Where Did Summer Go?

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I mean good grief it’s almost Labor Day weekend I haven’t even had the chance to rock all of the white in my wardrobe. I kept saving them like they were going to accrue interest. Welp now here it is the end of summer ’17 and I will just have to find a reason to rock white for no reason or just break the rules and wear white after Labor Day. I am not afraid to break a fashion rule or two. Rules are made to be challenged but for real where did summer go? I haven’t even had a picnic yet! I was all work and no play this summer. Continue reading

It Was All Good… And Then

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I had just come back from a conference geared towards curvy women and heard about Dia & Co. If you’ve never heard of them, they’re a plus size clothing brand that advocates women to be more confident in every outfit! After the conference, I felt fearless, like who is afraid of the big bad wolf? Not me, right? As I looked through my closet certain that I wasn’t afraid of anything in there, fear was hanging on a purple Joy Mangano huggable hanger. A cute body con dress that I felt would look so good on me when I was online shopping only to receive it and remember that I don’t have an hour glass shape. Continue reading

Why I Don’t Give A F$@#k What You Think About My Body

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My body is not here to meet your expectations

My body thinks that 36, 26. 36 is the combination to a lock and not a prerequisite to qualify for beauty

Excerpt from the poem, My Body – Laura Wize ©2017

I can’t possibly give one real f#$k about what people think about my body.  I’m too busy trying to create new norms. When ever my daughter comes into my bedroom unannounced while I am changing, she has to let me know, “mom you have a FUPA!” First I had to ask, “what is a FUPA?” (It didn’t take me long to realize she was talking about my stomach). We both get a good laugh in and then I remind her that my body is just as beautiful as hers. Anytime my daughter makes a statement about my FUPA I tell her straight up you know what say about my body isn’t actually affecting me. At 15, I can never truly tell what is penetrating her psyche but I do hope my body acceptance is rubbing off on her.

My body commands respect

My body should never be neglected

My body is the carrier of a beautiful soul, deep intelligence, and opinions

My body is filled with laughter, love, and soul food recipes

Excerpt from the poem, My Body – Laura Wize ©2017

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I was skinny as a teenager and it was awesome! When I was skinny I remember people ridiculing me about having chicken legs, about how high my butt is, and just anything.  As I got older I gained weight, then started the questions. You gaining weight are you pregnant? You gained some weight, too much ice cream? Even now I still get scolded for being on the small end of the plus size spectrum when people tell me you’re not really fat. People will make observations, that is what people do. I learned to stop allowing it to bother me.

I am human. I have days where I feel like I need improvement. I know when it’s time to get the salad and not the burger. When it’s time to work out and when I just could flat out careless. My body and I are in a relationship. When you are in a long term relationship you don’t “like” that person every second of the day but you’ve made a commitment to stand by them regardless. I try to give my body everything that it wants water, food, crop tops, and the occasional high waisted bikini. If someone has a problem with me or my body it’s us against them. Accepting my own body has helped me to be an advocate for all women’s bodies.

My body is made for couture but will slay in ready to wear

My body is rocking this sun dress, crop top, short skirt, leggings, boyfriend tee

My body is the reflection of both of my grandmothers, mama, and daddy

My body shows traits of my family tree

Long legs, round stomach, narrow hips, booty so high I could sit on a telephone pole without reaching

Excerpt from the poem, My Body – Laura Wize ©2017

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Ultimately you have to decide when you are comfortable and when you are uncomfortable with the way you look. The choice is not up to some asshole who makes a crude comment. A man made a comment about the way my body is shaped recently and I laughed it off because if the best he could do was talk about my shape, he’s lame. Body acceptance, body positivity, and confidence aren’t magical tricks. I’m not pulling these terms out of a hat and applying them as needed. I embrace them deep within my own mind as tools to better love myself so when some asshole speaks out of a place of malice about my body I can truly not give one flying f&%k!

My body is

A non negotiable term

And you will accept it in all of it’s forms

My body is a rebel

And does not need to conform to what’s attractive this week

Desirable body traits change like phases of the moon and I have come to accept mine

In it’s natural shape

In all of it’s glory

This is my body’s story

Read it and weap

Excerpt from the poem, My Body – Laura Wize ©2017

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What You Won’t Know About #TCFStyleExpo Unless You Go

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This past weekend, I took a road trip to Atlanta to make my way to The Curvy Fashionista Style Expo. I had my set expectations for shopping and getting to meet a few of my blogger boos in person. My expectations were exceeded from the moment I stepped into the Cobb Galeria Center! I admit in person networking is not my strong suit I’d much rather send an email but every woman in the room was beautifully adorned, warm, and friendly. It was like I stepped into a room full of old friends that I hadn’t seen in a while.

