Thursday, 1 December 2016

Interview with Sheena Snively: Women in the Workforce

I've been wanting to experiment with different elements and adding dimension to my blog. As you might have noticed, most of my posts are centralized around fashion and beauty. However, I have always felt there was something lacking in my content, that limits me from being a unique plus size/curvy/fat blogger.

Today, I am featuring one of my biggest inspirations in the plus size stratosphere. Somehow, I have been blessed with the ability to call this woman my friend for 3 years -- Sheena Snively! Sheena and I met at the 1st Annual Consign Your Curves event, hosted by our mutual friend, Carlie. We see each other at these events every so often, but I was not able to attend this past year, so I missed my girl Sheena! 
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Sheena & I at an event ~ 2 years ago

I used to follow Sheena on MTV Live and The Jersey Shore Aftershow on MTV Canada. I used to tune in to scope out Sheena's style (plus size representation in the media say what!) while watching mesmerized, as she stole the stage with her comic relief. After becoming a new mom, Sheena is back with her own digital series on CBC Comedy, titled, "That's What Sheena Said!". To check out her digital comedy series online, see this link HERE. Sheena is a pure gem in the comedy scene - she is a breath of fresh air, and she surely holds NOTHING back. I love how Sheena is able to be unapologetically herself; this is something I truly admire. I was curious as to how Sheena thought her personality shines in relation to her outfit choices and styling options, especially when she's in the public eye, and plastered all over the Internet. So, I took the opportunity to ask Sheena a few questions about what it's like to be a woman in the workforce, from her perspective.

Erica: What is your go-to work attire? 
Sheena: So… I wish I was Dolly Parton in the movie 9 to 5, but in reality I am just not! Truth Bomb, there can only be one Dolly. Instead I wear something slightly more down to earth. My Go to work attire is simplistic; always a healthy dose of Black partnered with something that really pops.
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E: What tends to influence your decision about choosing a particular outfit for work? 
S: Well it depends on what Job I am heading off to. If I am heading off to a shoot for My digital CBC Comedy show #ThatsWhatSheenaSaid then I will Jazz it up, wearing clothing that will show well on camera. Since the show features mainly celebrity interviews from the waste up, I try to wear tops that stand out, such as floral patterns, and bright colours. I also work as a Part Time Professor at Mohawk College in their media and entertainment department. That being said I feel that I need to set an example to the students; by dressing to impress. I always show up to class fully done up. I wear comfortable shoes so it’s easy for me to be on my feet lecturing for a couple hours at a time. I think it’s a good sign when your students ask you for fashion tips for the workplace, which happens to me often.

E: Women have been fighting to break down the glass ceiling for years. The reality is that there's still a large gendered wage gap. Do you think that women do and/or need to use fashion as aid to help "find a voice" in the workforce?
S: I definitely think fashion is something that can help set women apart from the crowd in a competitive work environment. I really see fashion for women of all shapes and sizes as a good thing for those who choose to embrace it. Especially for someone who works on the hustle and bustle of Bay street. Guys don’t really have great options in the business world. I mean who wants to wear the same suit day in and out. Side note: I have often wondered why suits don’t come with shorts for the summer months. WTF? How is that not a thing for men’s fashion?! Not my bag baby!

E: I follow a dress code at work, is there anything like this in the freelance/entrepreneurial field? Are there any general guidelines you stick to?
S: I don’t feel that same pressure to wear the “formal” outfits when it comes to my freelance work. I have no dress codes to abide by. Being a comedian anything goes really. It can even be a trade mark for some individuals. Like Whoopi Goldberg and her wild shoes, or Janeane Garofalo and her glasses. I don’t feel like I have a specific trade mark, unless you count my crotchless panties, but I guess you would never really know that. Bahaha, too crude?

E: I am an Emergency Department Social Worker. What do you envision me wearing to work? 
 S: I am assuming as a social worker you don’t want to go all Glamisaurus Rex when you are dealing with people in crisis. On the same token I am sure you want to exude a certain amount of professionalism but also positivity.

