It is that time of year where our dreams are consumed with white Christmas’, chestnuts roasting on an open fire with visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads. Unfortunately for some, a white Christmas turns blue, the chestnuts are burning rather than roasting and visions of long lines and short money dance in our heads.
After my relocation from Ohio to Florida a few years ago, I battled with a bad case of home sickness. I pretty much thought I was immune because I’ve always been free spirited and without ties to any one place. It turns out, I was more tethered to those tradition (and people I shared those traditions with) than I cared to admit or even realized. One of the things that helped me through this time of transition was to create new traditions. This period of my life is a rebirth of sorts, so it only made sense that new customs and traditions would be a part of said rebirth as well. So, with that said, I started baking because, to me, that’s what any red-blooded American woman does at this time of year. I then went to the local dollar store and loaded up on small cardboard gift boxes and filled them with my baked goodies. I drive a little red car, somewhat sleigh-like and I am rotund much like St. Nick, so it was just natural I’d load up my treats and make pit stops to the homeless with my little boxes of homemade holiday goodies. It might seem weird to you that someone would want to give the homeless cookies, but to me it just seemed like a natural way to spread some holiday cheer and keep me from wallowing in my sadness. They smiled, I smiled so all in all I’d say this is a successful new tradition!
The first holiday without a loved one or the first one you spend newly single can be especially rough. Memories come flooding back and leave us feeling the void of that special person. Every Hallmark movie has a happy ending and we tearfully sit on the couch, eating the Christmas cookies we didn’t deliver to the homeless all whilst drinking our selves into a state of deeper sadness. Two things here, 1) alcohol is a depressant. If you know you tend to struggle during this time of year, it might be wise to cut back on the bottle popping. No sense in exacerbating the situation, right?! 2) Allow yourself to be sad. Acknowledge the hurt, the loneliness, the sadness and then release it. There is absolutely someone out there who has it worse than you, but that doesn’t mean that THIS isn’t the worst to YOU. So, go ahead and process your feelings. There is no unwritten rule that says you aren’t allowed to miss someone who was a special part of your story.
I am the mother to 4 sons. I was a single mother to those same 4 sons for most of their lives. It goes without saying, my budget was tight. I struggled month to month to meet the demands of housing and utilities. Finding the “extra” money needed for Christmas was nothing less than a miracle. I had to be creative and admittedly, more often than not, found myself robbing Peter to pay Paul to make it through the yuletide season. One of my most memorable and creative Christmas memories to date is the year the boys and I collected pinecones to decorate the tree. We had lost most of our holiday decorations in a storage unit that didn’t get paid on time. Our Christmas tree was amongst the things auctioned off or disposed of. I didn’t have enough money to buy a real tree, but luckily I found a used tree at our local thrift store for next to nothing. It wasn’t anything much to look at it, but with a little TLC and some creativity (and lots of glitter and gold spray paint) the boys and I transformed that overly loved, artificial Christmas tree into something quite beautiful that we were ALL very proud of! The pinecones we gathered were dusted off and cleaned up. I then, along with the help of 4 very eager little boys, sprayed them in a can of gold spray paint. We drizzled gold glitter over the freshly painted cones and once they dried, attached a ribbon to the end. We bought some clear lights, a spool of wire ribbon and hung the pinecones on the tree. It was STUNNING! Things improved significantly for us in the years to come, but we had so much fun decorating our tree that Christmas, that we reused those same pinecones, ribbon and lights because the memory meant that much to us. And this was all BEFORE Pinterest folks! Today, I can hop on that site and give you a billion ideas to make Christmas a little easier on the budget with some pretty incredible DIY gifts.
As always, these are my experiences and I share them in the hope that it will help someone out there who reads my babbling blog. If you are one of the thousands of people who suffer from holiday or seasonal depression, my heart goes out to you. You are not alone, and your feelings are valid. If you need to talk to someone, my inbox is open to you. I am not a mental health professional, so if you feel like you need professional help or think that you might harm yourself PLEASE call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). This is a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL call. I hope you find happiness and peace this holiday season that lasts a lifetime! Godspeed.
It is officially “cuffing season” and ya girl Miz Cook wants to weigh in on the notion and give some advice to those who might be yearning for a partner. I am by NO MEANS an expert on relationships. But I do consider myself an expert observer of human behavior, so with that being said, I think I might have some useful information for you as we enter this time of year where being single is really for the birds.
For a definition of this phenomenon, I went straight to Urban Dictionary because, well, I don’t think this is a Webster’s kind of thing. UD gave several “definitions”, but the gist is, when it gets cold outside and as the holidays approach, being single is less alluring. This time of year can be lonely, so it is common for single folks to link up and become involved in a relationship. But before you jump the gun OR the broom, read on and mull over my thoughts.
