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Applying Mascara with No Must/No Fuss
Packing for your Summer Vacation
40 Ways to Relax in less than 5 mins
Do you have trouble establishing healthy emotional boundaries?
DIVA D'S MONTH TO MONTH GUIDE FOR SHOPPING

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AS DIVA D SEES IT!

Applying Mascara with No Must/No Fuss

Mascara is the secret. On the days when I feel like I’m pressed for time to put on any makeup, I usually go for a nude lip color, eyeliner and a mascara. 






This is extremely simple to throw together. Mascara makes your eyes look brighter and full of life, and the lip color adds a little color to your face. You can even do this on the way to your destination! All you need is half a minute or so and you will look put together!

And even when you’re going all out on your makeup, the final touches with a mascara will complete your look. At the same time, an improper application can ruin your look. If your mascara is clumpy, uneven, or smudged – it may end up looking appalling rather than appealing. 

To avoid this, read on.

Before we head over to talk about the actual mascara application process, let’s take a look at the products you will need to apply mascara like a pro.
You Will Need

  1. Your favorite mascara
  2. Primer for the eyes
  3. Eyeshadow (of your choice)
  4. Eyeliner
  5. Clean mascara wand
  6. Lash curler
There a few things that can be followed before applying mascara if you’re looking to achieving the full look.

Steps To Be Followed Before Applying Mascara

Step 1: Picking The Right One

  • Color: Even in mascaras, there are different colors so find the one which suits you best. The popular option is black since this tends to open up your eyes more and makes them look bright. However, if you have blonde hair, then a brown mascara will make it less ostentatious.

  • Waterproof: Another important determining factor to consider is if you are around water or are prone to excessive sweating. Or even if you are just looking for something to really stay all day! Make sure to invest in good makeup remover which is gentle on the eyes because the waterproof mascaras require some work to get off.

Step 2: Prep and Prime
  • It is necessary to prep your eyes before you begin your makeup application. Always start off with cleansed eyes. Oil or grime can ruin your look, even before you have begun. So make sure to remove all traces of old makeup, and follow up with a toner and a moisturizer.

  • An eyeshadow primer is really important, for it creates a base for your makeup and ensures that your eyeshadow lasts long and stays crease-free. So after moisturizing, apply a primer to your eyelids.



Step 3: Eyeshadow
Proceed to apply an eyeshadow of your choice. To make your lashes the focus, make sure that you stick to a neutral color palette.



Step 4: Liner
Now that you’ve applied the eyeshadow use an eyeliner to line your eyes the way you like. You may decide to draw a thick or a thin line. This totally depends on your preference as well as the kind of look that you are going for.



Well, those were the steps required to prep yourself before getting to the actual mascara. 

How To Apply Mascara Perfectly?
Here comes the step by step procedure on how to put on mascara perfectly:

Step 1: Curl Your Lashes

Now comes the mascara part. It is necessary to choose the right kind of mascara for the kind of look you are going for. Daytime to evening – there is a mascara that goes with just about any occasion.


Step 2: Get The Product On The Wand

Taking the tube of mascara, swirl the wand around to coat the bristles with the mascara properly. Make sure you’re not pumping your wand into the tube repeatedly. This pushes air into the tube and makes the mascara clumpy, and it dries out faster.


Step 3: Coat Your Lashes!
Starting at the roots, apply the mascara with a wriggling motion. This ensures that there is more volume at the roots, and your lashes don’t feel weighed down.

Step 4: Do the same for the lower lashes.
Since they tend to be sparser and smaller, you might even opt for an altogether different mascara, or switch over to a wand that has smaller bristles.


Step 5: Brush Out The Clumps
If you have lashes that are sticking together or have clumps of mascara on them, you can comb them out with the help of a clean wand.

Side Note 

It is necessary to choose the right kind of mascara for the kind of look you are going for. Daytime to evening – there is a mascara that goes with just about any occasion.

Starting at the roots, apply the mascara with a wriggling motion. This ensures that there is more volume at the roots, and your lashes don’t feel weighed down.

If you have lashes that are sticking together or have clumps of mascara on them, you can comb them out with the help of a clean wand.

