A Plus Size Halloween

Jillian Pedersen Mrs. Potts Costume

If you’re a plus size lady then chances are you’ve had an extremely hard time finding a costume for the Halloween season. The costumes available are either too tight and fit weird or they cost tons of money. There’s really no win when it comes down to it. Not to mention the severe lack of variety. I’m not sure why this industry doesn’t cater to various sizes like they should but the reality is they don’t. A Facebook friend of mine summed it up quite perfectly:

“Plus size costumes are a… joke. The options are so limited. They fit too tight and short or way too big and baggy. They’re not sexy or scary. AND THEY’RE TOO EXPENSIVE. I don’t wanna pay…90.00 for a dress made of cheap… materials.”

Yep, I’m right there with ya sister. For the longest time I didn’t dress up for Halloween partially because of this and also because I really didn’t have much of a reason to start with. But now that I have a daughter things have changed. I love dressing up as a family and she loves it too. Problem is, I’m having to get super creative to make something work. Last year my daughter was so in love with The Little Mermaid so that became our theme. I was able to pull something together for less than $30 and I loved my cheap costume. I got to be Ursula and all I had to buy was a purple long sleeved shirt and foam to cut out tentacles from. I had a black jumpsuit from a holiday party last year that pulled everything together. If I had bought this in the store, it would have cost me $89.99! No thank you!

This year I’m in the same boat. I have a daughter to please and not much money to spend. She wants to be Belle and since I’m pregnant, I think Mrs. Potts is the perfect character for me. I’ll make a nice, round teapot. Because there isn’t a costume that exists for this character, I’ve had to really think out of the box. So far, it’s going good! I’ll wear a white top and purple skirt. I’ve made a belt of ribbon and cut outs to symbolize the decorated bottom of a tea pot.

With a $.50 piece of poster board, I’ve made my handle and spout. And I haven’t forgotten Chip, he’ll be pinned to my tummy to represent new baby Pedersen.

The best part happens to be the lid of the teapot. A top knot is just the right hair style to pull this off!

So, yes, it’s frustrating that I’m always having to make a costume but it’s also fun. I’ve grown to love the challenge of getting creative to save money and still make a big impression. Until the Halloween industry wakes up, I encourage you all to try making your own costume this year. You might surprise yourself. No need to let the lack of availability hold you back from a fun celebration!

P.S. I’ll post my costume to the Thighs and Lows Blog Facebook group around Halloween. Join to be on the lookout!

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Thoughts After Episode 4 of Project Runway Season 16

It was around this time last year when Tim Gunn flooded headlines stating that designers really need to pay attention to plus size women. There are 100 million women that are larger than a size 12 and yet, most retailers don’t have anything above that. He blamed fashion designers and the retail industry for the lack of diversity in the plus size market. Designers seemed to be afraid to step outside of the box and retailers didn’t feel that plus size women were spending money on what they provided. With which Gunn retorted that of course we weren’t spending money. Most of the clothes available to us are hideous!

One Project Runway alum has not been afraid. In fact, he’s made his name known for doing what other designers wouldn’t, designing red carpet worthy pieces for plus size women. Christian Siriano has designed two collections for Lane Bryant that have both been amazing and has sent plus size models down his runways.

Project Runway has been one of my favorite shows since I was in high school. I’ve seen every single episode of every season multiple times. Each season they have featured a “real woman” challenge where designers have to create clothing for average body sizes instead of the 00 to size 2 that they are used to. Each season they groan when this happens. Designers seem to really hate designing for the average woman. Perhaps it’s because there is more of a challenge to provide a flattering silhouette. No matter what the case may be, the real woman challenge has made a big change for season 16.

Episode 1 opened up with a huge announcement and if I’m going to be honest with you, I got really emotional about it. Heidi introduced that one size does not fit all. Designers would have to work with models from size 2 to 22! I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear this news! Designers would go through a series of challenges working with bodies of all shapes and sizes. This means they’ll soon feel comfortable with plus size women and hopefully translate that into designs for the retail industry. For now, some of the designers aren’t comfortable. You can see they are afraid of curvier figures. In fact, many began using their designs to hide the curves. But what I love about this season is that the judges won’t stand for it. Nina Garcia urged designers to celebrate every size instead of camouflage it. And those who have embraced this have come out with some beautiful pieces.

