FALL FASHIONS: Last Year's Favorite Looks

Summer is winding down and fall is on it's way! I am already selling fall fashions in my shop and have some fall themed blog posts planned for the upcoming weeks. But, before I get in to this year, I thought I would share some of my favorite fall looks from last year! Spoiler alert - I'll be wearing a lot of similar styles this season. Something about boots and leggings just does it for me!

Meanwhile, it's still too hot in New Orleans to even consider wearing warmer weather clothes. I am already dreaming about what I will wear when I'm back in Minnesota for a few weeks in late September. 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

A long maxi skirt or dress can be paired with warmer clothes for fall looks. (Above is one of my favorite Lane Bryant skirts from last year that I referred to - and, hashtagged- as my harvest skirt!) Flowy tops over skinny jeans and booties is also a comfy look I love. Blazers over everything - even dresses like pictured here. And, funky fall accessories make an outfit, too! 

Two big differences in my world between this fall and last year are my hair and my phone. Wow, these pics are so grainy! That 4S struggle was too real. So happy to have upgraded! 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

As you can see, leggings and black tights are pretty much my favorite components of cooler weather wear! I pair everything from over-sized tops, shorter dresses, dusters, to flannels around the waist with leggings and tights. 

By finding a belt or two that coordinate effortlessly with your go-to boots, it's simple to put outfits together. I also have two statement necklaces that work well with my favorite boots. 

It would not be exaggerating to say at least 100 women have asked me where I got those boots! They are clearly my favorite and play a leading role in many of these looks! I actually bought a pair two years ago and then purchased a new pair last fall.  There are an 11W ordered from Target online. You probably heard all about my sort-of-wide-calf boot struggles last year. While most straight sized boots are too snug in the calf (if they even come in size 11 anyway), boots at plus size retailers are usually way too roomy in the calves. 

I planned on ordering yet another pair of these great Merona boots this year. (I wear them so much that they just get beat up.) Unfortunately, it looks like they are not offering wide calf in size 11 this year. I am really disappointed about this and hope it's just a beginning of the season oversight! (Rarely do I recommend such high priced items but I really love these boots!) Stay tuned for boot adventures this year. . . 

Ooo! Also, fall means that many us will be searching for costumes or crafting our own! Remember mine from last year? Not sure what exactly I'll be doing this season, but something fun for sure! 

What are you looking forward to wearing this fall? Any looks you'd like to try but aren't quite sure how to pull them off? Let me know in the comments below! 

 

GOAL DIGGER'S GUIDE: Scope Series

Periscope might be my new favorite form of social media! It fosters live conversation, authentic voices, and quality information sharing! Honestly, it's been really good for me to record live - it's not something I would ever do before. I'm becoming less concerned with my "ums" or unflattering angles and just able to talk with folks - it's great! 

I used Periscope to do a mini series on goal setting based on my workbook - GOAL DIGGER: A Guide to Approaching Your Future with Intention!  In this #GoalDiggersGuide Scope Series, I touch on five themes addressed in the workbook!  (This is basically a shorter version of the webinar that accompanies the workbook - just a bit more conversational and with less visuals)
 

Just a heads up for those of you who aren't familiar with Periscope, in the app there are comments that come in at the bottom of the screen during a video. That's why I am looking there and responding to people. (If you replay in the app you can still see those but for some reason they don't download.)

VISION

 
 

SMART GOALS

 
 

BREAKING DOWN LONG-TERM GOALS

 
 

EVERYDAY ACTIONS 

 
 

REFLECTION EACH QUARTER

 
 

BLOG POSTS & DOWNLOADS 

Don't forget I have blog posts & downloads for all three parts of the workbook. 
You can find them here: Part #1Part #2 & Part #3! You can also check GOAL DIGGER out here

REAL TALK FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS. . . because you don’t know what you don’t know!

Due to my recent and wonderful career pivot, for the first time in a decade I am not gearing up for school to start. (It’s a weird and wonderful feeling!) With the start of school on my mind, I have some words of wisdom that I want to share with students.

Although this topic deviates a bit from what I normally write about, this info is real & relevant.  Many folks might benefit from this information but, when I was writing it, I specifically had first year college students in mind.

This post was actually pieced together throughout the spring semester as I sat at my computer waiting for students to complete tests and coursework (no lie! #AdjunctLife!) and now I am finally getting around to sharing my thoughts. I have spent the last 5 years working in higher education. Most recently, I worked at a university with mainly first year students as a Student Success Counselor and also was an adjunct instructor at a community college. 

Honestly, there is just a lot of stuff you might not know so I am going to tell you! You don’t know what you don’t know. . .meaning, there are things you don’t know about that you don’t even realize might be important or impact you. Also, full disclosure, some of this might sound preachy and very direct but I am 100% coming from a place of love, y’all. Ok, here we go. . . 


TOP REAL TALK TIPS
FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS

1. Check your email! (Emails are, by the way, short letters not long text messages.)
Let me just get my biggest pet peeve out here right off the bat! ALWAYS use a subject, greeting, and closing (including your name) in an email. I don’t care if you email from your phone, you can still write “Hi Cat,” and then drop down a line before you start the body of your email.

You also need to check your school email! Seriously, from the moment it’s given to you, check it regularly - even before school starts. A class you register for may get cancelled. . .you may need to turn in an additional Financial Aid form. . .or your school might need to contact you. Communication takes place through campus email and it is your responsibility to check it.  Nothing is worse than showing up on the first day of classes to find a classroom has been changed or, worse, the class has been cancelled and you have no idea because you haven’t checked your email since orientation 3 months ago.

Program your school email into your phone. If you can’t figure it out I bet you $10 your school’s technology help desk has the instructions on their website. If not, call or visit the technology help desk and I’m sure someone can assist you.

2. Advocate for yourself and don’t always accept “no” as an answer.   
So often, I see students failing to ask for what they need or giving up the first time someone tells them “no”. It’s ok to stick up for yourself!! You can always ask for clarification or more information. Never nod your head and say “yes” if you actually don’t understand! (I have a Master’s degree and still ask about 6 follow-up questions every time I ask about financial aid.) It’s also fine to respectfully ask someone for another chance or another try. If you don’t look out for yourself, who will?

3. Deadlines are not optional & they’re no one’s responsibility but your own.  
Figure out how you will remember deadlines and due dates because you just gotta. (Phone reminders, Google calendar, paper planner or calendar – you need to create a system.) If you miss a deadline it could literally mean you don’t get scholarship money and cannot go to school for a semester. Or, it could mean you can’t take an intro class that is required for your major and have to stay in school an extra semester at the end of your 4 (now 4.5) years.

4. It’s up to you to seek out resources & build connections.
Building relationships with professors, staff, and other students is important. It just makes life easier when you have people to talk to and folks you can ask for help when you need it. Plus, there are so many things happening on campus that can benefit you that you may never know about. Being connected to others means being in the know. And, when I say "things that can benefit you", I’m not just talking about some free pizza across campus.  I am talking about leadership positions, paid internships, scholarship opportunities, potential conference travel and the fancier kind of catering like sausage biscuits & meat pies ;). Also, don’t graduate from college without having a few people who can write you recommendation letters!

