It’s been a while since I have done an outfit post, and I promise this won’t be the last of them. Today’s post is a little different from normal, as I am not the one who will be showing you the clothing. My friend Jenny, who you have seen here before will be modeling. And by the end of the post you will understand why.
Amazon seller GMHO recently reached out to me to see if I would like to review one of their dresses. You all know I am always happy to show some affordable options in plus sizes, so I said I would be happy to.
I was sent the GMHO Hepburn Style Midi Cocktail Dress. It is actually named something much longer on Amazon, but I shortened it here for effectiveness. It is available in sizes 14W to 22W, and it comes in four color options.
For sizing reference, I typically wear a size 20W or 2X at most plus size stores like Lane Bryant and Torrid. My measurements are Bust: 49″ Waist: 43″ Hips: 54″ And I wear a 40DDD bra.
So when asked what size I wanted, of course the first thing I did was take a look at their posted size chart.
I determined based on this, and the fact that the dress had stretch to it, that I needed a size 18. So when I received the dress a couple of days later, I was actually surprised to find that it was actually still too big on me. And that is where my friend Jenny comes into the picture. She was kind enough to give the dress a try, and it did fit her perfectly. She also agreed that I could take pictures and share it here. So you will be seeing her in this post.
I do not have Jenny’s measurements to share with you. What I can tell you is that we wear the same bra size. And while I am between an hourglass and a pear shape, she is more of a square shape I believe. We both wear generally a 20W, but I think because our body shapes are so different it affects whether we size down in clothing or not. If you do order this dress and you are an hourglass or pear shape, you might want to consider ordering a size down.
It fit really nicely on Jenny. And I think the dress actually looks better in person than it did in the stock photos. You can see it better here, but my pictures still don’t do this dress justice. Its made out of a really nice quality fabric that both looks and feels great.
It does have a surplice neckline, and since the fabric is also stretchy, if you have a larger chest you don’t have to worry about there being enough room. There seemed to be plenty of room in the arms as well, so no worries if you have bigger upper arms.
Also, the adornment at the waist actually looks nice in person. I don’t know about all of you, but I have definitely bought dresses online that had similar adornments, and when they show up they look really cheap like plastic. This one does not look that way though.
You can find GMHO’s clothing on Amazon. Additionally they have merged with a previously reviewed brand ESPRLIA, and have launched their own website where you can also purchase their items. If you prefer to shop for the dress on their new website, on that website the dress is called the Esprlia Women’s Plus Size Dress Wrap With Belts. The sizing is a little different, but the size chart is the same.
Have you tried a dress from GMHO before? What did you think? Make sure to share your thoughts.
The last thing I want to be writing right now is yet another life update. But after another couple of months of unexplained absence from the blog and most of my social media, I don’t really feel right about jumping back in without explaining to my regular readers what has been going on.
I did manage maintain social media for a while, but honestly life has just been consumed by other things and I didn’t have the energy to even put towards that. So I had to decide what priorities were. And there has been a lot of things happening in life recently that just had to be my priority.
I honestly don’t remember how much of this got covered in my last blog post when I tried to come back last time, so I will just start in the beginning. If you do follow me on social media, then you know at least part of what happened. I did adopt a new kitten. What you may not know is I ended up adopting a second kitten.
After my cat Ophelia passed away this winter we were not planning on adopting any more for a while, but we soon realized Lady Catterly was having a harder time with it that we had expected. So we adopted kitten number one.
Her name is Sophie, and she does the best Gene Simmons impersonations. The first week we had Sophie things went really well between her and Lady Catterly. It was the next week when things started to change, and Sophie became very aggressive.
I have had a lot of people tell me this was normal for kittens, and some degree of high energy and kitten play is indeed normal. But when I say she was being aggressive, it was including things you typically see only when cats are going after prey. We kept hoping it was going to get better, but after several weeks of it just getting worse And it got so bad, we were really worried we would have to rehome her.
So we did a lot research and talking to people again. A friend who helps run a rescue organization suggested the best thing to do was to get another kitten who was about the same age and size. She said that occasionally there are kittens who are just so far above average on energy, that when paired with a cat that doesn’t want to play as much as they do it can lead to the kitten becoming aggressive.
My husband and I talked it over. Neither of us were opposed to getting another kitten. And it wasn’t as if we hadn’t had three cats before. So I went on search of another kitten close to Sophie’s age.
