Dia & Co.

So, its been too long since my last post. Let’s start there. No excuses. I mean…I have lots of excuses. Just not any good ones.

In the ever constant battle of being a thick girl, and trying (and wanting) the same experience that everyone else gets I found a new answer. Subscription clothing services. We love subscription services, right?! We already established this. There are lots of great options for straight sized (read regular) women. Le Tote (which is a combo rental/purchase program) and Stitch Fix (which works exactly like the one we are using) just to name a few. But for thick girls there just isn’t a good answer…or there wasn’t. Enter Dia & Co.  A great little option.

The rundown: You sign up, take a style quiz, tell them about yourself, etc. Pay $20 styling fee – which turns into a credit if you decide to buy anything. Get boxes as often as you like. When you rate your received items and tell them what you are keeping and what you are returning you get the option to sign up for your next box. I really like this feature because it means no accidentally being charged, or contracts you have to fulfill, or deadlines you have to make.


I was so excited about getting my box. I tracked it’s shipping info for days and when it came I wasted no time ripping it open to see what was inside. I was met first with a note from my stylist, Maria. She had taken the time to write me a note that told me exactly what to do with my items to get the most out of them. This was a really nice way to start my experience. I would have struggled to find what to pair the sweater with and I would not have thought to wear the tulle skirt with a denim shirt. I was already impressed.


The first item I tried on was a black and white striped fit and flare dress. I was afraid it was going to be too long, that it wouldn’t fit perfectly. After all, this was just my first box. It was perfect! Not a thing I would change about it. I am keeping it. Fashion 2 Figure dress $42.90 (with credit already paid $22.90), similar here.

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The denim shirt they sent was the softest denim I have ever felt. The color was subtle and lovely. The delicate buttons were great. But the fit was a little trim and while I loved this Love Your Body shirt by SLINK, I had one similar enough to it in my closet that I didn’t think a second one was needed. But I would recommend this shirt to anyone. Not keeping it though. SLINK denim shirt $64.00.


This was a tunic length sweater in a lovely blue color. It was light weight and fit really well. I didn’t have any actual complaints – but I don’t like asymmetrical hems (which this had) and I always feel like long tunic length things make me look shorter and wider. That probably isn’t true. But it feels true. I got lots of compliments on it when I tried it on. But…not keeping it. Junarose is a Scandinavian fast-fashion brand that can be found in large retailers like Nordstroms, but can’t be purchased via a website. Junarose Sweater $69.00


They sent a “pink” tulle skirt which I probably requested…but the pink was more putty and I’m 35 and I have to accept that maybe a pink tulle skirt isn’t in my wheelhouse anymore. As sad as that is to say. Not keeping it. C’est Ca NY skirt list for less than Dia price online. However, the company hand makes their skirts and they have some really lovely pieces. Tulle Skirt $89.00


The scarf was a lovely color, but the pattern and texture of the fabric made it feel juvenile to me. And since I have 2 large tubs of scarves (I have them divided in to winter and summer styles). See Design is the retailer and they have a ton of color and pattern options. This scarf is listed online for $28.  Not keeping it. Scarf $35.00

So, for the $20 styling fee (that then gets applied to the cost of anything you keep) its a dang good deal. The thing I like most is that I don’t have to take one every month. I can take breaks. And I can tell them about events coming up that I want something special for…so I signed up for next month and mentioned a possible trip to Nashville with the girls. Downside: I found two of the exact items they sent me online for less than they would have charged me. That doesn’t make me want to buy from them. Also, they are backed up and so I won’t be getting my next box until after my trip to Nashville. Bummer. But I think there are more ups than downs and I am excited to see what I get in my next box. If you think you want to look into it – let me know. I can get a $20 credit for referring you! 🙂IMG_4938


Fall: What to Wear (photography-wise)

You know I LOVE fall. And you know I LOVE fashion. And you know I LOVE photography. So I thought I might write a short little note to help everyone out when it comes to planning your outfits for fall family photos, or fall engagements, or if you have something in the works where you need to coordinate outfits.

