Are you ready to conquer your can’t?

Being the kid who was always picked last for sports teams really left a mark on me. I was the fat kid who couldn’t possibly excel as an athlete. The truth is I loved dancing and basketball. Perhaps if I had an encouraging coach or my peers didn’t pick on me, I would have developed skills that made playing sports enjoyable. Instead, I dreaded gym class so much that at one point I was failing. My dad was so mad at me. He asked how could I fail something so simple as gym!


I was 13 at the time and was self-conscious of my body. I worried that everything would jiggle while running. Because of that instilled fear, I was deprived of enjoying physical activities. Now at 31, I still have that fear of how my body will look like while working out. But, I don’t let that fear stop me anymore.

I developed a great routine. I’d get up at 7AM and head to the gym and do cardio for about an hour. It really got my day going. That was until a horrible break-up in New Year’s of 2017. That really set me back emotionally. I didn’t want to get up and go to the gym. It had been months since I worked out until I started Primal 7 in the spring.

Primal 7 is something I can easily do at home. If I don’t feel like driving out because of the weather or simply because I don’t want to be around people, I have this option right at home.

I was scared initially to trust the bands. I thought there was no way they could support my weight. I am 245 lbs. I was resisting to lean over with the band around my lower abdomen until my trainer said encouragingly, “Don’t worry. The bands got you. You can let go.” The bands are designed for support. I found out more information on their website (see article). They offer 3 different band options with weight guidelines and NOT RESTRICTIONS. This is because Primal 7 wants to encourage people to choose the band that is best for them.

Once I learned to trust the bands, I was able to do moves that I have never been able to do well like push-ups. I hated doing push-ups in gym class. It’s always been something I avoid due to my back pain. With Primal 7, I am now able to do push-ups. First, I lean over with the band supporting me in my lower abdomen. I reach out with my hands to touch the floor and at this position I start to crawl back to straighten out while the band is still supporting me. The band provides resistance so I can push down and up. I inhale while I push down and exhale while I push up at the recommendation of my trainer. Exhaling while I push up offers that boost to help come back up.

Another move I’ve been able to do now is lunges. And, not just any lunges, but a lunge and knee drive. I step into a Primal 7 lean. I like to call this a Michael Jackson Lean from Smooth Criminal. In this position, you are leaning back with the band around your armpits. Personally, I hold onto the green belts from Primal 7 for support. You can use your arms where needed. Take a step back into a lunge, bending the back leg so the knee almost touches the ground. Push into the front foot to return to a standing position and drive the knee back up toward the chest. Do 10 to 12 reps. Switch sides. Repeat.


I may not be able to drive my knee that high. I was wobbling when I took my first lunge on Primal 7 and there are some moves I am unable to do yet. But, that’s okay. Primal 7 is designed to meet the individual at their level and help strengthen. Progress.

And, what inspires me more to continue is the stories of so many people who’ve been sharing their journey with Primal 7. Amber, who goes by @fatforestgoddess on Instagram, decided to give Primal 7 a try after she saw one of my posts. She wrote, “my mobility is at an all time low, and moving hurts ALL the time. Gyms aren’t designed for a person of my weight, and I need an ultra low-impact option to build strength in my lower body.” I can relate so much to Amber’s experience because I have constant back pain. The periods of my life where I had minimal to no back pain were all at times when I was regularly active. I would go to the gym 3-4 times a week, go dancing, go swimming, go walking, and I didn’t feel so out of breath after climbing stairs. And, I want to be in that place again. And, full disclosure, I was still plus-size at those times. You can be plus-size and be active. You can be plus-size and still feel good.

You see the diversity of people represented in Primal 7 because that’s always been their goal. They wanted to create an inclusive community in the fitness world that had been lacking. There were so many times I avoided getting a gym membership, buying a fitness product, or quit a class for yoga, dance, or another physical activity because of how left out I felt. I didn’t feel accepted. I wasn’t represented. Nothing about that community or brand spoke to me. So, where was the sense of belonging? Where was the support? I don’t feel that way with Primal 7. It’s okay to be at my level. There’s no judgement. I can focus on me and my goals.

