Amber Riley’s Coming to theCURVYcon!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

theCURVYcon-logo CeCe Olisa Chastity Garner

Earlier this year, we asked you girls which plus size celebrities you’d like to see at theCURVYcon this summer. We heard one name over and over… Amber Riley.

So we went to work trying to give you girls what you’ve asked for and I’m happy to say, its happening!!!!

Yup! Dancing With the Stars champion and Glee actress, Amber Riley is joining us at theCURVYcon on June 20th in NYC.

TheCURVYcon will be a one day conference where you can shop your favorite online brands in person and actually try clothes on, you can sit in on panels from your favorite plus size bloggers, YouTubers and Celebrities as we have real conversations on confidence, dating, fitness, fashion and everything in between!

Amber Riley will be a part of that as she joins our powerhouse group of speakers including GRAMMY® nominated gospel artist Kierra Sheard, and many top plus size bloggers and YouTubers, including Gabi Gregg, Nadia Aboulhosn, Crissle West, Amanda Allison, Chante Burkett, Essie Golden, Chastity Garner, CeCe Olisa (that’s me!) and many more…

So many of you already have plane tickets, hotels booked and now we’re just counting the days until we’re all together!

If you don’t have your tickets yet, order them here

Amber Riley theCURVYcon CeCe Olisa Chastity Garner

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

How to Let Go of Toxic Friends

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Thank you for all of the positive comments and emails on my last post, “How Kale Smoothies Helped me Quit My Job” I got a few questions about clearing out toxic friendships. Let’s dig deeper into that today and as always feel free to leave your thoughts/advice in the comments!

When I was 12, I wore my half of a “Best Friends Forever” necklace for months after my “best friend” and I stopped speaking. I thought being a good friend meant sticking it out. I thought it meant forgiving and forgetting — no matter what.

I was wrong.

Keeping friends around is not always the best option, and yet I still struggle with knowing when to make up and when to break up.

Why do I feel comfortable ditching a date at the first sign of disrespect — but not a friend who doesn’t deserve my friendship? In an effort to better understand myself and my friendship behaviors, I decided to talk with therapist Bea Arthur of In Your Corner, a website specializing in instant, expert support. As Arthur is also a strong women’s advocate, I figured she’d have some sound advice for me and my friendship woes.

Like me, Arthur understands the necessity of these non-romantic relationships — and our need to prioritize them. She says, “Friendships are very important relationships, because [friends] are people we choose to be in our lives.”

Although I mostly boast amazing, healthy friendships, many of them going back to my childhood, they’re not all so great. And yet, I’ve been holding on to many of them because I’ve been too scared of the alternative. This is where I needed Arthur’s help. I asked her to help me assess my flawed friendships, and to guide me through breaking up or making up.

How to Let Go of Toxic Friends

When To Walk Away
Arthur says “If a friend can’t be behind you, pushing you forward, they can at least stand beside you. If they’re standing beside you being negative, then they need to be far away.”

Walking away from a friendship doesn’t have to be super dramatic, according to Arthur. This is something I admit I was afraid of. The thing is, it’s actually common for two people to have a quiet, mutual understanding when a friendship has run its course. For me and one particular person in my life, it was as simple as “I don’t think I’m going to G-chat her again tomorrow.” In this case, “tomorrow” very quickly turned into “for two years,” and I feel fine about the faded friendship.

If you’re no longer feeling the love, don’t fake it. Instead of the slow death of several back-and-forth “Are you mad at me?” texts, simply say, “After the last [incident that displays a behavior you’re sick of], things feel different, and I don’t know if we have as much trust/respect/things in common as we used to. I’ll miss you, but I don’t want to fight anymore.” When you’re done, you’re done.

Don’t be passive-aggressive and drag it out — because there’s no harm in just quietly ending things. It doesn’t have to end in a big, blow-out fight.

Sometimes, we keep toxic friendships going because of time (we’ve been friends forever!), obligation (she really needs me right now), or even fear (I can’t afford to lose a friend). In my experience, toxic friendships are toxic because they are consistently imbalanced, emotionally draining, and super stressful. When the bad starts to outweigh the good on a regular basis, it might mean it’s time to walk away. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that some friendships can go through a toxic phase and still bounce back. This is something you turn to your gut for.

When To Work It Out
After letting go of a few toxic friends, I felt liberated. The knot in my stomach was gone, and I liked focusing on the relationships that fulfilled me. I had more time and energy for my healthy friendships, simply because I’d let a few of the worse ones go.