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I was consumed with good vibes when I realized that I had never been around so many women who were this comfortable being plus size. If not fully comfortable they were in search of acceptance of their bodies in their current state. Not settling and thinking of themselves as less than. All of the workshops and panels had deeper meanings these sessions didn’t pose answers but an open dialogue was openly discussed on what it means to have style while being a plus size consumer, body image, and even shapewear vs. au naturel.

Loving Your Body Is Continuous Journey

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Body acceptance is a continuous journey for all of us. It’s so easy to see someone else’s body, outfit, or life and think they have it better. I got to hear so many women’s personal stories about their style and no two were the same. From women who have been the chunky girl their whole lives or the women who grew into being more curvaceous over time we all have moments of insecurity and it’s ok. These moments took the expo beyond just a chance to shop and became a space for us to see style as a form of self-care.

Major Slayage

Honey this ain’t your average slay! I was so inspired to see what women were wearing and how they styled themselves. I was a kid in a candy store. Most of all everyone carried themselves with such confidence and joy. I could hardly keep my giddiness under wraps! I know I plan on taking some styling cues from these ladies.

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Big & Tall Fashion Is On The Rise

I sat in on a panel about men’s big and tall fashion and I was so enlightened when I heard their stories. How they have been under served and had no platform to speak about their issues. Hearing things from their side really opened my eyes to understand that size issues expand past women and the men need attention too. I mean I’m not opposed to a big, tall, handsome guy being just as fly as me. ( Call Me!)

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Honestly, there was so much to take in at the TCF Style Expo that it’s hard to fit it all in this post. Just know that I will there 2018 because I had the time of my life. It’s truly an experience that every curvy girl needs it’s more than just shopping it’s a celebration.

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For more Oh Wize One be sure to subscribe by clicking the follow button.  You can also follow me on Facebook Oh Wize One, Instagram@ohwizeone, twitter@ohwize1. Remember to share the wisdom with friends!!

Blogpression, It’s a Real Thing!

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I’ve been quiet on my blog lately. Sometimes you have to take a break before you breakdown and I did just that. It started unintentionally I just wanted to celebrate my birthday without documenting it. I wanted to be “in the moment”. My birthday festivities had come and gone and I just could not get myself back into work mode. Blogging at times can become exhausting even when you love it. You develop a thick skin blogging but when you put a lot of work into something and you don’t get your desired results it can become emotionally draining.

When I get tired, frustrated, and just downright irritated by my blog I call it blogpression. All of the creative energy that is required to create content, share it, and try to achieve even a marginal level of success can get you down. It’s like giving birth to a baby every week. After you’ve loved and nurtured your baby people didn’t even read your baby. All the emotions that you feel after every post feel a like postpartum depression. I get restless and my thought rapidly going over how I could have made the post better and how I could attract more people. With all of the high-quality content that is available online, I wondered if I will  I ever measure up.

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All the pressure, excitement, and sadness swing like a pendulum and after a while I get sad because I haven’t stayed true to my posting schedule, which I had just gotten the hang of! My hard work, time, money, and energy is going down the drain every week. I needed to get back on the horse but I was thigh deep in my pity party and it kept sucking me in like quicksand. I sat down and gathered my concerns.

  • I wondered how can I get back to work when I’m creatively exhausted?
  • How can I make my blog better?
  • How can I empower women? For real!
  • If I address issues that deal with being a Black woman in America does that isolate readers who aren’t Black?
  • Do I care if I lose those readers?

I decided to get a hold of my emotions. My personal business motto is, don’t complain get better. I heeded my own advice. It was time to dust myself off because wallowing in self-doubt is unproductive and besides I was getting on my own nerves.

I began to analyze my perspective to ensure that I am producing a product that I am happy with. Why did I even start this blog? How can I overcome all the things I wish I knew before I started blogging? Blogging hasn’t done anything to me personally I just need to shake off this blogpression and refocus my energy on making sure that my message is clear to the people I am targeting.

