then heads out to class, like most college students. Our son is not that big on fashion. All he wants is a couple of new jeans and a few t-shirts. He’s lost 40+ pounds since January (on his own) simply by watching what he eats, limiting junk food and hitting the gym a few times per week. He NEEDS new jeans because his old jeans are way too big for him.

Many parents, such as myself, could use some new pieces to add to our wardrobes too.

I happen to work in the school district, so I could also use some new pieces of clothing before school starts.

I work with children so I am able to dress comfortable and casual. I always look neat in appearance. And even though I wear comfortable, casual clothing that doesn’t mean I can’t look professional at the same time.

I have recently been introduced to the clothing line LuLaRoe. Are you familiar with the brand?

LuLaRoe is a clothing brand that sells comfortable, affordable, stylish clothing for women and children.

Their tag line includes “simply comfortable” and “where fashion meets comfort.”

LuLaRoe offers dresses, maxi skirts, pencil skirts, a-line skirts, sheath dresses tops and more. One of their best sellers are their leggings.

LuLaRoe clothing cannot be purchased from the brand directly. All sales go through consultants. Most consultants sell LuLaRoe clothing through home parties and online parties.

I was contacted by a consultant, Ashley, to try out some LuLaRoe clothing and offer a few pieces for a giveaway.


I need some new pieces to add to my wardrobe.

I did my research and read comments that others left online about the clothing. I also looked up images on Google and Instagram. I loved what I saw and I was super excited to do a review.

Prior to receiving the items to review, my husband and I went to a local street fair. There we found a consultant selling LuLaRoe clothing. As soon as I saw her booth I made a bee line to it. I wanted to see the clothing for myself.

The first thing I looked at was the leggings. Oh my! They are incredibly soft! I was totally impressed by how incredibly soft they are. You could LIVE in them! As in 24/7 – that is how comfortable they feel. I could not wait to receive my samples to review.

LuLaRoe clothing is also offered in MANY different designs and colors – from classic to totally crazy.

From what I can tell the leggings come in a plethora of designs – with new designs being added often. You could easily pair the leggings – even the wild looking ones – with a solid color top to create a wonderful, casual look.

On the flip side, the legging go great with dressy blouses for a more professional look.

Here are just a few examples. All of the pieces are from the LuLaRoe collection. All photos are copyrighted to Ashley. I am just using them as examples of the types of beautiful clothing available from the brand.

Outfit 1

Outfit 2

I am IN LOVE with these looks! Maybe not so much the red leggings (I would go for black or gray leggings for that outfit), but the rest I love.

LuLaRoe has fashions for average size women and plus size women. The plus sizes are known as “tall and curvy.” I am a plus size woman, so I would wear the tall and curvy fashions.

I received to review a blouse, skirt and leggings. I was super excited to wear them. Sadly, I’m just a bit too “curvy” to wear them. I am SO DISAPPOINTED! NOT in the clothing – but the fact that they don’t fit me.

The blouse does fit me. It’s a little snug for my personal taste, but I can wear it. I just need to find bottoms to go with it.

The skirt is really nice, and I could wear it, but again, it’s a bit too snug for my personal preference. I also don’t wear skirts at work since I am often crawling around the floor or in the gym or playground playing with the kids.

I am most disappointed in the leggings. I was looking forward to wearing them. They are SO SOFT and I bet they would feel amazing on. But I can’t get them past my thighs.

Other examples of LuLaRoe fashions. Photo Source: Ashley M.

Other examples of LuLaRoe fashions. Photo Source: Ashley M.

I wear 2X/3X for my tops and bottoms, depending on the cut/style. I see other plus size women online wearing LuLaRoe fashions (especially the leggings). They look to be the same size as me, but I can’t get them on. They get stuck around my thighs. I guess my thighs are too big.

So… I have not been able to wear and enjoy the LuLaRoe clothing that was sent to me to review, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love them. I WISH I could wear them! I love the designs and the feel of the fabrics. Most especially the leggings.

I plan on giving my aunt the pieces that were sent to me to review. She’s “smaller” than me, but still “tall and curvy,” so hopefully they fit her.

If you are interested in learning more about LuLaRoe – whether it’s to purchase the wonderful clothing or to learn more about being a consultant, visit Ashley’s Facebook page or contact her at AshleyMangini.MyLuLaRoe.com.

Ashley would love to give a lucky reader some LuLaRoe fashions too. They are all “tall and curvy,” so they are ideal for people like me with a little more “padding” on their bodies. LOL! 

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on September 1, 2016. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you would like to win this prize package?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t quality.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. Ashley provided the prizing. 