So that is how we ended up with our second kitten or third cat. And I named her Luna Lovekitty, which if you are a Harry Potter fan you will get the reference.
But you are at this point probably wondering how getting new cats kept me from blogging. I promise, I am getting to that part, and it’s not just the cats.
So we did the slow introduction thing again with Luna Lovekitty, just as I have with every cat I have ever introduced into my home. Luna had been fixed just a few days before we adopted her, so we wanted to make sure to take it extra slow and only let her out a couple of hours at a time so she wouldn’t strain herself. But after just the first time out playing with Sophie I noticed that Luna’s incisions where she had been spayed were leaking. (Previously I had also noticed when we adopted her that her incision spot was lumpy, for lack of a better term. At the time I just thought that maybe her stitched had been done oddly, but didn’t think anything else about it until this moment.)
Of course this happens all late on a Friday night. Along with it being a weekend, the Humane Society where we adopted her was having phone and messaging issues, so getting ahold of them was not possible. We took her to our regular vet in an emergency appointment.
It turned out that Luna had an infection from the stitches they used. My vet said occasionally that cats react to the type of material they use in typical stitches. So they gave her some antibiotics and told us to contact the humane society. She needed to have her surgery redone with different stitches, and there was concern that the lumps we were feeling in her tummy was actually a hernia. In the mean time she had to be kept separate and calm. We also had to clean and disinfect the area where her stitches were several times a day. The topper was they wanted all this to happen for two weeks.
And if you want to see the saddest thing in the world…
…it would definitely be a cat in a head cone.
Luna’s got her surgery scheduled, she was in and out in one day. They replaced the stitches with what they called meta plates. However, I thought they looked like just regular staples to me. The one thing to be thankful for was that it was not a hernia she had. It was from the allergic reaction, a cyst like structure had formed under the skin. They were able to remove that at the same time they did everything else.
Unfortunately, that was not the end of Luna’s struggles. She has since also had a stomach bug that she had to take medicine for. She has had a really hard start to life. Thankfully things are getting better for her, but taking care of her and the other kitties did consume a lot of my time. At one point all three of them were sick and on medicine, and they all had separate vet appointments. It really was all I could do just to keep up with them and their health care.
But as I said, it has not been just the cats that has taken me away from the blog. Amongst all of the time I have spent taking care of the cats health, I always have the issues with mine. While I am definitely feeling better than I was last year since I am in clear from the B-12 deficiency, I will always have my fibromyalgia to contend with. And in general our weather has been cold and rainy until the last couple of weeks, so I have had at least a couple of bad days a week. Pair that with a couple of major sinus infections that lasted longer than they should, and it really takes time away from what you are trying to do.
I have also had a lot of positive things keeping me busy. I believe in one my last blog post I had mentioned that Steampunk Symposium was coming up. That happened, and a lot of fun was had by all. My friend Jenny and I did do a panel. I still intend to share a recap of that here.
We also keep finding things that need to be finished with our house before my niece moves in with us at the end of this month. So while I keep feeling like we are almost done with what has to be finished, we aren’t really finished. In fact there is a lot to be done even after she moves in, we just have a list of things that must be done before she is here. At the moment I have am trying to clear out the closet of the room my nice is moving into. That of course means I have lots of things I will be adding to my Poshmark closet if you want to check that out.
And we have planned a vacation for this year, or I should say we are still in the midst of planning. We will be going to London this August. Do expect to see some vacation tie in posts again this year, both before and after the trip. Just like last year, some of them will be clothing related while others will be centered around other aspects of travel. If there is something you would like me to cover specifically, or if you have a question, make sure to send me a message.
My schedule at this point seems to be getting back to a normal pace, so I hope this time I will be actually able to consistently blog.
Before I say anything else, I want to acknowledge that yes, this is a very late review for this box. In fact the Spring box is about to ship, or may already have for some people. My box didn’t arrive until well after Christmas, and Christmas is when I typically stop reviewing until I start back in September of the next year. Then I got busy with doing things to my home. But what can you do, life happens and you move on.
I honestly did not want to just skip reviewing this box. I think people aren’t really aware of this subscription box on say the level they are Fab Fit Fun, and that box is just not for everyone. I know it wasn’t for me. So I wanted to try to review a good quarterly lifestyle box that I thought people would like as an alternative.
