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Manolo for the Big Girl http://manolobig.com Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman. Thu, 14 May 2015 12:07:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.9 Color on My Wrist http://manolobig.com/2013/10/07/color-on-my-wrist/ http://manolobig.com/2013/10/07/color-on-my-wrist/#comments Tue, 08 Oct 2013 01:45:39 +0000 http://manolobig.com/?p=9956 When I think about ladies wrist watches, I think about the slim, little Timex bracelet watch my mom used to put on each morning before she went off to teach 7th grade English. When she retired, she put the watch away in her jewelry box and has never taken it out again, as far as I know.

I have to say that I loved that watch, because to me it signified a sort of grown-up, elegant lady-ness, the exact sort of thing a capable working woman like my Mom would wear in the 1970s. In reality, it was just another copy of a moderately-priced, decently-made American watch, a ubiquitous timepiece of the era.

When I got my first real job, I bought myself a watch just like it, and quickly realized that it didn’t suit me at all. My mom had thin arms and beautiful olive skin, which made the cheap gold of the Timex seem like a million dollars. I have thick wrists and a fair-freckled-pasty complexion (thanks Dad!), that makes cheap gold and thin wrist straps look ridiculous.

Worse, my mother was a careful woman who took good care of her possessions. I’m always either breaking things (ask me about how I’ve destroyed three cell phone screens in three years) or losing things in public places (like purses, coats, scarves, shoes, boyfriends). I can’t have an expensive watch because I’ll break it or lose it.

So, I need color on my wrist, from a reasonably priced watch with a bigger face. Hence, this men’s watch from Armani Exchange watches at H. Samuels

Armani Exchange Watch

Blue is a color that suits my skin-tone, and this watch has it in exactly the tone I require. And because the face is man-sized, it doesn’t make my man-sized wrists seem even bigger than they already are. Plus, I just like the way it looks. What more justification do I need for wearing a man’s watch than that I like it?

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Multi-Stone Engagement Rings http://manolobig.com/2013/10/05/multi-stone-engagement-rings/ http://manolobig.com/2013/10/05/multi-stone-engagement-rings/#comments Sat, 05 Oct 2013 15:17:45 +0000 http://manolobig.com/?p=9952 Seven Stone Diamond Bubble Ring

Call me old-fashioned, but I can’t say I fully approve of the trend toward piling ever more (and ever smaller) diamonds onto engagement rings. When done wrong, the ring looks crowded and busy, not elegant and dramatic.

Consider, for example, the seven stone diamond bubble ring shown above (image taken from a ring available at Diamonds and Rings site). It’s too much for my taste. I much prefer one, giant, single solitaire diamond on the ring, rather than seven, smaller diamonds jammed together on a single band.

If forced, however, to pick a new engagement ring, I’d go for a three stone setting like this one…

Three Stone Princess Cut Ring

Three princess cut diamonds, arranged simply, in a straight line, is about the best it can get in a multi-stone engagement ring.

Of course, ideally, you’re at the mercy of your future husband. Ideally, he presents you with the ring you will wear for the rest of your life, having picked it out himself without consulting you, which is why you want to make sure your soon-to-be husband is a man of good taste and breeding.

And this is another reason why multistone rings are dangerous, because there’s so much room for errors taste. It much simpler to pick out a ring with a single diamond (albeit a big one), just because it’s so much easier to get it right the first (and what should be only) time.

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Gold on Sterling Silver http://manolobig.com/2013/10/04/gold-on-sterling-silver/ http://manolobig.com/2013/10/04/gold-on-sterling-silver/#comments Sat, 05 Oct 2013 03:08:42 +0000 http://manolobig.com/?p=9948 18ct Gold on Solid Silver Cuff

Right now, at this moment, I’m all about the golden bangles, bracelets, and cuffs. In fact I’m totally digging something I think of as the “high-street gypsy look”, by which I mean, expensive flowy, layered skirts, peasant tops and lots of arm jewelry, all tied up with a saucy, take-no prisoners attitude.