Not everyone is gifted when it comes to planning out their outfits. And it becomes even more difficult when you factor kiddos into the mix – because the little ones sure don’t like to be told what to do or what to wear. So, I have some tips and suggestions. To help you out!

1. Think about solid colors, or large bold prints. Anything with a small print that includes a lot of details it could end up getting fuzzy or blurry. But if you think about big patterns, or bold colors you don’t have to worry about getting lost in the mix. An even better or easier fix – solid colors. Sometimes called color blocking. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine though. If you are into bright colors – go for it! If you want to rock all black, do it. Below is a great group shot. I love it for so many reasons. But if you notice Dad and baby boy’s large print plaids are working way better than our other prints. The colors are great, the boys were handsome…but the eye is way better at distinguishing prints from a distance than the lens.


2. Don’t go too matchy-matchy. Gone are the days of black tops and khaki pants. My own family has been guilty of this trend twice (once we did an all green and red Christmas photo and just a few years ago we took a photo in all greys, blacks and khakis. Instead think about shades and tones. Reds, browns and oranges work well together, for example. Or you could do white, blues and yellows…this can allow everyone in your family to dress comfortably and to fit their own personalities but everything still coordinates. My friend Chelsea is a master at coordinating her family so that there is cohesion, without it being too on-the-nose. A few examples from her can be found below.

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3.  Layers! Everyone loves layers. Layered cakes… Wait. No, we are talking about clothes. Think bout adding jackets, scarves, coats… Layering and adding accessories means you can change things up quickly and easily so that you get a lot of bang for your buck. You end up getting a variety of looks and feels in your photos without having to spend a lot of time changing clothes. Viola! In the photos below you see two perfect examples of how layers can change-up a look. Klari had sweaters, scarves and hats all up with her and so we were able to get very different feels. And with adding a Letterman’s Jacket to Pate’s photos we got a bolder look than without.

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4. Consider location & mood. If you’re going to be in a field or forest, probably you don’t want to wear a formal gown. If you’re going to be downtown lumberjack-chic may not be the way to go. Think about the general feel you want from your photos. If you want light and airy go with light colors. If you want deep, bold, rich hues then think darker tones. You want to look like you stepped off a perfectly planned movie set, not like you got lost on your way to a hoe-down and ended up in the big city. Thinking about location and mood when you plan will help everything look cohesive and polished. Below are photos from two engagements. Both outfits work with each other, they work with the location and the work with the mood of the sessions. Fall, romantic, warm colors dominate the first photo but Brooke is wearing a girly lace dress and her beau has on a nice green sweater. Below is a great photo that is brighter and more laid back. They weren’t afraid to show their casual side and I love that. Too many folks think they have to dress to the nines to get their photos taken.

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5. Neutrals come in all shapes and sizes… Or a variety of colors and textures for sure. Chambray and denim work as neutrals. So do tans, grey, nudes, even blues. Any color that will compliment a variety of other colors can be considered a neutral. So when you are thinking about outfits don’t just think about white and khaki. In the first photo of the Smith’s we see all the blues. So perfect to mix with any color that mom could wear a bold necklace in just about any color, or sweet little Austin’s shorts could be swapped out for just about anything. In my book you can never go wrong with navy blue. Below that is a beautiful photo that is warm and rustic. But the truth is that because she is dressed in a great neutral outfit her fiancé’s pumpkin colored sweater could be any color: red, dark green, grey or black. He could have even done a cream color. With the right set of neutrals you can make any color work.

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How easy is that?! If you want to talk to me about doing some fall photos hit me up online at Whitney Flora Photography or on Facebook. Or call your local photographer…don’t waste this weather! And don’t waste another season not documenting your beautiful family.

To Teach or Not to Teach…

So the blog has been inactive for a hot-minute. I started a post in May about why…and never posted it because we stayed busy doing the things I was most likely complaining about in the blog. And now its the end of September and I have been pondering what to blog about. I have lots to say about Fall fashion, our new life in Fayetteville, our plans for starting a family…but I decided to start with this: education.