So today we will be taking a look at the Margot Elena Discovery Box for Winter 2018. Spoiler alert – I really love this box, so I am actually considering reviewing this box all the time, rather than just once like I usually do for most subscription box reviews. This review will be done in the typical way I review subscription boxes, however if I continue to review this box it will be review slightly different. I will link anything you can purchase on the Margot Elena Website. So let’s get to it…..
Price: $49.99 if you pay quarterly, and $179.99 if you pay annually.
Where Is It Available: the contiguous United States, this does not include PO Boxes or APO Military Mailboxes.
Who To Get It For: This is great for anyone looking for a lifestyle box. Especially great for anyone who loves the Margot Elena Brands. Even if you think you are not familiar with her brands you may be. Brands of Margot Elena include – Lollia, Tokyo Milk, The Cottage Greenhouse, Library of Flowers, Love & Toast, and Me Life + Home.
What You Get: Every three months, or four times a year, you will receive a box filled with products from the various Margot Elena brands, including some items exclusive to the box. All products will be full size and will total over $200.
This is a lifestyle box, and the items you receive could fall in many categories. You might get anything from fragrance to home décor to clothing items and so much more.
Drawbacks: I must say that for me personally there isn’t any drawbacks to this subscription box. I mean, yeah like any box that contains fragranced products there are going to be some items I can’t use. But the good news is the items I can’t use are highly giftable. I can easily save myself some time on shopping for a few Christmas gifts.
But I also realize drawbacks can be subjective. So I tried to think of what some of them might be for other people. Seeing as this a quarterly box, the price is $49.99. That is more than your average monthly box. If you are on a budget, that might be a drawback for you.
Also, while the idea of items being pulled from very select brands are a selling point to me, I can see that it might be a drawback for some people. It definitely limits what can possibly be in the box, and for me that is a plus. I like knowing it’s going to be from brands I am most likely going to like the style of. But if you are looking for a broader range of things, maybe its too limiting.
The Details: Your subscription arrives in a branded box. It is a cardboard box, but there will be no doubt that it is your Margot Elena box. It arrives looking like this:
Photo taken from the Margot Elena website.
I had to share the picture of the outer box from the Margot Elena website because 1. mine was covered in shipping labels and labels from my mail box. and 2. like a savage I couldn’t wait to rip into mine before I took pictures. Don’t judge me.
When you open it up you will immediately see a few things.
First thing laying on top was a letter. I thought about sharing a picture close up of it, but it’s really just a letter of the reasons the items included in this box were chosen. It was definitely a sweet touch to the box, but I didn’t think it would translate for this review.
Just behind the letter you can notice a picture on the inside of the box.
It says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” and then it says that the Winter 2018 box marks the one year anniversary of the Margot Elena Discovery Box.
This little graphic card is really there to mark the theme of the whole box. brands I also think it’s a fair representation of the Margot Alena brands in general. They are filled with art work and the esthetic of Margot Alena herself.
Just under the letter that was included all the items are wrapped in a printed Lollia tissue paper.
Yes, I ripped into the paper too. There was no waiting for this box.
Now lets take a look at what you all really want to see, what was tucked under that paper.
I managed to avoid most of the spoilers for this box. But this first item was the one thing I had already seen, and I was pretty excited about receiving it but slightly worried at the same time.
This is the Margot Elena Peacock Silken Kimono, and it has a retail value of $60. This, along with a few other items, were created exclusively for the Discovery Box. As I said, I was quite looking forward to this, but I was also hesitant. I love peacock prints and feathers, and well anything peacock. But this is a one size fits all item, and I think most plus size ladies can relate to the dread of a one size fits all piece.
However, I am happy to say that this piece actually did fit me at a size 20W. I would wager to say that it should fit up to at least two sizes larger. I will be posting pictures on social media a couple of day after this post goes live. I will make sure to include some of me wearing this for those who want to see how it fits on a plus size body.
The next thing that came out of the box, I actually heard way before I saw. It is called The Kissing Bell, and it came with a little note card that explains what it is and the tradition behind it. It has a retail value of $14. This was also an item exclusive to the box.
Now this isn’t really my thing. I love the color, but I’m not really into decorating for the Holidays. With just my husband and I, and spending the actual days at other places, it just seems sort of pointless for me to decorate. So most likely this will be passed on to someone else.
Next I found this little set. It is the Tokyo Milk Dark Fragrance Duo of Novacaine and Tainted Love. This set retails for $18. These aren’t really fragrances I can use myself, but I have a few friends that really love these sorts of fragrances. So I think this would make a great birthday gift for someone.
