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LargeInCharge Magazine - Six Years on the Net!

 Issue#71 February 2010

Welcome to LargeInCharge Magazine

In this Issue of L.I.C.




Words of Wisdom from the Heart & Mind of Raqui


Big Girls on the Red Carpet  ~ Cher Rue


From the Plus Side ~ Emily Smiltneck

Good 4 U Food  ~ Xander


The Big GB My Gastric Bypass Memoirs - Soyna Bennett


Tales of a Happy Fat Girl ~ Estrelia Mateo


From the Desk of NAAFA

National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance


Fashion & Products with The WebGirl ~ Lucia Roth


Free All Thinking ~ Candace Lane

Reflections from a Plus Sized Sista


LargeInChargeDating - Dating for the Large People who are going to be in Charge of their Love Lives!


LargeInCharge Friends - The Place for Big People to make Friends and maybe MUCH MORE!

Buddha Body Yoga
By: Raqui

     In the New York City area of Manhattan is a Man who is taking Yoga by Storm. His name is Michael Hayes.  He is the Plus Sized man behind Buddha Body Yoga.

     Michael has taken his 14+ years of experience as a licensed massage therapist, 15 years studying and teaching martial arts, 7 years studying and teaching yogaooking and combined them all into a service that is only for the Larger Framed Individual.

     Mr. Hayes Specializes in helping Plus Sized people stretch, strengthen there bodies and improve flexibility along with body tone and endurance.  As he says he has not yet found a person that is to big to customize his technique to.  You can join in group classes or have a one on one private yoga session.  He also offers Massage for all people of all sizes.

     In simple terms what Michael does is put Larger People in touch with there bodies. Creating balance and harmony.  It is a Marvelous thing.
Interview What is your name?

Michael Hayes Where are you from and what is your current location?

I was born in New York City, I'm a New Yorker. My office is 80 E 11th Street, NY. That is where I do private yoga sessions and massage. My classes are at the Moving Body Resources at 27th Street in New York. What did you do before your started your current company?

I was a licensed massage therapist for over ten years. I was doing Swedish, Shiatsu, Medical and Thai massage. Please tell us the name of your company and your company slogan.

Buddha Body Yoga. ....Yoga for EVERY kind of BODY! What type of service is Buddha Body Yoga and how long have you been established?

BBY is yoga for big people. Muscular, tall, heavy-set, voluptuous, etc. I have been teaching yoga for around 10 years privately, and teaching group classes for the past 5 years. When did you realize there was a need for Buddha Body Yoga and how did you begin?

I realized the need because of my own need. Most people I saw in yoga classes looked like skinny flexible people, and I struggled to find a practice that worked for my own body. So I had to create a practice for myself. I took a few teacher certification programs, came to understand my own anatomy and needs w/in yoga postures and movement.

Then I started to take more yoga classes, and found that the teachers were mimicking me, as far as how to work with other large people who were having problems. I was inspired to create BBY to share with other large people. BBY teaches people how to use their bodies to get into postures so they can work in a regular yoga class as well as BBY class. I am empowering big people to do yoga. I began teaching a small class on 32nd street, and now teach 1 - 2 classes a week and do a lot of privates. Where do you hold your classes and how can people register and find out more information?

See my website for class schedules, sign up for BBY newsletter, register, information and more:

Classes are right now on Thursday evenings at Moving Body Resources, 112 W27th Street, 4th Floor.
Private classes are at my office at 80 E 11th Street, Rm 431A, NY, NY 10003

email us at:
or call us at: 646-200-5098 Do you consider yourself a Person of Size?

Yes. How do you cater to people of size?

By breaking down yoga postures and helping people of size get into the postures. Tell us about all the services you and your company provides to people of size.

Group BBY classes
Private yoga classes for big people
Massage (medical, Swedish, Thai, and more) for big people, to help them get into their body and help w/ flexibility
Using the Great Yoga Wall and other props to assist people of size in getting into yoga postures. How does your service help and enhance the lives of those who are bigger than societies norm?

By changing the way people look at their body. By changing the way they believe they can move, the way they think about themselves, their ability to live. Watching someone's face light up, when they are able to do a posture that they never thought they would be able to do, and they are in it, and breathing, that's great! And that enhances their life. Will you service all people of size regardless of height, weight, mobility? Is there a certain size people have to be, is there such a thing as to big to benefit from your services?

Size is a problem when it comes to being able to move your body, but where there is a will, we can find a way. I have not come to a person who is too big yet. What type of training/certification do you have to be able to provide this service?

I am certified in a couple different teacher trainings -- Shivananda, Yoga Union, Ventura Yoga Studio w/ Bryan Leger. I have studied yoga therapy with Dan Lanski. I am a licensed massage therapist, so I understand anatomy and physiology very well. I have also studied with the Iyengar Institue, The Breathing Project, and Thai Yoga study in Thailand. How did you figure out, how to custom traditional Yoga and change it around for the Plus Sized body?

By being anal retentive and playing with things ad nauseum. What are the challenges in taking on a new client?

Getting past their thinking about what they can and cannot do. Getting past their emotional holding of how they hold their body. What makes you proud about the work you do?

The creative process of working with a person, and working through their process with them, makes me feel good. It's also just fun! Have you received positive or negative feedback from the community?

I've gotten some responses from some communities who feel controversial that I do not work with smaller people, only big. I get a lot of positive feedback from larger people, because they like the fact that the class is 'specifically for us'. What are your future goals for Buddha Body Yoga?

I want to open a studio where I can have ongoing classes, that include the yoga wall, so that i can work with more people. I am also starting teacher trainings for teachers to learn how to work with larger people. Have you been featured in any publications, television, or in print?

BBY was in the NY Times in 2009, Channel 7 News did a spot on BBY in 2009 as well, and I've been on a couple of radio programs. It's exciting. What do you have to say to those People of Size who are interested but maybe shy or think they cannot participate?

Well, I say: Go look at my website:  and see how big I am, and see what I'm doing. I'd say -- don't give up! My classes are generally fun, easy going and exploratory. My aim is for you to explore your body, and to have fun. If you are not having fun in the class, then what's the point. How can the readers of LargeInCharge Magazine support you and your company?

Help us to expand awareness of BBY, help us to get other teachers trained in BBY, help us find a studio in NYC, or whatever way you feel called to support us! If you could describe Budda Body Yoga in one word it would be?



Thank you for Reading The LargeInCharge Feature

Please send thoughts and comments to


2010 Cover Model of the Year Winner is

Queanna Rea' Feather!



Words from Queanna Rea' Feather:  How does it feel to be Cover Model of the Year? The Pointer Sisters said it best... I'm so excited and I just can't hide it, I'm about to lose control and I think I like it!!!

Special Thanks: I am so thankful to God for allowing me to do something I love and have fun at, also using me as a tool to inspire others to go after there dream. I share this victory with my Parents (Jon and Catherine), Brothers and sisters (Jul, Jeff, Jina, Ivy, Valerie), my church (Faith Christian Fellowship), Companies (ILBB, Plusologie, Miss Plus Top Model) and all friends and fans. I also share this with all the other wonderful ladies, may God continue to bless your careers, if only one makes it to the top, we all make it!!!

LargeInCharge wants to give Lots of Love and Congratulations to Queanna.  We wish you continued success with your endeavors and hope that you achieve all the goals you dream to achieve.  We are proud to have given you one step on the staircase of your career.  CONGRATULATIONS!


Cover Model Sponsors

     Our Cover Model of the Year will receive a Trophy along with Prizes from our Sponsors Below.  I encourage you to visit, purchase and support these generous companies.

     This Years Sponsors are:  More to be listed soon

Enter to be a 2010 Cover Model


Want to be a LargeInCharge Cover Model?

     It has been almost six years since LargeInCharge opened its online doors to the Big World.  We started with 740 readers March 2004.  We have built up to over 800,000 readers a month.  We have continuously given the Big World article after article.  Fashion tips and clothing companies.   Hot events and self esteem advice. Interesting information and cool products.  We have changed, grown and become better.  Online Magazine's are the big now, doing better than physical paper magazines.  Any successful magazine must have an online presence.  LargeInCharge has been leading the way for the Plus Sized Commuity.


     Now with our fifth annual Cover Model Search taking place we are beaming with pride.  LargeInCharge keeps our entrance to be a cover model free by using photographs that the person submits for our covers. We don’t ask for an entry or submission fee from our models.  All we ask for is clear good photographs that would be considered portfolio type of pictures. At the end of the year we have a voting for the public and name one of them Cover Model of the Year he or she wins prizes and possibly money from our sponsors depending on what our sponsors give that year.


     Being a LargeInCharge cover model can be a great add on to your comp card or resume.  It can also be a feather in the cap of aspiring models.  So many beautiful and handsome big men and women who are not professional models can now be featured where they will be appreciated.  NO MORE SIZE18 or 2XL ONLY MODELS.  AGE DOESN'T MATTER.  NO MORE FETISH ONLY PICTURES. We like them professional and in all sizes INCLUDING SUPER SIZED.  There are no limits with us.