Tim Gunn and Project Runway are making great strides in the fashion industry to get designers to finally notice a group of women they have ignored for far too long. Perhaps it’s working because this year’s New York Fashion Week is the most diverse it has ever been. Michael Kors featured Ashley Graham down the runway. Prabal Gurung, J. Crew and Who What Wear are a short list of designers who also decided to showcase plus size models this year. I can’t wait to see the fashion industry evolve. It is past time!

New’ish’ Clothes on the Cheap

Thighs and Lows Blog Clothing Swap

Let’s face it, plus size clothing is so expensive! Especially if you shop at the main stores, you know which ones I’m referring to. Unfortunately, cheaper options don’t always carry the range of sizes I need. So, while I love to splurge every once in a while, on most occasions it’s just not an option for me to spend $40 on a T-shirt.

A few months ago a woman from my Facebook group asked if we could organize a clothing swap. I reached out to see if anyone else was interested and got a lot of response! So we organized a swap. Ladies would bring in their gently loved clothes to swap freely with other attendees. I personally walked out with two new tops and a pair of shoes. It was great to not have to spend a cent and get some new pieces.

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This is something I’ve really started getting into, finding affordable used clothes that are still in great condition. Some of my favorite past times now include scrolling through the Facebook marketplace on my phone and looking in plus size sell groups like these:

Second Hand Curves Plus Size Resale

FabFatshion Plus Size Resale

Curvy Cuties ~ Plus Size Re-Sale Clothing Below $30

I’ve also recently downloaded Poshmark. They have parties you can join that are solely for plus size women. I’ve found some great pieces for less than $20.

It takes a little research and time but so far my efforts have paid off. I’ve been able to update my closet for really cheap.

Share with me, what are some places you’ve found that sell plus size used clothes?

Bending it Like Beckham

Victoria Beckham for Target Plus SizeVictoria Beckham for Target Plus Size

The new Target designer collection came out this month. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a collaboration like this from the big brand. The last I remember was Lilly Pulitzer and while all of the pieces were to die for, the organization behind the launch was a complete disaster.

If you remember it right, they announced that they would be doing plus sizes but failed to have any in store. Everything was online and since every body is different, shopping online was a terrible option. Nevertheless, I stayed up late to buy with the launch time being delayed again and again. When Target did finally get their act together, the collection sold out in seconds. It was not a great experience and the Internet was outraged. Knowing this past, I had similar expectations for Victoria Beckham.

Now, I’ll admit, I didn’t know how this collection would pan out in popularity. Lilly Pulitzer has a different name for itself in the fashion than Beckham. But, she was my favorite Spice Girl, mainly because of her amazing fashion sense. When I first heard the announcement that the collection would be designed by her, I was a little skeptical. I hadn’t seen anything by her before and I just didn’t know what would come of it. Trusting Target, I went ahead and previewed the collection. I was so impressed! The pieces were unique and great for just about anyone. And to top it off, Target announced that this time, they would have plus sizes in select stores. So I readied myself for another Lilly Pulitzer like disaster with the hopes that I would grab some pieces.

First, I did my research and hit up Target’s Twitter account. They announced that the collection would drop ‘in the early hours of the morning.’ I waited until about midnight with no luck and decided to set my alarm for 5AM. Hopefully, that was close to their very vague description. As my alarm buzzed, I popped up and immediately opened the website on my phone. There it was, the collection was live and everything I wanted was available. I decided to buy two things right away that I knew would most likely fit. The rest, I’d have to try on in store. As I checked out, I couldn’t believe that I had scored two pieces with light effort. I laid back down, reset my alarm to be there first thing when my local Target opened.

As I drove into the parking lot later that morning, I was shocked to see there was no line. When Lilly Pulitzer was for sale, there was a long line and a mad rush towards the collection. So, I got to try on everything I wanted and below is my assessment of what appealed to me. I will say, everything seemed well made and you can still find things in stores and online. It hasn’t all sold out just yet.

Victoria Beckham for Target Plus Size
I bought this in store. It is impeccably tailored and fits perfectly. I love the unique cuffs and fun print. It runs true to size.
Victoria Beckham for Target Plus Size
I loved this top. It sat a little high or else I would have bought it. I just don’t like my stomach ever showing. It runs true to size.

