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Author Archives: karenmsmith77

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8 Pairs Of Cute And Affordable Earrings Available On Amazon

I don’t wear a lot of jewelry in most of the fashion posts I do here on the blog and on Instagram. But I actually really love jewelry, especially earrings. They are probably my favorite type of accessory, next to purses that is. I don’t really like spending a lot on most of my jewelry since I like having a lot of different styles.

Fashions and colors change so frequently, I don’t want to sink a fortune into every piece I own. I bet a lot of you feel the same. That is why I wanted to share with you some of the cute and affordable earrings I have found on Amazon.

 

1. Gold Pineapple Dangle Earrings

Pineapple Dangle Earrings

The cute little pineapple earrings are perfect accents for tropical prints or if you just like pineapples. Get them for just $1.98. Shipping is free. But shipping does take a little while on this one as I believe it ships from China. I got mine in about two weeks after ordering.

 

2. Blue Moon and Star Dangle Earrings

Blue Moon and Star Earring

This is another pair that leans more to the theme side. I think these are great to go with a galaxy dress or to get as a gift for an astronomy lover. They sell for $1.89 and shipping is $2.99. I can’t really speak on how long shipping is for this particular one. I ordered mine from a different seller and that seller has sold out now.

 

3. Faux Leather Long Oval Dangle Earrings

Faux Leather Dangle Earrings

The shape isn’t that unique on these, but the material makes them stand out. I purchased mine in a mint color, but they are available in seven other color options if you aren’t a fan of the color mint. They sell for $7.99 and you get free prime shipping.

 

4. 3D Triangle Earrings

3D Triangle Earrings

On the one hand this particular pair of earrings are pretty plain, but on the other hand they seem so unique. I purchased mine in the black color. It is also available in gold and silver, however I personally thing the black stands out more. They sell for $8.99 with free prime shipping.

 

5. Vintage Style Engraved Dangle Earrings

Vintage Engraved Earrings

These are a vintage style earring. They are green with a bronze engraved pattern. I chose the round ones, but they are available in five other shapes. They are all unique and beautiful. They sell for $8.99 with free prime shipping.

 

6. Vintage Tassel Mint Green Drop Earrings

Mint Tassel Earrings

Tassel have taken over everywhere. I personally think the best place to incorporate them is in my jewelry. I decided to pick a pair of tassel earring in mint because I have so many clothes with this color for the summer.

 

7. Unicorn Statement Earrings

Unicorn Dangle Earrings

It should be no surprise that I have unicorn earrings. I need them to go with my unicorn dress and my unicorn shoes. I got mine in the purple color, but they are available in two other color options. They sell for $9.99 with free prime shipping.

 

8. Hibiscus Dangle Earring

Hibiscus Flower Earringsrings

I actually got this to match one particular dress that is a favorite of mine. Its one that I know I will never likely get rid of and it has hibiscus throughout the print. These are really perfect for lots of tropical or tiki prints. Mine is in the red dangle style, but there are lots of colors and style options. The seller Hawaii Hangover has lots of other matching accessories to check out.

 

Now you may have all noticed that all of the earrings I have shown are on a French Hook. That is because that is mainly what I wear. I occasionally wear hoop earrings, but I never wear studs. I have thicker ear lobes as well as a I get scars called keloids. Constant rubbing can cause keloids, so I generally avoid studs because they are too tight on my ear and rub. But if you look around many of the styles I have shown are also available on a stud post instead of a French hook.

For those of you looking to invest a little more in your jewelry there are some brands you might consider checking out. PANACEA always has current style fashion jewelry that feels a little more upscale, and many of their items are available for try on through Prime Wardrobe. If you like something with some vintage flare, then the brand 1928 Jewelry might be worth checking out. And if the mix of bling and cute is more your speed the brand Beaux Bijoux fits that exactly.

Tell me in the comments what your favorite style of earrings are.

 

 

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Sheet Masks I Used – Week One August 2018

The sheet masks I used the first week of August 2018

In my post about my journey to self-care, you know a big part of that was focusing on my skin care this month. And of course my skin care is going to include sheet masking. I use to share a lot of what I did with sheet masks here on the blog, and I also want to get back to that.

The sheet masks I used the first week of August 2018

So I thought I would start by sharing what I use throughout the month and I will link anything you can currently get as well as sharing some helpful tips. These post will be on a delay, but I will be sharing these daily as they happen on Instagram. Thought the last week may be spotty on if at all as I will be on vacation that week, so we will have to see what happens.

Once I get a new routine fully established I will do a full skin care routine post for everyone.

Day 1

Day one I used the eSfolio Volcanic Water Essence Sheet Mask. This is my all time favorite mask for my skin from my all time favorite brand. It is especially great for people like me who have skin conditions that cause keratin build up.

Due to slowing down on using my sheet mask and the reorganizing of my house one of my older masks got pushed to the bottom of the stack so it was just now getting used. So when I opened it I found that it had started to dry up a bit. Just a tip for my fellow sheet mask addicts, if you find one of your masks has started to dry like this, you don’t have to toss it. You won’t want to put a dry mask on your skin either. So what do you do? Well if you have had lots of skin care subscriptions, especially Korean skin care subscription boxes, then you probably have lots of large tubs of products like aloe and various essences. You can actually use those to rehydrate drying masks. I used some of the Spring Water Seed Essence Toner from NOONI to rehydrate this one.