NOTICE - Follow the Directions carefully, if you have a question you can email me and ask before you send in your entry.  Any Entries that are not sent in properly will be thrown out. Take the time to send in your entry properly.

Raqui does not Guide, Help, Preview, Custom Pick Photos of any model or submission. It is unfair to all applicants. All Males and Females are free to enter and encouraged to submit according to guidelines. - Thank you

Send In the following - You must send at least two of each.

  • One or more Head shot Black & White / Color - in your modeling attire
  • One or more Full body shot Black & White / Color - in your modeling attire

NOTE: the more pictures you send it the better for us.

Type of pictures

  • Digital or scanned pictures only
  • The Picture must represent you in your Current State
  • Pictures must be of one person, no group shots.
  • Pictures of Big Males and Females only.
  • Pictures must be clear with no watermarks. (EXCEPTION: photographers watermark)
  • Pictures cannot be smaller than 300 DPI, 800 x 600 pixels
  • Pictures must be tasteful and fully clothed - Swimsuit and tasteful lingerie is allowed.
  • Nude is not allowed unless it is artistic.  No private areas shown.
  • If your pictures are professionally done be sure to have permission from the photographer.


Cell Phone Camera Images

Pictures with distracting backgrounds  - example: clutter

Webcam pictures

Pictures with Multiple people or with multiple people in the background

Poor lighting or photo shopped edited images

Images that do not meet the size requirement.


Pictures are well lit, clear and centered, background is clear and natural, proper size.

You are free to browse our past cover models to get an idea of what we are looking for.



Picture Categories - You can send in pictures for any of the below categories

  • Professional - done by photographer
  • Winter - Winter wear, coats etc. and Seasonal type of clothing, costumes and colors.  Winter backgrounds scenes
  • Spring - Spring wear, sweaters etc. bright, airy, wind blown. Spring backgrounds scenes
  • Summer - Swimsuits, wraps, summer dresses. Summer background scenes
  • Fall - Fall colors and sweaters.  Earthy natural settings. Fall Colors.
  • Ethnic - Ethnic prints and colors.  Ethnic combinations of fabric and prints.  Jewelry
  • Business - Suite and tie. City backgrounds
  • Sporty - Sports clothing of all types. participating in sports. Jogging, walking, basketball, football, Skating. Etc
  • Exercise - In exercise outfits, gym scene etc.
  • Gothic - Gothic clothing and costumes etc.





DOWNLOAD the following text file read and complete and send along with your pictures.



What will I receive if I am picked to be a 2010 Cover Model

  • You will be interviewed for the Month you appear as our Cover Model, appear on the cover and remain in our database.
  • You will be entered in our Yearly Cover Model contest to win a Trophy and Prizes at the end of the year.  You will also be featured as COVER MODEL OF THE YEAR for the New Years February edition. You will be required to update us with pictures and a statement.

Thanks for reading about our

Cover Model of the Month


     Raqui the Owner and Founder of LargeInCharge Magazine.  This spot is dedicated to her thoughts, vents, and observations of Plus Sized Life.  Raqui's  "Tell it like it is" style of writing has brought thousands to her blogs and millions to  There is so much behind the woman who has brought this magazine into existence.  Being Internationally known as a wrestler/squasher lead the way to modeling for companies and being featured in magazines and documentaries from all over the world.  She has made a career out of her size and personality. Born, Raised and Residing in the Bronx NYC. This city girl is taking the world by storm.


     For the past 6 years Raqui officially moved into Size Acceptance and Empowerment.  With the creation of LargeInCharge she took what she said to individuals to a higher level and made it public to the internet world. She is a woman who doesn't let things get to her.  Knock her down for the moment but she will rise up stronger and better.  Being a speaker on behalf of many subjects and counseling Plus Sized people online her grace and style has made people love her.  Raqui continues to set an example of a powerful woman who will bend the world to fit her, her way.


     Raqui's appearances include, Uk Television, German TV, Japan, Europe, Sweden and the Spanish circuit.  Her many magazines appearances have been world wide.  She has hit American Television in 2006 with Good Morning American and since has appeared on The Cristina Show,  The Maury Show and The Tyra Banks Show.

To view her Online portfolio visit

Raqui feature on and Glamour Plus - go to Portfolio Section

Raqui-ism - Dates are NOT JUST for Mates!

Written By: Raqui 


     I came to a realization while talking with friends that when someone says I am going out on a Date.  It is always with someone who is a love interest.  That statement didn't bother me so much, but when people speak about going out with friends it is always with a tone of irrelevance.  As though the time spent with friends, family and associates is somehow not as important as a love interest.


     While yes someone who you are sexually attracted to has it's certain benefits when you are out on a Date.  But why disdain some of the most important people in your lives?  Why do you speak about these get together with a attitude that says.  "WELL IM NOT ON A DATE, THIS WILL HAVE TO DO!"


     I say DATES are NOT JUST for MATES!  When a love interest fails, it is those important individuals in your life... Your Family... Your Friends... Your People, who are there for you and the time spent with them should be a joy, not a second best experience.


     Many times we neglect them, maybe because we feel or know they will always be there.  It is time to stop the neglect and start to respect.  Respect the many relationships in your life.  If you are not involved in a relationship it doesn't mean you have to stop Dating.  Go out with your Sister, Brother, Mother,  Your best Friend or any other friend.  Dedicate some time to the people who are in your life. 


     One on one time away from groups is very important to the relationship you have with your friends and family.  The bonding is important for you.  Hug them, give them a Kiss, feel close, Human contact is essential.  It may not be the Romantic kind of attention we crave, but I found that keeping those people close to you in a literal physical sense brings your mood up and keeps you mentally stable.  People seem to have lost the ability to give attention and intimacy to anyone but someone they are sexually involved with.


     Your Online relationship are just as important.  I know that many of my friends are long distance and it is a rarity to see them in person.  That doesn't mean you now have an excuse,  Make Online Dates with your friends, there are many things you can do online together.

  • You can Play Online games

  • Watch Movies or TV Shows Online or Offline and Chat about them.

  • Go Shopping together by viewing online websites.

  • Share News Articles and Websites

  • Watch Video's Online.

  • Chat or Talk on the phone

    If you let your friends fall to the sideline you will see them die off.  If you value someone show you care. Repeat after me DATES ARE NOT JUST FOR MATES! Nurture your Relationships and Watch them Grow!

LargeInCharge Radio - Weekly Radio show discussing Plus Sized Issues.  Friday's 7-9 pm EST - Call in & Chat in our Chat Room.

Raqui's Cool Links  

Raqui's My Space Page

Thank you for Reading Raqui's Spot

Please send thoughts and comments to

Super Sized Sounds




     Super Sized Sounds will be a Music Column that will feature those who are in the industry or up and coming who are size positive. Giving recognition to the plus sized people who are out there and showcasing themselves.  Reviews, Interview, News and more from our new writer Super Sized Spanishfly Lynx.


      Lynx Garcia, also known as "SUPERSIZE SPANISHFLY", is a Latina BBW from Queens NYC.  Lynx is an activist speaking out against size discrimination and began performing back in 1996 at social events for big beautiful women and big handsome males and their admirers. Her special mixture of sound held true as she sang, spat, danced and performed spoken word, soon she was in demand by Big and Beautiful parties nationwide.  Lynx taking her "look" and sound mainstream was rejected because of her size. She did not let this break her spirit, hurt her confidence or minimize her drive. Instead she rose up and started a public access show (LYNX' LAIR) aired in Queens on TIME WARNER QPTV . Combination of comedy and sexy style, she showcased underground artists of all walks of life. The response to her show was less than a year she has showcased many artist, some who moved to bigger and better things.


     Currently Lynx has caught the attention of Joey Mekkah of BLACK SOLARIS ENTERTAINMENT and found herself on the Grandmaster MELLE MEL's SOLO ALBUM "MUSCLES" featured on the hot latin hip-hop track called 'DIMELO", she is the only collaboration on the album. Lynx recently has started her own radio show on EXTRAVAGANGSTARADIO.COM  called Ladies Night. EXTRAVAGANGSTARADIO is #1 on the itunes network.





Happy Happy New Year .....2010 is here and in honor of the new decade approaching I decided to give you musical INSPIRATION!. I hope they find a way to soothe your souls and give you all hope for a better tomorrow. And as usual I will provide you all with a new featured artist and a must see events to attend and classes etc.

I am also announcing that as of this day I will be taking a break from submitting articles to LargeInCharge till sometime in the spring. I would like to take this moment to thank you all for following my music column and for sending me so much love and positive energy. I send it right back to you and look forward to bringing you new fresh style and hot music and celebrity interviews (via youtube..oh yeah!) Time to gather resources and strength, wishing you all health, wealth and wellness from the inside out. Viva Gorditas!-

Special side note to Queen Raqui: "Thank you my sister for creating this positive platform for the people of our plus, full-figured and supersize community. Thank you for offering me the opportunity to utilize this platform to do what I love most...share music and pieces of myself, but mostly Raqui.  thank you for being my friend, for always lending an ear and for offering the best advice and for being five times more human than anyone I know with five loving hearts to match. I do love you Queen Raqui. Much success, till I return be well my friend."

