How to Save Money for Budgeting Beginners

How-to-save-Money-for-Budgeting-BeginnersHave you ever tried to set a budget, but feel like you don’t know where to start? With a few financial adjustments, you could be budgeting and on the way to saving money for the things that really matter to you (like Leading Lady bras!).

Taken from this Oprah article about personal finance, the Rule of 5 savings method is straight-forward and easy to follow. If you have never budgeted seriously before, this is a great method to adopt.


Consider your monthly income. From that amount, subtract the necessities—bills, loan payments, and retirement or college funds to which you regularly contribute. Whatever payments you make from this account are your core essentials that help keep you and your family’s life running smoothly.

Now, consider your second amount of income after all the essentials have been paid off; divide the second amount by five. Before you spend any of this money, put one-fifth of the second amount away in a separate savings account. This portion of the paycheck pie goes towards annual vacations, holiday gifts, and other special occasions that merit extra spending. Let this amount grow over the year so you can splurge on a beach getaway during the colder months.

What do you do with the rest of your monthly income? Aside from gas for your car, groceries, and other incidentals, this portion is your “pocket money.” Take your family to a movie, splurge on a new Leading Lady bra, or go out to dinner with your spouse. You can feel guilt-free about these spontaneous purchases because you’ve already paid the important bills. By making necessary payments and saving income first, you have no need to stress over spending the extra and you won’t second-guess your personal finance decisions.

Have some extra cash to spend? Leading Lady’s bras are 25% off site wide with free shipping on orders over $75. Happy shopping and saving!


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Jump Start Weight Loss with Chili Peppers and Other Spicy Foods



chili-peppersHere’s a reason to kick your meals up a notch—studies show that people who consume spicy foods are more likely to consume fewer calories than those who eat non-spicy meals. Researchers tested those who ate chili peppers during a meal and found that they will typically consumer fewer calories than those whose meals are blander—up to 75 calories less! While 75 calories might not be a big difference to some, chili peppers and are spicy foods trigger other responses in your body to slow down your appetite.

Chili peppers contain unique chemicals called capsaicinoids which play an important part in kicking your metabolism into high gear. In the stomach, capsaicinoids signal certain fat cells to start burning calories and raise your internal temperature. That hot, slightly-prickled feeling you get just before a sweat breaks out? That’s your body responding to the chili pepper or other spicy foods.

Not only do chili peppers help with weight loss, but they are also good for your heart as well. There’s preliminary research that shows that a spicy diet can help prevent heart disease. But don’t start throwing chilis into every meal—those who devour jalapenos and other spicy treats have a higher risk for developing stomach cancer. Moderation in everything!

So next time you’re whipping up a meal, try adding some chili peppers or other spicy details to liven up your meal. Your heart and stomach will thank you!


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Plus Size Models Rock the Runway at British Plus Size Fashion Week

hayley-hasselhoff-british-plus-size-fashion-weekAcross the pond, retailers, designers, and plus size models alike gathered this past week to showcase the best in upcoming fashion for plus size women. Viewers and style bloggers were treated to shows dedicated to serving curvy fashionistas. New modeling talent was joined by curvy model favorites like Whitney Thompson (the only plus size winner from America’s Next Top Model cycle 10), Ashley Graham, and Hayley Hasselhoff, daughter of David Hasselhoff.

British Plus Size Fashion Week is not a part of London’s official Fashion Week (which kicked off on February 14th, the same day as BPSFW) but hopes to have an impact on the larger fashion celebration by introducing curvier models into the mix. Events like BPSFW reinforce the notion that women of all sizes are interested in high-fashion clothing.

whitney-thompson-hayley-hasselhoff-british-plus-size-fashion-weekSeasoned plus size model Hayley Hasselhoff told reporters she was proud to strut her stuff on the runway. Hasselhoff, whose father played a well-known lifeguard on the American drama Baywatch, wears a size 12-14 and looked gorgeous in a chic black dress and gold statement necklace. “It’s about women with curves and women of all shapes and sizes,” Hayley said about BPSFW’s aim, and finished up by saying that “calling it ‘plus-sized’ doesn’t do it justice.” She’s not the only one who wants the fashion world to accept larger models without the “plus size” tag—Tyra Banks, Robyn Lawley, and others have spoken out against outdated model sizing standards.

Stress Management Tips for Everyday

stress-reliefLong days, car trouble, extended winter weather, traffic jams—there’s no shortage of stressors in our day-to-day lives! Have you ever wondered how to relieve stress you experience while at work or home? While a deep breath and counting to ten might work for a minute, we have a few other easy, no-cost stress management tips that will help combat daily anxiety.

