Monday, July 21, 2014

Forever 21 Plus: New Arrivals Not So New

I love a good promotional email. Flashing words like "NEW" and "SALE" always seem to pique my interest. Ebates (a site that gives you back a percent of what you purchase) sent out and email letting me know I can get 2% cash back at Forever 21 while forever 21 let me know I could get 20% off 100$ purchase. 22% obviously sent me into a clicking frenzy as I headed over to forever 21 and checked out the new arrivals. 

What I saw on the main page was a cute, retro 60s inspired outfit. Unfortunately, I knew all too well that I had to click the almost hidden "plus size" link to bring me to the plus size clothing which varied greatly from this fashionable image. I did hope that if I scrolled down, that I'd find some inspiration. 


 
Scrolls down... 
I see that I can save but where are the plus size models advertising new styles..?





Surely there must be something to pull me in as a plus size shopper...


Really, not even the Instagram hashtag has something to offer?


I clicked the plus size link feeling defeated but eager to view all the new trendy clothes for the end of summer season! Bring on the new styles!

Oh, a bright neon yellow sweater, that's awesome... Wait a minuet, Isn't this the same sweater that has been on clearance since last fall? Of course it is! 

  

Here I am 19 weeks ago wearing the featured yellow one.


20 weeks ago wearing the pink

Surely this was just a fluke... Accidentally placed under new arrivals... Except for the fact  that this blazer also listed as clearance since last Fall and is also under new arrivals.




This is also from 20 weeks ago. 

Not to mention that there are also only three pages of new arrivals for plus size verses 13 for straight sizes. 



You'd think that Forever 21 would want to make each page count by being jam packed with brand new fashions. Apparently when your a plus size consumer they assume you won't notice if your sizes are absent from the front page or if they just decide to slip in items from last season that they couldn't sell. Not to mention there are plenty of basics under new arrivals, as if there wasn't enough plus size basics. 

If I choose to view this from a positive view point it does allow anyone who may have missed out on these items the chance to now get their hands on them, however, I can't help but feel bad for anyone that now pays full price for an item that was just 11$ not too long ago. When shopping, always keep a mindful eye out for items on the clearance list, clearance doesn't always mean clearance and you have the potential to miss out on a good deal. While most stores would pack up their excess inventory and send it to an outlet, forever 21 may just re-promote it silently while jacking up the price. 




The "Fatkini" Trend: Everything You Need to Know

I hate the word Fatkini. That's not something you necessarily need to know but I wanted to let it be known before I go on with this post. A Fatkini is simply a plus size woman's bikini. Thin and average women don't call their bikinis thin-kini, average-kini, or skinny-kini, so we shouldn't have to add a demeaning name to the plus size version. A person can have fat; this does not mean they are fat! So what's the deal with the plus size Bikini and why is it gaining momentum as a trend for plus size women? Because it is here and plus size women have it as an option. Can you rock it? You bet your bottom, and hips, and breats, and even tummy, you can! (Awkwardly played Annie reference)


KNOW YOUR SHAPE

Whether you are an apple, pear, square, hourglass, or triangle, you can find a bikini for you.

 Those who are apple shaped carry their weight in their mid section, perhaps choose a bikini that is high rise and pair it with a top with fringe. The slight cut out will make your mid section look smaller and the fringe will help hide a bigger tummy. This bathing suit design also works well if you are straight up and down like the square. It will give the illusion of a more curvaceous waist. 

But why do these models make these faces, I will never understand. 
São Paulo fringe from www.monifc.com


 If you are pear snapped, you carry your weight in your bottom and thighs while still having average breasts. The rise on your bikini bottom can be as high or as low as you want but perhaps choose one with cut outs of color they will help bring out your best ass-ists or choose black to minimize your sides and backside. 

Www.forever21.com

Hourglass shape can get away with nearly any bathing suit. Larger breasts need more support though, so try to opt for bathing suits with straps rather than a strapless or a halter neck top. 

Www.monifc.com

If you are triangle shaped, this means you have smaller breasts and a wider waist/hips/butt It's similar to pear but with a smaller bust. If your bust is smaller and your bottom or tummy is bigger you can opt for waist bottoms or color panels and choose a strapless top since you don't need as much support. 