5. Lose your “whatever, it will all work out“ - mentality!
I have seen this laissez faire, “whatever, it will all work out” – mentality from too many students. I am here to tell you that it might not work out and things could have disastrous consequences if you don’t give enough f*cks to get paperwork turned in on time, show up to class, or ask for help when you need it. You don’t want to let the stress of college get you down but a personal sense of accountability is crucial. 

6. Keep your personal information accurate & up-to-date in your student account.
Sometimes people at school try to contact you for reasons you wouldn’t want your parents to know about. If I am calling you because you're failing Geology and wound up in my “Academic Early Alert” list, you might not be so pleased if the number on file is your parent's home number and I ring them when you’re not even living there. Although you may have listed your home number on your application, please update it to your personal cell phone once you get to school.  Of course, in those cases we’re always as vague as possible when speaking to parents but that’s an awkward situation that neither of us want to be in. Update your info. And, if someone calls or emails you to see if they can provide you with some support – TAKE IT!! So many schools don’t offer that kind of outreach!

7. Transcripts are forever!
I actually didn't know this fact until I finished my master's degree...transcripts stay with you FOREVER. FORRRREVVVVEEERRRRRRR!!!!!! This includes college credit you complete or attempt while you are in high school. It doesn’t matter if you are in a different state. It doesn’t matter if it was 20 years ago. They stick with you.
There’s an online clearinghouse that Admission Counselors look at to see all of the places you were ever registered as a student. And, when you apply to school, you usually have to provide transcripts from all of those institutions. Don’t even bother lying because you will be found out. And, then you’ll be looking foolish, too. Some schools offer an academic amnesty program where you can apply or appeal to have your old records removed but that’s usually a long process and not always not always possible.

8. Self-confidence, resourcefulness, & having a strong vision for your future are VASTLY more important than book smarts.
I’m here to tell you that your academic skills are not as important as your ability to believe in yourself and bounce back when shitty things happen. There are a million ways you can beef up your academic knowledge and skills – tutoring (often offered for free on campuses), YouTube videos, reading your textbook, studying & discussing with classmates, finding practice tests and activities online . . .just to name a few. But, what can’t be so easily taught is resilience, determination, and belief in yourself & your dreams! If you can cultivate those qualities, the rest is totally doable!

Look at yourself in the mirror every day and remind yourself how powerful, capable, and badass you are! Spend some time figuring out your vision – who you want to be & what you want to achieve. Hold that picture of the future you in your mind as a daily reminder of why you are working so hard. (P.S. I believe in this so much I wrote a workbook about it. Check it out here if you’re interested! )


MORE IMPORTANT
THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW:

1. On emails, BCC means “blind carbon copy”.
When you put a recipient’s email address in this tab, you send them a copy of the email secretly (or, blindly.) So, the other people on the email won't know that person was included. I would do this almost exclusively in situations where I need to "cover my ass" by bcc-ing a supervisor if i'm sending an email where things are getting sassy or heated. 

2.T/R means Tuesday & Thursday
Do not be that kid who doesn’t show up on Thursday. I have seen this happen more than once.

3. When you pronounce FAFSA, don’t add in an extra “F” and say FAFSFA.
Related to FAFSA, always remember to go to the .gov site! There are scammers out there!

4. You’re be amazed the answers you will find by simply searching terms on your school’s website.
AMAZED!

5. Labs are often just one credit!
Or, are less credits than a full class. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re a full time student just because you’re in 4 classes. . . .if one is a lab – you’re probably not!

6. Do not underestimate the power of drinking water and getting a good night’s sleep. Also, coconut oil. Are y’all younger people on that bandwagon yet?

7. If you schedule a meeting with someone, show up.
Or, call in advance if you can’t make it. And, apologize promptly if you miss it.

8. If you send someone an email and they don’t respond within a few days, you can totally send a follow-up email.
By a follow-up email I mean something like “replying all” so they get the original email again and adding a new message by writing something like “Hi So & So, I wanted to follow-up on this email I sent last week. I would really like to meet with you before the end of the week to go over blah – blah – blah. . .closing & your name. I DO NOT MEAN SIMPLY RE-SENDING THE SAME EMAIL AGAIN (with no additional message). I find that to be incredibly rude and extra lazy.

9. If you transfer to a different college your GPA probably won’t transfer with you.
This is different for each college but, usually, you need a certain GPA to get in but once you’re there you start fresh. Meaning – don’t bomb the first semester and think it will just get averaged in to your previous work. It won’t!

10. Sometimes you can get book store vouchers to buy textbooks if your financial aid money is coming in but hasn’t arrived yet.
It never hurts to ask! This is usually more of a possibility if you take care of your financial aid early and submit all follow up forms and info right away.

11. School libraries often have textbooks on reserve. You can sometimes look at text books there if you are still waiting for yours to come in.  (Or, order it through inter library loan.) Also, some libraries have heavy duty scanners with scan to pdf functions so you can scan a chapter of your friend’s textbook and email it to yourself.


QUICK & DIRTY
CLASSROOM ETIQUETTE

Here’s some real talk for you should you ever wind up in my college classroom. . .

  1. The syllabus should be your first place to find information. Please look there before you ask me questions.
  2. You don’t have to raise your hand to ask to go to the bathroom while you’re in class. If you have to go, just walk out and come back. (Leave your stuff at your seat so we know you’re coming back.
  3.  If I tell you to call me “Cat”, please don’t continue to call me “Ms. Cat”. I don’t care if we’re in the south ;)!
  4. Don’t you dare pack up your stuff before I am done talking and officially close out class. (This might be my second biggest pet peeve!)
  5. I can tell when you’re using your phone. Put it away.
  6. Even if your headphones aren’t on, it’s super rude to have them in your ears while I am teaching or we are meeting.
  7.  Better to ask (in advance) for an extension on something than just not turn it in or hand in crap.
  8. In terms of grades, some points are better than no points – it’s almost always better to turn in something than nothing. Related, it’s always better to attempt test questions than leave them blank. (Unless you’re taking the SAT!)
  9. Class discussions and participation help build a positive relationship. If you don’t talk in class or talk to me outside of class time, it’s hard for me to get to know you or like you.
  10.  I want everyone to get an A! But, if you don’t earn an A I am not doing my job if I simply give it to you.

REAL TALK BONUS
Was this as helpful as it was long!? ;) If so, I have something else for you!  

I have more to say (shocker!) related to a few specific things that I see students encountering without enough information. This is, what I like to call, “I hope you don’t need this, but I want to tell you in case you do”- info!

On this downloadable, you’ll find some info and real talk about the following topics:

  • Playing the test score & placement test game if your ACT subject test scores are barley squeaking by
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress (like, what it is),  Academic Probation, & Appeals
  • What to consider when you want to withdraw from a class
  • Showing up & owning up if you mess up and encounter academic or legal judicial action.

Finally, I also created a downloadable pdf of this blog post (minus my intro info & curse words). Feel free to share it with a college student in your life. 

Sending positive energy to you all & hoping you're going into the semester with a little more information to help you make decisions that are best for you! 

SUNSHINE & MOM TIME: What More Could A Girl Ask For?

