October 2016 | Natalie in the City - A Chicago Plus Size Fashion Blog, by Natalie Craig
Natalie in the City - A Chicago Plus Size Fashion Blog, by Natalie Craig

A PLUS SIZE LIFE + STYLE BLOG

October 31, 2016

MY FAVORITE FALL OOTD

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This is the first faux button up shirt and blouse look that I have tried, and I really have come to like the trend. The top is from Suzy Shier, a Canada-based women's clothing brand with an amazing curvy collection called "Curve Appeal." The blouse is very versatile so I usually wear it with jeans or leggings, but I wanted to switch it up for this blog post. If you are also falling for this blouse, take a look around Suzy Shier's online store and Curve Appeal section, and treat yourself to 15% off your purchase with the code: "15SUZY" Check out my other favorite blouse from Suzy Shier here: Ditching Class

Now, my bag is one of my favorite things. Recently, I was in the market for a new, black, small purse or clutch—and I was willing to drop some MAJOR dough on it. I went to the Gilt City Chicago Warehouse Sale a couple of weeks ago with the hopes of finding the perfect purse. But I had no such luck. Just a day later, I stumbled upon this gem in TJ MAXX, and I thought, "Oh my gosh, this bag looks so expensive, and so perfect." I cringed as I looked for the price tag, but as I flipped over the tag, I realized it was only $35, and there was a girl standing behind me waiting for me to put it down so she could claim it. Needless to say, I ran to the register so fast. I have included some similar bags and pieces of my outfit at the bottom of this post for you to shop from. You can shop all of my looks at the bottom of each post. If you can't find a piece that I am wearing, email me at natinthecity@gmail.com, and I will try to help you find it!

Lastly, I get so many emails asking me where I find the perfect, wide-calf, knee-high boots. I get it, the struggle is so real. I bought these wide calf, knee-high boots from Comfortview on WomanWithin.com, but they are $50 cheaper on Amazon! They come in black, grey, brown, and beige, and I own all four pair. I LOVE them.

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plus size plaid mini skirt, fall fashion 2016, plus size fall style, wide calf knee high boots for plus size, knee-high suede boots, boots under $100, natalie craig, natalie in the city, midwest blogger, chicago blogger, suzy shier, curve appeal, fatshion, fashion inspiration

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Photography by: Ghaffar Gbenro
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I NEVER THOUGHT I'D SEE THIS DAY



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As some of you may have noticed in the past couple of months, I have been working very closely with Meijer. I have spent time in a variety of their stores here in Illinois, and I have even visited their headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan. During these visits, I met with the company's style and merchandising team who have repeatedly expressed their devotion to offering stylish, on trend, and affordable plus size clothing. They said "style at every size" was one of their top priorities.

But today, they announced that they are getting rid of their plus size section entirely. That's right. The Wall Street Journal broke the news, and I couldn't be happier. You may be asking yourself, "Wait. Why?" I'll tell you why: Meijer is eliminating their plus size section because they are integrating it into all of the other sizes. YES. In one rack, you can find dresses, shorts, and blouses, whether you are a size small or a 3X. Plus size women can now find clothes that fit them and make them feel beautiful alongside their straight size counterparts. 

There are currently 15 Meijer locations with size integration, but each of the retailer's 230 stores will become fully integrated by early 2017.

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I have expressed my wishes for this to happen, and I have been very vocal about it and how brands should not turn away the plus size customer or make them feel secluded or isolated. It makes no sense to me why a brand can make clothing in an extra small, but can't simply extend those sizes to include plus size women. Instead, most brands create a plus size section devoted to full-figured women, and oftentimes, these plus size lines are way behind the trends and don't provide plus size women with what she WANTS to wear. As a full-figured woman (and I have been all my life), I have always wanted to wear what my slimmer friends were wearing. I didn't want to shop in the dark corner of the store where clothes seemed more like pajamas. But now, I can shop with my friends and with EVERY woman, thanks to Meijer.