 

Victoria Beckham for Target Plus Size
I loved the sleeves on this dress and ended up purchasing it. I do think it runs a little big.
Victoria Beckham for Target Plus Size
This almost didn’t fit but it worked out. It also sits more cropped. It was definitely a bold blouse and takes some courage to sport.
Victoria Beckham for Target Plus Size
This color is incredible! However, anything in the collection that had a Spandex and Polyester mix was too tight and showed off my wobbly bits a little too much. I’d say go a size up.
Victoria Beckham for Target Plus Size
This also did not flatter my figure and was too cropped for my personal liking.
Victoria Beckham for Target Plus Size
This dress was stunning. If you can, get it. It’s so flattering. I did have to size up but I carry a lot of weight in my stomach. If you don’t, you can stay true to size.

I have loved this collection and Target got it right this time. Their launch was smooth and they’ve ended up having enough pieces available. If you have a chance to shop it, I highly encourage it. We have to show Target that they made the right choice in hosting plus sizes in store. Looking forward to the next collection!

Drop Everything, Torrid Has an Amazing Disney Line Out

It’s been a few years since I’ve been on a real vacation. I’ve gone to the beach a few times, and I can’t complain but nothing more than that. Despite my family’s ongoing battle to pay off our student debt quickly, there are times when you have to step back and enjoy life where you’re at right now. So, we pulled the trigger and made reservations to Disney.

We’ll be heading to Orlando in mid January. If you’ve ever been to Disney, you know that everyone there is all in. My husband and I have been Disney fanatics from the start. We even spent our honeymoon there. Throughout the years, we’ve collected films to show our daughter. I’ve always appreciated the sheer magic Disney is able to spread. It’s contagious. It only makes sense that I’d want a few Disney pieces to show off during my time there.

While I was researching sparkly pieces for my holiday article, I discovered that Torrid had a Disney line. I clicked around for a few minutes, wondering if I could find a piece or two to sport without feeling like a complete child. What I found was truly impressive. Torrid’s collection is the essence of grown up dreams.

Here’s a few of my favorites:

Disney Villains Drape Front Cardigan

Torrid Disney Plus Size

Disney Alice Through the Looking Glass Cheshire Cat Tank Top

Torrid Disney Plus Size

Neverland Tulip Back Sweater

Torrid Disney Plus Size

Disney Snow White Collection Dwarf Skater Skirt

Torrid Disney Plus Size

Disney Princess Ariel Print Swing Dress

Torrid Disney Plus Size

Like these pieces, there are plenty more to discover on Torrid’s site. 

Adding a Little Sparkle to Your Holiday

Jillian Pedersen Holiday

The Christmas season is my absolute favorite. I love the cold weather where I can sport boots and scarves, the Pumpkin Spice Lattes, the beautiful decorations, music and generous hearts. It all mixes together to make me feel all warm inside. But apart from all the festivities comes the shopping. Oh, the shopping! Everything and I mean everything is on sale! And my favorite part is that most retailers come out with a line that is extra sparkly.

I love the sequins, furs  and metallics. And while this year has certainly had its up and downs, the fashion industry did not disappoint with its holiday collections. So if you’re wanting to shine bright this year with an outfit that will love your curves, look no further.

LuLaRoe

LuLaRoe Elegant Collection

My current obsession, LuLaRoe has done it again. Just when I think I’m done giving them all of my money, they come out with a new reason to take it. This year they released the Elegant collection. While you have to fight for it like pretty much everything LLR, there are some pieces out there. I got a few myself from multi consultant Facebook groups. My cousin also has some pieces left. You can join her group here. Message her if you’re interested.

Lane Bryant

Lane Bryant Sequin Skirt

While Lane Bryant tends to be a little higher on the price scale, they usually have phenomenal sales around this time of year. I’ve gotten some show stoppers from them before like the skirt pictured above. You can shop their party essentials here. 