It is my honest opinion and belief that before you can extend and share love with anyone else, you must fully love YOURSELF. Too often we look for the missing pieces of ourselves in another person. Several years ago, I went through a pretty messy and painful break up. I sought counseling to help me navigate my way through some of my emotions. One of the things I learned, in a very tearful session, that I carry with me to this day is this; when you are in a relationship, in order for it to be successful, you must see yourself and your partner as a full circle. Each of you are (or should be) complete on your own- autonomous. When you join your circles together, you create a third circle, also complete, that represents your relationship. But if you remove that third circle created by the joining of the original two, those two circles are still whole. Did you follow me, because in my brain, I explained that spot on…reality doesn’t always align with my brain though, so my fingers are truly crossed on this one because I REALLY want you to understand what I am trying to say here...it is the premise of this entire article. Self-love is imperative (no, not THAT kind of self-love-freaks) before you can try to love anyone else romantically. Sometimes, despite the way it makes us feel, what we need more than a relationship is to be completely and fully single and grow comfortable with ourselves. Date yourself-take yourself to dinner or the movies or shopping or to the beach to watch a sunrise or sunset. Get to know YOU, what do you like to do? Who are you? When you are comfortable with and enjoy your own company, you carry yourself with a confidence that attracts people to you.
Now, let’s talk about when cuffing season ends. Usually right around Spring break, you will see all kinds of Instagram photos captioned #teamsolo or Facebook posts with a single pair of feet in the sand. Why is that? Because nothing lasts forever…all good things come to an end. And when they do, I implore you to refrain from airing your dirty laundry on the same venues you posted your bliss. Because why? Because one day soon, it will again be cuffing season and you will again be sending out pheromones attempting to attract a mate. Pheromones are strong, but words, they are even stronger. So don’t let yours come back to bite you in the badonk. Hurting after a breakup is natural. It is as much a part of the cycle as courting itself. But posting about how your ex did you wrong, or any subliminal, bitter posts of the same genre for that matter, won’t fare well with someone who sees you as a potential love interest. At least not someone who is WHOLE.
Pardon the cheesy analogy here, but this is where this whole conversation comes full-wait for it…CIRCLE 😉 A whole person will seek another whole person. And whole people are less likely to be messy, or malicious, or downright ugly when it comes to matters of the heart. So, as you swim through the pond looking for your fish, keep these thoughts and pointers in mind. Hopefully, they resonate with you and you find them useful. I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback from this post, so do me a solid and chat it up below! Thanks for reading!
Admit, you sang that when you read it, didn’t you?! But it’s true, we women do love a man who can dress. Pressed pants, a smooth button down with a collar, some fly shoes, a nice watch and the right cologne will have a girl all up in her feelings! But it seems as if fashion for men of size is not as “readily” available as it is for women of size. So, with that said, let me roll out my top 5 sites to shop for the BHM in my life!
This site provides not only an extensive online inventory but has retail locations throughout the country. Here you will find brands such as Polo, Robert Graham, Levi’s and Nautica, just to name a few. DXL is moderately priced and offers regular sales and the “Free Shipping to the Store” feature.
Everyone knows Macy’s! But what you might not know is, they have a hella selection for Big & Tall men! Brands such as Polo and Robert Graham are staples on this site. In addition, you can shop their fragrance section for amazing deals on scents from Coach, Chanel, Versace and Dior, in addition to several others. They are affiliated with Finish Line as well, so their shoe selection isn’t limited to “dress” shoes. You can catch sales on everything from Nike, Rebook and New Balance. And what’s a nice pair of kicks without a dope time piece to bring the look together? Yep! You can find that here too! I personally love shopping at Macy’s! Especially in the fragrance section! Their associates are super helpful and work hard to develop a personal rapport with you. I have a perfume girl, but she helps me with purchases for my guy too and lets me know about sales in other departments! #winning
3. Ralph Lauren Polo
While this brand is available through multiple outlets, what a lot of people fail to realize, is sometimes, you can save mad cash by shopping directly on the site. Again, in addition to their clothing line, their men’s fragrance and accessories are top notch. Definitely wait to buy when there is a sale, otherwise you are paying those Polo prices. But don’t despair, you won’t have to wait long, sales are frequent!
4. Robert Graham
I have mentioned this brand previously, and there is a definite reason for that. These shirts are PHENOMENAL! What I love the most is the surprise contrasting pattern on the cuffs and collar! #bangin Bright colors, fun patterns and unless you shop on a sale, BIG prices. But as with Polo, the sales are frequent, and they offer deep discounts. I had a personal experience with this particular store a few months ago. I had ordered something special for my guy and it didn’t get here in time for the occasion I wanted to commemorate. I called the customer service line and explained my situation. They were INCREDIBLE! And for my trouble, sent me an electronic gift card for $100 off my next purchase! So yeah, these brands are pricey, but the customer service that comes with that price tag is well worth it!
If you are looking for a watch that is a conversation starter, this is the brand you want to shop. These watches just look like they belong on the wrist of a man of size. The trademark feature of these particular watches are their size. It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The price can be a bit limiting as well. However, there is a huge variety of styles that make this a brand just about anyone can find something they like.
