Learning to Love Myself Again with Lane Bryant

It wasn’t long after I declared to the world that I am a Size 18 and resolved to myself to love me despite the number that I was formally invited to attend the Make-A-Wish Big Wish Gala 2015. As an employee of such a vital organization that seeks to enrich the human experience with strength, hope and during a child and family’s most trying time while facing a life-threatening illness (a mission that I align with for very personal reasons as well); I felt excited to attend one of the most inspirational and successful fundraising nights of the year, but my new acceptance of myself did not for one second involve formal wear, especially not so soon.

What was I going to do? What was I going to wear? Nothing would fit, let alone look good and it mattered this time! Not to mention, I certainly couldn’t go to a formal work event not believing in myself after everything I had said about loving my curves. Well, the Universe, as we know by now, has a way of ensuring things happen just when they’re supposed to and my life is no exception. I looked around online for some cocktail dresses and was unsuccessful to say the least looking at pictures, so I made the brave and now undoubtedly brilliant decision to stop in Lane Bryant one Friday after work.

I scoped out the store, all exists in mind in case I needed to leave quickly (and hopefully no one would notice me before I did) and made a beeline for a display of black dresses near the back. I perused the rack, casually, I knew what I was doing after all, I had shopped for things before; but not in a store that was made for with bodies like my own. I was uncomfortable. My hands went back and forth between a classic black lace dress and short, royal blue skater dress. Whatever that was. I grabbed an 18 in the black and spun around to search for the dressing room when a friendly voice (oh GOD they’ve seen me!) said, “That dress has a really flattering fit and you should try on the blue one too since you kept looking at it.” I hesitantly turned around to see her smiling face right behind me.

“I can’t wear the blue one,” I said, “It’s really not me.”

Beth introduced herself and said, “All the more reason to try it on, you might be surprised,” and grabbed one as she ushered me to a dressing room. She asked me what occasion I was shopping for and I told her about Make-A-Wish and how I was excited to be attending my first work function. I was committed now, involved even, and my heart was racing, hands shaking as I tried on the black dress. Beth’s confidence somehow crept in and boosted my own, I couldn’t wait to see how I looked in a dress with my newfound opinion of myself.

It didn’t fit. I poked my head out of the dressing room, terrified, and my eyes locked on Beth across the store. She saw me and I motioned to her to come back.

“Need a different size?” she asked. I did and she got it while I hid behind the door.

Try #2. It fit…I think. I stuck my head out again. This time, she was waiting for me. “I think it fits” I said with hesitation.

“Come out and let me see!” she exclaimed. I did, very, very slowly.

“It looks great,” she said, “let me see what Kevin thinks too.” Oh no, I thought. Who’s Kevin?! I wanted to shrink into the floor. She yelled for Kevin and I heard a voice say “be there in a second.”

“You look fantastic,” he said, introducing himself as he rounded the corner,”But let me ask you, when is the last time you wore a new bra?” I think he could tell by the look on my face it was not anytime in recent history.

Beth did a fitting and Kevin said “Hold on,” and hurried away. He came back with a bright pink, black lace-trimmed bra and said, “Here, try this on.” I held it up. It didn’t look like me or my size.

‘I think it’s too small,” I said. Both Kevin and Beth looked at me expectantly and I turned around, back into the dressing room. I tried the pink beauty on, along with a strapless bra and in just 3.5 minutes (that it took me to wrestle into the strapless bra), I had never felt more supported in my life. As it turns out, I had been wearing the wrong cup size for two years and since I have lost two inches around my chest, I was also wearing a size that was far too big around.

I exited the dressing room, this time more confidently. Kevin and Beth were waiting and when I spun around, Kevin beamed, “Perfect,” he exclaimed, “You’ve got it, you just need to show it off.”

Kevin took me around the store and talked to me about different options I have in bras, how best to wear them (never the same bra two days in a row to allow the material to rest – so, yes, ladies you need a bra for just about everyday of the week) and he encouraged me to save my old garments for camping trips. Don’t worry, Kevin, they actually reached their final resting place in the trash can shortly after my visit with you. While I was there, I tried on several more bras, the blue dress (which we agreed didn’t look as good as the black one) and some tops. I have never felt so encouraged, supported or more beautiful while shopping for clothes. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like I was searching for “plus-size fashion,” but that I was just a girl looking for a dress for a big night out.

Kevin told me, “You know, size is just a number, don’t let it stop you from being the most beautiful you can be.” Thank you, Universe.

I was actually sad when I departed Lane Bryant nearly three hours later with the party dress, hot pink with black lace Smooth Boost Plunge Bra, the strapless wonder, several other bras too and two new BFF’s. For the next three days I couldn’t stop thinking about Kevin, Beth, the things they had said to encourage me, my experience at Lane Bryant or my new dress.

I attended the Big Hearts Gala with my sister and aside from my wedding day, have never felt as stunning as I did that night. I have also never heard so many compliments:

me mollie full

me mollie frame close

What I wore (in other words, if you wear anything starting at a size 12 or a 36C bra, go to your local Lane Bryant/Cacique or shop online right now. Eight out of ten women wear the wrong bra size too, don’t be one of them):

Attire made possible by The Fabulous Kevin and Beth at Lane Bryant Tuttle Crossing Mall who encouraged me to come out of my shell that day and start really believing I am beautiful.

me and mollie

  • Black Lace Party Dress
  • Multi-Way Stapless Bra in Black (seriously not one single problem all night, not one single adjustment)
Accessories made possible and selected to match Attire by the creative Rachel at Francesca’s Tuttle Crossing Mall

jewelry collage

Hair made possible (and done exclusively) by the talented and lovely Lila at Evolution Straightener Tuttle Crossing Mall


Shoes made possible by Dolores at Macy’s Polaris Mall
  • You want to check these beauties out

Thank you to each and every one of you who not only made this night possible, but a complete success for me. I’m even dressing to impress on casual days and weekends, feeling good about myself in Lane Bryant leggings and Cacique under garments. You would be proud, Kevin and Beth.

full length scarf me

The moral of my story? The perfect dress (or bra) can pretty much change your opinion of yourself . The perfect shopping experience, like the one I had at Lane Bryant, can change your whole life.

me and mollie full frame

Until the next mile marker,

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Make Your Summer Run a Success!