Let the mascara dry for a few minutes. Now use the lash curler again, for added curling. This step is optional. You can go for it if you are not satisfied with the volume the mascara gives you.
  • For most of us applying a single coat of mascara is our only move. But you can add that extra “oomph” by wiggling it. 



Yes, open your eyes wide and wiggle your top lashes’ tip with a mascara. Remember, only the top and not to the whole of lashes. Let it dry completely. Once done, wiggle your mascara through the entire body of the lashes—that is from the roots to the tip of your lashes. The extra mascara at the tips lifts your lashes outward and lengthens them, which adds on to the glamour of your eyes.  A well-defined base, what else do we need?




Now All Eyes on you!






Packing for your Summer Vacation

Heading to the Sahara without a hat? You'll be up the creek without a paddle? Avoid a vacation disaster with our travel checklist and packing tips.



With your flights and hotel booked, the luggage is the last thing stopping you from that great holiday. 

We know it feels like a chore, but if you follow our expert packing tips you’ll never have to worry.


1. Make a list
Ok, so it sounds a little boring, but idiot-proof lists are the gateway to a stress-free holiday. 




Separate your essentials from your desirables, and be realistic with your luggage limitations. 
If you need list inspiration – the following might be a good place to start…

2. Don’t forget the first aid kit
We’re not asking you to prepare for ER, just a small bag with the most necessary pills and medicine you might need. After all, nobody wants to suffer a punishing headache, high-climate fever, upset stomach or all three during a holiday. 

It might be easy enough to pick up a domestic remedy for your ailments at home, but medicines in the country you are visiting may be limited to prescription only. The same goes for allergy meds and asthma remedies – bring them on board!

3. Limit your liquids
We all know about it by now, and yet there’s still a mass confusion and hold-up when some chancer tries to sneak a bottle of water past airport security. 

Much to everybody’s chagrin, most airlines baggage restrictions states that all liquids carried in hand luggage, If you’rechecking a bag, make your life simple by packing liquids in your checked baggage. That way, you don’t have to worry about the liquids rules. You’re allowed to take as many 3.4 ounce or smaller sized containers that will fit in one sealed, clear, quart-sized zip-top bag – and one bag per person. Make sure you take the zip-top bag out of your carry-on prior to sending it through the X-ray. If you’re carrying anything larger, stow it with your checked-in suitcase.


4. Name tags are there to help
Unless you’re an international man of mystery, you shouldn’t have to worry about travelling incognito. Most suitcases come with name tags fitted as standard, so be sure to fill them in just in case you – or the airline – lose your luggage!

5. Observe restrictions on baggage
If your airline says: “25lbs”, then they mean "25lbs!" Weigh your bags before you get to the airport and make sure you are within the restrictions, otherwise you’ll be forced to cough up extra cash at the airport or, even worse, have to say goodbye to that lovely hand-knitted cardigan your grandmother spent so long slaving over. We’ve all tried to squeeze that extra pair of pants in the already overstuffed suitcase, but the restrictions are there for a reason, and that reason is your safety. 
                    Which reminds us…

6. Save bag space for all your holiday purchases
Whether it’s duty free goods or holiday mementos, it’s inevitable that you’ll be bringing more back home with you than when you left – so make sure you have room for it!

7. Skip the shoes
The biggest and most frustrating item of luggage. 



How many pairs of shoes you should take is very much dependent on how long your vacation might be, but we’d suggest that three pairs is a reasonable average for a 1-2 week getaway. More important than volume is versatility, so make sure you’re not stuck hiking in stilettos by bringing a pair of shoes for every realistic occasion of your trip. Wear your most cumbersome pair on the plane – plus, stuff your socks in the rest – and you’ll save even more space.


8. Cosmetics – at a minimum!
Unless you plan on travelling to a desert island, it’s likely that you’ll be able to pick up popular shampoo or sun lotion brands in almost any corner of the world. Fewer cosmetics also mean that you’ll be less likely to find an explosion of nondescript gooey liquids spoiling everything in your suitcase when you arrive at your destination. If you really can’t live without that special face cream, try to take only as much as you’ll need for your trip and nothing more. That way you can discard the empties and save extra luggage room for your trip back home.

