Sweater Dress Season

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Hello Southernistas! I hope each and everyone of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that y’all are enjoying the leftovers! If you traveled I hope you had a stress less travel holiday with no delayed flights and not (too) crazy traffic. In the next few blog posts I will be talking about sweater dresses and the brands I love. This week’s post is about Lane Bryant sweater dresses but it is not sponsored by Lane Bryant. Lane Bryant is my go to for affordable and stylish dresses and sweater dresses are included. I actually bought 6 sweater dresses (there was a sale) and I don’t regret a single purchase. I love that Lane Bryant’s sweater dresses are feminine and come in different styles from A-line to bodycon and you just can’t go wrong!

I’ve stated before and even wrote about how much I don’t like Fall but with that being said I must amend that because I do love fall fashion and I especially love when I can break out the sweater dresses…oh yeah! Fall is referred to as sweater weather, cuffing season, and cozy season but I like to refer to it as sweater dress season. I love a great sweater dress they give you a cozy feeling and warmth. Every year when I add to my sweater dress collection and this year is no different. Some are very heavy and warm and some of them are very light weight for 60 plus degree weather.

Every brand offers several dresses in every color, length, type (A-line, bodycon, sheath), and weight (heavy and light). This is the perfect time to grab them up with all the sales that are happening and if you’re not a dress girl they would make a great gift for the dress girl you know.

Until next time Southernistas!

Lane Bryant Fit & Flare Sweater Dress (Sold out) Alternate
Lane Bryant Mock Rib Sweater Dress
Lane Bryant Rib Mix Sweater Dress, Shoes — Just Fab (old)

The Southernista

I’m a 50 something southern girl who has a passion for fashion. Join me on my fashion journey. Follow me on Instagram: @reginathesouthernistaTHE SOUTHERNISTA FOLLOWS

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Sofistafunk Girl

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Hello Southernistas! I hope you’ve had a great week and are getting ready for not only the weekend but to regain an hour of sleep as we turn back out clocks. Today I want to talk about an independent size inclusive brand that is woman and black owned and a totally cool and unique fashion brand and that is Sofistafunk the Skirt Co . I discovered this brand about 3 maybe 4 years ago thanks to an Instagram ad. Arlinda McIntosh is the owner and incredible designer of this brand and trust me when I say once you see her designs you will find yourself reaching for your credit card. 

The designs really are one of a kind I mean Arlinda elevates the denim skirt to a whole new level and believe me you’ll get nothing but compliments. I’m not going to lie to y’all some of her pieces are expensive but they are worth your dollars and she offers customization plus this brand is environmentally responsible and most of their designs produce zero waste! If you have any questions you can reach out to Arlinda and she will respond to you pretty quickly. This brand doesn’t just offer denim skirts I just love the denim skirts but you will find dresses, tops, and accessories also.

As a plus size woman independent brands are a plus size girls best friend! They really do design with a larger body in mind and they give us the fashion that we want and demand and they are worth every dollar. I have purchased two denim skirts from Sofistafunk and I have never been disappointed. 

When you order from Sofistafunk keep in mind everything is hand made so it will not ship out that same day you order it takes about 10–14 days without customization. She does offer customization which can add to how long it takes to receive your order but it is well worth the wait and Arlinda always adds some little extra goodies in your order. 

I recently purchase this lovely maxi denim skirt and it fit my 5″3 frame perfectly and I’ve gotten nothing but compliments. Don’t sleep on this brand!

Until next time Southernistas!

Sofistafunk Denim Maxi Skirt, Top — Ashley Stewart, Denim Booties — Nine West

Print Love: Houndstooth

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Hi Southernistas! Let’s talk about houndstooth! Now I know for many of you any print is scary to wear because we’ve all heard “the rules” no polka dots, no florals, no strips, and only wear black to make us look “smaller.” Well throw those rules out the window and embrace….houndstooth! I love this print in fact it’s right up there with my love of all things gingham and polka dot. If you look in my closet you will see plenty of all three prints but houndstooth to me is by far the boldest of the prints (I also call it the optical illusion print).Houndstooth is a very sophisticated print and it can make you look very pulled together and elegant. This print is as previously stated a bold print and you have to wear it with equal boldness and fierceness! This print not only comes in black and white but you can find it in other bold colors like this print from Ashley Stewart who does has really taken it up when it comes to this particular print.

I encourage you to give this print a try. If you don’t want to do a head to toe look try wearing a pant or skirt or a blazer/jacket in this print. You’ll feel elegant and trust me the compliments will come!

Until next time Southernistas! Be Bold! Be Brave! Be Beautiful!

Duster & Pants– Ashley Stewart

Created for Purpose

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For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesian 2:10

Hello Southernistas! I was actually working on something else as I struggled to come up with a topic for this week’s blog post then this week then I felt the Holy Spirit whisper you are created for purpose! The verse that immediately came to me is Ephesians 2:10 which has become my life verse and I often speak this verse over me when I am bombarded with self doubt.

So I abandoned the blog I was working on for this week and wanted to let you know that God has created you for purpose. There are so many self help books and gurus out here that say they can help you find your purpose but the only book you need is the Bible, God’s holy word, that speaks truth. There are times when we wonder why am I here what is my purpose? To know what your purpose is you need to know who Jesus is and once you come into relationship with Jesus and begin to walk with Him trust me you will begin to realize that you are created for purpose and He will help you to walk in your purpose and live out your purpose.

For so long I wondered what my purpose was in life I even read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren but still felt like my life had no purpose. Then one day during my quiet time with God I was lead to Ephesians 2:10 and this verse just stuck me and made me realize that I am His masterpiece and I was not created just to exist but to do and everyday I strive to live my life with purpose. I am not just talking fashion but to be that light that points others to Jesus. 

Just know that God has created you for purpose and where ever God has planted you He put you there weather it be temporary or permanent you are there for purpose. You are there to be an agent of change for good and to have a positive affect on the lives of those you come into contact with. Purpose doesn’t require wealth or celebrity status all it requires is a willing heart and faith in Jesus.

Until next time Southernistas! Live with Purpose!

Healthy at Any Size

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Hello Southernistas! The one thing I never ever talk about on my blog is weight loss or exercising or anything remotely like it but as I was wondering what to talk about I just couldn’t get away from this subject so I want to talk to y’all today about being healthy at any size. Now before you move on just hear me out first. I’ve spent most of my life on one diet or another I mean literally since I was 13 years old I’ve been dieting. I’ve lost weight and gained (more) weight. I decided in my 40s that I was getting off the diet hamster wheel and just make peace with my weight and live in my body and live my life and that is what I’ve been doing for the last 7 years.

Let me say right now before I continue that I am not getting weight loss surgery or starting a new diet in fact I’ve started a healthy lifestyle. Also I am not here to judge or put down weight loss or weight loss surgery. You have to do what is best for you! I had to make changes due to high blood pressure and I now use a CPAP machine so I knew I needed to make some changes but it took me a long time because all I heard was loose weight i.e. go on a diet.

Once I realized that getting healthy does not mean going on a diet but making life changes then I was able to realize that healthy does not equal dieting. So I’ve stopped eating fast food every day but I try to limit my fast food stops to once a week, I walk 2 miles or more 3–4 times a week, I eat at home more and bring my lunch to work but again to get to this point I had to stop looking at exercise and healthy eating as “dieting” which was a major obstacle for me. As a plus size woman diet culture it constantly pushed in my face and I constantly get unsolicited weight loss ads and suggestions on my social media sites when I block. It wasn’t easy but it helps when I go walking and I see bodies of all shapes and sizes being active, I see plus size influencers who work out not for weight loss but to take care of their bodies and I have an amazing doctor who really talks to me and not at me and treats ME the person.