I can’t do and be everything and neither can my blog. I created this space because I wanted to create the dialog with real women who live real lives.  Honestly, I did create this space for black women who don’t get to see themselves enough. Women who shop at Target, read Iyanla Vanzant, and occasionally listen to Trap music. (It can’t just be me) A place where you can just BE! Where you can like Sex and the City and Living Single, with no side eye.  If I can’t just BE on my own platform where can I?

Overcoming the ‘pression! I’m reading a few new books to get motivated to move past think blog-funkery and into new territory! I am about half way through my summer reading and I highly recommend these books for motivation!

Platform by Michael Hyatt is amazing! This book delivers on so many levels I would recommend this book for anyone who has to market themselves or a product. Self-management is a big part of blogging so this book is helping me think about how to make the most of my space on the internet. It’s also helping me focus and reorganize my thoughts about how I post so I feel less pressure from blog world as a whole. It’s also a resource guide because Michael shares all of the tools, books, and other sage advice that has aided his own success. Stop what you’re doing and read it.

Nothing wrong with a little online etiquette. Aliza Licht gives you the 411 on how to get your foot into the door from where ever you are in life. This book is a little fashion focused I mean her Twitter handle is @DKNYPRGIRL so it should be self-explanatory. Getting brands interested in your blog is awesome but how do you communicate with the people in public relations? This book gives great examples of how and when to communicate with professionals online so that you don’t make a fool of yourself when it really counts.

The reality is that you could have a great message and communicate it badly. We all need a refresher course in the way people are wired. What attracts people to some things and not others. This book breaks down the science of marketing in a way that helps you to see where you need to make adjustments. Nothing beats science, right?

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I think all bloggers get blogpression, it’s a real thing. You just have to take a step back and remember why you even got started so you don’t lose sight of your overall goal. Bloggers have to stop being so hard on themselves if they don’t go viral every post we make.  It’s too much pressure to be a sensation every time because inevitably Instagram will change the algorithm, Google will change page rankings, and Facebook will never be helpful unless you pay them and sometimes not even then! It’s just the natural rhythm of life you win some you loose some but you keep playing the game.

To all of my fellow bloggers are you suffering too? Blogging is awesome but making everything look good can take a toll on you after a while. How do you deal with your own blogpression?

For more Oh Wize One be sure to subscribe by clicking the follow button.  You can also follow me on Facebook Oh Wize One, Instagram@ohwizeone, twitter@ohwize1. Remember to share the wisdom with friends!!

Girl Talk Seaonal Social Mixer Recap

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Networking online is a valuable tool but there comes a time when you have to get from behind your laptop and have a good old fashion conversation. This past weekend I attended the second seasonal mixer for Girl Talk and they delivered on the opportunity to meet with other local Cincinnati business owners and creatives. The mixer was the perfect opportunity for me to interact with energetic women who are starting new endeavors as well as meet more established women who are excelling their profession.

It was so awesome to be surrounded by other women who wanted to encourage and empower each other. The afternoon offered guest speakers, local vendors, and a fashion show featuring Cincinnati designers. The room was filled with positive energy that made each interaction restorative to every woman in attendance. I will be sure to attend the next networking mixer hosted by Girl Talk.

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For more Oh Wize One be sure to subscribe by clicking the follow button.  You can also follow me on Facebook Oh Wize One, Instagram@ohwizeone, twitter@ohwize1. Remember to share the wisdom with friends!!

Did I Just Get A Backhand From a Second Hand?

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As a style blogger, I’m in a constant state of shopping. I see a look in a magazine, on the street, or in a store window and I am in the pursuit to recreate the look. Shopping for vintage or secondhand clothing is like a treasure hunt. You dig, dig, dig, and if you are lucky you strike gold! I love bringing hidden gems to life because it’s an opportunity to style a look that merges the past and the present.  I share my looks to inspire other women and let them know that no matter where you shop you can have great style.

Through my shopping adventures, I get the opportunity to work with companies to cross-promote. A few months ago, I was contacted by one of my favorite local Cincinnati resale shops, and I jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with them. I got a DM from their Instagram account asking if I  would be interested in helping the store promote an event that they were planning. Since I had already covered this boutique on my blog, I knew it would be easy to get some of my readers, styling clients, and personal friends to come support the event. I didn’t have much time being that the event was a week away.