Unfortunately, since I prefer real gold rather than the fake stuff, this means that I can’t afford everything I want, given that at the moment gold costs more than refined plutonium (approximately). If I were a real gypsy, or even better an opera stage gypsy, I’d get my hands on my gold baubles by hook or by crook, preferably by seducing a rich bullfighter, or a foolhardy count. But, those options aren’t exactly open to me, seeing as how I live in a) America, and b) the 21st century, both of which is short on bullfighters and counts.

One less expensive option that does work for me, however, is 18ct gold on sterling silver, like this hellaciously tasty cuff shown above (from the website of Pepper Pink).

This piece combines the shiny goodness of gold, with the heft of sterling silver, but significantly less costly than solid gold. Now that’s what I’m talking about. I have to say that although, eighteen carat gold on sterling silver is not cheap, neither is it a tacky bit of costume jewelry you picked up for nickles at the bargain shop.

So, if you’ll looking for a little gypsy flair, take a look at some gold on silver.

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The Homecoming Dress http://manolobig.com/2013/08/29/the-homecoming-dress/ http://manolobig.com/2013/08/29/the-homecoming-dress/#comments Thu, 29 Aug 2013 04:30:36 +0000 http://manolobig.com/?p=9943 I’m one of those odd people who really enjoyed my fifteen-year high school reunion, in fact, it was much more enjoyable than my ten-year reunion. I sort of came into my own during those five years, going from a semi-miserable, semi-unemployed 28-year-old semi-loser, to a generally well-put-together 33-year-old career woman, one who was married to an objectively hunky guy with a respectable job.So, it’s amazing what a little success in life will do to your willingness to meet with people you only vaguely remember from homeroom English.
Plus Size Homecoming Dress

Image courtesy of DressFirst

At the ten year mark, my friend Jillian had to browbeat me into attending the dinner. She really, really wanted to go, because she had lost a ton weight since high school, like sixty pounds, and she wanted to show off to mean girls and backbiters who’d made her life miserable in 11th grade. So, I helped her pick out a homecoming dress, and I went to the reunion out of solidarity with Jillian, even though I wasn’t any thinner, and if anything probably less successful than I’d been a decade earlier. (At least in high school, I thought, I hadn’t failed to live up to my potential yet.) I ended up having more fun than I thought I would, but only because my friend Karl showed up flamboyantly gay, having come out of the closet sometime during his junior year of college. Without his catty remarks about fallen cheerleaders and beer-bellied former athletes, the evening would have been a loss.

Cut to five years later and I’m eagerly picking out a homecoming dress, thinking to myself that I HAD finally begun to live up to my potential, and that it was my turn to show off a little. And I had an unexpectedly great time. Karl was in rare form. Jillian was engaged to a good guy, and the fallen cheerleaders had metamorphed into moderately decent people, mellowed by age and the humbling effects of the wider world.

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After Plumcake http://manolobig.com/2012/12/22/manolo-for-the-big-girl-is-now-closed/ http://manolobig.com/2012/12/22/manolo-for-the-big-girl-is-now-closed/#comments Sat, 22 Dec 2012 23:34:40 +0000 http://manolobig.com/?p=9857 But the party’s just starting at afterplumcake.com

See you there! –Miss Plumcake

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Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness: The Too Claus for Comfort Edition: The Result http://manolobig.com/2012/12/16/twisties-sunday-caption-madness-the-too-claus-for-comfort-edition-the-result/ http://manolobig.com/2012/12/16/twisties-sunday-caption-madness-the-too-claus-for-comfort-edition-the-result/#comments Sun, 16 Dec 2012 16:17:52 +0000 http://manolobig.com/?p=9841 Wow.

You know how to make things hard on a blogger, don’t you?

Last week, I whalloped you all with this deathless image:

… and you assaulted me right back with six deliciously deranged responses featuring leisure and fashion.

