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Author Archives: karenmsmith77

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Subscription Box Review – Bokksu Tasting Box – October 2019

Everything in the October Bokksu subscription box

 

 

So as I was deciding on what subscription boxes I wanted to review this year Amazon did a thing. Amazon has for the longest time had a couple of subscription boxes you could access through them, but that was it, just a couple. Then a few weeks ago I got several emails notifying me they were officially making subscription boxes a thing you get from them. No they aren’t boxes exclusive to Amazon, they are just made easy to access and manage in one spot, similar to the way Cratejoy works.

So I wanted to make sure to review at least one subscription box this year that is purchasable through Amazon, maybe more. So for the purpose of this review, and any future boxes I get through Amazon, I will only be talking about my experience with Amazon and the option available there.

So today we are taking a look at the Bokksu Tasting Box. This is the first subscription box I am trying through Amazon. They do offer a larger box called the Classic, and when I originally ordered my box their Vegetarian box was an option. However, the vegetarian option is not currently showing on Amazon’s page as I write this.

 

Service Name: Bokksu

 

Price: $25.00 a month

 

Where Is It Available: When ordered through Amazon, this box is available only in the US.

 

Who To Get It For: I think this is perfect for anyone who is a foodie or loves the Japanese/Asian types of treats in general.

 

What You Get: In the tasting box you get 10 to 14 items each month along with a culture guide that include product details. Items are all from Japan in a mix of savory snacks, candy, and teas. If you upgrade to the Classic box you get 20 to 25 items each month. Each months box revolves around a theme. For the October box, the theme is Haunted Harvest.

 

Drawbacks: For me personally there wasn’t any drawbacks. However, if you or the person you are buying this for is a picky eater or has certain types of food allergies, then this may not be the box for you.

 

The Details:

Even though this is the October box, I was initially confused as to what month this  box was for. The theme, and products included (as you will see), does seem very much like it should be for October. However I received my box mid September, so I originally thought it was for September. To give you an idea of the shipping time I ordered mine on September 2 and I received it on September 14. But the guide that came in the box definitely identifies the box as the October box.

So now lets take a look at the actual box and what came inside.

Bokksu Tasting Box

And when you first open the box, this is what you see. The Culture Guide, as they have describer it, is laying on top. And I like their tag of “Discover Japan Through Snacks” is nicely incorporated into the opening of the box.

Octobser 2019 Bokksu tasting box

And then under the guide you will find your products for the month.

What is in the October 2019 Bokksu Tasting box

Now lets take a closer look at each of the individual items in the box. I will try to link to any individual products you can purchase as a standalone for anyone who wants to try something that was in this box.

Organic Hojicha Tea

Organic Hojicha Tea. This is actually from Bokksu. Since I haven’t had the box before I don’t know how often they have items that are their own products, but this one is. From what I understand this box always contains at least one tea each month. This particular tea is described as being a roasted sancha green tea with a light flavor. This is one of two items I haven’t had a chance to try yet.

 

 

Onigiri Senebei: Halloween Soy Sauce FlavorOnigiri Senbei: Halloween Soy Sauce Flavor. This is from a company called Masuya. Unlike the previous item, the name doesn’t really tell you what to expect with this one. What you get is two rice ball-shaped crisps with seaweed bits in it, flavored like soy sauce. I couldn’t find these special Halloween edition ones, but you can buy the original pack.

 

 

Kakimochi Mochi Rice Crackers

Kakimochi Mochi Rice Crackers: Kobukaki. From a company called Hinodeya Seika. While the ingredients in these mochi rice cracker are similar to the last product, the flavor and texture is very different. I don’t know what I expected when I opened these, but it is nothing like any other Mochi I have had. These are definitely like puffy crackers.