 

Day 2

Day two I used a mask I don’t think I have tried before. This is the Snail Bee High Content Mask Pack from Benton. It had a very cooling and calming sensation to my skin. It’s not unusual for sheet mask to feel cooling, but not all of them feel calming to irritated skin. Overall I would say this was a good first impression.

 

 

Day 3

Day three had me back with an eSfolio mask. This is their Bird Nest Essence Sheet Mask. This is another calming and nourishing mask. And by the end of day three I was already seeing some small results in my skin.

I often see people commenting that they don’t think certain masks are anything special or they don’t think sheet masks really do anything. Well if you already have healthy normal skin you are not going to see a drastic overnight result like I do. But if you do have skin that is outside of what is considered healthy or normal, then more than likely if you are not seeing results you are picking the wrong types of masks for you. While the basic hydration mask is meant for everyone, sheet masks are not one size fits all. You need to find the ingredients that fit your needs. Let me know in the comments if you are interested in me doing a blog post about what the various ingredients are meant for.

 

Day 4

For day four I am using another favorite sheet mask. While the mask I used on day one is my all time favorite mask for my skin, this is definitely somewhere in my top ten. This is the Rice Bubble Cleansing Mask from Skin79.

Bubble masks are a little different from other sheet masks. Rather than being soaked in essence, the bubbles that form are cleansing. (At least all that I have tried have been, someone correct me if there is some out there that are different) And so rather than leaving it on your skin, you rinse it off at the end. So you will want to add your own essence with these at the end. I followed this up with the Fersáli Volcanic Elixir that I reviewed a few weeks ago.

 

Day 5

On day five I used a CoEnzyme Q10 Sheet Mask from Beauty Friends II. I got mine from Beauteque. I linked it to the page, but they don’t seem to have it in stock right now, nor does anyone else. Many sheet masks are only seasonally available, so if you check back later they may be available.

In all honesty this is not my favorite mask or brand.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with it or the brand. This just comes down to personal preference. There all sorts of sheet mask fabrics out there, they use the one I care the least for. It’s very thick and stiff feeling. Also they aren’t the best fit for me, not the worst either, but just not the best. I did have to tear this a bit to get it to fit around my eyes. If your eyes are a little closer together you won’t have a problem. But in general I would rather spend my money on masks that I enjoy more, but I won’t waste these if they are sent in a subscription box like this one was.

 

Day 6

Yes, a third mask from eSfolio this week. I just love them that much. Not every one of their masks make it as a favorite like the one I used on day one, but several of their products are favorites, and everything they make is consistently good and well priced and that is why I often say they are my favorite company.

Today I used their Green Tea Essence Sheet Mask. In addition to hydrating and calming it is especially great for tightening pores and helping prevent early signs of aging. And by the end of the sixth day I was seeing drastically different looking skin. 90% of my dry flakey spots from my contact dermatitis have cleared up. Most of the textured areas have smoothed out.

 

Day 7

I decided to finish the week off with this Natural Planet’s Blending Herb Tea Mask in the Green Tea variety. This particular green tea blend will not only moisturize, the extra ingredients will help balance your skin’s oil production.

This is one of those super this, almost feels like another layer of skin, kind of sheet masks. I personally think that it seems like the thinner the mask the more essence it holds. So I actually prefer these thinner masks.

 

And that finishes out my week of sheet masks. Many of the masks I have linked to are available at multiple places, but I tried to link to the place where they are being sold for the best price.

I would love to hear in the comments below what some of your favorite sheet mask are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Store Alert: Curve Girl

Curve Girl Banner

There has been a lot of great response to the recent new store alerts I have posted, especially the one for Beefcake Swimwear. And I have yet another new store alert. I am always so happy when I can tell you about a new place to shop that offers plus size clothing, and I think I have one today that will pique the interest of quite a few of you. Today we will be taking a look at Curve Girl.

Curve Girl Logo

 

Curve Girl is one of those companies that recently reached out to me and asked me to join their affiliate program. And as I have said previously, I get invited to a lot of affiliate programs, I only join if I either already use the companies products or I feel they have something to offer that I think will help my readers in some way. You can probably deduce that I did end up joining their affiliate program by the fact that I am writing this, because why would be writing this if I didn’t think they had something helpful to offer.

So what does Curve Girl have to offer? Well they have nice designs, and some are even unique. They have affordable prices. They are designed in the USA and manufactured in either China or India depending upon the item. They have pretty fast shipping times according to their website. And I am guessing you’re thinking, “okay, but you can get all of those things at other places”, and you can. But there are two things that made those things go from meh to OMG in about 6 seconds flat. 1. They make sizes Medium to 9X, which shoots them up to being one of the most size inclusive companies I am aware of. and 2. like eShakti they offer customization, only they do it for free and their prices are about half or less of eShakti. And after the bad experience I had with eShakti earlier this year, I had been on the hunt for other companies that offered customization so I could share with you.

I have placed an order with Curve Girl and will share a review on the items and ordering process once they actually arrive. In the mean time I wanted to go ahead and give you a basic overview of what the company has to offer and their pricing. But first lets take a look at their size chart.

Curve Girl Size Chart

This of course is not their full size chart, I couldn’t get a screenshot of the whole thing because of how large it is. I typically wear a size 20W or 2X at traditional plus size stores like Lane Bryant and Torrid. At most stores like these a 2X is an 18/20W. However occasionally a store will have their 2X be a 20/22W. One of the stores that does this would be JC Penny for Example. I do still wear a 20W or 2X in most of the brands in JC Penny, but there are a couple of exceptions. My measurements are Bust: 49″ Waist: 42″ Hips: 54″. I take my measurements and look at their size chart and I think it looks pretty normal for a plus size 20 and 2X.