Running in the heat and humidity of summer is difficult and poses more than one challenge to runners and athletes. Even if you run at 5:30 in the morning or 10:00 at night when the sun has set, high humidity and air quality alerts not only impact your performance, but make every step miserable as well. While most of us might prefer to lounge by the pool during the dog days or hibernate inside, there are some things we can do to stay cool – and safe – when summer temps spike. Whether you are new to running or have run for years before now, below you will find some of our helpful hints to keep you running smart, safe and successful as the temperatures heat up.

Runners need to take precautions when running in the heat and humidity, including dressing properly for summer temperatures. Avoid wearing cotton because it holds sweat and doesn’t dry quickly, which can lead to painful chafing. You should be wearing synthetic fabrics (100% polyester, CoolMax, Dri-Fit, etc.) to wick moisture away from you skin so that sweat can evaporate effectively. True, technical running fabrics may cost a little more, but you will appreciate being comfortable on longer runs. You can shop for technical fabrics at regular department stores to save money or shop at your favorite running specialty shop. Be sure to dress in lightly-colored, loose-fitting clothing, which when combined with appropriate fabrics, helps your body cool naturally by allowing it to breath and by reflecting light from your skin.

You should wear sunglasses or a hat to protect your eyes from the rays of the sun and unnecessary fatigue and/or headaches that may be caused by constant squinting. You can find running sunglasses and hats that are made of wicking fabrics too. Apply sunscreen before your run to provide further protection from the sun. A lot of summer running apparel is made from mesh fabrics that may not prevent damage caused by the sun. You want to be sure the areas of your skin that are not covered (including your face) are protected.

Me and Judi playing it cool last summer. (And yes, I do own more than just this one summer racing shirt!)


More summer coolness.


Also, don’t neglect your feet! I highly recommend getting fitted at a specialty running shop for footwear. The staff should be experienced at assessing your gait, pronation and running form to fit you in a pair of shoes that will keep you not only running comfortable, but help to keep you running injury-free. In addition, you should wear technical (non-cotton!) socks to keep your feet cool and dry. Wet feet can lead to blisters, which can be painful enough to sideline you for a run. As with clothing, you should look for socks that are made from polyester, acrylic or other wicking materials. You should not double up on wearing socks, which can cause chaffing and blistering as well. Ladies, it is also beneficial to get fitted for a sports bra. While I know many ladies who double up on sports bras, I do not recommend it because it is uncomfortable, hot, causes chaffing and does not adequately provide support, especially if you have a larger bust. There are bras that will fit you – you just have to find them and a running shop can help you do just that! These are two of my favorite options as a “larger” lady:


Moving Comfort Fiona -This is great if you are looking for functionality and style.Love the adjustable straps!


The Enell – Self conscious?Your girls will not move an inch in this baby!

The easiest way to avoid complications from heat is to keep your body hydrated. This means drinking water before, during and after your workouts. You may want to invest in an inexpensive water bottle to carry with you during the day so you have no excuse not to drink. Listen to your body and don’t wait until you are thirsty to start drinking, you should be well hydrated before you even set foot outside to run. I have postponed a run due to inadequate hydration.

Recognizing symptoms of heat illness is also very important. Symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. If you experience any of these symptoms stop running immediately – find shade, cool water and fan yourself with a shirt or other item if possible. You want to keep the air moving around you. If symptoms persist, seek medical attention right away.

If you are going to be running or exercising longer than 30 minutes, you should be consuming both water and an electrolyte sports drink (I prefer Gatorade). Drinking a sports drink like Gatorade helps to replace salt, electrolytes and other minerals that are lost when you sweat. With warmer temperatures and longer runs, you may want to consider carrying your own hydration or having it readily available on your run or during your workout. You can find a variety of hydration belts or handhelds at running stores or online. I used to think a hydration belt would be awkward to wear, especially in the heat, but after just a couple of runs, it became part of my regular gear and now I feel like I am missing something when I head out without it. I have literally tried just about everything out there. iFitness is my favorite:

iFitness 12 oz Hydration BeltLove that it sits low on the hips.Plenty of room for gel and personal effects like a phone, plus you can add extra pockets.Love that it has a race bib holder, no more ripped up bibs or shirts!

It’s important to remember not to push yourself too hard this summer to take weather conditions into consideration when running. Hot and humid conditions are not the time to push the pace and it is okay to slow down in extreme conditions. Don’t be afraid to slow down, take walking breaks, or even take a moment to rest and hydrate while out on your run. Save your hard efforts and maximum exertion for more favorable weather conditions – don’t try to beat the heat! While following the schedule is important, it should not be your religion. If you need to adjust your schedule, pace or mileage due to fatigue or heart, don’t be afraid to do so. Listen to your body!

What are your favorite tips to stay cool during a summer workout? Please share!

Until the next mile marker,