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Duct Tape Bags: 40 Projects – A New Book from Duct Tape Queen Richela Fabian Morgan


Insulating tapes

Duct tape… at one time it was used for quick repairs around the home. It was a staple in every tool box. These days duct tape is found in many crafter’s boxes and is used in creating fun crafts and ever fashions you can wear.

Instead of the gray duct tape most of us grew up with, duct tape is now available in bright colors and fun designs.

We even used colorful duct tape at work to make jump ropes. We took thick, nylon cord, cut it to fit the child, then let the child use colorful duct tape to decorate it. I wish I had a photo to show you. They turned out great.

A few years ago I attended an event at the Capri Sun factory. There were representatives there from TerraCycle who showed us how to make tote bags out of empty Capri Sun pouches and duct tape. I was shocked at how easy it was to make a tote bag out of recycled pouches and simple duct tape.

Tote Bag

Empty Capri Sun pouches and black and hot pink/zebra print duct tape.

Did you know you can make awesome handbags (and more) out of duct tape and nothing more? A new book by “Duct Tape Queen” Richela Fabian Morgan shows you how.

The book is called Duct Tape Bags: 40 Projects. It’s available NOW where ever books are sold.

From the author of the #1 best-sellers, Tape It & Make It, Tape It & Make More and Tape It & Wear It comes the fourth book in this revolutionary “duct tape craft series:” Duct Tape Bags: 40 Projects for Totes, Clutches, Messenger Bags, and Bowlers (Clarkson Potter, July 2016). With the upcoming release of her new book, Richela Fabian Morgan is continuing to take the crafting and fashion world by storm, turning the humble roll of duct tape into the trendiest craft item since glitter glue.

Everyone from trendy teens to famous fashionistas can begin exploring the infinite uses this easy-to-follow guide provides to making handbags so fashionable, you won’t actually believe they’re made of duct-tape. Part art-piece, part usable accessory, Fabian Morgan shows how each of these gorgeous handbags can be recreated one manageable section at a time.

“About eight years ago, my kids and I were in our local hardware store when we spotted duct tape with patterns and colors,” says Fabian Morgan. “Since then, duct tape has been an obsession of mine. My daughter and her friends were my excuse to break out my vast collection of tape and try out different ideas for craft projects. Out of all the projects, the bags were the biggest hit! I started making bags for myself. So, it was only natural that I turned my attention to writing a book on duct tape bags. I wrote other books on duct tape crafts with a total of 242 projects spread out over three books, everything from housewares to costumes. Duct tape bags were on my radar. I had to write this book!”

With detailed step-by-step instructions and primers on duct tape “fabric,” different types of closures from magnet snaps to jeans buttons, and bag accessories like bows and luggage tags, Fabian Morgan catapults this trend from the streets into the stratosphere. A mix of pop art and urban style photos of each project and a cool vibe throughout will make you want to immediately roll up your sleeves and rolling out the duct tape for a bag of your own!

Duct Tape bags

I was sent a copy of the book to review. As of this moment in time I have not had the opportunity to create one of the bags. I need to pick up some nice duct tape, but I haven’t been anywhere near and of the craft stores in my area (Michaels or AC Moore). HOPEFULLY one day soon I will be, but to date I have not. The only duct tape I have is the plain, gray kind my husband keeps in his tool box. The tape we used to make the jump ropes at work was purchased by a co-worker who practically lives at Michael’s (she’s there every week). Since we work for the school and school is out for the summer I haven’t seen her (or been able to ask her to pick me up some duct tape).

Inside the book you’ll find easy to follow directions to make 40 beautiful and functional bags including;

  • Clutches and wristlets
  • Hobo and Shoulder Bags
  • Satchels
  • Messenger and Flap Bags
  • Tote Bags
  • And tons of other one-of-a-kind bags!

I’m not a very crafty person. I want to be, it’s just that things never turn out the way I’d like them to. Reading the directions to make these bags seems really easy to do, even for a novice crafter like myself.

Easy to follow directions with photos

Easy to follow directions with photos

Here are just a few examples of the types of projects you can find within the pages of this book.




ALL of the totes/bags pictured above are made out of duct tape. It’s so hard to believe that when you see them.

What I love about this book is that you can find bags/totes for just about every occasion which means you can create the perfect bag to match any outfit using just duct tape.

You could also make holiday and seasonal bags using colored duct tape and duct tape with holiday/seasonal designs on them. I have seen duct tape with ghosts, spiders and candy corn on it. Use them and the directions in this book to make a trick or treat bag. How cute!

The book is published by Penguin Random House. Look for the book where ever books are sold.

Have you ever made anything out of duct tape? If so, what did you make?

What do you think about the bags you could make in this book? Do they look like something you would love to add to your wardrobe?



*I received a free copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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