COMFORT IS BEAUTY

Full Figure Goes High Fashion

Fashionable people come in all shapes and sizes, and finally the fashion industry is catching up.  We’re happy to report that several top retailers are expanding their full figure offerings and including some lines from top designers.  It’s about time, right?

The market for sizes 16+ is wildly disproportionate to the millions of women in the U.S. who wear plus size clothes.  It’s unfortunate and illogical.  It’s frustrating and disheartening.  And it’s down right bad business.  In a recent survey of 1,500 women, 80% of those who wear plus size clothes said they would spend more money on their wardrobe if they could find more clothes they like that fit them.  Clearly there is a huge financial opportunity, which some retailers are capitalizing on this fall.

As you’re preparing the kids back-to-school wardrobes or browsing for fall office-wear, you may want to check out some of the new lines at Modcloth, Eloquii, Lane Bryant and a new Spanish line called Violeta.  These retailers are taking cues from you, the consumer, to bring high fashion to everybody.  Yes, every body.

ModclothModcloth is expanding its full figure offerings through two channels.  First, Modcloth is currently working with 160 vendors to develop their lines in traditional sizes to include plus sizes as well.  They claim to have 1,200 unique styles of plus size clothes, many of which are exclusive to their site.  Modcloth says their plus size collections are their fastest growing category and they expect to double their revenue in this market from 2013 to 2014.  Clearly the demand is hot!

Secondly, Modcloth will be launching two high-fashion private label lines in October:  Bea & Dot and Myrtlewood of California.  Bea & Dot is a vintage-inspired collection with whimsical prints, jeweled details and a fresh take on your favorite designs.  It was created to add a splash of pizzazz to your wardrobe.  Myrtlewood of California features more traditional pieces for the office and beyond.  The classic lines and prints and structured tailoring are flattering staples for every woman’s wardrobe.

Lane Bryant is premiering its new line 6th and Lane this fall.  (It’s actually already available online!) The designs are direct from the runway, but in your size.  Think leather, sleek asymmetrical lines, unique patterns, curve-loving dresses and form-fitting jackets.  This edgy collection is exactly what full figure fashion needs.

E-boutique Eloquii revamped its website and full figure offerings earlier this year.  Their model involves debuting new collections twice a month to keep shoppers coming back for sophisticated, on-trend, seasonal pieces to add to their wardrobe.

Violeta is a new line under the Spanish brand Mango that is now coming stateside.  It is bringing some of European fashion – cozy oversized sweaters, tailored pants, trendy jackets and a twist on the classic black & white – to women in the U.S.  We love what we see in their fall collection.

Kudos and thank you to these retailers who are looking out for the full figure consumer.  We expect many more brands will follow suit in the coming seasons.  While these companies help you look fashionable on the outside, Leading Lady will be keeping you “intimately” comfortable, supported and stylish too!

How to Take the Best Selfie

When you’re taking a selfie to share with all of your friends on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you want to look your best, right? Even if no one is around to take your picture for you, you can look amazing in every photo.  Here are our tips on how to take the best selfie:

Highlight Your Best Feature – If you love your eyes, center them up in your photo.  If you are rockin’ a good hair day, don’t crop your hair out of the photo.  On the flip side, if you’re trying to hide a blemish on your chin, naturally place your non-camera-holding hand over the area you want to hide.  No one will ever know you are less than perfect.

Angle Down – Taking a picture with your camera facing down is slimming and flattering for everyone.  It helps elongate the neck and chin and smoothes the look of skin.

Best Face Forward – Chances are, you like one side of your face better than the other.  Always show your best side in a selfie.  Also, tilt your head slightly to make your pic more interesting than a standard profile.

how to take the best selfieFind Good Light – Lighting is important for any photographer, even a selfie-ographer.  Try to catch the light on the top of your cheekbones for a sensational glow.

Wear Mirrored Sunglasses – Speaking of light, mirrored lens sunglasses reflect light beautifully in selfies.  They will make your entire face shimmer.

Pucker Up – Everyone looks sassy when they’re blowing a kiss.  Puckering pulls your skin tight to reduce signs of aging.  Most importantly, you get to show off your awesome new lipstick color.

 

Eye Expressions – If sunglasses and kissy faces aren’t for you, speak with your eyes.  Give a wink, look surprised or otherwise intrigued for a humorous and interesting photo.

