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Product Fails – Plus Size Clothing, Makeup, Skin Care, and Personal Care – March 2018

Product fails for March 2018

Product fails for March 2018

Recently quite a few of my readers here have expressed interest in seeing the products that did not work for me, so I bring you Product Fails. I don’t expect this to be a post that appears more than three or four times a year. I think in general I am decent at picking items that work well for me. But I do have occasional fails, so whenever I feel I have enough collected to make a post I will share them.

Please remember that for the most part, just because a product doesn’t work for me it doesn’t automatically make it a bad product. I will try my best in these post to describe why the product didn’t work for me. And if I really feel the product is bad, I will also make sure to include that info.

I am sure that each time will cover a variety of products. This time I have some clothing, makeup, and personal care items to talk about. So let’s get started.


Maybelline Total Temptation Palette

This is the Maybelline Total Temptation Eyeshadow and Highlight Palette. I have been really excited and pleased about most of the new makeup Maybelline has been releasing. I picked this up recently at my local pharmacy, though I have spotted it as several places. While I still think it looks beautiful, it just didn’t work for me.

The highlights both looked good on me, but the purple one was very dry and hard to apply to the skin. Most of the eye shadows were soft and buttery, and easy to pick up on brushes. However I found that the majority didn’t show up on my skin, and with the exception of a couple of colors they were too easily blended and muddied together.

Skin Care

Cashmere Cleanse Brush Head by ClarisonicThis is the Cashmere Cleanse Brush Head for the Clarisonic Mia2. I had previously been using the Deep Pore Cleansing Brush Head, but I decided I wanted to try something a little more gentle on the skin for a while.

I wanted to give this one a try because the box said it was good for hydration, and I am in desperate need of all of that I can get lately. The Cashmere brush head was definitely gentler on the skin than the Deep Poor Brush Head, but I think for me it was too gentle. I get more exfoliation from just a wash clothe. And I really didn’t feel that it impacted the hydration of my skin at all. I will definitely be trying out a different brush head next month because this one did not work for me.

Personal Care

Not Your Mother's Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner

If you caught my review of the Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Shampoo and Conditioner, then seeing them on this list should be no surprised. I don’t want to go into a whole other review here on this post as you can go back and check that review out if you want. But I will definitely say, this is one of those products that was just wrong for me but I am sure it is right for someone.


For the clothing I did not bother to do a styled shoot. These all were pretty bad. And with the exception of one item they got sent back, but I will explain that when we get to it. All pictures of the clothing are clickable if you want to see them closer up for detail.

If you noticed that I haven’t done a Hidden Gems of Amazon post since the one I did pre Valentine’s Day, there is a reason why. Part of that reason is because I had ordered this sweater to show you. It is the RM Fashions Womens Long Sleeve Chunky Knitted Heart Print Cardigan Sweater. I ordered it in a 3X, however there were massive problems with it including the sizing.

As soon as I  opened the package I saw there were picks in the fabric and small signs of wear. You can’t really see this part in the pictures. I really suspected they had accidentally sent me a returned item. What you can see in the picture is that it is very small on me. The arms were extremely tight. It didn’t really fit all the way around me like it should have, even if I pulled it like in the first pictures I couldn’t get it around my breast.

I see the company has now changed the sizing on their page to say XXXL, but previously they were marked 3X. I don’t think they would fit anyone over a size 1X, if that. It may even be best for a misses XL. It is a real shame that it has such problems because the fabric thickness and print was perfect for around Valentine’s day.


I am really sad to bring you these next two products. I actually bought them from eShakti for a blog post about their custom sizing. Previously I had only ordered from eShakti’s sized items. So many of you had expressed in a recent Facebook discussion that you have various issues with finding clothing that fit you correctly due to height or body shape, so I thought it was a good time to try out eShakti’s custom sizing. I also had been looking for places to list as places to find plus size steampunk clothing, and I had noticed they recently started carrying some items that fit the aesthetic.

First I got the Ruffle Cuff Charmeuse Satin Blouse. This is no longer available, not that you want it. And in case you were wondering what it was supposed to look like, here is their photo.
stock photo of eShakti's Ruffle cuff charmeuse satin blouseNow in case you are thinking that I possibly put the wrong measurements in, not the case. You see my measurements are almost spot on for the sized pieces I usually order. Not only was the body and arms way too big, but the sleeves were too short, the armholes were in the wrong place, and when I raised my arms the area puckered up. How that last part even happens I don’t know.

Lace trim faux wrap cotton knit skirt customed from eShakti

And now for the piece I kept and what was wrong with it. This is the Lace Trim Faux Wrap Cotton Knit Skirt. If you follow me on Instagram you already saw this look from my Steampunk group meeting earlier this month. This one actually fit correctly, so I want to give them that. However, there were several problems that you would not know by just looking at it without 1. putting it on, and 2. seeing the original picture.

The visual differences are pretty subtle, and you probably aren’t going to be able to see them like you would in person. But when you put the skirt on, or even just examining it, there are some very obvious seeming issues. It left almost little lumps in the side seems. But overall, it was still usable, so I decided to keep this one.

