Maya Brooke 3/4 Sleeve Jacket Dress – Trendy or Trash?

Dresses are still sort of a new style for me, since I spent almost half of my life as a “tomboy” type of girl. My current job, however, convinced me to incorporate more dresses into my wardrobe and fewer baggy band shirts and sweatpants. I want my look to project the professional I perceive myself as to others. (Not to mention looking good always helps you feel good in general.)

A trip to JCPenney surprised me, though, when I saw this Maya Brooke dress. Patterns usually fail to catch my interest; I think the red jacket drew me in the most, though. I’ve been missing a sharp, business-like dress, and it just screamed that to me. I totally bought it.

But is it trendy, or is it just trash? Let’s break it down.

Continue reading “Maya Brooke 3/4 Sleeve Jacket Dress – Trendy or Trash?”

Modeling, Makeup, and Mental Health Awareness Month

Though a shroud of stigmas surround them, mental illnesses are probably some of the most difficult disorders to try and deal with. It’s sad when people who don’t understand try to make it sound so easy to handle. On the other end, it’s also a bit exaggerated when people who suffer from disorders like depression and anxiety swear they are unable to at least try to keep it from ruining their life in any way.

Despite what people may think, things really do get better eventually.

I lack the need to lay my whole life out on the table, but I dealt with some tough events in the past up until this point. (Hell, some days the littlest things will still flare me up for a few minutes.) People died, a parent said goodbye (not forever, but had to leave the house), and I wrestled self-loathing the size of a brontosaurus. And I also admit that, up until almost two years, I failed to get myself the sufficient help I needed; it felt easier to sit in bed, mope, and live in ignorance. However, it’s never too late, and I have put in the work necessary ever since on a daily basis, and makeup and fashion were part of that work. Continue reading “Modeling, Makeup, and Mental Health Awareness Month”

Retail Affliction and How to Overcome It

Regardless of your body shape or size, one thing most, if not all, of us women deal with is the difficulty that comes with shopping for clothes and shoes. With the minuscule irritations that come with the process, other than a temporary sense of frustration (or blind rage, if you’re me), we all also tend to develop negative images of ourselves which affect more aspects of our lives than maybe we ever realized. My insecure thoughts as a preteen and teenager due to my inability to connect with others my age mutated into the way I viewed myself overall, which then linked into my fashion (or lack thereof) all the way until college.

When I tried clothing on in a store and things didn’t fit, I shut down and gave up after one store. I hated myself to the point where I would have rathered worn my baggy cargo shorts until they looked like Tarzan’s loincloth than keep trying to look for new clothes and wear my shoes until the soles burned out rather than get new pairs. Clothes shopping literally enraged me, which shouldn’t be the case.

With that said, here are some tips that I’ve found helpful in my own journey over the past year and that I hope you find useful as well.

  1. Don’t be afraid to browse other stores if nothing fits at one store. Like I mentioned before, the lack of universal sizing standards is absolutely ridiculous, and several department stores like JCPenney and Boscovs sell several different brands for you to explore. You’re bound to find at least find one item that will work as long as you keep trying things on and searching with an open mind.
  2. Challenge yourself to browse items outside of your fashion comfort zone. Believe me, I know this one is difficult. We all find that one pant cut we know will fit or that one color that acts as our go-to, so it’s much easier to grab those at the store and go instead of explore new options. If you have the ample time to spend in a clothing store, grab a little bit of every style that catches your eye even for a second and bring it in the dressing room. You never know which looks you’ll slay until you try!
  3. Spend a minute or two taking in the view you see in the mirror and experiencing your thoughts/feelings in those moments. Whether it’s a piece that works on you or doesn’t, look in the mirror and acknwledge the thoughts and feelings that come with that reflection. If your shirt makes you look wider than you’d like, what about it makes you feel that way (cut, rouching, color, etc.)? If your pants fit perfectly, how are they cut to make you look and feel so good? Stand and look at yourself in just that new bra and your jeans and take in your half-bare self so you can finally look at that and say, “This is pretty nice.” Be in the shopping experience rather than just trying to grab something quickly.
  4. Make it fun! This sounds cliche, but it really does help if you can manage to make it fun. When I’m in a dressing room and trying on pants, sometimes I’ll start wiggling my butt if I think the pants fit well. Even if something is too big or small, I’ll take a silly mirror selfie and laugh at how silly it looks. If you have a friend with you, make your own fashion show and strut to that 360* mirror like you’re owning New York Fashion Week (even at a Forever21). I always get a good laugh this way.

There are obviously other ways you guys cope with difficult shopping trips, so leave them in the comments!

Rising Like a Phoenix (Still Alive!)

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Despite my silence, I haven’t died (yet, at least)

Greetings for the first time since January! I know it’s been a while since I caught up with everyone here, and I definitely don’t feel too great about it. Unfortunately, trying to figure out which direction my life may be taking while trying to maintain my sanity and balance other elements of life became a bit too overwhelming to work on this for a bit. However, my head is getting back into a better place again, so time to get back into the swing of things!

I may have been quiet here, but I’ve definitely still been alive on all of my social media pages, especially Instagram. Instagram is the perfect place to showcase my loves of makeup and fashion, so even if I’m slacking on here, my Instagram (@jessmckeownmua) is a great place to keep up with me. This shouldn’t be the case, though, if everything goes to plan and I can keep up on this better.

During my website hiatus, I’ve been working on pushing my own boundaries (as seen by my crop tops and bikini in the collage above). My whole goal for both myself and anyone else who visits my page is to get outside of the comfort zones we love so much so we love ourselves even more than before.