9. Keep on rolling…
This tip is certainly up for debate, but we think that rolling your clothes really is the only way to go. Not only will it reduce those pesky wrinkles and creases in your gear, it’ll save you some much needed suitcase space.


10. All valuables go in hand luggage
It’s rare that airlines lose luggage these days, but why take the risk? Stay safe and stow all your expensive luxuries – from your camera to your diamond engagement ring – in hand luggage.

11. Don’t forget the adapters
If you do need them, save on the crazy airport prices by buying them ahead of your trip.


12. Pack all-rounder fashions, not eccentric statement pieces
You might want to pack that banana costume for your trip, but is it really necessary? Fancy dress or no, this is a question you should really ask yourself when pressed for suitcase space. Pack great all-rounder attire and a classy evening outfit, but leave those outlandish statement pieces for a night out at home.

13. Be delicate with your delicates
If you have to pack any china plates or glass goods, wrapping them in bubble wrap or in-between clothes and putting them right in the middle of your case is safest way to make sure they arrive with you in one piece.

14. Categorize your clothes
Pack clothes in groups: that means shirts with shirts, pants with with pants -it’s easier to find what you need and unpack on the other side.

15. Pack a mini closet in your hand luggage
Not literally, of course, but it’s always a nice idea to add a clean set of underwear and a garment in your carry-on bag, in case of your luggage being lost in an aeroplane mix-up.

16. Don’t predict the weather – check it
Depending on where you’re going, weather forecasts are either your holiday’s best friend or biggest foe. Come rain or shine, meteorologists will always give you the best idea of what weather to expect on your holiday. Check the day before you fly and pack accordingly, and save room for that trusty pac-a-mac or umbrella you hope you’ll never have to use.

17. No on-board manicure
Tip for the well-groomed flyer: if you’re thinking about carrying a nail file, scissors, or any other sharp primping tool in your luggage – give up the idea! They are prohibited and airport workers will ask you to get rid of them.

18. The most necessary things go on top
If you believe that a particular thing can be useful to you very soon (perhaps at the airport), for example, a jacket – put it on top. Very obvious advice, but perhaps it’s so obvious that you’d be bound to forget otherwise!

19.  Towels?
Towels! Yet another pesky space-filler you need to think long and hard about whether you actually need. Check ahead of time to see if your holiday accommodation will be providing them (they probably will) and pack accordingly.


20. Strip at airport security
It’s unlikely you’ll be asked to strip down to your undergarments, but it’s possible that you’ll be asked to undress a bit as you go through to the terminal. This usually means taking shoes, belts and jackets off, and removing any jewellery or metal goods. Travelling with a laptop or tablet device? Be prepared to present your gadgets to the friendly security staff too.

21. Don’t leave home without the essentials
This penultimate tip is a big one as, without these necessities, you won’t be heading anywhere but home: check and check again that you have your monies, a valid passport and – for the sake of your holiday companions – a toothbrush. Keep these all on hand and then you’ll be able to remember the most important thing…



                                         Enjoy your vacation!











 

40 Ways to Relax in less than 5 mins

50 new emails, where everyone wants you do handle thier issues now and not later. You just got out of the Atlanta Rush Hour(s) traffic. Your coffee is now cold and your boss is asking where is the report you were suppose to have on his desk first thing this morning. When we’re feeling frazzled, a weekend at a beach resort might be just the thing to calm our nerves but, sometime there isn't time to go to beach. Luckily we’ve rounded up 40 ways to relax and relieve stress in just five minutes or less. From sipping tea to trying some pranayama breathing, all these tactics can create calm during tough times.

Food and Drink

1.Sip Green Tea: Instead of turning purple with rage, get green with a cup of herbal tea. Green tea is a source of L-Theanine, a chemical that helps relieve anger. Boil the water, pour it out, and take a soothing sip. 
2. Nosh on Chocolate: Just a square (about 1.4 ounces) of the sweet stuff can calm your nerves. Dark chocolate regulates levels of the stress hormone cortisol and stabilizes metabolism











3. Slurp Some Honey: Replace stress with sweetness and try a spoonful of honey. Besides being a natural skin moisturizer and antibiotic, honey also provides compounds that reduce inflammation in the brain, meaning it fights depression and anxiety.
 