You hit me on my weakest possible sides with geek references galore. You made me cackle multiple times.

Frankly, this one made me waffle more than an IHoP. And while they may not be the ultimate winners, I would like to give special love to Jade Wombat for this delicious combo plate of sci-fi and kidlit:

The Santa robot aliens, after their defeat in London by Dr. Who, invaded America where they were confronted by Dr. Pooh.

… and to our own, our very, very own Gemdiva for this classic movie reference:

Now listen up, I’m hot, cranky and I hate undercover work, so make yourselves comfortable. We are NOT leaving this field until I find out which one of you usual suspects is Kaiser Soze.

In the end, though, there can be but one.

This time, and even though it’s kind of long to be a caption, it’s TeleriB for causing a huge mess on my monitor screen with this gloriously crazed response:

“And when I say ‘Sacks up!” I mean sacks up NOW! Not ‘in just a second,’ not when you feellike it! IS THAT CLEAR, SANTA JOHNSON?”

“Sergeant Bear, yes, Sergeant Bear!”

“Good! Now pick that sack UP and let’s get jolly! We will be adding five additional rooftop sprints this afternoon to help Santa Johnson remember his sack. Santas! Move out!”

Congratulations, Jade Wombat, Gemdiva, and most of all TeleriB! And thanks to everyone who played.

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And just so you will know… http://manolobig.com/2012/12/10/and-just-so-you-will-know/ http://manolobig.com/2012/12/10/and-just-so-you-will-know/#comments Mon, 10 Dec 2012 12:00:20 +0000 http://manolobig.com/?p=9851 I don’t remember much about 2007, the year that Manolo for the Big Girl opened its virtual gates, so I certainly don’t recall what I wrote in my application to be one of two fearsome editrixes for The Manolo’s new plus-size project. I do remember my entry was late since a friend sent me the cattle call (as it were) week after the deadline passed. I also remember (spoiler alert) that I got it.

On my first entry I wrote:

The great thing about being the biggest gal in the room is that you can be the BIGGEST gal in the room: the fiercest, the most fabulous, the most confident. With a big attitude you can work looks that would overwhelm our slender sisters and make drag queens want to pull your hair from sheer glam envy.

Now as Manolo for the Big Girl, along with the rest of the Manolosphere, prepares to hang up our heels and close shop forever, I stand by that statement.

When I got the news on Friday, I was too jetlagged to say anything but “well, it was a good run.”

And it was, but it was also something else.

It was the chance to be the voice I wish I’d had when I was but a young fatling, trying to eke out an ounce of self-confidence, and a drop of glamor in an unfriendly world.

I thank you for that. I thank you for every comment (well, almost every comment) every email, every linkback and “you’ve gotta read this” message.

Most of all I thank you for the community. MftBG wasn’t a pretty blog, it didn’t fit nicely into any one category. I was never interested in being part of some fat blog clique or kowtowing to advertisers, but you stuck with me, with one of the smartest, funniest comments sections I’ve had the pleasure to read.

So what to do now?

Well, I don’t know about the rest of the gang, but I’m going to keep working on my book, enjoying life in Mexico and because old habits die hard, writing at my new blog, After Plumcake.

It won’t be the same as the big girl blog, there comes a time when even I have run out of things to say about pretty shoes and being fat, but it will have some of the same flavor, plus a broader range of topics, possibly shirtless footballers and if the past two days are any indication, way more f-bombs.

I hope you’ll join me there.

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The Great Malnutrition Scare vs the Obesity Epidemic http://manolobig.com/2012/12/02/the-great-malnutrition-scare-vs-the-obesity-epidemic/ http://manolobig.com/2012/12/02/the-great-malnutrition-scare-vs-the-obesity-epidemic/#comments Sun, 02 Dec 2012 17:32:04 +0000 http://manolobig.com/?p=9844

This is Wilbur Olin Atwater. He was a pioneer in human nutrition, back in the day. He was also one of the major causes of the Great Malnutrition Scare of 1907-21.

