Maureen Wood

Babs Fall Shopping Tour

Through the next four months, Vancouver plus size clothing designer Babs will be featured at a number of Signatures “fine craft shows”. If you happen to be in the area you can check out her latest fashions and make a few additions to your fall and winter wardrobe.

Babs Fashion Tour for Fall 2015

Babs Fall Shopping Tour (2015)

  • Medicine Hat Fall into Christmas show Best to You Show — October 16 – 18.
  • Red Deer Our Best to You Show — October 23 – 25, Parkland and Prairie pavilions.
  • Lethbridge Fall into Christmas — October 30 – November 1, North Pavilion Exhibition park.
  • Regina Our Best to You Show — November 6 – 8, Canada centre East, Evraz place.
  • Saskatoon Our Best to You Show — November 13 – 15, Prairieland Park.
  • Edmonton Indie show — November 20 – 22.
  • Toronto One of a Kind Show — November 26 – December 6, Direct Energy Centre.
  • Edmonton Signatures Show — December 3 – 6, U of A Butterdome.
  • Ottawa Originals Show –December 10 – 20, EY centre.

Currently Babs’ size range is XS to 3X. You can find out further details at the Signature website or do a Google search for a specific show and location to come up with the official venue sites.

Topic Links
* Visit Babs official website
* Visit Signatures official website

Lane Bryant Unleashes #ImNoAngel Lingerie

Over the last eight+ years Lane Bryant has consistently delivered to plus size women some pretty hot lingerie and panties when everyone else was trying to sell us basic whites and only basic whites. Now even though there are more choices where to buy our mentionables (they are no longer unmentionables) Lane Bryant is still the leader and their new #ImNoAngel campaign prove it.

Full-figure models showing off Lane Bryant's Cacique line for #ImNoAngel campaign.

The adorable short black and white ad is kind of a brilliant tongue in cheek poke at Victoria Secret’s Angel campaign that has never offered our plus sized girls any decoration for our décolletage. If you haven’t seen it have a look-see:

When you are done with that head over to Lane Bryant and see what they have to offer in their plus size bras and panties this season.

Topic Links
* Visit Lane Bryant for plus size bras and panties

Your Big Sister’s Closet

Your Big Sister’s Closet has come a long way since I first mentioned it in 2012. It has been exciting to watch Karen Ward, the mastermind and entrepreneur, and her store bloom.

Karen’s Toronto based business has a walk-in boutique for Torontonians and travellers but she also has a smaller online shop for the rest of the country. Besides great looking clothing she offers free shipping (one of my fave customer service perks). The main model on the site? Why, it’s Karen of course! Here she is in action wearing a teacup dress:

Karen Ward, the entrepreneur behind Your Big Sister's Closet, source for plus size clothing in Toronto.

Originally, I had said the graphics were a bit too tech and left me dizzy but part of the growing has lead to its current incarnation with a smooth finish making it easy to shop and check out in a flash. The space really has settled into its own. And so has the gorgeous walk-in store located at 3126 Dundas Street West. If you are going to be in the Toronto area be sure to check it out.

An inside look at Your Big Sister's Closet floor plan.

While you are at it stop by Karen’s blog, the Curvy Canadian — especially if you live in or near the Toronto area to see what she’s up to. She always has great fashion pics.

Topic Links
* Visit Big Sister’s Closet
* Visit the Curvy Canadian fashion blog

The Purple Coat

Mmmm, I love purple. Woman Within has this cute purple coat with ribbed knit trim and a-line. If you are not fond of purple it also comes in black. They are available from Woman Within in sizes 14 to 24 (check out their size chart for their detailed bust, waist, and hip measurements for each size). My favorite features besides the color? The ribbed cuffs and shawl collar make it look cozy, pockets always make me happy, an a-line that’s not too big, and it has the dressiness of wool blend coat but is casual enough (thanks to the ribbing) to wear everyday.

Purple, purple, rah, rah, rah, ooooo, I love purple. Including this purple coat from Woman Within. Good price too.

They currently have 30% off the highest priced item in your cart so that makes this lovely coat a very affordable $76.99 (US). They have many other styles to choose from casual to dressy and light weight to parka.

Topic Links
* Get your plus size wool purple coat from Woman Within

Tiger Stripe Coat

Rawrr! That’s what I thought when I first saw Carmakoma’s Surpreame tiger stripe coat. Then I took a closer look and realized it wasn’t really tiger striped, more like wavy repeat pattern stripe but still pretty cool looking. I like the contrast of the black quilted sleeves too.

I love this tiger print-ish coat from Carmakoma.

