Happy Thanksgiving/Support black-owned businesses for Black Friday

sweetvanessaleigh:

The lovely Laura of Tutus and Tiny Hats has created this post of ways to support and be in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, and the #BlackLivesMatter movment in the wake of the Ferguson decision. Among them is a lovely list of Black owned businesses to support instead of big retail chain stores to shop for BlackoutFriday! SweetLeigh is included and I’m grateful for her thoughtful reflection and simple ways to act. Happy Friends, Family and Feasting Day Friends. <3

Originally posted on Tutus And Tiny Hats:

As if we needed another reminder that our country was built by violence against people of color, today is Thanksgiving, which effectively celebrates the genocide of Native Americans. So I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving–because spending quality time with family and friends is important, and because pumpkin pie is delicious–but also a reflective one, one that honors the holiday’s history.

If you were planning to shop at major retailers this weekend, consider supporting black-owned businesses instead, as many black organizations have asked. If you’re looking to donate money instead of, or in addition to, shopping, check out this list of black-led organizations on the ground in Ferguson, and the Ferguson Public Library’s Powell’s wishlist (see this post for the library’s address and purchasing instructions).

Now for the fun part: pretty things you can buy from black-owned businesses, including Boston’s own The Thicky Chicky!

collage of items by black owned businesses

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Black Lives Matter

Boycott SweetLeigh

The Grand Jury decided NOT to prosecute Darren Wilson, the white Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer who shot and killed Black teenager, Mike Brown. The killing of unarmed Mike Brown by Wilson has become representative of the disproportionate killings, incarceration, marginalization and criminalizing of Black people in the United States. The message received is that Black lives don’t matter. But Black Lives DO matter.

Social Media can be a powerful and impactful tool.  If you think that Black Lives Matter, I urge you to say so. And to act. It’s up to you decide what you can do. But for a start you can join the boycott.

#BoycottFriday #BlackoutFriday #CancelCyberMonday #NoJusticeNoProfit #BlackLivesMatter

 

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Sustainable Style: Surburban Sprawl

photo 2 (2)I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. One of many sprawling suburbs of Los Angeles full of single family homes, apt buildings, parking lots and strip malls. Once upon a time the little city I live in – Panorama City, was deemed the “City of the Future.” Like most suburbs of the 1950s and 60s, modernism was its pride and joy. Everything New was the thing, from architecture to the latest technology in appliance or latest trend in dress at great prices, Somehow new became more and “more is better,” became the way people think.  We in our hearts know that it’s not true but everywhere we go, we are bombarded with commercials, personalities and celebrities trying to sell us something all of the time. photo 1 (2) These days it feels like the constant need to buy and have, is eating us alive and consuming US.  I have been a fan of making and reusing instead of buying new for many years now, and even apply it to my micro business SweetLeigh. Instead of creating more waste, I believe in getting creative. And I don’t think that has to be a sacrifice. photo 4 (2) When it comes to “fashion” it can be really hard for people to think about buying less especially we fat girls who have been neglected for so long by the fashion industry. A fashion industry that is now starting to find our dollars desirable and finally providing more options.  Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you stop shopping! I am suggesting that if we got a little choosier  we could positively affect our own wallets, our local economies and the environment! You may have heard of slow fashion. Generally, it is shopping with purpose and shopping with your community and environment in mind. I’m not telling anyone what to do, but here are some of the ways I’ve reduced my buying and embraced slow fashion.photo 3

  • Think before you shop. I ask myself these questions. Do I really need it? Is it worth the expense? Do I see myself using this on a regular basis? If you answered no to even one of the above the questions, then maybe it’s not really worth it!? If its just a passing impulse and I think on it for a few days, I usually find that my excitement has passed. Just consider taking that day or two before you buy.
  • I started sewing my own clothes, choosing the fabric, and making it to my exact body measurements which means that I am more invested in them. They are made to fit my style and body and I will keep them for a much longer time than a hastily bought sale item.

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  • Quality Over Quantity. A massive sale is not attractive to me anymore unless its a sale that has something I’ve been waiting for. Last year I made 2 major closet purchases. The (real) leather jacket you see in the photos here and Dr. Martin 8 hole Lace up boots. I shopped online for months before I found the leather jacket I liked in my size and at the right price. I also patiently waited for the Dr. Martins Boots as well. Both items are forever items. They will be wearable, work with my  style and varied moods, and last a long, long time. Totally worth it!
  • I first shop at thrift shops when I am looking for a particular item. 60% of the time I find what I’m looking for or find something I can ReFashion into what I am looking for – like the large sized chiffon skirt I up-sized and am wearing in my editorial.  If sewing and getting crafty isn’t your thing, shop your closet first! Take some time to see what it is you really have every season. Maybe you should Take that shirt and skirt you never wear to the tailor and have them sew up a brand new color blocked dress. Trust your style and use trends as a guide to get creative with what you already have! As a bonus, you never have to worry about someone wearing the same thing.