Www.forever21.com


SPLURGE VS SAVE

When finally deciding what suit to get comes down to price you need to ask yourself a few questions. Do I want something to last me a few seasons? Is this something that I want to invest in now? Can I commit to one syle? What is the fabric made of? How is the stitching? You need to really pay close attention to these factors. Imagine buying a shirt from forever 21 and having it fall apart, now imagine that shirt is the only thing standing between you and your naughty bits? It can be scary. When buying a suit make sure to read what it's made of, if it doesn't fit right or you see a stich out of place, return it. A more expensive bathing suit isn't always the best options, sometimes they are made with the same materials but with only subtle differences. You may not need an adjustable back strap like a bra or adjustable straps if you have smaller breasts. You may not need extra tummy support. Really understand your body and the make of the bikini before you buy. Also, are you the kind of girl who keeps up with the trends? You may not want to be stuck with a pricy bathing suit you won't even wear after the summer 2014 season passes. Are you wearing your suit to the beach or pool? Both weather environments can be rough on a bikini but sand is abrasive, so take this into consideration as well.

  

F*** THE HATERS

Society isn't exactly loving of the plus size woman. Oh, they will tell you they love some good ol T & A but thats as long as it doesn't come on a woman over a size 10. Putting on a bikini for the first time may feel uncomfortable and put you way out of your comfort zone. People may tell you that you don't have the body for a bikini or you should loose weight first. Some may say nothing at all but their stare speaks volumes. What's important is that you like how you look. At first you may feel like you don't have the confidence to pull off a bikini when I know you do! I don't know you, whoever you are reading this, but I know that you're beautiful! Your size is nothing but a number and your skin deserves sun just like any woman of any size. The beach, the pool, the summer is not just for size 2. You let them say what they want or stare, pay no mind. Also, to put some perspective on it, if you get a high waist bottom, you're showing two inches of stomach at most. If someone is going to be upset about your two inches of stomach or your legs, or your cleavage, then their life is obviously lacking something. These are such trival things for others to worry about. 


Fit

If you're worried that there may not be a size for you out there, rest assured there is! Forever 21 goes up to 3x but sites like www.monifc.com goes up to 24/26 W. That W makes a big difference. Woman's sizes and juniors sizes vary greatly. If you're a 3x in juniors chances are you're really only a 2x or maybe even 1x in woman's sizes. http://www.biggalslingerie.com/swim.html goes up yo a size 12X. 
http://www.swimsuitsforall.com/Plus-Size-Bikinis goes up to size 22. There are so many options for the plussize 
woman. If these sites don't help a quick google search is only a click away. While the plus size bikini hasn't become 
mainstream yet the more of us who wear them and buy them will help make them more readily avaible. 


If you're wondering if I've taken the plunge yet? I have here are some of my favorite plus size bikinis!











Sunday, July 13, 2014

Consumer Driven Selection Myth

I took a trip over to Rainbow Shops today (www.rainbowshops.com), the brick and mortar kind, which is something I rarely do. I usually like to save myself a walk of shame to the back of the store.  I had some burning questions that needed to be asked, however, so the trip was more necessity over pleasure. I use the word "pleasure" loosely. Let me walk you through my experience. 


First, let me introduce you to the Hylan Plaza Rainbow shop in Staten Island. Staten Island is a borough of New York City that looks like a forgotten suburb. This isn't the glamorous part of New York  city, this is strip malls, elastic waist bands, scrunchie land. 



There you go, there's Rainbow nudged between a telco and a soon to be opening Salvation Army. When you walk up to the store you'll notice two things, rainbow has two signs that say rainbow and also a large 5$, 7$, 10$ clearence sale. Doesn't that sound nice? 5$ fashion? If we can do it to foot longs as I guess we can do it for clothes. Except, what they really mean is only straight sizes (mostly) and that was the target of my first question.



Just about all rainbows share this pleasant clearence sign a few times a year. I clearly needed some assistance as I was looking through the racks outside of the store. I couldn't find a single plus size peice inside these clearence racks. Then I stumbled upon some plus size dresses on an unmarked rack. It was the secret 12$ rack for plus size women. I quickly found someone working there and asked them to show me where the 5/7/10$ plus size clearence was since a day prior I was told to look at the racks outside. I was told that the plus clearence was mixed in. I said , no, you're mistaken I've looked through each and every single rack out here. She then lead me to the rack with the dresses. I then pointed out, this isn't the 5/7/10$ clearence as noted and if you can not direct me to the correct area then this is false advertising. This is when I am brought deeper into the store. All sorts of quesrions started to pop off in my brain. Why am I being lead AWAY from the deals? Why do I have to go deep inside the store for clearence? Why can't I feel the warm summer breeze against my skin while I shop? Would it really be so bad if a plus size woman was seen perusing clothing in front of the store? I let that all slide away when the sales  associate showed me three racks in the middle of the store. 