You see, Atwater was one of the first people to try to figure out how much of what nutrients people need to function. And like many who are among the first to quantify something… he got a lot of stuff wrong. The amount of protein he decided the average person needs is today known to lead to kidney failure, just as a f”rinstance.

And between his miscalculations, misinterpretation of both his data and poorly gathered information, racially skewed height and weight charts, along with a great big ol’ dollop of cultural aesthetic preferences and prejudice over evidence, the Great Malnutrition Scare of 1907 – 21 began.

In 1907 a variety of economic and food distribution issues I’m not going into for a blog entry I hope to keep reasonably brief resulted in widespread food shortages. People took to the streets to protest for potatoes. No, seriously, I mean that literally.

And about this time, the first major study comparing what people actually ate to Atwater’s ideal for what they ought to be eating was published. People were horrified to discover how few people ate the way Atwater said they ought to in order to be healthy.

To perfect the storm, a New York reporter named Robert Chapin asked chemist Frank Underhill to calculate the amount of money a poor family would have to spend per day to have a nutritionally adequate diet. Underhill used Atwater’s figures and came up with the startling news that a poor family would have to spend $0.22 a day per adult male. Compared to wages, there was no way a poor family could feed itself adequately at that expensive rate.

Chapin used the figures Underhill gave him to argue for wage reform so that poor laborers could have the money they needed to feed themselves reasonably. But other writers latched onto the same figures to argue that the United States was in the midst of a malnutrition epidemic. By 1911, the Underhill figures were used in a study that claimed that despite the fact that higher paid steelworkers appeared healthy enough, didn’t have ailments associated with poverty, and seemed to have plenty of food on their tables… nearly all were malnourished.

In short, when the figures did not fit the facts, people assumed the facts were wrong.

Something, clearly, had to be done. There was much ballyhooing and wringing of hands. And then came the clarion cry of ‘won’t somebody think of the children?’ in all its glory.

Remember those height and weight charts I mentioned earlier? Yes, those were hastily compiled using mostly native-born children of Anglo-centric origin attending private schools their parents had to be relatively wealthy to send them to  in order to determine the ‘correct’ height and weight of an average healthy child.

In short order by comparing inner city New York immigrant children to this standard, it was quickly determined that thousands upon thousands of them were seriously malnourished.

Massaging the figures by removing age from the calculations didn’t help much. It did reduce the overall rate of ‘malnutriton’ but suddenly showed that a high percentage of tall but thin native-born Anglo-based children were the worst nourished of the lot. And then a study of students at two private prep schools indicated there was a higher rate of malnourishment there than at an East Side inner city public school.

Clearly height and weight couldn’t be the whole story. Could it?

In 1915 a new standard emerged for determining which children were and were not malnourished: the Dumferline Scale. This one included not only height and weight, but eyesight, breathing, muscularity, mental alertness and rosiness of complexion into account. Can you see a couple big problems with this list already?

Once the data for each child was taken, they were divided into four categories:

1) excellent

2) adequate

3) needs attention and supervision

4) requires immediate hospitalization

Not only were many of the criteria for determining nutritional health woefully skewed to an Anglo-centric scale, they were also poorly defined. The choice of what category to place a particular child in, too, was vague and open to broad interpretation. Under pressure to identify more cases of malnutrition, doctors and nurses often played it safe by putting children they considered on the cusp into the more dire category available.

Despite all these obvious deficiencies, the Dumferline Scale was adopted by New York City’s Health Department in December 1915. Other large cities quickly followed suit.

The results were sadly predictable. Malnutrition rates skyrocketed. In fact, they more than doubled nearly overnight.

Clearly the epidemic was too severe and too widespread to be handled by individual – and often expensive – nutrition clinics. No, this would have to be handled in the school lunch programs nutritionists and reformers all over the country had been clamoring for. With well over 800,000 New York schoolchildren identified as ‘below the normal standard’ of nutrition – nearly a quarter million of whom were significantly malnourished (aka: category three), clearly this was a necessary step.