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  • Lastly I buy handmade and local as much as possible. I support other handmade business like mine and want to make sure my local mom and pop shops stay open!  I shop at local businesses in my community and support my community of handmade makers, independent designers and artists online for specialty items, supplies or specialty sized clothing. I often find vintage sellers on ebay, and  independent suppliers of regular and vintage notions, patterns and genty worn clothing on Etsy as well. Chains stores and retailers can’t compete with the service and creative spirit of independent artists and small businesses most of the time, and I for one value that.

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Leather Jacket: New Look
Boots: Kelsi Dagger
Sunglasses: Gifted
Leather Cross Body Purse: Thrifted
Tiered Peplum Top: Made by Me, Vanessa Leigh
Skirt: Thrifted & ReFashioned

So, maybe you’ll consider slow fashion or are already doing it! Or maybe you’ll just check out my amazing editorial c/o my iPhone 5c (this year’s big investment) and some guerrilla strip mall selfie magic. We are heading into gift season and I really try to give the gift of time and experiences when possible. Look out for my upcoming small business holiday gift guide. There will definitely be some cool handmade and homemade options! In the meantime consider slowing down your buying and when you do shop, shop small & remember: Local is the new Black

Make: Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup

Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup CoverI Love soups and one of the best thing about Fall and Winter for me is the yummy ease of making one pot stews or soups. Since getting caught in the rain on Halloween I have been fighting off a chest cold that had a bit of a recurrence after I did the Plus Size Market last weekend. Although bearable I have had frequent headaches and sporadic congestion. I have all in all been feeling far too vulnerable and eating to build up my immune system. I came across this recipe on Pinterest for a Pain Relief Tea, its main ingredients being Lemon Ginger and Turmeric. I have been wanting to do a Carrot Ginger Soup for a little while now so decided to add Turmeric and spice up this yummy Winter staple.

The Pain Relief Tea recipe from TransformYourfood.com had this great excerpt on the holistic properties of the spices used.

Turmeric-  Is a natural anti-inflammatory due to its content of curcumin (this gives turmeric its famous orange color). In numerous studies, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin. Unlike the drugs, which are associated with significant toxic effects (ulcer formation, decreased white blood cell count, intestinal bleeding), curcumin produces no toxicity.*  Turmeric may also benefit your digestive system by stimulating your gall bladder to make bile, speeding breakdown of dietary fats.*

Ginger- Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger has also been shown to aid in gastrointestinal issues and very effective in aiding the symptoms of nausea, motion sickness, and sea sickness. *

Black pepper- Due to its analgesic (pain relieving), anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmodic properties black pepper has been shown to aid with poor muscle tone, arthritis, muscle and/or nerve pain. The oils in the black pepper has these properties which is why I strongly suggest you use freshly ground or buy black pepper essential oil. 

I don’t like pain and I Love Ginger, Pepper and don’t mind some Turmeric in the least. My lucky day.

carrot ginger Soup1Recipe:

2lbs of Carrots
3-4 potatoes medium sized (Substitute sweet potatoes if you like)
4 cups of Vegetable Broth
1 cup of water
2 Onions
2 cloves Garlic
1 – 2″ piece of fresh Ginger minced
2tsp Ground Ginger
1Tbsp Turmeric
2tsp Sea Salt
1Tblsp Ground Course Pepper
1 cup of Olive Oil (separated in 1/2 cup portions)
1 Tbsp Butter (Can be eliminated if you prefer a vegan soup)

Optional Garnishes:
Sour Cream/Whipping Cream
Cilantro or Parsley

1.Set the Oven to 375 degrees. Clean and Cut 2lbs of carrots. I made chunky angled slices. I then drizzled 1/2 Cup of Olive Oil on the carrots and poured then onto a baking dish lined with foil. Feel free to omit the foil or use parchment paper if you like.
2. While the carrots are roasting I peeled and diced my potatoes and set them aside.
3. Dice up your onions, ginger and garlic. Add your butter to your Soup Pot and the other portion of Olive Oil on a low medium flame. Now you can add your potatoes, onions, ginger and garlic to the pot. Cook them for a few minutes careful to not let them brown.
4. Once the veggies are soft and translucent add in your turmeric and ground ginger. Now is time to add your vegetable stock.let it simmer and cook for about until the potatoes are soft and then check on your carrots.
5. Your carrots are ready when they can be pierced with a fork and soft through. I let mine stay i a bit longer for a total of about 35 minutes. When ready remove the carrots from the oven and add them to your pot. I added my cup of water, salt and pepper and the roasted carrots and let my pot simmer for about 20 minutes and then turned off the heat allowing the soup to sit and cool off significantly.
6. I then portioned the soup into the blender to puree it into the smooth and creamy final result.
7. I stored each portion in separate containers putting two in the freezer and keeping one free to ciao down immediately.