That's What Sheena Styled (for me)!
Therefore I would love to see you in the Francesca Dress from IGIGI (seen here). It’s simple and kind of a blank slate that you can do allot with and wear repeatedly without your fellow co-workers catching on, also in the words of some dude that wrote Game of Thrones “Winter is Coming” so the quarter length sleeve is key! Because you are going simple on the top I suggest going wild on the bottom, perhaps these Leopard Print Leggings from Forever 21 (seen here). Something to add a little pop to your outfit. Working in an Emergency room I am sure you are on your feet quite a bit, so I am thinking comfortable non heeled boots (Due to up and coming weather, otherwise I would suggest flats with No socks). I am suggesting the Lolla short boot by Sorel which can be located at Browns Shoes (seen here). Sticking with the wild animal theme, I highly suggest the “Saber tooth pendant in brass” by Mafia Jewelry (seen here). I was so excited to see this as a new addition to their web site, that I showed my husband, in hopes that he would buy it for me for Christmas. The only thing he said was “Sheena don’t you think someone wearing a skull in an Emergency type job is a little insensitive?!”, I guess I see his point, but I just love it soooo much! I have several pieces made by these 2 Thai designers, and they are literally staples that I wear every couple of weeks.
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[I took Sheena's recommendations, put my own spin on things, and here we are]
I thought her husband's commentary on the sabre tooth/skull pendant was hilarious, and oh so true. So, I opted for this tiger bracelet instead.. RAWR!
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I had definitely expected Sheena to pick out something BOLD for me to wear to work. Albeit, I was a bit shocked when she suggested animal print at work.. I definitely have never done that before. Animal print isn't usually my go-to for work, because it is quite bold. I often work with clients in crisis situations, and would hate to distract them from their concerns with my attire. That being said, the all-black-attire helps to balance it out, and I could totally see myself wearing this to a day where I am facilitating a workshop or something. It is definitely comfortable, which is a WIN in my books - because I'm on my feet all day. For my typical shift in the Emergency, I'd probably opt for a floral patterned legging, or a black-on-black animal print legging.
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Outfit Details// Tunic: HM+ (available here); Leggings: Forever 21+ (available here); Boots: Winners (Canada); Purse: BCBG via TJ Maxx (available here); Bracelet: Forever 21; Lipstick: Colourpop in 'Pillow Talk'
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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Bestie Sleepover:Plus Size Sleep Shirt

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Allie and I were recently approached by The Sleep Shirt, a Canadian sleepwear company, who hoped we could collaborate on a ~sweet~ blog post. We were excited to hear that The Sleep Shirt recently expanded their size range to include PLUS, so naturally we said yes
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The Plus line of The Sleep Shirt are one-size fits all (their website indicates it would fit an XL-2X comfortably). However, I am a solid 3X (20/22) and the sleep shirt fit me just fine. I was actually impressed with how wide cut the bust and shoulder/arm areas were (which is something they highlight in their product descriptions), because that is where I carry most of my weight. What is most important to me when selecting sleepwear, is comfort. I do not want to feel constricted while I sleep (note: bed time is my favourite time). It is honestly really refreshing to work with a company who are aware of the challenges plus size women are faced with on a daily basis.
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It's important to note a couple things, especially if you're interested in being a conscientious and ethical consumer. The Sleep Shirt's products are all Canadian-made (fun fact: based in Montreal and Vancouver) - this means NO to: sweatshops, horrendous environments, and exploitation of workers. The company is also created, owned and operated by women (take that - wage gap!). 
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OK sorry but how catalogue do these look?!
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If you've stumbled onto The Sleep Shirt's website yet, you may have seen that their prices are not cheap (ranging from $161-$318), which 100% reflects how ethical and unique their business is. The sleepwear is made from 100% cotton (Japanese cotton in most cases) and is extremely high quality. At first, your sleep shirt will feel a little stiff, but honestly, it moults into your skin within a few hours of wear. Let me say that this is not your average "nightie". You can feel and see the difference (note: I actually left Allie's house wearing the sleep shirt as a top with jeans, and no one was any bit the wiser). Also, I once read something that stuck with me (related to the purchase of $$ fashion) -- "If there's something you'd like to buy, but aren't sure how to justify it, think about it costing about $1-$2 per use.. if you'd wear it that many times, it's worth it). I would wear this 80 times a year, easily. 