But, I wanted to be careful about being too quick to cut out a friend over a disagreement or hurt feelings. Before I got all “friendship scissor-happy” with people I loved and wanted in my life for the long-term, Arthur helped me realize I needed to explore what qualities make a friendship worth saving. For me, loyalty and laughter are huge. If I can laugh with a friend over cocktails, even while our friendship has a toxic cloud over it, then I think that could is just temporary.

How To Get Back On Track
“Time apart in relationships is more common than we realize,” Arthur explains. “Many couples break up, and then go on to get married.” If you’ve taken time away from a friendship, but are considering letting someone back into your life, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Don’t lead with emotions. If you come into a reconciliation with “OMG, I miss you so much!” and you’re met with a decidedly different tone and emotion, the make-up you were hoping for can sour quickly. Clean up old wounds with respectful conversation. Be careful about approaching the reconciliation, especially if it’s coming out of left field.

2. Acknowledge the hurt instead of pretending that nothing happened. Explaining why you walked away in the first place is important in ensuring there’s no built-up resentment.

3. Be sufficiently sorry, instead of vague. If you were the one who put the relationship on hold, don’t say “I’m sorry you feel that way” — say “I’m sorry for hurting you.” It’s generally a good idea to acknowledge the pain that your unexplained absence might have caused.

4. Give it time. It’s a strange feeling to miss someone who has hurt you in the past, so finding out that time apart is natural for many long-term relationships makes reconciliation seem a lot less risky. What makes close friendships strong is that we feel we can let our guards down and be ourselves. However, once a line has been crossed, it can be hard to feel that same ease again. You’ll most likely still feel distance at first, but if you can get past that initial, awkward phase, you may experience a new closeness of having been through hell and back again.

How To Maintain It
Once you’ve reconciled friendships, you need to know how to maintain them — through thick and thin. Arthur worked with me on this, and we came up with some essential points.

1. Argue productively. The goal of any arguement is to get onto the same page. Disagreements aren’t always bad.

2. Look for consistent behavior. The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior; if you know a friend always lets you down in one area, you can then decide to love him or her in spite of it, instead of letting it frustrate you.

3. Acknowledge life changes. Sometimes, people work demanding jobs, fall in love, or have kids — these things will often change friendship dynamics. Try to make an effort to include your old friends, even as life gets complicated and busy.

4. Don’t harp on past pains. If you take the time to communicate about what happened, you can hopefully move on and past it. Bringing it up constantly isn’t going to help the friendship heal.

I hope you, like me, now have a better grasp of how and when to keep, ditch, or restart friendships. Some situations are murkier than others, but mostly, we should follow our instincts.

Read More of my Work on Refinery29 here

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

How Kale Smoothies Helped Me Quit My Job

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Hey Girls,

If you embark on a healthy curves journey, be prepared for your entire life to change.

I’ve spent the past two years or so, sitting at my day job with my stomach in knots. I had great co-workers and an awesome work environment, but I knew I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do.

The life I had and the life I day-dreamed about were completely different and I couldn’t figure out how to transition into making my day dreams a reality.

But one thing I could figure out was making my health goals a reality, so I put my energy there.

My nutrition coach taught me how to replace toxic foods with healthy foods and to my delight my acne cleared up, my menstrual cycle regulated, my hair and nails grew and I released 55 pounds.

What I didn’t expect was that my healthy lifestyle would make me sensitive to anything that was toxic.

Toxic people…

Toxic relationships…

Toxic situations…

I took my healthy curves foundation and slowly found the courage to apply it to every area of my life. I let go of toxic foods and focused on healthy nourishing foods. I let go of toxic friendships and focused on healthy nourishing friendships. Then I began to accept any opportunity that gave me financial stability and also felt healthy and nourishing. I did that more and more and I’m happy to say that I recently let go of my less fulfilling career path and I’m following my dreams full-time.

I know some of you have business ideas that you scribble in notebooks,  or a creative side that you left behind in favor of stability. I know its probably not possible to just up and change your life right this second, but I do believe that its possible over time and I know without a shadow of a doubt that a healthy lifestyle is the foundation to make those major changes.

I would be so honored to stand next to you as you lay your foundation with the #PSPfit girls. The doors for #PSPfit boot camp close Friday April 24th at 11:59pm. Unlock your invite Here

I talk more in detail about my journey towards living my daydream in the video below.

The doors for #PSPfit boot camp close Friday April 24th at 11:59pm. Unlock your invite Here

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

She Took the Stairs. I Cried Like a Baby.