I am guessing this recipe will serve 12.  So yummy! Another really nice thing about the Turmeric and Ginger is that it cuts the natural sweetness of the Carrots and makes for a hearty dish. Eat well Beauties!

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Untamed Style: Cozy In L.A.

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In Angel City, we went from a wildly hot summer to a very warm fall to finally some chilly sweater weather, and I for one am thrilled about it! It’s feeling like Autumn in New York with less trees, random architecture and more sun. I am so okay with that. I am also psyched to be doing my first official post with the women of Untamed Style! Our theme this month is Cozy and what immediately comes to mind for me is warmth.  To be nuzzled in warm clothes, cuddled up in a warm bed and surrounded by warm hearts is all that I want. I am fortunate enough to have it.

A hot chai with almond milk a yummy burger and girl time with my darling friend Michelle Guerrero-Dennison is about as cozy as it gets. Michelle is the creator of #ZaftigSociety, Queen bee at Zaftig Times and a total Untamed Style Babe! We had a long overdue brunch date and got cozy together with some yummy food, sister talk and good company! All of these fun and gorgeous pics were taken by the beautiful Michelle.

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I do not own any pullover sweaters and my cardigans for the most part are lightweight. I found this amazing (forever wardrobe staple) wool dress at the thrift store early this past summer and went bananas! It had a mock turtleneck which really does not work for me so I cut it off then turned over and double seamed the collar to make it more wearable. It is so warm and my new favorite LBD – that feels like flannels. YES. Me likey. It also marks the first time in a long time that I’ve worn a pencil dress and been 100% comfortable in my second skin. That’s a good feeling!

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Wool Dress: Thrifted
Comfy Boots: Kelsi Dagger
Handmade Scarf: Yokoo Gibran
Cardigan/Crochet Beret: Well worn & Ancient

My Photographer: Michelle Guerrero Dennison. Isn’t she grogeous!? She MADE that awesome scarf!
IMG_4311Photo: Vanessa Leigh
Mandatory Selfies!:

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Check out the posts of our Untamed Style sisters!

Aarti Link!Margot Link!Michelle Link!

VeronicaZadry Link!

Domino Dollhouse Better than Ever!

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I had an amazing time at the Domino Dollhouse Plus Size Market this past weekend. I met so many awesome new people, sold lots of goodies, bought the Domino Dollhouse skirt I’d been coveting for over a year! Not to mentioned scored big from the Domino Dollhouse Closet sale! So good! Tracy is so amazing and I was honored to be asked to join DD for their first +SizeMarket! One of the most exciting things about the event was a sneak peek at the amazing Winter 2014 LookBook featuring Alex LaRosa and Kelsey Olsen. The collection is called Science/Visions. Clearly a fabulous vision.

One of the first people I connected with when I began SweetLeigh was Tracy Broxterman. The owner/designer of Domino Dollhouse and blogger behind ChubbleBubble. I have always admired her alternative designs for Domino Dollhouse and fabulous sophisticated personal style which brings to mind Gareth Pugh, and Ann Demeulemeester. Tomorrow November 14th she celebrates the 4th year anniversary of Domino Dollhouse with her latest collection and one that I think beautifully captures her great sense for fashionable, wearable design and her own amazing personal style which I adore! Happy Anniversary Domino Dollhouse! Congratulations on 4 brilliant years Tracy! xoxoxoxoxoxo

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SweetLeigh x DominoDollhouse’s +SizeMarket!

Domino Dollhouse Pop Up Event!

I am so Pleased to be a part of Domino Dollhouse‘s FIRST Plus Size Market! Join us for a dreamy day of shopping and high femme debauchery! Tess Munster will be there with her #EffYourBeautyStandards Merch and Bloggers Tracy Broxterman aka ChubbleBubble  & Tiffany Kaelin of On the Fatwalk will be doing Major Closet Sales. If you’ve seen these ladies’ style you KNOW how exciting that is! PLUS Domino Dollhouse will be having a major Sample and Clearance Sale and previewing their Winter 2014 Lookbook!

Clearance Sale Sneak Peek +Size Market GlamBeanie ClearanceSweetLeigh will be there selling with new and older stock on clearance between shopping!  Plus Swaps and ReSales of fabulous fashion are a sustainable choice! Support Independent Design and do some sustainable shopping in style! Hope to See you there Babes!

xo,

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CineStyle: Cecil B. DeMille’s Cleopatra (1934)

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Earlier this month I enjoyed a great night at one of my favorite theaters, Sid Grauman’s Egyptian Theater in Hollywood which is one of two theaters run by the American Cinematheque. I adore it for programming classics, contemporary, foreign, blockbusters … Continue reading