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Curvy Expo, Mississauga May 14th, 2016 Discount tickets and Giveaways

Ever look through a magazine, love the look, but feel like, fashion does not cater to the majority of women who hunt for pieces in size 12  and up? Instead of accepting this long standing disassociation between fashion’s offerings and its unlimited market potential, Curvy Expo being held in Mississauga, Ontario, will take the mystery out of fuller figure shopping by hosting curvy-body conscious retailers, all under one roof.

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Meghan Bradley, a top 10 plus size Canadian model, spokesperson, and “fashion for all” advocate is the illustrious director. She is the brainchild behind Curvy Expo happening on May 14th, 2016, from 10:00am to 6:00pm, at the International Centre, Entrance 4, 6900 Airport Road, Mississauga. Her television appearances and interviews to promote this pride in being “the best you at any size” has stirred the media  and proud women to join in this movement towards a healthier, more positive outlook on one’s appearance and importance in society. A professional, fun, fashion forward image is what we all crave. We all want to project our best self, to reflect how good we feel on the inside.

To save money on your entrance fee ticket, go to Eventbrite.ca and find Curvy Expo. When you buy your ticket, type in ADDITC and receive $4.00 off the $27.00 ticket price at the door. There are some ticket giveaways and contests as well which you can follow on the facebook page aptly named, Curvy Expo.

For years, I have had the good fortune to be a plus size model myself and worked many times with Meghan who is a wonderful, enthusiastic, beauty whose success hinges on the fact that she radiates positivity and enjoys empowering women in every project she touches. My spellcheck reveals that positivity is not a word, but that is the only way I can truly describe her, other than someone who is down to earth, real, and a visionary when it comes to this brilliant idea of Curvy Expo. It is my privilege to be a part of this wonderful, evolving movement, so, come say hello to me and sign up for great giveaways at the Curvy Expo booth!

I have long craved fashion shows where you can actually buy what you just saw shown on the runway. The runway shows being held at 12:00 noon and 4:00pm are a great way to see many looks on body types that reflect our own. I have modeled in individual stores where appetizers and drinks were served, and customers were invited to a runway show and shopped immediately afterwards which is a wonderful, intimate, personalized shopping experience. But Curvy Expo is a fast track, short cut to all the fashion Meghan could muster under one roof, and believe me, an even more efficient way to shop.

Be sure to check out Dare Magazine https://issuu.com/daremagazinecanada/docs/dare_spring2016 which Meghan contributes to regularly and will be part of Curvy Expo. The articles and fashion shoots are very inspiring!

Retailers benefit because I personally love to mix and match from different stores, different designers, different price points, to make the look my own. As far as retailers are concerned, I believe this type of shopping experience where we all get together and celebrate our curves and discover ways to combine jewelry, makeup, undergarments, casual, formal, and every day pieces to express our relevance and presence in society is filling a much needed gap in the market.

Liis Windischmann, will also offer her expertise as a fellow plus size model and body love fan of every type of woman at 1:30pm. She too, is an inspiration and successful blogger with unique challenges that never get her down, they only push her to be even more amazing on her blog, Liis on Life. I am equally proud to have modeled with Meghan and Liis in catalogues, magazines and the runways for many of the retailers featured at Curvy Expo. You can say, it will be a bit of a reunion of a plus size movement we have moved with, became passionate about, and want to empower other women to follow suit.

I have had the privilege of modelling for several of the forward thinking retailers that will have clothes available to purchase at Curvy Expo, right on the spot. Pennington’s has been a great account over the years, always treating the customers to fashion shows, and hiring plus size models such as myself for major campaigns, posters, ads and changing with the times to embrace different styles. Two other major players I have modeled for are Addition-Elle and ToniPlus.

I remember a campaign I did where Pennington’s hired me for the whole day, which was a big deal in the plus size booking world at the time, and I had baked banana bread for the shoot. When they passed out menus to order lunch for everyone, I was amazed. It was a pleasure to work with the whole team. No shoot can be successful without a great hair and makeup artist, a fashion stylist, a vision for the shoot, an assistant photographer, great lighting, creative directors and a great rapport between model and photographer.

I loved what the makeup and hair artist, Paul Venoit, had created, when I looked in the mirror. I loved the tailored suits and casual jeans. The enthusiasm and the support from the team helped boost my confidence and ability to perform on camera. I felt like an actress, with a role, to show how the clothes made me feel, convey an air of friendly confidence, I felt empowered and I wanted to make the shoot worth the client’s while. When the posters came out in the store windows, they were larger than life, almost the entire height of the store window! The look was soft, romantic, with a muted, almost Monet background.