Of course, these programs were still controversial and claims of malnutrition which ranged dramatically depending on which expert was consulted didn’t help get the idea across. School lunch would have to wait until it became more economically attractive and less controversial in the 1920’s.

So parents who believed the hype and feared for their children’s health because of their short stature, tendency to be thin, or lack of ‘rosy’ cheeks – and who could afford to do so – sent their children to nutrition clinics and listened to quack ‘experts’ in the subject. For instance, Dr. William R.P. Emerson who worked solely off the height/weight charts and championed a method called ‘measured feeding’ combined with assuring little girls they would never be beautiful and boys they would never be athletic if they didn’t gain weight. He further recommended automatic removal of tonsils and adenoids, as well as prescribing that ‘underweight’ children attend school only half time and avoid all outside activities… particularly music.

In short, the Great Malnutrition Scare mostly caused a lot of panic and hand-wringing. It caused a lot of frightened parents to try anything they half heard or read to get their children healthy. It encouraged the ‘clean your plate at all costs’ mentality that has screwed up so many relationships with food since. It poured public monies down a rabbit hole with no public payoff in improved nutritional standards, better understanding of the causes, consequences, or cures of malnutrition, or even programs to help feed those at risk. All of those programs came long after the initial panic died down and because of other fears.

Is anyone here seeing some scary parallels?

I know I am.

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Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness: The Too Claus for Comfort Edition http://manolobig.com/2012/11/25/twisties-sunday-caption-madness-the-too-claus-for-comfort-edition/ http://manolobig.com/2012/11/25/twisties-sunday-caption-madness-the-too-claus-for-comfort-edition/#comments Sun, 25 Nov 2012 16:18:10 +0000 http://manolobig.com/?p=9836 Helloooo my beauties!

It’s time once again to play Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness. You all know how this works. I post a picture that’s lying awake nights longing desperately for a funny caption or seven. You provide said captions via the comments function. Next week I declare a winner and we all break into a merry chorus of  the Yes, We Have No Bananas Blues.

This week’s image comes from the depths of the Where’s Salvador Dali When You Need Him File, and it looks a little like this:

Ready… set… snark!

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One Holiday Season Over, a New One Begins http://manolobig.com/2012/11/24/one-holiday-season-over-a-new-one-begins/ http://manolobig.com/2012/11/24/one-holiday-season-over-a-new-one-begins/#comments Sat, 24 Nov 2012 16:57:12 +0000 http://manolobig.com/?p=9830 Before we get going, I’d like to apologize for the lack of posts last weekend. WordPress kept shutting me out, and I don’t know why. But it’s forgiven me now and I can post again.

Thanksgiving is over. All that’s left over are, well, a few leftovers. And, if we’re lucky, some good memories. Mr. Twistie and I wound up having a different holiday than we’d expected. The friend we were planning to visit came down with a nasty bronchial sludge she didn’t care to share, so we stayed home and made a few adjustments. We watched old movies, I made a delicious dinner, we ate until we were happily sated, he played a little guitar, and we finished our day playing with Jake the cat.

All in all, it was a good day. The memories are, indeed, happy.

The day after Thanksgiving I have a ritual. When I get up, I have coffee and pumpkin pie for breakfast… and then I don’t go shopping. When I worked retail I quickly learned that Black Friday and Christmas Eve are typically the angriest shopping days of the year and so I avoid buying anything more emotionally charged than a bottle of milk on those two days. Okay, we did break down and get Jake some crunchies, but we went to a grocery store that wasn’t in a mall.

Today I will most likely do my traditional change of holiday seasons activity:

I’ll watch The Nightmare Before Christmas. It never fails to get me into the right mood for the next few weeks.

How about all of you? How do you make the transition from Thanksgiving to the Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Kwanzaa/et al season? Do you have a tradition at all? I’d love to hear what you do.

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