I am such a lucky lady!  Last week I added another beach trip to my summer.  Thanks to my wonderful mom, I had a beautiful vacation full of sunshine, great talks, good food, and opportunities to snap pics in my fab swimwear. My mom flew down to New Orleans and we drove further down to coast - almost to Florida.

Here are some pics of our time on vacay. . .mostly of swimwear because you can never have enough fatkini photos! (Hover over images for details.) 

 
This suit is one of my old go-to's. It's actually a maternity suit from Target - purchased several years ago. The gathering on the sides allow it to come up and look like a regular non-maternity suit. 

This suit is one of my old go-to's. It's actually a maternity suit from Target - purchased several years ago. The gathering on the sides allow it to come up and look like a regular non-maternity suit. 

 
 
Loving this small and simple top from Asos Curve! I recently got it on super sale so I don't think it's available. It's not the most supportive but small and great for getting as much body in the sun as possible! 

Loving this small and simple top from Asos Curve! I recently got it on super sale so I don't think it's available. It's not the most supportive but small and great for getting as much body in the sun as possible! 

 
 
Recent purchase! This  Swim Suits For All #SwimSexy fatkini from Gabi Fresh  is pretty great!  (I also am wearing this with a different Lane Bryant top in some pictures further down.) 

Recent purchase! This Swim Suits For All #SwimSexy fatkini from Gabi Fresh is pretty great!  (I also am wearing this with a different Lane Bryant top in some pictures further down.) 

 
 
image.jpg
BLTs! 

BLTs! 

 
image.jpg
Selfie stick struggles! But, I kind of love this photo. . . 

Selfie stick struggles! But, I kind of love this photo. . . 

Best work space ever! (Tumbler from  The Golden Gurl Shop !)

Best work space ever! (Tumbler from The Golden Gurl Shop!)

image.jpg
 
image.jpg
My mom sure knows how to do it. These floaties are everything! 

My mom sure knows how to do it. These floaties are everything! 

#EFFTHELIST: Your List is Irrelevant & Will Make Your Business Irrelevant, Too

I am getting very into Periscope! The best part of this relatively new social media platform is that I can see my "internet friends & colleagues" in a real and unedited way sharing information, inspiration, and motivation. 

One of my all-time favorites, Regina Anaejionu of ByRegina.com, shared a particularly moving 'scope the other day about encountering a "best of" list from a well-known company that was made up of only men. She, justifiably, felt some kind of way that the list was made up of men - and, mostly (if not exclusively) white men. 

So, today I am writing about a few of my favorite things: the strong female centered entrepreneurial community around me (including Regina Anaejionu), calling out injustice, and the essential role of diversity in our communities, businesses, and organizations. 

Eff the list 

Regina shared her reaction about receiving this list in her inbox and talked about her experiences seeing women and people of color left out of many of these "lists". She encouraged us to think about "lists" that were trying to make it on to - validation from others that we were looking for - and simply make it irrelevant. Let's create our own list! Eff their list! 

I love this perspective and support it 100%. . .and, want to take it a bit further. I maintain that we should make their lists irrelevant not only for our personal health and happiness, we should make them irrelevant because people and companies who produce these exclusionary lists are showing their true colors by being (not-so-lowkey) sexist and non-inclusive while demonstrating poor business practices

Several times in the last few months I have been interested in buying someone's product, attending their conference, or engaging with their content but have been turned off by their monolithic representation of customers/participants/contributors. 

"No, I do not care to buy your program because all of the testimonials you share are pictures of white guys in polos!" If you can't show diversity in your marketing and show that you're making an impact in multiple communities, as a consumer,  I don't want to give you my money, time, or attention. 

Not only am I mad at their hearts, lack of awareness, and/or general ignorance, I genuinely believe that those kind of practices are bad for business. And, for me, that's what this #EffTheList movement is also about.
 

Not only is it the "list", its the culture that makes it ok to publish that list! 


What kind of marketing director didn't notice "hey, it's only white guys on here!"?! How is the whole group of people working for a company, organization, or magazine, I'm not saying "hmmm, something's not right here." When these things happen it shows me about the culture of these organizations. A culture I don't want to support. 

The same holds true for Oprah Magazine telling people not to wear crop tops if their tummies aren't flat or Allure Magazine telling white women that we, too,  can have afros without any cultural or historical considerations. How is no one at these companies seeing the issues before we bring them up?

If the company who sent Regina that email had more women with influence. . . or, if Oprah had more body positive staffers and/or unapologetic fat women working for her magazine. . .or, if Allure had more people of color that with editorial power, or if the guy marketing his eBook course with white men in polo shirts had people in his life sharing this information with him,  maybe this sort of thing wouldn't happen. 
 

Speak Up! Speak Out! 
 

I am so glad Regina mentioned this on one of her scopes. I am glad that this is something being talked about in our beautiful, diverse, women-centered entrepreneurial community. 

Her talk promoted several of us to write our own #EffTheList pieces - each with our own spin on this topic. Both Davina from Love & Society and Dr. Joy Harden Bradford wrote great pieces that you should check out.

More and more people are speaking up & speaking out with information supporting more inclusive "lists" in our organizations and business. People like Mellody Hobson are speaking up about hiring practices and diverse companies (check out her TED Talk on this topic) and two fabulous tumblrs are speaking out by pointing out lack of diversity out in panels through the "Congrats, you have an all male panel!" & "Congrats, you have an all white pane!" pages! (Brilliant!) 

To these companies:
Please note that your lists are going to make you/your company irrelevant! Guess what!? I can do it better! Ladies - specifically my "internet friends & colleagues"-  can and are doing much better.Thanks for showing us precisely what we want to avoid in our lives and businesses! 

WATER WORKOUTS: & Confidence at the Pool

I love all things sunshine & swimming pool & beach!

One of my favorite ways to workout is at water fitness classes! These come in multiple forms. The classes that I frequent include Aqua Zumba, an H20 Cardio class, and general aqua fit/water aerobics. I also like to swim laps. Well, mostly kickboard laps.

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

I seek out water fitness classes everywhere I go! Currently, I take them at my amazing (albeit expensive for a #GirlOnABudget) gym & community center. Most places with a pool offer these type of classes.

Like any group fitness classes, the quality of the class depends a lot on the instructor and the focus. Some classes I’ve attended have crappy music (or, no music – ah!) and not very challenging moves or routines. While others are more active with a great cardio and strength workouts. It really just depends. My perspective is to try everything to see what I like. Also, I like to replicate water work out moves on my own later. (Yes, I am that lady at the pool!)

I usually wear a more supportive, “sensible” suit for these classes – purely based on comfort. I don’t like being distracted by my boobs popping up, bottoms falling down, or tankini top sloshing around when I’m trying to get my work out on.

My favorite water workout suit is a Reebok one-piece purchased years ago. (I can’t find the link but there are a few pics of me in it on Instagram.) And you know how I found this suit? Another fat girl was in a water work out class with me and I saw her wearing it. After class I pumped her for information! I especially wanted to know about the length (#LongTorsoProbs) but she assured me that it was really roomy in terms of length. And, it is!

 

Fat girls at the pool make other fat girls feel good. 