MXM, which I love, one of many of the fashion lines you can find in Pennington’s, used to be considered the younger, edgier line of clothing, but many of us enjoy the edgy style, regardless of age. Thank you Pennington’s for having shopping carts which more retailers should provide so we can sling our coat and purse and pile a few things in, rather than getting frustrated trying to carry everything around the store. Now there are so many more celebrities coming up with their own lines of clothing under major Canadian retailers which I am really impressed with! Check out Melissa McCarthy’s line now at Pennington’s.

Addition-Elle will always hold a special place on my first modelling composite card and in my heart. I traveled to Montreal, a fashion mecca in itself, for several shoots for this plus size retail pioneer. It was probably the first time ever, that a plus size model was featured in a campaign with a male model. What a concept! A handsome french male model was handpicked for the shoot, and our pictures were published in newspapers, ensemble! Formidable, avant guarde, and ahead of its time.

On the other hand, so normal! It’s just that, pairing a plus size female model with a male model had never been done before, not to my knowledge anyway. I was nervous, and wanted to do my very best to represent plus size customers, that were having fun, looking good, and living life to their fullest. There was a romantic air about the photos, shot along an ornate staircase, in a theatre, and one shot, from a very high ladder, offering a bird’s eye view of the two of us. The architecture of Montreal’s buildings in the background really gave the pictures a European flare.

My work with Addition-Elle was dreamy, exciting, forward thinking and creative. I will tell you a little secret, the best part of these shoots is getting your hair and  makeup done. Once these artists reinvent you, the confidence just oozes out and boosts your ability to express a sense of fashion satisfaction that is hard to describe. You walk taller, no matter what your height, and there is something in the way that you move in front of the camera which translates into a very special feeling you get while wearing fabulous outfits.

ToniPlus was also an incredible experience where I had the chance to meet visionary Toni herself and also to work with triple threat makeup, hair and photographic artist Korby Banner. ToniPlus has always offered its customers a sophisticated, classic, tailored silhouette. The day shoot gave me some of the best editorial shots I ever showcased in my portfolio. I had just changed my hair to a bob, and my booker at the time failed to convey the message to refresh my highlights. Korby came to the rescue with his chocolate mouse and creative stylings. I felt like a million dollars after he had finished my makeup and hair.

The movie star lighting, the carefully chosen clothes were elegant and with Korby’s guidance my mood  was transformed to one of mystery. Korby said he picked me because of the way I moved during the audition, and I am so grateful for that. I certainly felt wonderful during the shoot, and the pictures turned out very artistic. I remember Liis buying a full length, chic, tailored black coat from ToniPlus for a meeting she had with executives in New York for a pilot show to mentor young modelling hopefuls learning the craft of runway. These pieces stand the test of time, so artfully tailored.

Although I have proudly worked as a plus size model in the Toronto area, Chicago and New York, I certainly am interested in each new collection and fresh new take Canada has to offer as a leader in the plus size fashion market.  I have had the benefit of shopping curvy in Europe, where some countries acknowledge the existence of women size 14 and up, while others are in the dark ages, unwilling to cater to a segment of the population which is more than just niche. Having asked women all over the world deserving of fashion selection in their size, I learned that some have adjusting sewing patterns to make the clothes themselves. Model or not, every woman can look their best by feeling their best, no matter what their size. I know very well that clothes that are a reflection of my personal taste and fit well can give me such a motivational boost and inspire me to enjoy every day.

I am a big fan of all sizes getting a variety of fashion to create a look that is unique. The only way to do this, is for plus size fashion to reflect a variety of designer duds, interesting and ethnic accessories and modern yet comfortable shoes. Kudos to Canada, ever the salad bowl, offering up the  freedom to choose from an ever widening selection of fashion for the majority. I am also excited to discover the newest and latest of retailers to see what interesting pieces I can add to my wardrobe. I am so grateful for these retail pioneers identifying a still not completely tapped market and catering to curvy women like myself. For more information, visit http://www.curvyexpo.com and check out their show guide for a list of sponsors, show times, special guests, and mingle with fashion bloggers and plus size models. Note to all the lovely ladies out there, you do not have to be a plus size model to accomplish the “look” of a model. Don’t let anything stop you from applying any tips and tricks of the trade right after the show.