After passing countless racks outside the store and about 6 inside the store I was a bit underwhelmed over the selection. Only one rack was 7$ and it contained basics, another rack was 10$ and it contained mixed peices. The third rack was a 15$ rack (funny, I didn't see that on the clearence banner!) I asked why wasn't it advertised up to 15$ she said she didn't know. She invited me to go deeper into the back of the store under the giant, low hanging, central air conditioner to check out the 7$ basics. Under other cercimstances, if someone tried to lure me to the most rear part of a building for the best deals i would have assumed she was peddling drugs or a prostitue. Nope, just 7$ basic tank tops. 

Clearence aside, the plus size section was about 1/4th of the rest of the store. It was slightly smaller than the abysmal shoe selection (that only went up to size 10). This left me with a few questions. Why is the plus size section getting smaller? Why is it so far in the back? Why doesn't the store front say they sell plus size? Why do the fashions look drastically different? Where are all the sales associates? As I browsed I saw many of the same styles over and over. Peplums, leggings, shirts with quotes, ripped jeans,   Maxi dresses, skin tight dresses, and a plethora of basics. The  straight sizes had more variation in style, color, selection, and better prices.

The stand outs of the plus size section included a white, 1982, nightgown, looking dress, a pair of 100% polyurethane pants (yes, more of the paint sealer) which rang up as "Novelty Leggings". Let me stop there. I want you to wrap your mind around this with me. Plus size clothing, made out of paint sealer, is not only considered acceptable for sale but also, novel. Cut up shirts saying "I woke up like dis", and tons of polyester pants with all different designs that varied from color blind toddler all the way up to this is what the machine spit out. While there were a few nice peices, many didn't even have the correct label. Pants labeled as 3x measuring in at a messily 36 inches. 

3x pants on 3x shorts. 

My friend was with me during this trip. She saw a dress she wanted hanging high on the wall. She tried to wave down a sales associate. She waited, and waited. She grabbed the bar to pick up hangers off the wall. She took down all the dresses. No one even noticed. No one came to help. She then put all the dresses back up. Ignored would be an understatement.

As I went to be rung up I asked quite a few questions

Myself- When will the plus size section be expanding?
Cashier- We can't expand unless we have more sales in the plus size section

M- Do you think the declining sales has anything to do with the vastly different styles between straight sizes and plus? I mean look at how many more options the straight sizes have. 
C- We only put out what we are sent, what they think will sell. 

M- The styles are very limited and basic compared to the rest of the store, maybe if the same clothes from the straight sizes were sent sales would expand?
C- There is a large selection online. 

M- What about the mannequins? I don't see any plus size mannequins in the window, and the ones I do see in the back have all the styles pulled back destorting them. 
C- We only have two plus size Mannequins. We can't put one in the window. 

M- you don't exactly advertise that you sell plus size, your clearence sale isn't even accurate, and these pants I'm buying, are pure polyurethane. 
C- :: looks shocked :: but they are on sale. 

M- Is that a good thing? It also doesn't help that I have to walk to the back of the store, there is minimal assistance. The average woman wears size 14, 64% of women are plus size. Yet the selection is horrible in here
C- we can only get more selection if more sales are made in the plus size 

M- So wouldn't you rather want to advertise that you sell plus size, 64% of women are passing your store because they don't even know. So your selection shrinks further isolating the profits. You then direct people to shop online. How does that solve your stores problem?
C- no answer.  

So my understanding of this whole shopping experience is- stores like rainbow will sell plus size clothing, push it to the back, may or may not have a sign indicating plus sizes, lack a dressing room, mislead you with sales that don't apply to  plus size, and worst of all tell you that they can't improve selection without better sales. There are a plethora of women wanting to spend their money on affordable, trendy, accessable, plus size clothing but with this treatment in store and often the inability to try garments on anyway, it is easier to shop online. Why should we be pushed though? Why can't a store just take a risk and treat the plus size woman like they treat the straight size woman. Maybe if their was this equality, the majority of the population, their target market, would be more willing to spend. 

