Perfection is a myth. Life is a gift. Embrace your curves, embrace your life.


Have fun and take advantage of all the events, tastes and sounds the city has to offer!


I love to eat out and cook. City life is pretty tasty either way!

Monday, December 9, 2013

African Fashion and Community: Dear Curves

Currently, all eyes are on South Africa as the country and the world mourns the life of Nelson Mandela.  Thinking back on Mandela's life, I began to think about what life would be like on the continent (and abroad really) without his influence. And since at the day job I work with (and do a loot of hours) on a fashion brand, it got me thinking about the African influence on the fashion industry.  I wonder how many of these designers, who have been courageous in bringing African fashion, ideas and inspiration to the masses, would have fared without the courage and sacrifice of people like Mandela lighting the way.  

I feel it is very encouraging that Africa and African fashion is front and center lately; the fashion forward Kenyan textiles of Suno, the popular African inspired bridal magazine Munaluchi Bridal, and major brands  like Burberry and Marni have interpreted traditional African fashion prints – such as the Ankara For (which is super fab by the way!). What many of these developments have in common is the desire to bring the Western world African fashion and inspiration, while also choosing to do so in a way that is sustainable and benefits the greater community.

I mean for real? All of this!
I was introduced to the Nigerian-inspired Dear Curves line recently and I have to say, was easy to love!

Dear Curves, is an African inspired clothing line for plus size women is the brainchild of plus size model and fashion designer; Linda Idegwu. The brand strives to promote and represent Africa through fashion and our consistent usage of African wax print fabrics in the most creative way.  In addition, to offering American styling (read: peplums and pencil skirts) for the American curvy woman, the line also helps to create sustainable business for African fabric makers.

Sisi Eko Erle Print Dress

Based in London but with an eye to the street style of Lagos, Nigeria, the Dear Curves girl is urban and fashion forward while always keeping an eye on African tradition.  You can find her dancing the night way in London and New York, or meeting friends for a bite at a local bar (like Dear Curves favorite) Bar Zuma in the Knightsbridge district in London.

I really enjoy watching all of the creativity and diversity of the fashion world and am inspired by the focus of many of the brands to work with and contribute to local communities.  I think that is something we all can take with us--for profit--or not.  Our communities support us. When one prospers we all do.

“ As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” 
― Nelson Mandela


Erica Michele

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Curvy Girls Guide to National Chicken Month!

It is with great elation that announce and celebrate National Chicken Month!  National Chicken Month, is a brilliant way devised by chicken producers to continue chicken sales that would begin to wane after the end of summer.

Let's start by getting the obvious out of the way.  I am a black woman and I am about to talk about why I love chicken.  But, well...I mean kill me, but I do. It's so yummy, so versatile, so satisfying!  But this should come as no surprise--I AM holding a piece of fried chicken on the homepage of this blog!

Chicken is delicious YEAR ROUND, not just during National Chicken Month.  This month just serves as a canvas to highlight just how awesome chicken is! Chicken even serves to make us laugh, mainly cause we all love it to eat and have fun with chickens. Who can forget Arrested Development's infamous chicken impersonation (coo, coo, ca chaw) or the epic chicken battle from Family Guy, and of course Foghorn Leghorn (Leghorn is a breed of chicken BTW) because of course, The Bird Is the Word!

Grilled, fried, poached, shredded, stewed, roasted . . . So many different ways to enjoy it!  (For the adventurous among you, read Andrew Zimmerman's breakdown EVERY yummy edible part of the chicken here)

My rules to what constitutes "good eating" bird:

I prefer the classic 1/4 chicken ---rich dark meat thighs & legs = yum.
Or....wings..cause you're not American if you don't like wings.

So as another not so secret reason why I am curvy...I love chicken skin. It has to be well seasoned and must always be crispy! The skin (done right) gives a lovely textural and savory note to any cut of chicken.

Confession time:I have a secret snack I make when I make my chipotle bbq stewed chicken.  I like to cook it initially with the skin letting the fat render and add flavor to the sauce, but it's texture doesn't make it awesome to enjoy.  Instead, I take the skins and pan fry them with a little salt and pepper and finish with a little chipotle bbq sauce.  Heaven, guilty delicious--heaven.

Chicken should be cooked just thru, as too much cooking makes chicken horrible, texture and taste wise.  It should also be golden brown, not pale, not burnt but perfectly golden brown on the outside and juicy on the inside.  Chicken is a versatile and delicious food, when treated right.

I didn't get curvy by not eating...and much of what I eat is some great chicken.  My favorite types of chicken...all excel in one of the aforementioned categories:

  1. Roast Chicken 
  2. Rotisserie Chicken
  3. Grilled Chicken
  4. Korean Fried Chicken
  5. Classic, Southern Style Fried Chicken

Erica Michele

Monday, September 2, 2013

Curvy Woman Rant, A Girl on the Cusp

SO, it finally happened.  I had my very first Facebook rant!