Whether you’re in a water workout class or just lounging at the pool, I think we can all agree that it feels good to see other body positive people there! For me, I especially love seeing other plus-size/curvy/fat ladies loving life in the sun and giving no fucks. I also try to be one of these people!

I notice when girls run for their towel or cover-up as soon as they get out of the pool. I see people’s hunched backs to draw attention away from their breasts or strategically placed arms to cover up tummies. I also see the judgmental looks people give others at the pool.

But when I see another curvy girl standing up straight and tall, unconcerned with covering things up or the illusion of angles, and owning her space, I feel a little more confident, too. And, I don’t know her or her heart. Shoot, this confidence could be a “fake it till you make it” situation. (Sometimes mine is, too!) But seeing her there makes it easier and better for me. It makes me feel good. I imagine it makes some of you feel good, too!

I recently shared a video of me in a bikini on Instagram where I say “tummies out at the pool and fat girls at the pool make other fat girls feel good”.  I remind myself of this when I’m considering which suit to put on. If I am just chilling at the pool, I challenge myself to wear what I feel most comfortable in and not what covers up the most.

When I am showing my tummy at the pool I feel like I am creating a small little revolution for me and other larger ladies. And, providing an educational experience for people (including all the kids at my pool) about the sizes and shapes of bodies and what is “acceptable”.

The same holds true for folks who are unbothered by their body hair, darkness between their thighs, or other things we're told are not pretty or not acceptable. 

Wear whatever you want to the pool! Do whatever feels right to you. I'm just saying that I have so much love and respect for people at the pool exuding a confident, body-positive vibe. Let us be be surrounded by those people and let us be those people if  we can. 

"Tummies out at the pool and fat girls at the pool make other fat girls feel good."

 

GOAL DIGGER PREVIEW: Staying Motivated to Achieve Your Goals

Today, GOAL DIGGER: A Guide to Approaching Your Future with Intention is available and this is the last blog post dedicated to previewing material from the workbook. 

GOAL DIGGER is a workbook for anyone who wants to work on connecting their long-term vision to shorter-term goals and everyday actions. Or, anyone who wants to think more deeply about their vision and plan to get there! 

STAYING MOTIVATED TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS 

Creating goals is exciting but many folks struggle with follow-through! Part #3 of GOAL DIGGER is dedicated to staying motivated to achieve your goals. I maintain the two best ways to stay motivated are to have a solid vision that you're excited to pursue and to reflect regularly. Part #1 of the workbook already has you digging deep into vision. Now, Part #3 offers several worksheets and prompts to help you regularly reflect on your goal progression. 

This download isn't a worksheet but a preview from some of Part #3's information for staying motivated! 

GOAL DIGGER is available today! Take advantage of my release special buy purchasing soon. Those who purchase will also free gain access to a webinar based on the workbook. Not only can you have all of these exercises and resources in front of you in workbook form, you can also hear from me as I walk you through each section. (Kind of like these blog posts - but in person and with more tips & examples!)  

I hope this download was helpful. Let me know!  Comment here or post on social media with the hashtag #GoalDiggersGuide! 

GOAL DIGGER PREVIEW: Breaking Down Your Long-Term Goals

In anticipation of my upcoming workbook launch, I am dedicating some blog posts to content and worksheets that you’ll find inside GOAL DIGGER: A Guide to Approaching Your Future with Intention

GOAL DIGGER is a workbook for anyone who wants to work on connecting their long-term vision to shorter-term goals and everyday actions. Or, anyone who wants to think more deeply about their vision and plan to get there! 

BREAKING DOWN YOUR LONG-TERM GOALS 

 A big part of my GOAL DIGGER’S GUIDE is using your long-term goals as a destination and then mapping your steps to that goal. You can do this by creating mid-term and short-term goals to get you to your long-term vision. In this worksheet download, you’ll find a great way to start visualizing this process.

Goals can be broken down into three types based on how long you'll take to achieve them. I use three categories: short, mid, and long-term goals. 

 
 

Think about goals as building upon each other. For each long-term goal, there are several mid-term goals along the way, and even more short-term goals under each mid-term goal.  I created the following chart to help you visualize it: 

Using the worksheet download, you can practice breaking down your goals. Write your long-term goals in the very right. Then, think about some mid-term goals that will help you get there. For example, if you want to buy a house in 5 years, you might have mid-term goals that consist of saving a certain amount of money, researching the rental market in your city, becoming part of a first-time-home-owner class or group, looking for a new apartment in the area of the city you’d like to move to so you can "test the waters", learning about the benefits of buying a home with rental capabilities (like a duplex or a double), or things of this nature. 

After you have mid-term goals plotted, you can think of what short term goals will help you get there. Using the example of home ownership, maybe one of your mid-term goals is exploring different parts of the city so you can make an informed decision about where to buy. Some short-term goals under that might include looking for an apartment in that part of town (if you really want to go all in), attending community events in that area, researching institutions in that area that might be important to you and your family like schools, churches, gyms, community centers, etc., or looking into property taxes, costs of homes in that area, and other financial considerations. 

For a peak at how I might fill this whole worksheet out, click here! (You can see that one one of the examples I shortened the time frame. I'm a proponent of making these activities your own and this is an example of how you can do that.) 

 

Part #2 of GOAL DIGGER contains more details about this process of breaking down goals. To learn more about GOAL DIGGER, visit this part of my website

GOAL DIGGER will be available later this week! Before it's release, I'll have one more blog post about Part #3 and another free download so you can see all the value that's packed in to this workbook! 

After you complete the worksheet, I'd love to know what you think! Comment here or post on social media with the hashtag #GoalDiggersGuide! 

GOAL DIGGER PREVIEW: Identifying Your Vision

I am excited to announce the upcoming launch of my goal setting workbook, GOAL DIGGER: A Guide to Approaching Your Future With IntentionTo give you a peek at what it’s all about, I’m sharing a few blog posts based on the content covered as well as some free printable worksheets! 

 
 

IDENTIFYING YOUR VISION

In Part #1 of my Goal Digger’s Guide, I share the importance of identifying your vision for the future in order to create long-term goals. Download your worksheet here to see a few of the exercises I use in the workbook and so you can better understand this blog post. 

 Before you set long-term goals, you need to think about something bigger – your vision! Vision is, simply, who you want to be and what you want to achieve. It is how you see your future self.  It’s your “dream”.

Taking the time to think about your vision is essential so your long-term goals align with where you actually see yourself in 10+ years.

 If thinking that far ahead feels difficult for you, try to take some of the pressure off and push through it. Here’s the thing. . . .even if your plans change (and, they will – to some degree), having that longer picture in mind will help give you direction.

Even if your vision for yourself changes dramatically in the next two years, you will be more productive in these two years if you have something you’re working toward! If you would prefer to wait until things are “perfectly clear” you might be waiting forever and you won’t be as productive or driven in the meantime because you’ll lack purpose and direction.

On the worksheet download you’ll find two of the exercises included in the workbook that will help you identify and/or hone your vision.

RAPID FIRE BRAINSTORM
The first exercise on this worksheet is a Rapid Fire Brainstorm. I love this parameter-free brainstorming technique. When completing this, simply make a list of all the things you want to accomplish in your life. Nothing is off-limits. Nothing too big, small, or silly! (Just because you write it doesn’t mean it has to happen! This is a brainstorm. You’re just getting those ideas and dreams out of your head and on to paper!)  Need some more direction? Take a look at my brainstorm here.  