ENIGMA "Return To Innocence"-sometimes we have to go backwards and reflect and go back to the beginning of ourselves and experience a spiritual rebirth, may God as you understand God ,The Most High to be fill your paths with love and light.

Michael Jackson "Man In The Mirror"- Before we can change the world we have to look at ourselves and inside ourselves and begin the change from within. Michael Jackson's !989 Grammy performance was that of one who is possessed. Haunts me till this day.

U2-"In The Name Of Love"-isn't everything we do in the name of love. Fight for love, live for love, open your hearts and receive love in your life! Whether it works out or not you will grow from the experience.

DIANA ROSS- "Do You Know Where You're Going To?"- Amazing how one simple question can make you assess your life, your history your place in the universe

WHITNEY HOUSTON- "The Greatest Love Of All"- when you love yourself all is possible.


Featured Artist Audio Submission: Our BBW sista CARMELINA featured in The Bollywood Movie "QURBAAN" here is her song "Starride To Heaven"



Featured Artist Video Submission from BBW Admirer and Supporter: SUPA NOVA SLOM "Purify Or Die" "So Sick So Sick of being sick and tired!" Wepa... Pura Vida! Pure Life... energy... loving the message, not preachy but right on time. He loves us fuller gals and we love him back! Can he tickle us with his feathers? I'm just saying.. lol... enjoy the yummy eye candy! Be inspired to be well... it's about being here longer. healthy at any size.

Be sure to look out for our homie Nova on Bill Cosby Presents "The Cosnarati" State Of Emergency - Hip=Hop album (support positive music) available on itunes
Also look out for his book 2010 "The Remedy" and join his social network at 


I have been hearing so much about this play, I am happy to announce I am finally going to see it! Won't you join me...hit me up and let me know if you're attending so we can say hi!



EXCITING UPCOMING WORKSHOP: Ooh Whee, this one is definitely interesting. My dear friend world renowned artist LILO KINNE will be conducting TANTRA workshops. I will be attending as well. Reasonable rates people of all colors ,shapes and sizes welcome!



Please call for information: 1 (646) 500 9820 (let her know Lynx Garcia sent you for reasonable rate)

LILO KINNE practices TANTRA which TRANSFORMS SEX INTO LOVE-MAKING. The experiences attained through the UNIFICATION OF SPIRIT, MIND & BODY are magnificent.






Want to send in your Voice in for review? Are you a singer, rapper, or poet who performs spoken word?  Up and Coming, already established?  Contact Lynx through her Myspace page or email and all information will be forwarded to her (PUT "FOR LYNX" IN THE SUBJECT AREA) 

You must be a Size Positive Artist, or a Plus Sized Supporter.

Thanks for reading

Super Sized Sounds with Lynx


Lynx Cool Links

From the Plus Side


Emily Smiltneck

     From the Plus side will be column dedicated to short stories that deal with all aspects of Plus size Life.  Emily Smiltneck was chosen for this position because of her dedication, and realistic writing style. She captures the emotional and mental rollercoaster those who are Plus Sized go through.


     Emily Susanne Smiltneck lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (pretty much dead center in the middle of nowhere). She is a substitute teacher, and has recently started a tutoring business. Emily is currently working on several writing projects, including a historical fiction novel and several collections of poetry.

Emily Smiltneck receives recognition in Neighbors Daily Press - See article below


     It is a great joy when our fellow Plus Sized people receive recognition for their life's work.  Join me in this Joyous moment when one of our LargeInCharge writers is seen for her contribution and great dedication to her goals in life.  Click the images above to read the article about our dear Emily. When the page open click on the article to zoom in and read it.


The Adventures of Phatgurl

by Emily Suzanne Smiltneck  

The Adventures Of Phatgurl is a serial collection of stories about the adventures of Jany, a plus-sized young woman who, in desperation, places an ad on a personals website.  As she embarks on her dates, she meets many different kinds of men who expect many different things from her.  Some of her adventures are wildly amusing and others are more serious and even sad. 

If you have any ideas or experiences, funny or otherwise, that you would like to see depicted in a future Phatgurl story, please e-mail me at  I will do my very best to incorporate all reader ideas into future columns.  Thanks!


The Ad (Part 2)

SWSSBBW seeks SM who will not rape her, emotionally or otherwise.  The ability to both speak and write in complete sentences is a plus.  Must not inadvertently throw her down stairs or pretend that she is “Mama.”  Intelligent conversation, a little respect, and the lack of a current significant other will get you far.  And a well-developed sense of humor won’t hurt, either.  If you like smart chicks with jelly bellies and thunder thighs, reply to


Candidate 2.8: The Older Man



Subject: See you?


I’d like to.  Send me some pictures, please, and I’ll see if I can get them to come up on my computer.  I’m not too good at computers.  And I’d like to meet you in person, too.




Subject: Re: See you?


OK.  Here are a couple of my favorite pics.  Do you have any?  And what might you like to do if we met?




Subject: Re: Re: See you?


I have pictures, but I don’t know how to get them on the computer, and I don’t have my own computer anyway.  I use the ones at the library.  But we should meet each other sometime and you can see in person.  We could get together for coffee.




Subject: Re: Re: Re: See you?


Sounds good.  Where and when?  Saturday afternoon?




Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: See you?


Saturday would be great.  You name the place.  But before we meet, I should tell you something.  I’m probably a little older than you think.  I was born the same year that the Frisbee was invented.  There.  Now if you care you can figure it out.




Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: See you?


Um…I don’t really know what to say.  Didn’t think I really cared but I looked it up anyway, and…huh.  Okay.  Well, I will still meet you.  As friends.  No expectations.

            “Does he have a scrip for Viagra?”

            “Mala!  You’re a pervert!  I don’t know.  I don’t wanna know.  I have no intention of finding out!”

            “Then how come you’re going out with the poor old thing?”

            “Thing?  Really, Mala?  His name’s Arnold.  And I’m not ‘going out’ with him, just meeting him for coffee.  As friends.  I told him that.”

            “All women tell men that, and men never believe them.  Because it’s never true.  But tell yourself whatever you need to, baby cakes.  There’s no way it’s completely innocent.”

            “Mala, come on.  I just feel sorry for him.  I mean, he might not get dates too often.  He’s an old guy.  I mean, not that old, but he’s older than Michael is.  And if he and I get along, I can tell Michael about it and then maybe he’ll be willing to give me a try, too.”

            “HA!  I knew it!  You don’t give two hoots about this guy, but you’re gonna bang him anyway so you can convince Michael that you’re into old guys.  You sneaky thing, you.”

            “Mala, no.  It’s not like that.  I mean, I’m not doing anything wrong.  I’m not going to bed with him.  I just wanna hang out.  And then I can sort of bring it up casually next time I talk to Michael and he’ll see that I’m serious, that I really don’t care about age.”

            “You’re totally using this old dude.  You could just lie to Michael, you know.”

            “I don’t lie.  I can’t.  You can tell every time I try.”

            “But you can seduce an old man you never want to see again, just so—”

            “Stop saying that!  I’m not seducing him, and I don’t know if I’ll want to see him again.  I have to actually meet him first, remember?  Maybe I’ll really like him.  I’m just saying that even if, even if, we don’t get along, there’ll still be an upside.  That’s all.”

            “Okay, kiddo.  Have fun with Arnold.  And be careful.”

            Mala disappeared into her office, leaving Jany alone to try and puzzle it all out for herself.  She picked up the phone over and over again, tempted to call and cancel her date with Arnold, just in case she really was a horrible person who was going to go to hell for messing with an old guy’s emotions.  She didn’t cancel, though.  Instead, she just tried to force herself to believe that this guy could be the one.

            Saturday afternoon, Jany got to the restaurant where she had agreed to meet Arnold and waited for him almost nauseously.  She hadn’t been this nervous about meeting someone in a long time.  Every time a guy with graying hair walked in, she almost stood up and bolted.  Somehow, though, she managed to stay seated, even when a nice-looking man with hair that was barely streaked with silvery gray came over.

            “Hi, there.  Are you Jany?”

            “Hi.  Yeah.  Hi.”  Jany’s nervousness today was different that her usual nervousness.  Instead of being overly chatty and full of useless information, she could barely talk.  She was far too worried that she might say something to offend this guy.

            “I’m Arnie.  Nice to meet you.”          

            “You too.”

            Arnie excused himself to use the restroom and Jany entertained herself while he was gone by imagining all the faux pas she might make.  It’s a little old—er, uh, cold—out today, isn’t it?  I’ll take the wrinkle cut-I mean, crinkle cut-fries.  Here, let me carry the gray.  Woops, the tray.  At least she had a smile on her face when he came back, but she was also dangerously close to breaking into giggles, which she was pretty sure would not impress Arnie.

            “You’re looking beautiful today, Jany.”

            “Thanks.  You look nice, too.”

            “Why, thank you.  Tell me more about what you do.”

            “Oh, it’s nothing, really.  I just work in an art gallery.  I frame some of the prints and act as cashier and just do whatever needs doing.”

            “Sounds interesting.”

            “I like it.  And what do you do?”

