Curves, Cats, and Creams

Thrifty Curves Rejoice!


With spring finally just around the corner, which one of us can resist the urge to purge? Our closets, that is. Out with the bulky sweaters and in with the carefree tank tops!

Then that annoying, persistent voice in your head keeps repeating the most dreaded five words in the English language, “But I can’t afford it!” All your excitement dies away and you’re left wondering if your sewing skills are good enough to turn that bulky sweater into a carefree tank top.

Put the scissors down, curvy ladies and gents, and come to third annual Big Thrifty event instead. On Saturday, May 3rd, from 12-5 PM, you can live out your spring wardrobe fantasies by spending no more than $10 on each thrifted item at this one-day bargain event. $5 at the door allows you access to hundreds of items, all for women and men sizes XL and up. Bring your own shopping bag and you’ll receive an additional $1 off your total purchase, not to mention brownie points with the earth for being green.

You will also be able to shop at the unique pop-up store from The Thicky Chicky, a normally online-only plus size clothing boutique, and splurge on “glam vintage” outfits, including stunning creations by Bodycon, a hot curvy brand known especially for their illusion-like dresses that cleverly fool the eye.

While you’re building your fabulous new wardrobe, you’ll also be enjoying music by Kerr Griffin, a Boston-area singer/songwriter known for his body-positive lyrics, which will be the perfect compliment to the intro-level yoga, belly dancing (with Nadira Jamal of Belly Dance Somerville), and burlesque classes offered in a private classroom. 

Last but not least, you can worship with The Boston Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a modern order of queer nuns that include people of all gender associations, spiritual affiliations, and proclivities who do good works. The sisters will be there throughout the entire event and will even be on hand for photo-ops with you and your Big Thrifty scores. 

This year’s Big Thrifty event will be located at 420 Pearl Malden, MA, the home of Triangle, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of those with disabilities by providing programs such as their “award-winning School-to-Career program for young adults with disabilities, comprehensive employment training and planning services for individuals with disabilities, an award-winning television show called Ablevision, a medical manufacturing facility, a contract fulfillment center, and a café that are staffed by trainees.” Learn more about Triangle’s mission and how you can get involved at the link below.

Of course, don’t forget to bring those new or gently used clothes hanging neglected and unloved in your closet; they are sure to find a good home with a fellow shopper! Please try to drop them off at Triangle between 12 and 2 so they can be organized and displayed appropriately. 

If you’re feeling charitable, please email and tell them that you want to volunteer for this spectacular event. Not only will your services be greatly appreciated, you’ll also get a sneak peek at the goodies and won’t have to pay the admission fee. Talk about a sweet deal!

The Big Thrifty event is easily accessible by public transportation via Wellington station on the Orange line and a free shuttle van will be making round-trips throughout the day to and from the event. There is also plenty of free parking in the lot next to Triangle and the venue does have elevator access.

A few final notes: please do not wear perfume, cologne, or scented lotion, as many of the participants will be sensitive to them. Photography is only allowed at the photo booth, so please do not take any crowd shots. Finally, this event is cash only, so make sure to stop at the ATM before arriving so you don’t miss out on anything!

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Le Dame Footwear Believes That Curvy Feet Deserve Beautiful Shoes, Too!

For blog Le Dame Shoes

As many of you know, I have a size 12 foot and have always struggled to find shoes. My mother, God bless her, always reminds me that, at 5′ 10″ tall, I would fall over if I had small, dainty, girly feet! Intellectually, I know she has a point; it’s just so hard when I badly want to wear the cute strappy sandals or elegant heels that I see on shows like Sex and the City and my feet will only let me wear ugly men’s shoes (sorry, guys, but come on).

Thankfully, Bernie Fatla, founder of Le Dame Footwear, heard the prayers of my tootsies and jumped into action, creating a brand of fashionable shoes in larger sizes to fit the needs of the cross-dressing, transgender, drag queen, and female consumers. Read on to learn how he was able to fill this massively huge void in the footwear market.


1. Question: What was your previous experience in fashion and how did it lead you to founding Le Dame Footwear?

Answer: I have over 30 years of experience in the footwear business, both as a buyer and as a Merchandise Manager, with a small retail chain of 15 stores that grew and expanded to over 900  stores in the 26 years that I worked for them.  I have traveled to China, India, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, and Indonesia, working with various shoe factories as well as the principle players at many brand name shoe companies such as Skechers, Florsheim, Stacy Adams, Johnston & Murphy, Nettleton, Sole 9, Mojo Moxy, and Kenneth Cole,  just to name a few.  I also traveled across the US and around the world, shopping high-end stores in Florence, London, Hong Kong, southern California, etc, looking at what is in style; what is happening on the street, if you will.


