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Interviews

Book Review: The Bomb Life by Claire Sulmers

In Beauty, Body Positive, Fashion, Inspiration, Interviews

*DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT SPONSORED/NOR WAS I GIVEN THE BOOK. These opinions are 1000% my own*


It was the first week out of school, and I was anxious to delve into something that has NOTHING to do with Urban Policy. Enter: The Bomb Life.

Two weeks ago, I attended Claire Sulmers’ “Conversations with Claire.” And while the conversations were fruitful and the drinks were flowing, I wanted to learn more about the Fashion Bomb brand and how Claire rose to be the force that she is today. At the time, I wasn’t curious about being a boss, bombshell, and beauty–but after reading her book, I realized that I have potential to be someone/something more. Also, since I was featured on Fashion Bomb Daily in the past,  so you already know my interests were piqued before attending the event. Before we get into the book, just wanted to give a little bio on the Fashion Bomb Daily:

Created in August 2006 by journalist Claire Sulmers, Fashion Bomb Daily provides daily doses of chic to savvy stylistas. Recognizing there were few print and online sources for multicultural fashion, Claire took her interests in style and writing to create the number one online destination for global chic seekers with a penchant for all things fabulous. Readers log on to The Fashion Bomb for its fresh takes on fashion news and stories, along with its boutique spotlights, exclusive editorials, magazine scans, fashion show reviews, trends, wardrobe advice, celebrity looks for less, and tips on how to break into the industry from the best in the business.With 2.4 million monthly visitors, The Fashion Bomb made Ebony Magazine’s 2011 Power 100 List, while Claire was named Black Blogger of the Month by Black Enterprise, and was dubbed Blogger of the Moment by Teen Vogue. Well respected in the industry, The Fashion Bomb has been referenced in New York Magazine, featured in Glamour, and quoted in Time. Claire is a regular contributor to Essence.com and Vogue.it.

BOSS right? Now, I know that this life isn’t for everyone. In fact, I am starting to realize that this life may not be for me, either. But, if there’s anything that I learned from The Bomb Life, it’s the power of hard work, sacrifice, gut instinct, and playing the part! In this stunning memoir and self-help book, she tells what she had to do to get to the top, and offers aspiring bloggers and digital influencers tips on how to monetize their sites, build an audience, and ultimately live the Bomb Life.

-Sets the scene-

When I first picked up the book, I was commuting to-day 1 of my Fair Housing Training in Washington, DC. Eager to finally read something that didn’t come from a course catalog, I immediately started to flip the titles of The Bomb Life. I saw that the book wasn’t lengthy so I committed myself to two chapters a day. The first chapter immediately hooked me in. Claire’s life reminded me of mine. Not only is she Haitian, but her parents worked hard to send her to private schools. Claire’s humble beginnings show that she was brilliant and stayed true to who she was–much like myself. She had her fair share of bullies, over-wore her “most popular” item in her closet and had to deal with parents who were “anti your creative dream”. I know this all too well because my mom loved her some bargains and still doesn’t know why I blog. Suffice to say, they usually come around.

As I continued to read, she started to find out who she really wanted to be. She went to Harvard and killed it; she persisted in finding opportunities to advance herself in the field of journalism, and then she took the leap of faith that I still have yet to carry out: the move to NY. From there, she landed a gig as an intern for a well-known publication, but still faced the issues of working in an “it’s who you know/who knows you” industry. But the endearing part of it all is, that never stopped her. She kept working hard!

Picture Creds: Comme Coco

From gatecrashing high-end fashion shows to walking around the streets of Paris to find the most stylish people for Vogue.fr, Claire was on a mission! I found her passion for fashion, her reasonable application of life’s lessons, and even her lust for creating her own lane inspiring. Even when reading about her love story gone wrong, it made her seem more REAL. Once you’ve read about her drug dealing ex-boyfriend, you might instantly start seeing similarities lol …not that I dated a drug dealer…I’ll shut up now.

All while Claire launched her blog Fashion Bomb Daily, she was still working her way to the top. She multi-tasked, wrote blog posts until wee hours of the night/morning, faced the backlash from other bloggers, took rejection from MANY people in the industry, put herself out in the mainstream, and to this day, SHE’S STILL ROCKING IT! Knowing me, I probably would have stopped.