You guys, I am absolutely beside myself, and so proud to say that I know and love Meijer to the moon and back for this. I hope that other retailers and brands will follow suit, because THIS IS THE FUTURE. My goal as a blogger is to bring light to these issues and inequalities that plus size women face in the fashion industry. One day, when I have a daughter of my own, I hope she gets to grow up in a world where she is encouraged to love her body and wear whatever she wants because the media, society, and trendy retailers aren't telling her that she shouldn't.

Thank you Meijer, for leading the way and for truly making a dream of mine come true. 

"This inclusive approach in women’s apparel places sizes S through 3X on the same rack, so our customers who wear plus don’t need to shop a different area of the store. As part of this initiative, Meijer is also rolling out equal pricing for women’s apparel items. Plus sizes will no longer cost more than straight sizes, despite the higher production costs. We’re making this investment so all customers can have access to on-trend fashion at the same price. We’re making this investment because it’s the right thing to do. We believe that friends and families should be able to shop together, in the same section, no matter their size." - Meijer

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October 27, 2016

THE BLANKET SCARF

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Fall is officially here, and I couldn't be happier! But to be honest, it's a little colder in Chicago than I remember it being last year, and I hear we are in for quite a chilly winter. To prepare for the low temps, I have started to embrace the "blanket scarf." 

This scarf can be wrapped, tied, and worn in so many different ways because it's literally a blanket. When I first tried the scarf on, I wasn't sure how I could work all of the fabric in with my day-to-day looks, but I decided to try. I got the scarf from Meijer when I was in Grand Rapids visiting the store's headquarters. The rest of my outfit—minus the knee-high boots—is also from Meijer. I have always wanted a fitted pair of military green skinny jeans, and I snatched them off the rack as soon as I saw them. Also, this sweater caught my eye since I am known to opt for a sweater with cut-out shoulders or holes opposed to the usual look. 

Lastly, you will never find me without some knee-high boots on during the fall and winter months. I bought these wide calf, knee-high boots from Comfortview on WomanWithin.com, but they are $50 cheaper on Amazon! They come in black, grey, brown, and beige, and I own all four pair. I LOVE them.

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Photography by: Ghaffar Gbenro

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October 20, 2016

COLLEGE FASHION WEEK RECAP

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I jetted over to Chop Shop in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood for Her Campus’ College Fashion Week show on Saturday night. Upon arriving to the butcher + deli + restaurant + bar, my first thought was that I put the wrong location into my Uber app. However, behind counters and refrigerators of butchered meat and a crowded bar, was a bright room and a handful of beautifully dressed girls.


It was the second College Fashion Week show that Her Campus has put on in Chicago. The first one was fun and exciting. But I knew this show was going to be one for the books as I slipped my VIP badge over my head and saw the runway crowded with some of my favorite brands. I walked away from the show coveting some goodies from these brands including a Fitbit Flex 2, a bottle of RiRi by Rihanna from Perfumania, a Rebecca Minkoff clutch, and more—can you say, “Score?!”


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As a recent college graduate, I enjoy keeping up with trends that college girls are wearing and putting their own spin on, and this show certainly caught me up. I also got to interact face-to-face with some of my favorite brands before and after the show.


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Something I particularly enjoyed was seeing every model sport the new Fitbit Flex 2 wristband or necklace. I was always trying to accessorize with my old Fitbit flex, and I am happy to see that the new Flex 2 has a slimmer wristband and gorgeous accessories to put the tracker in—and these models were working them all! Every look was also topped off with shoes from Vince Camuto and a variety of purses from Rebecca Minkoff—two lifestyle brands I love. Between the four shows, I got to chat with a rep. from Bertha Watches and I touched my hair up with Dry Bar’s 3-in-1 dry shampoo, texturizer, and hair amplifier.


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All-in-all it was an action- and fashion-packed night, an another successful show for Her Campus! So will I see you at Her Campus’ College Fashion Week next year?


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This post is sponsored by Her Campus Media and its College Fashion Week brand partners. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Natalie in the City possible!
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October 17, 2016

3 INGREDIENT CHOCOLATE PROTEIN POWDER PEANUT BUTTER CUPS + FITBIT GIVEAWAY

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For a little over a month now, I have replaced my breakfast with a chocolate Shakeology super food protein shake. I love all things chocolate, but the shakes were starting to taste a little "blah." However, Shakeology makes me feel energized, focused, and curbs my bad cravings throughout the day, and it also helps with little weight loss goals I set. So I knew I couldn't just quit drinking it.