4.Bite Into a Mango: Take a tropical vacation without leaving the desk chair. Use a five-minute break to peel, slice, and bite into a juicy mango, which packs a compound called linalool that helps lower stress levels. Don’t fret about the juice dripping down your chin—the stress relief is worth the mess.

 
5.Chew Gum: Minty, fruity, or bubble-gum flavor, a stick of gum is a surprisingly quick and easy way to beat stress. Just a few minutes of chewing can actually reduce anxiety and lower cortisol levels.



6.Munch a Crunchy Snack:
Sometimes there’s nothing more satisfying than munching away on a candy bar when we’re stressed—one study found stressed adults craved crunchy and salty snacks more than usual. But that salty crunch doesn’t have to be so sugary—a handful of trail mix or a bag of celery sticks will work just as well.









Inner Peace

7.Meditate:
No need to go on a retreat to the mountains—five minutes of peace is all it takes to reap the benefits of meditation. There’s evidence that just two quick bouts of silent meditation per day can relieve stress and depression . Find a comfortable spot in a quiet place, concentrate on your breath, and feel those anxieties start to disappear.



8. Lay Your Head on a Cushion or Pillow
There are days when all we really need is a nice, long nap. But it’s not always possible to start snoring in the middle of the office. If you’ve got a pillow, you’re already on the road to relaxation. Try this visualization technique: Lay your head down for a few minutes and imagine the pillow is a sponge sucking up all your worries.

9. Remember to Breathe:
Is there any simpler way to relax? Slow, deep breaths can help lower blood pressure and heart rate . For the fancy noses out there, try pranayama breathing, a yogic method that involves breathing through one nostril at a time to relieve anxiety. The technique’s supposed to work the same way as acupuncture, balancing the mind and body (and possibly eliminating the need for a tissue).

10. Try Progressive Relaxation:
Anxious? Just squeeze, release, and repeat. Progressive relaxation involves tensing the muscles in one body part at a time to achieve a state of calm . The method (also used by actors) is a great way to help fall asleep.



11. Count Backward
Nope, it’s not an IQ test, but it is a way to relax. When worries are running rampant, try slowly counting to 10 and then back again to calm down. It’s harder to freak about an upcoming date or job interview when you’re busy remembering what number comes before seven. (Hey, kindergarten was a long time ago.)


12. Use Creative Visualization:
The doorbell rings. It’s Ryan Gosling (or Elizabeth Banks), and he/she wants to know if you’ll marry him/her. “Yes!” you shout and then—sorry, time’s up. These little daydreams, also known as “creative visualization,” involve thinking of something that makes us feel happy. It’s an instant mood boost on hectic days when we’re feeling tense.

13. Close Your Eyes:
James Taylor said it: You can close your eyes, it’s all right. Take a quick break from a busy office or a chaotic household by just lowering your eyelids. It’s an easy way to regain calm and focus.

Total-Body Relaxation

14. Give Yourself a Hand Massage
When there’s no professional masseuse in sight, try doing a hand massage for instant relaxation that calms a pounding heart. Massages can be especially helpful for people who spend a lot of time typing on a keyboard. Hands in general can carry a lot of tension. Apply some luxurious lotion and start kneading the base of the muscle under the thumb to relieve stress in the shoulders, neck, and scalp.


15. Try Acupressure:
Pressure to meet a deadline can be stressful, but acupressure can help release all that tension. Acupressure’s a kind of touch therapy that works by balancing the circulation of fluids and energies in the body. Use the thumb and forefinger to massage the soft area between the thumb and index finger of the other hand. Dab on some lavender oil for extra relaxation.
16. Rub Your Feet Over a Golf Ball:
Leave the clubs at home and just bring the ball. You can get an impromptu relaxing foot massage by rubbing your feet back and forth over a golf ball
.















17. Squeeze a Stress Ball:
On days when you want to strangle a coworker, your BFF, or the driver in the next lane, squeeze a stress ball instead. It’s an easy, portable, and non-violent way to relieve tension.