Now as you may know, I say all the time, for me it is not the lack of problems that determines how I feel about a company but rather how the company chooses to handle it. Well a couple of days after I received my order I received an email from eShakti saying that if there were any issues with my order or if I had questions to respond to that email, so I did. I made sure to explain the problems, I explained why I ordered, and I said please lets fix this so I feel comfortable recommending your products to my readers. Three weeks later I had still not received a response. I sent a second less polite email saying how unhappy I was at their lack of response and that I was proceeding with the return before time runs out. (You have 30 days to send the return back from when you receive it.)

During those three weeks I managed to receive daily emails about their sales, plus several email asking me to rate my happy experience. I think that upped my upset meter a bit. In addition to the second email I send I also sent comments with the returns explaining why I was upset and that I had really wanted someone to contact me. It has been three more weeks since then. I have since received a ton more sales ads, an email notifying me they received my return, and an email saying my refund was being processed. Still no contact or response of any kind from the company.

I had only back in December added them as one of my affiliate companies so I could put their ads here on the site. I am really so disgusted with them that I dropped them as affiliates. Their total lack of response after asking me to respond to them by email if I had problems just cut my whole confidence down in the whole company. This has left such a bad taste in my mouth I doubt I will ever shop with them again and I can’t in good conscience refer anyone to shop there as it stands.


If you would really like to see some recommendations now, you don’t have to wait till my next blog post, you can check out my Amazon recommended list anytime. I do update it periodically, so items change all the time.


Tell me in the comments below if you have tried any of these products. How was your experience?



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Product Review: Amazon Prime Coffee & Tea Sample Box

Amazon Prime Coffee & Tea Sample Box

If you caught my post a few weeks back all about the benefits of Amazon Prime, I told you I would be starting to review some of the products and service only available through Amazon Prime. That day has arrived. I am starting with some of the sample boxes available. I want to reiterate, these are only available to Amazon Prime members.

When you purchase a sample or sample box on Amazon, the amount you spend is credited to your account after your sample ships. Once you receive your samples you can log in and select to use your credit on a list of approved items.

Today we are looking at the Coffee & Tea Sample Box.

Amazon Prime Coffee & Tea Sample Box

How It Arrived

Each sample box is shipped in its own individual box. They come in the usual brown box, but are marked Amazon Sample Box. This particular one was rather on the plain side compared to the others I have ordered. Some are quite elaborately designed, as you will see in upcoming reviews. This box was by far the heaviest out of the sample boxes I have ordered.

What Was Included

The coffee and tea sample box is unique because you are actually getting full size products. But they are available in other sizes and in cases. The page description says you get six or more items in this box, and that samples may vary. Here is what came in mine:

1 illy Caffe Unsweetened, 6.8 fl oz

1 illy Cappuccino, 8.45 fl oz

1 Gold Peak Chai Tea Latte, Vanilla, 14 Fluid Ounce

1 Gold Peak Coffee Drink, Almond Toffee, 14 Fluid Ounce

1 Java Monster, Mean Bean, 15 Ounce

1 Honest Tea (Organic Unsweet Peach Ginger Tea, 16.9-Ounce Bottle

1 Honest Tea (Organic Honey Green Tea, 16.9-Ounce Bottle


I actually got the exact drinks pictured in the listing, and there is a good chance you will too.

My Thoughts After Trying Products

For this box, I thought that based on the picture that as long as I got at least one tea drink I was pretty sure I would like something in this sample box. And as you can see I got two tea drinks.

I did at least tasted everything in the box except the Monster drink, I already know I don’t like those. But my husband doesn’t like Monster, so I passed that to him. He said he preferred his regular flavor. Before I tell you my thoughts on the other products, I want to make it clear, this is not a statement on whether these products are good or not. It is just my personal taste and dietary needs.

The first things I tried were the two Gold Peak coffee drinks. I wasn’t really a fan of either of them. They were too sweet for my taste. Way sweeter than anything I have tried from Starbucks. So maybe if you can’t find coffee drinks that are sweet enough for you, these may be a good choice for you.

I then tried both of the Honest teas. The unsweet Peach Ginger tea was a bit of a disappointment for me. I thought that with the peach flavor there, it shouldn’t need sugar added. I was unfortunately wrong. I even tried adding a bit of sugar myself, but it just didn’t seem to help it. The Honey Green Tea however was my favorite thing in the box. I have had a similar product from another brand that I also enjoy, so I am not surprised that this was the favorite.

Finally I tried the two drinks from illy. I again was not a fan of the unsweetened caffe drink. I felt a bit torn on the Cappuccino drink though. I liked the initial taste, but there was an overwhelming metallic after-taste. I can’t help but think that if this drink were stored in a different type of container this might have been my favorite drink. But as it was I couldn’t drink it with that after-taste.

How Using Your Credit Works

Once you have tried all of your samples, or really anytime after receiving you sample box, you can log into your account to find your credit. Now I initially found it a little difficult to find where the credit was located. If you also are having a difficult time, then there are two ways to get to your credit. If you already have a link to the Amazon Sample page that is the most direct way to get to it, and I have linked to that page for you at the beginning of this post.