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Instead of tossing the shake to the side, I decided to add some banana and a scoop of peanut butter to my shakes, and it was life changing. I have the 30-day bag supply of Shakeology on auto-ship toward the end of every month, but I often find myself with product left in the previous bag when the new one arrives. So I started thinking of ways to incorporate Shakeology into other meals throughout the day. My first Shakeology spin will be these chocolate peanut butter cups, made similarly to Reese's peanut butter cups. This recipe is easy to make, and only calls for three ingredients: peanut butter, chocolate protein powder, and coconut oil. And since we're being healthy with this recipe, I thought I'd throw in a little giveaway for a brand new Fitbit Flex 2. Follow me on Instagram (@NataliexCraig), and tell me why you'd love to win a Fitbit Flex 2 in the comment section at the bottom of this post! I will be choosing a winner randomly on Friday, Oct. 21 at 12 p.m. CST. Now, let's get to the recipe, shall we?

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The recipe is rich and tasty, even though real chocolate isn't used. If you don't have Shakeology on hand, you can also use any other kind of chocolate protein powder instead. This recipe will make eight servings—depending on how thick you like your peanut butter cups to be.

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First, start by melting four tablespoons of coconut oil in the microwave. Then, mix two scoops of Chocolate Shakeology or protein powder in with the melted coconut oil, and stir very thoroughly or blend. Since protein shakes can be a little powdery or gritty, stirring this mixture well is important to get a smooth texture for your peanut butter cups. After your chocolate coconut oil mixture is ready, line a muffin tin with muffin liners. Then, pour a thin or thick (totally up to you!) layer of the chocolate mixture into each muffin liner.

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Place the muffin tin in the freezer for 10 minutes. While you are waiting for the chocolate mixture to harden in the freezer, melt two tablespoons of peanut butter in the microwave. After your chocolate mixture has hardened, remove the tin from the freezer and spoon a layer of the melted peanut butter into each muffin liner on top of the hardened chocolate. Then, pour another layer of chocolate over the peanut butter. Place the muffin tin into the freezer for 30 minutes. Once the cups have hardened, remove the muffin liners, and enjoy!

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INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Melt four tablespoons of coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds or until completely melted.
  2. Mix two scoops of chocolate Shakeology or other chocolate protein powder in with the melted coconut oil thoroughly with a fork, wish, or blender. 
  3. Place muffin liners in a muffin tin, and pour a thin layer of the chocolate mixture into each liner. 
  4. Place muffin tin in freezer for 10 minutes. 
  5. Melt two tablespoons of peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until completely melted. 
  6. Remove muffin tin from freezer, and spoon a thin layer of peanut butter on top of the hardened chocolate. 
  7. Pour another thin layer of chocolate on top of the peanut butter, and place the muffin tin back in the freezer for 30 minutes. 
  8. Take the muffin tin out of the freezer, and unwrap your peanut butter cups from the muffin liners. Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS
  • Four tablespoons coconut oil
  • Two scoops (approx. 1/2 cup) of chocolate Shakeology or protein powder
  • Two tablespoons peanut butter 

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October 10, 2016

VINTAGE MEET NATALIE

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If you've been an avid reader of Natalie in the City, you have probably noticed that I keep my accessories down to a minimum. But I've been making a conscious effort to slide on a bracelet, a watch, or slip on a necklace before I run out the door—most days. 

Upon scrolling through Vintage Meet Modern, I found this 1950's silver tone cameo necklace, bracelet, and earrings set, and I had to have them. Although they are vintage, they seem simple to incorporate into most of my day-to-day looks. I also like that I can wear them as a set without it being to "matchy matchy," but I could wear them separately, too. 