Sadly, their logic is useless. Stores don't seem to understand that plus size women won't stand for this treatment. We are being sized out of stores and pushed to the back and expected to spend more or the same as a straight size woman who is assisted and can folly through endless racks of options.  We understand exactly how we are being treated and either subconsciously  or consciously we decided that our money shouldn't be spent in an atmosphere like the brick and motar stores that will only treat us badly. Instead of the retailer blaming their own size shaming practices they blame the customer. I've heard this same story from pretty girl, target, and other big name retailers. 

I'd love to simply urge all plus size women, to use the power we apparently possess, and shop in store as much as possible and as often as possible to see a real shift in the market. However, the truth is I would be telling you to take one for the team by allowing yourself to be mistreated. I'd never ask you do to that. I do want you to make a note of how you're treated when you shop. If you feel you're not being treated correctly, you don't like going to the back of the store, being directed to shop online, subjected to bad selection/ materials, I urge you to complain. I urge you to email, call, write, even face to face with a manager about how you feel. If we can all at least have some say over this shameful behavior, maybe we can see a real change that doesn't put another useless penny in the pockets of retailers that lack basic respect. 

We are 64%, lets control this market, lets get that equality and representation in stores that we deserve. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Maxi Dress: Transfer the Classic Summer Look to Fall

What fashion trend epitomizes summer style? I'm sure there are various answers but one we can't disagree with is the maxi dress. Flowing, airy, versatile, simple, and sexy, it can do no wrong if you find one that is perfect for you. 

Shopping for a maxi dress can sometimes be like shopping for a car in that there are so many questions to be asked. What colors does it come in? Is this brand reliable? How many miles (wears) will I get out of this dress before it falls apart? Is it a good fit for me? With so many styles to choose from, I assure you there is one for you so don't settle. With all that being said it'sJuly and fall styles will creep up on us faster and faster until we blink and it's Labor Day. The maxi dress will be on sale and be pushed out to make room for mixed knits, leathers, and darker prints for fall. If you love a great sale, absolutely stock up! The bigger question is how do you take a summer favorite and make it work for fall? I'm here to answer that burning question. 

First, let me share with you what I wore today:


I picked this outfit because it just came in the mail and I just had to put it on. Truth is, this 85 degrees weather did not require that blazer. Blazers are one of the best ways to take a maxi dress from summer to fall. You can probably already find fall blazers available or may even have one in your closet from last season. A blazer is a great investment since it can add a classy touch to nearly any outfit you add it to. Adding it to a maxi dress takes it from the beach to the office, wedding, event, or any other more formal settings. The long sleeves will keep you warm on cooler days/nights but can still be taken off for one last impromptu trip to dip your toes in the sand. Roll up the sleeves to 3/4 for a more casual look. I personally love this high back blazer since it keeps the shape of the dress obvious without making it look boxy. 

Dress- www.forever21.com
Blazer- www.forever21.com
Belt- www.rainbowshops.com
Necklace- www.bezelbox.com
Sunglasses- www.forever21.com
Shoes- www.lanebryant.com

Other ways to turn your maxi dress into a fall outfit try putting a sweater over the top to give the illusion of a maxi skirt. If it gets very cold, a pair of leggings keep the legs warm without anyone being the wiser. If a blazer isn't your style you could always opt for a shrug or even a long sleeve tee. Choosing maxi dresses with bold primary colors or black are easiest to transfer over to fall, but geo prints, animal prints, even some pastels will transfer over as well. 

An outfit like this may only require a cardigan or long sleeve crop top (try a new trend without stepping out of your comfort zone!) to go from summer to fall. A feather accented hat is seasonally universal. 
Dress- www.forever21.com
Necklace- www.gstagelove.com
Hat- www.forever21.com

Fall 2014 is set to see lots of 90s inspired grunge looks, sheer looks, continued trend of geo prints, even some 60s neon and pastel pieces are expected. Keep this all in mind before you shove all your summer clothes in that space saver bag and banish it to the back of the closet! You may just get more use out of your summer clothes and maxi dresses, through layering, than you expected. 