For the first time in 10 years I didn’t have a first day of school. I am not teaching, nor am I attending school. And it felt weird. Because I love school. I love being a teacher and a student… It felt even weirder when I got an unprovoked phone call from an administrator a week into the school year telling me I was a lazy, bad teacher and that although they had given me good recommendations, they would not hire me back given the opportunity. (The truth is the phone call was a little meaner than that and really stayed with me for quite some time. I considered emailing or calling back to make the case I wasn’t a bad apple. I reached out to some parents and students from my past…and when I decided that the simple truth had to be that I wasn’t a horrible teacher and that this person was lashing out at me for unknown reasons I moved on, somewhat.) But that didn’t stop me from applying for the educational leadership program at the University of Arkansas, because the more time I spend thinking about it the more I know that I am passionate about learning, education, teachers and students. I am passionate about school.

In high school it blew my mind that I could dedicate my life to any subject on the planet and never learn all their was to know about it. The idea that there was that much knowledge available was exhilarating. It still is. And I loved school. I loved college. I loved graduate school. I loved talking to students about learning and I loved hearing from teachers who were excited at the possibilities that each school year brought. And it bothered me when I heard stories of teachers being expected to do magic with zero support, it upset me every time I heard stories about teachers being expected to work miracles without resources or help. But I loved it all so much. Big, little, pubic or private…I just love school. Education is everything. It is the silver-bullet that can fix anything.

This past weekend I got to sit down and talk to some of the best teachers I ever had the pleasure of knowing (both as a student and a peer). And they shared stories that again made me sad. And one thing stood out more than the rest, when they said that too often what happens in schools isn’t about what is best for the students, it’s about the ease of administration. It’s hard to run a school without kinks. Impossible probably. But its easy to put a student into a 3rd block Theater IV class even though this student hasn’t taken Theater I-III. Whatevs… It’s just drama class. Or newspaper, or art, or photography, or anything that seems like its easy. The powers that be wouldn’t place a student in French III if they hadn’t taken French I and II. You wouldn’t place a student in Advanced Algebra II if they had not completed Pre-Algebra…but its easier for everyone (except the student and the theater teacher) to just fill in the hole with a class. Almost any class. But that isn’t the right thing to do for the success of the student (and that is what everyone says they want after all). It doesn’t help the theater program in the long run. It doesn’t help the teacher feel supported. It only helps an item be marked off the ‘to do’ list of an administrator.

It’s so easy to get excited about potential. It’s really easy to get excited about the opportunity of growing a program you are passionate about in a school, whether its drama, reading, volleyball, photography, horticulture, poetry club, video production, volunteering or student government. The list goes on. Finding teachers who are excited and passionate about improving their programs, improving the lives and experiences of their students is worth all the hard work. Fostering those programs and supporting those teachers is worth every bit of work. Because education should never be about the ease of administration. Being an administrator should be the hardest job in the building. But more often than not, more times than should ever be acceptable, what happens in schools is about saving money, doing more with less, hiring the cheaper applicant, contracting out of district workers and patching holes in the boat so you aren’t sailing on the Titanic of schools.

Schools should be palaces. They should be state-of-the-art, awe-inspiring buildings that are beyond functional. They should be a place that students, teachers, parents and the community are excited to enter. The people inside should be exceptional. They should be at the top of their game. Schools should be the most costly part of any given community – because when you spend the money to educate your citizens well everything else falls into place. Educated citizens are involved and proactive, communities with strong schools grow and become places where others want to live. And its all because nobody wants to send their kid to a crappy school. No parent wakes up and says to themselves “what school has the lowest test scores, the junkiest facilities and the teachers with the worst attitudes? I want to send my kids there.” And no parent should have to do that. It shouldn’t matter what side of town you live on, or what state you live in. Schools should be palaces. Period. And education should never be about what is easiest or convenient for anyone who works inside an office and not a classroom. Period.