Pic Creds: Fashion Bomb Daily

Because this is a relatively short book (or maybe it’s short for me because I am used to reading 1500 pages a week for school), I kept the synopsis short and sweet! I really urge you to buy the book and read it on your own. Why? Well here are five reasons why reading The Bomb Life is GOALS! 

Faith

Any book that includes even a bit of prayer/trust in God GETS ME! Even though I am trying to figure out who I am today, I am grateful for the lessons that God teaches me along the route. I know that everyone doesn’t ascribe to a specific faith, but I honestly don’t know where I would be without HIM.

Letters to Younger Self

At the end of the book, Claire writes letters to her younger self. Those letters are POWERFUL! No, they aren’t written in prolific conundrums or use crazy rhetorical devices, but instead, her letters give clear examples of how to learn to love yourself better, learn to wait for love (my biggest challenge) learn to trust the process and learning that the world is yours for the taking.

Blogging/Digital Influencer Advice

To be honest y’all, I’ve been sitting on the fence with this whole blogging thing. Social media is double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can make your coins, connect with others around the globe, and even gain valuable knowledge or today’s news. But on the contrary, you can feel really shitty about yourself. You subject yourself to developing low self-esteem, the feeling of having to keep up the Joneses, and I’ve been in positions where social media has affected my relationships. Scary right? But Claire provides a positive spin on social media. From tips on a establishing your domain to ways to marketing yourself better, Claire drops two chapters of gems SPECIFICALLY to social media + brand building.  But, if you read the book from cover to cover, you will see the book is just oozing with gems on how to build your brand OVERALL.

Personal Appearance Advice

Every time I see Claire, she looks AMAZING! One time I saw her on the plane at 5 am and she looked like she just came back from a hot date! Admittedly, I looked like a hobo, so I didn’t even try to say hi. However, in her novel, she speaks on how she consulted with image consultants and brand experts to refine her look. She gives advice on how to play up your features and to always be “ON” because you never know who’s watching. Who knows, if Claire looked the way I was looking that day I saw her at the ATL airport, I probably wouldn’t have noticed her. So what am I doing now? BUDGETING–budgeting my wardrobe, hair, makeup, and nails. For a while, I was trying to dress sexier so that my love interest would lust over me like all the girls he fawns over. But in the midst of that, I failed lol. I tried to be sexy with a hint of who I am at the core. So imagine Blair Waldorf meets a BBW entertainer? YEA! To that end, in the next few weeks, I’m going to take you on an interactive journey with my image consultant.

Staying True to You

In Claire’s book, she gave so many examples where she could’ve been petty, foul, and even threw a wad of cash in people’s faces. But, that’s not who she is. From sleuthing interns to over zealous bloggers, Claire maintained her composure, didn’t have sleep with anyone to get where she is, and kept it pushing! It’s hard to maintain who you are once you enter an industry. I’ve watched bloggers and models who were so down to earth become some of the most unpleasant people to be around. In fact, one of them is —oops, Claire advises against talking bad about others…nothing but bad karma ensues.— Don’t let the fame and fortune get to you.

I give this book an A+! 

For content, readability, real life application, and complete honesty! If you haven’t already bought her book, head to the website to check it out!

Until next time,
Char!

Bring Style to Fashion Trends: My Top 15 Stylistas!

In Interviews

Happy Friday!

This morning I woke with such a bad cold and couldn’t find a single thing to wear to work in this cold weather. I haven’t officially transferred over to my Fall closet, so I’ve been mixing my Summer patterns with Fall pieces from last year. But then I thought the best way to get out of this mental rut was to check out some of my fav bloggers, models, and fashionistas who slay everyday! So here’s my top 15 women who are always SLAMMING FOR THE GRAM! Click on their pictures to see where they got their looks from!

Bloggers

As a fellow blogger, I love to shout out my boos doing their thang!!!

Who’s That Girl 524

Dana slays every time. POINT. BLANK. PERIOD. I love her effortless style and her warm smile (I sound creepy huh). So positive and refreshing!

"Achieving a Fall Look with 2014 Pieces"

Kurvy Katie

On a day like this, where all of New England is waiting on Hurricane Joaquin to touchdown,  I honestly wanted to “Netflix and Chill.” Lol I know…sounds awful, but I want to go to the movies and chill in my kicks. Katie understood that meaning before I did! Check out her look!

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Flight of the Fat Girl

My Haitian sister! NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE ELSE SAYS! LOL! Today I was looking for some of my blues to go with my turquoise bag, but I couldn’t find one. Of course Cynthia came to rescue in this beautiful blue number!