18. Drip Cold Water On Your Wrists:
Pass on the perfume and go with water. When stress hits, head for the bathroom and drop some cold water on your wrists and behind your earlobes. There are major arteries right underneath the skin, so cooling these areas can help calm the whole body.










19. Brush Your Hair
Really, it looks like a rat’s nest. Even if you’ve already done your 100 strokes for the day, repetitive motions such as running a brush through your hair, washing dishes, or knitting can cause the body to relax.


New Environment

20. Be Alone:
Not everyone needs a cabin the woods, but five minutes of alone time can help you collect your thoughts and clear your head.



21. Create a Zen Zone:
Hiding in a bathroom stall might not sound calming, but do make (or find) a space that’s completely free of stress where you can go to relax. Set up a comfortable chair or light some incense and disappear there for a few minutes until the tension dissipates.

22. Find the Sun:
Here comes the sun—and some stress relief. If it’s a sunny day, head outside for an easy way to lift your spirits. Bright light can be an effective treatment for people who suffer from depression, and can even cheer up otherwise healthy folks .










23. Look Out the Window
No spying on the neighbors allowed. When things get hectic, take a five-minute break to do nothing but stare out the window. Looking at nature scenes like trees and public parks can be a lot more relaxing than staring at the TV screen.



24. Get Organized
A stack of papers, three tape dispensers, a bunch of misshapen paperclips: All this clutter could be contributing to stress. Take a few minutes to reorganize your desk (or table, or wherever you are), leaving just what you need on top.




Exercise

25. Do Some Yoga
Put your feet up—against the wall, of course. The Vipariti Kiraniyoga pose involves lying on the floor and resting the legs up against a wall. Not only does it give the body a good stretch, but it helps create peace of mind, too .

26. Stretch:
Standing up for a quick stretch can relieve muscle tension and help us relax during a stressful workday . Why not try a shoulder roll-out or a chest-opening stretch right from the desk chair?



27. Run in Place:
We may not be able to run away from stress, but it’s worth practicing. Try running in place for a few minutes to get those endorphins flowing. Even brief physical activity can help beat stress.










28. Take a Quick Walk
“Now walk it out, now walk [stress] out.” When you’re feeling overwhelmed or having trouble concentrating, go for a quick stroll around the block. You’ll get the benefits of alone time, physical activity, and a few minutes to gather your thoughts!



Entertainment and Creativity

29. Write It Down:
“Dear Diary: Today I feel STRESSED.” Just putting our emotions on paper can make them seem less intimidating. Try journaling before a big exam and it just might improve your score.


30. Listen to Your Favorite Song:
Beyonce, Blondie, or the Amel Larrieux, sometimes belting out the lyrics to a favorite tune makes everything seem all right. If you’re in a public place (that isn’t the opera), just listening to music can be a quick fix for a bad mood . Classical music can be especially relaxing right before bedtime.



31. Dance:
To the music! Research suggests people feel less anxious after a few months of modern dance, but if that’s not your style, five minutes of the funky chicken probably works, too . (At the very least, dancing’s a great form of cardio!)










32. Do a Crossword Puzzle:
Number 10 across: Anxious, overwhelmed, or freaking out (seven letters). If you guessed “Stressed,” you’re in good shape to try some crossword puzzles. Brain games that require lots of concentration can help take our mind off whatever’s worrying us .





Smells

33. Smell Some Flowers:
Really, stop and smell ’em. Certain odors can change our mood, and it’s hard to feel angry or upset with a nose full of roses . Keep a fresh jar of your favorite flowers near your workspace or in the living room, and take a whiff whenever anxiety strikes.

34. Try Aromatherapy:
It takes just a minute to drip some lavender, tea tree, or another essential oil into your palm and inhale. The soothing scents may help send stress and anxiety packing by stimulating smell receptors in the nose that connect to the part of the brain that regulates emotions .











35. Sniff Citrus:
Orange you glad you’re not stressed? The smell of citrus can help us relax by increasing levels of the stress-related hormone norepinephrine.




36. Nose Full of Coffee:
Wake up and smell the latte. Just the odor of coffee can help reduce stress hormones—no sipping required . (Just be sure not to burn the tip of your nose.)





