Fashion & Beauty

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I’m Wearing: Avia performance tank from Walmart  |  Avia performance capris from Walmart  |  Puma sneakers (similar) (aff)

I’ll start this off with a bit of honesty: I’ve become lazy. In fairness, I’ve had a good reason to slow down. Having a baby will do that to you. But baby Juliza was born six months ago, and it’s about time for me to find ways to become active again.

We moved this past weekend, which was one heck of a workout in itself — especially given that we moved from a third floor apartment into a house with all the bedrooms upstairs. That was fun. Still, it’s long past time for me to develop an earnest workout regimen, less for vanity and more for my health and fitness. I’ve lost a lot of flexibility over the last few years, and I need to work on my arm strength and endurance.

All this to say that when Walmart offered me an opportunity to try out some great activewear from Avia (yes! You can find Avia clothes and shoes at Walmart), I knew it could be the kick in the pants I needed.

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Typically, I work out in leggings and t-shirts. Though I’ve bought some workout shorts in the past, I learned after a couple of uses that they weren’t my favorites because they’d ride up during my favorite form of exercise: dancing.

These workout capris from Avia are amazing. They are soft and smooth with great stretch, which makes them awesome for everything from yoga and pilates to dancing and bike riding. And did I mention they’re great for lounging around the house? I’m wearing them right now, and they are so much cooler than yoga pants when it’s hot outside. Plus, there’s a hidden pocket big enough for a key. I wish it was a little bigger, but I’ll take it! They’re available in a bunch of colors, and at just $14.86 for performance pants, I’m definitely going to invest in a few more.

On top, I’m wearing a great moisture-wicking performance tank. I can’t lie. I chose this mostly because of the color and style. The performance is just a nice bonus. I usually like workout shirts with sleeves, but I thought this would keep me cooler, especially on bike rides. I got through an exhausting (and sweaty) Zumba routine without having the fabric stick to my skin, so I’d say that’s a win.

And the best part? All the Avia items go up to a 2X, and the stretch is pretty awesome.

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As it is, I’m probably going to live in this outfit for the rest of the summer, because the loose fit of the top also makes breastfeeding a breeze, both from the bottom and through the arm hole.

There are a ton of styles of Avia tops and bottoms, and some great sports bras that looked to be really supportive (though I can’t know for sure without a test). For the price, I really like the style and quality, and I’ll keep my eye out for more Avia items when I need some workout clothes that can do double duty for lounging.

What about you? Do you like to invest in workout clothes? Do you trust the Avia brand enough to try these?

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

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I’m Wearing: DIY scarf top with scarf from Walmart | Faded Glory jean shorts | OP striped tote bag | Thrifted Calvin Klein sandals (aff)

Like most other people this weekend, I will be spending time with my family with good food and possibly some fireworks. I will obviously want to be comfortable for this, because what fun is a full belly in uncomfortable pants, right? Still, wannabe fashionista that I am, I also want to be cute. So when Walmart challenged me to share a Fourth of July story, I knew I wanted to create a comfy, affordable outfit.

Of course, the idea of a patriotic outfit generally conjures cheesy t-shirts featuring flag motifs, eagles or some horribly tacky combination of the two. And mama doesn’t do tacky. I chose instead to feature our nation’s colors. When I couldn’t find a top I really loved, though, I decided instead to make my own. From a scarf.

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I grabbed a great, lightweight navy Faded Glory scarf at Walmart for just $6.97, along with some $10 white shorts and a great red and white striped tote bag and commenced trying to create a look I could walk out of the house wearing.

After tying it about a million ways, I finally settled on one I liked. I call it the “Goddess Drape top.”

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I love the soft drape of the front and the fact that it doesn’t look at all like a scarf. It feels put together and fancy, with a little added awesome because I “made” it myself. I’m actually really proud of this outfit. So much that I wore red lipstick to complete the patriotic look. You can take a look back at my past outfits to see how rarely I wear makeup. Hint: Almost never.

Anyway, I thought you might want to learn how to make this top too, and like the old saying goes, I can show you better than I can tell you.

DIY Scarf Top Tutorials

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All that trial and error resulted in quite a few tops that look really great. Check out this video for four ways to tie a scarf as a top, including the style I’m wearing in the outfit above.

What about you? Would you wear a scarf as a top? Are you planning to dress for the Fourth of July? In either case, feel free to share your outfits in the comments below!