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Golden Kaleidoscope

Essie is just something else! She’s very creative with her styling and delivers!

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Flaws of Couture

As of late, I’ve found myself becoming a constant fan of Sashagai of Flaws of Couture. Her looks vary from elegant to straight up sex symbol! She is so fluid in her styling and everything compliments her!

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Models

Although they model by trait, it never means they don’t have their own personal style!! Here are my top 5 models that kill it by day and night!

Anita Marshall

Does it count if she’s my baby mama?? OF COURSE IT DOES!!! I remember when Anita was into her dark colors but you know the saying “When a woman cuts her hair, she’s about to change her life.” I am loving this look!

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Vanessa Mays-Hinds

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a sucker for anything plaid! She nailed it and curves brought it to life!

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Franchel 

Fall on the West Coast is so dope and it’s mostly because of Franchel! I am loving this look from head to toe!

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Tess Holliday 

I love this picture of Tess and I love her outfit so much! I actually really want to recreate this whole look and I think I know exactly where I will start!!

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Samantha Lebbie

Samantha always looks so nice and doesn’t look like she has to try hard to do it. Whether it’s jeans and a vest or sleek body con, her curves bring it to life!

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My Fly Fatties

You don’t have to be a model, blogger, or stylist to be fly! I find these women to be the most inspiring because they wake up and look fly for themselves!

Shaina aka OutofTheCorner

Shaina…better known to me as Sista Slay All Day, is so fierce with her looks! And you couldn’t tell  her any different because she knows that #FatGirlsBeWinning!

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Alysse 

Most days I check out Alysse’s Instagram for inspiration because she always knows how to spruce up basic pieces! I love the usage of her brand’s, Ready to Stare, body chains in 60% of her outfits and they seem so versatile!

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 Vanessa

My cousin Vanessa was the original slayer of the family…she still is lol! Her looks are simple and compliments the person she is !

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Sabrina

FACCCCKENNNN-AHHHH Since Sabrina is a reality star, stylist, and model, and I couldn’t really fit her in any of the categories! Lol, but she does slay every time!

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Kresskala 

My momma!!! I love the way she looks in her outfits! Anyone woman who uses tulle, captures the entirety of my soul!

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Tess Munster- Retro Chic

In Interviews

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Tess Munster is not your average plus size model! She embodies this very retro chic look that I want to try!! I first saw her on Domino Dollhouse and since, I’ve pretty much been in love!

Tess is a Plus-Size Model, Make Up Artist, Hair Stylist and Blogger based in L.A., who turned her hobbies into a successful career. She says she is now doing what she always dreamed of. Tess was born in a small town in Mississippi, July 1985. She always longed for a life bigger than what her small town could offer. She had always been different than other girls growing up; Tess was teased for being curvy, fair skinned, and short. The bullies at school were relentless, but she kept her head up. Knowing that she’d never quite fit in never kept Tess from dreaming. When Tess turned 15 she attended a casting call for Plus Models in Atlanta, GA, where she was not warmly received. Standing at 5’4″, wearing a size 16, she noticed everyone towering over her, and quickly realized her dreams of being a model might just be a dream. Tess then turned to her first love, Make Up Artistry. It was reading Kevyn Aucoin’s book, “Changing Faces,” that opened her eyes and showed her that makeup could truly “transform” someone inside and out.

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Check out our interview:

What would you describe your roll in the fashion industry?

I feel like I do a bit of everything. Model, blogger, enthusiast, fashionista, etc.

When did you first start to take an interest in fashion?

From BIRTH! HA! I have always loved dressing up!

Who are some of your favorite fashion icons?

Peg Bundy, Miss Frizzle (from the Magic School Bus), Miss Piggy, Beth Ditto, Divine, Tank Girl, Mae West…I could go on! I feel so inspired by so many people.

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Where do you find inspiration?

Every where! LA Street art, nature, magazines, blogs, you name it.

When shopping, what are some key things you assess before you make a purchase?

Can I live without it? Does it fit me NOW and look good from all angles?  Is it worth the price? How is the quality? ETC.

How do you see the plus size industry booming in the fashion industry today?

We are definitely making our voices heard and leaving an impact that I didn’t see 10 years, or even 5 years ago. It’s really amazing to watch, and I’m blessed to be a tiny part of it.

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Where do you do you see plus size fashion in 30 years from now?

