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Manolo for the Big Girl | Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness: The Squeaky Clean Edition: The Result

Good morning campers!

Last week I boggled your overwhelmed minds with this deathless – or at least undead – image:

… and you came back swinging with five gloriously giggle-worthy responses.

In the end, though, there can be but one. This week it’s the freshly laundered marvel for managing to be so clean and yet so dirty with this gem of product placement:

Florence was pleasantly surprised to discover that her new Maytag came with its own repairman.

Congratulations, marvel! And thanks to everyone who played.

Review Revue: SQUEEM Shapewear

I know what you’re thinking: What the heck sort of name is SQUEEM for shapewear?

Is it a portmanteau of squeeze and seam?
Squeal and scream?

Not to mention SQUEEM makes me think of being squeamish, like I’m supposed to put on a girdle and then watch a HD video of my great uncle Jack try to remove his most furry and misshapen moles with toenail clippers.


Gah. I just grossed myself out.

I’m not going to pretend I understand the 40 year-old Brazilian company’s choice of nomenclature, nor do I understand why the language options on the website are English and Spanish but not, you know, Portuguese, the language they speak in Brazil.

I also don’t understand the whole Virtuous Circle thing, which I’m hoping are just bad translations from Portuguese because neither the English nor the Spanish version stands up to any sort of rigorous logic.

One thing leads to another. From better body to better mind to a better you. Squeem is designed for weight loss and instant progress. […] Immediate results will make you care more for your body; giving you the long-term benefits you’ll need for a complete transformation, and that is The Virtuous Circle.

Howlingly bad copy aside (oh, and the music on every page of their website. Every. Page. and it doesn’t remember your audio preferences so if you’re going to go to the site, just turn off your speakers) this is actually a pretty good product and it comes in sizes up to 4X.

Here’s how it went down:

The folks at Squeem were all up in my kool aid for months trying to send me a sample for review and I wasn’t all that interested because frankly, I get a lot of free junk through this site and most of it is just exactly that: Junk.

I’m not interested in getting it, I’m not interested in reviewing it and I’m certainly not interested in having it take up closet space, affronting the dignity of all my nice stuff by its very presence.

Still, I had a look around their site and aside from the audio and the gross abuse of Flash, I generally liked what I saw so I ordered the “Perfect Waist“.

Squeem has light control products when all you really need is some smoothing, the “Control Fit” which has a much firmer grip and “I Ain’t Playin’ With You” (okay, that’s not actually what they call it) that’s pretty much just pure rubber and will make you sweat like at least one, if not several, stuck pigs.

What makes Squeem special, supposedly, is this magical rubber and cotton treatment that gives you all the compression of the former with all the comfort of the latter.

Uh huh. Sure. A rubberized slimmer that breathes. I’ll put that right up there with unicorns, fat female romantic leads and Mexican cops who don’t take bribes on the Never Gonna Happen shelf.

But I’ll be damned if it didn’t actually work.

I’m not going to say the Perfect Waist felt like wearing a flimsy cotton chemise, but considering there’s practically an entire rainforest worth of rubber in there, I didn’t get sweaty at all. It was warm but completely breathable. How? How is that possible? More importantly, what does this mean for my chances of meeting a unicorn or an unbuyable cop?

Sqeem’s maiden voyage on the Good Ship Plumcake happened in October when I went to meet Hot Latin Boy’s mother for the first time.

I’m going to be honest: it flipped up a little at the bottom and down a little at the top.

Someone with a shorter waist would’ve been able to anchor both ends down with their undies and bra and probably avoid that problem, and still, it wasn’t such a big deal because the fabric is thin enough to not mess with the lines of an outfit if some flippage does accidentally occur, but it happened. Do with that what you will.

It was blessedly invisible under a thick ponte knit dress in a way my corset was not, and although I did have to take it off before I actually met his mother thanks to a panic attack (I was nervous enough to begin with and to get to her house we had to drive through Downtown Tijuana on a Friday night which is exactly as horrifying as it sounds, especially if you’re a woman with delicate sensibilities like myself. I can only endure the visual assault of so many clear heels at a time without dire medical repercussions, although in their defense, they WERE hookers.) I have no problems recommending SQEEM to anyone looking for quality shapewear.

The Perfect Waist isn’t going to replace my corset for major reshaping needs, but it’s telling that when I packed my suitcase of clothes for the big move to Villa Plumcake to tide me over while the rest of my stuff was in storage, the Perfect Waist came with me.

Grade: A-

You Asked For It: Spanx

Good morning my live active cultures of love, how’s every little thing? What? Yes I did have yogurt for breakfast, cactus and prune flavored, thank you. Why do you ask?

We’re going to spend the rest of this week focusing on shapewear, and never fear, I still have a handful of corset recommendations, but several of you have asked me what I think about Spanx.