More for the Fourth

If you’re looking for more Fourth of July ideas, check out these great ones from the other Walmart Moms:

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

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The best way to describe my husband’s style is cool and casual. He will dress up on occasion, but he is most comfortable wearing — well — comfortable clothes and fly sneakers. So when Walmart asked me to shop for men’s polos and shorts for the summer, I knew both would be right up his alley.

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The selection was huge! There were several walls with nothing but men’s shorts displayed, along with several racks. Prices ranged from about $9 to $16. There were solid shorts in a variety of colors, along with plaid, stripes and camouflage prints. But it wasn’t difficult for him to zero in on a pair that he liked: These belted gray shorts from No Boundaries for just $12.84. They fit well and they’re just long enough, and he’s thankful for the canvas belt that came with them. Plus, the pockets are nice and deep — a must for my hubby since he puts everything in his pockets. (aff)

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There were a ton of polos too, from solid colors to patterns, and fabrics from cotton to dry fit. He chose a performance golf shirt by Russell to coordinate with the shorts. It was among the pricier tops at $17.97, but completely worth the price. It is a moisture wicking shirt to keep him dry in the hot Georgia summer and it has UPF 30+ sun protection. Plus, the fabric feels like a dream. The tag recommends that it not be ironed, but once we wash it and hang it up immediately out of the dryer, the wrinkles should fall right out.

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While we were there, we picked up some shorts and a top for my stepson. Because he has to look fly too, and we couldn’t resist all the boys’ shorts on display.

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He immediately knew he wanted camo shorts, and we found a great pair from Wrangler for just $11.97. The fabric feels like great quality: Thick and rugged enough to withstand pre-teen boy shenanigans, but still soft to the touch. We’ll see how the colors wear in the wash, but the great thing about camo is that the more faded it gets, the “tougher” it looks. (aff)

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He paired the shorts with a graphic t-shirt with an inspirational message in bright neon green for just under $10. Not bad for two full outfits made up of items that can be mixed and matched throughout the summer. Not bad at all.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

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I’m Wearing: 4 All Humanity Chevron Flare Dress  |  Kelsi Dagger Genna sandals  | Dsenyo clutch | Dsenyo bracelets (aff)

I’ve made it my mission to find fashion brands that are making stylish, eco-friendly clothing options for the plus size woman. Ideally, these brands would make items in extended sizes, but I’m also looking at companies that are at least going to an XL, which — believe it or not — still is not the norm. Many brands stop at a Large. 4 All Humanity is one of the few brands making modern designs up to an XL, and I love the story behind the company.

4 All Humanity offers Fair Trade women’s apparel and accessories made by artisans around the world. Their organic cotton apparel is produced by a cooperative in northern Uganda, and their jewelry and accessories come from cooperatives in India, Thailand, Mexico, and South Africa using recycled materials, silver, vintage fabrics, leather, and semi-precious stones.

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Simply put, their Chevron flare dress just makes me happy, from the color to the chevron cutout at the collar. It is lightweight and unlined, which means that it is perfect for summer, but might require some shapewear underneath. I’m a busty girl, and the XL fit me on top, but barely. If you’re a plus-sized woman with a smaller chest, the XL will offer a you some breathing room.

I may have to tuck this one away until next summer or wear it on days when I’m out without the baby, because it doesn’t allow for easy breastfeeding, but it’s definitely a keeper. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to pair it with blue and an African pattern of some kind. Then I remembered that I have this clutch from Dsenyo, another company that makes Fair Trade accessories and clothing made by artisans in Africa. This is easily one of the most eco-friendly combos I’ve worn thus far.

Giveaway Time!

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4 All Humanity has generously offered a giveaway for my readers. One of you will get to take home the Chevron Flare Dress in the color of your choice! It’s available in yellow, cobalt blue and mint green and is available up to an XL. Enter via the Rafflecopter below. If you can’t see it immediately, please wait for the page to finish loading. Note: U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received this dress from 4 All Humanity for the purpose of review. I did not receive compensation. As usual, all opinions are my own.

My oldest daughter grows like a weed. So much that she wears almost the same size shoe as me. She’s 8. The challenge is that I’m forced to shop in the women’s section for shoes that can fit her, but a lot of the styles are just a tad too grown up for my little girl. We typically end up buying basic shoes that she can wear with anything, including flip-flops. But we all know they aren’t exactly the most stylish shoes in the world. So when Walmart challenged me to create a summer DIY project, I thought we could do something cool to dress them up.

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This is an amazingly simple project that kids can do on their own and that can be changed out at will.

