theCURVYcon 2016 Recap

Last year marked the first ever annual Curvycon and as you can guess, I was beyond upset at the fact that I couldn’t attend. So I made a point to get my ticket for this year’s con early so I wouldn’t miss out. This was incredibly important to me because Cece Olisa and Chastity Garner were the two first plus size bloggers I found when I was introduced to the medium.  Words cannot express how significant this event is for the body positive and self love movements. There was just this feeling of love within every aspect of the event that I just had to share my experience.

Day 1 – Healthy Curves Workout and  Pop-Up-Shop + Sip hosted by Gabifresh

The morning started with sessions hosted by blogger and CURVYcon co-creator, CeCe Olisa, and fitness guru, Anowa Adjah. I must say that they were not playing around with this workout which made me glad that I came prepared. It felt great to workout in a non-judgmental space with body positive instructors. I especially appreciated how both Cece and Anowa made it fun and educational, stressing that working out is not punishment for the body you have but rather a form of self love.

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That funny moment when you run into an event a full half hour late only to find your instagram post on the screen

That funny moment when you run into an event a full half hour late only to find your Instagram post on the Tagboard screen.

20160617_11175020160617_123919We cooled down with yoga instructor, Jessamyn Stanley. This was the very first time I have ever given yoga a try as I had always believed that it was something I just couldn’t do. I never knew how flexible my body actually is even at my size.  Needless to say I am going to put this new yoga mat into good use from now on. This session left me stretched and refreshed to take on the long day ahead. After this I made my way to the bathroom to freshen up, and get dressed to head over to my second event of the day – the Full Figured Fashion Week Lord & Taylor Best of Spring Presentation.  In the rush of the morning I left my bottle of Squelch behind, thankfully I met a new friend, Barbara, on the bus ride over to Curvycon who was kind enough to lend me her Degree Dry Spray to make up for the lack of post-workout shower. After spending some time with FFFweek, I made my way back to theCURVYcon for some shopping.

GabiFresh at the ELOQUII booth. Didn't get a chance to meet her as so many people were lining up to do so, but I hope we cross paths again.

GabiFresh at the ELOQUII booth. Didn’t get a chance to meet her as so many people were lining up to do so, but I hope we cross paths again.

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Ok, I’ll admit it. I had a mental list of people I simply had to meet during these events. Sarah Rae Vargas of Ravings by Rae and Amanda Allison of Fashion, Love and Martinis were definitely in the top five. I just love their authentic voice and style that they bring to their blog posts and YouTube videos.

After this picture was taken Amanda asked me what . She couldn't believe it and said, "You're beautiful girl!." Couldn't help but smile and agree.

After this picture was taken Amanda said that my face was glowing and she asked me what highlighter I use. She couldn’t believe it when I said I don’t use makeup except for lipstick and said, “You’re beautiful girl!” Couldn’t help, but smile and agree.

One of the more interesting tasks for this day was having to carry an extra set of clothes as I could not travel back home until the very end of the day. With that in mind I needed something that I could easily put on after having worked a sweat out in the morning, but also something nice enough for Full Figured Fashion Week.  I’ll be honest that out of most plus size fashion trends, retro-modern is one I have never tried because of its link to pin-up style which tends to favor western body and beauty ideals. But this dress is just so fun with the peek-a-boo knotted back detail and baroque pattern, bringing a flirty elegance that fits  well into my style. Also the pockets were a great help when it came to alternating between my phone and wallet, so that was a major win for this choice in dress.

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For outfit details check out my last Full Figured Fashion Week event recap here.

Day 2 – Panels and More shopping

This was the day I was anxiously awaiting – hearing from veteran bloggers, as well designers, and plus size brands. The panel’s ranged from creating a personal style, starting a blog, and of course, curvy confidence. It culminated with keynote conversations with comedian Michelle Buteau, gospel artist Tasha Cobbs, Sherri Shepherd and author Susan Moses,  moderated by Cece and Chastity.  20160618_101921

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Lunch -n- Learn: Finding Your Personal Style

Lunch -n- Learn Panel: Finding Your Personal Style

There were breaks between each panel allowing for us to do some shopping in between. I didn’t really shop as I would have liked due to my ever shrinking budget, but I did make a point to buy a shimmy shrug from Ja’re International Couture at the Love-Lianca booth. 20160618_105039 Who knew that shoulders are so sexy? Unlike most shrugs, it covers the arms while showing off just enough shoulder, which is great for someone like me who is still wary of going strapless. I got mine in an XL and it fits my arms very well. It is such a a versatile piece that can be dressed up or down, and I am having so much fun experimenting with it.

Wearing the shimmy shrug over a maxi dress.

Lianca Lyons, owner and designer of Love-Lianca wearing the Ja’re International Couture shimmy shrug over her tribal strapless maxi dress.

20160618_135202I was overjoyed to find Alysse Dalessandro of Ready to Stare at the Curvy Couture booth. We got to talking about the whole “flattering fashion” debate in plus size and the importance of creating pieces that are traditionally left to straight size women. She is doing amazing things with her fashion line and blog, even going as far as shattering gender-performance expectations by those who identify as plus.

20160618_154929I  also got to check out the awesome swimsuits at the A+Curves booth. Audrey Allen’s designs are really for those who want to be seen and stand out. From mesh peplum to off-the-shoulder fringe in bold colors and prints, she has it all!  I didn’t get the chance to order anything but I definitely will soon. 20160618_132924

Speaking of magnificent designers, I got the chance to meet Ashley Nel Tipton! I was so happy that I got the chance to tell her how inspirational and talented she is. She truly was the only reason I even started watching Project Runway (I have since started playing catch up on Hulu) and I rooted for her every week. She is doing brilliant things with Jcpenney and I know this is just the beginning for her.

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“Dear Retailer” panel

Gwladys La-Sama Germany of Hair Related.

Me with blogger, Gwladys La-Sama Germany of Hair Related/French Curves.

The best part of this week was just meeting so many awe-inspiring people from around the city,  and in some cases even from around the world! All women who are working to break society’s beauty standards and affirming just what real beauty is.

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I ended my day the best way possible, re-introducing myself to Cece (we met briefly in 2013 at a Curvy Closet sale) and finally meeting Chastity. And while we only had a brief meeting, it meant a lot to me to have the chance to tell them how much they inspired me and helped me reach where I am today in my self love journey. I can honestly say that if it weren’t for their empowering words and posts I would still be full of self doubt and loathing. They were such gracious hosts, who couldn’t help but shed a couple of tears at the outpouring of support and gratitude by all of us in attendance.  It was an overall awesome experience and I can’t wait to see how it grows!

As for my outfit of the day, rising the temperatures lead me to rethink my look all together for the second time. I ended up going full summer-resort style with this lace overlay top, which I paired with mid-rise shorts to play off the length as when I first saw it in stores I thought it was a dress. (This top is no longer available online but I was in Lane Bryant just the other day and I am happy to report it is still available in some of their locations.) I figured what better place to break a bunch of “plus size fashion rules” than at theCURVYcon, showing off my thighs, legs and arms all at once. This look kept me comfortable and in style, though at one point the air condition was on full blast which made me put on my Dressbarn military jacket.

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~Get the look~

Lace Overlay Shell Top (size 16) | Lane Bryant  (sold out)
Mid-rise Shorts | Sears (similar here)
Gold Highland Metal Swirl Sandal | Avenue

Thinking about attending next year?  You can purchase your 2017 theCURVYcon tickets here:  http://bit.ly/292Nyg8

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