2. Question: Other than an extended size range, what do you feel is Le Dame Footwear’s biggest point of difference?

Answer: We bring quality as well as fashion to the large size range; we have never tried to save a few cents in making our shoes. We always strive to use American leathers and YKK, the best zippers we can buy. Also, since we’ve started working with a factory here in the US, we are able to offer custom, bespoke, if you will, colors and fabrications. Someone who wears a size 13 men’s or 15 women’s shoe has never had the ability to think about designing, much less actually be able to design their own specific shoes. We try our best to make sure all of our customers find what they need. We pride ourselves on excellent customer service and we want to make sure that they love their Le Dame shoes.


3. Question: What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting Le Dame Footwear and how did you overcome it?

Answer: Finding a factory in China that understood what we were trying to do. I was not looking to just make the shoes bigger; I also wanted them to fit a masculine foot. After 4 tries, we finally found a factory that understood what we wanted to do. Persistence, I guess, was what allowed us to finally get over that hurdle, along with my good friend, Ed Tognoni, who helped me a a great deal.


4. Question: Who was your biggest supporter?

Answer:  I would have to say my wife, Sharon, and son, Zach.  They encouraged me and have always been there for support. I could not have done it without them.


5. Who was Le Dame Footwear’s biggest competition for the “O” Award for “Best Outstanding Apparel or Accessory Brand” and why do you think you won?

Answer: There were 10 companies nominated and I think the biggest ones were Shirley of Hollywood, which has been around for 40+ years, Pleasure Shoes, and Coquette lingerie company as well. I think we won because we were doing something very different; we were going after a niche market that was not being directly addressed and the voters were looking for something unique. I think that’s also the reason why we are still successful today!


6. Question: What is your favorite piece in the current collection and why? 

Answer: My most favorite item is the LILY  from our “Made in California” collection, a very sexy strappy sandal with a 4″ heel that is an absolutely beautiful shoe. We have had a number of orders for it in a wide variety of colors and materials.  For our customers who love this type of heel, we are hoping to also offer it in a boot very soon.

7. Question: Why do you think so many designers do not want to create larger size shoes?

Answer: That is an interesting question. I think part of it, luckily for me, is that they just do not think there is a market for them. But I think it’s more that retailers do not want to address the issue; as a result, manufacturers don’t want to invest in the development to address the customer who wears a size 12 and is just as fashionable as the one who wears a size 8. Our feeling at Le Dame Footwear is that every foot deserves a beautiful shoe. That is also how I feel in my soul.


8. Question: Do you think Le Dame would be successful on the East coast? Why or why not? 

Answer: Yes, I have no reason to think we won’t be, since we ship our shoes world wide. There is no area of this country that does not need the type of footwear that we at Le Dame Footwear provide.

9. Question: What would you say to the critics who claim that encouraging women to accept their bodies will add to the obesity epidemic?

Answer: Although I am not smart enough to know all of the issues related to obesity, I do know that being larger is not necessarily associated with being obese. I have customers who wear a size 14, 15, or 16 and are not obese, but simply larger women that are in very good shape and still want pretty, feminine, sexy, comfortable shoes. This also applies to the cross dressing market; again, at Le Dame Footwear, we believe that every foot deserves a beautiful shoe.


10. What are your hopes for Le Dame and yourself over the next 5 years?

Answer: Oh my, that is easy! I want the whole world to know my name.  Or at least Le Dame Footwear’s name! But really I want people to know that we are committed to bringing fashionable footwear to the marketplace for anyone who wants or needs a fashionable shoe in a larger size. If we are still here 5 years from now, Emma, I’ve/we’ve done our job. That will be the test.





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Meet Emme, The Very First Curvy Supermodel – Ever!

For blog Emme

I was so incredibly blessed to interview the very first curvy model, Emme Aronson! She is truly an inspiration to every woman out there, curvy or not, on what your life can be is you want it badly enough. Her favorite quote says it all: “Be bold, for mighty forces will sustain you” – Goethe.


1. Question: Since you were originally drawn toward sports and television, why did you choose to become a plus size model and what were some of the challenges you faced to achieve your goal?