Spanx can just go ahead, do some breathing exercises, maybe stretch a little, purchase a crazy straw from the party supply store of their choice in any one of a variety of colors and suck it.

(none of these cartoons actually need shapewear)

I have never, EVER had a piece of shapewear from them that lasted more than one or two wearings, didn’t roll or otherwise backfire or have glaring flaws right out of the package. I gave up on their legwear ages ago after putting my hand through three pairs of their pantyhose, once on the first try.

Maybe they’re just made for women with only a little bit of pudge, or whose hourglass boom boom isn’t quite so pow. Maybe it’s because I’m the only person in America who has a torso longer than two inches. I don’t know, but I feel like I’m the only woman on the planet who doesn’t think these things are the best invention since sliced vodka.

Oh maybe it’s user error, you say.

HA and verily double ha! There are little baby angels who are rougher on their clothes than I am.

Heck, I painted my patio in Hermes and didn’t get a speck of Unicorno (apparently in Mexico, unicorns are fuchsia. In an unrelated note: there’s a lot of peyote in this country) on my entire outfit so it’s not like I’m running around with an angry jackal in my pants, laying waste to all hosiery within a 10 mile radius.

PLUS Spanx is ridiculously overpriced for the quality and what’s worse, most plus-size stores these days (please imagine me shaking a cane in geriatric wrath, you may also imagine me in a kaftan if you wish, but it’s not necessary to the visual) have either vastly reduced or completely eliminated their hosiery in favor of selling the Spanx line.


Remember about six million years ago, back at the dawn of the current century, where you could buy those amazing Lane Bryant opaque tights that looked great and lasted FOREVER and you didn’t mind spending $18 on one pair because you knew your knees would wear out before those tights did?

Gonesville. Replaced by ^%$# SPANX for the low low price of $30 – $40, which would be okay if they, as previously mentioned, didn’t suck so hard there are ostriches in Africa wondering what that breeze is and if maybe they couldn’t cut it out because it’s messing with their (the ostriches’ not the Spanxs’) feathers.

Sure you can get some novelty legwear and a basic entry-level black tight from the Lane Bryant home brand, but solid black is not the same as opaque black and one of my biggest pet peeves is a theoretically opaque tight that isn’t. Grr.

Honestly, for that manner of stretchy shapwear I’ve had far better luck at places like Ross and TJ Maxx.

For example: this past summer I bought an amazing high-waist pencil-skirt slimmer that has been a revelation and I KNOW I didn’t spend more than $10 for it. I’ve even worn it as a miniskirt under a long sweater and over a pair of my antediluvian but still functional LB opaque tights. Sadly I don’t have a brand for you (it’s seamless and I’ve rubbed the printed label right off) but if I find it again I’ll report back.

Izod –I know, right?– makes some surprisingly solid shapewear in plus sizes, all of which are higher quality than any of the Spanx I’ve experienced, and I’m pretty sure each piece I bought was $7.99.

There’s also some brand called Lady Princess that I’ve never seen anywhere other than Ross and Ross-esque stores.

I’m pretty sure they’re designed for drag queens (I think it’s the name) but I don’t care. I’ve had good luck with their more heavy-duty pieces.

As far as the major players go, I far prefer the Avenue Body line of shapewear to Lane Bryant’s Cacique (though I still prefer the LB bras) but neither of them really carry my watermelon since both brands tend to roll, fold, pill and lose their shape within a half dozen wearings.

So is there a brand of Spandex-not-steel shapewear you can find online and which I actually LIKE?

Yes, and stay tuned kiddios: I’ve got a Review Revue coming up tomorrow.

Technical Difficulties

Ay caramba! We seem to be experiencing a bit of the old technical difficulties and this is the first time Ive been able to scramble my way into the site all morning. Never fear, I’m sure whatever pelican is responsible for this current crop of internet woes will wing its way to less meddlesome climes sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves and share any adventures (mis- or otherwise) from your weekend in the comments!

Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness: The Squeaky Clean Edition

Howdy Doo, everybody! It’s time once again to play Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness.

You all know how this works. I post a picture that’s howling at the moon for a funny caption or three. You provide said captions via the comments function. Next week I declare a winner and we all borrow a sombrero from Plummy’s new home for a Hat Dance of Triumph.

This week’s image comes from the Well, At Least They’re Clean file and looks a bit like this:

Ready… set… snark!

Newsflash: Eating Only One Food for Fifteen Years Isn’t Healthy

Many of you may have read this article from Yahoo Health that went up two days ago. It’s the sad tale of British teen Stacey Irvine who collapsed and was rushed to the hospital with severe breathing problems.