You’ll Need

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This idea was inspired by an eco-friendly shoe company I’ve been stalking for years called Mohop. Their signature shoes can be laced and tied in unlimited ways using colorful ribbon. These aren’t exactly the same, but they’re cute, easy and inexpensive.

If you’re using a scarf, I’d definitely recommend a lightweight spring or summer scarf rather than a heavy winter scarf. First, you need to cut it in half lengthwise, so you’ll have a piece for each shoe.

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Next, simply fold or bunch the scarf into a small roll, and start wrapping it around the top of the flip-flop, from the piece that goes between your toes. It may take some creativity to achieve a wrap that properly covers the flip-flop, but experiment with a couple of ways. This may involve doubling back over some sections. Just try to spread out the scarf fabric as much as possible so it doesn’t get too thick.

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When you reach the end, tuck the end of the fabric back up through the last loop to secure it.

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That’s it! You could use hot glue or thread if you wanted to make it more secure, but this is really plenty secure on its own. Also, this allows the wrap to be interchangeable, so the ribbon or fabric can be changed easily to match an outfit, or removed altogether if you’d prefer the to wear the flip-flops plain one day. My daughter has already begged me to buy more ribbon so she can change the wrap.

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What do you think? Would you try embellishing some basic flip flops?

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

Outfit: 21 Jumpsuit

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I’m Wearing: Forever 21 Jumpsuit (similar) |  Forever 21 crop top  |  DV by Dolce Vita sandals  |  DVF sunglasses  |  H&M necklace  |  Random bracelets (aff)

I’ve been meaning to post this outfit for the better part of a week. Like we do every year, my family spent Memorial Day weekend celebrating during Atlanta’s Caribbean Carnival. Since we’re out in the sun pretty much all day for two days straight, comfort is generally the only requirement for anything I wear. However, this year, I also had to take into account that I had a baby to nurse. None of my “summer” clothes that actually fit would’ve served this purpose very well, so at the last minute, I headed to Forever 21 to pick up something to wear.

I walked in wanting some distressed, high-waisted acid wash jeans. Very specific, I know, but I had an outfit planned in my head. I just needed the pieces to complete it. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a single pair in store, despite the fact that the plus size denim selection online is pretty big. But as soon as I saw this jumper on the rack, I knew I had to have it.

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I love the cool, 90s vibe, the pattern and the loose fit of the pants. I was concerned that I might be really hot, since black attracts heat and it was really hot on Sunday, but once out of the direct sunlight, the lightweight fabric kept me relatively cool. More than that, though, I love that this is a versatile piece I can remix. I can wear it with a more dressy button-down top and pumps, wear it with the top down, or even tucked in completely as loose-fit pants. I’ve been trying to buy pieces that I can envision wearing a couple of ways, and this definitely fits the bill.

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I’m Wearing: Forever 21 Jumpsuit (similar) |  Forever 21 crop top  |  DV by Dolce Vita sandals  |  DVF sunglasses  |  H&M necklace  |  Random bracelets (aff)

What about you? Have you tried the jumpsuit trend yet? Do you plan to try it?

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I’m Wearing: Suddenly Slim by Catalina Plus Size High-Waisted Bikini | DVF sunglasses

Let me tell you a story. For years when I was growing up, I wouldn’t be caught dead in just a swimsuit. It’s not that I didn’t swim. On the contrary, I grew up in the Virgin Islands and practically lived at the beach during the summer. Even my December birthday parties were usually at the beach.

However, I was supremely self-conscious about my body. Even as a little girl, I had more meat on my bones that most of the other girls my age. I had hips, and a chest that required support when I was only in third grade. So I swam in one piece bathing suits with a t-shirt over them. Even the handful of times I convinced myself to wear a two-piece, I wore shorts on top. This carried into adulthood. When we lived in Florida briefly, I wore shorts to swim whenever we went to the beach.

So trust me when I say that I have come a long way.

Last year, when Walmart challenged me to share their affordable swimwear, I chose a one piece, because there were no two pieces that fit properly in store, and I really did love that retro suit. However, last summer, I also ventured into the world of the plus size bikini, a.k.a. fatkini. There are probably only one or two photos of it though. That’s saying a lot for this Instagram-loving mama, but I wasn’t completely confident yet.

Before you say it, I do not have a problem with the word “fatkini”. Because “fat” is NOT an insult. It’s a noun, and all of us have it — some in more abundance than others. My feelings aren’t hurt by the word.