Chew away your blues

Maybe your mother taught you that chewing gum will give you cavities, but did she know that researchers from around the world have found that people who chew gum when they’re stressed show more signs of relaxing than those who don’t? Studies show that agitated people who chew gum report feeling less stressed and more alert. Researchers wonder if the act of chewing increases blood flow to the brain (which would explain the alert, clear-headed feeling). So pick your favorite flavor and pop in a piece next time you’re feeling anxious.

Clear your head quickly

Have you ever heard of the “occipital rub”? It’s a quick, easy massage technique that will be sure to provide you with stress relief while at work or out. Simple take your first three fingers and place them towards the back of your neck where your neck and head connect (just below your ears). Rub back and forth for 30 seconds or until you feel yourself relax. Goodbye, anxiety!

Treat yourself to a snack that calms

Magnesium deficiencies are prevalent in those with anxiety disorders, so next time you feel the familiar symptoms creep in, grab a handful of mixed nuts (walnuts, cashews, and almonds are the best for this) and enjoy. Not only are these nuts a natural source of magnesium, they also contain healthy fats and will boost your energy. Who knew stress relief could be so tasty?

Have any stress management tips that have worked for you in the past? Share with us in the comments!


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Celebrity Designer Zac Posen Announces Wedding Dress Collection with David’s Bridal

truly-by-zac-posen-wedding-dress-collectionDo you hear wedding bells in your future? Great news—beloved celebrity fashion designer Zac Posen recently announced his newest collaboration. Soon, brides with modest budgets will be able to snag a Zac Posen wedding dress at David’s Bridal stores. Truly by Zac Posen will feature signature Posen designs (form-conscious, clean lines that flatter a woman’s natural shape) in sizes 0-26. In a fashion market without many plus size wedding dress options, Zac Posen’s newest line is happily anticipated by curvy brides everywhere.

Posen is not only designing wedding dresses for David’s Bridal; he is expanding his line to include bridesmaid dresses and evening wear options. All pieces are affordably priced and give brides of all sizes the chance to look and feel like a princess.

Viewers of Good Morning America were treated to a sneak-peek of Posen’s collection Monday, February 10. Clearly designed with a woman’s curves in mind, each wedding dress looked beautiful on the range of models presented. Are you in the market for a wedding dress? Be sure to keep an eye out for Posen’s collection later this year. Have you looked at Leading Lady’s full figure underwire bra selection? We have supportive and beautiful bra options that are perfect for your wedding day—from first dance to last!

Happy shopping, brides-to-be!

First Time Bra Fit with Liz J.


Liz J. is a Cleveland native and full-time nanny to four adorable children. She graduated from Xavier University with a Psychology degree and hopes to pursue a Masters in Psychology so she can one day work with troubled children. For now she practices her future therapeutic skills on Ellwood, her white boxer who is both deaf and crippled but the “greatest dog living.”



How old were you when you got your first bra?

Twelve years old, or at the end of eleven. I got real boobs when I was twelve.

Who bought you your first bra?

I think my mom. I know I tried to go shopping with my friends instead, but that didn’t work out.

What do you remember about it—the bra style, fit, color, etc?

There are two I remember: one was brown, not underwire, and it had a little bow in the middle. It was so basic and boring. The other one was pink and was my favorite. My pink one felt like a “big girl” bra while the brown one felt like—“go cover yourself, you have boobs now” bra.

How old were you when you were first professionally fit for a bra?

Thirteen, I think. My mom took me to Victoria’s Secret.

How was the experience?

Super awkward. The woman was nice, but I was just so awkward. My mom and the lady were both in the dressing room with me, telling me: “you have to know your actual bra size” [high pitched, mom-style imitation]. It’s just that girls have to think about the weirdest stuff like bra sizes. All of the awkwardness I felt—that’s what I remember.

Do you remember what bra size you were then?

Either a 34B or a 36B. I don’t know anything about small boobs—because for me, I had no boobs, and then one day I had big boobs. They were never small.

What bra size are you now?

A 36DD. It took me forever to learn how to fit myself. And now, they’re shrinking!

What kinds of bras do you wear typically?

I pretty much wear sports bras all week, or camis with built in bras under t-shirts. I like the compression-style sports bras the most. I only wear an underwire bra if I’m dressing up to look cute of if I’m wearing a t-shirt that makes it easy to tell I have a sports bra on.

When do you never wear bras?

Around the house, or sleeping! Never while sleeping.

What’s special about your favorite bra you own?