Answer: I really wanted to be the next Johnny Carson, so I became a news affiliate. After awhile, I realized how much certain stories affected and stayed with me, and I knew it was too much so I crossed over from journalism to advocacy in the mid-90s. As an advocate for women and girls, I was sent around the world and realized that no matter where I went, women had almost the exact same problems with body image and acceptance.

It took a lot of time before I realized that this issue is a women’s issue, not a size issue, since all women have issues with their bodies, no matter what size they are, and the one common thread running through all of our lives was that we look outside ourselves for acceptance.


2. Question: I was appalled when I learned how your stepfather, Bill, drew lines on your body where he thought you needed to lose weight. Did he eventually accept you the way you are?

Answer: My mother was beautiful and tall, just bigger-boned than her smaller friends. She married Bill, who was obese and used to purge and diet. When he drew those lines, he said he was doing it out of love because he didn’t want me to go through what he did being overweight. Even later, when I was an adult, he used to ask me all the time how much I weighed, even after I asked him to stop doing that. Eventually, I realized that he was never going to change and I didn’t want such a negative influence in my life, so I wrote him a letter severing ties with him for good.


3. Question: Having been raised in both Saudi Arabia and in America, what did you find were some of the biggest differences those 2 cultures had toward women’s bodies? Why do you think they were so different?

Answer: I didn’t get much of a chance to interact with the local women in Saudi Arabia, since they usually had burkas (full body veils) on and were not very approachable. I did find it a little strange that, as a young, single woman, I had more rights than older, married women.

Later, I wanted to make sure that whatever voice they do have is heard and started talking about plus size women on TV which had really never been done at that time. I was stunned to receive a flood of amazing feedback from like-minded women that has continued to this day.


4. Question: What were some of the most powerful responses, either positive or negative, that you received to your book, True Beauty—Positive Attitudes & Practical Tips from the World’s Leading Plus Size Model?

Answer: When the book first came out in 1996, many avid readers had never heard the term “plus size” or knew that plus size models even existed within the uber-thin modeling industry. Women who were not yet connected to healing their self-hatred either rejected the book or, oppositely, embraced it and shared it with their friends. Readers and reviewers were polarized, which really tells of the time it was published. I also felt very vulnerable writing about such personal events in my young life, especially as far as my body image was concerned, although I knew how important it was to do so because only a very, very few people were speaking about such things back then.


5. Question: I loved your article in Huffington Post about former Mayor Bloomberg’s “I AM A GIRL: I’m beautiful the way I am,” campaign. What would you say to critics who claim that encouraging women to accept their bodies will add to the obesity epidemic?

Answer: With so many women not liking the body they were given, a happy, balanced life is highly unattainable – which is a total waste of a good life while you have one on this earth. To change, we need to be less critical of ourselves, which will make us less critical of others. This way, fewer people will point fingers at others, they in turn will feel more secure in their own image, people will take better care of their mental, physical, and spiritual health, and those who live on the extreme (either extremely thin or quite large) will be left to deal with their own issues in their own time. There is no question that all the of the girls in the “I AM A GIRL” campaign were adorable and cute in their own beautiful way. No one can take that away from them and in no way does it promote or encourage obesity. In fact, it encourages women and girls to accept themselves, which leads us to feel better and do more to that end. Nothing wrong with that! Through neglect and not providing empowerment, all things wither away and die.


6. Why do you think so many designers do not want to create plus size clothes? Do you think things like Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign will change their minds?

Answer: I think that Mayor Bloomberg’s “I AM A GIRL” campaign, championed by Mayor Bloomberg’s former deputy press secretary Samantha Levine, definitely opened eyes, having been so well received by people and the media. I’m not sure, however, that it created the desire within the fashion industry to create cute clothes for younger women above a size 12. Change really takes place when we educate young designers from the beginning to design clothes for all women on small and large dress forms. This way, upon graduation, all designers expect to design for all without limitations. I am spearheading such an initiative this fall at Syracuse University VPA’s School of Fashion Design. Check out EmmeNation and join the newsletter to stay in our loop.

I also created EmmeNation’s Adventure Series: EmmeCruise, May 10-17, 2014 to Bermuda,  is designed to swoop us up out of our typical day-to-day life to experience with 7 nights of peace, rest, movement, and fun. To give us the exclusive opportunity to meet an extraordinary collection of expansive thinkers, revolutionary shape shifters, try new body+mind+soul exercises, meet like-minded new friends, be waited on, be served, and to re-enter our lives refreshed, renewed, and infused with a new lease on life. 