Shop all in one spot for clothes and accessories and get makeup tips from Cityline guest makeup expert Tracy Peart slotting in at 10:30am, so come early! Two fashion shows at 12:00 noon and 4:00pm are not to be missed. Lynn Spence celebrity stylist,  and enthusiastic commentator will share the latest in fashion trends. Movers and shakers in the fashion industry can pay close attention to the buying power, the desire for great style and the beautiful women that will attend and shop with their mothers, daughters, sisters and friends at this history making event. Now let’s celebrate our curvy womanhood! YAAY!DSC02317

 

 

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What’s Your Cure For Jet Lag?

Photo of Paula Erskine, Photo credit John Vanderschilden

Photo of Paula Erskine, Catwalk to Runway creator, by John Vanderschilden.


What’s your Jet Lag Coping Strategy? Here we review different styles of dealing with short layovers from the newbie to the seasoned traveller. When I first started this flying business, I thought sleeping was over-rated. When am I ever going to shop here, tour here, explore here again? I had places to see and people to meet. Like the modelling, there are only so many years in your early twenties you can get away with not sleeping and showing up the next day all peppy, wide-eyed and refreshed. Jet lag strategies weigh in against layover length. Here is to pursuing happiness, sampling world cuisines and accomplishing short term goals beyond a hotel room.

Old-School: Pretend To Take Back the Circadium Clock

Staying awake after a night flight, dropping your bags in your room, start touring and go to bed at the local time of each country. Awake time ranging from 30-50 hours.

This is considered to be old-school practiced by seniors and the occasional eastern european in the flight biz. Hook yourself up to caffeine intravenously, wear a messenger bag so you don’t leave your belongings anywhere because even the seasoned flight attendants can suffer from serious delireum.

You will likely not be meeting any crew members for dinner. You might not care because you are so senior and you have been everywhere anyway and done everything. You’re that experienced and your air of confidence says you have such a satisfying home life that these layovers are just blips. Room service is your only friend. Yet, you are not lonely. Although you are getting away from it all by being away from home, you actually treasure this selfish act of aloneness. Still, you are a pro and accustomed to shopping while the veins in your legs pulse for help. Even though each night flight to Europe disrupts your circadium clock a few times per month, you still attempt to maintain some semblance of control by pushing your body beyond its limits. You not only seize the day you land in Europe, you pretend you didn’t skip a night of sleep by working it instead. But then, that’s how you appeared in this foreign land, so ultimately, you are fooling no one.

The Determined Keener

1 hour nap, shower and head for the shops in a haze.

Ok, I did a 2 hour nap twice in my life after being awake for 24-30 hours. but I can explain. The first time was my first layover ever in Rome. 35 hours awake was interrupted by a 2 hour nap that did not even put a dent into the level of exhaustion I had reached. With the support of 2 more determined keeners, we trudged our way to the Fontana di Trevi and picked up a gelato to soothe our pain. We mingled with a bicycle team before heading into the Vatican. We ended with a glorious Italian pasta dinner and dragged ourselves happily back to the hotel. 13 hours in Rome well spent.

Cut to Istanbul, Turkey this summer. I was experienced enough to know better. But with yet another 13 hour layover, there was no time to sleep for more than 2 hours. The Famous Turkish Bazaar was across the street and we felt like we were in slow motion. I bought jewellry from an Afghani vendor. His booth was 2ft by 2 ft. He showed me a picture of his baby and he thanked Allah that I had been sent to him. He offered me turkish tea, sweated profusely and adjusted necklaces. I bought a hot pink and gold tea set. My friends bought lots of things too, including spices with a few bugs in them for extra protein. ewwwww. We never made it to the Blue Mosque, our legs parked us for the evening at a typical turkish restaurant where the house specialty served in ceramic was set on fire then is smashed to reveal a delicious stew. Later we dragged our un-sorry selves back to the hotel for some long awaited R & R.

The Secret Sleepworkers

Catch some naps on the plane. Officially, this only works on a deadhead. A deadhead is a flight one takes in civilian clothing, assigned a seat, is a representative of the company and travelling to position for a working flight that day or the next day. Personally, I have never been able to sleep in the upright position. Traditional horseshoe neckpillows can’t seem to keep my neck in check. One time, while browsing through a skyshopper magazine, my friend found a triangular pillow that inflated so you could sling your body onto a stomach style position. Unfortunately, it would arrive in the mail long after my deadhead flight had come and gone. But if you can catch a few zzzzzz on a deadhead, you should be raring to semi-go if you don’t want to waste the day sleeping.