This item is currently sold out on the Margot Elena website, but you can sign up to be notified when it is back in stock.
When I pulled this item out of the box, I may just have squeed a little bit. This was my favorite item in the box. It is the Margot Elena Hand-Glazed Stoneware Mug, and it has a retail value of $14. And yes it is the same peacock print that is on the Kimono. This was exclusive to the box, so unfortunately you can not purchase one for yourself.
While this isn’t my favorite item, it would be hard to top the peacock items, it is something I had hoped would be in the box. Several of the Margot Elena brands have things like card stock and fabric and various other printed good, and I really love all of it. This in particular is the Tokyo Milk Signature Stationary Trio. The detail card include in the box says the set retails for $15. However, I do not see this available as a set. Each card retails for $5.50.
I included a couple of up close pictures of the cards so you could see that they have a subtle glitter accent. I don’t think it even shows up well on the Margot Elena website, but you can sort of see it
The next item out of the box is this White Pine and Balsam Travel Candle, and it has a retail value of $12. The travel size doesn’t seem to be available anymore, perhaps it is a Christmas only item. But you can still get this in a full size candle.
This is the only item in the box that felt any real disappointment in. That isn’t because it’s a bad product or anything, it mainly because of my allergy. The two scents listed are both things I react to. They don’t really say what type of balsam, so maybe I could have the worst allergic reaction ever. I was worried enough about it that I haven’t even taken the lid off of it, hence why there is no pictures of the inside.
I also don’t really know anyone in my immediate friends circle that I think would like this type of scented candle. So I haven’t really decided what I will do with it yet, but maybe it will go in a future give away or something.
The last four items all sort of go together. They are all part of the Lollia line in the Wish scent. Now these are actually all individual items, and I am going to talk to talk about them individually, but I wanted to show all the items as a collection. The scent is described as, “Delicate infusions of Sugar Cane, Vanilla Bean, and Jasmine meet comforting Ylang Ylang and sheerest Amber Woods to leave skin deliciously fresh.”
This is a Limited Edition Wish Bubble Bath, and it retails for $18. On the card that came in the box that is all it said. However on the summary that was posted in their blog, it calls it a mini size. But for a mini size, it is quite large.
Also included was this absolutely adorable Wish Bath Salt Sachet. It retails for $14. I think this might be the cutest and best smelling sachet I have ever seen. I honestly am tempted to keep on a shelf as decoration and never use it. But then I would feel bad for wasting it.
And finally, the last item is this Wish Triple-milled Shea Butter Soap. It retails for $12. I know some people might not be excited over a bar of soap, but when I get one I can use, I really love it.
And that is what came in the Winter 2018 Margot Elena Discovery Box. That brings the total value of the box to $202.
FinalThoughts: I really love this box. Everything is beautifully packaged. There is a decent variety of items. And I think the value is pretty great. Even though I may not use every item myself, I will be able to use it as a gift. And I do like everything. This is opposed to some of the other lifestyle boxes I have tried where I was left feeling like I only really liked about a fourth of the items. But everyone likes something different, so if this isn’t the one for you there is sure to be something out there for you.
There have been a lot of things I have loved over the last year, and there so many of them that I want to share with you. But, I thought as I come back from my winter break from the blog, it might be good to get the bad out of the way first. I did after all say last year that I would do one or two of these posts a year about things that didn’t work for me. And that is exactly what these post called product fails are, at least for the most part, they are products that didn’t work for me. That is to say that, I recognize that most of these products may work for someone else. Just because they are a fail for me doesn’t mean they don’t work for other people. We are all different people and can have different favorites.
For the sake of these posts I will not be linking to the products. So lets take a look at the products I have tried over the last few months that didn’t work for me.
The first product I tried this year that was a fail for me is the NYX Total Control Drop Foundation. I was really excited to try this as I had heard so many great things about both drop foundations in general as well as this one in particular. But it just didn’t work for me.
While it was advertised for all skin types, I don’t think it really works well for anyone with textured skin, especially if it is dry textured skin like mine. This formula dries down to a really matte finish, and it left my skin looking extremely dry and cakey. It dried my skin out even more than normal and it was almost to a painful point. I even gave it a second try, but still had horrible results.
Along with the foundation I had to try the NYX PRO Total Control Drop Foundation Brush. There are many foundations out there that suggest using a certain brush with the foundation, but it’s not always necessary. However, everything I had read and saw prior to using this foundation made it seem that using NYX own foundation brush with the product was very important for proper application.