Call it what you want: girlfriend get-away, retreat, or “time for just me”, join us to create memories you’ll want to repeat for years to come. 


7. Question: Who is your personal favorite designer and why?

Answer: I love Donna Karan, her sense of grace and flow in everything she creates for a woman’s body. You can find all aspects of your personality in Donna’s clothes; the sexy vixen, the corporate CEO, the modern art dealer, and the woman with flair, adventure, and peace. All of Donna’s pieces from Donna Karan and Urban Zen are like wearable art. Her sensibility and style for the modern woman is what attracts me to her collections decade after decade.


8. I absolutely agree with what you said in your “commencement speech” about living in the present moment. Why do you think it often takes a life-changing event like cancer to make people realize how important that is?

Answer: Sometimes we need a jolt to shake ourselves out of complacency. The only thing that’s consistent is change.


9. If your 12-year-old daughter, Toby, chose to go into modeling or acting, what advice would you give her?

Answer: I’d advise her to choose projects wisely and know what her comfort boundaries are; she needs to know what the right choices are for her, not for anyone else. If she decided to model, I would want her to go with an agency that represents all sizes, not just straight or plus.


10. What are your hopes for yourself, your daughter, and the plus size fashion industry over the next 5 years?

Answer: My hope for my daughter is that she’s happy in the life she has created for herself and through her friendships, that she gets through puberty pretty much unscathed by the harshness of adolescence in 2014, which is much different than when I grew up in 1974!

The hope I have for myself is to continue to forge forward and be a light and source of inspiration to try, do, and believe that all things are possible with a little faith and elbow grease; to NEVER GIVE UP.

For the 12+fashion industry, my hope is to continue to see a blurring of the line that tries to separate us, but be seen to represent a fresh vein of opportunity as an extension of  the fashion industry’s reach. The benefits are tenfold…namely by empowering more young women and their mothers in seeing beautifully diversified images of beauty consistently reflected back to them creates higher self acceptance. Which we all can use, right?







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Do You Like Leather or Lace? No Matter; Club Plush Tampa Has Both!

For blog Chica Plush


Recently, I was fortunate enough to interview Miss Janelle Brito, AKA Chica Plush, the marketing director of Club Plush Tampa, who gave me an inside look at this premier curvy club in Tampa, Florida. Read on to hear more about how Tampa’s curves like to party!


1. What is Club Plush’s biggest point of difference? 

At Club Plush, it’s a nightclub of size-acceptance. Where plus size/full figured people can go out and be completely comfortable because there is no judgment or ridicule because of their size. They are among their peers; therefore, they have an opportunity to meet people who like them as they are and possibly meet someone of interest who appreciate their curves.


2. Why did you choose to become the marketing director of Club Plush?

Originally, the owner, Chris Plush, was running Club Plush in Tampa and, when he had to move to California, he handed the club over to my sister, Latin Breeze. Since I have marketing experience, I automatically became involved in co-running Club Plush. Being the marketing director for Club Plush has opened up many doors to opportunities in the plus-size community. Although marketing for Club Plush is something I do part-time, it is definitely the job I enjoy most!


3. What do you do during a typical day at Club Plush and what do you like best and least about your position?

On the day of a BBW (big, beautiful women) & BHM (big, handsome men) party, my sister and I run errands to get the venue ready for our event. By the time we open at 9 pm, the venue is must be cleaned, decorated, the DJ must be done testing the sound system, and the fliers for the next party must be displayed throughout the bar and lounging areas.

The best part of my position is greeting everyone that comes to Club Plush. Whether they’re a new or regular patron, I do my best to greet them all and spend time talking with them.

Another part I like is taking pictures with individuals and of the crowd. The following Monday, I post the pics from Saturday’s party; everyone looks forward to seeing them and making their comments.

The thing I like least about my position are the many hours spent listing each event on all the websites to market the party. Once they’re all established, then it’s smooth sailing!


4. What are some of the reactions you’ve gotten from being the cover model of the year for LargeInCharge Magazine?

It was amazing to see all the support and positive feedback I got from everyone that voted. It made me feel very proud and honored that so many people looked up to me. They told me how I inspired them and helped in building their self-esteem and that being plus size or full figured is nothing to be ashamed of. I had no clue I had such an impact on the plus size community and it honestly brought me to tears.