 PASSIONS & TALENTS
In the next exercise, Passions & Talents, there are three poignant prompts to get you thinking about what you love to do and what you're good at. In order to identify your vision for the future, it's helpful to think about your passions. To get at what you're passionate about, I like to explore what brings me joy and what makes me feel alive. Again, if you'd like an example, you can see my responses here

 

Part #1 of GOAL DIGGER contains more exercises for identifying your vision and goes on to help you create long-terms goals based on that vision. To learn more about GOAL DIGGER, visit this part of my website

GOAL DIGGER will be available later this week! Before it's release I'll have some more blog posts (complete with free downloads) so you can see all the value that's packed in to this workbook! 

After you complete the worksheet, I'd love to know what you think! Comment here or post on social media with the hashtag #GoalDiggersGuide! 

 

 

RESPONSE REQUIRED: Interrupting With Body Positivity

As body-positive and/or fat and/or plus-size and/or curvy women living in the world, we are often confronted with cringe-worthy comments directed at us or said around us. They can run the gamut of blatantly fat-phobic to well-intentioned but grossly misinformed. In these type of situations, I always want to say something but sometimes struggle with what exactly should come out of my mouth next.

There’s a name for these, by the way! They’re called microaggressions. Essentially, a microagression is a subtle way oppressive ideologies are conveyed against marginalized identities. Body and body size are parts of my identity that are marginalized because they are not society’s ideal or standard. Of course, I can’t forget that I have many identities that hold power and privilege in our culture (let’s acknowledge intersectionality, folks!) but, parts of my body – specifically my size- have been marked as substandard and undesirable by popular American culture.  Check out this amazing tumblr for more info and more examples of microagressions.

Because every situation is different based on where you are, who you’re with, and where you’re at mentally and emotionally, there isn’t one perfect response for every comment that comes your way. I’ve listed some statements I hear fairly often and three types of responses I use that are rooted in body positivity - the radical notion that all bodies are good bodies.  

I’ve jotted down three levels of responses: 

“Slight interruptions” are when you want to say something but don’t really want to go into it. Sharing your feelings and educating others is important but your emotional health and well-being are more important. Sometimes you want to voice your confusion or lack of “cosign” but would prefer to keep it vague.

“Short & Sassy” statements are a short but more pointed way of voicing discontent or non-agreement. I like these the best. It’s easiest for me to pop them out.

“On a serious note” responses go deeper and take a more no-nonsense, educational approach. For situations with people who you would like to go deeper with, this type of response might be right. This response is the subtext behind all of the responses – like, what you’re saying in your head but sometimes goes unsaid. 

Optional add-on to all of these responses:
“Plus, as a body-positive/fat/curvy/plus-size [however you identify] person, that comment is hurtful/offensive/bothersome/annoying [pick your poison] to me.”

 
image.jpg
 

 "You look great! Did you lose weight?"

Slight Interruption: "I have no idea! I am feeling great, though!"
Short & Sassy: "Nope! Still fat and fabulous!"
On a serious note: "I know you meant that as a compliment but I’m not comfortable with people commenting on my weight. Plus, I am not focused on my weight as it's not the best indicator of health. "     

 

"Ugh, I feel so fat."

Slight Interruption: "Huh? What do you mean?"
Short & Sassy: "Excuse me?! Fat is not a feeling!"
On a serious note: "Fat is something people have - it’s not a feeling. What I think you mean is that you might feel full, bloated, or like you haven’t moved your body enough today.  Just say what you mean because when you complain that you 'feel fat' you are assigning negative attributes to that descriptor that don't actually belong to it."

 

"Oh, you are not a size ___. You’re not even big!"

Slight Interruption: "Thanks but that is my size."
Short & Sassy: "Yes I am a size ___. And, I am big! And, I am fine with that!"
On a serious note: "My size is part of my identity and when you say that you don’t see me as a big or fat person, I don’t take it as a compliment. When you say that, I feel like it means that I can’t be big and beautiful – like people can’t be both. I am both!"

 

“I don’t like to wear sleeveless things because of my huge arms.” (Usually while you're next to them wearing a sleeveless top, am-I-right?) 

Slight Interruption: "It’s important to be comfortable with what you’re wearing. Maybe you'd be more comfortable in this heat with something sleeveless?"
Short & Sassy: "Hey! "You have the right to bear arms! ;) For real, the size of your arms is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of! And, it is hot outside!!"
On a serious note: "I know that our society and standards of beauty dictate that your arms need to be small in order to be seen but let’s get over that. All bodies are different and every body has the right to be seen and take up space in our world. If you are warm, I encourage you to wear clothing that is comfortable for you. Being comfortable in something you've been taught not to wear is hard. It takes practice. "

 

"Are you really going to wear that crop top?"

Slight Interruption: "Yes! Let’s go!"
Short & Sassy: "Fuck flattering. I am rocking this crop. And, I l think I look damn good!"
On a serious note: "I don’t ascribe to the notion that people need to wear things that are considered flattering or for a specific body type. If I like it, I wear it. It’s as simple as that.  Please open your mind a bit and kindly refrain from policing my body."

 

Interrupting in these kind of situations takes practice! 

Please know that I do not say these things all the time. Fat phobic shit flies past me all the time (I mean, I am a woman in America!) and I don't always say something. But, I'll tell you what. . . like most other things, practice makes "perfect" or, at least, builds your confidence up. And, when I say practice, I don't just mean in these situations. I also mean when you're by yourself ruminating on someone's comment and wishing you had spoke up. Practice what you would have said so that a response might come out more easily the next time.

Finally, no, a response to these type of comments is not "required" but who can pass up a good alliteration and reminder than small steps like speaking up in situations like these can be good for us and our body positive community! 

Side Note: These “Real Talk” statements remind me of things you’d find in a Feminist Ryan Gosling meme. All they need is a “hey, girl” in front of them! Y'all remember those? Ha ha. . . 

CURRENT FOCUS: Bright, Fresh, Action

One way to help stay focused on goals/growth/intentions is to create a few mini-mantras in the form of some short phrases or words. Lots of folks do this. (I suppose it’s loosely based on this idea.)

Well, it’s already 19 days into quarter three and I haven’t properly fleshed out my goals for this three month period. But, these mini-mantras, in the form of simple words, are helping me focus on what I want to tackle in the upcoming months and the kind of spirit and motivation I want to bring to my work and life.

Right now, my words are bright, fresh and action. 

BRIGHT

Bright in terms of ideas, sunshine, and my disposition.

I want to continue to let myself brainstorm to create new and innovative ideas. Brainstorming is probably one of the things I do best. Now, not all ideas generated in a brainstorm need to come to fruition but I want to give myself license to generate them! If I am going to make impacts (and, let’s be real, money) in ways that align with my passions, I am certainly gonna have to be creative.

At the end of almost every summer I look back and think “dang, I hardly spent anytime outside!” This summer is honestly the first in years that I am not disappointed about time outdoors. Thanks to two beach trips and amazing pool lounging and workouts, I’ve been soaking up a lot of sun and will continue to do so for the rest of summer. Related – I have been spending loads of time inside writing lately. I want to be sure to get outside (and, like, enjoy being outside) once each day.