It is available in sizes 12 to 24 (US sizing) for $252 US. When I was at the bank this week it was in our favor but make sure you check before you do any shopping because it changes so quickly. And remember your price points for duty.

Topic Links
* Get your plus size tiger stripe coat from Carmakoma

Tying a Sarong

Cruise-side, poolside or deck-side, a sarong is a perfect accessory for your bathing suit no matter where you hang out. Whether you are covering away the chill or are a little bashful there is no right way or wrong way to tie a sarong but here are five ways to get you started and give your swimsuit a new look.

The Chest Tie

How to tie a plus size sarong around your chest.This is probably the most common and the easiest way to tie a sarong. And quite frankly it’s my favourite. It just seems to hang right on everyone.

Directions: Grab two adjacent corners on one of the longest sides. Wrap around your back and tie a double knot in front above your cleavage.

Waist Tie, Long and Short Versions

How to tie a plus size sarong around your waist.This one looks like a tank and long skirt. It makes an acceptable touristy outfit if you’ll be in a coastal region and tempted to get your toes wet throughout the day.

Directions: Hold the sarong at your back by the two corners on the longest side. Keep one corner stationary at your right hip while you wrap the sarong around yourself. If the two ends meet tie them together and tuck in the ends or tuck in both ends and slightly roll top into a cuff securing both ends. The short one is basically the same except you fold the sarong in half to create a short skirt. The seam you create while folded goes at your waist.

Cross Over Tie

How to tie a plus size sarong around your neck.The crossover is not one of my favourites but some people love it and wear it well. It can be worn as a dress with no bathing suit underneath; but frankly, I don’t trust my knot tying to be that brave.

Directions: Cross over two corners in front of you and double knot in back of neck.

Shoulder Tie

How to tie a plus size sarong around your shoulder.The shoulder tie creates a unique look with a sturdy tie that has the added advantage of extra security provided by the crease of your armpit.

Directions: Same cross over as above but instead of tying it around your neck slide it around until it’s under your arm and then tie a double knot over your shoulder.

The sarong used in this article was provided by Feedora Plus Sarongs in Hawaii. Their plus size sarongs are a generous 45 inches X 90 inches.

Originally published 2/16/2007 at Large & Lovely, BellaOnline. Updated September 20, 2014.

Lancome Grandiose Mascara Review

The folks at Influenster and Lancome sent me a tube of Grandiose Mascara for review. Instead of the traditional purple/pink Influesnter box it came in a black box and here was my first impression:

Perhaps the over packaging of the box is part of the grandiose theme.

From the time they sent it until now I’ve had a few trips and decided to take it along with me. The first thing I noticed when I took it out of the package is how pretty the tube is.

The mascara tube.

In fact, I think this is probably the prettiest tube of mascara I have ever had my hands on. It feels good in my hands too.

The rose cap of the Grandiose Mascara.

The weirdness happened when I uncapped the lid and pulled out the “Swan-Neck”wand. I have to admit it took me a few days to get a feel for the bend in the wand so I could apply the mascara properly. Now that I have, I quite like the bent wand. I have noticed I don’t have to contort my face as much to apply the mascara.

The Swan-Neck wand.

The box even comes with fold out instructions on how to apply.

Instructions on how to apply their mascara.

The tasks of this formula are to add length, curve, and volume. The color they sent was Noir Mirifique (01) and it really is a wonderful bright black. I like my brushes a bit short and not too fluffy as I find it easier to apply without making a mess but with this brush I found I couldn’t get the lashes to separate as much as I wanted. I’m not sure why — it could be the bristles are a wee bit too thick.

The brush of Lancome's Grandiose Mascara.

The formula is also very thick. For me, I felt one coat was fine. What you see in the picture below is actually more like 1 1/2 than two coats as two tended to look messy to me whenever I tried it.

My eyes with Grandiose mascara in one and two coats.

As for wear, I have no complaints in that department. The mascara stayed on all day and didn’t flake at all (a common problem I have even with mascaras that insist they don’t).

Overall it was an OK experience but not the exceptional I expected from a $35 tube. I can’t say I loved it enough to get another.

Garnier Naturals Lift Eye Cream

I bought Garnier Skin Naturals Lift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Eye Cream when I picked up a few other products to try that were also on sale at the time. This little tube turned out to be one of my favorite products. It comes in a 15ml tube for about $20.

I have never been a religious eye cream user but I’ve found, over the last five years especially, that my hooded eyelids (which I’ve always had issue with) have developed a crinkled tissue paper look that I am not fond of and impedes my enjoyment eye shadow. I tried a few creams but didn’t find anything that was light enough and didn’t make me break out.