Friday, July 11, 2014

Plus Size Clothes: Now Washable

It doesn't take an expert to realize that plus size clothing isn't exactly made out of the best material. Polyesters, Rayon, spandex, Lurex, even plastics compose many of the trendy and contemporary brands. You can often feel the quality when you touch the fabrics, you don't even need to wear it to understand its value. So, we wear over priced, lower quality fabric clothes, and we accept it.

Companies know we have to buy clothes, we want to buy clothes, and just like with straight sizes, or really any consumer good, there are always newer and better gimmicks. The most recent one I've seen was on a label of a shirt I purchased from Www.moddeals.com, a website which features affordable and stylish clothes for a great discount. The label clearly said it was washable. 


Why does my article of clothing have to let me know that it's washable? Could there possibly be an existence of clothes that can't be washed? Lets be realistic for a moment. All these synthetic materials don't exactly breath like cotton. We are talking about sweat and body odor build up no matter what we wear. I hate to be the barer of bad news but, you should read some of your clothing labels sometime. You might discover something like this....




Excuse me? First, lets google what Polyurethane is. 


Oh, so its something I can find at the Home Depot to make my floors shiny again or protect a coat of paint. I wonder what genius in the plus size industry thought it would be ok to treat our garments like a home improvement project. 

Since most plus size clothing is bought online, you cant always directly feel the fabrics. Ladies, you need to be very cautious when you buy online. Read what the garment is made out of before you purchase. Often, the composition of the fabric is in a separate, often hidden drop down menu. If you can't find it, contact the company.  If you are in store, read the labels as well, don't walk out of the store with a piece of clothing that will be difficult to maintain. It's one thing to buy a dry clean only item, it's a whole other to buy a wipe down only item.

Be cautious, read labels, and if you see something that says "I'm washable" in store, complain to the manager, that's never an acceptable selling point. 

Feeling a little Moody Blooms

I finally got the chance to play with the Mac Cosmetics Moody Blooms collection. I figured what better time to try out a whole look than date night. 

What I wore: 


A floral dress from www.rainbowshops.com

I didn't accessorize like I usually do since I didn't want to distract from the loud pattern. Sometimes it's great just to keep things simple and let a garment speak for itself. 

Makeup look:


Eyes:
Lid- green room
Center of lid - lucky green
Inner corner- blooming mad 
Outer v- green room
Upper lid line- black ivy
Lower lid line- black ivy with copper thorn over it 
Face- L'oreal visible lift blur foundation
Setting powder- sp3ctrum translucent powder
Blush- bread for beauty
Highlight- worldly wealth
Lips- sheen supreme lust extract

I rather like the deep floral look in both pattern and cosmetics. 

How do you feel about the floral trend? 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Plus Size Retailers, What are you thinking?

As a plus size woman, 260 lbs 5'11", I'm not exactly the standard of beauty. Does this make me not beautiful or take away from my beauty because I'm not the standard? Absolutely not! I do want to discuss with you all how I feel about the plus size industry and how passionate I have grown to see a change. 

Many brands of clothing would have you believe that you need to loose weight to be stylish. Many major brands only carry straight sizes. Straight sizes are the average 1-10 or s-xl sizes. Stores that do carry both straight and plus size clothing will rarely advertise it. Plus size clothing at a mixed sizes store will often be hidden in the back of a store, wedged between other departments like children or home goods, while others won't even dedicate floor space, these stores would rather not see you at all but don't mind taking your money online (... Target). 

 My issues with plus size retailers is a list that grows longer and longer everyday. Why, as plus size women, must we accept being told we have to buy first, try on later (shopping online) or told to go to the back of the store, or speciality store? Plus size women account for 64% of the american population and yet we are segregated. We accept it since, lets face it, we can't all walk around naked or with sheets draped over us. We accept the fact that we are told to shop like those that shop for porn... The good videos are in the back, behind the curtain, online, we want your money, we just don't want you to bother the other shoppers with what your buying. Its as if retailers believe if their customers see a "fat" women shopping their store won't be trendy, or appealing. Studies have shown that heavier individuals are thought of to be lazy, sloppy, smell bad... How horrible is that? So stores will either cut their losses and not cater to 64% more income or hide it. 