Are you ready to conquer your can’t?
To try Primal 7, visit https://primal7.com/for-home/ and use code “shelostrong” for a discount.

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I dressed like Selena for a week and this is what happened

I’ve been gordita all my life and I was bullied growing up. I found myself playing make believe at an early age that I was like Selena Quintanilla Perez. I remember dancing to Selena y Los Dinos songs in my room as a little Tejanita with hair brush in hand, boom box blasting Como La Flor.  I would tell myself that one day I was going be like her and that my life would be very different. I just had to wait until I was older and skinnier. Well, I got older and fatter. And, for a long time I hated my body. I hated myself.

I was twenty-seven when I started modeling and it helped build up my confidence. But, I found that after three years of modeling, I still had a lot of work to do on the inside. Taking pretty pictures doesn’t fix everything, it doesn’t make you hurt less. You can only see yourself differently when you change your perspective. Now let’s make something clear, body positivity and self-love are two different things. Being body positive is political and self-love is the individual journey. Here is a brilliant article that eloquently describes it better than I can.

While my belief surrounding fat people and our rights to live freely and happily, including myself, changed, I was still working on my personal journey to self-love. Something that I learned through body positivity was the right to wear what I want despite my weight, body shape, size, height, etc. When Selena’s birthday month rolled around on April 2018, I told myself I was going to pay homage to the Queen of Tejano by recreating some of her most iconic looks. For so long, I thought I couldn’t be one of those super fans that could dress like her because I am not Selena’s body type. Then, I remembered that Selena was a curvy woman. She would have wanted me and so many of her fans to live authentically and embrace the beauty that we are inside and out.

selena quote

And, what happened was magical! The Selena series resonated for many people who follow me on social media, in my opinion, because it felt like the most authentic in a way, a Tejana representing a Tejana. And, that’s powerful.

I thought I could never pull off that purple jumpsuit.  And, I was scared of that low-cut top that showed my bra. It reminded me of that unforgettable scene from Selena, the movie, where her dad, Mr. Quintanilla, played by Edward James Olmos, was like “busti-caca de la menta! Es un bra!” It’s like that in our culture. You get shamed for what you wear as a woman, a plus-size Latina at that because people tell you that you’re too gordita for that, and that’s just caca to be honest.

For a week, leading up to Selena’s birthday on April 16th, I dressed like Selena to challenge this ingrained belief that gorditas can’t wear certain things, but also to show myself that I look damn good doing it too! Sheer tops, bustiers, pleather, midriff showing, you don’t have to cover up because you are a woman or because you’re fat like me. I get to decide what I wear, when, and where.

I strutted my way to the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX for a special screening of the movie Selena on her birthday in my purple jumpsuit ready for my finale. We sang along, took pictures with Selena look-alikes, ate pepperoni pizza, shook our maracas, did the washing machine move, and sang happy birthday to Selena while the room was lit with candles in honor of La Reina.

 

Miss.Shelo

IG: @miss.shelo

Photography: Tommy Kim at tommykim.net

A Little Black Dress For Any Season

The little black dress is a must have for any fashionistas wardrobe, a classic piece for any occasion or season. When you think of summer, black may not be the first color that pops out. But, it should. Black, like white, is a canvas to add color. And, that’s exactly what I did with my Tessa Ruched Dress from Kiyonna.

Kiyonna is a plus-size brand that has curvy women in mind when designing their dresses. This vintage-inspired dress has a romantic feel with ruched sleeves and handkerchief hem skirt that rests beautifully on a curvy body. The ruched waistband creates a beautiful silhouette by cinching at the waist. The ruched sleeves can also be worn off-the shoulder. And, the bonus? This little black dress has pockets!

For a summer night out,  I wanted to keep my look elegant and a little playful with a pop of color. Red has always been my go-to color to add a little splash. I paired the little black dress with a red clutch with rose detail and red tassel earrings.

What’s great about a little black dress is the versatility. You can pair it with black pumps and diamond earrings for an elegant, classic look for a wedding or special event. Slip on some bright, colorful wedges and grab your favorite print clutch for brunch with friends for a chic summer look.

The Tessa Ruched Dress in black is perfect for any season, even summer! And, you can also get it in a gorgeous sangria color or two beautiful floral prints! And, they’re 100% American made. Check it out here.