            “Oh, me?  Nothing, really.  I work—I worked as an appliance repairman.  I’m, um—retired.”

            “Oh.  Oh, yeah, sure.  Right.”  Jany struggled to think of something they could talk about that wouldn’t bring attention to the differences in their ages.  “Are you into music at all?” she finally asked.  She liked a lot of older music; it might be something they had in common.

            “Not really ever been much for music.  Sure, I like to listen to it, but I don’t pay much attention.  You’re very beautiful.”

            Arnold’s abrupt change of topic made Jany look directly at his face as she searched for a clue as to what had brought it about.  He, in turn, was staring at her face.  For the first time, his eyes struck her as cold, more like stones than eyes.  It was probably just their color that made them look so stony.  They were so pale blue they were almost gray.  Whatever it was, it did not make Jany feel any more comfortable.  His eyes looked almost vacant.  She tried to convince herself it was just the color, or maybe cataracts.  Finally, she looked away from his eyes and forced herself to acknowledge Arnold’s compliment.

            “Thanks.”  Jany looked down into her cup, now purposely avoiding the eerily pale eyes.  “You, uh—you are an attractive man.”  It wasn’t a lie.  His eyes were a little creepy, but they did look very nice against his dark hair.

            “No, I mean you are really beautiful.  Very, very beautiful.”

            Jany giggled quietly as she wondered what she was supposed to say next.  She wasn’t used to the uncertainty anymore.  The fear, the insecurity, the moments of panic when she couldn’t come up with the right words, that had all gone away for the most part.  Even the stupid giggle had disappeared.  And now it was all back.  Was it just because of this guy’s age, because Jany didn’t know how to interact with an older man?  Or was there really something about him that made her that uncomfortable?  She seemed to get along fine with Michael, at least over the phone.  Maybe in person, she wouldn’t.  She reminded herself that now was not the time to get lost in thought; she at least owed Arnold the courtesy of paying attention to him.

            “Well, thanks.”

            “No, I don’t think you understand.  You are beautiful.”

            “Okay.  Um, what do you want me to say?  Because all I could think of was thank you, and I said that, and, well, it doesn’t like that’s—it seems like you want me to say something else.”

            “You are a beautiful woman.”

            “I—okay, well, thank you again, I guess.”  Jany grinned nervously and fiddled with her phone, trying to hide the fact that she was sending a text message to Mala.  A few seconds later, her phone rang.  She glanced at the screen and pretended to be surprised.

            “Oh, I have to take this.  It’s my boss.  Hello?”

            “Hey.  What’s up with the ‘call me’ text?  And how’d the date go?”

            “Oh, really?  You need me right now?”


            “Well, I mean, I’m having coffee with someone, so I’d rather not, but if you really need me to come in, I suppose I can.”  Jany tried to make her voice sound urgent enough that Mala would figure out why she was calling.

            “You are not making any sense at all, Jany.  Are you okay?”

            “Technically, yes.”

            “Okay—oh, wait, are you still with him?”


            “And you’re trying not to let him figure out what I’m saying.  Are you trying to get out of the date?”

            “Yep, you got it.  If it’s that important, I can be there in twenty minutes.”

            “All right.  I’m down at the shop, if you need to come here.”

            “See you there.  Bye.”

            Jany hung up the phone and set it on the table.

            “I—I’m really sorry.  That was my boss.  She has an emergency, so I have to go watch the shop.  Thanks for the coffee, though.  Sorry I have to run out on you so fast.”

            “Oh, okay.  I had a really great time.  Loveyoubye.”

            The last part of Arnold’s sentence came out so fast, Jany wasn’t sure she’d heard it right.

            “What was that?”

            “Oh, I just said I’d love to see you again, and bye.”

            “Oh.  Yeah.  Thanks again, and I’ll see ya.”  Jany jumped from her seat and hurried outside.  She was pretty sure he had said he loved her, and even more sure that she wouldn’t feel safe until she was in the comfort of the gallery with Mala.  Mala would know how to handle something like this.

            The restaurant Jany had met Arnold at was only six or so blocks from the gallery, and the next bus wasn’t due for fifteen minutes, so Jany walked as fast as her short, flabby legs could carry her.  She couldn’t help thinking, as she began to gasp for breath, that she better never get caught accidentally witnessing a crime, because she’d never be able to run fast enough to escape sure death at the hands of the criminals involved.  She thought the same thing every time she watched an action movie with an on-foot chase scene, and thinking about it now kept her from wondering just exactly how right her creepy feeling about Arnold had been.

            Finally, she flung the door of the gallery open and stumbled inside.  Mala looked up from whatever she was painting with only mild interest, but when she saw Jany, sweaty and discombobulated, struggling to breathe, jittery, leaning against the door, she put down her paintbrush.

            “Hey, kiddo, you okay?  What’s goin’ on?”

            “I—I’m fine.  Give me.  Minute.  Catch my breath.”

            Mala grabbed one of Jany’s elbows and dragged her to the chair behind the cash register, then went back to her painting.  When Jany could talk, she told Mala about her meeting with Arnold.

            “I don’t know, he just seemed weird.  His eyes were weird and he wasn’t responding to me the way people do.  It was like no matter what I said to him, he just told me I was beautiful.”

            “Well, that sounds like a problem.  I know I always hate to be told I’m beautiful.”

            “No, I mean in a weird way.  Like, I’d say, ‘Could you please pass the salt?’ and his response would be, ‘You’re beautiful,’ and he wouldn’t pass the salt.  He wouldn’t acknowledge anything I said.  I just kept thinking about his eyes.  They were too cold to read anything he was thinking.  And all the way here, I felt like he was following me.”

            “Mala, stop overreacting.  I told you it wasn’t a good idea to go out with this guy.  You were doing it for Michael and not for him or for yourself and now you feel guilty, that’s all.  I know exactly what you’re going through.  Felt that way myself a few times, back in the day.  I’ve grown up and gotten over it now, but you have to be careful until you do, too.  That shit’ll tear you up.”

            “Don’t you ever really feel anything about anyone, Mala?  This isn’t just me feeling guilty, I know what that’s like.  I’m beyond worrying about me.  This is a creepy situation.”

            “Look, he didn’t follow you, he’s not that creepy, you were just on two different wavelengths.  Let me close up and we’ll get out of here.  The state you’re in, you need to get home before dark, and I have things to do.  Go home, take a nice hot bath, read a book or whatever you intellectual types do in your free time, and relax.  You’ll be fine.”  Mala put away her paints and went to turn the open sign off.  She paused for a second, peering through the glass door, then shook her head and continued closing down.  Jany watched her carefully, hoping she’d take her time.  Mala might not understand why, but Jany had no desire to be alone.  Eventually, though, Mala picked up her tote bag and stood in front of the door.

            “You ready?”

            Reluctantly, Jany stood up.

            “Hey, Jany, just wondering.  What did this guy look like, anyway?”

            “I don’t know, a regular guy.  Dark hair with little streaks of gray, kinda on the tall side, super pale blue eyes.”

            “Did he have a little bit of a belly on him?  Black and gray coat?”  

            “Uh, yeah, I think so.  Why?”

            “Wow.  Okay, well, um—Jany?  I think he wants to talk to you.  ‘Cause I’m pretty sure he’s waiting by the bus stop.  And staring at me right now.  He must have really been following you.”

            “Mala!  Are you serious?  I told you!  What are we gonna do?”

            “First of all, you’re gonna stop panicking.  He’s staring at us, not pointing an AK-47 at us.  Relax.  And then you’re gonna look out there and see if it’s even him.”  Mala stepped aside so Jany could see out through the door.  And there was Arnold, leaning against the back of the bus stop, staring intently at Mala Ning’s Dynasty.  Jany leapt back from the door.

            “It’s him.  It’s him, it’s him, it’s him!”

            “Get a grip, Jany.  Come on, let’s go out the back.  I’ll drive you home.  There’s no way he can follow us, and by the time you get back here Monday, he’ll have forgotten all about you.”

            Jany barely slept all night, and on Sunday morning, she was jittery and overtired and not able to concentrate on anything.  She finally sent an e-mail to Michael, just an ordinary hi-how-are-you e-mail, in the hopes that it would inspire him to call her.  She had gotten infinitely better at dealing with man over the past couple of years, but she still couldn’t bring herself to call Michael, the one man she really wanted to connect with.

            It worked.  A few hours later, when Jany was listlessly watching TV, and getting up every half hour to make sure her door was securely locked, the phone rang.

            “How ya doing, Jane?  I got your message, and we hadn’t talked in a while, so I thought I’d give you a call.  Sorry, I’ve been swamped.”

            “It’s okay.  I was just missing talking to you.”

            “So how’ve you been?”

            “Not bad.  I—I, um, had a date yesterday that kind of creeped me out.”  Jany hadn’t envisioned herself telling Michael about her date with Arnold like this.  She had wanted to casually mention that she had seen someone, and then tell Michael he had been a really attractive man, with his graying hair.  And then she had envisioned Michael asking just exactly how old this guy was, and she would tell him that she guessed he was around Michael’s age, maybe a little older.  And Michael would be duly impressed that she got along so well with an older man and immediately know that they had to be together forever.