Open up the current issue of vogue, cosmopolitan, Elle.. Any magazine really, you'll find two things: one will be mini articles with plus size women included into how to wear (insert clothing article here). Secondly, flip through the ads and you'll be hard pressed to find the plus size retailers or straight size retailers that carry plus size advertising. You would be surprised at how many higher end stores carry plus sizes secretly. 

Personally, my struggle with plus size clothing began when I was a teenager. I would go shopping with my friends only to discover the only items available to me in most stores are accessories and socks. I would watch my friends try on all different styles of clothing when I knew that all racks were hands off to me.  Why even bother browsing when I would only walk out empty handed. I would cry about it. I wanted to look like other teen girls but I dressed like a Tom boy- oversized old navy shirts and ill fitting Lane Bryant Pants, I had obvious self esteem issues. It's one thing to feel ugly all the time because you don't like your body, face, hair, boobs, ass, it's a whole other  issue when every store reminds you that you don't belong. I didn't come to terms with my size or how I looked until my early 20s and I was 2 sizes larger than I was in high school. There are so many young girls and women who want to feel confident, want to love their bodies, want to spend some money and get a cute outfit, but can't and are, instead, fed constant Images of very thin, blow average, women in advertisements, television shows, music videos etc. to reinforce the idea that its you, not them, that have something wrong with them.  Even plus size models on plus size sites look like average, everyday women. Why are these average beautiful women labeled plus size?

This all brings me to my final issue: my experience with shopping. Recently I saw a great pattern on a skirt, it was Tetris, I'm a bit of an old school video game nerd, however an extra large was the circumference of my head. I bought two skirts and two tops and made a skater type skirt dress. 

What do you think? 


However, while I was in the store buying the skirts I told the cashier what my plan was and she was shocked.  She told me they do carry plus size and she pointed to the only three racks in the store containing plus size clothes. Maybe if I had more options I wouldn't have to cut up smaller clothes. She mentioned that the plus size clothes just weren't selling. Did I mention the only advertisement to let customers know that they sell plus size was a small piece of computer paper that said "plus size" taped to the door letting me know that my kind was welcome. Also, no plus size clothes were shown in the window or displayed other than those three small racks. Insulting. 


Big retailers like H&M are offering plus size clothes, though you wont really see that mentioned anywhere in their advertisements. There is only a tiny fraction of the amount of clothes they sell to plus size women vs. straight size and with drastically blander styles.


 Retailers who do offer better quality like ModCloth or Monif C. Plus Sizes charge bill money amounts and the style isn't always better (Though I do love the monif swimwear)




Clothes from Forever 21 and Rainbow Shops are nice, trendy, and cheap, but don't last very long. Also, if you shop in these stores the plus size section is often very small and hidden in the back or tothe  side with little or no people working in that section. Not every store has these sections either.  It's not a pleasant experience overall and considering these companies should be competing for our money you would think the options would be plentiful. 




Lastly, there are discount options online but many of these retailers lack understanding for taste and style.. misplaced prints, too much attention to breasts or booty, disproportionate sizing, wrong sizes on size chart ( I can't begin to explain how many times a 20/3x turns out to be a size 12/14), odd placements of details, cheap material, off cuts, weird lengths... Etc. Retailers often go in the extreme direction- very basic or acid trip.  Shopping shouldn't be a difficult task, companies should reach out to their target audience for feedback. Since stores are pushing for more online sales we can't talk to managers about the selection in store, the styles, what we want to see or complaints, we have the option of paying to return an item while checking a box to describe what went wrong. We don't get to browse small boutique or walk into any store on a whim, we have to determine where our green money is just as green as everyone else (or multiple colored like in Canada)  Since many trendy sites have high turn over rates for their designs you may see something you like and it will be sold out within a day, buy the wrong size and there isn't much you can do, keep it and try to make it work or return it and do without it. 




These struggles should not be happening in this day and age. While this blog used to focus on makeup, I would like to transform it into a fashion blog. I will still have in depth reviews of makeup on my Instagram: @recycledstardust and on my YouTube: www.youtube.com/nix92585 but I would like to focus more on my day to day outfits, sites I love, outfit ideas, and where to buy clothes I think are stylish. If you've had a hard time finding sites to cater to you and you are plus size, rest assured I will try to help you find new ones. 

Thank you to everyone who has staid subscribed, and I hope this transition is a great one!

-Nikki