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Usually, a boutique has two important people to be in direct contact with; the owner and the person running the operations of the store. They aren’t always one in the same. I used my Google trigger finger and researched who I would be working with to find, to my surprise, my point of contact was adorable and accomplished.  I had an instant total girl crush.  From what I could see she was highly educated and if her Instagram feed had a catchphrase it would be “I’ve got my life together!” She just happened to be African American (this is important for later in the story). As I was looking through the boutique’s Instagram feed, I saw the usual well-styled outfits and a few African-American models sprinkled in with the usual blondes sporting cool retro looks.

I was invited into the store to “borrow” items to wear at the event and if I liked it I could choose to “purchase” the items at a discount. Nothing seemed out of the normal.  Most boutiques ask that you wear their clothes at in-store events. The landscape of the event was very diverse. I thought it was dope that the boutique was showing that a variety of women like secondhand and vintage shopping because, well we do. I had a variety of my readers and friends support the event. I purchased an amazing kimono that I chose to wear during the event. Overall I felt the event was a success and I was proud that I was involved.

A few months later, I received an email from the boutique owner.  She wanted to know if I had a few moments to speak and asked for my telephone number.  I agreed to speak with her and without hesitation, gave her my phone number. Given the success of the previous event, I assumed she wanted to talk about another opportunity for me to collaborate with a store that I love, frequent and support.  Boy, was I wrong. What I thought was going to be a conversation about collaboration quickly turned out to be to the contrary and very unprofessional. The owner began by asking me about the kimono I wore during the in-store event. She wanted to know the original price and if I had received a discount.  She then went on to explain how her business relationship with woman I had such a great experience working with had gone bad. She stated that she priced the kimono at a certain price and that it was not to be sold for lower. She said that if the robe didn’t sell at its original price point that she had planned to purchase the kimono herself.  She further explained her family is taking a trip to Japan and she planned on giving the kimono to one of her nieces to wear while on their trip. (In my mind I thought, who takes a kimono to Japan? I digress)

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She said the woman who was contracted to run the event did not have the authority to discount the robe.  She also said, “this is no fault of yours but I needed to know how much you paid for the robe”.  I advised her that I couldn’t remember exactly how much I paid because I had made the purchase about three months ago.  In the midst of this strange line of questioning, I began feeling very uncomfortable. I had mixed emotions about everything and asked myself, if this misunderstanding is between her and someone she hired to handle business in her store, why is she involving me?”  Clearly, if an employee at Old Navy marked down an item without authorization and I purchased it,  Old Navy wouldn’t call to question me, they would reprimand the individual, not the customer.

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“Customer”, the word ran through my mind.  I was a customer before I was asked to promote this event and even continued to support the store after the event.  I had purchased items at this store as recent as a week prior to this awkward call. It was beyond me why this store owner would make a customer privy to what seemed like a messy business situation.

My conversation with the owner was disheartening, to say the least.  Though she expressed concern about the price of the kimono, her true intent for the call seemed to be something different. Her tone was sweet but her questioning felt condescending, because every answer I gave led to more investigative questioning concerning me and my credentials.  Her questioning made me feel she didn’t want my image associated with her store.  I felt rejected and insulted and I couldn’t help but think this white store owner thought the Black blogger and Black freelance consultant were in cahoots about a kimono when the truth is, I didn’t know the freelance consultant prior to working with her.  The owner didn’t directly say these things but the disappointment and skepticism in her voice was audible and tangible.

The following day, after thinking the conversation over, questioning and double checking myself,  going through my bank statements, reviewing all of my social media and blog content to ensure that I presented myself as a professional, talking it over with friends,  and analyzing the entire situation, I let her know that I no longer feel comfortable shopping in her boutique. I let her know that the call put me in an uncomfortable position and that it was overall unprofessional. I also let her know that if I’d known the reason for her wanting to speak with me, I wouldn’t have spoken with her at all.

I could be too deep into thought about the intentions of this Cincinnati store owner, but I highly doubt it. I just can’t ignore the undertone of our conversation or the cultural appropriation that felt borderline racist. Ultimately I have to wonder…

Did I just get a backhand from a second hand?