It’s an all-lace underwire that has a thin lining, no padding. It feels like I’m not even wearing a bra and it pushes my boobs up without pushing them together. You can see the lace as bumps under a shirt sometimes, which is annoying, but I love it anyway.

What bras do you have trouble with?

Strapless bras—they never hold my boobs up. I’ve never had a successful experience with one. You don’t see me wearing them!

Do you have a favorite bra-related story?

I feel like I should have a ton [ed. note: this is true, Liz is hilarious] but for some reason I can’t think of any in particular. I think when I was younger I could have told you a lot of funny times with bras and puberty, but now my boobs have been around for a while so they’re just, ehh. Like I am so used to them that it’s not exciting anymore.


New Research Suggests Aspirin Could Prevent Ovarian Cancer in Women

new-research-suggests-aspirin-could-prevent-ovarian-cancer-in-womenDoctors have a history of prescribing a daily aspirin to those predisposed to heart attacks or strokes, and new research suggests that a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer might be lowered with a daily low-dose of aspirin as well.

Though research is only in the beginning stages, there is evidence that a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer may be reduced by 20% by taking a daily aspirin dose. Past research for a link between aspirin and ovarian cancer has not proved fruitful, but the National Cancer Institute analyzed 12 different studies conducted by the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium for a fresh perspective.

With all of the studies combined, researchers looked at data from almost 20,000 women. 7,776 of the women studied had ovarian cancer and the remaining 11,843 did not. At the most recent study’s conclusion, research showed that women who took a daily dose of aspirin (less than 100 mg) had a 20 percent reduced risk of ovarian cancer compared to women who took aspirin less than once a week.

Despite research findings, doctors are careful to warn against self-medicating with aspirin. Co-author of the study, Britton Trabert, cautions against women taking preventative aspirin just yet: “[the study results] should not influence current clinical practice.” The study’s findings are hopeful though; finding preventative steps towards ovarian cancer will reduce the risk many women face.

Ovarian cancer is the leading gynecological cancer among women. Symptoms include prolonged cramping in the belly or back, abnormal vaginal bleeding, and nausea. Please contact your doctor is you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Leading Lady Spokesmom Danah Bordner is an advocate and supported of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition in memory of her friend Erika, and we are proud to support her and the NOCC in their fight against ovarian cancer.

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Valentine’s Day Gift and Date Ideas You’ll Love

unique-valentines-day-gift-and-date-ideas-youll-loveTired of red roses and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates? You’re not alone. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and we’ve got some fresh date ideas for v-day gifts that steer clear of the tried-and-true ideas of yesteryear. Here are a few do-it-yourself gifts and sweet dates that are sure to please your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day:



Breakfast in bed with a twist

Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year. Every restaurant will be booked with reservations (most of them last-minute) and crowded with other couples. Do you want to have to shout across a cramped table to have a conversation with your date? Probably not. Why not try breakfast in bed with a twist? Prepare buttery, delicious waffles, strawberries cut into hearts, and other delectable breakfast favorites for dinner! There’s no culinary rule that prevents you from making breakfast at night, and bacon is the perfect side to any meal. Substitute your morning coffee for a mimosa or other adult beverage and settle in for a leisurely breakfast you’d never be able to enjoy on a normal morning.

Thoughtful gift for him

You know that list of projects you’d like to finish around the house when you have “free time”? We all keep a mental list of tasks we’d like to accomplish, so give a Valentine’s Day gift that’s both helpful and sweet and solve one of these projects for your loved one. One idea if you’re struggling to think of a good example is refresh your partner’s music on his iPod or other music player. Download a variety of new songs you know your partner loves and mix in a couple of classics that always put a smile on his face. Title the surprise playlist “Valentine’s Day 2014” or something sweet (inside jokes work well too!). When you return the player, leave a heart-shaped post-it note on the front with a quick note leading him to the playlist.

The best morning routine

Print out a couple of your favorite pictures of you and your partner, your pet, your kids, or anything important to the two of you. Decorate them with markers, cut a heart around him—whatever sweet details you want. When he goes to be Thursday night, quietly place or tape the photos so that they’re sure to be seen while he’s going through his morning routine. You don’t even need to add notes; let the pictures speak for themselves and remind him of all the love you’ve shared.

Gift in a jar

Mason jars are popping up right and left in craft projects, and Valentine’s Day is sure to be no exception. Buy a mason jar from your supermarket, dollar store, or local craft shop. Is your partner into cooking? Fill his jar with tiny packets of fancy sea salt, spices, or espresso beans covered in chocolate. Gourmet food items are found in all kinds of home good stores and even in the aisles of your supermarket. Even if he doesn’t have a specific hobby, fill a jar with cute candies and small gifts that might replace something that’s worn down, like ear buds or a money clip.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Let us know your own creative ideas in the comments.


