Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ATTENTION....Military Looks for Fall!

I had an outfit that I bought from Lerner (now New York & Company) back when I worked for them. It looked like a band member suit. It was a black sleeveless pant jumpsuit with gold double breasted buttons that resembled a Beatles outfit. On cold days, I would wear a gold sheer bodysuit under it. Don't laugh!! It was 1996, that was "tight" back then. (I will have to go over my mother's. I can recall a picture of me in this get up. I will post later.)

The military look is a trend that repeats itself throughout history. During the 60's and 70's, people wore old authentic military jackets with their flower power gear. The 80's and 90's brought the vintage and punk look back with some military geared pieces. Now we are in 2010, and the look is more tailored and balanced with other traditional pieces. (Don't do camo from head to toe!) It makes me want to dig up that old band member suit...NAH!

I started last fall with piecing my military look together when Old Navy debuted its military jacket in khaki and black. This fall many designers and retailers are following the military trend.

(This reminds me of my outfit...but the buttons were a gaudy gold and larger!)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Discrimination at an Atlanta Nail Salon

A woman getting a pedicure in a Dekalb County, Ga, was charged an extra $5 on her tab because she was overweight. The woman received other services at the salon and started to tally her bill. She noticed she was overcharged. The manager informed the patron she was not overcharged, but billed because she was overweight. According to the shop's manager, the pedicure chairs only holds up to 200lbs. If the customer damaged the chair, it can cause repairs of up to $2500. The new $5 fee would offset any charges for repairs to broken chairs. After a discussion with the patron, the manager waived the undisclosed $5 fee, but asked the customer not to return for services in the future.

When will it stop? Private companies are imposing new rules and fees; starting their own war against the plus size community. They can do this because they are private companies, but at what cost to their patrons. Airlines started the trend by charging plus size individuals for {let face it} a seat that a thin person finds uncomfortable to sit in. America is growing and our waist size is growing too. Whether good or bad, we need to make accommodations for all people thin or plus to live a comfortable life free of bias and discrimination. What these companies need to remember, plus size patrons have money too. Shutting a group of people out because of their size will hurt the bottom line in the long run.


My Weight Loss Journey

(My breakfast last Saturday, canadian bacon, egg/egg white on a Slimwich with cherries.)

These are what my meals are like now that I'm on the Weight Watchers' plan. I'm not endorsing weight loss or Weight Watchers). If you are happy a certain size/build then don't change for anyone. Just recently I've been plagued with many health issues. Sciatica, high blood pressure (on two different medications), swelling and nerve damage of my lower extremities, sleep apnea and the list still grows. All of these conditions are due to my weight increasing over the past five to 10 years. I've been every size from a 10 to a 26, back up and down again. 

The wake up call began when I stop sleeping at night because of pain and swelling in my left leg and foot. I was going to doctors and emergency rooms and there was "no condition". All of my symptoms were due to weight and my body not being able to support itself anymore. I got scared and my boyfriend got frustrated because we were at a hospital once or twice a month (or more). I feared my own mortality. At 31 (32 tomorrow YAY!!) I'm seeing the same physicians that my sick grandmother frequents...in fact we are on the same medication. My grandmother is almost 80 years old. If I kept up my eating habits (binging) and a sedentary lifestyle, I'm going to die a early, painful and slow death.

I started Weight Watchers last week. I don't want to be skinny. I will never be skinny. But a swelve size 12/14 would be killer (I'm a 24/26 now). I want to go shopping in the mall and not always on the internet. I want to walk across campus without being out of breath and sweating like a piglet. Most importantly, I want to lose weight so I can live a long life without pain, medication and fear of death. I lost six pounds this week. I will keep you posted on my process.

~ Janelle

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Too Much Education (Back to School Part Two)

I’m a parent of two children, my son is in second grade and my daughter is in kindergarten. I strongly feel that school should start back in September, when it's a little bit cooler than the August heat. My children's school system has 19 schools without air conditioning. I understand the new policy stating the must attend school 180 days a school year. If my child misses so many days, Child Protective Services (CPS) will come knocking at my door. Your building does not have AIR CONDITIONING! If my child has a heat stroke,  who do we blame? How can my child function with the heat waves? They should be learning in a relaxed environment. So as parents, we need to step up and help.

 Donate fans to the child classroom.

 Dress your child cooler for the hot days.

 Donate water bottles.

 Have a cool snack for your child when they get home.

 Get involve with the school.
(PLEASE...parents get involve with your child school. Take time to visit and meet the staff. These are people who are a part of your child life for the next 9 months.)


