The Plus Side Guide to Stay Cool This Summer

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It is hot here in NYC and staying cool has been my number one priority.  I always joke that my biggest curse in life is my excess sweating. Yup, I am that girl – and yes, it's pretty gross. Because of that I am always looking for ways to stay cool and today I've decided to share with you a few of my summer must haves to stay comfortable during the upcoming high temps.

  • Opt for a fresh face: Instead of using your traditional heavy foundation, opt for something lighter like a tinted moisturizer or a BB cream. I love using one that has a decent SPF and has other qualities that will protect my skin. Because my face tends to be extra finicky in the summer I've been using the Beauty Counter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer – which I love.  It has black currant, peony flower root extract, and vitamin C which reduce the appearance of age spots and enhance skin brightness, while hyaluronic acid promotes firmer, smoother-looking skin.  This partnered with my Black Charcoal Clotting Linens from Boscia and I am ready to go!  If you've watched my Acne video then you know I am a big fan of charcoal based products. 

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  • Stay away from the heat – heating tools that is! Now this one is a hard for me since I love my flat iron but with all of the sun exposure, beaches and swimming pools this summer, my poor hair needs a break. Plus, starting off my morning sweating from blow drying and flat ironing my hair is definitely not helping in my efforts to stay cool.  I've recently been trying the JOICO HAIR SHAKE LIQUID-TO-POWDER FINISHING TEXTURIZER to style my hair in its natural wavy state and I absolutely love it. It gives volume to my hair and fights against humidity which is a must right now.

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  • Summer dresses to the rescue – look for flowy cotton dresses that will keep cool. Focus on light colored options that will keep you cool but still looking polished. Also, a must must have this summer for my ladies with thick thighs is the Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel. Ladies – this right here has been my lifesaver. It helps keeps me cool and dry and yes, it actually stay on all day!

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  • Stay hydrate – ladies this is so important.  Remember that when its hot out your body needs more fluids then it typically would require. Treat yourself to a fun water bottle and add fruits to it to make it interesting. 

  • Take it off! Ladies, lets face it, its hot and you can't be bothered with being all covered up during this crazy heat wave.  Go out and enjoy the amazing weather. Thrown on your swimsuit and enjoy life. And forget about what others might think of you. Stay cool and laugh because before we know it the cold days of winter will be back around.

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How are you staying cool this summer?

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A Plus Size France: Nice, Monte Carlo, Cannes

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Hey ladies, welcome back! Today we traveled to the French Riviera and made Nice our home base for part two of our trip.  I immediately felt at home in Nice. A great bustling city, Nice was easy to travel within with diverse transportation options such as buses, trains and taxis. We easily jumped on the bus to our AirBnB where we settled in for the night with wine and a home cooked meal – courtesy of my loving babe. I will follow-up in a few weeks with a full post regarding my AirBnB experience but one of the definite perks is having a kitchen and being able to stock it with all of our favorite goodies. It sure was great to lay back and just enjoy the view and the quiet evening. 

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The next morning we woke up early, finally no more jetlag, and set out for a full day tour of the French Riviera. I will say if your budget can afford it definitely go the route of a guided tour. Our group was small, just us and one other couple so it was almost like a private tour. Score! We found the tour guide at the local tourism office where we picked up several pamphlets and also a coupon for our tour.  We verified reviews online and called to confirm our reservation. The last thing I wanted was to wait all day for a bus to come that had never been secured. 

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Anyway, the tour covered the most popular towns in the French Riviera. Going with a local guide was the best, saved us a lot of time and let us to doze off on the ride between cities.  The French Riviera was so different to Provence. It was luxurious, busy, and tourist filled. Yes, we weren't in Kansas anymore Toto. Traffic was in abundance and bumping into crowds of people was the norm.  Even with all of the bustle of the city I still loved Nice. I mean look at this view! We sat most of the evening by the waterfront just looking at the gorgeousness in front of us. 

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Ok guys now you know with such an amazing backdrop I could not pass up the opportunity for a few blog pics so in true blogger form we took a few minutes to have some fun behind the camera. Hope you enjoy these pictures and this super casual look perfect for sightseeing and city exploring. 

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Top (similar), Jacket (similar, similar, similar), Shorts (similar, similar, similar), Sandals

So ladies, thank you for following me around France. I am still working on a few follow-up posts that I will be sharing with you next week.  

In summary, France was amazing. The people were super welcoming and we truly had a blast. Will we be back? Absolutely! 

 

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A Plus Size France: L’Isle sur la Sorgue, Arles, Les Baux de Provence

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Hey ladies, welcome back to day 2 of my trip to the South of France.  This day was one of my favorite ones of the whole trip. We got up early and visited the town of L'Isle sur la Sorgue. It was market day and oh my goodness was I in heaven.

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L'Isle sur la Sorgue has one of the best market days in all of Provence and when I tell you that the shops went on and on forever, I'm not kidding. After several hours of walking around, we barely made a dent in exploring the vast array of shops and vendor booths available.

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And of course you guys know how much I LOVE to shop so yes I stocked up on all things lavender, hand crafted toys for my son and nephew, fruits and veggies to have during our stay and of course olive oil. With many bags in hand I left a happy camper.

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After the market, which closed at 1pm we went to the town of Arles. This is the town of Picasso so if you are into art this is where you want to be. Arles was another beautiful little town where walking was easy and souvenir shops were in abundance.

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Of course the gorgeous background meant it was time for an impromptu photoshoot. Hey, I am a blogger – its what we do!

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Sweater; Jeans; Bag (similar, similar, similar)

Next was a pitstop at some of the most amazing gelato I've ever had outside of southern Italy.

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Lastly we ended our day enjoying the most incredible sunset in the town of Les Baux de Provence. With the snacks we purchased back at the market earlier in the day we made our way up to the castle just before closing.