Liquid Oxygen Anyone?

They sell it in some duty free stores and it is sometimes available onboard your flight. Still on the fence about this one, and conducting an ongoing survey. A few years ago, they tried to bring oxygen bars to Toronto and the GTA. I tried it at some soiree and I actually felt refreshed. Casinos pump oxygen in to keep you awake, refreshed and gambling. The cockpit gets 100% oxygen pumped in, so a joke telling session in the cockpit between services can be refreshing on a whole other level.

Middle Ground Jetlagger

A Strong European espresso or latte, after a 3 hour nap. The alarm is pre-set for wake-up success. Reluctantly, I wake up because on a 24 hour layover, I don’t want to be spending the night watching BBC documentaries. Well actually, I do, but not before working a flight. The telly in the U.K. is soooo educational and enlightening sometimes. But I want to see daylight by 3pm. Shops close at 5pm. Marks and Spencer is the last stop with it’s marvelous grocery store as I stock up for the return flight. And I am missing some serious Indian food which is the late night food of choice all over the U.K. This is my kind of layover in a home away from home.

The Princess and the Sleep

A brisk walk after a generous nap, followed by a snack. This is ideal after an 11 hour Greece flight with obligatory layover. Some of this nap can be split with half the time poolside. Fortunately, Greeks eat dinner after 10 pm, and there is no shortage of night life from late night crepes at 3 am to all out night clubbing.

Slam Clicker

Keeping the first day abroad about securing shelter, and possibly a meal they’ve packed from home. Heck-bent on saving that per diem or recouping one’s right to do absolutely nothing. You only see these people on the plane during your shift. But I’ll tell you one thing. They are well rested and evasive about their goings on. Their story is boring at best. Why bother travelling at all. But then, this is just a blip for them. A blip of slam clicks. Can also be combined with a delsey diner.

Delsey Diner

The delsey diner brings food from home, which if used wisely, can save some money on meals out at least the first day arriving in Europe. I have brought many healthy “permitted” foods on flights and layovers and I encourage everyone to do the same. Sufferers of allergies can benefit from packing emergency food for their flights. Maximizing fruits and veggies while away from home base will boost your immune system when you’re running on empty.

When it comes to delsey dining, after more than a day,then you are not exactly getting fresh food and there is plenty of that at the local grocery stores. Don’t try to bring canned fish into Mexico, they won’t even let you bring a tuna pate. Sometimes veggies are taken away or overlooked. European countries are not so threatened by dried fruits, granola and tins of fish. The goal is to keep calm, and don’t get too attached to any of your emergency food items. Bags are often x-rayed and arguing is futile and foolish.

I knew a flight attendant who started her career during Portugal layovers cooking macaroni and cheese, canned food and hot dogs in her room’s kitchenette. I have seen her blossom into a more experimental eater with her favourites from every country. Who knew that the Nederlands was famous for their thick cut fries in a cone with gourmet mayonaise ranging from garlic to curry? Travelling can make you positively the biggest fan of world cuisine.

Delsey dining does not enrich your social life unless you picnic with a colleague in your room. Getting fresh salads from the local grocery and loading it up with grilled barbeque chicken, sundried tomatoes and stuffed olives and sharing stories with a friend is priceless. Flight schedules can fatefully throw you together for a blissful reunion abroad. Socializing on layover with crew or new friends builds and bonds friendships and the good times and laughter will keep you energized even at half-mast. Two of the best friends I have ever had I met in Belfast, Ireland watching bands play to packed houses in the late afternoon.

The Night Rider

Sleep all day after landing, go out all night. Repeat. Been there, done that. Not repeating. But no regrets either. There is nothing worse than the feeling of being sleep deprived for any reason before flying. You’ll do it a few times, and get cured fast. I watched an interview with a “sleep expert” on The Marylin Dennis Show who claimed that naps are not helpful and unnecessary in the course of a day’s activities. Marylin and I were quite surprised by his findings. He never interviewed a flight attendant. Long after a trip, there is nothing more refreshing than an afternoon nap.
And it doesn’t take one long to realize, that if you want to have optimal health and feel great all the time, quality of sleep is what we all talk about when we get together.