Be sure to sign up at Kiyonna for exclusive offers and get your perfect little black dress designed with you in mind.

Miss.Shelo

IG: @miss.shelo

Photography: Tommy Kim Photography

This blog and products featured are sponsored. I review them to bring you the best content in plus-size apparel and products.

Sophisticated Curves Box Review

Waiting in anticipation for my subscription box from Sophisticated Curves, I searched the website to get an insight as to what I could potentially get in my box. And, it made me more excited! Brands like Kiyonna, Eloquii, IGIGI, Nordstrom, Lane Bryant, and so many more are available to select.

To get the full experience of the subscription service, I selected the Fashion and Style Box. The box includes: 2 Dresses/Outfits; 3 Fashion Accessories; and Pamper Me Items. Additionally, there are two other boxes available: Fashion Subscription Box and Fashion Accessories Subscription Box. Each respective box comes with options for subscription duration. Check out their amazing options here.

When my box arrived, I was elated. I quickly opened it and found everything perfectly packaged and wrapped in tissue paper. There was even a little “Thank You” note. I went straight to unwrapping the garments and found I’d received two beautiful Kiyonna dresses.

This mauve Whimsy Wrap Dress is perfect for a daytime spring/summer look to grab brunch or enjoy a stroll on the boardwalk. I paired the outfit with some gold hoop earrings included in the box as accessories, and my jeweled strap heels and new white clutch. You can never go wrong with a wrap dress!

The second was a “wow factor” Kiyonna dress. The Valentina Illusion Dress is a bodycon that hugged me perfectly. I was a little scared looking at the dress that I would not be able to fit it over my chest since I am pretty wide in the bust and hip area. However, the material stretches and hugs my curves beautifully. I slipped on some black pumps and paired it with some diamond stud earrings included as an accessory in the box. There was also a beautiful floral print clutch wallet included. This is definitely a classic look perfect for any night out.

What was a pleasant added item was the Cherry Blossom Lotion & Mist Spray from Bath & Body Works included. It’s one of my favorite scents from their signature collection. Who doesn’t love Bath & Body Works?!

With all that’s included in the subscription box, it’s really worth it. And, there is flexibility in duration and price range. I cannot wait for what’s in store in my next box! It’s sure to be a pleasant surprise!

Miss.Shelo

IG: @miss.shelo

Photography: Tommy Kim Photography

http://www.tommykim.net

Crushin’ On Me in Velvet

Turning 30 in 2017 represented a huge milestone in my life in more ways than one. I could see that my fashion style evolved from forever being stuck in forever 21 to being thoughtful about what I wear. I started to think more about the quality of my purchases and how to integrate them into my own style.

For this gorgeous velvet pantsuit from Eleven60, I decided to throwback to the 60’s when the beehive reigned supreme.

I paired the outfit with diamond stud squared shades (affiliate link) and silver booties inspired by the disco era. My aim was to integrate the inspiration from the 60’s and 70’s without being costume-like and something a woman could envision herself wearing for a night out or for corporate chic wear (minus the beehive).

And, as a plus-size fashionista, I appreciate a good pair of dress pants. My concern with velvet has always been, “Can I move in it? Will it look flattering on me?” I have an hourglass figure, wide hips, muffin top, and a small bum. I am hesitant to purchase any kind of slacks. So, I default to black leggings as an alternative to pants. I am happy to say that the velvet pants for this outfit were not restricting, and I dare say look hella good on me. The fabric is breathable, and the velvet material has some stretch for the curvy woman.

The blazer design is also impeccable. There is black tulle under the tail of the blazer, which gives it that gorgeous, dramatic bump in the back. Pair it with a black turtleneck sweater or black sheer bodysuit with bralette for a chic look.

I had the best time styling this outfit, and I felt like I was wearing something women I aspire to be would wear (a.k.a. JLo & Beyoncé). You don’t have to be a celebrity to look fierce in your every day.

Miss SheLo

IG: @miss.shelo

Photographer: Tommy Kim

All the Single Ladies, Put Your Hands Up: Creating My Own Single Lady Guide

I’ve been listening to a lot of empowering music by women lately like Lizzo, Beyoncé, Selena, and Adele post break-up. Music can be therapeutic and it certainly put things into perspective for me about how my break-up was actually a good thing.