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The catch here is if you go in before they close you can stay as long as you want. Not only was it an incredibly romantic moment, it was also an amazing time to reflect. When you are at such a magical place you can't help but to look up and send a special thank you to the man above.

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And with that we said farewell to Provence, recognizing that there was so much more for us to see on a future trip and knowing that soon enough we will be back.  

Stay tune tomorrow for an inside scoop into the other half of our trip to the French Riviera and click here for day one of the South of France.

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A Plus Size France: Provence, Pont du Gard, Nimes

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Every once in a while you throw caution to the wind and make an impulse buy. Well yes, that was me in January when I booked two flights to Nice, France.  Fast forward to last month and finally the vacation we so desperately needed arrived and even though it took us almost 24 hours to get to out final destination (a true tail of trains, planes and automobiles) we made it and the journey was worth every minute!  Over the next few posts I will share with you an inside look into my travels, tips on what I packed, the travel resources I used and or course what I wore. I hope you enjoy this inside look into the South of France and the French Riviera. 

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So we decided to divide our trip into two main cities; Avignon in order to explore the South of France and Nice for the French Riviera. First up was Provence! Knowing that late mornings would be the norm for us until we adjusted to the jetlag we decided to rent a car and start our journey in the calm and relaxing countryside.

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Let me just tell you that I absolutely fell in love with Provence! From the cute quaint towns to the sprawling vineyards, Provence is magical! I also loved that it was easy to travel, and driving was not an issue, roads were well marked and there was not a lot traffic.

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Anyway, we started with a visit to the ancient Roman aqueduct the Pont du Gard. If you visit here on a warm day make sure to bring your swimsuit. Many people gather at the base for a swim in the Gardon River. They even offer kayaking! This is a sweet spot for a lunchtime picnic or just a little sunbathing. 

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Next up was the town of Nimes. By the time we arrived in Nimes, our beautiful, sunny day had morphed into cloudy, rainy and chilly. We grabbed a sweater and an umbrella and off to the streets we went to explore. I quickly learned that wearing layers was key in Provence.

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Nimes is such a cute town with fun shopping and great restaurants. Make sure to park your car in one of the city lots before you step out and explore. 

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Top; Pants (similar, similar, similar); Shoes; Sweater (similar, similar, similar)

So with that day 1 was over. I will say that my Rick Steve's travel guide stood by my side throughout the entire day and definitely came in handy as we made our way around. I made sure I had shoes I could walk in because even though we rented a car there still was A LOT of walking.  These bad boys from fullbeauty.com were definitely by "go to" throughout the trip.  In terms of clothing capri jeans with good stretch helped me feel comfortable, sleek and pulled together.  When I packing for a big walking trip I definitely choose comfort over everything else. I avoid items, especially shoes, that I've never worn before. Also, I try everything on before I pack. You will be surprised with what still works and what doesn't.

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Well ladies, check back tomorrow for Day 2 of Provence and more travel tips.

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The Perfect Travel Accessory

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As you ladies probably know by now, business travel is a big part of my life. I am always looking for new solutions to make my life easier and my travels more enjoyable. What to pack is always a priority when I'm preparing for a trip and since I don't ever check a bag, it is important for me to be able to fit many different options  into my small carryon. 

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So recently I've been on the hunt for more travel friendly clothing options, items that travel well, don't wrinkle (because seriously who wants to spend their time ironing), and take up little space in my luggage (which in the plus size world is a challenge on its own). And that's where the Ruby dress by Karina came into the picture.

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I learned about Karina a few months ago from a fellow blogger and I immediately fell in love with their mission of creating beautiful dresses for all body shapes. Made in the USA, actually in my home state of New York, I was excited to try out one of their pieces and see if it was an answer to my problem.

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I picked out the Ruby dress because I loved the wrap feature and the unique neckline give the girls more coverage than the traditional wrap dress. The print is classic and perfect for any business meeting. Most of all I loved that the dress was lightweight and wrinkle free. It is definitely the perfect accessory for any business travel and especially for anyone looking to travel light. 

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What's your go to travel pieces? 

Cool as a Cucumber for the Office

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So the temperature keeps rising here in NYC and staying cool in work appropriate clothing is seriously becoming a challenge. Hot muggy train stations partnered with ice cold air conditioned offices leave me constantly struggling in the morning wondering what in the world to wear today!

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So for today's look I've pulled together a light and airy combo perfect for the current season. 

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I have to say I love this look so much. The longer sleeves provide me with some coverage at work but they are lightweight enough once I leave the office. Paired with these simple culottes that are a great alternative to shorts or capris, I definitely was ready for a day full of meetings. 

What's your go to outfit during the hot summer months?

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Top; Pants (similar, similar), Bag (similar, similar, similar), Shoes (similar, similar, similar)

SHC Teen: Move That Body – Inside the Color Run

I don't know about you guys, but exercise is definitely not one of my favorite things to do. So, just like other boring stuff, I figured out how to make it fun! I was actually pretty scared at first to prepare for my first 5k but make sure to stay until the end of my video to find out why. Can't wait to hear what you think, don't forget to let me know in the comments.

Love – Valeria

 

Curves de Provence

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On this Thursday I can't help but look back at my recent trip to France. Yes, I have some catching up to do and I promise to deliver a full recap post for both France and Tulum but until then here are a few pictures from our afternoon in the vineyards of Provence. 

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Not Your Grandmother’s Swim Dress

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I will admit, I am not a huge fan of swim dresses. A large part of that is due to it being my go to swimwear as a chubby teen. Like many plus size women, the beach/pool was a dreaded space. Swim dresses, oversize t-shirts and dad's shorts were a regular for me. It was only later in life that I realized – hey, I am at the beach, why am I so covered up!  

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