Luckily there are loads of resources (listed below) out there to help you get started towards a healthy lifestyle regardless of what the scale says. Plus more and more brands are creating plus size workout wear we can be just as cute and stylish as we move our bodies. If you’re looking at being healthy as dieting just know that you are not alone in this thinking. Once we get off that diet wheel we don’t want to fine ourselves back on the weight loss/weight gain merry go round but I just want to encourage you to get moving weather it’s dancing, walking, bike riding, skating or whatever it may be just enjoy moving your body.

Until next Southernistas! The fashion will be back in the next blog…PROMISE!

If you’re wanting to start a health journey check out these websites:

Health At Every Size Community

National Eating Disorder Website

Association for Size Diversity and Health

What I’m Loving – Skincare

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Hi Southernistas! I hope y’all are staying safe, washing your hands, practicing social distancing, staying home and most importantly staying sane in the pandemic!

I have been doing a lot less shopping since I’ve been home and been tackling my quarantine reading list (if you’d like to know what I’m reading check out my IG @reginathesouthernista) but I’ve also been overhauling my skincare products. These products are inexpensive but just as effective as the more expensive brands with the most expensive product being $16.00. If your budget is stretched thin right now but you don’t want to forgo your skincare routine I hope you will find these products kinder to your pocketbook and they are vegan and natural products.

First product – Botanics All Bright Foam Cleanser

I discovered this cleanser at Walgreens and it was one of my best discoveries! I was looking to purchase my usual cleanser which is close to $20 then my eyes fell on this cleanser and it is under $10.00! It is a very light and gentle cleanser so perfect for sensitive skin and it left my skin feeling truly clean and bright.

Second Product – Burt’s Bee’s Cleansing Oil

The first time I heard about cleansing oil was on thatgirlarlene blog and I was intrigued but hesitant and one of the biggest obstacles was the price. I love Arlene’s blog but the prices for the cleansing oils were a little on the pricey side then I found Burt’s Bee’s cleansing oil and at $16.00 it is still a little pricey but compared to other cleansing oils this is truly inexpensive. I have nothing but good things to say about cleansing oil it leaves your skin clean and so soft. Don’t let the word oil scare you it is all natural and very gentle. I highly recommend.

Third Product – Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner

Now I know there are some that don’t think toner needs to be a part of your skincare routine and I will admit I was in the camp for a long time but within the last few years I have reincorporated it back into my routine. Toner removes excess dirt and oil from your face and further helps open up those pores. This toner is gentle and under $10.00.

Fourth product – Cleen Beauty

I had never heard of this product but I’m so glad I found this product through a Google search. I was looking for skincare products under $10.00 and this brand popped up first in my search and imagine my delight when I found it could be purchased at Wal-mart. All of Cleen Beauty products are under $10.00 and vegan. I purchased their serum, night moisturizer, and night mask and I am happy with each of these products. My skin definitely has even more of glow then ever.

I cannot recommend these products enough! They are either natural or vegan and since I’ve been using these products I don’t suffer the slight tingling or discomfort I use to deal with when using other products because they don’t have harsh ingredients. They can be purchased from drug stores, Wal-mart, or online. My skin is smoother, brighter, and softer. It doesn’t hurt that they are extremely affordable!

Until next time Southenistas! Remember Be safe, Stay home, wash your hands, and practice social distancing!

Regina

Best Tights I’ve Ever Worn

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Hello Southernistas! Well I know I’ve been M.I.A in fact I haven’t blogged since October and I can only apologize. I decided to just enjoy the holiday season and I was really going to resume at the beginning of the year but then I took a 21 day social media fast to reconnect with God. After the fast I just got use to not blogging but those days are behind me and I am back feeling refreshed, renewed, and restored.

For my first 2020 blog I wanted to talk about as the title says the best tights I’ve ever worn and it’s all because I took a chance and responded to an Instagram ad about Snag Tights. I will admit I am very wary when it comes to Instagram and Facebook advertising because the product doesn’t always live up to the hype unless it’s an ad from an established company but with winter around the corner I decided to see if the hype was real. Snag promised that their tights are not just size inclusive but height inclusive also which was what caught my attention. At 5’3 my biggest complaint about wearing tights are that when I put them on I can literally pull them all the way up to my underarms! I always go by the size chart recommendations on my tights but I swear they make tights for Amazons and not shorties like myself or the tights I do purchase that fit I only get 1 or 2 wears out of them before I have to throw them away with the exception of Lane Bryant. Not to mention tights I’ve worn in the past have either been too big once I put them on or too small. What made up my mind to try these was Gloria Shuri Henry who is a YouTuber (glowpinkstah) and is in the add wearing their tights.

Once the decision was made to purchase the tights I went to their website and was very surprised at the variety of tights they offer but they also have chub rub shorts, fishnets, sheer pantyhose and skin tone tights. They have opaque tights, woolies (merino wool), and semi opaques too. Depending on the type you purchase they cost from $20 (woolies) to $12 and the chub rub shorts are $13 but if you order 3 pair you get a 10% discount, 5 pair 15%, and 10 pair 25% off . I ordered their short F according to the size chart in black and caramel. Snag Tights is a British company so be prepared for a wait to receive your order it was 3 weeks before I received my order but they do offer next day delivery . When they arrived I was excited to try them out and OH MY they fit my short little legs perfectly! The short F black tights fit me and stopped at my natural waist. I can’t begin to tell y’all how wonderful it was to put on a pair of tights that stop at my waist with no sagging. They are so comfortable and feel so good on my legs.

I highly recommend Snag Tights it will be the best money you spend!

Until next time remember BE BOLD! BE BEAUTIFUL! BE CONFIDENT!

This post is not sponsored by Snag Tights

Snag Tights Black| Calvin Klein White Button Down Blouse and 41 Hawthorne Skirt from Stitch Fix|Blazer from Lane Bryant (old similar here and here).

The Shape of Things

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This post is not sponsored by Lane Bryant or Catos I just really love their shapewear.

Hello Southernistas! I hope y’all enjoyed this last weekend of Summer and are ready to kick of the first day of Fall! I can’t believe Summer is over! I hope your Summer was full of fun in the sun (with sunscreen) and travel.

Today I want to talk foundation garments specifically shapewear now there are those who don’t wear it and those who want leave the house without their Spanx. I am one who wears shapewear when needed but I was also that person who wouldn’t wear shape wear. I found it uncomfortable and at times very painful plus I also believed that if I wore it I was trying to make myself look smaller but I have come to realize that is not the purpose of shapewea. Shapewear is not about trying to look “smaller” as many A list actresses wear shapewear and proudly admit that they wear shapers. I have come to realize that the purpose of shapewear is not to make you look smaller but to smooth you out and when you are wearing that body con dress or jeans/pants it gives you a smooth clean look.

Shapewear is not necessarily one size fits all and gone are the days of our grandmother’s girdle that only came in super painful. There are different types of shapewear depending on what look you are going for. There is shapewear that is very firm and really holds you in to shapewear that smooths you out with no firmness at all. I personally like Lane Bryant and Catos shapewear. Lane Bryant’s Cacique’s line comes in different levels ranging from 4 being extra hold to 1 which is no firmness and it doesn’t roll down. Catos’ is perfect to once again smooth you out especially their panties and they are not expensive whereas Lane Bryant is a little pricey. Also when purchasing shapewear do not size down or up get the shapewear in your size! So don’t be afraid of shapewear there is something out there for everyone and tons of videos on YouTube by plus size bloggers with their shapewear recommendations.

I bought this beautiful yellow body con maxi dress from Just Fab and the first time I wore it I didn’t wear shapewear as you can see but when I wore it again I made sure I wore shapewear and you can see the difference. I am wearing Lane Bryant’s Cacique #1 shapewear which is not firm and it just makes me look good in this dress.