Staying sunny and bright internally is something I want to focus on, too. Not for any kind of women-need-to-smile-and-be-perky-b.s. but because I am more productive and like myself more when I am feeling sunnier on the inside. (Also, reminder to self, one needs to get a decent amount of sleep in order to be bright!)

Bonus bright reminder related to smarts.  I need to remind myself that I am smart because sometimes I don’t feel it.  Things from my past are in the back of my mind like my 3.48 undergrad GPA that wouldn’t round up to cum laude or, my present day struggles like my constant use of google to make sure I am spelling words properly (that’s right, sometimes they’re so jacked up even Microsoft Word can’t correct ‘em) and how intimidated I get when reading legal or government language. Specifically, I need to trust that I am fully competent and intelligent enough to succeed. And, in some areas, more competent than the many people. (That might come off as braggy but I’m leaving it.)

FRESH

Fresh foods, fresh style, fresh ideas, and fresh sheets.

Summer is full of amazing fresh foods. There is no need for me to be eating non-fresh convenience meals when I have the time to be making yummy stuff full of veggies! I want lots more watermelon and weekend baskets from Hollygrove Farm & Market in my life.

I am such a creature of habit. I want to challenge myself to keep my styles and looks fresh. I love sharing them with y’all and it’s no fun if I am wearing the same skirt for an entire week. Related to fresh style, I am taking a pretty big hair plunge within the next few weeks. Just let me say I will be crossing something off of my bucketlist!

Fresh ideas align with what I mentioned earlier under “bright” and challenging myself to do things I haven’t done before – especially in terms of business.

Also, fresh sheets. With my increased sun time, the amount of coconut oil I am slathering on myself before bed is astounding. I need to wash my sheets more often. I did the other day and it just feels so nice.

ACTION 

This one is simple. I just want to act more and to focus on doing instead of planning to do.

I am a planner. I love thinking about the future and making plans that align with where I want to be. Similar to the ease with which brainstorming comes to me, turning those ideas into plans comes naturally. But I feel like I am spending more time doing that than actually acting on those ideas and plans.

Do you ever feel like you spend more time planning to go to the gym than actually going to the gym? Because I do.

I am proud of the actions I have taken related to my business in the last year. And, now is the time to kick it into overdrive. I can’t let myself get so caught up in planning that I fail to act. I need to trust that the plans I’ve already created are good and that my intuition is on my side, too.  Based on what I shared in my other words, it’s clear that I don’t want to stop generating ideas – quite the contrary, but I need these ideas to be accompanied with action. I’ve created this beautiful opportunity to focus on Cat Inspired full-time. Now is the time to act! 

SUMMERTIME FINE: Work, Play, & Outfits of the Day!

Instead of stressing about not having a bigger blog post out to y'all this week, I thought I would simply share some short, photo updates letting you know what I've up to! You may have caught some of these on Instagram. Here's a peak at what's been going on in my world . . .aptly divided into work, play, and outfits of the day! (Just hover over the photos for details.) 

WORK 

I'm loving the freedom of working from anywhere! 

I'm loving the freedom of working from anywhere! 

Lots of trips to the post office. Although I love chatting with my post office ladies, soon I'll be printing labels and doing most of the shipments from home (and simply dropping off at the post office). 

Lots of trips to the post office. Although I love chatting with my post office ladies, soon I'll be printing labels and doing most of the shipments from home (and simply dropping off at the post office). 

I've been doing some mini-road trips to check out new thrift shops. 

I've been doing some mini-road trips to check out new thrift shops. 

I finally got a big bulletin board in my new space so I can better organize my thoughts. 

I finally got a big bulletin board in my new space so I can better organize my thoughts. 

I've found so many great fall pieces in the last week! I'm going to start posting fall items in my shop in August. 

I've found so many great fall pieces in the last week! I'm going to start posting fall items in my shop in August. 

I'm finishing up my first draft of my forthcoming goal setting workbook. Lots more details to come!! 

I'm finishing up my first draft of my forthcoming goal setting workbook. Lots more details to come!! 

PLAY 

"See you later" parties and tex-mex feasts! 

"See you later" parties and tex-mex feasts! 

So much pool time at my beautiful gym! Aqua zumba, H20 Cardio, sunbathing, and spending time in the pool chatting with au pairs. . . I've been there a lot lately. 

So much pool time at my beautiful gym! Aqua zumba, H20 Cardio, sunbathing, and spending time in the pool chatting with au pairs. . . I've been there a lot lately. 

I got a new journal that's helping me remember to be "all in" in every aspect of my life. 

I got a new journal that's helping me remember to be "all in" in every aspect of my life. 

My Facebook followers know that I have seen Magic Mike XXL twice in the last week. It is AWESOME - sex positive, women centered, shows positive representations of male friendship, has all types of women included, and there's even a spanx sighting! I may need to do a full post about this because. . .it's just that good. 

My Facebook followers know that I have seen Magic Mike XXL twice in the last week. It is AWESOME - sex positive, women centered, shows positive representations of male friendship, has all types of women included, and there's even a spanx sighting! I may need to do a full post about this because. . .it's just that good. 

OUTFITS OF THE DAY 

I love wearing a simple t-shirt over a dress transforming it into a skirt. 

I love wearing a simple t-shirt over a dress transforming it into a skirt. 

This isn't an actual #ootd, but one of my favorite looks from the items posted in my shop this weekend. (This one has already been sold.) 

This isn't an actual #ootd, but one of my favorite looks from the items posted in my shop this weekend. (This one has already been sold.) 

LOVING this floral skirt. Lane Bryant clearance rack find. You might still be able to find it? (I'm wearing a size 20.) 

LOVING this floral skirt. Lane Bryant clearance rack find. You might still be able to find it? (I'm wearing a size 20.) 

Floral top from Old Navy. No longer available. 

Floral top from Old Navy. No longer available. 

Asos curve pencil skirt found at a thrift shop. Belt found on super clearance at Lane Bryant. 

Asos curve pencil skirt found at a thrift shop. Belt found on super clearance at Lane Bryant. 

H&M is the best and the worst, y'all! It seems like every location has a plus-size section in utter disarray, but they do have some amazing pieces! Found these pants on super sale and love this top. I also recently bought some amazing shorts. . . full price - but cute enough to justify it.  (So, extremely cute!) Oh, yeah - I am standing on the bench in order to get my whole bod in this selfie! 

H&M is the best and the worst, y'all! It seems like every location has a plus-size section in utter disarray, but they do have some amazing pieces! Found these pants on super sale and love this top. I also recently bought some amazing shorts. . . full price - but cute enough to justify it.  (So, extremely cute!) Oh, yeah - I am standing on the bench in order to get my whole bod in this selfie! 

A few of these images have been taken from Snapchat - which I am starting to get really into! Feel free to add me! Just search Cat Polivoda! 

SUMMER ESSENTIALS: 10 Things Every Fat Girl Needs This Summer

Ten of my current summer essentials include. . .

