Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dive In: Plus Size Swimwear for that Cruise

Clothing retailers, especially those with limited floorspace, only stock the best selling sizes. This might be easily remedied in the men's pant department by hemming trouser legs an inch or two or taking something in. Sometimes ordering from the catalog suffices, as there are usually no fitting surprises. Women's bathing suits are an entirely different matter. Occasionally, a regular department store will carry the odd size 16 or 18, but the trendy surf shops seem to think size 10 is an XL.

The internet typically is a better source for plus size swimwear, even if it takes a bit of trial and error. Surprisingly, plus size websites start at a size 12 or 14, which is far from plus size, especially since the scale for bathing suits typically start at a size 8, and go up to a size 22 and even a size 40 in some styles. The bathing suit size doesn't always correspond to clothing sizes, but because of materials, such as lycra and spandex, they tend to be more forgiving.

"Plus size model" has been quite the buzz word, or buzz phrase. Surprisingly, the "plus size" ladies are a mere size 8-10 for high runway and perhaps a 12-14 for catalog modeling, which is merely a size medium, it seems. There are seldom women modeling plus sized clothing that are truly a size 30, or even a 18 outside of very specialized catalogs. However, the suits shown are proportioned to look flattering on larger sizes and are not upcharged for extra fabric. Certain panels may not be as revealing, and alternatives, such as swim dresses and short and top sets are also available for ease of fit.

Looks are deceiving, anyhow, when it comes to the example models. When a model is 6', if she is a size 12 to 14, even perhaps a 16, so long as she is not photographed with her size 0-2 sisters, she appears in proportion and looks to be a healthy weight. You would never guess.

Before you go on that cruise this winter, don't despair. Tasteful and fashionable options abound.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A closet is worthless if you can't see what's inside

Guest post written by Pete Allan

We don't have a very big house, but we really try to make the best of it. Sometimes we pack things into the wrong places just to get stuff out of the way and I think that we did that all this summer with our coat closet. Well now that it's time to use our coat closet on a daily basis, we're having a little bit of trouble because it's just so full. I've had enough of getting toppled by an avalanche every time I pull out my coat before work every morning.

But I knew that we needed some extra things to help organize the closet. While I was online looking up that stuff, I ran across the website and after that I decided to use them to redo our kitchen. This was something that we decided to give ourselves for Christmas and I was really grateful that I found that.

I think that we're going to be able to finally use our closet to the full extent. Now we just have to go through thte trouble of sorting all the stuff and putting each thing in its own place.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Plus Sized Gowns: Shop for an Enchanted Evening

I am sure the sock in the arm is coming for even mentioning New Year's Eve. It could match the other big bruise that is turning all sorts of pretty colors there now. I accidentally played part of a Christmas song the day before Halloween and that was my payment. This mention, however, is warranted.

Decadent New Year's Eve balls sometimes take weeks to find just the right thing to wear. For men, it is not a source of embarrassment if two or more gents show up in the same tux. For women, all involved must have a sense of humor, or accessorize unconventionally to avoid a run-in with a twin.

If you require plus size evening dresses, the situation is sometimes more dire if you live in an off-the-beaten path area from not many shops to pick from that carry anything larger than a 12 or 14. Roaman's carries a full line of evening dresses that start at a size 12, which is their "small" or "extra small" and go all the way up to a 4x (size 34-36). They do carry every day clothing up to size 5x, just no current evening gowns. In other words, there are no special up charges for larger sizes on the site. The price listed is what is charged.

So, do I get a sock in the arm, or a pat on the back for reminding you that its time to start looking?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Don't Hire a Flintstone (Or a Rubble) to do a Jetson's Job

(At left: If their website looks like a dinosaur, how is an internet advertising company going to make yours appealing?)

I constantly receive pitches from folks wanting to redesign my main website, or wanting to up my social media presence. Some of it is pure spam. They really have no clue that I already Twitter, nor do they know the extent of my web presence before they pitch me. Even of the ones that seem to have done a little bit of research, there is one huge turn off for me when it comes to an advertising agency, and that is a deplorable website. It may have won the Geocities "Great Site" award in 1995, but it still looks it. Worse yet is a site that doesn't have the company address and looks like it forgot to erased the canned text that came with the template.

While I think there are sometimes matters of personal taste that may vary, don't waste my time asking me to consider your services if your website doesn't work. How could you possibly do justice to mine if you don't care about yours? I won't believe that you are saving all your energy to do a better job on mine than yours. After all, yours is your "baby," and I am a stranger. You know the adage, if an advertising agency doesn't love itself, it can't love others. Or something like that.

I was looking at That Advertising Agency's site. Which one? That one. What one? That Advertising Agency. Which One? That One. Okay...enough of that. At any rate, the advertising agency CALLED "That Advertising Agency" actually has one that made me want to click around. I just had to know who those little people in the boxes were. Intrigued? Well, then check it out for yourself. (

Who's on first, again? What?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Holiday Spectacles Befitting Santa's Secret Army

A few years back, I had two pairs of glasses. One of them was an old prescription only worn on the most bleary eyed of days when life couldn't be toughed out naked-eyed, and the others weren't real. They were real eyeglasses, but the lenses had no correction and they were strictly for fashion. The idea shocked my inner fifth grader who abhorred glasses and braces. eyeglasses. I don't wear them incredibly much now, since the trends swung away from "voluntarily glasses," though who am I to follow the trend? I still notice them, but haven't thought too terribly much about it until I started Christmas shopping.

The thrift stores, drug stores and malls are awash in holiday socks and ties already but I never thought of holiday spectacles. Is that a turkey and snowpeople I spy?

Apparently, Zenni Optical who is known for making prescription eyeglasses on the cheap has a holiday line. While most frames start around $8.99, some of these fancy dancy ones start at $12.99, which is about the same price point as your candy cane knee highs and bargain bin novelty ties. Of course, they are more for you if you are in the festive mood, rather than for a gift unless you have the person's prescription.

I marveled how one of Santa's helper elves at the mall had the same glasses as my grandmother. Not that she is not whimsical, but maybe something like this would be more befitting Santa's secret army.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Oil Leather...But Not With Canola

Upholstery styles and the "is leather in or out?" dilemma is a bit muddled by trips to the furniture stores. Each store claims that whatever they have in stock is what "people are buying." Some claim that leather is best for heavy wear and some claim that fabric is the way to go. Leather may scratch, but with proper maintenance, the small marks and scuffs can be beauty marks instead of "damage."

There are several leather furniture cleaning tips that will keep your leather in service for years.

1) Move leather chairs and sofas away from direct sunlight. Harsh sun fades backs and arms. The heat can potentially dry the leather.

2) For routine maintenance, wipe leather with a barely damp soft cloth to remove dust.

3) Do not eat greasy foods in a leather chair. If you do, wash your hands. Oil marks from your hands may make a soft sueded leather shiny. It won't happen with one touch, but if you are prone to resting dirty hands on it, over the years it will show distinctly where you usually rest your hands. Potato chips are a huge culprit.

The Steam Team (, an Austin-based cleaning and restoration company, recommends leather furniture owners to have their furniture cleaned and oiled annually.

Conditioning furniture with cream at home is popular, but if dust and grime is not cleaned from the surface, sometimes dirt just develops legs and migrates. It does not "rub in" quite like with fabric, but it may collect and rub unto the cracks and folds.