            Instead, Jany found herself telling Michael how scared she had been to see Arnold at the bus stop outside of the gallery.  She didn’t mention his age.

            “You’ll be fine.  Just watch out for him and trust your instincts.”

            “Yeah, I suppose.”

            They talked for a few more minutes and then Jany was alone with her thoughts again, more depressed than ever that her one attempt at making Michael do something about his feelings for her had failed.  Most likely, he didn’t like her as much as he said he did.  He was probably just trying to encourage her.

            The intensity of Jany’s fear had waned by Monday morning when she went to work.  The morning was quiet and, by lunchtime, she had finally stopped snapping to attention every time the door opened.

            “Mala?  You around?  I’m gonna go next door for lunch now.”

            “Yeah, okay.  Wanna bring me a turkey and cheddar on rye?  And some of those chips I like?  You can take money out of the till.”

            “Sure.  Be right back.”

            Jany took a ten from the till and breezed out the door, then froze in her tracks.

            “Hi, Jany.  I’ve been missing you.”  Arnold was leaning on a parking sign in front of the gallery door.  “When are we going to go out again?  When you left Saturday, you said ‘See you,’ so when?”

            His voice was eerie, almost a monotone.  His posture wasn’t threatening, but Jany was very afraid anyway.

            “Huh.  Um, yeah.  I did.  Hey, I’ll be right back.  Forgot something.”  She dashed back into the gallery.  “Mala!”

            “Whatcha doing back already?” Mala asked, wandering out of her studio with a bowl of dirty water in her hands.

            “He’s out there!  He was waiting for me.  His voice is all weird now, and he said I said I would see him again so he wants to know when.  I’m scared.”

            “Just relax.  He’s trying to stay in touch.  It’s sort of sweet.  Let’s have lunch delivered and by the time you go home, he’ll be gone.”  Mala picked up the phone and ordered lunch.  A few minutes later, the bells on the door jangled and Jany and Mala both looked up, expecting their lunch delivery.  Instead, Arnold was in the doorway.  Jany hightailed it into Mala’s studio.

            “Hello, sir.  How are you?” she heard Mala say.

            “I’m good.  You have a bathroom I can use?”

            Mala pointed it out to him and Jany shrank away from the studio doorway as he passed.  She waited as she heard the delivery boy come in and for a long while after, but Arnold didn’t pass again.  Finally, she stuck her head out of the studio,

            “Mala?  What the hell is he doing in there?” she whispered.

            “Huh?  Oh, he must be gone by now.”

            “I’ve been listening.  He did not go out.”

            “You just missed it.  Or he went out the back.  I mean, it’s been like 20 minutes.  Come have lunch.”

            Nervously, Jany joined Mala.  She ate her lunch quickly, propelled by her nerves.  She hadn’t even finished eating when a several customers came in.  It was the busiest they had been in weeks and, distracted by the flurry of activity, Jany managed to forget about Arnold.  It must have been an hour after he had come in that Jany turned around after walking a customer to the door and saw him nonchalantly leaning against a wall and staring at her.  She held her breath for a few seconds to fight back a wave of nausea, but ignored him and began to help another customer, and eventually, he left.  Jany was so busy for the rest of the day that she forgot to worry.

            Until she walked out of the gallery and he was there, waiting by the parking sign again.

            “Hi, there, Jany.”

            Jany swung around and went back inside.

            “That’s it, Mala.  He’s back.  I’m not leaving until he’s gone, whatever it takes to get rid of him.  He was in the bathroom for like an hour today doing God knows what and now he’s waiting outside for me.  He scares me.  I have to do something.”

            Mala went to the front of the door and looked out.  Then she swung the door open.

            “Hey, you!  Arnold, is that your name?  You need to get the hell outta here ‘cause you are freaking Jany right the fuck out.  Go!”  She pulled the door shut and locked it.

            “Thanks, Mala.  We’ll see if it works, now.”

            “Oh, it works.  He hightailed it as soon as I started yelling.  You just have to get touch with people, Jany.”

            Despite her low opinion of Jany’s inability to fend for herself, Mala agreed to give Jany a ride home again.  Exhausted, Jany climbed the stairs, let herself in, carefully locked her apartment door, and collapsed on the couch.  She turned the TV up loud so maybe she wouldn’t hear herself thinking.  It was only a few minutes before someone knocked on her door. 

            Jany stood up instantly, then spun around a few times, trying to decide whether to run and hide or go to the door.  Common sense finally chimed in and she went to the door. It had to be someone that lived in the building, otherwise they would have buzzed from downstairs to be let in.  She stood on her tiptoes to look through the peephole, then opened the door immediately.  It wasn’t anyone from inside the building; it was the police.

            “Hi.  Hey.  What can—is there something I can do for you?”  Jany prattled nervously.  “Come on in.”  She sunk into the couch because her knees were too weak to hold her up anymore.  “Did I—did I do something?”

            “No, no.  I’m Officer Johnson and this is Officer Krane.  We’re investigating a complaint against an Arnold Jacobsen and were told you might know something.”

            “I knew it!  He killed someone, didn’t he?  He’s freaky!  He was stalking me at work all day today!”

            “Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Nothing like that, but we’ll certainly take some notes down.  No, we just followed some tips and found a bunch of stolen bicycles in his apartment.  His landlord let us in, said he hasn’t paid his rent in a few months and had an eviction notice more than a month ago anyway.  Can’t find the guy anywhere, and a neighbor said he’d been seeing someone named Jany that worked at some Dynasty gallery, so we tracked down the owner of the place and she gave us your number and address.  So I take it Mr. Jacobsen isn’t here, then.”

            “God no!  I’ve been trying to avoid him.  And he wasn’t ‘seeing’ me.  We met one time, Saturday.  Found each other on this personals website.  And he got all weird, so I left, and he’s been hanging out at the gallery when I’m working ever since.  Today, he came in to use the bathroom, he said, and he was in there for like an hour.  And he was waiting for me when I went to leave, so Mala yelled at him and he went away.”

            “So you’re not in a relationship with him, then?”


            “On account of the neighbor, we thought you were and maybe we’d find him if we found you.”

            “No, not unless he followed he home too.  I hope not!  He scares the crap out of me, to be honest.”

            “Well, why don’t you tell us everything you know, anyway, in case something helps, and we’ll see if we can get him out of your hair for a while.”

            Jany described her date with Arnold and everything that had happened since in great detail, glad that she’d been frightened enough to remember every little detail.  She was so relieved and worn out by the time the officers left that she fell asleep on the couch almost immediately.  But not before she’d decided that the next time she got online, her first task would be to delete her ad from  All the people that worried about the safety of meeting people online were right; it wasn’t safe at all.



Thanks for reading

From the Plus Side with Emily Smiltneck


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Good 4 U Food

Recipes for Good... Healthy Food

By: Xander - The Food Dude


Decide Already!

by Xander The Food Dude

As we take last month over the previous year (2009) and finally a few hurried moments to look forward (2010) to the pending hurried year, we confront one undeniable fact.  We all want the coming year to be better than the last year.  Whether last year was a terrible year or a great year for you is now irrelevant as we face forward into the new decade.

Since I turned forty this year, I seem to have adopted a variety of weird habits, most of which is to remind me that time is passing.  I think the most bizarre one is the little lines of information you can get on the television show through your cable box.  Every time I watch a movie on television now, I quiz myself on what year it was made and then check to see if I am right.  The last one was the Karate Kid, I guess at a year, I’m off by two and then I think to myself, “That was made 16 years ago”.  Then the worst part I then subtract that total from my total age, finally giving me the age I was when it was released.  As in , “Good God, I was only 22 when that came out !!”, or something to that effect.  As I look back at the time that is passed I often think, maybe I’ve wasted it all.  I think of the opportunities I’ve let slide by staying where it was comfortable and safe.  I look at the thing I have accomplished and I find myself not terrible impressed most of the time.

This time I have determined that its time to impress myself.  I wouldn’t be so bold as to think of this as a New Year’s goal list which would be repetitive and pointless.  I really want to see just what I can do?  What can I accomplish with my time?  How far can I go in 12 months.  Just as a sample and this is in no way a complete list I thought I would try to fix it so that I have a point this year.  The more anal retentive among us call this a mission statement.  I call it taking the simple and sucking the life out of something that should be meaningful. 

Decide who you are and what you believe, don’t compromise that for anything.  If you find it easy to compromise it, then it wasn’t you.  Try again.

Decide where you are and where you want to go.  I was recently in a bookstore and one of the titles was “Design a Map to your Future and then Burn It”.  I found this extremely inspiring.  His point was that everyone successful will tell you that you have to design a map to “chart your course” (they seem to love boat talk don’t they).  The reality is that you need to know where you’re going (or the end goal) but no one can take into account the many changes that may occur from the point you start.  By being too strict on the course it may actually slow you down or even stop you.  Be flexible.

Decide what you love.  Once that is done, fill your life with it.

Decide what you hate (dislike).  Once that is done, remove it from your life.

Decide who adds to your life, and fill your time with them.

Decide who hurts your life, and distance yourself from them.

Decide what you want. Earlier in the year I spoke of a bucket list, or a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket.  If you haven’t done one yet I highly suggest that you make one.  Please understand, I’ve come to realize that the bucket list is truly a living document that changes over time.  You add and subtract things from the list as you ideas and experiences change.  The bucket list can be everything you ever wanted, wanted to be, or wanted to do.

Decide you are miracle to make other miracles happen everyday.  I remember a line from a movie, where the character makes a profound statement on how little we see out lives as powerful or compelling.  He says, “We all have a full measure of life, but most of us watch is slowly drip away.  If you can manage to sum it all up at one place at one time, you can work something miraculous.”  At which point he saves that day, that other save the planet and the universe because of his sacrifice, yadda yadda, yadda.  While the movie was quite bad, the point made is profound, subtle, and simple.  Where there is life, there are limitless possibilities.

Decide that you are more that the sum of your experiences.  There is something evasive about our existence. It’s a shame that so many of us feel that because the path has only led this way or that, it can’t go elsewhere.  That’s where we are wrong, it can go anywhere at anytime of our choosing.  All we need to do is decide.

Decide now what you want to say you’ve accomplished in 2010 at this time next year. 

Is it the family, career, finances, etc. or are you more than that?  I would ask all you reading this to send me one thing you want to accomplish in 2010.  I’d like to make a list for everyone to see what our reader’s feel is important, what really drives there spirits.

You never know when something you write can inspire someone else. 

Decide to INSPIRE yourself.

Decide to SUPRISE yourself

Decide to AMAZE yourself

Decide to LOVE yourself

Decide to VALUE yourself

Decide ……..

Decide …………

Decide Already !

Xander's Recipe of the Month


White Wine Sauced Salmon over Pasta


  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry white wine
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 20 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 20 whole green peppercorns
  • 1 quart fish stock
  • 4 (8 ounce) salmon fillets
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter
  • 1 (16 ounce) package dry fettuccini pasta
  • salt to taste
  • 4 sprigs fresh dill weed, for garnish


1.     In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the white wine, onions, basil and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 20 minutes.

2.     Meanwhile, heat the fish stock in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the salmon, and poach for 10 to 15 minutes, until salmon is cooked through, always keeping the stock at just below the boiling point. Remove the salmon to a plate, and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

3.     Remove about 3/4 cup of the fish stock, and stir it into the white wine reduction. Transfer the white wine sauce to a blender, and puree until smooth. Strain through a sieve back into the saucepan, and stir in the cream. Bring to a boil, and reduce by half again. Whisk in cold butter, and season with salt and pepper.

4.     Meanwhile, bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Serve pasta with salmon fillets and spoon sauce over the top. Garnish with a piece of dill.


Thank you for Reading Good Food 4U

By Xander the Food Dude

Please send thoughts and comments to

Big Girls on the Red Carpet


Cher Rue is an actress, writer and producer. Starting out with writing "Dear Cher" she knew she loved helping other people. Being plus size all her life this was where she knew her calling was.

Cher was seen on "Dr.Phil, "Good Morning America", "Entertainment Tonight", "Russian, British, Japanese, and Viet Vietnamese Television". Also a documentary filmed at the Las Vegas Bash on the Travel channel, and Current TV, a online station, with numerous radio interviews talking about size acceptance.
You can also see a recurring show "Secret Lives of Women" seen on the We channel "Women's entertainment".

Cher was recently in a new movie "Forever Plaid" coming out soon.

Cher is now involved with mainstream "Hollywood" and charity events showing that beauty comes in all sizes
it is what is inside that counts.

Cher has always loved seeing others happy and helping others to find their inner self and beauty.
Ten years ago, she found the plus size community and she knew this is where she would focus on helping others who were like her and had some of her experiences and pain that she went through.

'A (Fashionable) Christmas Story' - Comedy, Fun and Fantasy
Article by: Cher Rue

Los Angeles, CA - On December 5, 2009, Jovy Janolo and Cher Rue had their 2nd Annual Celebrity fashion benefit, titled 'A Christmas Story' at Eleven Nightclub in West Hollywood. It was a fashion benefit for the Amanda Foundation hosted by comedian Judy Tenuta. The event had a comedy act, a dance routine, live performances, and a fantasy fashion runway featuring Bravo TV "The Fashion Show" designer Merlin Castell with more than a dozen celebrities, TV personalities, and actors who walked for a cause.

The event started with a comedic arrival of YouTube sensations Jessica and Hunter Amazeballs at 8 p.m. as they walked into the club and talked gibberish about  fashion (which they are known for) all the way to the bar. Judy Tenuta got on stage right after to give the welcome speech which turned into a stand up comedy act that had everyone laughing their asses off. Heather Chadwell, dressed as a Holiday Angel, then took the mic and briefly talked about the charity. She encouraged all the guests to support the charity by making a donation or volunteering. She was followed by a line up of performances that lasted a good half hour starting with a dance act by a Britney Spears impersonator; a live performance by pop singer Andy Eubanks; a duet by LK Avelar Kel-B; and lastly, a dance music by Fawn.

After the performances, there was a brief intermission to line up the models and prepare the runway for the fashion show. During the wait, everyone got to enjoy complimentary drinks by O.N.E., drink specials at the bar, and holiday snacks of pretzels and chocolates. Models, celebrities, and some VIP guests were given giftbags and giveaways provided by Become Beauty, Ruby Cosmetics, La Rue Du Chocolat, and OCK9 Pet Products. Actor/Singer Romi Dames of Hannah Montana also gave away signed copies of her latest single, "Christmas List (Of Excuses)".


Around 9:30 p.m., Kynt and Vyxsin came on stage and introduced the fashion show by telling a 'fashion' version of the classic "A Christmas Story" that went something like this... "Once upon a time, there was this young designer, named Merlin (instead of Ralphie), who got sewing threads and a whip (instead of a Red Ryder BB Gun) for Christmas and made fashion history

Comedian Judy Tenuta and Santa Claus.

Photo by David Eckard.

VH1 Rock of Love and
Charmed School Sweetheart Heather Chadwell.
CBS Amazing Race "Stand Out Team" Kynt and Vyxsin. Photo by David Eckard

Comedians Jessica and Hunter Amazeballs.

Photo by Efren Beltran.

Alternative Duo LK and Kel-B.

Photo by Efren Beltran.

Pop Artist Andy Eubanks.

Photo by Efren Beltran.

Britney Spears  Dance Music Artist Fawn.

Photo by Efren Beltran.                                          Photo by Efren Beltran.

     It was a fantasy fashion show indeed!.. with lots of exploding colors, whimsical designs, and fairy like looks. It had models literally bending their backs as far as they could, freezing their poses as long as they were instructed to while keeping a very mystical and serious look. It was an amazing 20-minute show that was directed by fashion professional Joshua James. Music mixed by DJ Felicia Villani.

Merlin Castell's back-bending poses. Photo by David Eckard


Playboy "Cybergirl" Iliana Fischer.

Photo by David Eckard.

International Socialite Sabrina Parisi and actor Chris Winters.

Photo by David Eckard.

Model Ashley Pocklington with Antone Murray in Merlin's Fantasy
Collection Pieces. Photo by David Eckard.

Model/Actor Brandon Trentham.

Actor CC Perkinson.                               Actor Robin Bain.

Photo by David Eckard.                         Photo by Efren Beltran.Photo by Efren Beltran.

Model Jocelyn Harris.

Photo by David Eckard.

Actor Kier Mellour.

Photo by Efren Beltran. 

Reality Star Heather Chadwell.

Photo by David Eckard

Model in a Merlin Castell Creation.

Photo by Efren Beltra

Model in Merlin Castell Creation.          Model in a Merlin Castell Creation.

Photo by David Eckard.                          Photo by David Eckard.
 Not only it was a fashion benefit, It was also a red carpet event that had over 350 attendees, mostly people from the fashion and entertainment industry.  Celebrities, reality stars, and personalities, namely Judy Tenuta, Heather Chadwell, Kynt and Vyxsin, Romi Dames (Hannah Montana), Merlin Castell (The Fashion Show; JDMA), Kier Mellour (Jennifer's Body), Chris Winters (Tough Love), Robin Bain (Paper Doll), Iliana Fischer (The Starter Wife), Antone Murray, CC Perkinson (The Cost of Living), Brandon Trentham, Sabrina Parisi (Space Girls in Beverly Hills), Jim Bullock (The Bold and the Beautiful), Barney Cohen (Sabrina the Teenage Witch), David Levi, Bill Chott (Wizards of Waverly Place), Shalini Kapoor (Keeping Up with the Kardashians), David Harrison, Donovan, Eric Zuley (Blaxican Brothers), Karla Guy (Dance Your Ass Off), Mindy Sterling, Kat and Kalia (Nylon Pink), Rekkless (Hip Hop Artists), Dave Shelton (National Lampoon), Jen Tapiero, Sophie Turner, AJ Wedding (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Berly Ellis (Under the Desert Sun), Patrik Simpson, Pol Atteu (The Life and Death of Anna Nicole), Joshua Wilkinson, Yuval David (Days of Our Lives), and many others came to support such a worthy cause. See and click on links located below this article to view red carpet photos, online albums, media and video coverage

Reality Cares does it again, this time it


Thanks for reading Big Girls on the Red Carpet

Hot & Heavy Entertainment


Sonya L. Bennett, (also known as “Truthfulblkwoman”) is a 38 year old, black female, single with no children living in Detroit, Michigan.  She is the youngest of a set of fraternal female twins, with a older sister.  Sonya lives with being the larger twin, and discovered people always presumed that they would look alike in SOME way... Even though fraternal twins don't necessarily look alike.  Always being the heavier of the two, people (family, associates, friends) were quick to point it out. She grew to realize an outer appearance is what people judge you on initially.  As a college-educated freelance court stenographer, it never occurred to her that size would prohibit her from receiving work.  In the legal world, the “eye candy” usually didn’t fill UP the corner.

In 2007, Sonya was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes; a generational curse that she had prayed to avoid, but didn’t worry about while she piled butter pecan ice cream on her German Chocolate Cake.    Only a few months into this diagnosis, she woke up one morning unable to walk and in excruciating pain in her left foot.  Doctors finally diagnosed an acute tendonitis, exacerbated by uncontrolled diabetes.  That was the wake-up call, She had suffered for years with high cholesterol and sleep apnea; all associated with her weight,  it wasn’t until this happened (wheelchair bound for a month and on crutches following that) did she tell herself "I have to do something about my weight."  On April 17, 2008, Sonya had the gastric bypass medical weight loss procedure and it was the best decision that she made for herself.  In these upcoming writings, Sonya invites you to learn the ups and downs of gastric bypass: through the eyes of one who lives it every day.


Returning to a 'Normal' Environment

with Sonya Bennett

     I’ve watched those reality shows where people are climbing mountains and being taunted with, “You can either call your family that you haven’t seen in 12 years <LOL> or eat a donut!” and thought, ‘Wow, those people REALLY have it good: a personal trainer, the right foods at their disposal and nothing but encouraging people around them, even though it’s a competition. But what happens when they go home? What happens when they are back in the ‘real world’ of driving themselves around and passing those same fast-food restaurants that are so conveniently on the way to work?  

     What happens when their friends/relatives suggest their favorite restaurant as a “welcome home” gift or for that Saturday-night-gathering? How long does that learned behavior stay with you? If it were me, I’d have the relatives/friends come with me – if even for just a week – to that environment so that they can see what I’m going through and go home and act accordingly. It’s great to have that big ‘unveiling’ but what about when they open their closet and that favorite suit/dress/top is hanging there, 12 sizes too big? Do they put it on and say, “Wow, this does NOTHING for me?” or do they think, “Hell, this cost me $80.00 and is still new! I can rock this” and before you know it, they’re back up to that size or close to it?

     These are the things to think about when you endeavor a life-changing decision such as the gastric bypass. It’s not an easy thing; it’s not a magic pill. It is a tool that does what it’s supposed to do: constrict the amount of food you take in and restrict the types of food you take in. Unfortunately, your senses are heightened after the surgery so smelling that bacon your housemate is frying is even MORE intense and guess what, your desire to WANT that bacon does not go away. You don’t have a Jillian Michaels or Richard Simmons to make you work out or to slap that slice of warm bacon out of your hand. What you DO have, however, is a tiny stomach that rejects when there’s too much in it and a ‘new’ gastrointestinal system that will make you regurgitate what it doesn’t like.

     Returning to work; such a different experience because not only do I not have many clothes to wear for the office (purchasing clothes in this in-between stage is difficult because you don’t want to waste your money. Thrift stores or secondhand clothes are always a best bet) but the usual question of the day is, “What’s for lunch?” Lunch is the social hour of the day in my office and at 10:00 in the morning and sometimes earlier, we’re pulling out menus trying to see what overpriced spot will be the lucky recipient of our hard-earned money. Not only that, I realize everyone is watching to see how my habits have changed: did I bring lunch? what will I eat and how much? It’s funny how people watch you; ‘police’ you as one friend put it. Quick to ask, “Are you SUPPOSED to eat that?’ yet if you ask the same of them, they’re ready to attack you with statements of how they’re just looking out for you; as if your little stomach isn’t doing that already. …

Join me next month as I share my first day/week/month back around my everyday environment!

With January being a time of “New Year’s Resolutions”, should you desire natural dietary supplements or flattering body garments that sculpt our bodies and give us that hourglass figure, visit my site at:  and send a note with any questions.


Thanks for reading

The Big GB - My Gastric Bypass Memoirs

Sonya's Links:

Sonya Bennett on Facebook


     Tales of a Happy Fat Girl is the story of one girl’s journey towards size acceptance in a positive light. Estrelia Mateo was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She began writing poetry and short stories in middle school as way to deal with the teasing and bullying she received due to her weight. She has won numerous awards for writing including being nominated for the Silver Knight Awards in Journalism by the Knight-Ridder Foundation.


     Estrelia is also one of the founding members of Chi Zeta Theta Sorority, Inc. Chi Zeta Theta Sorority, Inc. is a multi-cultural sisterhood with the purpose of uplifting, encouraging and empowering the plus size woman. Estrelia currently resides in Boca Raton, FL.


The Moment my Fat Girl Cherry was popped

with Estrelia Mateo


     I wasn't always a fat girl for at least eight years of my life I was actually a skinny little thing, all elbows and knees. Then I got really sick with asthma and the doctors suggested that I go on a wonderful little drug called Prednisone. While Prednisone is very effective at relieving asthma symptoms it has one awful side effect, weight gain and gain I did. In the span of three months I gained about twenty five pounds and my face got swollen and puffy. So the skinny little girl was gone and what was left in place was a sick little puffy girl.

     The kids at school had no idea what was going on with me. What eight year old can comprehend that the reason I was getting fat was because I was sick. All they saw was me getting bigger everyday and not being able to play with them anymore. They didn't understand that running hurt my chest or that rolling around in the mud might make me susceptible to a bad infection that my already weaken immune system couldn't handle. So instead of competing in hula hoop competitions or kick ball tournaments I was reading everything I could get my hands on and acting in the school play.

     Up to this moment I had yet experienced what I like to call fat girl moment. A fat girl moment is when you realize just how fat you are either through your own recognition or someone being ever so kind to point it out to you. *insert sarcasm here* So my first fat girl moment came quite unexpectedly and was something straight out of those "most embarrassing moments ever" pages you see in most woman's magazines. Brace yourselves this is not a pretty moment.

     I remember the day clearly just like most WWII vets can remember D-Day, most Baby Boomers can remember the day The Beatles performed on The Ed Sullivan Show, or the day the Berlin Wall fell for most Gen X'ers. Yeah, I remember it that clearly. I have to say it probably is one of the most defining moments of my life. I remember it was raining that day because my teacher had to keep asking us to pay attention to the board and to stop looking out the window. I felt really sleepy because the sound of rain always makes me sleepy. We were doing math problems and my teacher asked me to come to the board. I can even remember the problem clearly 16 x 8 because I have never liked math and I was a little nervous going up to the board. As I approach the board I heard the class tittering, which made me even more nervous. I got the board, picked the chalk up, pressed it to the board and of course it broke apart and fell out of my hand on to the floor. I think you can see where I am going with this. My teacher tells me to bend down and pick up the chalk and when I do, my pants rip. That right folks my pants ripped right in front of my whole class.

    While I was still bent down I heard it, my first fat girl moment, while the class was laughing someone shouted "Look at her fat ass". As I straighten back up I heard the teacher chastise the whole class and all could do was stand with my back to the class holding the chalk to the board. The teacher told me it was okay and that she would take me to the office to call my mom. What my teacher didn't know is that I come from a proud people and I wasn't leaving that board until that problem was solved. So I stood up straight and got the business of solving the problem. The answer was 128 and all it took to get the answer was a pair of ripped pants and the lost of my fat girl innocence.



Thanks for reading Tales of a Happy Fat Girl

     Founded in 1969, NAAFA is a non-profit civil rights organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for fat people. NAAFA works to eliminate discrimination based on body size and provide fat people with the tools for self-empowerment through public education, advocacy, and member support.

     This Column is dedicated to the tremendous work NAAFA has been doing for over four decades.  LargeInCharge wishes to support NAAFA in spreading the word of its work, and give the public more information into issues we as plus sized people should be aware of.  The fight for equality for people of all sizes is one we support.


     This Column will include News Releases and Calls to Action from NAAFA Directors.


This Column has been Approved by


Call to Action - Consider Carefully Where you spend your Grocery Dollars



Consider Carefully Where You Spend Your Grocery Dollars

     Steven A. Burd, Safeway's chief executive says he has set an example for employers nationwide by rewarding employees for healthy behavior. His wellness program requires workers to pay higher insurance premiums if they flunk tests for measures such as weight, blood pressure and cholesterol.

     As proof that his plan works, he claimed their health care costs for four years have been held constant. Really? The element of Safeway's benefits plan tying employees' premiums to medical test results was not implemented until 2009, according to Safeway Senior Vice President Ken Shachmut.