Until next time Southernistas Be Bold! Be Beautiful! Be Brave!

Dress from JustFab.com (sold out) alternate, alternate| Shoes from JustFab.com (sold out) alternate

Rock Your Runway

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Hello Southernistas! I hope y’all had an absolutely fabulous weekend and that you are relaxed and recharged. If you attended church on Sunday I pray you are fully restored and filled and ready for Monday.

This weekend I attended a plus size fashion show with my beautiful friend and style sister Laura of the blog wonderfullymadestyle, y’all go check out her blog. The fashion show was produced by the talented Mrs. Jenica who is the founder and CEO of Plushy Jenica and she truly put on an amazing fashion show! The models were different shapes, sizes, and heights but they were all beautiful and fierce as were the fashion they rocked. As we enjoyed the fashion show the audience was invited to rock the runway between collections and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you Laura and I were more than happy to struct our stuff on the runway!

I want to encourage you today whatever size you are to rock your runway! You may never walk in New York Fashion Week but everyday that you get up, get dressed and step outside your house you can rock your runway ladies and gents! Whether you are going to work, running errands, or keeping up with the little ones you can step out onto your own personal runway and work your style with confidence. You never know who you will inspire!

Until next time Southernistas Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Here are some pictures from the Plushy Jenica Fashion Show. If you would like information about any of the outfits from the fashion show check out Plushy Jenica’s Facebook page.

Laura https://wonderfullymadestyle.wordpress.com/ in Eloquii
Laura of wonderfullymadestyle and I ready for the Show
The Fabulous Jenica of Plushy Jenica

My Dress is from the Betsy Johnson x Dia & Co Collection (sold out)| Shoes from Just Fab

My Second Favorite Color

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Happy Monday Southernistas! I hope I y’all had a great weekend and that you are feeling rested, renewed, and restored and ready to conquer your week.

It is not secret that my absolutely favorite color is red! I look amazing in the color red and I feel bold, confident and sexy in red too. I mean what girl doesn’t feel a total boss babe or a sexy siren when they put on a red dress or lipstick or even a killer pair of red stilettos. But I must confess there is another color I am starting to fall in love with and that is the color green. Now don’t get me wrong it will never replace my first love red but over the last year I find myself gravitating to the color green whenever I go shopping. I discovered this beautiful green maxi dress at Ashley Stewart and it is so comfortable and stylish but alas it is sold out but I will provide links to alternates. Green always reminds of Spring and Summer and it is such a restful and peaceful color and it is a soft color. Green can also be a bold color like every color there is a shade of green for everyone.

With fall just around the corner I’ve been checking out the darker tones of the color Green and can’t wait to incorporate them in my fall closet. If you are looking in your closet and wondering what’s missing I would suggest you incorporate a little green in your closet and just enjoy all the compliments.

Until next time Southernistas remember Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Dress from Ashley Stewart (sold out) alternate, alternate, alternate| Shoes from Payless Shoe Source

My New Skincare Routine

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Hello Souternistas! I hope everyone had a great weekend and that you are now recharged and refreshed and ready for Monday.

If you’ve been following me for any time you’ll know that I did a post all about my skincare routine a while ago but since then my routine has changed. I was introduced a few months ago to Yeouth Skincare and since then more and more of Yeouth’s products have been replacing my other skincare products that I thought I would never let go. Yeouth is fragrance free, sulfate free, cruelty free, paraben free, and gmo free so you don’t have to worry about harsh ingredients. I started out with incorporating their Retinol Serum into my skincare routing and I quickly saw wonderful results. I now use Yeouth’s hyaluronic acid, vitamin C & E Serum, and the Glycolic Acid 30% gel peel and my skin looks great! Not only does my skin look great but I love how gentle they are on my skin also. The products I use to use could sometimes irritate my skin but since I’ve been using Yeouth I have experienced no skin irritation.

I am so glad I was introduced to Yeouth Skincare products. They are gentle on my skin and I love the results since I’ve been using these products. If you are looking for an all natural skincare line please check out Yeouth and let me know what you think of their products. To get 20% off your first order use SOCIAL20.

Until next Southernistas remember Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Beautiful!

Finding Inspiration

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Hello Southernistas! I hope y’all have had a wonderful weekend and that you stayed cool and fashionable in this heat.

I must admit that lately I’ve just felt like I’ve lost my fashion mojo. The great thing about fashion is that there is so much great plus size fashion out there and my closet reflects this the problem is there is so much great plus size fashion and my closet reflects this. I honestly don’t know how full time bloggers do it! Once upon a time I hardly had anything to wear and now I have an overwhelming selection. Usually I plan out my outfits for the week but lately I have been lacking inspiration. I have just felt so uninspired the last few weeks and I find myself looking in my closet thinking whatever my hand lands on that is what I will wear and sometimes that works.

I plan to find my inspiration by tapping into my style sisters at church, my friends, on Instagram, and the Dia Facebook community where there is sisterhood and I am always encouraged and inspired by the women in the Dia community who are fearless. These are great ways to rediscover my fashion mojo. If you’ve been feeling uninspired lately or have lost your fashion mojo tap into your community weather it is on online or in real life and rediscover you fashion inspiration.

Until next time Southernistas remember Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Brave!

Dress from Eloquii | Shoes from Payless Shoe Source | Bag from JustFab (sold out) alternative

Miss Dynasty

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Hello Southernistas! I hope y’all are having a fabulous 4th of July holiday and that hopefully you were able to have a 4 day weekend.

I want to introduce y’all to Miss Dynasty whose sizes range from XS to 4X. This is a great company with plenty of cute and affordable fashion. The sizing is junior plus so please use the size chart and check out the reviews before purchasing. When they reached out to me (my first) to give them a try I was hesitant to do so at first because my style is modest and I didn’t think I would find anything that would work with my style aesthetic but I was so wrong! I found this cute denim ruffle t-shirt dress and it checks all of my style boxes. The fit also is great for me especially in my arms and I liked how the dress moved with me. I have worn this dress multiple times and gotten so many compliments every time I’ve stepped out in this dress. I like that I can be super casual in this dress or dress it up and not sacrifice comfort. I’m sorry to say that this dress is sold out but I have linked an alternate that I think you will love.

The wonderful people at Miss Dynasty has given me a PROMO code that you can use, again a first for me, to receive 25% off your order with them which I have linked below. This discount if for you and I don’t receive any money when you use the promo code and this post is not sponsored by Miss Dynasty.

To receive 25% off your order use PROMO https://missdynasty.com/discount/REGINA

Denim Ruffle Dress (sold out) alternate

Until next Southernistas remember BE BOLD, BE BRAVE, BE BEAUTIFUL!

Another Year

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Hello to all my Southernistas! I hope y’all had a great weekend and that your Monday has been a good one.

Today is my birthday! That’s right today I turn 48 and I count myself blessed to see another year. In the past I’ve usually been so depressed when my birthday comes because I am so focused on the negative and what I don’t have instead of counting my blessings. Year 48 I am looking for greater blessings and even more love. I know I’m blessed to have a loving family, a beautiful daughter, awesome friends, the best church family (love you AHOD) and my fashion is ever evolving. I am embracing my natural salt and pepper hair and I have my hair stylist Angelia to thank for knowing what’s best for me even when I’m being stubborn. I changed the name of my blog and I have great things in store for the blog this year! I am also in great company in celebrating my birthday because I share it with the ah..mazing Stacey Jemison as well as Judy Garland.

To celebrate my birthday I turned to my favorite retailer Eloquii and got this beautiful strapless fringe dress I have been lusting over forever and paired it with my go to black lace bell sleeve top from Ashley Stewart for modesty. Pulled the whole look together with these cute silver shiny heels from JustFab.