I am an optimist, so I’m hoping next to straight size models in Vogue and on billboards. Not a joke, or something to question, but respected and well deserved at that.

Where are some of favorite places to shop?

Domino Dollhouse, Forever 21+, Nordstrom, ASOS, City Chic, SWAK, Jessica Louise Clothing, & vintage/thrift stores.

How long have you been modeling for?

2 years and counting!

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Where are some places you have modeled for?

I’ve been the face of a TV show & was on an ad that ran nationwide, Domino Dollhouse, SWAK, Jessica Louise Clothing, Evil Pawn Jewelry, Black Cat Bikinis, Empress Lingerie, Vintage Box 1947, Batcakes Couture, Em & Sprout, & various other indie designers.

Do you have any projects that you are anticipating?

So many! I shot with David LaChapelle a few weeks ago, and I’m dying to see the end result. It was a dream of mine! I’m also working on a few projects that I can’t talk about yet, but will be hopefully out in the next few months. 2013 is gonna be a big year… pun intended!

Do you have any tips for women who may want to model?

Think really long and hard about why you want to model, and if you really decide it’s something you want to do, make sure you have thick skin. It’s a very tough industry, and it’s a lot of work. It’s not just getting dolled up and taking photos, it’s so much more than that. Also, make sure you have a good support network around you, that’s crucial in succeeding (in every aspect of life, not just modeling).

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Why did you start modeling?

It had always been a dream of mine, but it was one of those dreams that I never thought would happen…like being an astronaut. The chances that I would actually become a model were so slim, and I had every odd stacked against me, but something in me just kept pushing. I wanted to prove to not only myself, but other women that anything is possible if you dream big enough and work hard.

Lastly, Do you have any last words you want to leave for curvy girls everywhere?

Never underestimate your power. You deserve the very best from others, and how you treat yourself. Never let your size (big or small) stand in the way of your happiness.

Please Check Her Out!!

Website: www.Tessmunster.com

Facebook: facebook.com/tessmunster

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Malida: La Très Belle Femme

In Interviews

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I am happy to have my first Haitian feature in honor of Haitian Flag Day coming up this weekend.

Malida Theodore was born in Port au Prince, Haiti and currently resides in Brockton, Massachusetts.

By day she works with Bank of America as a Mortgage Loan Officer but BY LIFE she is an amazing Singer and Songwriter!

She sang a beautiful duet with J-Beatz, one of my favorite Haitian Artist!

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Check our Interview:

Where do you see yourself in the world of fashion?

I’m more of a spectator, I like to watch and see new styles. I also love to watch people and how they dress. Sometimes it gives me a few ideas as to how I can incorporate styles into my wardrobe.

When did you start taking interest into fashion?

I started taking interest in fashion when I was in college. I used to take the train into Boston and just people watch. I would first look at shoes then their accessories and finally their ensemble.

Who do you look up to in the world of fashion?

Some of my favorite fashion icons would have to be Rihanna, Marilyn Monroe and our first Lady Michelle Obama.

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Where do you find inspiration for your style?

I find inspiration in simple and clean pieces. I’m not into the crazy patterns. For me, I like to apply the quote “Less is More.”

When you go shopping, what decisions do you make before you buy something?

I have to assess the quality of the garment, name brand and I must try everything on before a purchase. I am very big on quality because they usually stand the test of durability!

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Where do you like to shop?

Some of my fave places to shop are BCBG, Lord and Taylor, H&M,  and Macy’s.

What are your thoughts on the full figured industry today?

Being plus size/curvy is coming back. It’s the healthy look and we need more iconic figures to be in that category. There are many curvy women who are looking for trendy things to wear. If the demand continues to grow so will the plus size industry.

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 Where do you see the plus size industry in 20 years from now?

I think it will be still around but definitely more streamline. Hopefully one day it will be fully interpreted and not as it’s own entity!

Lastly, 

Do you have any words for us curvy ladies everywhere? 

I want every curvy girl to know that she should embrace her curves never lose sight of staying healthy by exercising and eating right. This will help keep your curves looking tight and of course keep you healthy. Lastly that beauty must be found inside first, love yourself and be proud of your curvy body.

If you’d like to contact Malida or hear her music:

Facebook Page

Malida’s Music

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Alissa Wilson: The Lady with Killer Curves!

In Interviews

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This lady needs no introduction, but here’s a little bit about this fashionista.