5. How did the “Cupid and Curves” event on February 15th go and what are some of your events coming up?

The “Cupid & Curves Red Dress Party” was a hit! It was great to see so many people dressed in red. Taking pics of everyone, especially the group shots, was fun. It looks so festive when they dress up in themed costumes. The next event coming up is our Leather & Lace party this Saturday, April 12th. My Club Plush sister, Nina WickedRican, had a Leather & Lace themed Club Plush party when she was visiting Brooklyn, New York, last year, so that’s what inspired us to have one in Tampa, FL. Club Plush Tampa hopes for another good turnout, as in the past events, especially with so many lovely and classy BBWs wearing leather or lace! This is going to be one sexy party!!


Author’s note: See link below for details on this Saturday’s Leather & Lace party!


6. Do you think Club Plush would be successful in Boston? Why or why not?

Definitely! The success has already been proven by Bill Albrecht, who runs Club Ample in the Boston area. From what I was told, he always has a packed BBW club! If Club Plush wanted to host an event in Boston, it would be a collaboration with Bill and would have a fantastic impact on the plus size community.

Club Plush not only has parties in Tampa, FL but in San Jose and Sacramento, CA. Two of our Club Plush team members hosted a party in Brooklyn, NY, and another one Allentown, PA. Wherever a Club Plush team member travels, we try to host an event in that city. I try to do the same thing when I visit Houston, TX, in September of each year.


7. What would you say to the critics who claim that encouraging people, especially women, to accept their bodies will increase the obesity epidemic?

The claim that encouraging plus size people to accept their bodies will increase obesity is absurd. Everyone’s situation is circumstantial; their weight gain could be from heredity, medication side affects, giving birth, depression, etc. There are so many reasons why people are overweight and the plus size community doesn’t encourage people to gain weight; rather, we encourage them to love the skin they’re in and to not be ashamed of it. As a group, we try to encourage each other to be healthy and more social by hosting events other than meeting up at a nightclub, such as fashion shows, pageants, picnics, Zumba classes, etc.

Every “body” is different. We come in all shapes and sizes. There are many plus size women and men that are healthy. They exercise and make good choices in their eating habits, yet they are not a size 2. Some people actually prefer to be thick, voluptuous, and curvaceous. Also, being thin doesn’t necessarily mean a person is healthy either! In the plus size community, we do encourage weight loss especially if it’s to improve on their health. There are many local support groups that get together every so often to exercise and join a diet regime. Melissa Elizabeth is a great example; she’s a health coach that promotes HerbaLife and has local meet-ups in the Tampa Bay area where people get together to exercise for an hour or so.


8. What are your hopes for yourself, Club Plush, and the plus size industry over the next 5 years?

In the next five years, I hope to see the plus size industry become more mainstream and accepted in society. As for myself and my Club Plush team, we hope to grow Club Plush and become more involved in the plus size community aside from running a nightclub.




Leather & Lace party info:

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The Corset; Medieval Torture Device or the Curvy Girl’s BFF?


We all remember that scene during Meet Me in St. Louis in which Rose was yanking at the strings of Esther’s corset while poor Esther was holding onto the bedpost trying not to breathe, all in an effort to look beautiful when John picked her up for the Christmas dance. I especially remember asking myself why in God’s name anyone would voluntarily wear a torture device like that!

Turns out, a corset is truly the curvy girl’s best friend, rearranging the curves of even the most challenging body types and shifting them around to create a much more flattering silhouette. Thankfully, La Bella Moda, a family apparel boutique in Clinton, MA, has brought corsets out of our grandmothers’ attics and into the 21st century by creating a collection made from rich yet breathable fabrics such as cotton, rayon, and polyester blends that are available in 21 bold, beautiful colors in sizes XXS to 6X.

These affordable shape enhancers are only $28 each and are custom made for your unique curves. Simply message Ann at La Bella Moda’s Facebook page (see link below) with your measurements, as well as your design, color, and material preferences.

Whether you’re strutting down the red carpet in a Prada evening gown or simply running to the corner store in jeans and a T-shirt, La Bella Moda’s corsets will make sure your fabulous curves are comfortably on display. Esther would be jealous!


Question of the day: Do you feel that corsets catapult women back to the prim and proper 1900s or do you embrace them as a modern way to feel sexy in your curves? Why?


La Bella Moda

212 High St

Clinton, MA 01510

Phone: (978) 733-4374






I'd like to buy a vowel.


Living Life Through Music


A stylist, foodie, & writer's blog.