I like the lightness of this lift cream, a little goes a long way and I notice immediate results even if I miss a day. I also like that it comes in a tube so I don’t have to stick my finger in a jar and the precision tip makes it easier to squeeze out the right amount. The tube seems to last forever too which is a nice bonus making me feel OK about the price. I don’t really have anything negative to say about this cream which is unusual because I can usually find at least one thing I don’t like about a beauty product.

I picked mine up from Shopper’s Drug Mart but any drug store that carries Garnier products probably has it. The only place I found it for purchase online was at the Well for $18.79 (free shipping on orders over $25).
Topic Links
* Visit the official Garnier website
* Get Garnier eye cream from

Plus Size Tutu Skirts

Tanesha Awasthi is the gorgeous plus size blogger from Girl with Curves who always has great hair and great clothes. She’s from the smaller end of the plus size spectrum and I’m sure many people look at her and don’t consider her plus size — she doesn’t routinely share her size because she feels that “size isn’t important when we are all built differently, different heights, etc”. She has been blogging since early 2011 and in 2013 she introduced her own clothing line, Tanesha Awasthi, recently changed to the same title of her blog “Shop Girl with Curves”. Her next collection doesn’t come out until Fall 2014 but her signature piece is a short tutu skirt — it is so sweet. At the moment in comes in black and crème blush for $145. It is available in sizes 12 to 24 (kind of unfortunate because I’m sure there are some size 26/28 women who’d love this too but from what I get from the comments she’s willing to work with other sizes in want). Both colors are beautiful but I think the black is my favorite.

Tanesha Awasthi's plus size tutu from Shop Girl with Curves.

I bring her up today because I got an email announcing international shipping rates. At $14.95, it is pretty reasonable.

You might think $145 is expensive for a tutu and definitely is at the higher end but I did a quick search around and most are in the $100 range with some even going as high as $200. There are also varying lengths. The cheaper prices tend to go with the more comical looking tutus that are really not meant to be worn as skirts rather than the romantic looking ones. If you are looking for longer or shorter options definitely check out Etsy, a simple search provides a bevy or results in all kinds of colors and lengths.

Are you brave enough to wear a tutu skirt?

Topic Links
* Get a plus size tutu from Girl with Curves
* Get a plus size tutu from Etsy

Evil Queen Press On Nails

The folks at Broadway Nails and Influenster were kind enough to send me two packages of press-on nails to try. I actually didn’t like the nail art on one of them and gave them away to a Facebook friend and kept these Disney Villain’s inspired Evil Queen ones to try. I am not new to Broadway’s press-on nails but this is my first solid style. I love the steel grey color (they have lots of other styles to choose from) with a hint of holographic.

One of the first things I like about these press on nails is the length. They are short and very workable. I am wearing them as I am typing right now with no issue whatsoever. The downside is my nails are not very long to begin with and I had to trim them a bit.

The whole process takes five to ten minutes: sorting proper sizes, cleaning off own nails with prep pad, and applying nails. They recommend not washing your hands for 30 minutes but otherwise you are ready to go. No messy glue involved! Here is a 30 second image video so you can see process from start to finish:

From the top and from a normal distance (not looking too closely) they look like regular nails but on closer inspection from the side or underneath it is obvious they are fake nails especially if you haven’t trimmed your nails short enough. There are 24 nails pieces to choose from but I still found it hard to fit my thumb and middle fingers.

I have on Evil Queen from the Disney Villains collection from Broadway Nails.

I find it necessary to give the nails a good press every day just to make sure nothing has come loose — usually after a shower. I also give them a quick blow dry with the dryer so water is not sitting underneath them.

You definitely don’t have to worry about chipped nails or questionable chemicals with this brand of nail coverage and the sticky backing is pretty strong. I can get about five days of problem free wear but I like to change my color more often so some people might be able to get longer. The key is definitely clean nails, and making a point of repressing them at least once a day.

A box of nails cost between $9 to $13 depending on where you purchase them. They are available from shops like Walmart, Target, London Drugs, Loblaws etc.

Topic Links
* Learn more about Influenster

Celebrating Weddings with Igigi

If you have known me any length of time then you know I am a huge proponent of Igigi both for their style and their quality made plus size clothing. While their everyday collection can be pricey for the average person their wedding selection is actually quite reasonable in the grand scheme of weddings. Their actual wedding gown line is not a huge selection (eight dresses at the moment) but they do have a nice variance of style from sleeveless to almost long sleeve. Here are my favorites for celebrating a wedding with Igigi:

The Plus Size Bride

I think my absolute favorite from the current collection is the Eugenia Vintage Plus Size Wedding Gown ($570). I love the beaded tulle fabric and sequin embroidery. The model is 5’9″ so expect to have to visit your seamstress if you are petite (actually with a wedding dress you should have at least one seamstress appointment anyway to make sure your dress fits to your curves).