Socializing and Fun

37. Cuddle With a Pet:
A boyfriend or girlfriend is okay, but they’re (usually) not furry enough. After a rough day, snuggle up with a pet for an instant slobbery smile, since pets can boost self-esteem and even ease the sting of social rejection.



38. Laugh:
Stressed? Me? Ha! Laughter’s one of the sillier ways to beat stress, but there’s science behind it . A fit of hysterics can increase blood flow and boost immunity. Keep a book of jokes handy in the desk drawer or check out a hilarious YouTube video (maybe a piano-playing pug?) for a quick pick-me-up.



39. Talk to a Friend:
When something’s really bothering you, it can help to share your feelings with a pal. In fact, more talkative folks tend to be happier in general . So vent to a coworker or call a close family member and spill.





40. Start Planning a Vacation:
Crashing waves, warm sand, a gentle breeze ruffling your hair. Well, at least the image is nice. Take a break from work and start browsing the web for some future vacation spots. Sometimes the whole fun of a trip is in the planning, anyway.

You don't have to do them all but, do something that will help you relax!

Do you have trouble establishing healthy emotional boundaries?

Take a moment to answer the following questions adapted from Charles Whitfield’s Boundaries and Relationships: Knowing, Protecting and Enjoying the Self.

Answer with “never,” “seldom,” “occasionally,” “often,” or “usually.”
I feel as if my happiness depends on other people.
I would rather attend to others than attend to myself. 
I spend my time and energy helping others so much that I neglect my own wants and needs. 
I tend to take on the moods of people close to me. 
I am overly sensitive to criticism. 
I tend to get “caught up” in other people’s problems. 
I feel responsible for other people’s feelings.



If you answered “often” or “usually” to the above statements, this might be an indication that you have trouble establishing healthy emotional boundaries.

Like me, you’re probably extremely affected by the emotions and energy of the people and spaces around you. At times, it can be incredibly hard to distinguish between your “stuff” and other people’s “stuff.”
It is incredibly important to establish clear emotional boundaries, or we can become so overwhelmed and over stimulated by what’s going around us that it’s sometimes hard to function.


Here are a few ways to begin the process of establishing healthier emotional boundaries.
1. Protect yourself from other people’s “stuff.”

I can feel when someone is violating a boundary because my body tenses up. I realize that my breathing is very shallow. I feel trapped, small, helpless.

The first thing I do is to remind myself to breathe. The act of focusing on my breath centers me and expands the energy around me. In this space, I can think and act more clearly.











When I feel myself becoming too overwhelmed, I try to immediately remove myself from the situation. Sometimes all it takes is a couple minutes to walk away and regain my balance. Other times, I have had to make the decision not to spend time with people who consistently drain my energy.


Having a safe space to retreat, practicing mindfulness and meditation, or visualizing a protective shield around yourself are other methods that can help restore balance when boundaries are invaded.


Find out what works best for you.

2. Learn to communicate your boundaries in a clear and consistent way.
For many, this can be the most difficult part of the process for various reasons. We don’t like to appear confrontational. We’re afraid that if we clear set boundaries for ourselves, the people in our lives will begin to resent us. However, learning to communicate boundaries effectively is necessary for healthy relationships.
I’m not comfortable with that. 
It doesn’t feel good to…
I’m not okay with…
I appreciate if you wouldn’t…
Please don’t…


If you cringed at the thought of using any of these phrases, you’ll be relieved to know that communicating your boundaries doesn’t always have to be with words. You can also effectively communicate through the use of non-verbal.



Closing the door, taking a step back, shaking your head, or signaling with your hands can be less threatening ways of letting others know what you will and won’t accept from them.







3. Be patient with the process.
When I first realized that I was taking on the negative emotions of my friend, I became extremely resentful and disgusted with her. Instead of taking responsibility for my role in allowing this dynamic to occur, I blamed her for every negative thing that had happened in my life.


I closed myself off from her and shut her out completely. Our relationship became incredibly strained during this time as we both readjusted to the new boundaries I was setting.


Eventually, I was able to allow her to have her own emotional experience without making it about me. I could listen and no longer become enmeshed or feel obligated to do something about what she was feeling.