I found these powerful messages in music to guide me in being single and happy.

“Get a bigger smile on my face, being alone” – Beyoncé – Don’t Hurt Yourself

I’m happier being single without him than being with him and miserable. There’s a saying in Spanish, “mejor sola que mal acompañada”, which translates to, “I’d rather be alone than in bad company.” Beyoncé also raises a strong message about consequences for your partner’s actions. When someone lies to you, cheats on you, or abuses you emotionally or physically, there are consequences for those actions. You must hold people accountable. It is imperative to command respect and know your worth. In the end, it’s their loss, and your gain to be rid of a toxic relationship.

 “When you hurt me, you hurt yourself. When you play me, you play yourself.”

“Best thing I never had”—Beyoncé—Best Thing I Never Had

Queen Bey certainly does not disappoint when it comes to uplifting songs for women experiencing heartbreak. Love can be blind? No, obsession can lead to poor choices like staying with someone who does not value you. That’s what happened to me. After cutting off all communication, I was able to see things more clearly. I could see that the loss of this relationship was not a loss at all. The best thing that could have happened was the demise of this relationship early on rather than later. And, I was able to have hope for better things to come.

“I put the sing in single. Ain’t worried ‘bout a ring on my finger”—Lizzo—Truth Hurts

Lizzo’s Truth Hurts is the ultimate break-up anthem and I’m all here for it. So many songs cling to this happy ending where you find new love in a new man. Songs like that can send a troubling message about love with a partner being the end goal or the only goal. Self-love is important too. And, I had to stop putting so much pressure on myself to find someone to settle down with and marry. There’s nothing wrong with being single. There are so many pressures from society when “women of a certain age” aren’t engaged or married yet. This is why I love the lyrics from Lizzo’s song because they emphasize the importance of self-love and worth.

 “Si una vez dije que te amaba no lo vuelvo hacer. Ese error es cosa de ayer. (If I told you once I loved you, I will never do it again. That mistake is of the past.)”—Selena—Si Una Vez

Selena’s music has kept my spirits up through difficult times in my life from my parent’s separation to heartbreaks as a teenager. In her song, Si Una Vez, she sings about an ex you regret saying, “I love you” to.  You hear people say all the time that you shouldn’t live with regrets. I think this message does not apply to every situation. I regret being in a toxic relationship when I had several chances to walk away and choose me. And, I can say that I regret saying, “I love you.” I may not regret the love itself, but I can say I regret my words and affections when they were undeserving of the person on the receiving end. Love is not just a feeling, it’s put into action. It allows me to recognize when love is reciprocated and when it is not. Having a relationship of any kind that is unbalanced is unhealthy. It may not always be straight down the line 50/50, but it should never feel one-sided.

“Up in the club, just broke up. I’m doing my own little thing.”—Beyoncé—Single Ladies

It’s important to embrace the fun aspect of being single. Whether going out with your girlfriends, sprawled in the middle of the bed all to yourself watching Netflix or reading a book, there are things to enjoy when you’re single. You should enjoy these even when you’re not single. But, I appreciate them so much more now. I recognize that I should never change my identity or compromise my self-worth whether I’m single or in a relationship.


Miss Shelo

IG: @miss.shelo

Photographer: Tommy Kim

Fashion Therapy 101: How To Dress Like A Boss Babe When You Don’t Feel Like One

Post break-up, I was finding it difficult to get back to my old self again. I wasn’t getting up to do my make-up, hair, and I was just throwing stuff on to get out of the door and to work.  And, to be honest, it’s completely normal. When you go through a loss, whether it’s a break-up, a fall-out in friendship, or the loss of a loved one, you can experience an array of emotions.  It can be difficult to get out of bed, your routine is out of whack, and all the while you’re trying to process the event.

The most important thing at this time is self-care.  Allow yourself to be in those sweats all day. Do what you can to be presentable at work. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re going through a lot and sometimes certain things take a back seat when you’re trying to heal.