Pants if I were ordering the based on the number size might be tricky, but they usually are everywhere. But. as long as their size chart is accurate, I should be able to order most other things straight from their off the rack sizes and them fit comfortably. But as I said, pants are always an issue for me, and I know a lot of you have said the same as well as dress lengths. So the order I placed I went with the custom sizing in hopes that their service will be something I can recommend for everyone.

When it comes to what they offer they have everything from casual daytime look all the way up to evening wear. Their designs seem to range from average, every plus size store has something similar to things I have never seen before offered in plus and maybe never in small sizes either.  Not everything is my personal taste, but a lot of it is. Over all I think they have a nice variety. I will of course share what I ordered when my order comes in. But for now I want to share with you some of the pieces I think are more unique, whether they are my taste or not.

Their biggest selection seems to be in dresses.

 


The rest of the sections are pretty sparse, but they still have some interesting items here and there.

000

They seem to be adding new items on the regular, so if you don’t see what you want, you should keep checking back.

I have found a couple of small negatives. First, I don’t think their website is well-organized. Things are in wrong categories, some aren’t even in their categories, and some categories won’t let you view everything unless you click just the right button. The other issue I found is with the Ask A Question box. I could not get it to function correctly. Of course Curve Girl only opened this year and only time will tell if this is part of their growing pains that will be fixed quickly or if this will be a major flaw for them. In the meantime I highly recommend when using their website to take your time and fully look around. And if you have questions try using their email contact versus their question box.

Now the good news is that while I was in the middle of writing this, Curve Girl sent me an email telling me I could my readers know they are having a Summer SITEWIDE SALE 10% OFF. So if you want to give them a try yourself now is a great time. And I think they always have free shipping for orders over $50.

Let me know what you think in the comments. Have you spotted something you are excited to try?

 

 

Summer Sale Banner, Summer sale clothing

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My First Order From Riley Rose

What I ordered from Riley Rose

A few weeks ago I posted a new store alert for Riley Rose. In that post I mentioned I had already placed an order with them. So now I thought I would share what I ordered and how the actual process went.

I placed my order for three item on Monday July 2, 2018, and it arrived on Wednesday July 11, 2018. And it shows it shipped from Los Angeles, CA. So it took just over a week to reach me here in Kentucky from the time I ordered it. Really not bad, especially considering Riley Rose is a new company.

The package that arrived was a plain brown box. If you have received any beauty prescription boxes before, the box is made very similarly, just on a larger scale. And on the box they had placed a large sticker of their logo to make sure we know where it came from.

Riley Rose Logo Sticker on the shipping box.

When you open the box, written on the lid is “I could give up shopping but I’m not a quitter.” And on the interior is several layers of various types of filler. I’m including pictures of all of it.

Inside the lid and first layer of wrapping from Riley Rose order.

 

Second layer of wrap in my Riley Rose order is they own tissue paper.

 

Third layer of wrap in my Riley Rose order

I am not entirely sure what this third layer is. I haven’t gotten anything like this in any other order from any other company. It is almost as thick as a blanket, but seems to be made out of something like thick paper towel. I am guessing it is some sort of recycled material they are using for packing, but it just seemed like the oddest thing to me because of how thick it was and the texture. If any of you know what it is for sure or have received something with this material let me know in the comments.

I did think that the Riley Rose print tissue paper was super cute. The color coordinating air pockets were a nice touch. And I love the little extra bit of cute with the print inside the box. This brown paper was the final layer of wrap. It would have been nice if it had matched the pink theme since the rest all seemed to color co-ordinate, but that’s just me. Sometimes I like to go over-board with the matchy matchy.

And under all that was my order.

What was in my first Riley Rose order

The packaging was definitely secure. I don’t think you would have to worry about anything rolling around and breaking. And the box itself is very sturdy. Something pretty heavy would have to fall on it before it could be crushed.

Now let’s take a look at what I actually got in my first order.

Sea Kelp & Charcoal – Firming & Polishing Body Scrub bought at Riley Rose

First I got this Sea Kelp & Charcoal – Firming & Polishing Body Scrub from Vitamin Sea Beauty. I love a good body scrub, especially in the summer time. I have never tried this brand, but I have pretty high expectations.

SOO AE Intense Repair 3Day Hair Treatment

My hair is still feeling the after effects of the last shampoo and conditioner review I did. So I decided to pick up this Intense Repair 3Day Hair Treatment from SOO AE. I am really hoping this will help repair my hair so I can get back to the hair care reviews.

SOO AE Keeping Glow Coconut Jelly Mask bought from Riley Rose

Finally I picked up this Keeping Glow Coconut Jelly Mask also from SOO AE. I picked this up because even though my skin is doing some better, it’s still feeling dry AF. Besides, coconut cures everything, right? But seriously, my skin really is dry and I haven’t every tried one of these Jelly Masks before. So I picked this one up.

What I ordered from Riley Rose

That was my complete order. I know it was a small order, but I really just wanted to be able to review the order process. I will try to post some reviews of these products for you later once I get a chance to try them out. Also, if there is something specific any of you want me to try out and review from the Riley Rose website let me know in the comments. I am always happy to do that for the readers of my blog.