1. Good facial sunscreen
Hopefully everyone is using sunscreen on a regular basis! Although I can usually get away with an SPF 15 or SPF 30,  I have a special sunscreen routine for my face. I use this amazing mineral powder sunscreen that provides a powder veil that blocks the sun but doesn’t add any extra grease to my face. It also is a nice oil absorbing powder that I can easily whip out and reapply throughout the day.  (Sometimes I also wear my liquid foundation that contains an SPF and then apply the mineral sunscreen over it.)

2. coconut oil.
Coconut oil is, by far, my favorite moisturizer! It is also a great hair deep conditioner (or leave in conditioner, depending on your hair type) and cooking oil! (I also know some folks who put in in their smoothies.) It’s amazing for after-sun skin care, including sunburns, and is perfect for sensitive skin like mine.

3. a fabulous fatkini.
Due in large part to Gabi Fresh, bikinis are now fab and flattering for plus-size ladies! For the last few years they have become more widely available. Now you can find them in several stores and in a variety of price points. You need one! ;) And, yes, “fatkini”! I support calling it this. If you haven’t gleaned this from my other content, and the title of this post, I like using the word “fat” to describe myself in order to take the stigma and “ick” away from the word.

4.  a sensible swimsuit.
I qualify a “sensible suit” as something that you can swim laps in or jump off a diving board in and not worry about a nip slip or exposed booty. I wear a sensible suit to water aerobics and in situations when I want to be my fabulous self but not reveal all of my fabulousness ;)! (Not that fatknis aren't sensible. . I just can't resist a good alliteration!) 

5. a light scarf to protect you from the sun.
I love a thin, summer scarf as an everyday accessory or at the beach. I wear a scarf in my hair for sun protection or, in instances where my skin has had too much beach time but I have not, I will wear it damp around my shoulders to protect my skin and keep me 

6.   bright polish for your nails and/or toes.
I am usually attracted to brown, purple, grey, and maroon tones for my nails but I love to go bright and colorful for my toes (and nails) during the summer. It’s a fun time to try some new colors!

7.  a new journal or pens.
Summer is a great time for reflection! For me, journaling is my mode of choice. Opening up a new journal (or putting a fresh, new pen to paper in a journal that I am already using) while sitting outside, laying on the beach, or enjoying an iced coffee on a patio is a great way to reflect.  

8. shorts, spanx, bandelettes, (etc.) that are comfy for summer
If you can wear skirts or dresses and do not have irritation from your thighs rubbing – count yourself very, very lucky! I need protection from this. . .and, something stronger than a little body glide or deodorant. Thinner spanx brand shorts and bandelettes are the most comfy for me. (I am sure you can find spanx-like shorts that are thinner and more comfy for summer but my thin pare are spanx brand and the most comfortable for warm weather.) Note: bandelettes are a lovely option but not for long walking adventures.

9.  a good set of podcasts in your iPhone.
With summer travel and beach or pool time, you’ve got to have some great podcast on deck! My favorites are a combo of small business podcasts and women-centered podcasts.  I’d LOVE to hear about what your favorite podcasts are. (As I listen to more and more of them, I am becoming very tempted to start my own. Would you listen?!)

10.   body-positive sisters in your (real or virtual) life.
Feeling confident in summer styles can be tough. Y’all, it takes bravery to go out on the beach with your tummy or wear a crop top.  You will be ok. And, so will everyone else, but sometimes it is hard!
Aside from simple practice (the idea that the more you do it the easier it gets), I think that seeing other women confidently bearing their bodies and surrounding yourself with body-positive people are invaluable ways build your body confidence. Some of us are lucky to have folks around us that can serve in that capacity. Other of us might need to find that online. Either way, be sure to be getting that community somewhere and surrounding yourselves with a variety of bodies in summer styles.

Love this suit paired with a flowy maxi skirt. This suit is actually for sale right now in my shop! Check it out! 

Love this suit paired with a flowy maxi skirt. This suit is actually for sale right now in my shop! Check it out! 

Tummy out and a scarf in my hair! 

Tummy out and a scarf in my hair! 

Bright toes and a tumbler from The Golden Girl Shop! 

Bright toes and a tumbler from The Golden Girl Shop! 

This vintage, thrifted suit is one of my current favorite "sensible suits"! 

This vintage, thrifted suit is one of my current favorite "sensible suits"! 

These are ten of my summer essentials. What are your must-haves this summer??

SUMMER STYLE: Black, White, & Gold

Because most of my clothes are thrifted or bought on major clearance, I am not often able to do outfit posts where I can link items. Recently, I have been wearing a few pieces that are still available – so, I have to share!

I centered this outfit around a strapless top I found at Old Navy. Actually, I recently purchase several fun, summer items there. Old Navy is very hit or miss for me. But, at present, it’s mostly “hits”! They have lots of great extended size clothing (from 1XL-4XL) online. When someone returns online items in the store, it automatically gets reduced by 50% and then continues to be marked down from there. These items can usually be found in the clearance area. And, I can usually be found digging for treasures in the depths of Old Navy’s notoriously haphazard clearance racks.

Top – Old Navy. I am wearing a 2XL. I like this mix between peplum and baby doll cut. Also, it’s comfy and supportive. There is no shelf bra – but it kind of naturally happens with the cut – and there is a line of rubber at the top to help it stay up. I also found this top in an amazing floral print. It’s no longer available online (as far as I can tell), but I might post it to sell on my site once I get some wears out of it!
NOTE - My one regret about this top is that it is reminiscent of tribal print which I try to avoid in clothing. As I am looking at it more, it does look quite "mass produced tribal knock-off" to me.  Although I find it aesthetically appealing, i acknowledge that "tribal print" and derivations of these prints are culture vulture (culturally appropriating) fashions. 

Watch – Lane Bryant. I love how Lane Bryant bracelets and watches actually fit my wrists. This watch comes with three removable links. I am using two of the three. I purchased a "gold" watch from Lane Bryant a few years ago and it was tarnished within a few days. I am hoping the different material (this sort of painted metal) will hold up better! 

Sunglasses – Lane Bryant. My summer favorites, so far!

Bag – Christian Siriano for Payless. I was looking for a fun cross-body bag for traveling (and thrifting). This has been perfect! 
I go in to a Payless every few months to see if there happen to be some decent size 11 shoes. I rarely find anything. But, the Christian Siriano brand shoes and accessories are the absolute best of what Payless has to offer. Payless always has been the price conscious go-to for us size 11 ladies. Unfortunately, like most places, the size 11 (not to mention 12 and 13) sections are always a fraction of the size of other sizes. ALSO - Chrsitian Siriano is doing a line for Lane Bryant. Eeeek! I am excited! 

Pencil skirt, earrings, bracelets, belt and shoes – all older. 

IF YOU CAN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT IT, DON'T STOP WORKING FOR IT: "Side Hustles" Becoming My "Main Hustle"

With great excitement (and an excessive amount of Instagram quotes), I proud to announce that I am formally leaving my day job! To put it simply, I am transitioning my side hustles into my main hustle!

My passion projects and side jobs are now at the point where they can’t grow until I can dedicate more of my energy toward them. I have no shortage of motivation, ideas, action plans, and opportunities – but a distinct lack of time. So, I am taking a big step and ditching my day job.  In fact, today is my last day! 