Anyway, I’m at a point in my life when I wear what I like — even if that means a bikini. Because frankly, I have neither the time nor the energy to spare worrying about what other people think about my body, or worse, worrying about it myself. So you know that meme that’s been going around about how to get a bikini body? Here’s my addition to it:

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If you want to rock a bikini, do it! No matter what you look like. The world will not come to and end. You will just be another person at the beach or pool in a swimsuit. The end. People will deal.

I love this one from Walmart, because it has a retro pinup quality to it. The bottom is high-waisted, which for me, is a must for any bikini. It covers my bellybutton and the top sits at the narrowest part of my waist, which makes me feel like a curvy goddess. Even four months after having a baby with all the extra luggage I’m packing as a result.

The top doesn’t have underwire, but because it’s a tie-neck halter, you can easily adjust the amount of support you get. I bought a size 2X thinking I’d have more room for my ample bosom, but I actually should’ve gotten a 1X. The top is just tad loose underneath, so I’ll probably wear a black bandeau under it when I go swimming just to make sure I don’t have any wardrobe malfunctions.

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I’m Wearing: Suddenly Slim by Catalina Plus Size High-Waisted Bikini | DVF sunglasses

Overall, it has great support and at just $34.96, the price is a lot better than a ton of other comparable plus size bikinis out there, especially if you want to try wearing one for the first time.

And this is just one bikini in this year’s swimwear collection. I’ll be rocking them at the pool — and hopefully the beach — this year with confidence, because my body is what it is, and I am going to love it and adorn it in things that make me feel good. You should do the same.

P.S. It does help that my hubby loves the bikini, too! ;)

DISCLOSURE: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.

Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Reebok. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Confession: I’m a sneaker head. Have been since I was growing up. As much as I love fancy, sexy heels, I’ve never been the type to collect a lot of them because realistically, I don’t wear them often. My feet just aren’t a fan of shoes that require them to be contorted into awkward positions. But I will swoon over a good pair of sneakers.

I’ve been seeing the commercial for the Reebok Skyscape shoes a lot in the past few months. You know the one. It features Miranda Kerr getting undressed:

Could you keep your eyes on the shoes? I’m just asking.

Anyway, I wanted to know what the hype was about. Are they really that comfortable? So when I was offered a chance to grab a pair from Kohl’s, how could I say no?

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First of all, let me just answer my own question. Yes. They really are that comfortable. Really. As a sneaker head, I have a ton of experience with various styles and fits. These? Fantastic.

The Skyscape is made a two-way stretch material that creates an “envelope” of sorts around the foot, so it feels like wearing a really smooth sock. The cushioned sole looks like a bed of pillows, and feels like it too. I have flat feet, and most shoes just aren’t about that archless life. I usually have to add arch supports, even in sneakers, especially if I’m going to be walking a lot. I wore these all day with no arch supports, because the built-in support was already awesome. It feels like the shoe molds around your foot, and they a little extra bounce to make walking feel natural and comfy.

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Plus, they come in a bunch of fancy colors, including the hot pink ones I chose. They are the kind of shoes that I could wear all day, every day, for every situation. I’ve already worn them on a walk with my family, and they’re perfect for picking up my daughter from the bus stop and shopping trips — because I can spend a lot of time in the mall *wink wink, nudge nudge*. I’m already planning to wear them in a few weeks for Atlanta’s Caribbean Carnival during Memorial Day weekend, because I spend the better part of two days on my feet while we celebrate, and I need comfortable shoes if I’m going to do that. These are a no-brainer.

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They don’t rub or irritate at all, even when worn without socks. Plus, they are machine washable — which pretty much makes them the Holy Grail of sneakers. I used to wash all my sneakers, but they don’t always come out of the washer looking the same way they did when they went in, so I learned my lesson. The fact that these are designed to be machine washed makes them perfect, in my book. So much so that I want to get them in several other colors, including the new patterned versions that were just released. Leopard print and gray zebra, oh my!

And did I mention they’re cute? Because…well…I’ll just let the outfit speak for itself while I pose my daughter’s bus stop.

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I’m Wearing: Organic cotton white tee | Xhilaration skater skirt | Reebok Skyscape sneakers | DIY clutch | Forever21 necklace | BCBGeneration bracelet (similar) | ICU Eyewear sunglasses (aff)

I’m not overstating when I say that I love these. They’re cute, comfortable and versatile — even in hot pink — and they’re going to be a staple of my summer wardrobe. Some other colors are calling my name, and at just $59.99 at Kohls.com, I may have to answer that call.