If however you do not have the direct link to the samples page, then the easiest way to get to that page is by going to the list of your orders in your account. Find the sample box in the list and click on it. At the top of all samples, and sample box, pages there is a link to the sample pages.

Once you arrive at the sample page there will be a box in the top left corner that tells you how much credit you have and link to take you to the redemption page. When you get to the page to redeem your credit there is also a link that says see all products that qualify for redemption. I found with this box there was more variety in flavors and product sizes to choose from than what came in the box.

What I Chose

I think you probably won’t be surprised that I ordered tea. I didn’t just order one tea, I ordered a variety of the Honest Teas. Of course a couple of those were the Honey Green Tea. I don’t know about all of the options, but the ones I chose were only available through Amazon Prime Pantry, so that is something to keep in mind with this box.

Once you make your selections the sample box will still be viewable through your orders list, but it will say it is no longer available. These are one time purchases.


Tell me in the comments if you have tried this sample box or any of the products in it. What did you like/not like?


Shop Snarky Tea Today!

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8 Fragrance Free Products That Are Necessities

No fragrance products

I talk about my Balsam of Peru allergy here on the blog a lot. It affects most aspects of my life, so I think it would be weird if I didn’t talk about it here. An allergy to Balsam of Peru is technically categorized as a fragrance allergy, but it’s so much more. Even though there is more to it, fragrance can still affect you in a major way. And it’s not just chemical fragrances, scents that are categorized as natural are often just as dangerous or more.

I realize that I often do talk about and review products that have fragrance. There are two reasons for that. 1. I don’t react to all fragrances, and 2. The severity of my reactions aren’t nearly as bad as some people with the same allergy, so I often feel like I want to test things for them. Its my way of helping others I suppose.

Balsam of Peru is not the only fragrance related allergy, there are many others. When you have an allergy that is affected by fragrance, finding fragrance free products that work are a necessity but they can also be hard to find. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have found fragrance free products, then get excited, but once I try them they just don’t function the way that they should. I often feel like companies just don’t care as much about the fragrance free products as much since they know the people who buy them are often just stuck using them because of lack of options. Because ultimately they should be able to make the same products, just without the fragrance, and they then would perform the same as normal. That is why I wanted to share these fragrance free products I use in my everyday life that I know work without question.


1 all Free & Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent

>Out of all the things I react to, one of the strongest reactions I was having till I found the right one was detergent. I suppose because it was constantly touching my skin and not just in a small area. I tried various brands of free & clear detergent before I got to the one from all. While they all were free of fragrances and dyes, they just didn’t get laundry clean the way that you would expect. When I tried all Free & Clear it was a world of difference.

2. Snuggle Free & Clear Fabric Softener

I think fabric softener is as much of a necessity for most people as much as detergent is. Snuggle softener works well, and you can get it in other form than just liquid if you prefer them.

3. Basis Sensitive Skin Bar Soap

Bar soap was a challenge for me. I feel like this is the one thing on the market that has quite a few fragrance free options, but for a Balsam of Peru allergy there is more that we have to look at than just fragrance. And there are a handful of bars out there that say they are fragrance free that don’t seem like it. Dove for example has a fragrance free bar, but I can still smell something that smells like perfume. But Basis is what my allergist recommended, and it worked great for me. I thought that not only was it getting me clean, but it also felt soothing to my skin, so bonus.


4. Innerskin Soothing Cleansing Water H2O

Innerskin Soothing cleanser

I wear makeup a few times a week, but wearing makeup can be rough on the skin if not removed properly. This cleanser from Innerskin is a miceller water and is great for removing makeup with just a swipe. It also feels great on the skin and is very soothing.


5. Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator

clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator

As I said, skin care is super important to me. And a great moisturizer can make all of the difference in the world when it comes to how your skin looks. It used to be that there were very few choices for fragrance free moisturizers, but there are a lot of options out there these days. But Clinique has been offering a completely fragrance free line for the longest time, and they know what they are doing as well (You are going to see more than one product from them in this list.) This Moisture Surge Intense is my favorite moisturizer of all time. It works great for anyone that has dry, aging, irritated, or textured skin. And any combination of those as well. In the line they have moisturizers for other skin types too, so there is something for everyone. I have other moisturizers I use for specific situations, but this is absolutely my go to moisturizer, you can see and feel a dramatic difference in your skin within minutes of use.


6. Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask

Moisture Surge Overnight Mask

For those occasions that you feel moisturizer just isn’t cutting it, Clinique’s Moisture Surge Overnight Mask is here to help. It not only moisturizes while you sleep, but you also wake up with your skin looking brighter and glowing.


7. Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray

Cliniquee Moisture Surge Face Spray

One last thing from Clinique’s Moisture Surge Line is their Face Spray. This a great multi-purpose product. Use it as a makeup setting spray, light moisturizer, or just a cooling refresher spray.