And maybe its time I thought about doing something about that.


That 3D Mascara Everyone Loves.

So I have to be honest, I’ve seen people raving about the Younique brand 3D mascara online…but I felt like every time someone posted a picture I thought it looked kinda bad. Lots of clumpy “spider eyes”. I’m crazy particular about my eyelashes. And mascara is an incredibly difficult product to fall in love with.  I just wasn’t interested in it. There. I said it. 


My regular mascara.

My regular mascara.

Lets face it, finding a great foundation can be fairly easy once you know what you are looking for regarding coverage, texture, color, etc. Eye shadow, eyeliner and lipstick I think are all easy too: find a brand you like, stick with it in all available colors. For example, I LOVE naked palettes  for eyes and Makeup Forever lipsticks. But mascara…I am 35 and still hunting for that perfect combination of adding length AND thickness without clumping, flaking or drying out. An impossible task. Which is why I looked into fake eyelashes.

So when I was approached about trying Younique 3D mascara I was hesitant. I was open to trying it, but I thought I had my mind made up already. I was gonna do my due diligence.

Day One: So I tried it like the directions said. A lot of steps… It was OK. But I had some flaking off throughout the day…by 3pm I had little black flecks under my eyes. I was prejudiced, I admit, but the flakes and the not being much different from my previous stuff was just confirmation right?  I asked about fixing that issue. Answer: Use more of the gel… Ok.


Day Two: I tried more gel. Didn’t use a base layer of regular mascara first…That left me with clumpy eyes by the end of the day. NO. I asked about the new issue. And I am pointed in the direction of THIS VIDEO. What?! That is one long video…Almost 10 minutes later (yes, I devoted 10 minutes to watching a woman put on mascara) I felt confident. And I was surprisingly glad I watched the whole video. I was eager to try again.image7

Day Three: Success. Honest to God success. Beautiful long eyelashes all day. And at 6pm I hopped into the shower and because the lashes are water resistant the mist of the shower seemed to reinvigorate the lashes. They didn’t smudge or anything. THAT was super impressive.







Every girl wants long beautiful eyelashes. Professional extensions are expensive. Glue on false eyelashes can be time consuming and difficult to put on. But the truth is I was super impressed with my first round, I guess technically my third round, of this Younique 3D mascara. And something that is cool is that the fibers are 100% green tea fibers. There is a complete list of ingredients and their descriptions on the website HERE. I think that is super cool, so many companies put a ton of stuff in their makeup and you can’t even pronounce it. I imagine that if you had sensitive skin or eyes this could be great answer.


one eye complete

one eye complete

NOTE: I did not use it on my bottom lashes. No, thats not true. I did the first two days and it just wasn’t working. I felt like my bottom lashes weren’t long enough to take advantage of the product and I just ended up with streaks and smudges. So I continued to use my regular mascara and that was a lot better.


both eyes complete

both eyes complete

At $30 its right on par, cost-wise, as any other good mascara. And I think I will be investing $20 into buying a lash and brow brush. The combs are metal and I think that they will be a lot better in the long run than the typical plastic ones. And it isn’t easy to find a good lash comb with thin prongs (prong width is what its all about).

both eyes complete

both eyes complete with 3D


both eyes complete with “regular”.


If you are interested and don’t have a previous hook-up I’ve got your gal. Join her FACEBOOK GROUP for sales and specials and stuff. Kristi is great. If you want to reach out to her and contact her on her website www.kristisfabulashes.com

Plus Size Fashion Dreams Do Come True.

Ok. So you know that part of this whole blogging journey is that before a year and a half ago I just didn’t think I could find cute and trendy clothes anywhere besides Target and Old Navy. And even then it wasn’t always cute or trendy.