If you have been wanting to try and fit vintage jewelry into your style and wardrobe, now is your chance to get your hands on some of these timeless pieces. Vintage Meet Modern and I are hosting a giveaway for a $150 gift card toward any of the vintage pieces you may fall in love with on Vintage Meet Modern. To enter the giveaway, follow Vintage Meet Modern on Instagram (@vintagemeetmodern). A winner has been chosen. This giveaway has ended!

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 Photography by: Ghaffar Gbenro 


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October 8, 2016

DITCHING CLASS

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I recently expressed my love for the bow tie blouse. So it should be no surprise to you that I am featuring another take on the fall trend! This white, chiffon blouse with a skinny, black neck tie is from Suzy Shier, a Canadian women's clothing brand with an amazing curvy collection called "Curve Appeal."

My original vision for this outfit was to pear it with some leather leggings, a pair of black heels, and call it good. However, I decided to add a black blazer, lace shorts, and open-toe black booties for a more playful look.

Keep an eye out on the blog for more gorgeous tops from Suzy Shier—I may be wearing one of them to College Fashion Week next Saturday—and take a look around their online store and treat yourself to 15% off your purchase with the code "15SUZY"

I'm wearing a size 2x. This blouse runs true to size.

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Photography by: Ghaffar Gbenro


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October 4, 2016

CHICAGO COLLEGE FASHION WEEK

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I am counting down the days until Chicago Fashion Week begins, but there is one show in particular that I cannot wait to attend. Her Campus Media is partnering with People StyleWatch for this year’s Chicago College Fashion Week held at Chicago’s 1st Ward on October 15.

As a recent college graduate, I still keep up with the trends seen on campus today. In the corporate world, I always maintain a professional look, but I also incorporate the playful and fashion-forward trends I sported on campus, which is why I can’t wait for this event!

At the Her Campus Media College Fashion Week show, four up-and-coming, female fashion designers and entrepreneurs will send their latest creations down the runway in four different themed sets: Rush, Festival, Study Chic, and Girls’ Night Out. Get a sneak peak of what you can expect to see at the show from each of these designers below!

Aside from an engaging and inspiring fashion event, attendees also have the opportunity to network with each other, which I can honestly tell you is an invaluable experience. I have made life-long connections at Her Campus events and I even had the chance to meet some of my favorite influencers and brands during these shows. The brands sponsoring the show are also top notch and they are an integral part of every college girl’s day-to-day.

Fitbit helps people lead healthier, more active lives by empowering them with data, inspiration, and guidance to reach their goals, and chance are that they will be showing off their new Fitbit Flex 2 wristband during the event! Alli Webb, founder of Drybar (and also #majorgoals), was featured on the Cosmopolitan Magazine 2013 Power List and the Fortune 40 under 40 List. At the show, you will get a firsthand glimpse into the company Alli built and you’ll also have the opportunity to experience Drybar’s infamous blowout. Rebecca Minkoff, Bertha Watches, Perfumania, Vince Camuto, and other lifestyle brands for the modern woman are also sponsoring the event, and attendees will get to interact with each brand in the sponsor activation lounge! There is also a swag bag with your name on it that will include goodies from these amazing sponsors, worth up to $900!
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October 1, 2016

HEALTHY PUMPKIN DARK CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

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October is one of my most favorite months because I can start embracing all things fall without being harshly judged. This year, October is especially important to me because I am launching my recipes and cooking section of my blog called "IN THE KITCHEN."

I used to make skinny banana oat dark chocolate chip muffins by the batch for a quick, healthy, and easy breakfast on the go. (I will probably end up putting that recipe on here since it's so perfect if you are always busy but need a good, balanced breakfast.) I wanted to indulge in all things October, and my sweet tooth, with these pumpkin oat dark chocolate chip muffins.

I have a trip to Florida coming up in November, and since I am all about setting out to achieve new goals and challenges, I thought I would shoot to lose a couple of pounds before the trip. Since the middle of September, I have been counting calories and making an effort to workout every single day. But trust me, going days without any sweets, was getting on my last nerve.

So if you are counting calories, like me, each muffin is around 213 calories. And if you're not counting calories, these muffins are still absolutely delicious, and you won't feel like you are missing out on a thing.

So let's get to it!

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