 

 

Satsuma Precious Chips: Salt + Brown Sugar Flavor

Satsuma Precious Chips: Salt + Brown Sugar Flavor. These are from a company called Hombo Shoten. They are a sweet potato chip with extra flavoring added. This was one of the few things in the box that I did not care for. Typically I think of most snacks from Asian countries are less sweet than American snacks. However, these were a lot sweeter than any of the sweet potato chips I have ever tried. They were really more of a desert than a savory snack.

 

Funwari Meijin Mochi Puffs: Annou Imo Sweet Potato

Funwari Meijin Mochi Puffs: Annou Imo Sweet Potato. These are from a company called Echigo Seika. I know these are a little difficult to see because of the packaging, but they are quarter sized round balls of puffed mochi with powder on them. The guide-book says that this sweet potato flavor is only seasonal. They were very unique with the texture of a cheese puff and the flavor of a cinnamon donut. This was probably my favorite item in the box, both because of the flavor and uniqueness. While I could not find these exact puffed mochi, you can purchase what seems to be the same thing from a different brand in a different flavor.

 

Puchi Pure Gummy in Grape

 

Puchi Pure Gummy: Halloween Assort Pack (The assortment included two flavors as seen in these two pictures. It came in grape and orange). These are from a company called Kanro. I did try the grape flavor, but as most of you know my allergy issues include citrus and citrus flavors. So I passed the orange flavor on to my niece.

These, at least compared to what I have had before and what is available in my area, were the least unique items in the box. That doesn’t mean they weren’t good. I often like Japanese gummy candy because the flavors taste more real to life compared to American candy. And that stayed consistent with these. I could not find them in these small triangular packs, but they are available in large bag assortments.

 

 

Baby Star Ramen Sticks: Halloween

Baby Star Ramen Sticks: Halloween. From the Oyatsu Company. This is ramen noodles that have been fixed in some way that they are ready to eat like chips with seasoning on it. So other than the packaging, I am not sure what exactly is Halloween about this product. The taste was great though, and it brought me back to my childhood. I was one of those weird kids who really loved eating the ramen when it was still crispy. And while again I could not track down this exact packaging, I did find where you can purchase chicken flavor or you can purchase a variety pack.

 

Tsukisamu Anpan: Kabocha Pumpkin Red Bean

Tsukisamu Anpan: Kabocha Pumpkin Red Bean. This is from a company called Honma. This is the only other item I haven’t tried yet in the box. The only reason I haven’t tried this yet is the guide recommended baking it first, and I just haven’t gotten around to it. It is described as being a pumpkin sweet roll with a red bean and kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) filling. For those not familiar, Japanese pumpkin is not what we in the US call pumpkin. You may be more familiar with it as a fall squash.

 

Sanrio Characters: Halloween Cookie Assortment

 

Sanrio Characters: Halloween Cookie Assort. These are from a company called Shoei Delicy. Assortment again is two packs. I do believe how the packs look are completely random with these. However, the contents should be the same for everyone. Each person should receive one chocolate cookie with a ganache filling.

 

Sanrio Characters: Halloween Cookie Assort

And you should have a second pudding cookie as the guide refers to it. This particular cookie is vanilla with a pudding filling, but instead of pudding I would refer to it as a thick custard. I really liked these. They kind of reminded me of some of the filled tea cookies I have had in the past.

 

 

 

Kinako Kurumi Walnut Mochi

Kinako Kurumi Walnut Mochi. From the company Kubota Seika. This was definitely a treat. I had never had this type of mochi, and I definitely loved it. There was just one disappointment, but you will see what that was with the next item.

 

 

 

Kurumi Walnut Mochi

Kurumi Walnut Mochi. This one is from a company called Marusan Tamakiya. So while I still enjoyed both of the walnut mochis, it was bit disappointing in the sense that I would rather of had multiple flavors to try rather than a repeat just from a different company.

 

 

 

Butter Corn Rice Cracker

Butter Corn Rice Cracker. This is from the company Marukin Foods. The last food item was another really unique item that I had never had anything like it. It had the flavor of buttered cornbread but with the texture of a shortbread biscuit.