The Sleep Shirt I chose is currently on sale for $191 CDN (regular $272). ALSO: I have an *exclusive* discount code for our readers - just enter "SLEEPPRETTY" at checkout to save an extra 20%! The discount code makes the blue and yellow stripe Sleep Shirt only $160 which is super reasonable in my opinion. It would make an especially good Christmas gift ;) 
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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Deck the Halls in Vintage Sequins: Plus Size Holiday Wear

It's the most wonderful time of the year (or so the song goes)! It's mid-November and the weather in Canada has certainly become reflective of this. Interestingly, it was 17 degrees(c) last week, and it hit 0 (aka FREEZING) today. However, the holiday cheer somehow makes up for the frigid temperatures. Note: I broke out the Christmas tunes while writing this post (their first debut of 2016!) Once the excitement of the Holidays dies down, the days seem to longer and longer, I have very little to look forward to, and I long for Springtime. So until then, I'm going to remain excited each day leading up to the Winter Holidays. 

I settled into a permanent job this year, and realized that in the workforce, there is a wonderful sense of celebration and spirit around the Holidays. I have three Holiday parties to attend this year (and two of them are on the same night.. yikes!). Two of three parties are "glitz and glam" themed, and I realized I have very few metallics or sparkles in my closet. So... I set out to find some!
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I snagged this gorgeous, one-of-a-kind jersey blazer from Primaala (in Toronto) at the end of October. As soon as Rachel (the owner) posted an image of the blazer on Instagram, I messaged her, claiming my territory. I'm glad I was quick to act, because Rachel informed me that several people were messaging her to inquire about the blazer later, which had already found its new home in my apartment.
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Allie (of Ailurophile with Style) and I got together last week, and worked on styling for upcoming Holiday parties. Since I have two 'glam parties' to go to soon, we decided to focus on shimmer, sparkles and sequins for our outfits. I may end up wearing this outfit to one of my parties, but I have come up with a few other metallic pieces since I started searching. Note: If I decide on wearing a whole new outfit, I promise that I will share pictures on my Instagram and/or blog. Allie and I kept it Festive AF with our red lippies and chokers (Allie's is green!!!). 
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I'm pretty sure this would be the cover of our CD if we were in a badass #nastywoman band.
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Outfit Details// Blazer; Vintage 'Revive' from Primaala; Dress: Torrid (past season - similar here); Pom Pom Heels; New Look (available & on *sale* here); Choker: TJ Maxx (similar available at SexyPlus Clothing here); Tights: Addition Elle (available here); Purse: ASOS ; Lipstick: Too Faced Melted in 'Berry'
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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

I'm So Han Solo: Plus Size Minimalist Style

Finally Fall is here, and I couldn't be happier! Funny enough, my bestie Allie of Ailurophile with Style is not much of a "Fall Fan". She loves the summertime, pastels and sweating to death. Where on the other hand, I gravitate to a more all black everything-kind of style, very minimalist. I love the Fall because it means I get to wear boots and sweaters, and drink coffee without melting.  think I might have convinced Allie that Fall is a good time, because, she's been rocking some darker hues lately. 

On the first day of fall, Allie and I shot some very seasonally appropriate attire. I went over to Allie's apartment to relax on a Sunday, and happened to be wearing the same shirt as her from Addition Elle (from last season). Our styles rarely collide, so we decided to go for a walk and take some cute matchy-twin photos. You can see Allie's post here.
I realized that part way through our shoot that I was mad reppin' Han Solo style, which I think is pretty hilarious. I saw a meme the other day, after coming to this conclusion, and I started cry-laughing. I guess I wasn't all that original? I don't know, I think that I look more badass anyway?!
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Outfit Details//  Shirt, Vest and Boots: Addition Elle (past seasons); Leggings: Torrid (available here); Purse: Mackage (available here); Sunnies: Ray Ban; Wishbone Necklace: Marc Jacobs
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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Take Me Out to the Ball Game: Plus Size Sporty Style

I hope all my fellow Canadians had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! I hope that you all had the chance to give thanks, and reflect on what it a privilege it is to be Canadian.  Fittingly, his year, October 10th, was also Indigenous Peoples' Day; a day of counter-celebration of Columbus Day. I also hope you all remember that we are living on stolen land. 