Props – Including props in your selfie, such as a hat or a cute scarf, can really enhance your photo.  Or perhaps it’s the prop that you really want to show off, like your new adorable puppy or handsome boyfriend.

Backdrops – If you’re somewhere cool, let everyone know it.  Stand above the scene for the best view for your voyeurs. Some of the funniest pics can be reactions to whatever is happening behind you.

Take Several Shots – Even if you’re in a hurry, snap several photos so you can pick the best one to share.  Yes, selfies are supposed to be casual and spontaneous, but a girl should get photo approval too.

Filter – While you’re selecting your best frame, go ahead and edit it.  Filters soften images to make you look even more awesome.

Have Fun – Selfies were not invented by serious people.  Sometimes the goofiest photos are the most fun.  Have a blast taking selfies…it will definitely show in your pic.

Go it, ladies?  Send us your best selfies!  We’d love to see how fabulous you look!

10 Best Foods to Boost Your Energy

The summer sun is bright and full of energy but where is yours?  If you’ve lost your energy somewhere between your hectic summertime schedule and nightly trips to the ice cream shop, we’re here to help!

Boost Your EnergyKeeping up your energy has much to do with the food you eat every day.  And not all foods are created equal when it comes to boosting energy.  The best nutrients to fuel your body and sustain energy are the ones that combine protein, fiber and nutritious carbohydrates:  Proteins are important for every function in our body, from feeding cells, organs and muscles and accommodating movement, to chemical reactions and strong metabolisms and immune systems.  Fiber takes a long time to digest, which helps the body stay satiated for longer.  And healthy carbs like whole grain bread, brown rice and oatmeal are packed with amazing nutrients like vitamins and minerals that give us energy while also keeping us full longer.

Which foods are power-packed with the best nutrients to sustain your energy?  Here’s our list of the 10 best foods to boost your energy:

1)      Greek Yogurt:  With triple the protein as regular yogurt, Greek yogurt can offer as much protein as a small serving of meat.  It’s a simple and delicious breakfast or afternoon snack, especially when you top it with granola or fresh fruit.  Look for brands without added sugar or new 100 calorie serving cups.

2)      Nuts:  Small but mighty, nuts have protein, fiber and unsaturated fat that will fill your stomach and keep you energized for hours.  Take your pick – walnuts, pecans, peanuts, almonds, macadamia – just a handful goes a long way.

3)      Fish:  There’s a lot of hype about omega-3 fatty acids found in fish…and it’s all true.  They are great for your heart and brain, which gives you energy to be active and think more clearly.  Salmon, tuna and mackerel are among the fish with the highest omega-3 content.

4)      Bananas:  As a leading source of potassium and B vitamins, bananas help regulate blood sugar, which keeps our bodies full and energized.  Plus they are super portable and easy to eat anytime, anywhere.

5)      Beans:  Raw cooked or puréed in dips, beans can easily put some pep in your step because they are full of fiber and protein.  Incorporating beans without eating them straight up is easy:  add them to salads or soups, or scoop hummus or black bean dip onto whole grain chips.

6)      Popcorn:  Surprisingly, this movie-time snack is packed with fiber that helps stabilize blood sugar.  Go for air-popped varieties and skip the butter to avoid unnecessary fat.

7)      Avocado:  Technically a fruit, this green giant of a superfood can help you feel satisfied for hours because they have lots of good fats and fiber.  Avocados make excellent salad toppers or can be a creamy energy-boosting spread on your morning toast.

8)      Ginger Tea:  Back away from the latte and go for tea instead.  Ginger tea is a great choice because it is chock full of antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals that our bodies crave.  But other herbal teas can also do the trick so find the one you like and drink up.

9)      Dark Chocolate:  Yes, we’re telling you to eat chocolate!  True dark chocolate has great antioxidants that invigorate the body and brain.  Although you should eat it in moderation, we recommend getting your dark chocolate fix daily.

10)  Water:  We all need it to survive:  Our cells need water to carry nutrients throughout our bodies.  Even slight dehydration can zap your energy and cause fatigue.  Staying hydrated is especially important in heat or while exercising.  Remember, natural fruit juices, milk and water-based fruits and veggies can count towards your water intake as well.