ASOS

ASOS is one of my go to stops when I have time to shop online. They have amazing pieces that are sure to help you stand out. You do have to be careful on this site as some things tend to fit tight. Take your time looking at the models and see how the clothes are sitting on them. It doesn’t hurt to size up. Their clothes are very affordable and that’s what keeps me coming back. There isn’t a holiday collection to browse but you can look through their ASOS Curve dress collection and find plenty.

Torrid

Torrid is a classic stop when shopping plus size clothing. Currently, they do have some great crushed velvet pieces and a few sequin dresses as well. You’ll have to dig a little but they’re currently having an online sale!

Eloquii

If you have time to wait for an item to be shipped and are okay with a higher price tag, there’s no better place than Eloquii. This brand sells high end, plus size clothing that is sure to wow. I live for every one of their holiday pieces. Plus, they are doing a big sale right now, which makes some of their stuff actually affordable.

 

There are some other places to hit up if these are tickling your fancy. You can check out Forever 21, Nordstrom Rack and JCPenneys for additional suggestions. And, of course, if you’re looking to accessorize, look no further than Kendra Scott. Her holiday collection doesn’t disappoint.

Kendra Scott Holiday

If The Shoe Doesn’t Fit, Why Am I Wearing It?

Jillian Pedersen Thighs and Lows Blog

I think everyone who is a size 14 and up can say that finding decent clothing that fits well is a challenge. Every time I have to find an outfit for a special event, I feel like I am gearing up for battle. I know there’s a good chance I’ll visit 6 different stores only to walk away feeling defeated and increasingly more desperate as my choices dwindle.

At some point, I got into a pattern of buying things if they seemed to work out in some fashion. They didn’t have to fit perfectly to gain my dollar because most things just don’t fit perfectly– ever. It seems like either I’m showcasing every lump that I have on my body or I’m wearing a huge over-sized sack. There’s no in-between and I so badly want an in-between.

My mother recently called me and asked if I wanted to join in on a garage sale she was having. It never hurts to do a purge of things every once in a while to sift out what I haven’t been using. It also never hurts to get a few extra bucks. I walked through each room and began making my piles until I got to my closet. As I began sorting through my clothes I realized a pattern. Almost everything I owned I felt self-conscious in. There was a very minimal amount of pieces I felt I could wear with confidence. It was very eye opening to realize that I live most days not feeling comfortable in the clothes I’m in. I began asking myself why I was keeping these things. So I pulled them out one by one and got rid of them. There’s no reason I should be wearing clothes that just kind of work. Because of my extra weight, feeling good in clothing is crucial.

I’ve decided I’m going to be more exclusive with my wardrobe. If it means I spend more money on a piece, that’s okay because at least I’ll feel good in it. There’s a good chance I’ll have less in my closet from now on but I think it’s going to be worth it. We owe ourselves the opportunity to stop settling and demand that the fashion industry begin accommodating the average size woman, a plus size woman.

Contouring- Why Should We Care?

Jillian Pedersen Thighs and Lows Blog Contour Makeup Tutorial

I’ve gotten to the point now where my face is carrying some of my extra weight. I used to have cheek bones and a nice pointy chin. Now everything’s a little more muddled together. I’ll admit it’s not my favorite thing but I it’s not something I obsess over either. For the most part, it is what it is. But there are times when I need it to not be what it is. If there’s a big event where I know pictures will be taken or I have an upcoming photo shoot, I like to manipulate my wobbly bits a little. We all know the camera likes to pack on the pounds. That’s when contouring comes in.

There are nights when I want to feel completely glam. In fact, this week is one of those times. It’s my birthday week, so of course I need a few fun selfies to commemorate it. These are the times when I pull out my huge box of makeup and get to sculpting. I’ve had a love affair with makeup since before I could remember. As a creative, I’ve always enjoyed creating art, that includes art resulting from makeup brushes. I have an insane amount of tools to make pure magic happen. A few years ago, I sold Mary Kay. I absolutely loved it. It was so special to get to build relationships with ladies and help them to feel good about themselves. Not to mention, the trips to Dallas just to learn how amazing the company really was. Life got in the way and I decided to give it up but I’m still a Mary Kay loyalist. It’s practically all I wear. During my time with the company, I did a lot of research so that I could sell my product well. I took classes from professional makeup artists and watched countless online tutorials. Not to mention all of the experiments conducted on my own face. Through all of that I’ve learned how to pull out all of the stops without looking completely unnatural.

I thought it might be fun to share my knowledge with you so you can have it in your back pocket when you need to feel extra beautiful. I know there’s a lot of information out there that you can get anytime, anywhere. But I have a new idea that might be more beneficial. I plan to do a Facebook Live party this month to show you how to contour and answer any of your other makeup questions. The difference with this is that it is a live Q&A session that can be completely customized to you without you ever leaving the comfort of your own home. So if you’ve been wondering how to give yourself a little extra va va voom, RSVP for the event. If you like what you see, you can buy the products but there’s certainly not any purchase required. Just good ole’ girl time.

RSVP Thighs and Lows Blog

I also have a fun opportunity for you to win something! Yay! Thanks to Mary Kay Consultant, Laura Pedersen who will be helping us with our online live presentation, we have a chance for you to win a pedicure set complete with scrub, toe separators, bath fizz and a nail file. That’s not all, there will also be two gorgeous polishes up for grabs and pretty nail appliques. Enter to win here. The winner will be announced during the Facebook live party! 

Thighs and Lows Blog Giveaway

Let’s Talk Panties!

Aerie Real Tour

Oh boy, this is a subject! Ever since I’ve been plus sized, I’ve struggled finding underwear. In fact, when I gained a substantial amount of weight after my pregnancy, I found that only maternity panties were doing the trick for me. Talk about not feeling sexy, huh? I mean, yeah there are plenty of brands I could purchase from but the cost is so expensive when they come from popular plus size stores. One pair of undies for $14 and up is just way to much to spend on an everyday item. So, what was a curvy girl to do?

Well, I decided to bring it to my Facebook group and see if they knew about anything. After several replies, I found one that caught my eye. A member named Megan suggested Aerie. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever considered shopping a brand from American Eagle. The majority of their stuff doesn’t even come close to the size waistline I would need to wiggle into. Well, I gave it a look and sure enough, they were carrying size XXL, recommended for size 18-20. Better yet, it seemed every time I checked the site, they were having some amazing deal on panties. Their individuals were still on the higher side at $12.50 but when you bought in bulk, it really paid off. Luckily, I needed to buy in bulk.

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Still skeptical, I decided to take advantage of their Labor Day sale and I got 10 pair for only $35! What a steal. When I finally got my package, I was excited but still reserved. I knew there was a very good chance that these wouldn’t fit. I figured they’d run smaller than they said and I’d be back at square one. I was happily wrong! Not only were all of the cute, frilly patterns absolutely delightful but they fit perfectly. Did I mention I got them for a steal? From that day on, I was a loyal fan of the brand.

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I had heard about the Aerie Real campaign while scrolling through my newsfeed. Aerie had started using a diverse set of models into their campaigns.  Even better, they were pledging to not retouch their photos. It was pretty exciting to see this brand to embrace body positivity. The campaign is still pretty new. In fact, they are touring to share their empowering message across the U.S. Last weekend, they made a stop in Austin and I knew I had to go!

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The beautiful Iskra lawrence was there to welcome guests as the face of Aerie Real. As we shuffled in, we were met with fresh acai bowls from Blenders and Bowls, the perfect healthy snack. Attendees were encouraged to check in to Wanderlust Yoga for a free class. While waiting, you could shop the pop up Aerie Real had set up with fun workout clothes and accessories. It was a really neat experience and I definitely left feeling more confident and inspired.

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Of course I grabbed this fun water bottle and sweat towel just for a lucky one of you. Enter to win it by leaving a comment below. I’ll contact a winner by October 1st. Good luck!

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Women on a Mission

Jillian Pedersen Sabrena Rexing Photography

Ever since I started my Facebook group, it came unbelievably apparent to me how much plus size women struggle to find clothes that they both love and feel fit well. It’s a subject that often dominates the forum. I myself am no exception. Most plus size brands charge more than I can afford to have a full wardrobe that I am completely proud of showing off. That leaves me begging for scraps at stores with lower prices. That’s why when I found out about LuLaRoe, I had to share.