8. Almay Sensitive Skin Fragrance Free Clear Gel, Anti-Perspirant and Deodorant

When I was searching for a fragrance free deodorant, there really weren’t many choices out there. Of course that was almost ten years ago, and the options have really grown. But out of the ones I have tried I feel the Almay Gel Deodorant was superior. It kept me feeling and smelling fresh without the fragrance. As an honorable mention, I wanted to say I have heard quite a few people say they had great success with JASON Fragrance Free Deodorant Stick.
So tell me in the comments what fragrance free products are a necessity in your life?



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Plus Size Brand Spotlight: City Chic

Collage of City Chic Dresses I own.

I decided to do a series of Plus Size Brand Spotlights because I wanted to start sharing more focused information on plus size brands. I want to show off some of the things I have from the brand as well as some of the things that are currently available for purchase. But I also wanted to go beyond just the clothing and maybe talk about some of the other things that make some of my favorite companies great.

I decided to talk about City Chic for the very first Brand Spotlight. I have talked about how they are one of my favorite brands many times, and I thought it only made sense to talk about them here.

Clothing I Own

Over the last few years I have shown you a lot of great items from City Chic over the last few years. Let’s start by taking a look at some of the items in my closet. So if you have been following me for a while you probably have seen many of these. To see each picture larger, just click on them.

Currently only the Fleetwood Black Chiffon Wrap Maxi Dress and the Hot Summer Days Printed Chiffon Maxi Dress are available. However, City Chic often brings items back, especially if they know their customers want an item. So if you see an item you like, make sure to contact them and know you would like to see them bring it back.

The Fit & Style

For the most part City Chic fits very similarly to the clothing at Torrid. Being an hourglass shape, most of their clothes fits me very well. The one exception is bottoms. Not so much skirts, but anything with leg holes in them.

I have had a hard time finding something with the right fit for me. I have tried jeans, shorts, and pants and a couple were okayish, they just were not good enough of a fit to wear on the regular. That is not to say that I wouldn’t try any more pants, only the ones I have tried were not meant to fit my body shape. Based on what I have tried I would assume their pants were meant more for someone with an apple shape.

I think they do a good job with their sizing and consistency of the clothing being that size. But like anywhere there are occasional items that haven’t been exact. Overall I would say that 95% of the time clothing I order from City Chic fits me as I expect. I typically wear a 20 at Lane Bryant and Torrid, and at City Chic I wear their size L which they say is a 20.

The style available changes a bit season to season. If I had to compare them to other stores I would say take one part Torrid, one part ModCloth, and one part Eloquii. Mix those together and you would have the essentials of what City Chic is. Now if you are for some reason not familiar those other stores either, let me put it in terms of styles. I think City Chic gives you a bit of trendy fast fashion, there is also some elements of vintage, and you have some more unusual pieces that look more fashion forward.


What’s Available Now


Here are some of my favorite things currently available on City Chic’s website. I actually have a couple of them, I just don’t have pictures of me in them yet. I have the Pink Lulu Wrap Dress, and it is one of the few I would recommend sizing down one on.


Beyond The Clothing

In order to become one of my favorite companies, you have to do more than just offer a product I want. Having the product is just the start. Your customer service and how you choose to handle problems when they arise are what can make or break your company, at least in my eyes.

The way I look at it, there is no such thing as a company that doesn’t make some sort of mistake or have some sort of accident happen. When those things inevitably happen are you going to treat your customers like they are thieves just trying to take something from you, or are you going to address the problem and treat your customer with total respect and do the best you can to make things right? I have only ever had a couple of small problems when shopping with city chic, and I can honestly say that their customer service department is so great. They are doing it right, and treating customers the way they should be.

Add to that they now offer free shipping both ways(purchases and returns), and a guarantee on their fit. What more could I ask for in a company. They have a loyal customer for life.


Tell me in the comments below if you have tried City Chic. What was your experience with them?


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Product Review: Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner

Not Your Mother's Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner

I am on a personal mission this year to find a shampoo and conditioner that both works for my hair type and for my sensitive scalp. To be more specific, I need something to help with my contact dermatitis. I want to go beyond not causing an allergic reaction and find something that will actually help the skin on my scalp.

To keep these reviews relevant to more people than just those with a Balsam of Peru allergy or some other sort of fragrance allergy, in addition to general information about the shampoo each review will be broken down into sections. I will do half of the review just based on how effective it is at cleansing, price, ease of use, etc.. The second part of each review will be based on the effects on my allergy as well as discussion of ingredients used.

I am of mixed heritage, and I don’t have typical white girl hair. My hair is very thick and coarse. It tends to be very dry, and can turn brittle if I wash it too often or don’t condition it enough. But my hair is reasonably healthy outside of that, as I do not use heat on it very often and I try to take care of it to the best of my ability.

My scalp goes back and forth between dry and oily depending on the time of the year and the products I have used. My biggest struggle with my scalp is from the allergic contact dermatitis. This causes a dry, scaley, itchy coverage on the scalp that looks a lot like dandruff. I have never been able to get it fully cleared up on my scalp. At its worst, when I have a reaction to something, it also burns and can blister.

Now that we have covered the basics of what I am looking for in a shampoo and conditioner and what I my particular needs are, lets take a look at the actual shampoo and conditioner we are reviewing today.