With that being said, fashion can be therapeutic. I know this to be true through my own journey toward body-acceptance and self-love. When I was in an unhealthy relationship, I lost my sense of self, my identity. And, I’m working on myself every day to find out who I am now after that break-up.

When I started to feel like doing my make-up, hair, and put thought into my outfits, it was because of these tips. Here’s how to dress like a boss babe.

Get Inspired By Your Favorite Style Icons

I draw inspiration often from style icons like most people do. Everyone has their favorites and one of mine is Maria Felix, a woman who exuded a powerful presence and exceptional style. That’s something I wanted to radiate at a time when I felt weak.

Maria Felix, Mexican cinemas golden age goddess, and also known as La Doña for her role in the film Doña Bárbara, is undoubtedly one of the most iconic figures of México. High fashion brands like Christian Dior, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, and Balenciaga regularly dressed Felix. Her bold, chic, and elegant choices made her style timeless. I love her choice of statement pieces like extravagant jewelry paired with simple yet chic outfits like a black turtleneck sweater and trousers. And, her take-no-nonsense attitude toward the machismo culture makes her even more of a role model for me.

“We should only cry for a man three days… On the fourth, you put on heels and new clothes.” – Maria Felix

A Proper Fit is a Must

Drawing inspiration from Felix, my wardrobe choices recently have focused on finding a style that is right for me. But, even with the opportunity to buy the most chic pieces, nothing will make you feel stylish if the garment doesn’t fit well. Tailoring has become essential for many plus-size fashionistas. Think about it, top brands and indie designers face the same challenge in trying to design for an array of women when there is so much variance in body type. Not every woman who is a size 18 has the same body shape. So, it can be challenging to create pieces that fit most body types.

But, brands are taking feedback from their customers and creating different options for petite plus-size women as well as different body types. This Black Dolman Romper from Artista Apparel required no alterations. It was a perfect fit for me, and it has some give  for women of different shapes and sizes. Any designer or seamstress will tell you it’s all about the construction of the piece.  Something that fits you properly will instantly make you feel confident about what you’re wearing.

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Wear Something Out of Your Comfort Zone

I’ve avoided wearing certain clothes all my life because as a big woman, you’re given these fashion rules you must adhere to. We all know some of the most notorious, which are:

  • Wear black because it’s slimming.
  • Don’t wear bold prints.
  • Avoid horizontal stripes because they make you look wider.
  • Avoid sleeveless pieces because your arms should be covered.
  • Don’t go crazy with color.
  • Don’t wear things that draw attention to your “problem areas” such as your tummy or arms.

I could keep going with this list, but I think my point has come across. And, I was no exception to having this ingrained in my head. Before I started modeling and blogging, my wardrobe was pretty bland. I hardly wore dresses or prints. And, as I started taking fashion risks, I found that I loved the way I looked in dresses and bold prints. But, there was something I’ve avoided until now and that’s rompers and jumpers.

I’ve had a negative experience with rompers and jumpers. Since I am short, they tend to be long and always require taking up the hem. But, that doesn’t bother me so much as the way they ride up. Can we say camel toe? And, if they didn’t ride up, they would bunch up with an excess of material in the crotch area. It’s the worst feeling to love how something looks but on someone else. So, I thought I was done with them. But, I decided to give it one more shot. And, I’m glad that I did! I absolutely love how I look in this romper. It fits well, I love the design!

Just because something doesn’t look good on you once doesn’t mean that it will always be this way. Perhaps that crop top just didn’t fit you well from one brand. But, that doesn’t mean that every crop top is off limits for you. Experiment with fashion, have fun, and you’ll find that it’s empowering for you to try new things. And, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it. You’re the one in charge of what goes on your body. You make the fashion rules!

Fashion therapy can never replace therapy when you need help. But, self-care is vital when you’re dealing with a life event. I found that in my own journey toward healing post break-up, I decided to surround myself with supportive friends, find inspirational messages about love and relationships, take time to write about it, and continue to do things that I love like modeling. I needed to shift the focus back to me instead of that other person, and fashion has been a way for me to express myself. I want more than anything to look like a boss babe. The truth is that I am a boss babe even though I don’t feel like one all the time.

 

Miss Shelo

IG: @miss.shelo

Photographer: Tommy Kim