I have definitely had foundation brushes that I thought was fantastic, but it has never been my first choice for application of foundation. But this brush was a fail because I felt like it absorbed twice the amount of makeup a sponge does. I never could figure out where it was absorbing to, but the product was definitely not on my face.
I recently tried the Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tint in the color Moody. I had gotten this sometime last year, either in a multi pack lip kit or in a subscription box. I honestly can’t remember which. And I do believe that Tarte is clearancing this product out and planning on not carrying it anymore.
Now Tarte claims this is the best of two world. You are supposed to get the pigmentation and staying power of a lipstick with the hydration of a balm. This was definitely not my experience. If anything I found this to be the exact opposite. It was very drying on my lips and it went on patchy and wore off fast. Now I did try mine in a sample size. I will suppose that it is possible that could have effected it somehow, or that I got a bad one. I doubt it though.
I also tried a sample size of the Clinique High Impact Mascara. I honestly thought I would love this mascara since one of my top five favorite mascaras is the Clinique High Impact Curling Mascara. However, with this mascara there was a lot of clumping and flaking that I never experienced with the curling version.
I know at least part of my dissatisfaction lies with the wand. It is incredibly different from the one in the Curling mascara.
I had actually been using the Macadamia Professional Style Extend Dry Shampoo for some time. It had been one of my favorite dry shampoos.
But when I received my most recent order I first noticed that the bottle looked different. I was hoping that was all that had changed, but that was not the case. I immediately noticed upon application that the fragrance was different. And it wasn’t too much longer that I had an allergic reaction.
So if you don’t have fragrance issues like I do, this one may be a great one for you. I do believe it is only the fragrance mix that was changed, the way it behaved in my hair was the same. And it is a great dry shampoo for anyone who has dry hair.
Most of you know I often get packaged called VoxBoxes from Influenster. A couple of months ago I got one containing a hair care system from a brand called AQUIS. It is sold on the AQUIS website as well as at Sephora.
When you are sent a box from Influenster there are always requirements you have to meet in order to receive future boxes. For this particular box the only requirement was to review the product on Sephora’s website. However, I had initially intended to review this here on the blog in she shampoo and conditioner review series. I did not end up doing that because after using this product once I had nothing good to say about it at all, so I decided to wait and include it here instead.
This was sent to me claiming it was great for thick heavy hair that breaks easily. It was supposed to limit the amount of water your hair was exposed to, all while thoroughly cleansing your hair. And it was supposed to be easy to use. While I am sure this works wonderfully for some people’s hair, it did not work for mine. My hair never felt clean and at least a couple of the steps didn’t realistically work in my hair at all.
For the last category, I only have one item at the moment. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of this to share, and I think once I explain what happened you will understand why.
So some of you may remember back in November I was sharing some Scorpio related products. I had mentioned in one post that I would be doing a review of the My Zodiac Box. I have actually paid for two boxes, one of which I sort of received. I say sort of, because they sent me the wrong box (This was after them not sending my box out to begin with). I spoke to the owners and was told I was going to be sent a replacement. I waited a couple of weeks and nothing came. So I messaged them, and no response. I messaged again, and again no response. So obviously I cancelled my subscription, and in no way can I recommend this box to anyone.
I am finally back from my yearly break. Of course this one lasted much longer than usual, and longer than planned. A lot happened while I was away, if you follow me on social media you may already know some of this, but to be honest I didn’t keep up with social media like I had intended either.
While I was away from the blog I was sick twice, once with a combination of the flu and a sinus infection. That pretty much sucked a week of my life away. Then precious fur baby Ophelia passed away, it was kind of traumatic and sudden. It wasn’t exactly unexpected as she was almost 18 years old, and I think once your cat approaches anything near 15 you probably start feeling a little concerned that day may come soon.
Her death definitely took a toll on our spirit. Surprisingly, it seemed to even bother our other fur baby Lady Catterly. I say surprisingly because she had never gotten along with either of our other cats, and she didn’t seem all that affected when Luscious passed away last year. But Lady Catterly started displaying a number of signs of being sad and lonely. So, after talking to both our vet and an animal behavior specialist, we decided to go ahead and bring another baby into the house.
I would like to introduce you all to Sophie.
She is almost ten weeks old and she is all energy all the time.
I am happy to say that she transitioned into our home very easily, and Lady Catterly loves her. We used the Jackson Galaxy method of introduction, and it really works.