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back to School & Kids Part One

Can uniforms be FASHIONABLE?

Yes they can! Many public schools conformed their dress code and now require students to wear uniforms. Whenever I see my children wearing their uniform, it makes me feel good that I’m not completing against another parent in the fashion world. Without school uniforms many parents become stressed out, trying to keep up with the with the Jones, buying name brand apparel the family can't afford or the children don't need. Now there is nothing wrong with wearing name brand clothing, sometimes we get so caught up with the brand that you become that name. Few parents would agree that it helps them save money by buying uniforms rather than a $100 shirt and pant name brand outfit. Please read school handbook on uniforms before making any purchases and/or alterations.

 Save on Uniforms

 Family and friends are great resources. Start a "uniform trade night "where you trade gently used uniforms with each other.

 Sales and clearance are great way to stock up when you can.

 Go to the thrift, you might be surprise what you can find.

Be creative with the uniforms

 Put your child's initials or school name on their clothes. (Monogram or iron-on)

Let your child wear school colors on Friday.

 Add a sweater vest in the winter time.


Support the school and buy a polo/sweatshirt from the school.

Let them express themselves with accessories from headbands, belts, socks, and neckties.

Start your shopping at JCPenney.com, Target.com or ChildrensPlace.com.

~ Takia

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Apologies and Shoe of the Month Club

We're still here people. I apologize for not updating blogs or Facebook. I work for a university in Indianapolis, and with school around the corner, we are MAD busy. So the time I use during work to update Facebook and do some of my blogging is compromised. When I get home, I'm so sick of the computer and phones I can't see straight. I promise things will slow down and Ruby Leonne will be back in full force. We had a staff meeting on Saturday, and we have a lot of new and exciting things on our agenda. Takia Harrow is no longer a guest contributor, she is blogging full time for Ruby Leonne. So welcome to our family. She really has stepped in and taken charge in my absence lately. So sometimes on Facebook statuses, you will see two Ruby Leonne post or comments.

At work, my co-workers and I do a lot of online shopping. We happened upon a website called Shoe Dazzle. I know some of you have heard of it, but it was new to me. You pay $39.95 a month and you choose through a gallery of shoes that were selected for you based on a questionaire. Every month you can get a new shoe or accessory. You can opt out on months that you don't like your choices or can't pay for the merchandise.

Shoe Dazzle is co-founded by Kim Kardashian and a team of professional celebrity stylist. Celebrities also lend a hand in designing shoes and choosing purchases for customers.

I'm a little leary about purchasing shoes online. Shoes are a funny thing especially online and especially for me. The color can be off and the fit could be uncomfortable making your shoe purchase a bad experience. Plus there is the whole flatfooted thing that irks my nerves. So my friend, Angela, was a guinea pig. She enrolled in Shoe Dazzle's program and got her first pair of shoes. She had them delivered to work, so we all got to see the purchase. She bought the Midge, which was designed my actress Kristen Bell. The color matched perfectly to the color that was presented online and the fit her feet perfectly (size 10). She has yet to wear them for a long period of time, but so far I'm sold. I enrolled in the program and will be picking my shoe of the month soon. I will keep you updated on our progress.

Go to ShoeDazzle.com to learn more about the program and enroll.

~ J.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Local Love: My Interview with KoKo Brown

KoKo Brown

I got the opportunity to sit down and have coffee with one of the hottest designers here in Indianapolis. I was introduced to her work during the Real Women Exposed Fashion Experience show. She is none other than Kimberly Brownlow, but the fashion world knows here brand as KoKo Brown. Brown discussed her work, inspirations and aspirations with me as we sat down last Friday.

RL: Who are you?

KB: My name is Koko Brown. Well, that’s actually the name of my line. My real name is Kimberly Brownlow.

RL: Where is your hometown?

KB: Indianapolis, IN. I sound like a little hick girl. {giggles}

RL: How long have you been designing?

KB: I’ve actually been sketching and designing since I was in the sixth grade. So that would be a total of about 13 years.

RL: Why did you start?

KB: Actually, it was something that kinda crept up on me. You know when you are a little kid, you always have grander dreams of being a star. I got tired of seeing these clothes that wouldn’t fit me; cause I have always been a plus size girl. So I started drawing to see what I could come up with. I started drawing and sketching. In every class I would go to, I started drawing, and that’s what people knew me as.

RL: Who are your inspirations?

KB: Oh my gosh! Monif C is a great inspiration to me. I love really abstract artistic designers like Alexander McQueen. I also love Hussein Chayalan, he’s really really talented. He was able to take things and make it into fashion. He made a skirt out of a table. It collapsed into a table on the runway. He used airplane parts and made a dress.