So as I enter into year 48 I enter with expectation and anticipation! Who knows this could be the year I meet my husband.

Until next time Southernistas Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident

Also I’ve included pictures of the birthday surprise from my daughter

Strapless Fringe Dress from Eloquii (no longer available) alternative, alternative, alternative| Lace Bell Sleeve from Ashley Stewart (no longer available)| Halsey Pointed Toe Shoes from Justfab.com

OMG…My Blog turned 1!

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Hello to all my Southernistas! I hope your week has been awesome and that you are ready for the three day weekend and remember to take time to remember those who paid the ultimate price in service to our country.

I can’t believe it has been a year since I started this blog! My actual blog birthday was May 6th but things got a little crazy at work. First I never thought I would ever start a blog and now I’ve blogging for a year so crazy. When I started this blog it was and still is my intention to share my fashion journey and a peek inside my life (not a lot happening) with my fellow fashion addicts. I knew it wouldn’t be easy and I really thought a lot about weather to start a blog because there are so many awesome blogs out here now but with the encouragement of my Mom, my best friend Lisa, and the awesome Shelia Amir’s Blogging with Precision class I took the plunge and here I am 1 year later. So today I just want to share what I’ve learned in my first year.

First Lesson: Blogging is hard! It is one thing to say I’m going to start a blog but it’s a whole another world when you start! Blogging is a commitment and you have to be willing to commit time weather you are doing it as a hobby (me), part time, or pursuing it as a full time career you have to be committed.

Second Lesson: Blogger/Social Media Workshops are worth the money! When I decided to take that step and start a blog I had no idea where to begin (refer to lesson 1) and I was overwhelmed when I did a Google search. The great thing is I had enrolled in a social media workshop and it helped me so much and when I received an email that Shelia was offering a workshop all about blogging I gladly paid the money. It was money well spent and at the end of the blogging workshop I had the tools I needed to start my blog. Now there are free online blogging classes offered online too if the funds are just not there but if you can make the investment.

Third Lesson: Blogging requires organization! Yes you must be organized when it comes to blogging especially if you have decided to make it a career. There are so many tools available that will help you get organized and stay organized. There are blogging workshops, manuals, and every state has a blogger network you can join for a fee and YouTube is a great resource too. Seasoned bloggers who have a YouTube channel have shared great advice.

Fourth Lesson: Be You! I follow a lot of bloggers but I know that as much as I admire these bloggers I am not them and I have to be Regina and have my own voice. Make sure your blog reflects you. It is totally okay to admire and even to aspire to be like that blogger you love but don’t lose who you are because you are pretty cool yourself and the more authentic you are the more authentic your blog.

Fifth Lesson: Blogging doesn’t have to be expensive! I started my blog on Medium.com before I moved to WordPress but there are other sites you can go to and they are free. Also don’t stress over hiring a photographer. My mom takes all of my photos on my cell phone and I get asked all the time who my photographer is and when I say my mom the look on people’s face is priceless. Also I’m learning how to take my own pictures and check out my girl Laura of wonderfullymadestyle she takes her own photos! Don’t stress thinking you needs buckets of money all you need are people who love you and support you to help you make your dream come true.

Last but not least I’ve learned to have fun! Blogging can be stressful but it can also be loads of fun too especially the photo shoots.

Well those are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned this first year of blogging and I’m constantly learning and discovering something new and neat everyday.

Thank you for following me and your comments and encouragement! This blog would not exist without my Southernistas! As always remember Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Dress from Fullbeauty.com (no longer available)| Shoes from Venus | Bag from Justfab.com

My Skincare Routine

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Hello my lovely Southernistas! I hope your week is off to a great start. My Monday was a little rocky at work but all in all in it was a good day.

I thought in this blog post I would share my skincare routine with y’all which takes me 30 minutes from start to finish and is well worth the time. I will confess I have been pretty lazy when it comes to my skincare routine and my skin has reflected this so I decided this year I would get serious about my skin after all it is the largest organ and as I get closer and closer to 50 I realize I need to take better care of this organ. One of the first things I’ve started doing is drinking more water! That is the best thing you can do for your skin. When you hydrate you will see your skin start to look clearer and healthier. Try drinking water for 30 days and if you don’t see any results let me know but I can guarantee you will see the results.

For my morning routine I usually use L’Oreal cleanser but I’m currently using Garnier sulfate free cleanser, Burt’s Bee’s lip scrub, L’Oreal toner, L’Oreal Revialift serum, L’Oreal eye cream, L’Oreal hyaluroinc acid (new addition), collagen that I buy from Family Dollar, and a moisturizer with SPF 25 sunscreen. Sunscreen is important regardless of race!

For my night routine I add Yeouth skincare retinol serum along with a face oil or mask. After I apply the collagen I use L’Oreal’s night cream and the last item I use before I go to bed is L’Oreal’s overnight mask.



Since I’ve started drinking more water and being consistent about day and night skincare routine my skin has never looked better. My skin look healthy and I’ve gotten so any compliments! This is not a sponsored post by any of these brands I just really love their products and they have worked for me. The prices range from $20.00 – $1.00. I didn’t list any of the masks I use but I use the Global Beauty brand mask and you can buy them at Family Dollar for $1.00 and they have a variety of masks.

Southernistas it is never too late to start a skincare routine no matter the age just get started and fine what works for you! Nor does it have to drain your pocketbook.

Until next Southernista remember Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

My Tips for Online Shopping

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Hello Southernistas! Happy Friday to everyone. I hope everyone’s week has been a great week and not too stressful. I can’t believe it has been two weeks since my last blog post and I missed y’all. If you haven’t noticed I’ve changed the name of my blog to Regina the Southernista instead of the Southernista let me know what you think.

There is no doubt plus size fashion has come a long way and I am very happy to see the number of new fashion forward plus size designers along with the established and older brands. I love all the options that are now available to me but what I don’t love is the fact that I do the majority of my shopping online. More and more straight size brands are extending there sizes but only making it available online or in select stores (yes I’m talking about you Anthopologie and Loft). I talk to many of my friends who are hesitant to shop online because they are afraid the clothes will not fit and I totally understand that because I was nervous when I first started shopping online because lets face it there is nothing like going to the store and trying on the clothes. Plus with the inconsistencies of sizing it is better to try on everything because you could wear a size 18 at one store but a size 22 at another store.

To help you better navigate online shopping here some tips that I use when I am shopping online.

  1. Know your measurements – this is the most important thing you can do before you buy anything online. You can take your measurements, have a friend do it or go to a tailor and have your measurements taken. By knowing your measurements you can look at the sizing chart and determine what size you should purchase. Also if you like styling services like Dia & Co, Stitch Fix, Trunk Club etc you can send them your measurements for better picks.
  1. Read the reviews – Trust me reviews are very helpful. By reading the reviews it has helped me avoid some big mistakes.
  2. Bloggers – Find bloggers that are your body shape or close to your body shape. Those who are full time bloggers are very honest in their reviews of brands plus you get to see what that brand may look like on your body.
  3. Become familiar with the brand’s return policy. Some brands will give you a refund and some will give you a store credit. Some have very easy return policies and some are complicated.
  4. When in doubt size up.
  5. Learn if the brand is Junior plus or Plus trust me there is a difference. If you are ordering from an Asian company please be aware that Asian sizing runs very small so you will need to size up 2 sizes or more.

Shopping online doesn’t have to be scary and can be fun once you get the hang of it. I hope there tips help you in your online shopping adventures.

Until next time Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Lip Care

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Happy Friday Southernistas! I hope you’ve had a great week and although you couldn’t tell by the weather Wednesday was the first day of Spring! Happy Spring everyone! I’ll do a spring fashion post soon…promise.