The Product

Not Your Mother's Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner

This is the Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner. I bought mine online at, but it is also available in most Ulta stores as well as Walgreens. Each 16 oz. bottle sells for $8.99, at least at Ulta.

I decided to give this set a try because of several reasons. I have had previous good experiences with the Not Your Mother’s Brand, I just hadn’t tried any of their shampoos and conditioners. I also have had relatively good experiences with the main ingredients. Coconut is always good for my skin, and seems to do well in my hair as well. And the blue sea kale, well I have not had a direct experience with it, but other ocean plants like kelp have been successful in the past. Plus since this is a drugstore brand the price is right and it would be easy for me to find at a moments notice.


Shop Snarky Tea Today!

How It Performed

Not Your Mother's Shampoo

This shampoo had a lot going for it, and so I was pretty hopeful that I would have a great shampoo. Unfortunately, it fell flat for me. I really expect anything coconut to be super moisturizing. This was not. If anything I felt it was drying, and by the end of washing my hair with it my hair felt a rough.

Not Your Mother's Conditioner

Now the conditioner fared slightly better, but not by much. Just the nature of what conditioner is means it’s not going to dry my hair out. It did moisturizer, but it just wasn’t the intensity that I needed. And oddly enough, even though the moisture was light, it left my hair feeling weighed down and limp.

Overall, I would say that this shampoo and conditioner is fine for anyone who has thick hair, but it would be best for someone who stays on the oily side. I would not recommend it for coarse hair or dry hair. I also would not recommend the conditioner for anyone with fine, thin hair. I think this set is going to be for a very specific hair type.

The Allergy Affect

When it comes to my Balsam of Peru allergy it can get really complicated as to what will or won’t affect me. You can read the ingredient list and not see anything that looks problematic and it still can be. Then there are also times that you can look at the ingredient list, be really nervous about what’s on the list, and then nothing happen. In this case the ingredient list for both the shampoo and conditioner was rather on the small side compared to a lot of hair care products I have used over the years.

The only ingredient I was the least bit wary of was fragrance. The Balsam of Peru allergy does get classified as a fragrance allergy, but it’s not really. It is used in some fragrances, but not all. So I sometimes react to fragrances, and sometime I don’t. In these cases I know certain scents to stay away from for sure, and for the rest I do a smell test. What I mean is I can usually tell by just smelling the product whether I will react. Upon smelling the product, it seemed like I was in the all clear.

After washing my hair with the Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Coconut Water Shampoo and Conditioner everything seemed fine. I thought for a bit I had hit the jackpot on the first shampoo and conditioner I was trying. But unfortunately about three to four hours after washing my hair I started to experience a reaction. Full on itching and burning that led into flaking skin. It fell just short of causing blisters. So this was a fail on the allergy front too.

Final Thoughts

This shampoo and conditioner from Not Your Mother’s was just not a good match for me. Since I had an allergic reaction, there was definitely no point in trying it a second time. If it were not for the allergic reaction, I probably would have given it at least a second shot just to see if my hair reacted different.

I will be reviewing a lot of shampoos and conditioners this year, so if there is one you would like to see me review leave the name or a link to it in the comments, or alternatively you can send me a message on the contact page. I would love to hear your feedback. Also, tell me in the comments if there is anything more you want to know about the shampoos and conditioners I try. Did I leave some needed information out?


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Coming Soon To A My Plus Size Life Blog Post Near You

I wanted to keep everyone updated on some things coming up. I have a lot of different things in the works. I will be introducing several new things here on the blog. We will be trying them out, at least for a while.

In my recent post about the benefits of Amazon Prime I mentioned I would be reviewing some of the features and products you can get as a Prime member. I have the first one of those almost ready for you. And as always if there is something in particular you want to hear about let me know so I can move that to the front of the line.

Also in the works are a couple of guest posts that I hope you will enjoy. Not only do I have a couple of people who are going to write some posts here, I will also be doing a guest post on someone else’s blog, so I will keep you updated on when that happens.

I will be continuing to do the outfit posts, Amazon Hidden Gems, and makeup reviews as usual. But this year I wanted to add some brand focused posts in both fashion and makeup, and possibly skin care. I would do a more focused look at the overall brand and their sizing (if fashion related) and quality as well as share any pictures of items I own from them. I would like to help you guys discover brands that work for you. On the flip side of that, I will also occasionally be doing a flop post. This is where I would share products that either just didn’t work for me or maybe even downright disasters.

I also have planned some topics based around the discussions being had over on my Facebook page. I have been trying to be more interactive on all of my social media. And I really love hearing from all of you who participate. During discussions we have had I thought there were certain topics that really needed a blog post. Some of these are taking longer to do because of the research that has to go into them. If you aren’t already following me on Facebook, I really encourage you to do so. I would love for you to come be a part of the discussion that will help shape the future of this blog.

I will also be on a personal mission this year to fins hair care product that goes beyond not causing an allergic reaction. I hope to find something that actually helps both my hair and scalp. I will be reviewing all the products I try.

I also want to make an effort to share more health and social justice related topics. I would really like for my blog to be the type of place that we can talk about everything and I hope I earn your trust while doing it.