Sunglass Trends for Summer 2014

Sunglasses are the accessory of the season.  We’re halfway through summer and we’ve all worn our favorite outfits a few times now.  So spice up your summer look with a new pair of sunglasses or two to keep you looking hot.

Sunglasses-2014-Spring-Summer-22Sunglass trends do change from season-to-season and certainly from year-to-year.  Today we’re breaking down the sunglass trends you’ll want to follow to look amazing for the remainder of the summer:

Statement Sunglasses:  Hello Fabulous!  Make a big splash when you walk into a room with a pair of bold sunglasses.  These shades may include rhinestone frames or other textured patterns surrounding some or all of the frames and down the sides.  Reminder: if you’re sunglasses are going to be loud, tame the rest of your outfit.

Modern Cat Eyes:  Made popular by one of our favorite leading ladies, these Audrey Hepburn inspired sunglasses have evolved with the decades.  Now less severe yet still oozing with femininity, soft cat eye sunglasses are a terrific look for this summer.  Some designers are making the cat eye more boxy with a slight point in the corners, while others are playing with patterns and colors.  Meow.

Mirrored Lenses:  These trendy shades not only make you look cool, they are also the most protective for long days in the sun because they reflect light.  Mirrored lenses look fantastic in all types of frame styles and are great in clear, blue or silver hues.

Retro Round:  If you wish you were back in the 70s or missed them the first time around, check out the round retro sunglass look.  This throwback style was all the rage at this year’s Fashion Week.  Rather than thin frames that the original decade introduced, designers are going with thicker plastic to make the round lenses pop.

Patterned Frames:  Flirty and youthful, shades with a fun print on the frame and sides are definitely on trend.  Make your summer fashion statement with a variety of colors and patterns to match your style.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that your sunglasses look good on your face and are comfortable.  Much like your favorite Leading Lady full figure bra, your sunglasses should be functional, fit your frame and make you feel sassy. If you have a style that works best for you, stick with it but find ways to incorporate seasonal trends, such as mirrored lenses or adorned frames.  Designers are being more playful than ever with their styles by adding embellishments ranging from textured reptile frames to interesting wire lines.  Find the style within the trend that keeps you looking magnificent for the rest of the summer.

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Beyond The Fitting Room: 4th of July Essential Style for Curvy Girls

Kiyonna Roselyn sleeveless tankIt’s time to fire up the grill, chill the drinks, and have a good time celebrating with family and friends. The 4th of July always feels like it’s the official launch party of summer.  How are you going to spend your day free from work? At the beach, or hosting a picnic at your favorite park? At a backyard barbecue? Watching fireworks light up the sky at night is an absolute 4th of July must. Whatever the occasion, celebration attire is required.  Choose from a sleeveless tank or a dressy kimono topfor your perfect all-day party companions. Add white denim jeans or capris (the top fashion picks for summer must-haves!) and you’ll look sizzling for all 4th of July activities.

Kiyonna Kimono wrap topTake your sexy one step further with Leading Lady’s Scalloped Lace Bra as your go-to bra solution. My clients’ reactions to when they try on this bra has been nothing short of WOW, is that me?!  This bra is one of the best kept secrets in the lingerie world.  Bra fit key to remember: natural enhancementequals LOVE! This bra makes a woman feel fabulous underneath it all.  Fit Tip: did you know that when you’re proportioned in the right size bra, your clothes look better instantly? Now that’s a very stylish girl with confidence…and confidence is the ultimate style companion. Enjoy your 4th of July Ladies!

Lisa Cole, Bra and Body Confidence Expert believes every woman should give themselves permission to look and feel amazing with proper fit foundations.  She has been seen and heard at live events around the country, as well as in leading publications such as Consumer Reports.Com, Confessions of a Curvy Girl, Los Angeles Times, Essence.Com, and Today’s Innovative Woman. Connect with Lisa via Facebook/LisaFitExpert or Twitter @BraStylist.

Actress Melissa McCarthy Plans to Launch Plus Size Clothing Line

Actress Melissa McCarthy Plans to Launch Plus Size Clothing LineSome of Hollywood’s biggest stars are redefining red carpet fashion by flaunting their curves in gorgeous, body-conscious gowns fit for any Oscars event. But despite the collective successes of these curvy women, finding an elegant gown larger than a size 4 is a challenge for many shapely actresses and performers.