Today I want to talk to y’all about lip care. Last year I realized that as fanatical as I’ve been about taking care of my skin especially as I am getting closer to 50 (yikes) I have never given my lips the same attention. Our lips go though a lot! In the winter they can become dry and chapped. Lips can also become severely cracked and bleeding in the winter if they are not taken care of and due to excessive lip licking too. As you get older you will also start to see a lot of lines on your lips. At 47 I realized that I have mistreated and sadly neglected my lips but I also know it’s not too late to start caring for my lips.

To begin my lip care journey I turned to Burt’s Bee’s lip care products to develop a lip care routine now let me say this is in no way a sponsored post by Burt’s Bees I just really love the products. I have been using their lip care products for about 6 months with amazing results. The lip scrub is great, the lip mask is only five minutes and I use the ultra conditioning lip balm before I put on any lip gloss or lipstick. I find that my lip gloss or lipstick lasts longer after I put on the lip balm. At night before I go to bed I apply the overnight intensive lip treatment which feels so good on my lips. If you’re worried about chemicals don’t worry Burt’s Bees is all natural.

Since I’ve started my lip care routine I’ve gotten a lot a compliments on how great my lips have been looking and I owe it all to Burt’s Bees! Before I end this blog I just want to say that Chapstick has just introduced a lip care kit too and it is a kit that includes everything with Burt’s Bees you have to buy each item separately it doesn’t come as a kit.


Wearing Burt’s Bees tinted Lip Balm

You can purchase these products from any drugstore. Wal-mart, Ulta or you can go to their website http://www.burtsbees.com to purchase.

Until next time Southernistas remember Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Brave!

The Wearing of the Green

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Happy Friday Southernistas and a early Happy Saint Patrick’s Day which is this weekend (Sunday). I hope y’all’s week has been a great week. My week started off a little rough but it got better.

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner I would be remiss if I didn’t delve into my closet and pull out my green to celebrate this fun and festive holiday. For me this holiday feels like the unofficial start of Spring and I am all for that! I am so over winter! Green is such a rich a vibrant color and I can’t think of another color that represents Spring than the color green.

If you are saying that you can’t wear green first remove the can’t from your vocabulary and know that you can wear green. If you are not comfortable with a head to toe look try wearing a print with pops of green or a cute skirt or pants in celebration. Think about a cute pair of shoes, bag, or jewelry for that pop of green. There are so many ways to incorporate green into your look.

So make sure you break out your green this weekend and HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

Until next time Southernistas remember Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Beautiful!

Dress from Eloquii (no longer available) click Here and here and here for alternatives

Eulogy for Payless Shoe Source

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Happy Friday Southernistas! I know it has been a while since I’ve blogged and I ask your forgiveness but the weather here in North Carolina has not lent itself to photo shoots but the rain seems to be holding off so I can create more content for the blog! I hope everyone has had a great week and that you have a great weekend.

Today Southernistas and fellow shoe addicts as you can tell from the title this blog is a memorial for my absolute favorite shoe store Payless Shoe Source. Last month the news broke that after 62 years Payless doors are closing and I am devastated. This news came out of nowhere and to say I was blindsided would be an understatement. Payless has always been my go to store for affordable and stylish shoes for years. In 2008 they partnered with Christian Siriano and it has been a very successful partnership. Payless has appeared on the runway at NYFW and who could forget the recent commercial where bloggers pair hundreds of dollars for their shoes because they though they were designer shoes.

There is no other shoe store you could go to with a $100 and walk out with 6 pairs of shoes a cute bag and still have change! That was the beauty of Payless your dollar went a long way especially for families. I can’t count the number of times I stood in line behind families who were buying shoes for the whole family especially during buy one get one half off. When I was really strapped for cash I knew I could always go to Payless and get a few pair shoes at a really great price.

There is no doubt I am going to miss Payless Shoe Source! I am going to miss Christian Siriano’s shoe line. I am going to miss the savings there is no doubt. I am just going to miss Payless!

So thank you Payless Shoe Source for the Christina Siriano collection, the great sales, but most of all the great shoes! I am going to miss you dear friend. R.I.P


Until next time Southernistas remember Be Brave, Be Bold, Be Beautiful

The Ultimate Valentine

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Happy Valentine’s Day Southernistas! I hope you are having an awesome day and that you are sharing it with you love one(s).

I must confess that Valentine’s day has never been one of my favorite days. After Christmas I always began to the countdown to February 14th with growing dread and depression. As a single girl it is hard to see everyone getting flowers and candy and all the other romantic and sweet gestures that go along with this day and not feel some kind of way about this day. For years my friends Beth & John would always send me a beautiful gift that had all kinds of goodies in it and it just made my day. Of course my daughter and Mom also gave me gifts as well as my sister and my best friend Lisa and I did appreciate it BUT my heart ached for a special someone to give me those things.

This year is different and it’s not because I’m seeing anyone but my perspective about February 14th has changed. Today I celebrate my ultimate valentine gift which is God’s love. I know this scripture is quoted all the time but John 3:16 tells us of the best gift this world was given: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. How can we ever top that gift! This morning in my prayer time I began to thank God for his son Jesus. Jesus loves us perfectly, completely, and whole. His love is without strings and everyday He gives us gifts and again its without any strings attached. Jesus will never break your heart, abandon you or hurt you but he will heal and mend your broken heart and let you know that you are loved with an everlasting love.

So today I celebrate that I am loved by Jesus so much that he was willing to die for me so that I could have eternal life. I celebrate His resurrection and how everyday I feel his love surrounding me and filling me and I know I am never along and I am always loved. Because I know Jesus loves me I allow myself to celebrate and be my own Valentine because I know I’m not celebrating this day alone. Today I celebrate the Ultimate Valentine – JESUS!

Until next Southernistas Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Brave!

Dress from Lane Bryant | Shoes from Payless Shoe Source (old) | Pearls from Ashley Stewart (no longer available)


How I am Learning to be Single

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for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Phil 4:11b

Happy Friday Southernistas and also Happy February 1st! There is nothing like starting the weekend off in a new month!

When I was thinking about content for this week’s blog I was trying to decided what I wanted to talk about regarding fashion and style but the I felt the prompted to talk about something I’m not comfortable talking about…my singleness especially in February. My martial status is something I try not to think about mostly because I’ve spent a lot of time and energy thinking about my martial status. The closer I get to 50 (I’ll be 48 this year) the more aware I am of the fact that I am still single and I mean single never been married single. I always thought that by now I would be married for a number of years and provided my daughter with siblings.

Then I realized last year that although I am single I never really learned how to be single I mean your status is single when you come into the world but then as we get older and discover the opposite sex we feel the pressure to be coupled up with someone. I remember desperately wanting a boyfriend all though high school and college (not one date in college) especially when you see everyone all lovey dovey. The month of February was torture for me but I had friends that made it bearable. Except for one brief relationship in my 20s I have been very, very, very single and for most of this time I have been very sad, lonely, and depressed about being single.

The number of times I cried on my best friend shoulder about being single are too many to count! The times I’ve spent in prayer asking God why am I still single again too many to count. My Pastor and First Lady encouraged me that it would happen for me but it just seemed that every year it never happened. One year at my church it seemed like all I did was announce upcoming nuptials! To encourage myself I would ready 1 Corinthians 7 to remind myself the benefits of being single versus being married.

I look back over those years and realize now that I wasn’t ready for a real relationship. I was needy, desperate and was looking for someone to fulfill all my emotional needs. I had a lot of baggage that needed to be unpacked and dealt with. I also realize now that I wanted to be a relationship so I could say I was in a relationship so I was more committed and in love with the idea of being in a relationship.