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

During the last cycle of #PSPfit Boot Camp someone left a comment in our private facebook group that had me in tears. Every time I read her post its like a warm hug. I’m going to share that post with you today and when you read it, you will understand the heart of #PSPfit. I’ll let Nadia’s beautiful words take it from here– she says:

Warning: super long post with feelings

Ladies, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for everything. I just finished the last ‪#‎PSPfit‬ call, and I cannot even begin to share with you what this group means to me. As an absent participant from the virtual face
time (I’m international), I figured that I would not be able to get the benefit from the group but I wanted to try anyway and I am so grateful that I did and so honored to have virtually met y’all! Thank you does not seem like enough, and I mean it wholly.

As an Asian girl growing up in the old-school world of thin and marriageable, it has taken me a LOT to be happy with my body.

I was lucky to come into this group after years of learning to accept myself and loving my fashion and style despite its size.

I forced myself to post selfies on IG to try to improve how I saw myself every day. Having a mother who looks like she is 21 who doesn’t hit triple digits on the scales and TWO sisters who are models can seriously mess with your self confidence despite all of the body love in the world.

Loving fashion and following designers obsessively doesn’t help either. I know this. I absolutely wanted to be the healthiest version of myself that I could, and I was just tired of being tired. So I joined this group, in the middle of a challenging professional moment in my life and global travel, I decided I would go for it. All in.

I wandered between meetings and airports in different countries, and I popped into our facebook group to see the encouragement and positivity. On Monday afternoons, I would catch up on the call and find out what struggles you had been going through.

Unashamedly I will admit that the stories of struggle, of fear, of stress, and all of your whys did make me emotional. I frowned, I cried at some of your stories, I laughed every time Abra cursed, and I still always left the call feeling hopeful.

You clearly were able to keep the love and positivity around something most of us do not like to talk about. I remember avoiding a bread basket at work, declining some cheesecake while thinking about this group. Every single decision got easier when I was able to quickly check in here and be part of this uplifting virtual environment. At night, when I only had two hours between meetings, I walked outside into the mountainous outdoors and chilly air and walked because you were doing it with negative temperatures and snowdrifts that I still cannot believe are real.

Eventually I ran a little bit, and a little bit more. Trapped in conference rooms for 12 hours, eating three meals with the same people day in and day out, I had days where I craved many unhealthy indulgences, and I thought back to the meditation guides and grabbed a cup of decaf herbal tea and took cleansing breaths in the 6×6 spaces to stay positive. I challenged my colleagues to 1k steps between major stretches of meetings, and we walked around the top of our building enjoying the mediterranean air, and I thought of this of you with children, with dependents who needed you, who were making the time for this.

One day, I took the stairs all eight flights up and down between every meeting in my work heels because I knew that on the other side of the world, some of you were carrying tired babies up stairs after a long day of work while I had the luxury of just carrying my own self. It was a lot less hard to take selfies, and I even sent one of myself in my workout clothes to my husband, where I usually run like the dickens to change before anyone sees me in them. I actually weighed myself on the airport suitcase kiosk before flights so I knew how I was doing, and once planked through an entire 15 minute meeting in my hotel room. The wall squats during meetings are a lot harder, but I’m working on my time there 😉

I felt stronger and better and like a better version of myself. Not only was I happier and doing better, I was a better friend, colleague, and wife from over 10k miles away and I was excited to see everyone in person again!

My next trip takes me to a place where I don’t speak the language and the food will be more complex to manage, but I feel that I can do it. The learnings from this group and the constant positivity have shown me that if you find a good support family, then you are set. I think I have found that here. Not only am I more fit and 15 pounds lighter, but I also feel emotionally more fit and lighter and I am happy to say that this group has been a huge part of making that happen for me. THANK YOU and I am so honored to be part of your #PSPfit journeys.

-Nadia

Aren’t her words just beautiful? This is the reason we do #PSPfit cycle after cycle. You wont find a more compassionate, committed, caring group of women. We go further on our healthy curves journey because we do it together. I hope that today is the day that you push past your personal hurdles and walk with us.

The doors for #PSPfit Boot Camp Close on Friday, April 24th at 11:59pm. To unlock your #PSPfit Boot Camp Invitation, Click Here

xo

pspfit logo

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

How to Walk Out Bad Dates: 3 Easy Tips

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

So, last week I shared some of my bad dating experiences in this post. I explained that it’s 100% okay to walk out on bad dates, but I realized I didn’t give you girls tips on how to walk out on a date that isn’t going well.

