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Cozy Up In Our Sweater Cardigan

The Winter Magic Sweater

Do you ever want to be fashionable, trendy, warm & cute all at the same time?   When buying a great fashionable piece this winter that’s exactly what you should be considering.
Yess! A great sweater should be all that, and more!

When looking for a sweater, look for a sweater that can be worn with almost anything not just your favorite pair of jeans. Buy a sweater that’s able to magically transform you into either a casual, dressy or a super chic dresser! This winter we are featuring our comfy, versatile adaptable sweater, it can be worn as a tunic sweater, a sweater dress, cardigan or just a fashionable duster coat.

Learning how to buy a staple piece is a great way to get the most value for your dollar. This season considers the many wears you can get out of our comfortable versatile sweater, also the many seasons you can wear it through is endless.

Lastly, think about how fashionable and on-trend you will look each time you change up or add your personality to our perfect versatile comfortable sweater.

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How one plus-size model lost 200 pounds

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Tears streamed down Rosie Mercado’s cheeks after the flight attendant delivered his stinging words: “Ma’am. You are not going to fit into one seat. You need to purchase another fare.”

The humiliating exchange on the red-eye from Las Vegas to New York in June 2011 was among a series of embarrassments endured by plus-size model Mercado when she tipped the scales at 410 pounds.

They included having to hire a nanny to take her kids to Disneyland, because she was too big to accompany them on rides; mobility issues; and hurtful comments from gaping strangers.

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Now, 3 ½ years after pledging to fight the flab, the 35-year-old beauty has lost more than half her body weight, shrinking from a size 34 to a size 16 to 18 through a strict diet and exercise regimen.
At 5-foot-9, she weighs 201 pounds and has just 21 pounds to go before reaching her target of 180 pounds and a size 14.

“I now truly love myself and appreciate every single moment that I live and breathe,” says Mercado, who signed with Manhattan-based True Model Management in April 2014. “When I was larger, I just wasn’t leading the lifestyle I wanted.

“Now I couldn’t be happier.”

The Las Vegas-raised former makeup artist courted success after competing in plus-size beauty pageants such as Miss Plus America in 2009, during which she was featured in National Geographic Channel’s “Taboo” documentary series.

At her heaviest, she filmed the reality TV show “Curvy Girls” on NuvoTV in 2011, but found that top modeling agencies would pass on her portfolio as soon as they found out her measurements.

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They would contact me after seeing pictures of my face and upper body, neither of which were big, yet were shocked at my 65-inch hips,” recalls Mercado, who has killer cheekbones but describes her body as “very pear-shaped.”

“It was disheartening,” she adds.The mother of three confesses her key problem was comfort-eating, particularly during stressful times such as pregnancy and her 2008 divorce.

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“I made some very poor choices, opting for fast food like McDonald’s burgers and supersize fries rather than fruits and vegetables,” she says. “My health was low priority, and it was affecting everything I did, especially spending quality time with my kids.”

Although Mercado was voted the Face of Full Figured Fashion Week in New York in 2010, delivered red carpet TV fashion reports and appeared in magazines such as “The Best of Brides,” it wasn’t until she took charge of her unhealthy eating habits that her career really took off.

The “a-ha” moment came a few months after the cringe-worthy plane seat incident when she signed up for a weeklong “Unleash The Power Within” course in LA led by self-help guru Tony Robbins.

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It was out with the junk food and in with lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. Mercado, who began running small distances, also enlisted the help of a boot-camp-style personal trainer. She now hits the gym six days a week for an hour a day.

“It has not been the easiest journey, and I’ve had my ups and down,” admits the model, who describes her weight loss as “steady and gradual.”

“But, when I compare my quality of life now to how it used to be, I know it was worth it.”

She claims the biggest payoff has been the improved relationship with her children — she took them to Disneyland without the need of a nanny this year and goes walking with them in the hills — but counts her signing 18 months ago with True Model Management as one of her best achievements.

“They believed in me and supported me every step of the way,” she gushes.

The partnership has since led to a number of high-profile modeling assignments, including 2015 campaigns for plus-size fashion companies igigi.com and Ibbi World.

“I’m proof that, if you follow your vision, your dreams can come true,” adds Mercado, proudly sashaying with her now-48-inch hips.

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Meet Blogger “HOURGLASSCATH”

Catherine is the face of Voluptuous Clothing Inc, international plus size model and business woman who works in advertising in Toronto, Canada.

Catherine has struggled with her weight/appearance throughout her life; never fitting in with ‘conventional’ size women, and never truly feeling beautiful in a world where other people’s perceptions of what a woman should look like, always tore away at her confidence.

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From the age of 12, Catherine can recall peers calling her a ‘tub of lard’, fat, big butt, ugly and so on for many years. She would grow to hate her body.

She found reprieve from the vile words of her school mates through the therapy of horseback riding -immersing herself for years in this sport. However, once she went to university and her security blanket was ripped free, Catherine would soon re-face her body image issues.

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Countless men would call her fat or ugly, she would soon develop an eating disorder and learn the unhealthy way of loving her body. No matter how much weight she lost, she was never happy. It took Catherine 4 years to come to terms that she had to love herself no matter her size – she had to stop caring about what others thought and to accept herself.

On a whim, Catherine reached out to Angela Samuels, CEO of Voluptuous Clothing for a modelling opportunity in 2012 – the experience would more than enrich her life, it would allow her to develop a new-found love and appreciation for her body. She would learn from Ms. Samuels that all women are beautiful regardless of size, what matters is how a woman feels and how she carries herself – this makes all the difference.

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Modelling has been a powerful learning experience for Catherine. Over the past few years, she has been asked consistently by co-workers, friends and strangers about where her clothing is from. They are her inspiration for creating her blog – to show others the wealth of opportunities there are for dressing a curvy figure and for providing inspiration for plus size women.

Read her Blog HOURGLASSCATH.COM

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5 Ways to Start Your Morning With Confidence and Style

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1. Confidence and Style Starts With This…

First thing’s first, lay out your outfit the night before. Yes, just like you may have done when you were a kid.

Set aside 10 minutes and start by looking at your calendar and asking yourself about your commitments for the following day? Then, identify the type of outfit that would have you feeling confident and stylish for what you have scheduled.

I also think it’s good to pick out the accessories the night before. Bonus points if you lay out two sets of accessories, giving you a fun choice in the morning, once you’re dressed.

This way you won’t be running around trying to think through an entire day’s attire before you’ve even had your morning cup of joe. We all deserve to get dressed with ease.

2. Skip The Morning News

It’s time to play music and dance instead of turning on the TV! It’s great to be well informed, but often the news is negative and can leave you in an energetic funk.

Personally, I began to notice that on the mornings I watched the news I felt lethargic and apathetic throughout the day. I was not the picture of confidence and poise that I wanted to be.

Find a Pandora or Spotify station that inspires you and gets your energy up. Be ready with a specific artist or playlist to put on first thing when you wake up!

3. Have Clothing For The Body You’re In NOW

Your clothing should fit you. Wait. Let me say that again: Your clothing should fit you. Not the body you had 20 pounds ago (plus or minus).

So many women hide in their clothing. Often, I’ve found women live in the fantasy of what their body once looked like, or what they dream it will look like. This leaves them hiding in their clothes now. Ladies, let’s put an end to it. The present moment is all you get, and by hiding in behind your clothes you are wrecking your self confidence and robbing yourself of the opportunity to feel stylish.

Just like you would stock your fridge with healthy foods, start stocking your closet with clothes that hug your curves.

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4. Take A Beauty Moment

Style and confidence goes way beyond an outfit. When you take the time to appreciate your body by doing something like your makeup or hair, you feel good. Your confidence goes up and you are ready for what comes your way. If you’re not a make-up gal, this step is still important. Instead, it can even be as simple as putting on lotion and appreciating your curves.

When you connect with your body, you feel centered and are less likely to get lost in your head. So, each morning, carve out at least 10 minutes to put on lotion, wear a fun shade of lipstick and give your hair some style!

5. Strut Your Stuff!

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Finally, put on a fun pair of heels and leave those worn, clunky, sneaker-like shoes in the closet. If you can’t hack the heels all day, just spend 5 minutes at home with your favorite song blasting and strut your stuff around the room.

Pumps really do “pump you up.” There’s no other way to say it. Giving yourself an extra 3 inches grows your confidence 10 fold. Personally, I find the clicking of heels to sound strong and powerful.

So, pull out your favorite pair of heels, turn up the tunes and start channeling your inner Beyoncé!

Now that you’ve got the five keys to starting your days with more confidence and style, I’d love to hear from you below. Which of these five tips will you start to incorporate into your morning routine, tomorrow?