Then last year it happened! No I didn’t meet a man but I realized that I had to learn how to be single. I had to learn to truly appreciate being single and being happy with my state until God changes my status. I had to learn that I can go out by myself and shop, eat, visit museums and enjoy my own company. Also I also realize how great it is to have the freedom to come and go as I please without having to consider someone else. My spending choices are mine alone. Most importantly this is the time when you can really focus on God and really seek Him.

As I was thinking about what to say the latter part verse 11 from Philippians chapter 4 came to me in this last chapter the Apostle Paul is encouraging the Philippians to rejoice, not to worry and if you do what to think on to ease the worry, and then he begins to let them know that he has experienced different circumstances the one thing he has learned is to be content. Now I want say I’m content with being single but I am learning to be content. I am learning that my life is not dependent on having a man in my life but it is dependent on having Jesus in my life!

Yes I am still single but the difference now is that I am waiting for that someone that is right for me and not doing anymore is moping around discontent and depressed because I don’t have someone in my life. I know longer dread February 14th. I am learning in this phase of my life to be single and content and that has made all the difference.

Until next time Southernistas Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Dress from Eloquii x Draper James Collection (no longer available) | Shoes from Payless

Breaking the Rules

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Happy Friday Southernistas! I hope y’all had a great work week and that you are ready for the weekend! For some of us it was a four day work week due to the celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I don’t know about y’all but winter has really arrived here in North Carolina and we’ve had more rainy and cloudy days then sunny days. The temperature has dropped with the exception of two days of 60+ degree weather this week. With the days being so gray I’ve taken the opportunity to wear more color and the one color I decided to wear was white. I usually don’t wear white because as a southern girl it was ingrained in me that you don’t wear white after Labor Day. This is so ingrained in me that I really don’t even think about wearing white in the winter unless it is for a church service.

On my fashion journey I am constantly pushing myself to step outside my comfort zone and when I was deciding what to wear my eyes fell on this beautiful Karl Lagerfeld (yes that Karl) skirt I got from a previous Stitch Fix box I almost put it back thinking this is for Spring but then I said to myself “Regina break that no white after Labor day rule!” and so I pulled it out the closet again and paired it with my favorite white sweater from Full Beauty.

I am so glad I did because when I saw the total look it was an instant mood lifter for me and even though it is winter I felt like a beautiful Spring day! So remember to toss outdated fashion rules out the window and wear your white!

Until next time Southernistas remember to Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Skirt Stitch Fix | Sweater Full Beauty | Shoes DSW | Denim Trench Coat Eloquii | Bag Payless Shoe Source

Suit Up!

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Hello Southernistas! I hope everyone has had a good week and that you are keeping warm. Here in North Carolina the week started out in the 60s but it is not freezing!

Southernistas there is nothing like a suit! I had forgotten how wonderful and versatile a suit can be and how timeless they are too. I think my main reason for avoiding suits for so long is because when I think of suits I think about the suits from the 80s shoulder pads and all (shudder) but that is not the case anymore. This week I rediscovered the power of a great suit. The great thing about a suit is that it instantly makes you feel stylish and pulled together. It gives you a polished and effortless look plus total girl boss vibes! You don’t have to go out a buy a suit if you have a great blazer and cute skirt voila you have a suit! Which is what I did with this outfit I paired this blazer from Lane Bryant with this cute skirt also from Lane Bryant and since we’ve had nothing but gray skies recently I wore this ultra feminine lavender floral top and I felt ready to go forth and conquer.

Suits never really go out of style but they are having their fashion moment. With a suit you can mix and match with pieces in your closet to create several different looks. So in the words of Barney from How I Met Your Mother….SUIT UP!

Unit next time Southernistas! Have a great weekend and remember to Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Bryant Blazer from Lane Bryant, Skirt from Lane Bryant (old), Shoes from Payless (old), Pocketbook from Nine West (Old)

My Favorite Cozy Mystery Podcasts

Hi Southernistas! Well we are 14 days into 2022 and I hope it’s going great for y’all and that y’all are being a fruitful and productive but most of all haven’t broken your resolutions (if you make one)!

Like many of you I love a good podcast mostly true crime and Christian podcasts but between the true crime and Christian podcasts I’ve discovered some great book podcasts. I am an avid reader of cozy mysteries in fact the last three posts were a wrap up of my favorite mysteries I read in 2021. So now I want to share some of my favorite cozy mystery podcasts. You can listen to these podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Goggle Podcasts or whatever platform you listen to podcasts.

Happy listening y’all!

  1. The Cozy Corner with Alexia Gordon — Alexia Gordon is the author of the Gethsemane Brown mystery series and the host of this podcast. I love this podcast and her interview style. It’s always great to hear an author interview another author about their writing process. New episodes every Wednesday. For more information you check out the podcasts website www.thecozycornerwithalexiagordon.com

2. Cozy Ink Podcast — Leah Bailey is the host and she is also a author. What I love about this podcast is that there are not only author interviews but Leah also has several authors on to discuss different aspects of publishing and writing. They give great advice and tips for aspiring authors. You can learn about Leah and the podcast on her website www.leahbaileyauthor.com. New episodes are not out yet but when she does they will come out every Tuesday.

3. Get Cozy Podcast with Krysti Meyer — Krysti discovered cozy mysteries at the beginning of 2021 and fell so in love with this genre of mysteries she decided to do a podcast and TA DAH…the Get Cozy Podcast is born. Krysti brings a millennial view point with her podcast and you clearly hear her love of cozy mysteries as she interviews the authors. Every episode deals with a particular topic in cozy mysteries the she talks with the authors about and I love it! At the end of every episode Krysti gives book recommendations. New episodes every Wednesday. You can follow the show on Instagram @getcozypodcast

4. Sister in Crime Writer’s Podcast — This podcast is hosted by Sisters in Crime Executive Director Julie Hennrikus. Julie interviews members and past presidents of Sisters in Crime about their writing journey. The authors are from every genre of mystery and don’t let the title of the podcast fool you male mystery authors are interviewed also. If you want to learn more about this organization check out their website www.sistersincrime.org.

5. Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast is produced by King’s River Magazine that features actor’s reading the first chapter of a mystery or a short story. For more information www.mysteryrat.com or http://www.kingsriverlife.com

Cold Weather Fashion

Hello Southernistas! Well after a very warm December winter has finally decided to make an appearance! While winter along with fall is not my favorite season I do love the fashion and I’m blessed to live in a state that experiences all four season (sometimes in a single day). So I indulged myself last month and added a few more sweaters and sweater dresses to my closet to keep me warm and cozy.

Until next time Southernistas! Stay warm and Be safe!

This sweater dress from Lane Bryant does double duty on those days when the temps are in the high 40s — 50s it is super warm and cozy with a pair of tried and true boots I’ve had forever from Payless. Because it is such a thick seater dress it gives double warmth under your coat for colder days.

This dress is still available , Alternate for boots herehereherehere

Fashion to Figure is a brand I’ve wanted to try for a while now but my style is sexy but modest and this brand is full on sexy! But all is not lost and by diligently looking I have scored some cute pieces that work for my style especially this red sweater dress. I just popped a white tank underneath and I was ready to go. The buttons are not functional and you can actually size down because the dress runs a little large. I wanted a compete head to to red look so I grabbed my red moto jacket (comes in several colors) from Eloquii and my brand new red pumps from JustFab and I am warm and slaying it!

Fashion to Figure Sweater DressEloquii Moto JacketJust Fab Red Pumps comes in black also

My Favorite Cozy Mystery of 2021 — Part 4 (The Finale)

Happy New Year’s Eve Southernistas! I hope, those who celebrate Christmas, had a wonderful Christmas spent celebrating the birth of Jesus, enjoying family, and opening presents! I hope you got what you wanted and for my book lovers I hope you got that book you’ve been wanting or a gift card to your local independent bookstore or Barnes & Nobles.