(One of KoKo Brown's designs on the runway.)

RL: What speaks to you when you’re designing?

KB: What speaks to me are people. I need to see who I’m designing for and lately it’s been plus size women. I want us to be classy. I want us to look just as good as anybody else. I KNOW we have it. I’m tired of seeing the clothes that people are designing now. There’s no umph about it. A lot of clothes out there are the wrong fit for our bodies. Some stuff is just a no go…they should not have went there. I think we don’t have to wear everything a smaller girl wears just to look good. I don’t feel like they need to make some of that stuff in our sizes for us to feel like we look good. We can look just as stylish, couture and sexy as any smaller girl.

RL: Describe your aesthetic.

KB: My clothes are classy, sexy, comfortable and classy.

RL: What do you think about the issues a plus size woman face in our society?

KB: I don’t think you have to be a size 7/8 to be healthy. As long as you eat right, as long as you’re exercising, as long as you’re taking care of your health and going to the doctor you’re okay. I go to the doctor. I talk to my doctor. As a plus size woman, even though I carry weight, everytime I go in the doctor lets me know I’m healthy. Keep working out and keep eating better. As long as we are taking care of ourselves, I don’t feel like we have to fit into a box of what people think we’re supposed to be. I don’t go by what scientist say, I go by what my body is telling me. My body has told me I’m always going to be a plus size girl. I’m not going to eat bad or not workout, I’m going to do what I have to do. But I’m not going to change myself because that person says I’m supposed to be a size 10.

(A happy client in KoKo Brown.)

RL: Many people leave Indianapolis to pursue greatness in other cities. Are you going to leave us?

KB: My heart has always been in New York, and for a time I was in Chicago. But you know what, I’ve always wanted to base a business out of Indy. Indy is starting to become more fashionable. Indy is starting to become more fashion conscious. There is so much talent here that I would like to base my business here. But I just don’t want to be here in Indy, I want to be global. I want to be able to go to Milan and see my shop. I want to go to England and see my clothes. I want this to be for everybody because plus isn’t just here in Indy, it’s everywhere.

RL: Do you take special orders?

KB Yes. You can contact me on Facebook or MySpace. You can contact me through my email, kbrownlo@yahoo.com. Website is coming soon. I’m always open and available. I do a little bit of everything. I would like to have at least a week, sometimes even a few days. It depends on what you want. If it is something complex, I would like to have at least two to three weeks.

RL: What are your goals/dreams?

KB: My mother always said dream big. {giggles} My biggest dream is to have my own fashion house. I want to do different collections for different people. I want my clothes to be really eclectic, really fun, really flirty. My focus may be on plus, but I want to design for a wide range of people. I can design for everybody, but plus is important to me.

RL: What is in your future?

KB: I just got a couple of offers to do some shows. I’m working on some photo shoots and the website. Me and a fellow designer (Shay Robinson of Black Pear) are setting a show for November. It’s going to be a great fall collection. Beautiful colors. Fall is my absolute favorite season. This collection that I’m building right now is going to be to die for.
The sky is the limit, if I could sit on top of the world that would be great!

Koko's star is rising. She will definately be one that RL will watch for. For more information on Koko or to ask her how she can hook you up, email her at kbrownlo@yahoo.com.

(All photos were submitted by Koko Brown.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Through the eyes of a child (Vintage RL)

Working on my interview with Koko Brown. In the meantime, here is some vintage Ruby Leonne. I wrote this for my first blog. Hope you enjoy!

Begging and pleading, my three-year-old niece pulls my arm as she sees the colorful wonder before her. The excitement bubbles out of her small frame. Unable to contain herself, she jumps in place as she looks at the six foot mouse come from his safe haven. Other children start to run to the mouse with lightening in their steps. Screams of pure bliss fill the restaurant. Cameras are flashing as adults try to capture the innocence of this moment. That moment when joy makes the world stand still.

My niece starts to shout at the top of her lungs. She is unaware that her mother had to beg Peter and rob Paul for this occasion. She doesn't see the pain of society's woes that awaits past the balloons and out the front doors. She is oblivious to war and hate. She can't contrast life and death. She doesn't know about politics or religion. All she sees is a six foot mouse and children clamoring to get his attention.

As I look around at this one point in time, I remember to cherish all of her childhood moments. Trying to see what she sees; trying not to realize that happiness can be fleeting.

"AUNTIE...can we go play now?"

"Yes, my love, let's go play."
~Janelle Cissell
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