Turns out what was wrong with her was that since she was two years old – that’s fifteen years, folks – Irvine has subsisted on a diet of Chicken McNuggets meals. That’s pretty much it. Just incredibly processed, deep-fried chicken nuggets and fries, with an occasional slice of toast or handful of potato chips to mix things up. No leafy greens, no root veggies that aren’t fried potatoes, no fruit, no fish, no red meat, no pulses: nada else.

As a result, Irvine suffers from anemia and swollen veins in her tongue. Clearly what she was doing was not good for her health.

But what interests me is the fact that the article seems to focus on the badness of Chicken McNuggets as opposed to what was really wrong with Irvine’s diet: she was eating only one thing and had done so for fifteen years.

In many ways, what shocks me the most about this story isn’t that eating nothing but Chicken McNuggets is bad for you, but the fact that she managed to get along on that and so very little else for so freaking long.

Even proponents of fad diets based around a single food, such as grapefruit or cabbage soup, only recommend you stay on them for roughly a week at a time and then stop for at least a couple weeks. For my money, that’s a great big flashing red warning sign to stay away from that diet. After all, if it were healthy to eat nothing but grapefruit, you wouldn’t have to stop so quickly or give it as long a rest, would you?

In a more nuanced article at CBS News, it’s pointed out that even if what Irvine had been eating every day to the exclusion of all other foods had been something generally recognized as healthy, such as carrots, she would still be suffering ill effects on her health because no single food item can fulfill all of a person’s nutritional needs.

So if you like McNuggets, eat the freaking McNuggets. Just make sure you eat something else once in a while, too. And if you like carrots, eat the freaking carrots… and make sure you eat something else once in a while, too.

It’s not what food you eat that makes it unhealthy: it’s eating only one food.

Variety isn’t just the spice of life. It’s also good for you.

You Asked For It: Corsets for the Big Girl part 1

A corset is a lot like a handgun: Dangerous, powerful and ideally concealed in public spaces.

Unfortunately, you don’t need to be trained or certified before the state says it’s okay to have a corset.

Corsets are not Costume.

I mean, they CAN be, but you don’t need me or anyone else to tell you how to create that awful, desperate Platter O’ Boobs effect. So, just for the sake of my head not splitting in half with two even more judgmental pieholes growing in its place, let’s just forget corsets as costumery and focus on them as a piece of specialty shapewear.

For the purpose of this article, I’m going to define a corset as a piece of boned lingerie with laces that can be used to minimize the waist by at least 3″. I say that because there are a lot of cinchers, high-waisted girdles and other usually latex or rubber-intensive shapers that call themselves corsets.

Of course, if I learned anything from living in the DC metro area during the Clinton years, there’s boning and then there’s boning. A good corset has steel boning or something with the equivalent flexibility and control. Flimsy little plastic or fabric “bones” are less than useless, because not only do they NOT work most of the time, they’re also likely to roll on you (more on that later).

The two main mistakes I see big girls in corsets make (aside from the Platter O’Boobs) are wearing corsets that are the wrong shape for their body/the outfit and lacing the corset too tightly.

If you are very large-busted or tend towards the floppy, you want a corset that ends under the bust. Cleverly known as underbust corsets, they allow you to wear your own bra and avoid the POB look. They’re also my corset of choice because overbust corsets can ruin the side profile by making less-than-ginormous funbags look flat.

You should also consider the length of your torso.

I’ve got a long waist and a standard corset is usually too short for me, which leads to an incredibly alluring reverse muffin top where all the fat sploodges out the bottom. I usually fix that by wearing some manner of high-impact girdle so my hips and gut don’t burst forth like the mighty kraken, hellbent on destroying all in its path, or at least the lines of my outfit which –let’s face it– is more important.

A longline corset is the way to go if you want your lower stomach and hips to get some smoothing action as well.

They’re a bit more difficult to maneuver in and generally a little more expensive, but if you’ve laced yourself properly they’re no big deal.

If you’re quite short-waisted, a standard-length corset will probably work as a longline and if you want something for your waist only, look for a lace-up cincher instead of a corset.

Now the lacing.

It is so easy, not to mention tempting, to go overboard with the lacing.

But friends, the fat has got to go somewhere and when you over-lace not only does it look weird, disproportionate and fetishistic, you are almost guaranteed a nice bulging set of backfat puppies popping out of the top and bottom of your corset. Fabulous if you’re a dowager empress, not so great for the rest of us. Keep the laces at the top and bottom of your corset nice and open, focusing on creating a gently exaggerate curve, not overzealous Gibson Girl Gone Wild.

Monday I’ll have a selection of corsets I recommend as well as answering a few more questions about this seemingly most difficult piece of underwear. Until then I am being forcefully beckoned to Plumcake Central Command (my hammock) for an important meeting (a nap followed by a gin and tonic) before tonight’s busy schedule of…probably nothing.