 



 

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Rebuilding Healthy Skin Care Habits and A Journey To Feel Better Through Self Care

Self Care

This is a few days late, but July 24th was International Self Care Day. And even though I am late, I still wanted to take some time and talk about things I am going to be doing for self-care and why.

Self Care

I think I have been saying a lot since the beginning of this year how I am not feeling well and how bad my skin has been. They are really connected, because while I haven’t felt well my habits I had built-in taking care of my skin had fallen to the side. While I had pushed to at least do the basics of skin care, I haven’t been doing everything that I really need to. I just have not had the energy and at times haven’t cared enough because of everything else that was going on.

But I realize I have to care more about it. I have to put more effort into self-care. And with as bad as I have been feeling, that isn’t just going to be skin care I need to put some serious effort into. My health is really suffering right now, so I need some major self-care in all areas of my life.

I have already done some thing like getting back on a high-powered vitamin D. I do tend to run vitamin D deficient, and I had run out of what I was taking. So I decided to go back to the liquid vitamin D from Buried Treasure I had taken prior to that. I think it worked the best for me. I also have finally gotten in with new doctors. And I have gotten myself a membership with Massage Envy. Each of these have helped in minute ways. And I plan on trying to incorporate more self-care over time.

Now, I had previously mentioned that my husband and I would be taking an extended vacation for our anniversary at the end of August. I want to try to create a healthier skin care routine for myself before I leave for vacation. I would love to have my skin back in shape so I can freely wear makeup during my trip without worrying if it will look bad on the dry patches. Its our anniversary, so obviously I want to look extra nice when we go out for dinners and the such.

There is some debate on how to go about creating healthy habits. The majority seem to say you create a healthy habit by being repetitive, but by how long is even up for debate. For a long time people have been saying that it takes 21 days to form a habit. But recent research has shown that it way more complicated that just saying it takes 21 days, and it probably varies by person and type of habit. So I may not have an actual “habit” per say by the time I go on vacation, but I think that any effort put into self-care right now is for the better.

I will be trying to share some of the skin care items I am using each day on social media as well as some of the other self-care things I am doing if you are interested in following along with that. I also will be sharing some pictures of our trip at the end of the month.

As a side note, due to still not feeling 100% and all of the business from vacation plans and a lot of doctors appointments right now, it may be a while before I can get back to the three blog posts a week I was doing at one time. But right now I feel confident I at least can hold it steady at the 1 to 2 post a week range. And since my hair is still recovering from the last shampoo and conditioner review I did, it will be after my vacation before I pick those back up. So it will be sometime in September.

I know that a fair amount of my readers also deal with chronic pain and chronic health conditions. Tell me in the comments below what you do for self-care. What keeps you sane?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Store Alert: Beefcake Swimwear

Beefcake Swimwear logo

I am sort of excited to talk to you about this brand because of how different they are. They aren’t completely new, but they only came on my radar a few months ago and I haven’t really heard anything else about them since. Today we are talking about Beefcake Swimwear. They are a company with a unique concept who got their start through Kickstarter.

Beefcake Swimwear logo

What makes them different? Quite a lot actually, but lets start with the most obvious things. First of all their designs are based on vintage styles from the Victorian era. Because they are Victorian era inspired designs, in addition to offering a little more coverage than that of most modern swimwear, it also means the styles are unisex. And before you ask, no I did not make a mistake, they are a completely gender neutral swimwear company.

There are some other pretty great things about this company. They are made in the USA, based out of Portland, OR. And that is manufactured in the USA, not just designed here. And to top off the proverbial sundae they only use 100% recycled polyester and spandex.

They currently offer two suit designs, The Original and The Dreamboat.

The Original Beefcake Swimsuit

The Original

The Dreamboat Beefcake Swimsuit

The Dreamboat

Each style is available in three color options and a wide range of sizes. They are available in sizes XS to 5X. Make sure to check the size chart before ordering as this is unisex sizing, but I found the 2X measurements to be pretty standard for a woman’s plus size 2X.

Beefcake swimwear really seems focused on inclusiveness. It’s written all over their website and Instagram. I love that they are using real people, of all shapes, sizes, and genders, to model their swimsuits. And their plus sizes aren’t model perfect. Their real, with real bodies you see walking down the street every day.

 

I actually got a chance to ask the Beefkcake Swimwear’s owner and creator Mel Wells’ a few questions recently about the swimwear and where she sees the company going. Here is what we talked about:

Me: I see you started out in book publishing and nonprofit administration, what inspired you to start a swimwear line?

Mel Wells: The inspiration for Beefcake Swimwear came from a good friend who identified as female but dressed very masculine. She struggled to find swimwear and mentioned that she wanted a suit like the 1920s one-pieces. Naively, I offered to make her one. I’d sewn a few items of clothes in high school and college (I’ve always been super tall and struggled to find clothes) but sewing a swimsuit is hard. Other people who heard what I was doing thought it was an awesome idea, so I began toying with the idea of starting a small business making these suits. Mostly I needed to find a professional to do the sewing!

Me: The concept of your swimwear is not like the average swimwear line. What made you decide to create something both so vintage looking and unisex?

Mel Wells: Perhaps it’s because I’ve been in Portland, Oregon for over 10 years now, but a gender-neutral swimsuit didn’t strike me as radical. When I researched one-piece suits from the 1920s and 1930s, men and women are pretty much wearing the same thing. I wanted to stay true to that inspiration, well, except for the little skirt thing some of them had. 🙂

Me: I see you have two patterns available on your website at the moment. Do you have any plans on adding any other patterns?