During my time off we have also been working on our house. We do this every year to some extent. This year it has been a lot more than normal, and we are still not done. As I have mentioned before, my niece is moving in this summer and we have been on a mission to make room for her. Our house has always had a severe lack of storage space, so we are adding a lot of items that give us storage in one way or another. Also, we have been getting rid of a lot of things that we just don’t use any more or just don’t want.
I have also been working on some exciting things, at least it will be exciting for those of you who follow me for steampunk related content. First of all my airship is working on our first charity event. We are hoping to work on some larger things in the future, but we are getting started with small Valentine event. If you are in the Lexington area, or want to make a short trip here, come check out The Victorian Valentine Affair.
Also on the steampunk front, The International Steampunk Symposium is coming up at the end of March. It is a little earlier this year due to some scheduling conflicts, so don’t miss out thinking it was in April. This years theme is Steamtastic Beasts. I have recently been asked if I would speak on a couple of panels, one of which is for plus size women who do steampunk. So make sure to get your tickets if you want to come hear me talk about costuming for plus sizes.
I will definitely have recaps of both events for you here on the blog. I have a lot of clothing related things coming up for you. I have a couple of subscription box reviews that I didn’t get to in time for Christmas, but I really want to make sure to share them with you. I also have an update on recent things that did not work for me. So lots of good stuff coming.
I also want to take a minute to thank everyone. This past year has been really tough for me. As most of you know I had quite a few months where I was really sick and didn’t know what was wrong, and once I did it took me a while to get to a place where I could function normally. There have been a lot of stresses, and a lot of struggles. But I appreciate all of you who have stuck around and took the time to read my blog, offer comments here or on social media. Your support means so much.
This is going to be a pretty brief post again. If you follow me on social media, then you may have already seen my post the other night about me being ill. I have managed to get both Sinusitis and the Flu at the same time, and I have been pretty out of it. I am starting to feel minutely better, but it will most likely be a few days before I am really better.
I of course missed posting the subscription box reviews I had for Thursday and today. And if you have been with me for at least a year or more, you know I take a couple of weeks vacation from the blog to work on my home and Poshmark every year after Christmas. I had planned on taking three this year because of a lot of changes that need to be made before my niece moves in this summer. But due to being sick it looks like that may be extended. I am just going to officially call it, and say that my vacation has started.
I will be posting on social media some during this time, I won’t be completely abandoning everything. I will be back to the sometime mid January. I was hoping for the 13th, but it really will depend on how long it takes me to recover from being sick.
Good news for those of you who have been missing fashion posts, I do have several planned for January and February. I am hoping some of the home changes we are making will make it easier to keep them coming on a more regular basis. I will also have those last couple of box reviews for you as well as some shampoo reviews and some new things I am working on.
In the mean time, I want to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Whether you are just super busy or just a chronic procrastinator, I know there will be lots of you out there who will be shopping for gifts at the last minute. No matter the reason you are still in need of gifts, I am here to help.
I have been working on an Amazon Idea List just for you last minute shoppers. So make sure to check out my Last Minute Christmas Gifts list. In addition to my list, take a look at the Last Minute Deals page, while you are on Amazon.
Zulily has a Holiday Shop posted, where many items can ship out fast. Those items guaranteed to arrive for Christmas will be marked with a little package symbol.
If you are specifically looking for plus size clothing, then take a look at Simply Be. They now offer two to three day tracked shipping when you upgrade to Express Shipping. And its free when you spend over $100. Most people should be able to order up to the 20th and receive their packages on time for Christmas.
Hautelook offered the following graphic for their cut off dates to get items for Christmas. The picture is clickable if you want to find out what is available on Hautelook.
You can get your Walgreen’s orders shipped to you in time for Christmas if you order by 3 p.m. on December 21st. They have a Holiday Shop page set up to make your Christmas shopping easy. And for you super late shoppers there is same day pick up on all photo gifts. How great of a gift would a mug or a puzzle with a family photo be? And if that isn’t your thing, you can always check where the item you are looking for is available in your town. Every item has a button that says find in store. Simply click that and it will tell you all the stores closest to you that stock the item you are looking for. No more driving all over town searching for it.
Tell me in the comments where your favorite place to do last minute shopping is.
Presents are great, especially when you get something you really love. As I have said many times here on the blog gift giving is my primary love language, so I understand the importance of a good gift. But there are also times where maybe you aren’t really doing presents, and what you really want to concentrate on is giving back.