Please share in the comments what topic you would like me to cover on the blog or if there is a product you would like to see reviewed.


e.l.f. cosmetics

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Product Review: PF Chang’s Home Menu Sesame Sauce & Bonus Recipe

Inside the PF Chang's Home Menu VoxBox, I had the Sesame Sauce and a coupon to use towards another product of choice.

I received the PF Changs at Home Menu VoxBox

The people at Influenster recently sent me the PF Chang’s Home Menu VoxBox. If you are wondering what a VoxBox is you can check out my first post about getting a VoxBox to find out more. To potentially get a VoxBox of your own, sign up on Influenster’s Website. You don’t have to be a blogger or YouTube personality to receive them, you just have to have social media and be willing to review products and share them on your various social media accounts.

Each VoxBox you receive from Influenster is different depending on the brand or theme they are centered around. Some VoxBoxes everyone gets the exact same thing, and other ones like this box there is a variety of things you could potentially get. Some boxes you are told up front exactly what you are receiving, and with others you don’t know until you open the box. With the PF Chang’s Home Menu VoxBox I knew I was receiving a sauce, but I didn’t know which one.

What I did know was that there were four options of what I could receive, and they are pictured on front of the box I received. The four sauces you might have received in this box is Kung Pao, Teriyaki, Mongolian, or Sesame.

Prior to receiving this VoxBox I was already a fan of PF Chang’s Restaurants. I had tried several of the PF Chang’s Home Menu frozen products. However I was not aware that these sauces were available to purchase.

Inside the PF Chang's Home Menu VoxBox, I had the Sesame Sauce and a coupon to use towards another product of choice.

When I opened my box I saw I had the Sesame Sauce as well as a coupon for $1 off a sauce of my choice and a card with a recipe suggestion on it.

The recipe they suggested for this sauce is a Sesame Stir Fry. But their recipe calls for chicken, and as most of you know I eat a Pescatarian Diet most ten months out of the year. Granted that is what most people think of in the US when they think Sesame Sauce, so I am not surprised PF Chang’s Home Menu’s recommended recipe included chicken. If you want to see the recipe they recommend, click here.

The great thing about PF Chang’s Home Menu Sesame Sauce is that it’s not really a super sweet sauce like you get at many Chinese takeout restaurants. Instead I think the vinegar tastes shine more, and it really lets the taste of the Sesame rise to the surface. This makes it so much easier to pair it with a much broader variety of meats.

So when I made time to cook with the sauce I decided to stick with making a stir fry, but I changed up the ingredients to suit my mine and my husbands dietary needs and tastes. I made a brief video of me cooking the stir-fry along with the directions to make it the way I did.

This was so simple and easy to make, and I love the way the Sesame Sauce tastes with the shrimp. I will definitely purchase the sauce on my own. And I am quite eager to give the other sauces a try. This is definitely one of my favorite VoxBoxes I have ever received.

If you are interested in seeing other people’s post and videos on various social media about these sauces you can search the hashtags #RecipesThatWok and #SauceThingsUp.

Let me know in the comments if you have tried these sauces before. And don’t forget to share any recipes or tips you have for using them.


Shop Cratejoy - The ultimate online destination for subscription boxes.

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Update: After One Month Of Sleeping On Purple

The purple bed

The purple bed
Last month I posted all about getting a bed from Purple and my impression after sleeping on it for a week. So if you want to hear all about the buying process and my first week of sleep, make sure to check that out if you haven’t already. At the end of that post I promised that I would be doing some updates, and here I am back with my update after one month.

If you read the last post then you know I was having a couple of issues that left me unsure whether I was going to keep the mattress or not. They recommend that people give it at least thirty days before making a decisions, and say that some people with back issues have a harder time adjusting. And since you have a one hundred day period to try the mattress out at home, I wanted to give it as much of a chance as possible.

I am happy to report that things are going much better with the mattress. When I did my first weeks impression post I was very much torn and it was a 50/50 toss on whether I was going to keep the mattress. But the mystery pain I was having seems to be gone. I am actually sleeping solidly through most nights now, which is a rarity. If I do wake up its more like I turn over once and go right back to sleep. So I am now at a 90% sure that I am keeping the mattress.

I have actually went back to trying the pillow out too. I am still a bit more torn on the pillow because there are things I like about it and things I don’t. I love that it alleviates the neck pain I would often get at night. I also love that it never gets hot. But it is the worlds heaviest pillow. If I try to sleep like I normally would with my arm under the pillow, the weight will cut off circulation in my arm and it will go to sleep.

So at this point I probably won’t do another update on the mattress unless something changes drastically and I decide to get rid of it, or if I feel it starts to wear out faster than it should. I will definitely share those types of things with you.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about the bed or the pillow.


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Two Affordable Plus Size Dresses You Can Still Get In Time For Valentine’s Day

Two affordable plus size dresses available on Amazon Prime

Valentine’s Day is upon us in just a few short days. Perhaps you have special plans for that day, or like me you are waiting for the following weekend to have a special evening with the one you love, because after all it should be about spending time with someone special and not about the date.