Well here we are…the FINALE! After three post of my favorite cozy mysteries that I read this year out of all the cozies I read in 2021. I really hope y’all have enjoyed the unofficial countdown and that some of these will make on to your TBR or have peaked your curiosity and you decide to read one of these cozies. Here’s to reading and discovering even more new and old cozy mysteries in 2022.

Having said all that here is my choice for the top cozy mystery of 2021 (drumroll please)

You can purchase this book from your local independent bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Good Reads, and where ever books are sold. I have linked the author’s website.

Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Murders (A Mrs. Claus Mystery) by Liz Ireland

This new series by Liz Ireland was in my humble opinion the best of the best when it comes to cozy mystery. I laughed all through the book and was so sad when I finished reading the book and immediately pre-ordered Mrs. Claus and the Halloween Homicide and devoured that book also. I am now anxiously awaiting the third book in this series and so is my mother. In this series April Claus is a newlywed to her husband Nick who is in his first year as Santa after the tragic death of his older brother. She is trying to find her place and fulfill the her duties as the new Mrs. Claus which in the eyes of her mother in low the Dowager Mrs. Claus she is falling short. On top of everything else Giblet Hollyberry has been is killed and all the clues point to Santa himself as the murderer. April knows this can’t be true! While the family doesn’t seem as concerned by this as they should especially her husband and her doubts about Constable Crinkles and Office Jolly’s policing abilities April has decided that it is up to her to find out who killed Giblet before Nick is arrested and Christmas is cancelled.

Of all the cozies I’ve read this year this has been the series I have talked about non-stop. I mean a cozy mystery that takes place in Santaland? GENIUS! Liz Ireland’s does a marvelous job of world building and you would think after all the portrayals of the North Pole in various Christmas stories over the years that would nothing could be added or said but you would be wrong. Her characters are wonderful and I like that the Claus family are portrayed as a normal family with the same issues many families have as well as how out of touch they seem to be. I could go on and on about how great this series is and I can’t wait to see what is next for April Claus and Santaland.

Good-bye 2021…Hello 2022!

Happy New Year Southernistas! Well God has blessed us to say goodbye to 2021 and hello to 2022! I don’t know about y’all but I honestly thought we would be leaving COVID behind in 2021 but it looks like another relative of COVID has decided to come with us into 2022. I am not one for making resolutions because lets face it before the 1st week of 2022 is over I’ve broken the resolutions. What I do like to do is keep moving forward and improving Regina. I want to draw closer to God, family, and friends. I want to always be a better version of myself and of course step out of my comfort zones and have new experiences whatever they may be.

I know for some of my friends 2021 was a year of change and loss but I have seen them grow stronger through every change. It is my prayer that we all go into this new year with hope and to have a impact on our fellow man. To be a little kinder, more respectful, and hopefully more loving towards each other.

So here’s to 2022 and all the experiences (good & bad), adventures, new relationship weather it be romantic or otherwise, and fabulous style and fashion!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Dress — Lane BryantShoes — Just FabThe Southernista

My Favorite Cozy Mysteries of 2021 — Part 3

Merry Christmas Southernistas! I know it’s Christmas Eve but I still want to wish y’all a very Merry Christmas!

We’ve made it to week 3 of my list of favorite cozy mystery series I read this year. For those of you who are wondering what is a cozy mystery? The best definition of a cozy mystery is mystery that usually takes place in a small town with an amateur sleuth (librarian, baker/chef, teacher, etc.) that has not graphic violence, profanity (although some do), and no sex scenes. An example of a cozy mystery would be Murder, She Wrote.

Now that I have defined, my definition, of what what a cozy mystery is I have been sharing my favorite of all the cozies I read this year and while I could list a lot I decided to post 3 each post because I don’t want y’all to get bored and stop reading or unfollow me because I go on and on. I will end the last post with my top pick of 2021 and I can’t wait to share it with you.

You can purchase these books from your local independent bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Good Reads, and where ever books are sold. If you would like more information about the series or to check out the other series by these talented authors I have linked their webpage just click on their name

Murder in G Major (A Gethsemane Brown Mystery) by Alexia Gordon

I discovered author Alexia Gordon, who is a physician also, listening to a cozy podcast, another blog for another time, and her Gethsemane Brown mystery series which is set in Ireland! This is the first book in the series and we find Dr. Gethsemane Brown stranded in Ireland after she looses the position as assistant conductor with the Cork Philharmonic to the music director’s mistress which is how she ends up in the village of Dunmullach as the music teacher at St. Brennan’s School for Boys where she is expected to turn the boy’s orchestra into an award winning orchestra. The upside is the charming cottage, Carraigfaire Cottage, the home of famed classical musician and composer Eamon McCarthy what she didn’t know is that she would be sharing the cottage with a ghost, Eamon McCarthy. I absolutely loved this book and I hope this series has a long life. Gethsemane is tough and hard drinking which is something you don’t see in amateur sleuths.

Spying in High Heels (A High Heel Mystery) by Gemma Halliday

As a stiletto wearing girl this is a mystery series I have been dying to read forever and I finally, FINALLY did it! And I am a better person for it now. I love this first book in the series and I’ve purchased the 2nd book. The 13th book if this series came out this month so I’ve got a lot of binge reading to do…lol. Unlike the majority of cozy mysteries this series is set in Los Angeles, CA and not a small town which is a nice change. Aspiring shoe designer Maddie Springer is a funny amateur sleuth who is a girl after my own heart. I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the entire series!

Murder with a Cherry on Top (A Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe Mystery) by Cynthia Baxter

I love Cynthia Baxter and was sad when her Murder Packs a Suitcase mystery series ended after two books in her series. She also wrote the Reigning Cats & Dogs mystery series which ended after 9 books. I loved both of these series so when she debuted a new series after a long break and it takes place in an ice cream shop I was beyond excited. The series is set in Wolfert’s Roost, NY in the Hudson Valley where our amateur sleuth Kate McKay grew up and is now back home after leaving a high powered career in Manhattan. I enjoyed this book and I really enjoyed how the murder was solved by Kate. I found myself sacrificing a lot of sleep because I just could not put this book down which is a trademark of all of these author’s books. I loved the characters and found myself wanting to visiting the Hudson Valley.

Honorable mention: Live and Let Chai (A Seaside Café Mystery) by Bree Baker

I know I said I said three books but this series by Bree Baker aka Julie Anne Lindsey is a must read. There are 6 books in this series and I was so sad when the author announced book 6 was the end of the series. This series is set on the coast of my home state North Carolina in Charm where Everly Swan has opened up Sun, Sand, and Tea Ice Café. She is trying to make a success of it but the town curmudgeon comes in everyday asking for a list of the ingredients Everly uses in her teas which she refuses to give but always gives him a free sample which he. And as a member of the city council he has never been in favor of Everly opening her café on the beach and fought her every step of the way. When he is found dead with one of her cups from her business in his hand Everly knows it’s up to her to find the killer before she looses her precious café and house and have to move back in with her aunts.

My Favorite Cozy Mysteries of 2021 — Part 2

Hello Southernistas! I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of my favorite cozy mysteries and that you checked them out. I realized that the first post were all about new mysteries (new to me) I discovered this year. I always like to read the first book in a new mystery series I never start with the most recent release. Also if I didn’t enjoy the first book in the series I always remind myself that this is the first book in the series so I don’t dismiss the series but I read the next book in the series. In my experience most cozies get better with each book and it depends on your personal taste as well.

This list features my favorite cozies of 2021 of long running series that I am a devoted fan and when I say devoted I mean I pre-order the books when they become available for pre-order and them I devour as soon as they arrive.