What's Coming Next? 

Now, Cat’s Closet shop posts can become more frequent as I'll have more time to dedicate to thrifting and the logistics of running my shop. In addition to my Minneapolis shopping event, I hope to plan a few more pop up events for late-summer and fall.

I see Cat’s Closet as becoming a compliment to my other Cat Inspired endeavors. I love plus-size fashion and sharing my style. What’s more, I want to inspire and motivate women to love themselves and pursue their passions. This summer I’ll be actualizing life coaching and related webinars, reorganizing my website and publishing lots more content, and writing an e-workbook! Plus, I now have time to do more style consulting – rooted in body positivity, of course.

Also, I don’t write much about a part of my life that I really love – my role as a Local Childcare Coordinator for Cultural Care Au Pair. I work with families who are interested in hosting au pairs in their home for childcare and cultural exchange. My favorite part is meeting regularly with the local au pairs in New Orleans. It’s great for my #WomanOnAMission #WomenSupportingWomen #GlobalStudiesMajor soul! 

In addition to (or, well, because of) this major job change, June is actually bringing lots of travel and excitement! My time is now my own so travel is more of a possibility! First, this weekend I'm headed to the beach for a fun Bachelorette weekend for one of my friends. Then, home to Minnesota for some family time, my best friends’ wedding, seeing my MN folks, and a pop-up shopping event at a fab Minneapolis thrift shop. Finally, I'm taking a trip to Miami to reunite with two lovely ladies that I studied abroad with years ago. 

This is something I have been thinking about and working toward for some time. I am excited to share this with you and look forward to updating y'all along the way! I want to be honest and open about my process to share the excitements and struggles of being a self-employed woman on a mission! 

Naturally, I have some fear about this major life change! But I continue to remind myself that if anyone can turn their passions into a thriving business and life - it's me and that no time is ever perfect - so I am creating my own opportunities and getting closer to living the life I've imagined.  

30x30 Challenge: 30+ Outfits With Less Than 30 Items

May was busy for me! One major part of my month was moving. In an effort to make packing easier and for a fun excuse to try new outfit combinations, I embarked on a 30x30 outfit challenge.

Essentially, I wore only 30 items all month to create 30 outfits. I *mostly* stuck to the items I selected at the beginning of the month. Actually, I ended up wearing less than 30 items. And, I included shoes!! (Of course I didn't count gym clothes or undergarments in my 30!) 

Many of these clothing items are my old reliables so I can't link most of them for you. The items I'm wearing that are still available are linked when listed below. (I am obsessed with my "Riots Not Diets" top!  The other linked top - not so much. Poor quality!) 

25 ITEMS

TOPS: (1) Black Tube Top, (2) Black Tunic Top, (3) Cream Tunic Top, (4) Chambray Tunic Top, (5) Riots Not Diets T-shirt, (6) Black T-shirt. (7) Black 3/4 Length Top, & (8) Snow Leopard Peplum Top

BOTTOMS: (9) Black Leggings, (10) Black Gathered Pencil Skirt, (11) Thrifted Brown & Black Skirt, & (12) Harvest Skirt, (13) Pink Accordion Skirt, & (14) Denim Shorts 

DRESSES: (15) Orangey-red High Low Dress, (16) Pink Floral Dress, & (17) Brown Fitted Dress

JACKETS: (18) Black & Gold Moto Jacket, (19) Olive Bomber Jacket,  (20) Grey Lace Blazer, & (21) Denim Vest (not pictured #fail)

SHOES: (22) Cream Snake Skin & Gold Strappy Sandals, (23) Brown Strappy Sandals, (24) Black Pointed Flats, & (25) Black & Gold Strappy Sandals 

ACCESSORIES: (unlimited) belts, jewelry, & scarves

 

33 OUTFITS

18.jpg

Here's a peak at some of my #ootd looks in these outfits this month! 

I loved doing this challenge! Unfortunately, I wasn't diligent about taking #ootd selfies everyday to show what I was wearing but I'm happy I could do a recap for y'all! Plus, there are even more combos I didn't share here! 

SIP & SHOP: Chicago with Ready to Start at BLAIR

Although it was almost a month ago, I still want to share some photos from my amazing Chicago event in collaboration with Ready to Stare and BLAIR!

Our Chicago Sip & Shop was amazing! The best part was working with Alysse from Ready to Stare and Jessica from BLAIR. What wonderful ladies! I love being in environments with other powerful and passionate female entrepreneurs! BLAIR is a beautiful space and Jessica was the greatest host! Alysse's fashions and jewelry are always perfection. And, we had a great bartender, Josh, from DrinkxXx On Me.

Thanks so much to those of you who who came out to support! And, special thanks to Camille Jade for most of the photos! She's the best! Check out her blog - Cocoa Boricua! I am working to put together some more shopping events in the upcoming months. Can't wait!

30 BEFORE 30: Bucketlist

Today is my golden birthday! As I turn 28, I thought it would be a perfect time to share a "30 Before 30" Bucketlist! This is actually my first bucketlist. I am more of a goal setting/dreaming/planning kind of lady, so lists of goals are more common for me. (For example, I currently have ten 2nd quarter/April, May, June goals that I am working on. Those align with my year and long-term goals, etc., etc., etc. That's just the kind of person I am.) 

A bucketlist feels different to me. Sure, some of the items on this list relate to goals I am working on, but many are just fun things I want to experience or chances I want to take. Some are things I have been meaning to do but haven't put a deadline on yet. Or, things that I want to do again! 

I was careful to craft a list that was not too serious! Plus, I made sure to include multiple parts of myself and not just list off my business-related dreams or financial goals. I've actually been thinking about many of these things for a while and am really excited to share them with you here! 

So, without further adieu, here are 30 things I want to do within the next two years - before I am 30! 

30 Before 30 Bucketlist

  1. Go on a cruise

  2. Take boudoir photos

  3. Grow an herb garden

  4. Lead a zumba class

  5. Cut my hair short

  6. Eat crawfish out of the shell

  7. Reconnect with my German host family

  8. Go blonde

  9. Work exclusively for myself

  10. Get a large, amazing arm tattoo

  11. Visit at least 2 countries I’ve never traveled to before

  12. Take a solo relaxation, meditation, visioning vacation

  13. Develop a strong relationship with a mentor

  14. Visit at least 2 states or major US cities I’ve never visited before

  15. Pay off credit cards

  16. Buy a new car (Or, have money saved for that time!. . .It’ll be a miracle if my car is still kickin’ in 2 years.)

  17. Do a photo shoot by murals and pretty fences around NOLA

  18. Organize and lead a Women’s Retreat

  19. Publish something

  20. Go back to Germany to visit (or live for a short time)

  21. Start investing

  22. Have a stay-cation weekend in New Orleans

  23. Hike Stone Mountain in Atlanta (again)

  24. Donate a large (for me) sum of money

  25. Be on a podcast

  26. Drive a manual car again

  27. Eat vegan again for at least 1 month

  28. Get sister tattoos with my sis

  29. Develop a group of close girlfriends in New Orleans

  30. Go to a musical or dinner theatre show

What's on your bucketlist? Do we have any things in common? Let me know in the comments below!