Mel Wells: I definitely have more patterns and colors in mind! The most challenging part is that with the current choices (2 designs, 3 colors, 10 sizes, and a shelf bra option), we have to stock 120 swimsuits just to have one of each. Not only does this present a storage issue (we’re operating the storage/packaging/shipping part of the business out of a tiny one-bedroom apartment), but it’s pretty expensive to make 120 suits in the first place. So, additional colors and designs will have to be rolled out over time.

Me: What is your dream for the future of Beefcake Swimwear?

Mel Wells: Honestly, my vision is to make the best possible version of these suits and stay alive as a small business manufacturing in the USA. The very best part of running this company is hearing from folks who haven’t gone to the beach or got in the pool in a decade, and who now feel comfortable and confident in a swimsuit. The black Original suits are by far our bestsellers, so I can see us making those for a long time. It’s daunting to know that H&M or Forever 21 could do this style of swimsuit tomorrow, and probably do it super cheap, but my hope is that we would still appeal to folks who are concerned about the human beings who do the super labor-intensive and skilled work of sewing receiving fair wages. I’m also really excited about the new Italian-milled recycled polyester we’re launching this spring–environmental responsibility is another big concern of ours.

Me: I love that you have a pretty inclusive size offerings. If someone were to not fit your sizes, do you do custom pieces?

Mel Wells: Thank you! It’s important to me that our sizing be as inclusive as we can afford. (I already mentioned the challenges of producing and stocking inventory.) I wish we could offer custom suits, but it is prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. We’d need to pay the pattern maker to adjust the pattern, the designer to adjust the markers on the printer and dial in the colors and printing, and then custom-print that single suit, all of which would cost hundreds of dollars. This isn’t just me at my kitchen table with scissors and a sewing machine–there is a whole team and process involved in making these suits. Of course, I still package suits at my kitchen table and respond to emails personally, but even that happens on evenings and weekends since I have a day job. Honestly sometimes I wonder if this whole endeavor is bananas, but I’m going to keep doing it for as long as it’s sustainable.

 

I also hope she manages to keep Beefcake Swimwear going. This may not be the swimwear to everyone’s taste, but I definitely think it fills some gaps that needed filling. I can see Beefcake Swimwear appealing to several markets beyond just those looking for gender neutral swimwear. I know you vintage lovers as well those of you into Steampunk will want to get your hands on these. And I think that there is a rising market for modest clothing, and I would assume that would include swimwear. And the conscientious buyers take note of this company as well. Lets all help get the word out about this swimwear line.

Tell me in the comments what you think of Beefcake Swimwear. Would you wear a gender neutral swimsuit?

 

 

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Beauty Product Review – Farsali Volcanic Elixir

Farsali Valcanic Elixer

I am sure many of you are familiar with the brand Farsáli. Several of their products, like their Unicorn Essence, have become beauty blogger sensations and have blown up on social media. One product in particular I had not heard about was the Volcanic Elixir. At least I hadn’t heard about it till it landed in Sephora earlier this year.

Farsali Valcanic Elixer

Because of my personal experience with volcanic essence products in Korean Skincare I was extremely interested in trying out the Volcanic Elixir from Farsáli. If you have followed me either here on the blog or on my Instagram account for any amount of time then you know one of my all time favorite sheet masks is a Volcanic Ash Essence Mask from Esfolio. And while Farsáli is not a Korean brand, the ingredient concepts should be the same.

What The Product Does

I think when you spend any amount of time learning about Korean cosmetics you start to gain an understanding of what ingredients are used for. The great thing about Volcanic related products, in most cases like this one, they are good for all skin types and a full range of skin conditions.

So what does the brand say it does?

The properties of this oil are known to help regenerate skin tissue. The Volcanic Elixir, for this unique reason, can condition broken skin, and repair sun- and acne-damaged skin. It also has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibiotic, and antioxidant properties — making it ideal for acne sufferers. What sets this oil apart from others, is a certain lipid called calophyllolide; which is not found in any other oil, and is a very strong anti-inflammatory.

The Volcanic Elixir aids in regenerating new, healthy skin. It can be used on acne and acne scars, dry and scaly skin, stretch marks, etc.

So it really seems like the possibilities are endless if you are at either end of the problem skin scale. I’m not sure that you would gain any benefit if you have normal skin, unless you have scarring from the past.

 

My Skin Care Needs

For me, as you know I have very dry skin with scaley patches and keratin build up in creases (the scaley patches and keratin build up are from my allergy and are not constant). Due to my Balsam of Peru allergy I am fragrance sensitive, and that includes essential oils. I am also sensitive to select other possible ingredients in skin care products.

 

What You Get

Your product comes in a dark bottle with a dropper. You get one fluid ounce or thirty milliliters of product. The Volcanic Elixir has one single ingredient, Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) Oil, so no worries for my fellow contact allergy sufferers, unless of course that is your allergy.

I did notice all of Farsáli’s other products seem to come in a second size option, but this one does not. I am not sure if that is something they are planning on adding or not. There is no mention of it on their website, so if anyone knows please tell us down in the comments.

 

First Impressions

The very first thing I noticed when I got the bottle was how hard it was to open. I don’t know if I got a defective bottle or if they all are like mine, but you have to twist forever and then it suddenly pulls up and it makes it sort of messy. Putting the dropper cap back on seems just as difficult.