Get ready for even edgier, happier, and more chic content coming to you here. I’m excited to be back!

Why I Don’t Wear Spanx

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The dress in this photo of me is one of the sexiest things I have ever owned. I love the black and grey leopard print on the front (since I absolutely love my leopard print), and the dress clings to every inch of my body just right. However, with a tighter dress come more visible rolls and a more visible tummy. Yet I wear it, and I wear it without Spanx.

When I look at the photo, is it hard to keep my eyes from darting right to that back roll or my prominent stomach? Absolutely. But that roll and that stomach are still me, and I like to keep it real. Now, I have no feelings whatsoever about people wearing Spanx, since I’ve considered it from time to time; wear it if it makes you feel amazing, or don’t wear it if it doesn’t interest you. However, my personal idea of keeping it real includes leaving my body as it is.

My thought process works like this; if I’m a “what you see is what you get” kind of person from the start, including with my body, it will help weed out all of the people who are too shallow to deserve a place in my life. Anyone who genuinely gives a damn about you, as a person, won’t care about your chub that much or judge you for it. And with my history of people staring at me and judging/picking on me, I don’t need people like that around. I need genuine ones, and so do you.

The other reason I don’t wear Spanx is to challenge myself and learn how to accept and love myself from the inside out. The more I can look at myself in a different way (like in that bodycon dress), the easier it becomes to see it and my flaws without feeling uncomfortable or insecure. I still feel a little uncomfortable looking at the photo sometimes, but I can also say I looked freaking beautiful that night. I felt amazing about myself, and it helped lead to my first kiss and my first date (which both felt magical).

So, there’s my little post about why I haven’t gotten Spanx…yet. (I’m thinking I can make it a treat for myself once I’m confident enough to wear it and not think that I need it afterward.)

How many of you guys do or don’t wear Spanx, and why? I’m interested in your voices, so start a conversation in the comments below!

Jess’s Shopping List #3: Torrid’s ‘Rebel Wilson Collection’

Hey there, lovely readers! I had some down time at work over the weekend and noticed that I haven’t posted any items that really struck my fancy recently. So I started putting together list after list by online window shopping, and Torrid was my first visit. I never gave Rebel’s collection a really good look to see what I like before, so here we go! (Let us also be proud of the fact that I didn’t buy anything while making lists.)

1. Embellished Surplice Dress ($68.50 normally, currently on sale for $51.48)

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Photo courtesy of torrid.com

As some of you may have read in my last post, I never used to have any interest in dresses AT ALL. But recently that has changed drastically (meaning I now own seven or eight dresses). The majority of my clothing is black, but how can anyone go wrong with a classy black dress? It’s versatile for either a casual day of errands and walking around or for a formal event. Not to mention I love the way this dress hugs the model’s body. (Yes, I know we’re all not built like the model and it will look different, but it still looks gorgeous on her.)

While this dress primarily has good reviews from buyers, a few others mentioned that the fabric feels bulky, the sizing runs small, and one reviewer (Ashw9593) even said, “Word to the wise if you are bigger then a size 1 this dress is not for you. It is unflattering and will make your look bulgy. Trust me, save yourself the trouble of this disaster!” It’s still super pretty, so maybe I’ll buy it soon and give my own review. Let me know below if you want to see that!

2. Multi Zip Skinny Jeans ($68.50 normally, currently on sale for $51.48)

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Photo courtesy of torrid.com

I need another pair of black pants like I need a hole in my head, other people would say. But black pants are truly my religion! Black is so neutral, and I can always create new outfits easily by making the black pants the base item. (Not to mention I like looking goth and kind of looking like a badass anyway.)

These pants look like they’d fit really well and hug in all the right places, so I’m definitely ready to buy these the moment I’m able to. The zippers on top are also a really cute detail that none of my other pairs of black pants have. I don’t tuck in my shirts too often or wear crop tops to really show them off, but I’d still feel cute knowing they’re there. Plus, I could always use these pants for an outfit where I actually would tuck my shirt in.

3. Coated Jeggings ($58.50 normally, currently on sale for $43.98)

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Photo courtesy of torrid.com

If I had to pick one word to describe these jeggings, it would be “unique”. I love the addition of the zippers (as we know from the previous item I mentioned) to give the pants a more visible metallic pop, but I also love the panels on the thighs and the black ponte. I can definitely say I don’t own any pants like these, so these are a necessity.

So there’s my list for today. Also, in case you guys didn’t know, Torrid is currently running an online only promotion that is either “Buy One, Get One (BOGO) 50% Off Regular Price” or “BOGO $5 Clearance”. Just enter “CELEBRATE” at checkout to save and take advantage of such a good sale!

Happy shopping! XOXO

Jess’s Shopping List Item #2: Big Guns for ASOS Retro Halter Swimsuit with Leopard Trim

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Photo courtesy of ASOS Curve

Hello, everyone! I apologize for the blog being on a small hiatus, but now I am back to posting! Unfortunately, I found out yesterday that my Lane Bryant swimsuit I purchased years ago is too small for me, so that means I need a new swimsuit for the rare occasions when I actually get to swim or sit in the hot tub at my workplace.

I have never made a purchase through ASOS Curve, but other plus size bloggers rave about this place and how it can be a bit more affordable than some other stores. While I’m still not thrilled that I may have to spend $68 on this really cute swimsuit, it definitely beats the $100 (maybe a little more) I spent on this one that is too tight when I bought it. This is available in sizes 14-24, so at least there is a little bit of a size range.

Interested in this swimsuit, too? Click the photo or click HERE to purchase it!