Whenever you change a pattern, it is natural to feel resistance from inside as well as outside the self. As you practice, your ego may start to act up and make you feel like you are “wrong” in establishing boundaries.
Others may also become resentful of your new found assertiveness. 



They may be used to a certain dynamic in your relationship and any change has the potential to cause conflict.


Remember to be kind to yourself through the process and repeat the following affirmation:
I respect and love myself enough to recognize when something isn’t healthy for me, and I am confident enough to set clear boundaries to protect myself. 


How do you take care of yourself?




DIVA D'S MONTH TO MONTH GUIDE FOR SHOPPING

Online shopping can be a crap shoot. There few websites that tells you that the blouse you are buying will be n sell (cheaper) in a couple days. If you are like me, you always see that very item for less after your 30 day price guarantee. Shopping can be scary, especially for The "Curvier" shopper because some of the size sell quickly. But, not if you know how to do it right. Here's how a fashion girl can catch a break:

January: Go ahead, buy it. The merchandise left over from the fall/winter sales and pre-fall hangers-on get marked down by 70%. Sounds amazing, right? Well, here comes the downside: the sizes (18 - 22) are almost always sold out. Waiting to get something on clearance is only really helpful if you wear a size 12 pant or a 6 shoe. However, it can be a great source for getting a great deal on things you never knew you wanted.


February/March: Visualize it. Even though there's a strong chance that it is colder, this is when spring deliveries start rolling into stores. All of this merchandise is still full priced, however, and will remain so until after Memorial Day. Since the fall/winter runway collections are just being sent down the catwalk, this is a good time to start imagining your wardrobe for next September (maybe even start a Pinterest board?). If you are good at managing your money (I, for one, am not, but that doesn't stop me) you can simultaneously shop for your spring wardrobe and pre-order your fall clothes. Thinking ahead and careful planning are the best ways to ensure you always get what you want.

April: Get a tax break—seriously. By this time of year, all of the seasonal merchandise is in stores, so it's time to start building your spring wardrobe. If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of paying full retail, consider this: April is also sample sale season. There is no promise of what season plus size designers will be unloading in terms of samples, but stock is typically from the previous season and discounts can go up to 90%. It's best to stay on top of when and where your favorite designers are practically giving you clothing. Plus, if you do your taxes right, you get a big refund which you can use to wisely invest in your closet.

May: BUY. Right after Memorial Day, spring merchandise gets marked down by 40%. This is your first opportunity to score anything and everything spring before it starts selling out. And things do sell out very fast.


June/July: Stock up on essentials. Pre-fall is the short commercial season between spring and fall. And pre-fall merchandise is usually the most wearable: black coats, leather pants, and sensible sweaters. It's basically all of the things you need to make sure that you seamlessly get through the fall season. It's also an aperitif for the fall runway collections, which hit stores next month.


August: Buy swim. Spring merchandise is now on clearance at 70% off. Warm-weather fabrics are generally lighter and, therefore, less expensive than their cold-weather cousins. But beware of buying in bulk; you might overspend on swimsuits, t-shirts, and denim that you don't love.


September/October: This is gonna hurt. Right now, all of the runway looks from the February shows are slowly making their way into stores. This is a hard time to shop because fall merchandise tends to be more expensive than spring. (It's also the time of year when you want to reinvent for the next season. It's the New Year of clothing!) There are skins, furs, coats, boots, etc. Not only is this hard on your wallet, but it's also hard for designers to produce these things in bulk so quantities will be low. My advice for peace of mind during this season? Pre-order.


November/December: Make sure you need it. The holiday season yields the first markdowns for fall. The day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday, is your first chance to buy fall at 40% off. If you can hold out until December, and want to be a daredevil in the waiting game, almost all of the major retailers mark down merchandise by 50%-70%.

Also, resort hits stores early November, but unless you vacation in St. Barts, I'd suggest waiting for these flimsier (and often more ornate) styles to go on sale—which they will next August. Resort tends to be the most commercially viable merchandise and therefore represents the longest retail season of all. You will be exposed to resort for longer than any other merchandise from any other season so it typically sells out. The more you see it, the more you want it. So with resort, keep your wish list concise and to the point.

NOW LET'S GO SHOPPING!