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Sports Bras and Your Workout Routines: Lisa Cole’s Bra Fit Advice

Have you jump-started your gym or workout routines for the New Year?  Lots of my clients are making sure looking good and feeling great are must haves for 2014. We as individuals can eat well, live actively and be healthier overall to achieve better results. It’s not about what size you are, or immediately feeling the need to diet–It’s about making wellness a size sport bra

In January of 2013, I made the decision to do this, and have significantly reduced my frame and sculpted my figure by walking five times a week for twenty-five minutes.  I dropped two sizes!  I like the way I look especially in my workout apparel.  A great fitting sports bra has been a must have.  Leading Lady’s Wirefree Full Figure Sports Bra has been my fitness companion essential to my workout routine.  This crop top full figure sports bra comes in fashion colors and prints. Yes, you can go beyond basic black and grey for your workout wear.  The bra size ranges from 36B/C/D to 56 DD/F/G and is designed to fit a range of three cup sizes. It’s comfortable and layers easily under a tank top or t-shirt.  If a strap happens to show, don’t worry, it has a fashion element so it doubles as a fun fashion solution.  The key word in a great fitting sports bra is “compression.”  Compression keeps your breasts from bouncing while exercising.  This bra keeps you contained and comfortable while you work out.

Healthy is the new sexy!  Make 2014 your year for looking and feeling your best.

Lisa Cole is the Founder/Fit Expert of StyleFitSolutions.Com.  She provides advice on all aspects of style as it pertains to bra fit and body confidence solutions for women.  She is a speaker and hosts private events around the country.

Full Figure Fashion: Secrets to Faking a Smaller Waist

Full figure fashion is all about accentuating the positive.  Sometimes that requires a touch of clever fashion magic to create a smaller waist to show off our best features.

Curves often look their best with contrast, in order to help our finest assets really stand out.  One of the best ways to achieve a voluptuous, sexy look is to create an hour-glass shape.  But not all of us come by this classic shape naturally, especially the part about the cinched waist.  Well not to worry, fashionistas!  We’ve got some awesome tricks to help you stop sucking in that waist and start looking fabulous.

Check out our top tips for faking a smaller waist:

wrap dress_courtesy of bloomingdales.comDress for Success

There are two dress styles that are ideal for creating the illusion of a smaller waist:  the wrap dress and a structured, fitted dress.  A wrap dress is the universal dress that works with every body shape.  It drapes beautifully over every curve and slims the waist with a side or front tie.  Plus the v-neck line can show off cleavage tastefully.  A fitted dress is great for women with curves because it gives structure to the body without creating bulk and unnecessary draping.  Thicker fabrics are better at hiding bulges.  Play around with different necklines – square neck, scoop neck, v-neck – to determine which look is best for you.

Color Block It

Color blocking essentially brings the hour glass to you.  Its slimming design uses contrasting color panels to give the illusion of a smaller waist.  It’s a classic look that Hollywood fashionistas have been wearing for decades.  And the simple design allows you to be more creative with colors.  Go for hues that represent your personal style.

belted blazer_courtesy of macys.comBlazers and Coats in a Cinch

Much like the wrap dress, cinched blazers and coats draw in the waist for a flattering statement.  Modern trench coats are on trend for winter in classic khaki or winter white.  Belted blazers are excellent waist-cinchers for business functions.

Vertical Stripage

Vertical stripes elongate the body, making you to look taller and thinner with very little effort.  Pinstriped pants are a subtle way to achieve this look.  Pair with a solid blouse that has an interesting feature, such as a ruffle or unique buttons.

Lift the Bust

Full figure women often complain of sagging.  Without proper support, heavy breasts can fall into the waist-line, which is an unflattering shape and adds bulk to your midsection.  A properly fitting full figure bra can easily correct this problem by lifting the breasts, holding them upright and preventing bounce.  Plus you’ll be amazed at how much more comfortable your back and shoulders feel in a great full figure bra, not to mention the boost your confidence will receive.

pencil skirt_courtesy of redbook.comPencil Me In

Straight and simple, the pencil skirt is great at giving the appearance of a smaller waist.  Because it is form fitting, it holds in the waist and allows the rest of your curves to do their job.  Pencil skirts are appropriate year-round and allow for endless outfit possibilities.  Try a high-waisted pencil skirt for an uber-fashionable look.

Celebrating curves through full figure fashion is one of our passions too.  And luckily, we’re here to help each other fudge our way into looking our best.  So go on and fake that smaller waist!

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