Maybe you want something special to wear, but you haven’t had time to find something. Or maybe you are on a budget and haven’t found something affordable that you like. Well I have a couple of great dresses to show you that are both affordable and should be able to make it to most people in the US before actual Valentine’s Day.

Two affordable plus size dresses available on Amazon Prime

On the left is the Agnes Orinda Sweetheart Neckline Dress, and on the right is the ESPRLIA Plus Size Lace Off The Shoulder Bodycon Dress. Both of these dresses would normally be in one of the Hidden Gems of Amazon feature, but I thought since they both seemed like good affordable options for Valentine’s Day date dresses we would go this route. But honestly they both can be worn for many other occasions.

Before we get started, I will once again go over my sizing to give you a reference for these dresses. I typically wear a 20W or 2X at most plus size stores like Lane Bryant or Torrid. My measurements are Bust: 49″ Waist: 42″ Hips: 54″. I wear a 40DDD bra.

Lets take a look at the Agnes Orinda dress first.

Here is the size chart they have posted:

International Size—-Chest Girth—-Waist Girth—-Hip Girth—–Shoulder Width
1X————————–46—————–39—————48—————–16 1/2
3X————————–50—————–43—————52—————–17 1/2

I ordered the 3X, and it does fit okay, but I think I would have been okay ordering the size 2X as well. The fabric has more stretch than I expected. It is a thicker fabric, so it works well for the winter if you live in a colder climate. In the coldest weather you would still need coat to pair with it. Overall I thought it was a nice, pretty dress that also happens to be very comfortable.

This dress comes in just this dark purple color. Available in sizes 1X to 3X, as the size chart implies. It sells for just $18.99 and free Prime Shipping. This brand has lots of other affordable options as well if this dress is not your style.


And now lets look at the ESPRILIA dress:

Here is the size chart posted for this dress:

Esprlia Size Chart

I ordered this dress in the 2X size. I think the fit was perfect on this one. I think if I ordered up most of the body would have been okay, but the way the shoulders are made would have left that area too big. The fabric on this one is much thinner. I actually put a light shaper on with this one. This wasn’t for shaping my body, but just for modesty and warmth. I would have used a slip, but I couldn’t find mine. This is going to be a better option for those of you that live in warmer weather, if you want it for Valentine’s Day. But it would be a great Spring and Summer dress everywhere.

This dress comes in two color options. There is a black option and this one. The page says it is pink, though it is closer to peach in person. Available in sizes 0X to 4X. It sells for just $23.99 with free Prime Shipping. This brand also has several other affordable options to try.


Let me know in the comments what you will be wearing for Valentine’s Day.




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What Is Really Included In Your Amazon Prime Membership

Amazon Prime Membership Benefits

So if you are like me then you probably don’t read most of the emails you get from companies you buy from. This includes Amazon. So unless it’s really brought to your attention, you may not know exactly what is included in your Amazon Prime membership beyond the couple of things your signed up for.

For the longest time I didn’t realize there was anything more than free prime shipping and prime video. I slowly started to learn about some other benefits, but I still didn’t realize the full extent of what you get with Prime. So when I recently posted about the new service Amazon is starting, the soon to be Amazon Wardrobe, I did quite a bit of research and discovered some things I didn’t know was available to Prime members. And since there seems to be such a big response to the posts I do about Amazon, I thought I would start talking about more of the things you can get through Prime and occasionally reviewing some of them as well as some of the add-on services you can sign up for.

The Cost Breakdown

I am guessing most of you know at least the basics of Amazon Prime. But just in case you didn’t here is a quick rundown. Amazon Prime will cost you $99.00 a year, or alternatively you can choose to pay monthly at $12.99. What many people may not know is that if you are a family that is on a tight budget and gets any sort of assistance through an EBT card, then you qualify for a discounted option called Prime Discounted Monthly Offering. If you don’t already have Prime, then you can get a 30 day free trial to either Amazon Prime or Prime Discounted.

The Basics

First, lets talk about the two things that I consider the basics of Amazon Prime. I think these are the benefits the average person is going to be more familiar with from Amazon, and it’s certainly what springs to mind for me first when I think of Prime. How familiar you are with other benefits are probably going to depend a bit on when you signed up for prime and if you read Amazon emails.

First you have Prime Shipping/Prime Delivery, where it all started. Now not everything on Amazon qualifies for Prime Shipping, but you will know what does by the bright blue Prime written out by the price. You can also narrow your searches to look for items only available with Prime Shipping. So what does Prime Shipping consist of? You get:

  • Free Two-Day Shipping: Millions of items delivered fast and free.
  • Free Same-Day and One-Day Delivery: Order in the morning to get free delivery before bedtime on more than 1 million items. Or get One-Day Delivery on qualifying orders placed by the afternoon in certain cities. Look for the Prime logo.
  • Prime Now: Skip the trip and get FREE 2-Hour Delivery on thousands of items.
  • Free Release-Date Delivery: Be among the first to get new video games, books, music, movies and more. Choose Release-Date Delivery on qualified items and receive your package by 7 p.m. on that date.
  • Free No-Rush Shipping: Don’t need your Prime order right away? Select No-Rush Shipping and earn rewards for future purchases.