Recently, A-list actress Melissa McCarthy spoke out about her experience trying to find a designer to dress her for the 2012 Oscars ceremony. McCarthy confirmed in an interview that she approached a handful of well known top-notch clothing designers and was repeatedly told that they would be unable to dress her for the important event. With curvy stars like Mindy Kaling, Gabourey Sidibe, Christina Hendricks, Amber Riley and Rebel Wilson ruling the big screen, there’s no reason why designers can’t expand their patterns and give these fabulous women the elegant dresses they deserve!

That’s why Melissa is taking matters into her own hands; before she became a small-screen star in shows like Gilmore Girls and Mike and Molly, the funny actress studied clothes and textiles and expressed interest in designing her own plus size clothing. Thanks to her current popularity and desire to provide curvy actresses with suitable red carpet dresses, it looks like that dream is becoming a reality. Melissa is teaming up with designer Daniella Pearl to produce a plus size clothing line called Pearl. Danielle and Melissa’s line will offer women over a size 10 beautifully produced plus size clothing that is appropriately fashion-forward for the 20 to 40-year-old range of consumers.

Plans for the actual clothing line launch have not yet been announced, but we’ll be sure to keep our eyes peeled for Melissa’s Pearl collection. Your Leading Lady full figure bras will fit beautifully under McCarthy’s new designs with all the comfort and support your curves need.

Knowing Your Bra Size and Avoiding Common Bra Fitting Mistakes

Knowing your bra size and avoiding common bra fitting mistakesA crucial element to looking great is feeling good in the bras you wear. When you wear a bra based on what size it is rather than how it fits and supports your breasts, you’re sacrificing your own overall look based on numbers and letters. It’s time to change the way women think about bra sizes; instead of feeling discouraged by band numbers of cup sizes, feeling empowered to wear whatever size fits your curves best, period. A recent study conducted by a plus size clothing retailer indicated that 90 percent of women agree that “what you wear can affect how you feel” and we’re sure this sentiment applies to lingerie.

A fabulous outfit can lift your mood, so why not expect the same from your bra? Even though it serves as the foundation for your outfit, bras typically don’t get the same kind of compliments cute wrap tops or dresses do. Make sure you’re wearing the correct bra size by checking these bra fit factors to see if your current bras pass the test:

Do your underwires press directly against your breast tissue? Time to measure yourself and see if you’re wearing a too-tight band size. If you do try a bra in one band size above, try both your regular size cup option as well as a bra with one cup smaller to see which has the capacity you need.

Do you feel like you’re spilling out of your bra all over—cups, side wings, and back? Some curve-hugging outfits highlight bumps so try out a smoothing bra that works to provide coverage and a seamless silhouette. Different bra styles can change how your shape fits as well, so experiment with full cup coverage, demi cup coverage, or even front closure bras. You never know, you might find your new favorite fit.

Are your bra straps constantly slipping throughout the day? Even if you’ve tried adjusting them and have had no luck, this might be a sign that your current bra size is too big for your curves. Also keep in mind that your shoulder’s width and shape will affect how your bra straps fit. If you have narrow shoulders, try a bra style with straps that taper inwards slightly. Racer back bra styles are great for women with chronic strap-slip issues, because the unique back design anchors your straps firmly into place.

The same study we referenced earlier also reported that 90 percent of women “feel more confident while wearing an awesome outfit.” Why not take care to wear the right size bra every day so you can build an amazing outfit on top of an already fabulous foundation? Give your curves the care they need to look their best in whatever you wear. Wearing the right size bra can also eliminate your chances of feeling back and neck pain, and your bra will reinforce good posture. So go ahead and make sure you’re rocking the right size for your fashion style and your health.

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Beyond the Fitting Room: Curvy Style After 5 with Lisa Cole


Kiyonna Sleeveless Crossover TopBra stylist Lisa Cole shares how to take your 9-to-5 wardrobe to happy hour ready in a flash!