My first really exciting find was when I stumbled into a Macy’s and discovered Lauren, Ralph Lauren. I really can’t say enough good things about this line. It is classy, well-made and luckily, right up my style alley. Then it was realizing that Lucky Brand had a plus line. Available in stores like Macy’s or online at luckybrand.com. Macy’s has some great store brands. I recently found out that Silver Jeans offers plus sizes! I have picked up 2 adorable pairs to stock my closet. Also available for designer cruising: Nordstrom (and check out Nordstrom Rack for serious sale prices). It has been so exciting discovering these places.

I now have over 24 fat girl blogs and online retailers that I can keep tabs on for all my fashion trend needs. Also Pinterest (thank you baby Jesus for Pinterest). It has allowed me to up my game considerably. Below are some of my best outfits from the past two weeks.

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Pictured above: Silver jeans in Suki medium wash. RL hooded tee. LB brown leather biker jacket. Michael Kors purse.

I have gone a little insane lately adding stunning items to my amazon wish list… I may have gone overboard. But if this is what shopping is like for all the skinny girls out there: HOLY COW! THIS IS AMAZING. I can have my clothes AND eat my cake. I am having my cake and eating it too. Literally and metaphorically. It is glorious.

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Pictured above: Eddie Bauer navy pants. LB gold sweater. Amazing scarf found at The Shops on Woodlawn. RL navy coat. 

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Pictured above: NEW BOOTIES! Target. Maroon skinny jeans from LB. Polka dot top from Macy’s. Khaki blazer from Target. I was especially proud of this one.


Pictured above: Seven7 jeans. Metallic sweater from The Gap. Navy leather jacket from Macy’s. Hot pink lip stain – Makeup Forever, Sephora. 


Pictured above: Dress and cardigan from Target. Tights and boots are LB. 

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Braids are a big hair trend this spring and summer. All kinds of braids. Any braid you can manage. So I did a little micro-braid (when my bun plan didn’t work) and though my layers meant I couldn’t get it too long I really enjoyed the little surprise. Next time I am going to do a few of them, in various sizes.

It has been a bit overwhelming having all of these options and all of these resources. For most of my life I have had to essentially make due with what I could find, and now I have the opportunity to be picky, to be on trend WHEN the trends are happening. I can see now how so many women get into trouble by shopping too much – it is basically all I want to do right now. I imagine I will calm down after I get used to this new world of fashionable fat-girl clothes. But for now… budget beware.

January. The First.

2015 is here. It is upon us.

I spent the morning looking through Facebook and Instagram posts of all the festivities around this holiday (I was asleep before the clock struck midnight but it appears my friends and family had a blast). Ending one chapter and beginning another. A whole new year, arriving every 365 days (give or take) is a pretty clean opportunity to start something new, or end something old.

My sweet husband isn’t much on NYE traditions. We will eat lucky foods if they present themselves but we aren’t superstitious. He LOVES his birthday and so he treats his birthday as a marker for change. And that makes sense…his personal year is a good starting off point. But since my birthday is practically NYE I can appreciate a resolution. But they get so obvious sometimes. Who HASN’T resolved to eat better, work out, lose weight?! Yeah yeah. Blah blah. And they very rarely work. January 1 isn’t THAT inspiring.

This year, after reading a few posts and articles on the idea we are taking a new approach. No resolutions, per say. But embracing a word or phrase. An idea we can get behind. We are making 2015 the year of Self Improvement. Professional development isn’t something we struggle with. We like to keep it pushing (as they would say…in 2007) at work. And we are already well on our way to getting our little house restyled and remodeled. We know our closets are constantly getting reworked in the best way possible. Our marriage is strong. So we decided to work on us. Individually. Because what marriage has suffered when the other person becomes a stronger, happier, more fulfilled version of themselves?

My hubby and I are kind of obsessed with each other. There is no other person we would rather be around than the other. So we spend a lot of time together. A LOT. And neither of us are complaining about that. But we thought we could do some us things this year. He has some things he wants to work on – wood working, photography, etc. I am sure he could stand for some boys nights out. I have some things I would like to do more: blog more frequently, see my friends, take cooking classes…And so 2015 is that year. The year of Whitney. The year of Garrett. I think you should make this your year too.