Once the lid was open the next thing I notice was the heavy natural, earthy smell coming out. If you are use to using fragrance free products or even some Korean products (depending on which kind) this is a smell you are probably already use to and won’t think twice about. This is noted on Farsáli’s website, so they do tell you before you buy. For those of you who have never tried a fragrance free product before, you may not be prepared. Some people find natural smells offensive. Personally I like them and find it comforting.

The other thing that really stands out about this product when you first start using it is the texture. You can somewhat see it in this picture:

Consistancy of the Volcanic Elixir from Farsali

It is an oil, but what makes it different is that it is very thick and has somewhat of a gritty texture. Now I can feel the texture with my fingers, but once I apply the elixir to my face I no longer feel it.

 

How To Use It

Like most oils and liquids, you want to shake this up really well before using it each time. The website recommends using it as a night treatment, almost like a moisturizer. I agree for the most part, though I prefer putting an actual moisturizer on over top of it.

I have seen a lot of people on the web saying this is a great face oil for makeup. No, that is not the intended use, and I really can not believe anyone would want to do that with the texture this oil has. While I don’t feel the texture once applied, I have to think that would mess with the look and feel of your foundation.

 

Final Thoughts

I have been using the Fersáli Volcanic Elixir for close to a month now. I use it about three to four nights a week, and I am considering using it on a nightly basis for a while just to see what happens. I will explain why.

I find that I really like the product. It does have a lasting effect on the dryness of my skin, however on the days I do not use it I see the symptoms of my contact allergy creep back in. So I want to see if I can get a more lasting effect if I do it every day.

But on the days I did use the elixir the night before, my skin looks wonderfully clear. Here is one I took and posted to Instagram recently that was on a day right after using the Farsáli Volcanic Elixir:

A picture of me after using the Farsali Volcanic Elixir

The bottom line for me is I will be repurchasing this product. I love that I don’t have to worry about what the ingredients are and that it is fragrance free. It works well on my skin. And it shows results.

If you would like to try this product out for yourself you can find it at the Farsáli website and on Sephora.

Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of the products from Farsáli and what you thought of them. Should I try something else from their line?

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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What’s New About Torrid And Recommendations For Haute Cash

Torrid recommendations and whats new at torrid

It’s that time of year again! Torrid Haute Cash sale starts on July 11th. I started out thinking I would just do a recommendation post. I definitely want to talk about some great items you might want to consider picking up with your haute cash, but I was thinking that there may be some changes to some things some of you may not have realized if you are not a constant peruser of the website like me or a reader of your emails.

In the past there were a few changes that left some of you not as happy with Torrid, but these recent changes I think are for the better. But of course I will let you decide that for yourself. If you had haute cash prior to 5/31/18 then you may already have known this, but for those of you who did not. This time around was the first time Torrid has allowed shoppers to use their Haute Cash twice. They had a special date set from 5/31/18 to 6/4/18 where you could use your haute cash, and it wouldn’t go away. If you used it on that date you would accrue more haute cash and still be able to use them on the actual haute cash date which is 7/11/18 to 7/22/18. I think since they took away the universal codes, this is a good step of meeting people in the middle. Let me know in the comments what you think about it.

Another recent change has been a big increase in the range of heights available. I know that sounds a little awkward and little confusing, but I don’t know how else to say it so I will explain. Torrid has always had the petite/short, average, and tall lengths available in their jeans and some of their other pants. But that is where the options ended. Recently I noticed there are now additional options of extra short and extra tall. Unfortunately this change doesn’t seem to have affected their crop length jeans yet, but I hope that is a change they will make soon.

In addition there are now length options in their maxi dresses and even some tops. I think this is a great move for Torrid and their customers. It will really open up some clothing options that have been closed off due to height for so many people.

Now let’s get to the recommendations. For my recommendations I tried to give you a mix of things I actually own and things I have been wanting, while still showing a variety of styles. I picked three things from each category, at least the categories I had recommendations from. And they are broken down into those categories. I have made each of the pictures clickable so you can easily access the product pages.

Dresses
Veronica Black & Red Lipstick Bodycon Bustier Dress from Torrids Betty and Veronica collection

Betty & Veronica – Veronica Black & Red Lipstick Bodycon Bustier Dress

Berry and White Geo Print Embellished Gauze Maxi Dress from Torrid

Berry & White Geo Print Embellished Gauze Maxi Dress

Torrids Purple High Neck Jersey Mini Dress

Purple High Neck Jersey Mini Dress

 

Make sure to check out some of the great dresses at Torrid. I already own the Geo Print Maxi dress. I bought it last summer, and it was brought back this year by popular demand. The other two dresses I have had my eye on since they released.

Skirts And Pants
Retro Chic Black Tropical Full Skirt from Torrid

Retro Chic Black Tropical Full Skirt

Ivory Wide Leg Linen Trouser Pant from Torrid

Ivory Wide Leg Linen Trouser Pant

Torrids Black Floral Chiffon Pant

Black Floral Chiffon Pant

 

So I don’t own any of these, yet. But I most likely will be adding at least one of them to my close after the Haute Cash sale. You all probably know by now I am a fan of tropical prints. And the light airy fabrics these wide leg pants are made of

 

Graphic Tees And Tanks
Turquoise Unicorn Mermaid V-Neck Tee from Torrid

Turquoise Unicorn Mermaid V-Neck Tee

Torrids Wonder Woman Black & Metallic Pink Fitted Tee

Wonder Woman Black & Metallic Pink Fitted Tee

Heather Grey Mandala Triblend Tank from Torrid

Heather Grey Mandala Triblend Tank

 

Make sure to pick up a few graphic tees and tanks. They are a great way to be comfy but make a statement about something yourself or something you love. And they can make a great gift for birthdays and Christmas too.