Alissa Wilson is editor and chief of Stylish Curves!  Stylish Curves is a fashion and lifestyle blog that bridges the gap between straight and plus sizes by showing plus size curvy women that they can dress just a fabulous as straight size women do. The blog aims to give the curvy plus size woman a different perspective on fashion by showing them how to shop within and outside the plus size realm to get celebrity looks and to create their own personal style. We live in a world that wants plus size women to be unhappy with their bodies and Stylish Curves believes that every woman should learn to appreciate and love their bodies no matter their size

About
Editor & Chief: Alissa Wilson
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Alissa Wilson is a native of Brooklyn, NY. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Communications with a minor in Journalism from Nyack College.  Alissa always dreamed of a career as a fashion writer and after a rough start breaking into the fashion industry, she decided to take the route of becoming a fashion blogger. As a plus size woman, Alissa knows how hard it is for women over a size 14 to find stylish fashionable clothing. She started Stylish Curves to serve as a shopping resource for plus size women to find out where to get the latest trends and celebrity styles in their size.  Alissa brings eight years of retail experience and seven years of working in finance to the blogging industry.
Here’s my interview with Alissa!

What would you describe your roll in the fashion industry?

I am a fashion blogger that focuses on plus size fashion and shopping. My blog offers the latest trends, designers, and celebrity fashion all geared towards plus size women.

When did you first start to take an interest in fashion?

I started taking interest in fashion in Jr. High School. While growing up,  it was all about name brands. People would  wear a brand just because it was popular. Instead of wearing what was popular I became interested in who designers and certain brands were. I would research them and educate myself on fabrics and style.

Who are some of your favorite fashion icons?

I wouldn’t say that I have Icons but I have fashion era’s I love. I am obsessed with 70’s fashion. Pam Grier and Diane Carroll were some smoking hot ladies in the 70’s. I also was a fan of Bianca Jagger and they way she would look sexy and chic in menswear.

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Where do you find inspiration?

I draw inspiration from magazines and everyday people that I come across. I could read something or see someone and instantly be inspired. Sometimes I take quiet time in my day just to observe my surroundings. That always leaves me inspired!

When shopping, what are some key things you assess before you make a purchase?

It’s important for me to look for quality. Regardless of your budget you should buy things that are the best quality that YOUR money can buy. I also look at how something fits me. As a plus size woman I like my clothes to fit properly and not be too tight or too big. So before I put my money down on that counter the fit has to be good and if something looks great and is too big I determine if it is worth it to take it to the tailor. Last, I try not pay full price for things. In this economy, stores have sale turnarounds within 2 weeks so if a piece has a lot of sizes left then I will wait until it goes on sale to get it.

How do you see the plus size industry booming in the fashion industry today?

I think the plus size industry has made remarkable strides in the fashion industry. I feel like people are finally paying attention to us. I want to give some of that credit to plus models, plus magazines, and most definitely plus size bloggers. There is still a long way to go but with events like Full Figured Fashion Week and magazines like Plus Model Mag pushing the envelope we will begin to see more great things happen in the industry.

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What are your favorite fashion trends?

My favorite trends right now is the black and white trend, mint, and floral prints. I am completely obsessed with everything that is black and white and mint is such a great color for my complexion. I think for the spring and summer that is all I am going to wear.

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Have been featured in other publications?

Yes, it was an honor to be featured in the New York Times style section and to be asked to appear on Good Morning America to talk about plus size fashion and why we are ignored.

Where do you do you see plus size fashion in 30 years from now?

I am hoping to see more brick & mortar stores, countless plus size designers, and to see the main stream fashion industry incorporate us in more NYFW shows. I think plus size fashion will be forever evolving.

Where are some of favorite places to shop?

I am a department store kind of girl. I love Bloomingdale’s and Lord & Taylor to purchase my designer pieces, however, I also love me some ASOS and Simply Be for fun trendy looks at affordable prices. These are the main places I shop.

Lastly,

Do you have any last words you want to leave for curvy girls everywhere?

To all my curvy, plus size women out there I want you to know that you should never ever allow anyone to dictate to you how you should feel about your body. Be honest with yourself about how you feel when you look in the mirror. If you don’t like what you see, change it and if you love what you see embrace it. Always be honest and true to yourself never try to be like anyone else. Last but not least make sure you’re speaking words of encouragement to each other and not tearing each other down.

There you have it! I love her words of encouragement to us ladies!!! PLEASE CHECK HER OUT!

 

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