For more Oh Wize One be sure to subscribe by clicking the follow button.  You can also follow me on Facebook Oh Wize One, Instagram@ohwizeone, twitter@ohwize1. Remember to share the wisdom with friends!!

Midwest Regional Sweet & Natural Fest Recap

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This past weekend I headed out to the Midwest Regional Sweet & Natural Fest that was held in Washington Park. The even. that was founded by Daphney Thomas, promotes vitality and culture allows vendors to showcase health and beauty products, jewelry, attire, and artwork. I loved the focus on products hair and beauty products that work for me as a woman of color. It was a great opportunity to connect with other women who deal with some of the same beauty dilemmas that I deal with. Ain’t nothing wrong with polishing your #blackgirlmagic.  Continue reading

We’ll Always Have Polka Dots

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Bringing it back like polka dots!! Well, that is not exactly true they never really left especially since polka dots are my favorite! When I found this bell sleeve top from Fashion to Figure I knew that I had to have it. Sleeves are big this season, no really, they’re huge. If you’re looking for a dramatic statement piece for summer try finding a top with intricate sleeve details. This look can work on all body types.

Continue reading

Mama Always Said, “Life is Too Short for Bad Clothes!”

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My mother taught me everything that I know about style. When other kids were watching cartoons on Saturday mornings I was by my mother’s side watching Fashion TV.  We would ooh and ahh over the latest designer collections. My mom is a seamstress and a fashion genius. I’ve seen her make miracles with everything from my old jeans to fabric remnants. My sister and I would spend hours with her in the fabric store as kids begging her to leave only to end up picking out our own patterns and begging her to make us our next outfit.

I remember being joyfully excited about a skirt I like in Casual Contempo as a preteen and begging my mom to look at it, she pulled at the fabric and examined the hem. She rolled her eyes and exclaimed, “I can make that!” Those four words would make you put your garment back on the rack and walk out of the store. I sat down recently with my mom so we could talk about her style and her thoughts on style for the everyday woman.

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 Q. Did style influence you to sew or did sewing influence your style?

A. Sewing was my way to get the look for less. Back then sewing was affordable so you could make things that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford. I’ve always loved clothes, sewing was just a way of putting more options within my reach.

Q. How do you think your sewing and your style affected my sister and me?

A. Your styles were so different. You are so eclectic and all over the place and your sister is sporty. When you were little it was my way of expressing my love for fashion.  Because I could sew I could give you both more. I was lucky that I could dress you any way that I wanted and you and your sister were receptive. You were always opinionated about what you wore I remember when you were three years old and proclaimed that you wanted to wear dresses every day!

Q. What do you think of our style now that we are adults?

A. (Lots of laughter) You both do well and understand your body types. I sometimes think you both dress mature for your age and I feel a little bad about that. You do really well with balancing classic looks and styling a look for the club. You’ve always had fun with fashion.

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Q. Who’s your favorite fashion designer?

A. That’s hard because I love high fashion but I also like urban wear too. I love Michael Kors not what they sell in the stores but his ready to wear line. I love classic designers like Celine. I also like avant-garde fashion too like Alexander McQueen I like things that could only be worn on the runway or at the Met Gala. You know who progressively looks better and better in high fashion? Rhianna. You can see her growth and she keeps getting it right. I like Rhianna’s style much better than Kim Kardashian.

Q. What is your style advice for women who’s body have recently changed to due weight loss or weight gain?

A. Buy your size and if you don’t know what size you are, find out by trying on what you like in multiple sizes. I believe in dressing the body you have. You are wasting time if you are waiting on your body to change before you start dressing better. Buying items that fit will always look good.

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Q. What key pieces would you recommended for women on a budget?

It depends on your lifestyle. I think everyone should have a good white button-down shirt. You need a good skirt. You need good pants. Shop off season for the key items that you need like a coat, suit jackets, and expensive suiting items. You can buy quality at any price point.

 

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My mom is a major style influence in my life. She has taught me so much about fit and garment quality. I know I wouldn’t have any interest in style had she not been key in ensuring that my sister and I understood how to dress our bodies in their current state. My mom is the original body acceptance advocate in my life. I’m so glad her Wize Style rubbed off on me!

For more Oh Wize One be sure to subscribe by clicking the follow button.  You can also follow me on Facebook OhWize One, Instagram@ohwizeone, twitter@ohwize1. Remember to share the wisdom with friends!!

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