I feel like I've crossed some sort of milestone.  But, that rant was necessary. It served to open me up to my passion and self-expression. I was in a rut, I was feeling so, many things, things I should have used the self-expression of my blog to get out, but I was...AFRAID.  Afraid to hurt people's feelings, afraid that if I became fully expressed I'd be rejected.  I worked in entertainment for the bulk of my career and still work in media now because expression fascinates me, it motivates me, it inspires me. Therefore, I needed to express who I was, without fear of what people would think of me.

WHAT SET ME OFF: I read some comments about a model's weight online, people felt the need to not only determine what that size was but then to question whether on not she was indeed "plus size."  The conversation that should have existed about the fashion, the styling, the shot, was all replaced with discourse about whether or not she was plus sized enough.  This rant, freed something in me and it needed to be said.

My anger was based on knowing what it's like to be on the cusp.  To be told by men I've loved and well meaning "friends" that I wasn't "that fat." Only to then open myself up to those who were (traditionally) plus size, who would surely not make me feel like that, to only be told I wasn't plus enough.  (Much like the model in question--who for the record is CLEARLY not straight size.) So I had to speak, I had to have a voice for those who sit there (like I did for many years) and take it.

For me, in an industry that should be about confidence for who you are and sometimes the lack of support by for those of who should be part of the same community baffles and angers me.  Body image issues transcends our racial, sexual orientation and gender boundaries. We in the plus community should be embracing ANY woman who is ostracized based on what size happens to be on the inside of their pair of jeans.  Confident women who have more than one number on their clothing label (I like to call us #doubledigitdivas) are a rarity.  We have a unique opportunity to preach love, self-love goes beyond body image, since for better or worse we are faced with dealing with that every day.

That's the community I am interested in being a part that accepts our flaws but moves forward to be better.

I think many of you feel the same way, those of you who do I am glad to have your support.


Erica Michele

Monday, July 29, 2013

Reviews: Best Bite I Ate...#CurvyBites

Last week was a CRAZY one, I was running around entertaining clients, hosting and planning Simply Be USA's #NYFallPreview event and generally on the run.  As a result I had some great and pretty indulgent meals last week.

People are always asking me about what restaurants to try and thankfully my Yelp! reviews offer some insight in to where to go, but then even after all that, people are clamoring to know--well what do YOU like.

Without further ado, here are the best #CurvyBites of (last) week:

Coconut Rice, The Hurricane Club
Hood: Flatiron/Nomad

I planned the menu for the Simply Be event after spending WAY too much time reading reviews of the food. While everything I ate was great (the cashew chicken and fish were particularly outstanding) the coconut rice, got reordered again and again.  Perfectly sweet, stick and indulgent, and served in a hollowed out coconut, this rice is the perfect creamy accompaniment to the rich food, but it is so good, I'd come eat a bowl of itself....for dinner.

Shackburger (double), Shake Shack
Hood: Downtown Brooklyn

What do you want after a VERY long week spent logging in 12-14 hour days? A burger and a beer with your bestie, that's what.  Thanks to a Shake Shack that I could walk to (if i wanted to take a long leisurely stroll) I did just that.  While I am STILL partial to the In n Out (sue me, its the taste of childhood for me, ok?) this double patty monster, was probably too much---really great flavor, perfectly cooked--they weren't stingy on the cheese--even without my grilled onions this bite left me satisfied.

Tuesday July 23rd Special, The Breslin
Hood: Flatiron/Nomad

Let me just say I love the food at The Breslin, every time I come I end up having a great time.  The fun decor, the energy of the Ace Hotel Lobby bar (where I've seen the likes of LL Cool J and Questlove) and the simple yet complicated menu make it a great place to take wanna be foodies, Food Network stans and people you want to impress in an unpretentious way.

We went with me promising The Best Thing I Ever Ate lamb burger to my UK friends, and that's just what we would have gotten, if only....If only we hadn't walked in while the servers were oohinng, and licking their lips as the staff was tasting the special entree for the evening.

The server literally couldn't contain her excitement to tell us what was on the menu special that evening.  Duck breast with a sweet and sour cherry glaze, served with a homemade duck sausage, fingerlings and grilled green onions. Ummm, so where do I sign up? $32? Who cares--I am WATCHING them cook this from my seat and the care she is taking making this, let's me know I MUST have this.

Best bites of the week!

Duck was cooked PERFECTLY, the sausage spiced wonderfully the glaze served to tie it all together and was neither too acidic or too sweet and the fingerlings gave the dish a nice bit of earthiness to ground it out.

Lesson learned, in an April Bloomfield restaurant--f-what the Food network told ya--order the special.

Tell me which of these bites, sounds the best to you?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Thoughts on BFFs: Travyon and Rachel

So, yes I am angry.

Yes, the killing of an unarmed teen, who ran away, then fought for his life and his killer was allowed to be free TWICE.

But, this is not what this blog is about.

This is about the hate we all ignore.  The hate that given the verdict and anger that we won't talk about anymore.  The vilification of not just who Travyon was, but of who his best friend IS.