I never felt good about myself after suffering through a bad date. I did feel good about myself when I valued myself enough to end bad dates early. So if you’re in the dating game right now, here are three tips that helped me escape bad dates.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel here

Video Recap:

  1. “Put the Date in Perspective” If we’ve already decided that our entire romantic future depends on the person we’re meeting for a first date, its going to be really hard to walk away. Remind yourself that you don’t know this person, they don’t owe you anything and if they aren’t what you’re looking for, there’s no need for you to waste your time energy and self esteem on whatever nonsense they’re putting you through.
  2. “Keep it Convenient” The more we invest in something, the more we want out of it– that includes travel time. If I take trains, planes and automobiles to get to a date I may stay longer than I want to just to make the trip worth it. I always try to choose date locations that are convenient to my job or apartment so that if I need to leave, its not a big deal
  3. “Make Plans” Have plans with yourself in case the date doesn’t go well. Scope out a movie time or museum nearby (I left a date to go get a manicure and it was perfect). This way if you need to leave the date, you’re not left all dressed up with no where to go.

Dating can do a number on our self esteem, but its up to us to remember how awesome we are, no matter what our dating situation is. You are valuable, your time is valuable and you don’t need to spend time with people who don’t see what you’re worth.

Hope these tips are helpful to you! xo

Subscribe to my YouTube channel here

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

When It’s Okay To Walk Out Of A Date

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Walking into the new, chic bar in Harlem, I had the usual jitters that arrive when you’re about to meet someone you’ve been talking to online. I was nervous — but also excited — to learn more about J.R., the guy I’d been chatting and texting with for a few weeks.

From the moment I saw him (sitting, hunched over his phone, texting), I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I approached him in spite of it. We introduced ourselves, but instead of getting up and heading to the bar with me, he stayed fixated on his phone. After about 20 minutes of this — his phone getting way more attention than me — he excused himself to take a call. You can probably predict what happened next: He never came back. I sat alone in the bar, fighting back angry tears.

CeCe Olisa When It's Okay To Walk Out Of A Date

And yet, from the moment I’d laid eyes on J.R., my instincts had told me I wasn’t walking into a good situation. My Jerk-O-Meter had gone off, and I’d ignored it. Why had I stayed when my gut was telling me to leave? Why had I made feeble attempts at small talk when his body language was clearly telling me he wanted nothing to do with me? Well, I did it because it was the polite thing to do. I let manners trump my instincts. And, I realized with some dismay, it wasn’t the first time I’d allowed my inclination to be considerate overrule my need to stand up for myself.

Related: How to Deal with Rejection

I don’t think I’m alone in this. Women are practically trained to “be nice.” We want to be liked, and so we often act politely — even in the face of someone’s rudeness. Being nice to guys I dated, including ones I knew didn’t deserve it, was something I’d just always done. When J.R. defended his phone fixation with a sarcastic remark and still wouldn’t give me the time of day, I could have — and obviously should have — turned and walked out. But, I kept fighting to be polite. I’m not to blame for J.R.’s bad behavior, but my sitting down and continuing to engage with him indicated that I was okay with how he was treating me, which probably only made him think he could disrespect his future dates, too.

It was this horrible date with J.R. that gave me the impetus to throw my good manners out the window when I deemed it necessary. From now on, I was going to put myself first — even if it meant I had to be a little rude. Enough with the niceness all the time! I was quickly learning that it was not always the best policy. Now, if a date makes me feel disrespected, I have the right — and the obligation — to leave. And, I’m proud to say that’s just what I did the last time a guy I went out with turned out to be a jerk.

Related: Is Online Dating Different for Plus Size Women?

I’d met Pete online, and after some nice email exchanges, we decided to meet in person. Pete picked a coffee shop downtown, which fit my rule about meeting in neutral, safe locations. When I walked in, Pete waved at me, with a smile, from a table in the corner. “What’s up, CeCe!” he said, giving me one of those cool-guy chin nods. I hesitantly sat down. We’d barely said hello when Pete began to talk about himself, non-stop, while also checking out other girls right in front of my face. I looked at my watch (never a good sign during a date), which confirmed that the date had been going on for exactly six minutes. I waited for Pete to ask me something — anything — about myself. But, that never happened.

If this was Pete putting his best foot forward, I’d seen all I needed to. “Actually, I’m going to head out,” I said. “It was nice meeting you!” I picked up my purse and went to get a manicure.

Sometimes, being nice is overrated.

Have you ever walked out on a date? …ever wish you had?

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail