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DOFW Day 5: The Best Curvy Outfits & Fashion Inspirations at Young Nation’s Expo



by Donna Reid


I had the opportunity to drop by the Young Nation Beauty, Health & Art Shopping Expo on November 8, 2013 held at The Orange Studio on Mills Avenue in the heart of Orlando. The designers’ and entrepreneurs’ eclectic vibes were very inviting for the day’s attendees.

Here are the day’s most jaw-dropping looks, curvy and otherwise. (There were so many great fashions, I couldn’t afford to leave them out!)


1. Bianca (attendee)
outfit: TJ Maxx

Expo attendee Bianca rocks great Fall fashion with her cerulean top, gold-and-black necklace, and black purse


Shoecam: Navy Just Fab boots completed Bianca’s outfit.

Expo attendee Bianca closes out her outfit with navy blue boots


Necklace: from Bianca’s website,

Young Nation Expo attendee Bianca's gold and black necklace


2. Fellow DOFW curvy fashion blogger and consultant Monica Michel

DOFW blogger and curvy fashion consultant dolls up Lion King style

This beautiful curvy diva’s style is all her own. Hakuna Matata!


Shoecam: Boots from DD’s footwear

DOFW blogger and curvy fashion consultant Monica Michel's leopard print boots


3. New York Life Insurance Company vendor Allie

Allie’s sailor-inspired tie-back halter dress:

Young Nation Expo vendor New York Life's Allie in a sailor-inspired tie-back halter dress

Shoecam: Allie’s adorable red shoes from

Young Nation Expo vendor Allie's red shoes

4. Origami Owl and Lulu Avenue jewelry vendor Wendy Leininger

I loved Wendy’s pairing: green long-sleeved henley pullover + striped knee length skirt and mid-calf boots

Young Nation Expo vendor Wendy Leininger

This beautiful Origami Owl necklace is Wendy’s design. For more visit

Young Nation Expo vendor Wendy Leininger's Origami Owl custom necklace

5. The ladies of CCouture Luxury Boutique were fashionably attired. They made the perfect diva-line up!

CCouture Luxury Boutique vendors at the Young Nation Expo

Hands down, CCouture Luxury Boutique owner Charity Chamblin’s dress was my favorite outfit of the evening.
This beautiful bodycon (a.k.a. body conscious/contour) dress (above center and below) can be found on her website.

Charity Chamblin backless red pleather bodycon dress

6. Jaya’s self-inspired outfit was “Au Couture.”

DOFW volunteer Jaya rocks a thick pink jeweled necklace purchased at the Young Nation Expo

Arm candy inspiration – the wrap-a-round is a child’s belt!

DOFW volunteer Jaya's arm candy: silver watch and a child's belt wrapped and buckled around her wrist

7. Stephanie, owner of Stephanie Gabriella, wore one of her designs.

Young Nation Expo vendor and designer Stephanie Gabriella wears her own designs

8. Fellow DOFW blogger Rachael Garrett looked stunning in all black.
Top: Forever 21, gold belt: H&M, Valencia dark brown leather boots: a.n.a (A New Approach)

DOFW blogger Rachael Garrett stuns in all black and adds the perfect pop of color with brown boots, pink nails and lip color, and a gold skinny belt

Rachael Garrett photo taken by Max (MW).


9. These super-innovative sunglasses are designed by Terence Anderson II, co-founder of Inno25 Shades. Did we look futuristic or what?

Donna Reid and Terence T-Rocka Anderson, Co-founder of Inno25 Shades, take a picture wearing Inno25 shades themselves

Donna Reid (left) and Terence T-Rocka Anderson, co-founder of Inno25 Shades, model their own pairs.


All photos by Donna Reid except where otherwise noted.



headshot of Donna Reid -- ForeverserenityAbout the Author:

Donna (aka Foreverserenity) is a wife, mother of three, and grandmother of one. She loves to write and blogs about fashion, lifestyle, her fitness quest, culture, poetry, and music. She’s on Twitter as @foreverserenity, has over 50 boards on Pinterest, and blogs at, and She considers herself to be an independent thinker, living randomly in life’s moments.



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Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness Coming March 2023



WINTER PARK, Fla. (Florida National News) – Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness, inspired by the children’s TV host and icon, comes to Orlando in March 2023. This week-long series of events was announced today at the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation in Winter Park.

“Fred McFeely Rogers devoted his entire life to reminding us of some of the most important ideas of what it means to be human among humans: love, respect and kindness,” explained Buena Vista Events & Management President & CEO Rich Bradley. “Many of us find that nearly 20 years after Fred’s passing, it is important to focus on his teachings once again, perhaps now more than ever. This is a week to re-engage with his massive body of work with some folks, and to introduce his teachings to others.”

Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness begins March 20, 2023, the date which would have been Fred’s 95th birthday, and concludes on Saturday, March 26 with the Red Sweater Soiree, a community dinner to recognize ten ordinary members of the community who inspire and exemplify the affinity that Fred Rogers had for showing kindness to our “Neighbors”.

Mister Rogers Week of Kindness coming March 20-26, 2023. Photo Credit: Mike Brodsky (Florida National News)

Activities planned for the week will include early childhood education activities and faculty training, as well as events open to the public.

“The events will be offered free or at low cost,” continued Bradley. “This week-long celebration is not a series of fundraisers, but rather about once again remembering and sharing some of the great work that Fred Rogers created, not only in early childhood education, but in reminding us that we are all part of one big ‘neighborhood’. Fred taught us the importance of accepting our Neighbors just the way they are and engaging in kindness with our interactions. I can’t think of another period in my lifetime where we needed to reflect on those messages again more than today.”

“There are three ways to ultimate success,” Fred Rogers was once quoted as saying. “The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind. Imagine what our neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.”