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On a lighter note, most Canadians I know spent at least some of their weekend watching baseball, myself included. The Toronto Blue Jays (my city!) won the MLB Wild Card spot, advancing them to the American League Division Series. The 3rd game in a series of 5 was swept by The Blue Jays, advancing them to the American League Championship Series, against The Cleveland Indians (*eye roll* - ironic appropriation). As Canada's only current MLB Baseball team, we have a lot of weight on our shoulders to achieve. We are the underdogs, but we are determined and we are fighters. I like to think that I am also this way. 
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My paternal Grandfather (Papa), was the biggest Toronto Blue Jays fan, ever. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2013, and my Nana, a year and a half later. After he passed, my Nana and I went through his closet. I ended up leaving with a University of Toronto (Papa & my alma matter!) Pullover and a Vintage Toronto Blue Jays Bomber from the 1980s. Let me just say, this man is where my tall, broad and strong genes came from. We were practically the same size (except he was a bit taller), and everything fit! I figured, why not wear these items, rather than have them sit in my closet?
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My love for baseball certainly grew through our bonding time. We would sit in the living room or basement and watch the games together, while sipping on Diet Coke.  It certainly helped that I played ball myself, as the rules in MLB then become easy to pick up. I cherished this time more than anything, and I miss him so much each day. I know he is with me always, especially during The Blue Jays Post Season. 
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Outfit Details// Blue Jays Bomber: Vintage (similar here); T-Shirt: Addition Elle (available here); Jeans: Boohoo (available here); Hat: Peace Collective (currently sold out); Boots: Penningtons (past season) Chokers: Forever 21
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Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Laying It All on the Line: What I've Learned During my 6 Month Hiatus from Blogging (Life Update)

Hi Everyone!

I want to jump right back into blogging, but felt that it might be a bit strange without a brief explanation. I have some pretty fun posts lined up in my cue this week, and thought I should preface them with something more insightful. I struggled with writing this post, because I wasn't sure if I really needed to justify why I took a break from blogging. I know that I don't need to justify my reasons, but since you (yes you!) have been such loyal readers, I just wanted to keep everyone in the loop as much as possible. 

I have changed so much during these past 6 months where I have been absent from the blogosphere. I am super grateful for the experiences I've had, the challenges I've been presented with, and my successes during this time. I've been on a journey of self-awareness and self-reflection this year. On the first day of 2016, I decided that this was my year. I made promises to myself, and scribbled down quite a few major goals to accomplish. I am so proud to say that I have achieved a few of them! And with that, I thought I would provide a bit of a life update.

Here's what you missed: 

1) I moved. 
I am now living on my own, in a pretty rad apartment (in the same city). My roommate and I decided to part ways and move a bit closer to our jobs, respectively. It's been a massive adjustment as I have literally never lived on my own before. For someone that is challenged by finding motivation in every day life, this just seemed to exacerbate everything. I'm still finding my groove. I'm not perfect, and I will never be. However, it's been such a fun adventure to live on my own, and I can't wait to give you all a virtual tour of my new pad when I'm finished decorating. Did I mention that I love to decorate?!

2) I am still struggling with chronic pain (and acute flare-ups).
 I have had to take a bit of time off from work for this, and am attending physiotherapy weekly. I am exhausted 95% of the time. However, I am having more "good" days than "bad" lately, which is a plus, because there was a time (not long ago), where the opposite was true. I have gained so much perspective from having chronic pain, even though it's mostly annoying to have so many physical limitations.
3) I lost my passion. 
Thankfully, I seemed to have rediscovered it. I realized that I was writing a whole lot about stuff I frankly don't care about. I have decided to be more honest with myself, and only feature content that I have interest in. I have always been very vocal, but it's time to be more reflective of the information and topics that I choose to talk about. I have also been toying with the idea of starting to Vlog, so stay tuned for that! 

The reason I started this blog was to give myself the space and create a dialogue about issues that matter to me. My blog is called “Erica Exposed” because I want to expose my thoughts. I’m very introspective, but I’m also an open book. I don’t tend to hide information, my thoughts, or beliefs. I want to use this to my benefit more, to attract more media attention to the issues that really matter. 