*** as I decide on more specific things I want to do, or as G gets into his 2015 list I will keep you all updated. And by you, of course, I mean the nameless, faceless internet ether that I send this out into when I post. ***


Fall 2014 – a roundup

As I sit here, my feet soaking in some goo, in strange plastic booties I acknowledge that I am waaaaay behind. I am a bad person. I am a bad blogger. I am ashamed.


Side note: My heals were dry and cracked from the change in the weather this winter and so I am using a product my MIL gave me a few months back. Baby Foot. The photos make it look like the next week of my life are gonna be pretty gross, and my feet feel weird… but I will be able to report on this product in a week or so.

Ok. So. Where to start? This semester has been busy. I have been working hard to get my yearbook staff going, to be a better photography teacher than I was last year (it was rough by all accounts) and I have been fairly busy on the side with photography sessions of my own. I have still been working on perfecting my makeup routine, I have been working on getting my blonde hair blonder and I have been using some new hair gadgets (hot rollers, curling irons, round brushes).IMG_1882

I have been adding to my wardrobe from Ralph Lauren, The Gap and Macy’s. I got an INSANE purse from Micheal Kors. Mine is this beautiful Kelly Green. My hubby bought me some beautiful earrings and a watch from Kate Spade. I’m killing it lately. The problem… I haven’t been blogging about it. Or even documenting it. So, we are about to play catchup with the few visual records I have.

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G and I went to Washington DC in November with some students for a national student press convention. I did some speaking and some shopping. Ok…we did A LOT of shopping. Pictured above: Ralph Lauren plaid shirt under Target sweater. Seven jeans. Kate Spade gold watch. Costume jewelry necklace from Macy’s. Tiffany’s pearl studs.

I am really feeling plaids lately. My husband is clearly rubbing off on me.


Another incarnation of the plaid shirt under a puffy vest from Old Navy. And the ONLY snow we have seen so far this winter (it is supposed to be in the 50s on Christmas). Boo.

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Another fine fall day (notice the very green grass behind me) I did this cute denim shirt and scarf and paired it with black skinny jeans (I don’t own any leggings, YET) and brown tall boots. I see this black pants, brown boots combo EVERYWHERE and I just couldn’t get on board. For no specific reason. It just felt wrong. But I really enjoyed this little outfit.


Ralph Lauren striped shirt (leather elbow pads now pictured) with a red pashmina scarf and awesome Navy trench (a birthday gift from my mother a few years back).

Another new thing happening in the past few weeks? RED lips. I decided it was finally time I expand my horizons and move into something beyond the standard nude/pink lipstick I always wear. So I wanted to go RED. Red red. Really red. Result: I went to Walmart and bought some Revlon lipliner (I never wear lipliner) and lipstick. I was prepared. And this is what happened…


Before the end of 2nd period my hand was covered in the lipstick meant for my face. I touch my face a lot it turns out. So I had to find a better solution. And while in DC we found it! MAC makes this awesome lip stain and it is miraculous. I got mine in Lasting Lust but I also want to try some of the lighter colors as well. I am also on the lookout for a bright pink. So this stuff is insanely amazing. You put it on and it lasts easily until 2pm… so that is 7 hours and through breakfast and lunch. Truly remarkable. I am sold.



I have also been working on my hair situation. I regret cutting it a couple years ago. Huge mistake. Why?! Why did I do that. But, finally I have achieved a medium length hair mile-marker.



The ballerina bun! It is long enough that I can do the adorable little donut-like bun that makes your finished look appear polished, refined and still girly and playful. I am thrilled.

So I leave you with one final incarnation of my RL plaid shirt, a sneak peek into some cute photos G and I had taken and a promise that I will be more diligent about blogging my fashion and big girl adventures. Because I have some exciting things in the works!


As always, thanks for caring about my thoughts and my thighs.