Whether you are giving back to loved ones or in a broader sense, like to your community, you may not be completely aware of what your options are. That is why I wanted to share some ideas here on how you can give back.
One of the most meaningful and impactful ways to give back is being present and giving of your time. Ironically this often the hardest thing to do for many of us. When it comes to how you do this for the people you love, only you and they know what will really be a meaningful way to show up for them. But let’s talk about ways you can give time to help your community.
A great way to serve your community would to be volunteering some time in soup kitchen. Of course if you are living in a smaller town you may not have a soup kitchen, but perhaps a local church or food bank may offer some sort of community meal for those who are less fortunate. Organizations doing this type of work will vary from town to town. But one organization that has soup kitchens is nationwide, the Salvation Army. Not all Salvation Army locations have soup kitchens, but most in middle to large sized cities will.
Perhaps you are more of an animal person, or maybe you are just an introvert. Did you know you can become a volunteer at an animal shelter? There are lots of ways to donate your service to animal shelter, all depending on your time, ability, and experience. But there is something for everyone to do. Like food banks, the organizations in your area may vary by name. But in most of the US you will have either a Humane Society or an ASPCA close to you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to any of your local shelters to see what kind of help they need.
Maybe you really love children, and you feel like your time would be best served by working with them. There are so many kids out there that need good role models in their life. Sometimes it means nothing more than just spending time with them and listening to what they have to say. You can give this much needed support to a child in need by signing up to be a part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program.
If none of these are quite right for you, and you don’t really know where to volunteer in your community there is help. Check out the website Volunteer Match to find the opportunities that are right for you.
Many of us may want to volunteer our time, but because of various reasons we can’t. But I am willing to bet that almost all of us have things lying around our house that we no longer want or need. Things that are just taking up space. Rather than tossing that out or getting ten cents for it at a yard sale, why not donate your clutter?
There are lots of places like thrift stores, community outreach centers, abused women’s shelters, missions, churches and homeless shelters nationwide where you can donate new and used clothing as well as household goods. There will always be local places that are specific to your town, but there are absolutely national services that are accessible to most people in the US, and in some cases across the world.
Here is a brief list of some of the most accessible organizations to donate to:
To find out where you can donate locally a simple google search should help. Please keep in mind each place will take different items and have different requirements for what they accept. If you have not donated to a place before always call ahead or check their website before just dropping items off.
There are of course other things you can donate, outside of clothing and home goods. Lots of places take food donations for those in need. One of the biggest and wide spread food banks in my state is God’s Pantry. To find out where the closest food bank is to you, you can check with Feed America. In addition to food banks most soup kitchens and some churches will take food donations.
And if you are feeling really generous, you can also donate your car with some organizations. Catholic Services as well as NPR and Goodwill will accept donations of car.
I often hear people talk about how they want to make a difference in the world, but they don’t know how or don’t feel capable of doing anything big enough to make a difference. I just wanted to give everyone a reminder that while it may not feel like a big thing to you, sometimes even the smallest things feels huge to someone who has nothing. And small things can have big impacts.
In fact if you want to see more of the impact you are making, try helping one family or one person rather than going through a big organization. Many small organizations will let you adopt a family to help. Or you most likely know someone in need and don’t even realize it, maybe even someone you care about. Many people are too embarrassed or too proud to ask for help. In this country we are taught from a young age that we should be independent and its shameful to ask for help. But many people do need help.
So you might ask how do you help someone who won’t say they need help. I know it seems unproductive, but you can do it. Some options might be just asking if they would like some help. If you are going to donate things, perhaps make a post on social media asking if anyone wants to take a look at the items before you donate them. Where there is a will, there is a way. But I think the easiest way to make an impact for the people you care about is to just let them know you care and that you are available if they need you.
And this is me letting you all know I care about you. How can I help?
It is subscription box review again. I have quite a few of these I want to try to get through before Christmas time gets here. If you missed my last one, you can go back and check out the Black Unicorn Subscription Box review at your leisure. You can also find all of the subscription box reviews I have done by going to any page here on the blog, find the green bar under my logo and click on the down facing arrow. You should see a search box and you can search for subscription box reviews.
A few months ago when I first started looking for subscription boxes to review for this year I had a few goals in mind. I wanted to find a variety of types of boxes, boxes in various budget levels, and boxes that in addition to being of interest to all of you would maybe make good gifts.