 

Shirts And Blouses
Rose Pink Embroidered Crepe Babydoll Top from Torrid

Rose Pink Embroidered Crepe Babydoll Top

Torrids Olive Owl Pleated Tank

Olive Owl Pleated Tank

Charcoal Pintuck Crepe Peasant Tunic from Torrid

Charcoal Pintuck Crepe Peasant Tunic

If you’re looking for something to wear to work or for a date night, and dresses aren’t your thing, a nice blouse paired with pants might be more your speed.

Jeans
Torrids Jegging in White Wash

Jegging – White Wash

Premium Stretch Boyfriend Jean from Torrid in Medium Wash

Premium Stretch Boyfriend Jean – Medium Wash

Torrids Frayed Flared Jean in Light Wash

Frayed Flared Jean – Light Wash

I only really wear the jeggings from torrid anymore as they fit me the best. But I wanted to include a couple of other styles that I think are so cute that might fit other body types better than me. I think for most of us jeans are a staple, and Torrid has some of the best fits.

 

 

Shorts
Grey Floral Lace Short from Torrid

Grey Floral Lace Short

Boyfriend Bermuda Short from Torrid in Distressed Medium Wash

Boyfriend Bermuda Short – Distressed Medium Wash

Torrids Teal Linen Short

Teal Linen Short

 

I always like to have fun with my wardrobe, but I know not everyone has that luxury due to work and lifestyle. However, I think when the heat rises and you need to cool off, the one place everyone has a little more freedom to play is with shorts. Have and stay cool on your days off.

While your checking out what to purchase, don’t forget to pick up some staples like camis, bras, and shoes. Tell me in the comments what you plan to pick up during the Haute Cash sale.

 

 

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New Store Alert: Riley Rose

The last time I posted about a new store was when Torrid’s sister store Lovesick came around, and of course we know the head corporation has put them on pause for now. But as of recent a few new stores in various categories have come under my radar. Some I found out about because the companies have reached out to me, and some I just happened to stumble upon myself. But I thought since I am still in that period where I am having issues with health, now might be a great time to do some less labor intensive posts like share some info on these new stores.


Shop Riley Rose

Today I want to introduce you to Riley Rose. I found out about Riley Rose when the company emailed me asking me to join their affiliate program. Now if you read my post about affiliate links, you know lots of companies contact me all the time. But 90% of them have no interest to me or have nothing to do with any of the things I blog about. But once I took a look at the Riley Rose website, I knew they were a company made for me and so many of you.

Riley Rose is a beauty and lifestyle brand created by the same company that owns Forever 21. Chances are there is not a store close to you at this point, as they are pretty new and only have a handful of stores. The closest location to me right now seems to be in Chicago. But the great news is we can always order over the internet and they offer free shipping with any order of $40 or more.

Riley Rose Store Front

 

They carry a variety of makeup, skin care, hair care, accessories, and home décor. And while they are owned by Forever 21, they do carry things that will appeal to all ages. Just in the skin care line alone there is a range of high-end brands, indie brands, Korean/Asian brands, and brands that cater to the all natural lovers. There is something for every budget as well.

One of the things that stood out to me was the variety of brands that they carry are ones that I either already use or had a lot of interest in. The mix is typically ones I would have to shop two or three stores to get, or even in some cases purchase directly from the brand because I can’t find them anywhere else.

I have placed an order with Riley Rose, but we will talk about what I order once I get it. I most likely will do a review at that point. But for now I wanted to share a few of the interesting products that I spotted on the Riley Rose website. Each of the pictures will be clickable if you want to find the product on the Riley Rose website.

 

Quay Australia High Key Sunglasses

Quay Australia High Key Sunglasses

Tony Moly Angel Glow Ring Hair Mask

Tony Moly Angel Glow Ring Hair Mask

 

 

 

 

 

Decoflair Pineapple Luxe Candle

Decoflair Pineapple Luxe Candle

Lime Crime Diamond Crushers in the color Black Unicorn

Lime Crime Diamond Crushers – Black Unicorn

 

 

Blossom Crystal Lip Balm with a Purple Flower

Blossom Crystal Lip Balm – Purple Flower

Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow in the color Into the Blue

Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow – Into the Blue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is obviously just a small representation of the brands and products they offer. Make sure to check out the website for yourself. And tell me in the comments below what you think and what your favorite product is.

 

 

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Decoding Sponsored Posts, Banner Ads, And Affiliate Links

I have been considering doing this post for quite some time, but I hadn’t gotten around to it. There always seemed to be something else on priority ahead of it. But in light of the recent GDPR laws and in the spirit of being completely transparent, I thought now would be a good time to talk about the different ways I have implemented sponsored posts, banner ads, and affiliate links to try to at least get the blog to pay for itself.

For those of you who have been following the blog from early on, you all know that I did not make any efforts to make money in the beginning. I started this blog with the intent to help other women with loving themselves, finding products that work for them, and just basically living their best life. I have tried to be really open about the ways that I make money through the blog now, and when I first starting putting ad banners on the site I did a post explaining why I was adding them. My basic goal for earning money has been to at least break even. I haven’t met that goal yet, but I at least am getting closer.