You can purchase these books from your local independent bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Good Reads and everywhere else books are sold. I’ve linked the author’s website just click on the author’s name.

I accept all book recommendations!

Pup Fiction (Melanie Travis Mystery Series) by Laurien Berenson

I have been a fan of Laurien Berenson’s Melanie Travis mystery series from the first book A Pedigree to Die For. This book is the 26th book in the series and once again Melanie and her Aunt Peg (who remains incorrigible) find themselves in the middle of a mystery when the owner of Graceland School summer camp ex-husband if found dead on the property. Melanie can’t believe Grace murdered her ex-husband and when she is asked by Grace to investigate how can she say no. Between being a wife, mother of two boys and five standard poodles Melanie always seems to find time to solve a mystery of two.

Dying in a Winter Wonderland (A Year Round Christmas Mystery) by Vicki Delaney

I love the Year Round Christmas Mystery series by Vicki Delany. I look forward to visiting Rudolph, NY whenever I can to see what murder Merry Wilkinson has gotten herself mixed up in and in this 5th book in the series Merry’s brother is the prime suspect in the death of his old high school girlfriend’s fiancé Jeff Vanderhaven. Merry knew it was a mistake to even agree to help Luanne Ireland with her wedding but after much begging and pleading Merry found herself roped into doing the decorations for her wedding which Luanne moved up from July to February. Vicki Delany is also the author of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, Tea by the Sea series, The Lighthouse Library Series, and her newest mystery series The Catskills Summer Resort mystery series

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery) by Joanne Fluke

I’ve saved the best for last! This is the 27th book in the Hannah Swensen Mystery Series or as I like to refer to it also as the Lake Eden mystery series. From her first book, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, to Triple Chocolate I have been them for them all in fact I have pre-ordered book 28 and can’t wait to get in my hot little hands. If I had one complaint about this series is the love triangle that has lasted way beyond it’s date which is the complaint of many fans of this series. Hopefully the love triangle will come to an end in the next book!

More Sweater Dresses

Hello Southernistas! Did you really think last week’s post be the last post about sweater dresses? Of course not! As the temperatures drop and we get closer to winter, December 21st, sweater dresses are a must for my closet and yours too so here are more sweater dresses I got from Lane Bryant. I’ve also added links to other brands at different price points.

Until next time Southernistas and remember Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Lane Bryant
Lane Bryant Hacci Midi Dress — also come in Purple and Green
Ashley Stewart Bell Sleeve Sweater Dress
Ashely Stewart Fringe Sweater Dress
Swing Sweater Dress — Roamans

My Favorite Cozy Mysteries of 2021-Part 1

Hi Southernistas! As we come down to the end of 2021 I want to share my favorite cozy mysteries this year. Some of these are new mystery series I discovered this year, debut mystery series, and old friends that I’ve been reading since the first book hit the shelf. I hope these books will make their way to your TBR (To Be Read) pile or make you curious enough to give cozy mysteries a try.

You can purchase these books from your local independent bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Good Reads and everywhere books are sold. I have also linked the author’s website just click on the author’s name.

  1. And Then There Were Crumbs (A Cookie House Mystery) by Eve Calder

This cozy stars Kate McGuire a Manhattan transplant who finds herself working as a baking assistant in Coral Cay, FL at the Cookie House after a failed relationship. Coral Cay is a delightful town and Kate finds herself falling in love with the little town and the town’s dog. The owner of the Cookie House is gruff Sam Hepplewhite who Kate persuades to hire her but when Sam is accused of murdering local real estate developer Stewart Lord it is up to Kate to clear Sam’s name. I really enjoyed the plot and the story really moved and didn’t plod and I found myself loosing sleep because I just couldn’t put it down.

2. In the Dog House (A Dog Club Mystery Series) by V.M. Burns

I discovered V.M. Burns this year and she is a writer of color so if you’re looking to read more writers of color V.M. Burns is a must! I was hooked from the first sentence and literally couldn’t put the book down. The armature sleuth is Lilly Echosby and this first book finds her trying to clear her name after the body of her recently divorced husband if found dead and all clues point to you!

3. Class Reunions are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery Series) by Libby Klein

Recently widowed Poppy McAllister finds herself trapped in grief and self pity and what better way to shake things up then to go home to Cape May, NJ for her 25th class reunion which she was looking forward to like you look forward to a root canal. While home she finds out that her Aunt Ginny is in danger of being committed by an social worker and then the most popular girl in school and her bully is murdered and Poppy is the prime suspect. Now Poppy along with help from her best friends and Aunt Ginny to find the real culprit. This is a really great series.

I Tried a New Brand…and I Love Chic Soul!

Happy Thursday Southernistas! So for those of you who have been with me from the first post then you know I am pretty loyal to Eloquii, Lane Bryant, Just Fab, Full Beauty (off/on relationship), and Ashley Stewart to name a few but I really do try to step out of my fashion comfort zone and try other brands but I must confess I look but I don’t step. One of the biggest reasons is sizing especially with independent brands the sizing tends to run small. As with every woman sizing varies depending on who you shop but with my tried and true I know that my size 24 is just that and will fit.

Well last week I tried a new brand…yeah me! I’ve been seeing Chic Soul ads in my Instagram and Facebook feeds forever and although I’ve seen a lot of things I liked and even loved I hesitated because again sizing. I just didn’t want to purchase ponchos and wraps. Then I saw one of my favorite influencers do a haul on her YouTube channel and we are the same size and the same body type (apple) and I decided to give it a try so I purchased this turtleneck red cable knit bodycon sweater dress and I love it! It is the perfect length, it is well made, it is true to size and the fit is on point! I will definitely be adding more Chic Soul to my closet.

Until next time Southernistas Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Sweater Dress — Chic Soul, Booties from Just Fab (old)

December Means…12 Days of Cozies!!!

Hi Southernistas! Now I know you’re thinking wait didn’t she just post a blog? Yes I did but that one was about fashion this is about my other favorite thing to do and that is READ! My favorite genre is mystery and within that genre I love cozy mysteries. What is a cozy mystery you may ask? The best definition I can give is: a cozy mystery is a mystery that usually takes place in a small town with an amateur sleuth trying to solve a murder mystery with no over the top violence, profanity or sex. Think Jessica Fletcher and of course the queen of the cozy mystery Dame Agatha Christie.

Having said all of that I want to introduce y’all to the Cozy Mystery Book Club (also the IG and Twitter handle) which is the creation of the wonderful Angela Maria Hart whose IG is @writerathart. Angela has created a wonderful community across all social media platforms except Tik Tok but it could be coming. Every month we vote on the book we want to read for the next month on Twitter and at the end of the month we discuss that book on the book clubs YouTube channel Books Are My Hart (like & subscribe). There are so many of other goodies that happen every month but I want to talk about what happens every December!

Every December cozy mystery lovers look forward to the 12 Days of Cozies! It is cozy mysteries on crack! Angela pours her heart and soul into making 12 Days a success and the fact that our favorite authors not only give books to be won in giveaways but they give their time. Every day of the 12 days we get to talk to authors on Instagram and Twitter plus there are readings done on Twitter as well as Q&As. I love the Instagram challenges that are so much fun. I missed participating last year chiefly because I didn’t know anything about this awesome event until after it was over but this year I am prepared.

If you are an avid cozy mystery reader like I am check out the website: www.thecozymysteryclub.com and there is a section all about the 12 Days of Cozies with a complete list of all the authors and each day the author will be on IG and Twitter, the challenges, the blogs and coloring pages! This month there will not be a book club discussion at the end of the month but there is a buddy read going on and the book is In Peppermint Peril by Joy Avon.

If you’re looking for a new book series to read or are curious about cozy mysteries this is a great time to discover a new favorite author!

Until next time Southernistas!