Turning 29 in Puerto Rico, La Isla del Encanto

Once I heard that the the third annual Su-Style Expo, the premier plus size event for Latinas, would be happening on May 4th, literally the day after my birthday, I took this to be a sign that it was finally time for me to go to Puerto Rico. My mother spent over 4 years there working on her BS in Biology before immigrating to the US and so I grew up listening to my mother call Puerto Rico as her “Segunda Patria” (Translation: Second homeland). Having listening to her stories and seen pictures of her adventures there, I dreamed about the day that I would be able to travel to “La Isla del Encanto” myself.

My mother’s birthday is a week before mine and she hasn’t been back since she left in 1987 so I figured that  a mother-daughter trip would also be a great birthday present for her. (And by extension, Mother’s Day present too because that was a week after our trip and I was pretty broke after this, hahaha!) So I bought our tickets, booked the hotel and told her to pack her bags. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so excited.

I had originally planned to do a full-fledged travel vlog complete with a pina colada counter (because there were many, I mean it is Puerto Rico after all), but alas I was having a bit too much fun to take video too seriously. However I still wanted to share a bit about our trip so check it out below!

Day 1 – Travel Day

My mother and I haven’t been on a plane together since 2007 when we flew down to Panama as a family for my great-grandmother’s funeral so it was a nice change of pace to be traveling someplace for fun rather than obligation. The entire time in the airport I caught my mother looking around the airport muttering, “No puedo creer que vamos a Puerto Rico!” (Translation: I can’t believe we’re going to Puerto Rico!)

The face of complete joy at being back.

Even with all the excitement, our first day on the island just consisted of picking up our rental car and settling into our hotel. My mother had to cram three days of work into two in order to get the rest of the week off so she was pretty beat by the time we got to the airport and I had actually stayed up the night before repacking my suitcase for the fourth time so we were pretty tired to do any of the things that I had on the agenda for the day besides getting something to eat. Continue reading

Sacred Heart Moto

One of the most popular kinds of tops in plus size fashion has got to be dolman sleeve top. I’m not exactly sure when or how that trend got started,  but it is so common that I stay away from it as it tends to be a boxy cut and usually made of a chiffon fabric.

That is until this one caught my eye while I was scrolling through the Torrid site. Admittedly the print is one that  you have to try on to really see the appeal and that is just what I had to do for me to fall in love with it. You may be wondering, what is it about this sacred heart print that got me interested to begin with. Well, for those of you that may be new to my blog, I’m actually an Art and Design historian who specializes in 17th and 18th century Baroque Art. Moreover, the sacred heart is a traditional Catholic symbol created in sometime during the Middle Ages/Gothic period but was prominently used during the Baroque period to encourage devotion and mediation upon the graces of Christ among the illiterate members of  their congregations.

Typically this symbol is depicted in art as a heart with flames pouring from the top, like a symbol of intense burning love.  It is a Baroque theological referent that was part of the blending the form of light and performance that defines the artistic style of that time used in order to inspire people to accept the Catholic faith, and by extension, Western culture during their conquests.  As you can tell I literally can go on about this for hours, hahaha. I mean I even have a PowerPoint presentation in my external hard-drive on the use of such symbols and the role they played in the Spanish conquest of Latin America. Continue reading

Black Rose Heart

Aesthetically Valentine’s day could be considered to be the direct opposite of Halloween, yet if you were to look at the origins of this  particular holiday you’d find that it actually has a lot more in common with Halloween than you’d think.  So you can understand how easy it was for me to ditch the traditional V-day aesthetic of cutesy red, hearts and flowers for black hearts, skulls and blood red roses this year.  I took this as a chance to style a Victorian goth look for the day. Of course goth style is not very affordable but I figured I should treat myself. After all, Valentine’s day is a holiday set aside for love so why not celebrate my love for myself by splurging on something stylish and elegant, right?  Also I find nothing more romantic than textures that remind me of a different time like lace and velvet – both of which come together really well with this soft velvet shirt dress. 

I kept accessories to a minimum because the lace-bib and trim already elevates the traditional shirtdress style, but I did add this silver plated vintage inspired locket to keep within my theme. Heart shaped lockets were very popular in the 19th century. They represented love and contained portraits, or locks of hair to represent romantic love for another. While mine is currently empty, that didn’t hold me back from being a Victorian aristocratic lady pinning for her lost love for a day. Continue reading

My Two Cents: Body Positivity vs. Influencer Weight Loss?

Back in December, I spent some of my holiday break  going through my Facebook blog page DMs from readers (yes, I actually make time to read and answer those) and this was one of the ones I had received:

I’m not going to lie, the question took me off guard to the point that I failed to formulate an immediate answer. So I simply wrote back that I needed some time to process this a bit, promising that I would cover this topic on the blog as soon as I could.

Weight loss is such a touchy subject. Understandably so as it triggers a lot of difficult memories and emotions for many of us, especially if you are a woman. As someone who grew up being constantly criticized, bullied and even publicly humiliated for my weight, I still cringe a bit when Weight Watchers is brought up in conversation. (For context I was gifted a membership to that program by my Great Aunt when I was 9 years old and subsequently continued to do so until the day I turned 18, but that’s a story for another time.)

I came into plus size fatshion through the body positive movement and I know that for some people its the opposite. This was back in 2009, before it all went mainstream and body positivity, as it applied to plus size bodies specifically, was more along the lines of size acceptance. I was 19 and had a history of leaving the mall in tears for not being able to find anything that I liked that fit and was actually affordable.  I told myself that I hated fashion but the truth was that I hated the fact that the fashion industry just wouldn’t work with my body.  I believed that in order to have things like respect, love and nice clothes, akin to that of my thinner peers, I would have to lose as much weight as possible first.

Me at 19 vs. Now

That’s when I stumbled onto The Big Girl Blog by Cece Olisa. It was purely by accident, as I had been online shopping for plus size club clothes since I had been invited to a party that called for that kind of thing. I kept reading post after post and ended up finding other similar blogs that covered topics such as dating, fashion and, of course, body love and body positivity. Motivated by what I read,  I started to unlearn the negative “lessons” that had been instilled in me and learned to love and celebrate the body I have. Continue reading

New Year, New Wardrobe Refresh!

2019 is finally here and with that comes the resolutions, new goals and of course changes to one’s closet. For me this means getting rid of things that I didn’t use the year before as well as doing a bit of a “refresh” in adding some new pieces that I can use with what I already have.

I personally love shopping once the holiday season ends because the end of season sales that are happening right now  provide a great way to refresh your closet  From coats, bathing suits and even shoes, you can literally build a new wardrobe should you really wish to, all without breaking the bank!

So on the final weekend of 2018 I headed out to Long Island with my mother to do just that. I managed to get some items, two of which I styled for this casual look.  It is as step away from what I usually go for though it is very comfy so if anything this is something I will be wearing during my next shopping recon trip and may even next fall to go pumpkin picking.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.

Continue reading