Get Cracking

Sleep with the curtains open during the day so I don’t sleep the whole day away. This does not work in Manchester, England. 7 days out of 7 I could not tell if it was dusk or dawn most of the time. Fortunately, there is so much to do there. You just have to trudge through the grey like they do. From museums, to shows to the country-side, that is one place I would never get bored.

This get your curtain cracking method also doesn’t work in Newcastle where luckily you can walk home from dancing in daylight at 3 am back to your hotel room. The night is elusive. So those blackout curtains have to solidly block out the Scottish brightness. Many studies have been shared that indicate darkness is what signals the body to go into recouperation mode.

Meditate to Refresh
Hands facing upward on your lap, meditation 5 or 10 minutes or day will clean the slate of any accumulated negativity within that may be weighing you down. The purist most transformative meditation I have ever tried that helps me balance myself is Sahaja Yoga Meditation. With a free Sahaja Yoga i-phone app or attend a free class or do the free online course http://www.freemeditation.com. Free classes are held world-wide in over 100 countries and it is a great way to evolve yourself, and ultimately mankind. It is like pressing the refresh button on your brain and making room for happiness. As someone who experiences jetlag monthly, it is a wonderful tool for life and happiness. And when given the chance, I visit classes in cities abroad.

What is your cure for Jet Lag?

Caught on Jazz You Tube Video-A Blast From My Past

I appear halfway through this Jazz video by John Stetch filmed in Halton hills. I was wondering where I put that darn vcr tape and when am I going to convert it for old time’s sake, when I thought, “hey, maybe it’s on you tube.” I was hired through a friend and it was a great opportunity to for a few minutes of fame. We did a few fun projects together in film! This was filmed in 1995. The wardrobe? It was a Tristan black dress in a stretchy, cottony, jersey material that has a simple ribbon crossover detail at the front that I cannot bring myself to give away. The dress is in almost perfect condition until now, no pilling, and I wore it upteen times! I was teased for wearing it almost every week! But nothing compared to that dress. Black tall boots were my trademark. I still like how boots can give a feminine shape some edge. Blast from the past. Very glad someone uploaded the video to you tube and that I found it after all these years. Shortly after the video was shot, John Stetch the Jazz pianist went on to play in New York.

Skywalker, Paula Skywalker-Croatia Must See Villages

Skywalking in Croatia-Vrbnik

At the base of the pier in Vrbnik, Croatia, is a heart-shaped cave opening with a secret beach which only stays sunny till mid-day, but is worth passing through the rocky archway. If you have a kayak, or flippers and a floatation board (and you feel confident in the water) you can venture from this beach into the water and around the right bend to another private beach which is harder to access and quite a bit further. My husband found many underwater artifacts there with his snorkel gear. He also got the bends diving too deep without a tank and surfacing too quickly. There is a lesson in there somewhere.

Just off the pier is a small port where the water is quite a bit warmer than the coast. Vrbnik is located in the Bay of Kvarner and is less than 40 minutes from towns on the mainland, the closest being Selce on the border of Crikvenica. Vrbnik is one of my favourite go-to villages built on cliffs. They are famous for their home made “Zlatina” (pronounced with a soft “g,” “glatina,” meaning golden) wine, prosciutto, lamb stew (that graze on salt sprayed grasses), fried sardines and many typical Croatian dishes.

Region? Primorje, on the island of Krk. Krk, (follow the signs Otok Krk), also has the Rijeka airport on it, and the bridge to Krk island is near Rijeka. There is a small fee to cross the bridge. There are many tours offered by boat if you don’t drive that can be booked from Selce, Crikvenica and Novi that I have noted.

Wardrobe? This is a conservative town, so wear your beachwear on the beach. Put clothes on when strolling about town unless you want a Babushka shaking a stick at you in disapproval. I bought my maxi-dress in the store New Look which can be found downtown London, England or the suburbs. Maxi dresses are my favourite wardrobe item! It is a staple item for the summer and is always in my suitcase when travelling south. I keep it in my carry on bags in case my suitcase gets diverted so I have emergency clothing. New Look stores have a regular, tall and plus size section called “Inspire.” I always check them out when I am in their town for jeans and other offerings. A maxi dress with sleeves and long length will not offend when entering holy places of worship. Plus you can wear supportive undergarments without showing your bra strap, and it can double as a discreet “changing room” as you switch to dry clothes in some corner of the beach or boat. Yup, an inventive change-room maxi-dress. Bet you didn’t see that one coming.