I have been wanting to say some things for quite some time about Rachel Jeantel.  Unlike many, many others, before I made my thoughts known I wanted to do a bit of background research and take the time to really figure out what I wanted to say.

There have been a number of amazing articles and thoughts about Rachel, but a recent report by Black America Web, an interview with the attorney in the trial exposed exactly my thoughts on Rachel's' testimony and treatment by those in the sometimes toxic social media space.

Don't get me wrong.  I agree that we should all be angry about Travyon, we should all DO something about the perpetuation that violence against black men is justified by acquittal's like this.  But we should be equally angry at the ways that we treat our young women.  How do you think Rachel feels at this moment? She subjected herself to ridicule, her anger didn't have a place in that court room, her hurt her testimony, her sacrifice all meant....nothing.

I am not here to discuss the details of her testimony.  Whether or not she's credible or a liar.  I'm not even going to touch the "speech" and "illiteracy" debate either.  The one thing that has from the on set caused me great concern is what we as a society do to the Rachel Jeantel's of the world.  By her own admission, Rachel and Trayvon were friends because he was one of the few people to not make fun of her because of her weight or because of the color of her skin.

When Rachel walked in to that court room, before she ever opened her mouth--it began.  The cycle of loathing and hate that comes down to her weight and racial makeup.

What's even more disturbing? Most of this backlash, as witnessed in her own real-life, came from people in her own community--people who looked a lot like her.  She's not only been privately bashed for being who she is a dark skinned full figured black woman, but now she is demonized for the same things on a public level.  Is being dark skinned a crime? Does that make you ugly? Is being full figured/plus size make you ugly? Does being both together make you deserve public, private and let's face it inner ridicule?

The purpose of this blog and what I feel to be my mission in life is to have women accept who they are right now.  I want the Rachel Jeantel's of the world to know that she is beautiful, no matter what they say (cue the Christina Aguilera). I want dark skinned women, "fat' women to know that they deserve love and respect for who they are. It is my hope that the Rachel's of the world remember to remain confident and inspired even amongst the hate thrown their way, so that they don't internalize their "difference"a s being wrong.  I wonder if, given the public attention that Rachel has felt--how that deters MANY other women who look JUST like her--to internalize that the way they look is wrong, ugly or bad.

Remember folks, our words have infinite power. You may think your PRECIOUS comment only affects Rachel, but with social media young minds are watching and internalizing what we are saying.  I truly hope that we are inspired to look at our words, to take accountability for how we treat one another and then let's take it to the streets and hold everyone else accountable as well. Cause what happened to Trayvon, what Rachel had to listen to and live with every day for the rest of her not OK and something has GOT to change.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

#FFFWeek, a reminder to stay Curvy & Confident

Hello Curvy Goddesses (& Gods)!

Please forgive my EXTENDED absence from the blog.  You see, in November I started working at an amazing new agency doing social media and time got scarce.  What's even MORE exciting is that I get the opportunity to work with one of my favorite brands as part of the day job!  All in all the past 6 months have been amazing and I am even MORE excited of what the year has in store for Curvy in the City.

I have to thank all the beautiful women who I've interacted with for work and well as on a personal level in the past few weeks, for inspiring me and reminding me why this blog is so important to me.  As most of you know, last week was Full Figure Fashion Week and the week prior to that I got to work with the brand I represent and some amazing blogger at a NYC Shop and Swap, and I left both events feeling in CONFIDENT and INSPIRED.

For those of you new to my journey, being curvy has been a lifelong "struggle" for me. Not a struggle as in a a struggle with my weight (that's an entirely different topic), but a struggle in acceptance.  Although I had an amazing and supportive mother, growing up in a family that demonized "fatness" made her and me not proud of our bodies.  As an adult I found myself attracting men and friends who shared a hatred of the curvy form.  But then, there was the relief of finding a community of curvy women who were beautiful and bold and confident, and I thought I'd found a home.....only to be told I wasn't curvy enough.  So, I felt unaccepted and without a place.  This blog became my place, my space, to heal, to learn to love and to work it out (literally and figuratively) with like-minded curvy souls.

Several of those souls I got the opportunity to interact with in the last week and I have found focusing on their beauty and love has allowed me to ignore the voices in my head and the voices from afar that say I am not "enough."  I had several really wonderful conversations with ladies this week about love, dating, body image, food and much more.  These conversations reminded me that beauty has nothing to do with the scale or how many digits are on those pair of jeans (love to all my #doubledigitdivas!) and everything to do with how you feel, staying true to who you are and how you treat your friends, sisters, competitors and even your enemies.

Overall the past few weeks have left me feeling uplifted and inspired.  I want to get more proactive in discussing how cuisine, fat shaming, body image affect not just us but our relationships with others and the world around us. Look out for more thoughts from me, more regularly---and welcome to the journey--it's gonna be a big year for us at CITC and I appreciate you all holding on for the ride!


Erica Michele