Many of the activities of Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness will be attended by members of the cast and crew of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 – 1975, and again from 1979 – 2001. David Newell, known as “Mr. McFeely,” the “Speedy Delivery” man, appeared at today’s media conference via video, and looks forward to visiting Central Florida next March.

David Newell, “Mr. McFeely.” Photo Credit: Mike Brodsky (Florida National News)

Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness is supported by the McFeely-Rogers Foundation, the Fred Rogers Institute, and Fred Rogers Productions. Details regarding the specific activities and venues will be released over the next few weeks.

For more information on the events, visit or

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A Quick Primer on the Team Solving Orange County’s Affordable Housing Crisis



Orange County’s Housing for All Task Force held its introductory meeting on April 12, 2019 at the Board of County Commissioner Chambers. Photo: Orange County Government.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – Orange County faces a growing affordable housing crisis, and Mayor Jerry Demings has taken notice–and action. Shortly after his inauguration, he formed Housing For All, an affordable housing task force to face the challenge head-on.

The Housing For All task force doesn’t meet monthly like the County Commission–in fact, their next meeting won’t be until October 4, 2019–but they do work when they’re not meeting. The task force is made up of three subcommittees, Design and Infrastructure Subcommittee, Accessibility and Opportunity Subcommittee and Innovation and Sustainability Subcommittee. These three subcommittees meet twice a month to come up with ideas and plans to fix the affordable housing problem.

Each subcommittee has a specific focus on ways to help solve the problem of affordable housing. The Design and Infrastructure Subcommittee is focused on the design of new affordable housing projects, the renovation of current affordable housing that might need fixing and land development for affordable housing units. The Accessibility and Opportunity Subcommittee is focused on making sure affordable housing is accessible to the major economic zones of the city, develop partnerships with groups and focus on outreach in the county. The Innovation and Sustainability Subcommittee is focused on finding ways to increase the supply of affordable housing and how to preserve affordable housing.

At their next meeting in October these subcommittees will update the county on what they have accomplished and what they plan to do in the future. For information from previous Housing for All Task Force meetings or the meeting schedule, visit the Orange County Government website.


Leyton Blackwell is a photojournalist and Florida National News contributor. |

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Opening Biopic ‘Te Ata’ Sets High Bar for 2016 Orlando Film Festival



ORLANDO: Chickasaw Nation Biopic 'Te Ata' Sets Stage for Orlando Film Festival.

ORLANDO (FNN NEWS) – Orlando Film Festival kicked off at Cobb Theaters in Downtown Orlando Wednesday night. The red carpet came alive with excited filmmakers and actors ready to showcase their projects to the Orlando community and, in some cases, to the world at large, including Nathan Frankowski, director of this year’s opening feature Te Ata.

About Te Ata

Frankowski’s biopic feature chronicles the true story of Chickasaw actress and storyteller Mary Frances Thompson, whose love of stories and the Chickasaw Nation fueled her to share the Chickasaw culture with new audiences in the early 1900s, a time when the United States was still growing as a nation and clashed with Native American peoples in the process.

Viewers are immediately swept into the saga from the film’s opening scene with a voice-over folk tale told by Mary Thompson’s father, T.B. Thompson (played by Gil Birmingham). Ironically, though his storytelling places the seed of inspiration in her, it slowly becomes a source of friction between them as she ages.

What makes the film engrossing is the sprawling backdrop upon which Thompson’s journey takes place. While young Te Ata (which means “The Morning”) flourishes with each solo performance and eventually sets her sights on Broadway, the Chickasaw Nation is fighting to secure the funding due them from the U.S. government in the face of ethnocentrism and religious bigotry–to the point that the government passed a law forbidding the sale of traditional Native American textiles and creations, which caused further financial struggle for the Chickasaw Nation. Viewers even experience the Thompsons’ fish-out-of-water feeling as the Chickasaw people’s territory, Tishomingo, shrinks significantly to become part of the newborn state of Oklahoma.

The political tensions are counterbalanced with Te Ata’s experience. Te Ata does her first performances among family, but chooses to leave home for the first time in her life to attend the Oklahoma College for Women (known today as University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma), despite her father’s wishes for her to find a job at home. Viewers immediately empathize with Te Ata’s awkward experience upon her arrival at the predominantly Caucasian-attended College, but cheer her on when that one connection is made, because all it ever takes is one.

Te Ata’s jumping off point occurs when she meets drama teacher Frances Dinsmore Davis, who encourages her to join her class and to share the Chickasaw stories for her senior presentation instead of the usual Shakespeare recitation. From there, Te Ata’s career blossoms from one serendipitous connection to another, taking her performances across the country. She eventually makes it to New York City, hustling to find her place on Broadway, and finds love in the process while performing privately for Eleanor Roosevelt, whose husband was then Governor of New York. The heroine’s journey continues with well-placed highs and lows, keeping the viewer visually and emotionally engaged.

Te Ata is touchingly channeled through lead actress Q’orianka Kilcher who, like Te Ata, has stage experience, and brought it to bear in the role. Kilcher’s magnetic singing, with the help of the film’s sweeping score and indigenous songs, imprints the true Te Ata’s passion for her people onto the viewer’s heart.

Frankowski, who worked closely with the Chickasaw Nation in creating the film, honors Te Ata’s memory and legacy in a cohesive, sweeping tale that will edify audiences everywhere.



Florida National News Editor Mellissa Thomas is an author and journalist, as well as a decorated U.S. Navy veteran with degrees in Entertainment Business and Film. She also helps business owners, CEOs, executives, and speakers double their income and clinch the credibility they deserve by walking them step by step through the process of developing, completing, marketing, and publishing their first book.

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