Let me start by saying that I am not a consultant. You aren’t being sold to so sit back and enjoy this post for what it is—informational. The first time I heard anything about LuLaRoe was from a friend on Facebook that invited me to a Facebook party. My initial thought was that buying something online was not going to work because it rarely does. Then there’s the common problem of most brands not even carrying my size. When I stopped in to check out the party, I was pleasantly surprised. While I didn’t buy that day I had discovered that that had a wide range of sizes all the way up to 3XL. I was still skeptical but my mind was more open to the idea of LuLaRoe.

I didn’t mess much with the brand much after that. I didn’t know the woman selling it so I didn’t really have much motivation. That all changed when a friend of mine asked me to join her Facebook group. She had just started carrying the clothes and was debuting her first sale. Trying to be supportive, I attended and before I knew it I was completely drooling over her items. I decided to give the brand a try and bought my first dress, the Nicole. When I tried it on I figured I’d end up having to send it back but I was dead wrong. I loved it! It was so flattering and flowed right over my problem areas. From that day on I was hooked.

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Fast forward a few weeks and I met another consultant. We were at a networking event together and I could tell right away that we would become great friends. Let me pause by saying that one thing I love about LuLaRoe is that you can buy from multiple consultants. The thing is that they only make about 10,000 pieces from one print. This means if you see a print you love, you have to buy it right away. Otherwise, you may never see it again. Genius marketing, huh? The company releases new prints all of the time so it’s totally okay for you to shop with multiple sellers since they are all going to be getting different prints. Okay, on with the story. So I met this awesome woman and I was instantly excited that I would have another venue to buy clothes from. The thing is, she was so much more than that. She was more than just another consultant. As I began to talk with Sabrena, I learned that there was a deep passion pouring out of her, one very similar to my own.

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Sabrena doesn’t just sell clothes, she’s also a photographer. And while she does do family portraits and other typical things you may see, she has a specialty. Sabrena does birth photography meaning she’s there with these women giving birth, capturing every beautiful second. And it goes further from there. You see, Sabrena is all about empowering women. She’s an advocate for public breastfeeding and is body positive. You can check out her photos on her website. They are beautiful masterpieces. I’ve met a lot of photographers and I can tell you now that she has something special.

Just like me, Sabrena has suffered from body positivity issues her whole life. Negative thoughts took over her mind from not thinking she was thin or pretty enough, to eating her emotions and gaining 50 pounds in college. It’s safe to say many of us have been on a similar path. Here’s why Sabrena does what she does:

“When I get behind the camera to make a woman feel beautiful – I am not only doing it for her, but for women everywhere (including myself). The more we as a society can see women as beautiful regardless of their waist size or some preconceived notion of what ‘pretty’ is, the more self esteem ALL women will have, and that includes showing young girls that we CAN and SHOULD love our bodies no matter what. Because women are more than just their looks – women are smart and strong, women are loving and nurturing, women are capable of moving mountains.”

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When I learned all of this about Sabrena, I asked if we could do collaboration. I was eager to share her talent with you all and I so badly wanted to tell you why LuLaRoe is a great solution for your dressing room woes. So, we did a little photo shoot.

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And she did move mountains. I certainly felt cute when I met up with her in Pflugerville for the shoot. But I had my reservations for how the photos would turn out. I’m not the best at placing myself in flattering positions. Luckily, Sabrena guided me through it all, situating me and telling me when poses simply didn’t work. When I got the final images delivered. I was astonished! Not only did Sabrena do LuLaRoe justice, but I was able to see that even though my body wasn’t where I wanted it to be, I was certainly being harder on it than I should. In other words, I felt beautiful.

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Want to get to know Sabrena and win some free clothes? We have an online party coming up September 24th from 6-9:00PM. You’ll have the chance to shop LuLaRoe from Sabrena’s inventory and I’ll be there to answer any questions you have on how a certain piece fits a plus size body.

RSVP

You could win free leggings and a Fall beauty bundle as well. LuLaRoe is famous for their leggings because they are so soft. In fact, they are nicknamed “butter leggings.” The fall beauty bundle will feature a pumpkin scented shower gel from Bath and Body works, candle from Basic Wick Girls and a bright and fun lipgloss from Mary Kay. The winner will be announced the night of September 24th.

Thighs and Lows Blog Giveaway

 

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Thighs and Lows Blog Giveaway