I think it is a good thing that the law is starting to catch up to the age of the internet. There have been recent laws put in place for Europe, but governs over anyone who has citizens of Europe visit their website. This is known as the GDPR. Make sure to click that link if you want more information on the laws implemented.

But before the European laws even took effect the FTC imposed more regulations late last year on how sponsored posts must be identified. If you want to read more about the FTC rules follow this link.

Let’s break this down one at a time. I want to talk about each of ways I am earning money, explain a little of what they are, current rules surrounding each of them, and my personal rules of how to incorporate them.

Banner Ads

I want to talk about banner advertisements first because I think they are the most straight forward and easiest to understand. I mean who doesn’t know what a what a banner ad is at this point? But lets pretend for a moment you have never heard of them. What are they? According to the website How Stuff Works, “A banner ad is simply a special sort of hypertext link….With a basic text link a bit of HTML code instructs a Web server to bring up a particular Web page when a user clicks on a certain piece of text. Banner ads are essentially the same thing, except that instead of text, the link is displayed as a box containing graphics (usually with textual elements) and sometimes animation.”

Banner ads can fall into two camps. Like a news paper sells ad space, some websites sell premium spaces to companies with banner ads. Cost and payment arrangements are up to the individual website owner and are generally paid up front with no guarantee of clicks. The other type of banner ads are affiliate links. With affiliate links the website owner would have a predetermined arrangement with the company that says they either get paid per click (these are very rare) or a percentage when someone buys someone buys an item after clicking on the link.

Currently, I only have affiliate link banners on my website. I have a couple of rules about what companies I will place banner ads on the site. The company must first fit within the categories I blog about and offer products that I think will benefit all of you, my readers. And the company must offer products that I feel comfortable recommending, products that I do/would buy.

Affiliate Links

While banner ads are a type of affiliate link, I wanted to talk about the other types of affiliate link, the ones that are more affected by recent laws. They are way more subtle than your average banner ad because they look just like any other hyper text link, but they lead to a tracked affiliate website. And when you make a purchase using one of the links, the website owner receives either a small percentage of the cost or sometimes there is a set fee. These links do not affect your purchase price, the cost is the same no matter what. Sometimes there is an added benefit of getting advance notice of sales and new releases from someone who is an affiliate of a company.

You may have noticed a few months ago the addition of some text to the bottom of all of my posts. It reads as follows, “Please note that some text links on this site may lead to affiliate links. However your prices will not be affected and you are under no obligation to use my link. Thank you to all who help keep this blog up and running.” I will also be adding a similar blurb to the top of all blog posts soon. I did this in a way that it appears on every post simply because it is easier for me. This way I don’t have to try to remember it every time I make a post. Better safe than sorry is the motto here.

I worded this specifically to say some text links because not all of the links on my website are affiliate links. Many post don’t have any affiliate links in them. I have actually heard a few bloggers/influencers/vlogger say they never share a link unless it is an affiliate link, but I just can’t get behind this idea. If my only goal with blogging was to make money, then I suppose that would be how I would do things. But as already stated, my goal when starting this blog was to help other women. Not to knock anyone else for the choices they make personally, I just feel that seems counter productive and a good reason not to trust someone’s recommendations if they only link to things they will make money from.

Sponsored Posts

This is the place where I feel things get the most confusing, mainly because there is more than one type of sponsored post and some companies blur the lines of the definition of a sponsored post. Traditionally a sponsored post would be any sort of post that a blogger/influencer/vlogger got paid for or received free product for in lieu of monetary payment. Click here to read more about sponsored post.

I do occasionally do sponsored blog post as well as social media posts. Because there are some big differences in what gets marked as sponsored on the blog versus social media I want to talk about them individually.

I think that the sponsored posts on the blog is what will fit closest to the traditional definition of a sponsored post. I haven’t done many, and the ones I have done have been mainly reviews. When I am asked to do a sponsored post I only agree if it is a product I have actual interest in trying. I also make it clear to the companies that I work with that I only do honest reviews but I do try to remain objective. Companies know going in I will say if there is something I don’t like, but I also try to be fair and tell if I think the product would work better for someone else. So essentially I treat my sponsored reviews the same way I do any other review I do.

Things tend to be a little different with sponsored posts on Social Media. There are way more nuances that I think can be confusing for the viewers. I usually try to say something in the post that indicates what sort of sponsorship the post is, but not everyone does this.

Just like a blog post, sponsored social media posts can fit the same description of a post that is paid either with money or product. Some of those paid posts can be pre-written by the sponsoring company, while others are done in the influencers/vloggers own words. Paid posts can range from mini reviews to something as casual as just showing the product. And occasionally a paid post could just be a link to someone else’s blog post (this type typically only get paid if people share or react to the post).

In addition to paid posts, there are also posts that get marked as sponsored that maybe the products were just discounted. Again if the influencer/vloggers do not include information on what sort of sponsorship this is you have no way to distinguish this apart from a paid post.

I do share sponsored posts on my various social media. The majority of the ones I post are the type that are just discounted products, but I have on occasion done paid posts. Most of those paid post have been the type where you just share a product or review it. But my philosophies on what jobs I accept pretty much follow the same rules as I do for choosing sponsored blog posts and affiliate links.

I hope have written this in a way that helps give you all some insight into how banner ads, affiliate links, and sponsored posts work as well as I how I incorporate them. I welcome any questions or comments, so put them in the comments. Let me know if you need me to clarify something.

 

 

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