     John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, has a plan for cutting his health insurance costs by giving his employees extra discounts on their company store purchases based on their Body Mass Index (BMI).

     Employees with a BMI between 28 and 29.9 will get a 22% discount; those with a BMI of 26-28.9 will get a 25% discount; those with a BMI of 24-25.9 will get a 27% discount; and those below 24 will get a 30% discount. Employees must also meet blood pressure and cholesterol criteria and not use nicotine to qualify. All company employees are afforded a 20% discount on their purchases.

     These approaches in company wellness programs are not effective long termstrategies. They simply repeat a cycle of stigma and bias in workplaces across America (Puhl et al, 2008). Wellness Programs that encourage and support
holistic healthy lifestyle changes independent of BMI are much more effective.

     In light of the discriminatory practices of these industry leaders, NAAFA urges our members and all those who believe that discrimination is wrong to consider very carefully where you spend your hard earned grocery budget. We encourage
you to support grocery suppliers whose benefits packages benefit all employees equally. We encourage you to support co-ops and farmer's markets for your organic grocery needs. You work hard for your money. Use it wisely to support
those who do not promote weight bias and discrimination.

Those of you who wish to express you concerns and opinions to these company leaders may do so at the following addresses:

John Mackey, CEO
Whole Foods Market, Inc.
550 Bowie Street
Austin, TX 78703-4644

Steven Burd, CEO
Safeway, Inc.
5918 Stoneridge Mall Rd.
Pleasanton, CA 94588


News Release - NAAFA Challenges the First Lady 


NAAFA Challenges the First Lady

For Immediate Release January 29, 2010

Oakland, CA – First Lady Michele Obama has recently announced her intention to focus on childhood obesity preve-ntion. NAAFA encourages the First Lady to consider all the research before taking action and supporting any program that may do more harm than good.

Mrs. Obama, please explore and consider the following:

• When important figures such as parents, teachers and peers in children’s social environment endorse a preference for thinness and place an importance on weight control, this can contribute to body dissatisfaction, dieting, low self-esteem and weight bias among children and adolescents (Davison & Birch, 2001; Davison & Birch, 2004; Dohnt & Tiggemann, 2006; Smolak, Levine, & Schermer, 1999).

• The stigmatization of large children has increased by 40% over the last 30 years (Latner & Stunkard, 2003).

• Many drugs presently being prescribed to children cause weight gain. There was a 40 fold increase in bi-polar diagnoses in children between 1994 and 2003. 90.6% of youth received a psychotropic medication during bipolar disorder visits. For many, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants were also prescribed. (Arch Gen Psychiatr,. 2007)

• Prescribing dieting is, in effect, prescribing weight cycling, and many people will be fatter in the long run (Mann, 2007).

• Weight-control practices among young people reliably predict greater weight gain, regardless of baseline weight, than that of adolescents who do not engage in such practices (Neumark-Sztainer et al., 2006).

• Based on results from a population-based, longitudinal study with 2,500 teens, Neumark-Sztainer and colleagues at the University of Minnesota (2006) concluded that to prevent obesity and eating disorders, the focus needs to be on health much more than weight. The more weight per se is talked about, the more likely teens are to adopt dangerous dieting behaviors.

• A 2006 study from UCLA suggests our media and cultural obsession with achieving a certain weight does little or no good and may actually undermine motivation to adopt exercise and other healthy lifestyle habits.

• The National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated in 2008 that childhood obesity has leveled off.

NAAFA urges the First Lady to:

• Partner with us and our many resources in the scientific and healthcare communities to examine this issue. Fat children are already the targets of merciless bullying. NAAFA urges Mrs. Obama not to support any programs that would create a pervasive bias against fat children.

• Consider Guidelines for Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs found at:  Childhood School Plans at  and Guidelines for Children at

• Support the Health at Every Size (HAES) tenets which state that healthy habits are good for EVERYONE, no matter what their size. Eat healthy, nutritious foods and enjoy occasional treats. Pay attention to your natural hunger and satiety cues. Move your body in ways that feel good rather than exercise focused solely on weight loss.

"Obesity has a strong genetic component that is expressed in environments that foster sedentary activity and eating an energy dense diet”, stated Joanne Ikeda, Nutritionist Emeritus, University of California Berkeley , “Therefore, we encourage First Lady Michelle Obama to promote environmental changes in school settings that support enjoyable physical activity and consumption of a wide variety of nutritious, appetizing foods."

This issue is about the critical need to create environments in which children and adolescents do not feel shame or guilt about their bodies but, rather, are motivated to enjoy healthful eating and active living habits regardless of their body size or shape.



Thanks for reading

From the Desk of NAAFA



Our WebGirl Lucia Roth, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Graduated with a B. A. degree in Communication from Southeastern Louisiana University and is considering going back for her Masters degree. Lucia a people person and is always willing to help out a friend in need. She enjoys music, movies, poetry, and good book on a rainy day. Lucia has several mottos about life.

This is one: Knowledge talks, wisdom listens.



The WebGirl Picks of the Month

Fashion Find Product of the Month

Fashion Find by: Lucia

Fashion Type: Clearance & Discounts

Why I Like this Item: you can find everything you need if you living on a budget. Right now they are having a Winter Blowout Sale.

Bargain Catalog Outlet -
Recommender: Lucia

Name of Product: Tree Hut

Type of Product: Shea Body Butter

Cost of Product: $6.99

Where Product can be found:

This is a wonderful product that you can you all over your body and a little goes a long way. Makes your skin feel extra silky and smooth.

Thanks for coming to Fashion & Products with the WebGirl


Candace Lane (C.L.) is a 24-year-old plus sized artist from Illinois, where she was born and raised. She is a graduate of Proviso East High School. Candace is a certified Patient Care Technician who is experienced in the medical field.

C.L. now works in technical support for a major electronics manufacturer. C.L. is currently pursuing a bachelorette degree in Mixed Media Art. Her artwork has been featured in local artist competitions. Candace considers herself a spiritual person. Being the oldest of four siblings gave her courage to lead and the wisdom to know when to follow.  As a member of what has been labeled Generation Next, she believes that life is a learning experience and everyone can teach you something; you just have to be willing to learn.

In her free time, she enjoys traveling, art, music, good food and great conversation. Presently she is single, sassy and satisfied with where life is taking her.


F.A.T. - Free All Thinking

with Candace Lane

 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he- Proverbs 27:3

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he… possibly one of the most profound statements that I have ever heard. Many people may interpret these words in various ways. For as I believe in my heart, so am I. Some say we are what we eat. I believe we are what we think. So… if I believe, then I make it true?
As a plus sized woman, I have known many names. Some of them have been the most wonderful names like sister, daughter, artist, pretty, caring and kind. Some of them have hurt me in ways that I dare not even admit to myself like ugly, Big Bertha, Boom-Boom, and last but definitely not least- fat. I will never fully understand the depths to which human cruelty will go.

In 2005, I was a college dropout who was borderline agoraphobic. I was clinically depressed and at the lowest point of my life. In my mind, I had lost everything: my best friend, my job, my apartment, my chance at an education, my sex appeal and more importantly my self-esteem. Everyone was looking at me. Everyone was judging me. I wanted to hide from the world. I barely went out in public. If I did go out, I made sure to put on my mad-angry-black-woman face in order to make sure no one would talk to me or even think to look at me. I dressed in the most horrific things I could find (pink shoes, mint green pants and a red top, all at the same time- if you can imagine that). And it worked or so I thought. It took the love of some great friends and the discovery of these ten little words to bring me back to reality. For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

Everyone walks around with his or her own set of insecurities. Some of the prettiest thinnest people go through life so miserable. Why do we give so much power to what other people think of us when no one is perfect? Why do we allow words to way so heavy on how we define ourselves? Sometimes you hear things so much, even you begin to believe it. Then you become your own worst enemy. As you believe in your heart, so will you be. I thought about the meaning of these words repeatedly, day after day until it truly set in. I have the power. I am only what I believe I am. I have the choice to believe every negative, hurtful, degrading, disgusting thing that anyone has ever said about me or I can chose to believe the opposite. I am beautiful, smart, independent, worthwhile, sassy and loved. I am me. I started viewing the world differently. I chose to see in me what I wanted others to see. Then I realized this is truly who I am. Never again will I allow fat to imprison me in my own self-hatred. Never again will I allow someone else to have power over my life. My resurrection had to begin with my thoughts.

If what I believe in my heart becomes my reality, then I believe in blessings, favor and love. And that is just what I have today. Everything that I felt was lost has been restored. Well, almost…rest in peace Lilly. Yes, I am fat, but fat is just a small portion of me. Fat does not make or break me. Fat does not define me. Why does fat have to be negative anyway? It is just a descriptive word like tall, short, blue or long. We have to change the way we feel about the word fat. We have to take the meaning and make it positive: fabulous and thick, fine and thick, faithful and true, fine all through or free all thinking. Just know there are so many dimensions to who you are, that you can never be boxed up by such an insignificant word as fat. For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Choose to think positively. Wrap every thought around love and love will always be with you.

Be Blessed- C. L.



Thank you for Reading FAT - Free All Thinking

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