Women generally fall into two groups when it comes to picking out an outfit and getting dressed for work in the morning: it’s either a blast or a daunting task that makes hiding under the covers seem like a good idea. The question of “what do I want to wear to work today?” is on our minds as we toss and turn, ready to embrace the day ahead.  Now that the weather is warmer and the days are longer, it’s the season for a happy hour date, a spontaneous barbecue with co-workers after work, or a night on the town just for you simply because you want to seize the evening! Shoe department, open your doors, because here I come to buy some wedges I have to have…(my personal favorite).
Kiyonna wrap topHow does a curvy fashionista transform from office appropriate to night out fabulous?  Trending currently is the Statement Wrap Top from Kiyonna which shows your figure oh so beautifully.  A great fitting bra is always in style, and Leading Lady Seamless Racerback Bra is the perfect match under this cute top.  This low plunge t-back bra allows you to have sensational uplift and coverage in the cup.  No spillage here!  Always remember when you’re NOT in the correct size bra, it can make you look larger in curve-hugging clothing.  Take the same fabulous intimates foundation and wear it with a Kiyonna Sleeveless Crossover Top.   During the day, pair it with a skirt, then convert for your night out with a pair of denim jeans. Bring them to work and you’ll be ready to rock ‘n’ roll for the evening.  Consider this your modern-day Superwoman way to change your wardrobe in a flash!  Shoes and jewelry must-haves this season include chandelier necklaces and platform sandals that give you an ultra-glam look without much fuss.

Enjoy your summer nights in style.  Go ahead girlfriend, have some fun!

Lisa Cole, Bra and Body Confidence Expert believes every woman should give themselves permission to look and feel amazing with proper fit foundations.  She has been seen and heard at live events around the country as well as in leading publications such as Consumer Reports.Com, Confessions of a Curvy Girl, Los Angeles Times, Essence.Com, and Today’s Innovative Woman to name a few.  Connect with Lisa via Facebook/LisaFitExpert or Twitter @BraStylist.

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Healthy Eating Tips from the Most Successful Diet Plans

Healthy eating tips from the most successful diet plansEver wonder how so many fad diets spur their rise to fame? Even though it’s rarely long-lasting, we’ve seen plenty of craze diets sweep the nation before falling out of favor altogether. Weight Watchers, the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet—there’s no real end to the amount of healthy eating experts who have claimed to revolutionize past dieting systems in favor of a newer, more effective plan. Diets in Review recently penned an article that shares some of the best healthy eating tips that most diet plans have in common. These five reasonable, health-driven eating habits don’t promote counting calories or restricting diets; instead, they offer solutions to craving issues and will help you maintain a safe, healthy dining mentality.

What do most successful diets have in common? They urge followers to eat more than five servings of produce a day, which is the current recommended amount. Fruits and veggies are packed with nutrients and vitamins that are essential for any healthy diet, but that’s not all—they’re also naturally low in calories and will keep you feeling full (and satisfied!) longer. Aim for seven to nine servings of produce a day to maximize your diet and boost your health overall.

Most diet plans don’t include dessert, and if they do, they’re unsatisfying and ultimately not true healthy options. Interestingly, the most effective diets build in “cheat” eats, which most people use to satisfy a sweet tooth. Enjoying a small dessert is a great example of moderation, and has also been proven as a mood booster. In fact, rigid diets are most commonly associated with mood disorders and diet failures. So keep yourself in check by not skipping out on desserts altogether.

Plate size also plays an important factor in diet plan success. Portion control is an important tool that successful diets utilize for maximum weight loss without cutting types of food you need to maintain good health. Sure, you’ll be tempted to turn away completely from carbs, but portion control changes the need to eliminate food groups completely. There’s another bonus too: following suggested portion sizes will train your body to resist feeling stuffed. Worried about sticking to a portion plan? Enlist friends or family members to make the healthy-eating changes with you. Studies show that workout buddies and fellow dieters can yield better dieting results.

What else can you do to improve your overall diet? Plan at least 30 minutes of exercise a day to complete your healthy lifestyle revolution! Whether you bike to and from work or get up early for a sunrise jog, a half an hour a day will go a long way to keeping you fit, healthy, and happy.

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Beyond the Fitting Room: Answer Yes I Can and Build Your Self Esteem with Lisa Cole and Cathy Alessandra

Ask yourself this question: do you really love your body?  What if you don’t, or feel as though your body is not the best representation of how you see yourself?  Would you take the risk and begin a journey to have the body you love, at the size that works for you?  It’s a big question, and it’s not easy for any woman to answer. Self esteem is a fragile part of all of us and many women feel that theirs could use reinforcement every now and again.