I have definitely shared some affordable boxes in the beauty category before, but not everyone is into makeup I do think this will by far be the most affordable subscription box I have shared as of yet, and I believe it is very giftable.
Because of the nature of this box and the variety that can come in it, I thought I would share what I got for both the months of October and November.
Price: $8.99 to $56.99 (This box has a large price range because of several box options and payment terms options. Prices may vary when you go to sign up if they are running a sale.)
Where Is It Available: This subscription is only available to US residents.
Who To Get It For: Anyone who loves jewelry, especially earrings. who has pierced ears. Age doesn’t matter as they have a box option for younger subscribers. This would also be great for someone who is just beginning to build their jewelry collection.
What You Get: There are three different earring boxes available from Ladiee T Jewelry that somewhat customizable to your own tastes and preferences. Here are your options:
Princess Collection for Girls – Each month’s box contains two randomly selected pairs of earrings that is age appropriate for girls between 5 and 10 years of age. Earrings in this box are deliberately kept small in size and are mostly studs.
Women’s Monthly Earring Packet – Each month you will receive one medium to large sized pair of earrings. Earrings sent will be based on your taste and style preferences chosen.
Women’s Monthly Earring Box – Each month you will receive two stylishly hand-picked medium to large pairs of earrings. Earrings sent will be based on your taste and style preferences chosen. (This is the one I will be sharing with you here.)
Drawbacks: If you like jewelry that is matching sets, this box won’t offer that. I don’t really see an option to find that on their main website either. So if that is a big deal to you, then this might not be the subscription for you.
When you sign up you fill out a brief preference profile.
First you choose if you are subscribing for yourself or giving a gift. If you choose a gift subscription, then once you fill out the profile you will have the option to add a message that get emailed to the recipient once the subscription mails out.
First you are asked which subscription you want. Then you are asked about your metal color preference. No preference is totally an option here. Next you are asked about earring style preference, and again you can absolutely choose no preference. Finally you choose the length of the subscription you are paying for at once.
Every month the subscription arrives in a small cardboard box. (And again I would like to remind everyone to not worry about my safety, the mailing address shown is not my home address just the mail box I get my blog mail at. But I appreciate the concern people have shown)
On the inside you will find your earrings individually wrapped as well as a small card, all lying on a bed of filler paper. The card just let’s you know about an opportunity to get an extra pair of earrings in the next month’s box by sharing it on social media.
This is the inside of the October Box
And this is the inside of the November box.
As you can see they pretty much arrive looking exactly the same each month.
For the month of October, here is what I received:
I actually really loved both pairs of earrings. Unfortunately they were both stud closures, and I can’t wear those. But at the end of the day that is fine. I got this subscription to review, and I have so many earrings. I gifted the red pair to one of the besties who I do steampunk with. Its kind of perfect for that kind of look. And the other pair I will also gift to someone or sell on my poshmark.
And now lets look at what was inside the November Box:
These earrings are on French hooks, so I can actually wear them. So off to a great start for November. I did like the designs, and I will definitely wear them out. But I think I liked the designs in the October box more.
I think this is a decent box for the jewelry lover. It’s certainly a good value. And I really think it would make a nice gift. I don’t really have any complaints. I felt like the whole process went smoothly and everything was shipped on time. Sometimes that is a big issue, especially for subscription boxes.
If you like the idea of this subscription box, but it’s not quite what you are looking for, here is a brief list of other boxes that may interest you.
Mint Mongoose – Must-have jewelry — your choice of silver, rose gold, or gold — delivered to you, every month!
Emma & Chloe – A surprise piece of French designer jewelry at your doorstep every month!
Today’s post won’t be anything terribly long. I just wanted to remind everyone that during this Holiday season that is all about giving, its important to also give something to yourself. Be kind to yourself and give yourself some love and forgiveness.
There is often lots of pressure on us, especially us ladies to be perfect. There is always lots to do during the Holidays. But no one is perfect, and that is okay. Allow yourself forgiveness for not being the utter ideal of feminine or masculine perfection.
There are all kinds of stresses for people this time of year. Maybe your like me and love the Holidays but the weather puts a lot of stress on you. Maybe you are like some of my friends and have social anxiety and just find the parties too stressful. Maybe you are like the majority of people and you have family that are assholes. No matter what your stress may be, be kind to yourself and know you are not alone. You are enough as you are.
I put together a short list of resources that may offer you some help in dealing with the stress you are feeling.