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I can't think of an honor greater than receiving the 2015 Retailer of the Year Award from Full Figured Fashion Week. What a professional - and personal - thrill to get to be on stage at FFFWeek in New York City to accept the award. Okay, I have to admit I was a little nervous before the show at our hotel where make-up artist to celebrities, Tara Taylor, worked her magic in record-breaking time. Other guests in the hotel were complimenting my ensemble, from head to toe, as we headed toward our limo.Sydney's FFFWeek 2015 Twenty minutes later we arrived. When I got out of limo to walk the red carpet at the Broad Street Ballroom at FFFWeek, the "Oscars of the Plus-Size Industry". Seeing friends from FullBeauty, Ashley Stewart &, locally-owned, Honey's Child Boutique, during the VIP cocktail reception helped to calm by me down. Famed photographer Dorothy Shi captured every moment for us on our big night. I couldn’t help but spot the gorgeous guests in the audience wearing several Sydney’s Closet designs. Apriel Biggs looked smashing in "Emma", our best-selling chiffon party dress with a flirty handkerchief hem. Backstage at the Show Before our models strutted down the runway, I sat down for a quick interview backstage with Gwen DeVoe, the CEO, Creator and Executive Producer of FFFWeek. No matter how many times I have met Gwen, she never cease to amaze me with her sensational style, creativity, energy and commitment to the curvy community. Sydney's Closet designs earned the distinction of being finale for the week and the show. Backstage, I got the goose bumps watching the 15 gorgeous plus-size models prepare to walk the runway wearing our cocktail, evening and wedding dresses with the remix of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" playing. As a designer of plus size dresses, what can be more exciting than seeing your original designs on the runway as the finale of FFF Week. FFFWeek 2015 AwardThanks to Marie Denee, the Curvy Fashonista, for her uber-flattering introduction before passing the award to me, a 19" miniature red velvet dress form with "Retailer of the Year" engraved on the pedestal. I had invited my daughter Michelle Librach Rosenfield on stage with me. But what she didn't know was that I planned to dedicate the award to her for giving me the courage and inspiration every day to follow my passion to make a difference in fashion. Seeing her face is a moment I will never forget. Kudos to the Producer and Director Sydney’s Closet never would have made it on the runway without Michelle's all-out efforts in taking on the role of producing and directing our role in FFFWeek. It isn't an easy task, especially from 1,200 miles away. Michelle flew into New York City just for the day Wednesday (6 a.m. flight out and 6:30 p.m. back) to fit the models. Friend and super stylist Stephanie Allen teamed up with Michelle to select to pick the shoes, jewelry and hair accessories. Two days later, Michelle and I flew back to New York from St. Louis to get ready for the show. So many details from steaming each dress, to checking the music, to labeling the shoes with each model’s name had to be completed. Can’t forget having the emergency kit of safety pins, tape and sewing tools ready for any last-minute wardrobe challenges! Thanks to Michelle's extraordinary organizational skills. We got our act together in record-breaking time. Memory Lane: The Old Neighborhoods Because of our amazing prep, I had the chance to show Michelle the old neighborhoods where I grew up in New York. First stop, Rockaway Beach, an area in Queens hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy. Nothing can destroy the soothing sound from the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crashing on the beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see. [caption id="attachment_8656" align="aligncenter" width="351"]Rockaway Beach Rockaway Beach, NYC[/caption] All that salt-water air makes you hungry! We stopped for lunch at Vetros by Russo in Howard Beach, our fave Italian restaurant where we stuff ourselves on baked clams, calamari. pasta and fresh bread. The hummus was to die for! [caption id="attachment_8658" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Vetros by Russo Italian Food Yummy Cannolis and Clams![/caption] Next stop: Roslyn Heights, Long Island where the modest ranch houses built in the 1950s are being bulldozed for $2.5 million "McMansions". But we lucked out. The house I grew up in is still standing and the owners, who have no intention of tearing it down, were gracious enough to give us a heartfelt tour. We ended our trip with a slice of New York style pizza and diet coke on Fashion Avenue. Is there any other way to experience NYC? [caption id="attachment_8657" align="aligncenter" width="169"]fashion avenue Lunch on Fashion Ave.[/caption]  

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