Weight gain or loss is one of the trickiest subjects to talk about. You could be a new mom holding on to baby weight, or the “freshman fifteen” you once acquired have now turned into thirty pounds or more over the years since graduation. When it comes to helping women to embrace a positive self image, I find that weight is the topic of conversation nobody is comfortable discussing. That is what I love most about fitting bras—it doesn’t matter what size you are, it’s about the right fit. The right fit happens when you feel lifted, confident, and possess a deep sense of your inner and outer selves match perfectly. Whether talking about bras or a reflection in the mirror, I believe the right fit is a metaphor for life.

Cathy AlessandraIn 2006, I met Cathy Alessandra, a dynamic speaker and creative entrepreneur who built a media enterprise through a family magazine publication and events series. What’s Up for Kids, Cathy’s business, focuses mainly on family dynamics and relevant issues kids face today. Cathy didn’t stop with just one focus, though; she has also successfully launched Today’s Innovative Woman for emerging women entrepreneurs in any stage of their professional journeys. Cathy is no stranger to success, but her personal life has not always found the same results.

Just last year Cathy realized her buckets were full of success, but her personal life had taken a toll and the evidence was in her weight gain: over fifty pounds overweight on her 5″5 frame. Cathy took a step back and realized how overwhelmed she was when it came to her personal care. From that point forward, she worked to shed the weight and also launched two signature inspirational programs for women.  Yes I Can!, and Your Daily Yes help women to practice the same “self care” Cathy forgot about while pursuing professional success. At the core of each project, Cathy’s goal is to teach and inspire women to answer Yes, I can! to every difficult question or tricky personal goal that arises. I asked Cathy to share her self esteem journey with me:

What was your primary motivation for losing weight?

I had a lot of events planned that I was launching across the country, a hectic travel schedule, and the thought of running through the airport with the extra weight made me realize I could not handle it!  It was about my health, and it needed to be about me.  I was on blood pressure medication, and I simply was not comfortable anymore.  I needed to take care of myself for a change.  Food was a substitute for dealing with painful emotions, fear, doubt and just not coping correctly. The weight also affected my speaking to other women.  I didn’t feel like I was at the top of my game. Do they believe me?  My business was a success, but my internal barometer was failing.  I needed a change.

What has losing weight done for your confidence?  Do your bras fit, have you broken out the bikini yet?

Now I have the confidence to wear pretty, sexy bras.  I was wearing “frumpy” and basic styles. I remember you saying in one of your presentations how when you wear sexy lingerie, it takes your confidence to the next level even if you’re the only person who knows what’s going on underneath it all.  I have my sexy back and I love it!  Yes, I have a bikini!  I am going to places like the Oaks Health Resort and Hawaii.  I now have options to choose from that make me feel empowered.  Now when I speak, I can share my story, and tell women about my journey from a powerful place. I limited myself and my opportunities based on my weight and self perceptions. I needed to do this for me.

What can women expect from the Yes I Can event that were hosting at The Oaks Health Resort in Ojai, Ca on July 25-27 and August 22-24?

I will share in depth my own Yes I Can Journey with women. I will be sharing the top three things I needed to do to practice “self care.” The women attending will learn how to set boundaries, and say yes to things that will support them and their mission in life.  We will talk about support, and how your friends play a major role in your journey of self care. This will be a place to kick start their own journey of self care.  Healthy eating, exercise, creating a vision board are some of the planned activities. What do you want your life to look like?  Women don’t answer this question because they are busy taking care of everybody else.  It takes daily work. This will be a launching pad for your own Yes I Can! moment.   

In addition to Cathy’s itinerary, I will be speaking and providing private consultations to women on proper bra fit featuring Leading Lady Bras, shaping solutions, and what’s currently trending in fashion with a fun and interactive presentation. I thank Cathy for sharing her story of self care and making her personal shift. I will bring a follow-up post in August. Stay tuned Leading Ladies, and remember self care equals self love. Say yes to making new choices in your life today that empower and inspire a better you!

If you would like to join us, please email Cathy Alessandra email address Cathy’s attendees get a special rate, so please contact her for details.Cathy Alessandra email address

 

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