So if you shop through Amazon a lot, getting a Prime Membership may be worth it for just Prime Shipping. It is definitely something to factor in if you are trying to decide when making the decision to purchase a membership.

The other service I consider a basic is Prime Video. Prime Video is a section in Amazon’s own streaming service that has thousands of movies and television shows you can watch for free with your Prime Membership. And just like Netflix and Hulu, Prime Video also has their own original content in addition to movies and shows that you may be familiar with from other sources. I highly recommend The Tick and Good Girls Revolt.

I feel the rest of the options you get with Prime can be put into one of three categories. There is shopping and entertainment extras that come with your Prime Membership, and then there are a group of things you can upgrade to.


Inside the category of shopping there is a really large range of perks that come with your Prime Membership. Here is what you get:

  • Early Access To Deals: Get 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals on
  • Prime Exclusives: Amazon’s hand-picked products offered exclusively to Prime members.
  • Alexa Voice Shopping: Shop for millions of items with Alexa and reorder the things you use most.
  • Alexa Voice Deals: Prime members can shop with Alexa and receive an additional discount on select deals.
  • Prime Pantry: Low-priced everyday essentials in everyday sizes delivered to your door for a flat delivery fee.
  • Amazon Family: Up to 20% off diapers and 15% off eligible products from your baby registry.
  • Amazon Elements For Prime: Enjoy access to Amazon’s own line of everyday essentials. (This is Amazon’s own line of natural products and vitamins.)
  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card: Eligible Prime members earn 5% Back every day on all purchases, in addition to rewards everywhere else you shop.
  • Amazon Prime Store Card: Eligible Prime members can get 5% back every day on purchases and access to exclusive financing offers.
  • Prime Reload: All Prime members can earn 2% rewards on their debit spending when they reload their Gift Card Balance with a checking account.
  • Amazon Dash: With a simple click, Prime members can use Dash Buttons to order favorite products.
  • Wickedly Prime: A line of distinctive food and beverages, available exclusively to Prime members. (This is Amazon’s own line of snacks and drinks.)

And while Amazon doesn’t list it on their page as a benefit for Prime Members, Prime Samples is also exclusively available to Prime Members. Prime Samples are a selection of products you can purchase in sample size, either individually or in sample boxes. Upon purchase you get a credit for the same amount to go towards purchasing a full size.


Obviously Prime Video would fit into the entertainment category, but we covered that in the basics of Amazon Prime. What else is there? Surprisingly quite a few things. Here is what you get:

  • Prime Music: Stream more than 2 million songs, plus thousands of playlists and stations.
  • Audible Channels: Unlimited listening to original audio series and playlists handcrafted for every interest.
  • Prime Reading: Prime Reading gives you unlimited access on any device to more than a thousand eBooks, popular magazines, comics, books with Audible narration and more.
  • Amazon First Reads: Read one of next month’s new releases now for free.
  • Washington Post Free Trial: For a limited time, enjoy unlimited access to The Washington Post with a six-month free trial.
  • Twitch Prime: Get free game content every month, ad-free Twitch viewing, Twitch Channel Subscription and more.
  • Prime Savings In Video Games: Prime members get exclusive discounts on pre-orders for PC, PlayStation 4, XBox One, Wii U, 3DS and more.
  • Prime Photos: Free unlimited photo storage for you and five others. Plus, upgraded search helps you find photos fast.
  • Share Your Prime Benefits: Link your account with one other adult to share shipping, streaming access to movies and TV shows, Audible Channels and more for free.

There are even a few great upgrades you can add to your Amazon Prime Membership.

If you really enjoy your Prime Music you can upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited. You can get a 30 day free trial, and after that a membership start at $7.99 a month. Price will depend on which plan you pick. With the unlimited plan you get way more music choices, its ad free, and you get unlimited skips.

You can also upgrade Prime Video with various Amazon Channels. You can add HBO, Showtime, and/or Starz as well as a few other options. Additional channels cost between $4.99 and $14.99 a month. The great news is you do not have to have cable to subscribe, just Amazon Prime.

Amazon also has a special service you can upgrade to just for the kids. It’s called Amazon FreeTime Unlimited. It lets you have unlimited access to thousands of kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps and games. It costs $2.99 a month.

And finally there is Amazon Fresh. It is just $14.99 to add Amazon Fresh to your Prime Membership. This is Amazon’s grocery delivery service, and its only available in certain areas. Unfortunately it’s not available where I live at yet. With this service you will be able to place your grocery order and get it as soon as the next day without every having to leave your house. This just might be my dream come true, and I will definitely try this one out at least for a bit once it’s here.

As you can see there is a lot to Amazon Prime now. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post I want to start reviewing some of these perks and things you can get through them. I already have ordered one of the sample boxes and I thought I would start there, so look for that review soon. If there is anything in particular that you would like reviewed or talked about let me know in the comments below so I can move it up in priority. Also let me know how much you knew about Amazon Prime. Was any of this a surprise? If so what?


Tee Fury

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