4) I started a new job (with totally different hours).
 I'm no longer a 9-5'er, which should mean that I have more time to blog, but honestly, working nights (and opposite hours of my friends) is pretty challenging. I have probably mentioned this before, but I am a Registered Social Worker by trade, and work full-time at a hospital. Social Work has one of the highest "burnout" rates of all careers. That can be said because of our inherent ability to empathize, and our constant drive to help others. I for one often find myself, "dishing out" the advice that I don't take myself. That's the hardest part about it. Knowing what is right, but for some reason having difficulty engaging in self-care, or making positive changes. One thing I do know, is that you can't pour out of an empty glass. 

What I have learned from the most eventful year (2016) of my life:
Image result for positive vibes 
1) I am worthy. I am worthy of love, kindness, help, success... I am worthy of living a positive & happy life. 
2) I love myself for who I am, not who I (or others) think I should be. 
3) I am a kind-hearted, inherently empathetic soul. I will always put others well-being before myself. It is up to me to find a nice balance in as many situations as possible. 
4) Life is so much better having a positive attitude. I used to be the most NEGATIVE NANCY. Ever. That is, until I flipped the switch, started believing in the power of positivity, and have never looked back (ProTip: Try listening to a guided medication on YouTube - key words "power of positivity" or "law of attraction"). 
5) I am a warrior. I have fought chronic pain and mental health challenges as gracefully as possible. 
6) Stop blaming others for your misfortune. Life is what you make it! There will always be "good" and "bad" days - take advantage of the good ones! 
7) I can make it on my own. I used to be so reliant on others, but now look for opportunities to take initiative and propel my life. 
8) It's okay to ask for help, and/or accept help when it is offered to you. 
9) I am very bad at budgeting and managing my finances (but I'm working on it).
10) Those who are worth your time, will always be around. Those who leave, or are only drawn to you during times of success, aren't worth your time. 


* This has been a PSA: Take time for yourself. Engage in activities that you are passionate about and enjoy doing. Do not feel obligated to do anything that you don't want to.









Monday, 14 March 2016

Makeup Monday: NeoStrata xToronto Fashion Week

This post is dedicated to my fellow Canadians! Happy Toronto Fashion Week! 

As you may remember, I had the pleasure of attending my first Toronto Fashion Week (TFW) in October. Now it's time for Spring FW to commence! As a recent guest and spectator of TFW, I would like to draw attention to the detail and organization involved in the event, and admire the transformation of the venue at David Pecaut Square. It is pretty evident that planning such a large scale event, takes the involvement and dedication of so many individuals and corporations. Many of these corporations are Canadian themselves, just like the fashion on the runway (love it!).

One component of a successful event, is the involvement of promoters and sponsors who help make the week possible. Not only do the sponsors seem to provide the financial support, but they are also involved in the fun. I noticed that most of the sponsors have booths in the main pavilion at (David Pecaut Square) and are super engaging with the attendees. If you are to attend Fashion Week (this week), make sure to stop by the booths. From my research, it appears that the sponsors remain consistent in back-to-back seasons.

One of my favourite Canadian skincare brands, NeoStrata is a TFW sponsor (so fun!). NeoStrata had a booth in the main pavilion in October (hint: there will also be a booth this week, so make sure to pop by if you're around, and score some sweet deluxe samples!). Say hello to the team, and feel free to mention that you read my blog post!

To celebrate Toronto Fashion Week, NeoStrata is offering an exclusive gift with purchase to all Canadians. The promotion is available at all Shoppers Drug Mart locations across Canada, until supplies last. All you have to do is spend $45 on NeoStrata products at Shoppers Drug Mart, to receive your gift valued at $49! The gift with purchase includes the Skin Resurfacing Duo and Glycolic Renewal Smoothing Lotion. If you're curious to check out my NeoStrata review (including the Skin Resurfacing Duo), you can check out my previous blog post here.
NeoStrata is also offering my readers a chance to win a gift basket valued at $250 - which will include: Skin Resurfacing Duo, Night Repair Cream, SecureWhite Brightening Serum, SecureWhite Anti Dark Circle Complex and Wrinkle Repair Moisturizing CC Cream. More information on this soon, make sure you are following my Instagram and Twitter to remain informed about this contest!

Happy Fashion Week! Stay fashionable, and have fun! 
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