This list is by no means complete, but rather an overview of my favorites for men. I’d love to hear from you! Where do you shop for the big and tall man in your life? Comment below!
I am 45 years old. Soon, I will be 46. I have been overweight for the past 20-25 years. I face the normal struggles other fat people do. Booth seating in restaurants is not my friend as the table digs into my fluffy midsection. Seating on public transportation is challenging due to the fact my bottom requires more than the 16”-17” allotted for each passenger. Now, with that said, sometimes, actually quite often, I forget I am fat! I know right now you are asking yourself, “how on earth does she do that, given what she just said?” The answer is, “because this has been my existence for the past 20-25 years.” I avoid booths, public transportation, and just about any and everything that will force me to deal with my generous portions.
Apart from fitting comfortably into a chair with arms, my size has never been something I considered debilitating. I’ve always “carried myself well” and dressed myself in a flattering manner. I’ve participated in sporting events…things like co-ed softball, 5k walks/runs, I even joined a dance class and go to the gym a few days a week. I go to amusement parks, concerts, public swimming pools, all the while maintaining a social circle comprised of predominantly, average sized people. I have never felt compelled to limit myself to fat friendly activities or past times. However, lately, something has changed. Absolutely EVERYONE around me has become image (specifically body) conscious. My social media timelines are inundated with low-carbies (those on the low carb diet craze), middle aged gym rats, plastic surgery fiends and filtered selfies of my friends, family and colleagues. Don’t get me wrong, I can fully understand and appreciate the quest for better health and an increased sense of vanity as we venture further down the timeline toward our “golden years”. My problem is, I didn’t know we were there already or that being fat and forty-something meant I was unhealthy or worse yet…unattractive!
For several weeks now, on the heels of this realization, a realization I liken to being “molly whopped” with a sock full of quarters, I have become embarrassingly insecure. I take less selfies because I see more gray hair and notice my crow’s feet and double chin more so now than ever before. I judgmentally examine myself naked and in doing so, have contemplated injecting myself with hormones touted to boost weight loss (when paired with a calorie restricted diet, so restricted in fact, I got hungry just THINKING about it). Why did this happen you ask? I will tell you exactly why! Because me, the confident, relatively well adjusted, natural born leader that I am, allowed myself to fall victim to the majority’s view on what is considered aesthetically pleasing. Thankfully, my survivor instinct is stronger than my victim mentality and I snapped out of the reality of the majority and back into my own reality. A reality in which no synthetic or grueling alterations are necessary to be beautiful and healthy!
Nothing makes me happier than to see my sisters succeed! Whether we’re long time friends or casual acquaintances, when I see a woman shine, I’m drawn to her light! It empowers me! It inspires me! It encourages me! I was ecstatic to come across a podcast by Dear Big Girls today...the message relayed is one I am an advocate of as well and that’s self love. Please do yourself a favor and find this incredible woman and listen to her message! I see you girl and I’m cheering for you!!!
“Ok.... overlook the nervousness.... but my podcast introductory episode is done and I'm freaking out!!! 😳
I'm going through SOOOO many emotions....fear, pride, excitement, hope, sadness, pure joy... just everything all balled up into one. 🙈
I wasn't even going to share it until it was listed everywhere, but screw it....I want to know what y'all think.
Be nice..... but tell me the truth. 😳
I'm so ready for this to get listed. It's only on Spotify so far and it may take up to a couple of weeks to get it everywhere.
Update: it's on Google Play, Stitcher, YouTube and Spotify.... now just waiting on Apple.
Here it is.... be nice.”
What an INCREDIBLE weekend we had in Ft Lauderdale! Over 180 men and women of the PSC (Plus Size Community) gathered for a weekend of body positivity and an environment of acceptance. The event kicked off with not one, but TWO party buses to South Beach Miami! Bashers enjoyed the night life on South Beach and the festive atmosphere the party bus provided. But the fun didn't stop there! Curvy Ventures provided an action packed itinerary for attendees. Everything from roaming room parties, a flip cup tournament, a vendor fair, mimosa bar, pool parties and a grand finale red carpet event made the list. If you are looking for a venue where you can be unapologetically YOU, this my friend, is it! This is more than another BBW group...this is a BUSINESS who's sole mission is to provide entertainment and travel opportunities for those who are not always prioritized in society. The staff of Curvy Ventures puts an absorbent amount of time into securing venues that are not only welcoming but also comfortable for their patrons. So what are you waiting for? Get on board with Curvy Ventures-you never know where we are headed next!!!!! #keepontruckin #curvyventures #bodypositivity
I have a personal policy, try something new once a month. The "what" I try new is varying...it could be a new genre of music, a new restaurant or food, a new look with my hair, make up or fashion...the importance in the "what" but more in the growing that happens when you step outside of your comfort zone. Well, this month, I did JUST that!!!!! Check out the video below to hear a little about my experience with the V-Steam!!!! 💋
Miz Cook speaks on true BBW & BHM admirers and common self esteem issues in the Plus Size community. Check it out in her Vlog below.