A full length wedding gown.

My next favorite is the the Ever After Plus Size Wedding Gown ($525). What I like about this one is that it has the hi-low trend incorporated into its hem. It is a wonderful accent for showing off the legs but not your backside — the women with big butts know what I am talking about. I also like the deep plunging scalloped bodice. The model in this one is 5’11” so again, a seamstress may be in order if you are petite or it might create a nice train.

A hi-low hem wedding gown.

Last up is the short and sweet Gisela Plus Size Wedding Dress ($235) with all over lace and sleeves. I like this one for a less traditional marriage, second marriage, or even as a second dress for the reception. Again, the model is 5’9″ so a seamstress is a definitely must to get the hem to hit the right spot.

A knee length wedding dress.

The Plus Size Bridal Party

I found it harder to pick some favorite wedding party dresses because the hottest items go really fast in the popular sizes so if you find something you like for your wedding party you have to act fast. At the moment these are a few of my favorites:

Mostly I love the Linea Plus Size Maxi Dress ($128) because of its Vermilion color. It’s a wonderful color for summer! You could have your maids all keep the maxi length or have them pick and choose their length by having a seamstress adjust the length.

A floor length maxi gown for a bridesmaid.

The Nencia Plus Size Cocktail Dress offers a more traditional look with the all over lace and navy. I love the allover lace look.

Short allover lace bridesmaid dress.

And finally I like the Francesca Plus Size Dress. While I am a fan of the dark cyan this is definitely one of the dresses I wish came in multiple colors every season — how about a bright pink, orange, and blue for summer? This is a flattering style that looks good on most body types, making it easier to be on display — weddings are like all day fashion shows with mandatory runways throughout the day.

An a-line bridesmaid dress.

The Plus Size Guest

As for guests, there are so many great dresses to choose from but I am partial to the maxi dresses.

My absolute fave is the Letta Plus Size Dress in Mandarin Rose ($168). It has such a pretty pattern and the mauve background lets you have that all over orange feel without the overpowering feeling all orange can bring. It’s a really nice color combination. The extra long sash helps break up the pattern too.

This mandarin rose maxi dress is an excellent wedding guest dress.

Next up is the Rainforest Paradise Plus Size Maxi Dress ($188). Again, it is the color combination that strikes me first. It is a good style for those very warm outdoor weddings with the short sleeves and long flowing skirt to keep the air moving.

A colorful maxi dress for summer.

And finally, the Tiana Plus Size Maxi Dress ($128). A very simple patterned maxi dress for a casual wedding.

A classic looking casual maxi dress for a wedding guest.

One of things I do think would make Igigi’s wedding collection complete would be offering multiple color options in their best styles; especially when it comes to bridesmaid options. But still there are many options to choose from if you are open.

Do you have any weddings you are looking forward to this summer?

Topic Links
* Get your plus size bridal dress from Igigi
* Get your plus size bridal dress from Igigi

Reah Norman Talks Summer Style

For Lane Bryant’s latest issue of fashion tv Reah Norman talks about summer style, what we can expect to see, and how to have fun. All in less than four minutes!

Of all the ideas Reah shared I think I am going to give the layering cami’s a try. I have never tried that assuming it would be too hot but I like the look. Is there anything new you want to try this summer?

Topic Links
* Visit Lane Bryant for plus size clothing

Elizabeth Arden Prevage

I received a sample of Prevage in a Top Box ($13 sample beauty box — if you want an invite send me your email with “request for topbox invite” in subject). This beauty product is by Elizabeth Arden and is touted as a anti-aging + intensive repair eye serum. It is priced for $155 at the Bay for 0.5 ounces.

Elizabeth Arden Prevage eye serum.I was putting off using it because the sample came in a packet and it so hard to use them in a sanitary manner when you have to rip open the packet. Someone suggested putting a pin prick in it and covering it with tape but that didn’t work for me.

I eventually ripped open the packet to find a watery beige fluid. It looks more like make-up than something that should be part of my skin care routine especially at night. It is lightweight, didn’t feel greasy but also didn’t feel like a moisturizer either. Anyway, I was able to get a few days use out of it and perhaps it’s not enough time but I didn’t notice any noticeable difference and at that price I would be hard pressed to buy a full tube which is not even a full ounce to try.

Topic Links
* Visit Elizabeth Arden for more info on their Prevage line