 

 

The only other thing included in the box was the guide.

Bokksu Subscription Box Guide

In the guide you will find a list of products and which boxes they were included in for the month. Descriptions of each item in the boxes. A map showing which region each of the products came from. And there are also some fun little bits in the guide, like Japanese words to learn for the month.

Everything in the October Bokksu subscription box

And with that we have everything in the box for the month of October.

 

Final Thoughts:

I really loved this box, and I was quite impressed for quite a few reasons. First, I thought this box was a reasonable price. Some food boxes can be quite pricey or they just don’t have much in them. I also really appreciated that this was full of things I had never seen before. I have tried other snack boxes and felt like they were full of things I could have gotten on my own from local groceries. And I was very happily surprised to see that they included allergen information for each product.

If you would like to try this box out for yourself you can find it on Amazon. And make sure to check out all the other subscription boxes you can try on Amazon as well.

Tell me in the comments if you have tried this box and what you thought? What is your favorite box?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Progression Of A Skin Care Journey – Part 1

Starting skin care products

Over the years that I have been doing this blog I have shared a lot of things related to skin care and skin health. But there is one thing I realize I have never shared with you, the actually journey from having a full-blown damaged skin from having a reaction to thriving healthy skin.

So after my skin being dried out from air travel on our vacation to being neglected after falling ill, and now I have had a major reaction that has left me with a rash all over my face. I thought this would be the perfect time to not only share my skin care journey with you, but also show you how much of a difference each product you add to your skin care routine can make in the way your skin looks and feels.

Here is how I want to go about this. I have taken pictures that of how my skin looks now. You can see that below. I am starting out with the three products I consider to the basic necessities of my skin care routine. For me the three things I always have to have is a some sort of an exfoliator, a cleanser, and a moisturizer. After three days I will take a new picture of where my skin is at, and I will add an additional product. I will keep this process going in three-day increments until I am using 9 products for a full Korean skin care regimen. (I originally planned on seven, but I thought why not do a full 9 step routine to show people what that looks like and what a difference it makes.) At the very end I will show you all what the side beside pictures of beginning and end look like.

Before we talk about the exact products I started with, lets take a look at where I am starting with my skin.

the start of my skin care journey

You can only see tiny bits of the problems in this full face picture, so I am also going to share a couple of closeups.

closeup of my forehead and nose

The lighting is bad in my house, so this isn’t too much better, but you can see more. If you look around my brows and on my eye lids next to my lashes you can see areas that look like dry flaky skin. That is one of the many things that happen with my allergic dermatitis, and from what I understand it is very common for anyone with a Balsam of Peru allergy. My skin is also very dehydrated and you can see that along my cheeks, both in this picture and the next.

Closeup of my chin and cheeks

In this picture you can see better where I really feel the majority of the pain from the reactions I have. If you look around the crevice of my nose and the of my chin, you can see a lot of redness and texture. Whenever that happens, those red spots usually feel like they are on fire.

I of course do have other issues with skin care, they just aren’t my first concern. But it is always a bonus if I see improvement with those things as well. In general while I have never suffered from a lot of Acne, I do get blackheads. Mainly I see those in the temple area. I also have some of the earlier signs of aging skin. I have a couple of sun spots, a small wrinkle in my forehead, and loss of firmness. Additionally, my skin can have a tendency to look dull.

Now that we have discussed my skin concerns, lets take a look at the three products I am starting out with.

Starting skin care products

For the first three days I used only these three products:

My exfoliator is the Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Pore Scrub. I usually by mine at Walgreens, but you can also find it at Amazon.

For my cleanser, i am currently using the Tony Moly Banana Cream Foam Cleanser. I believe I purchased mine from YesStyle (though it is currently not available there), but you can also find it at Amazon and at Riley Rose.

And my moisturizer is the Clinique Moisture Surge 72 Hour. I typically purchase mine at Sephora, but you can also find it at Ulta and at Amazon.

So the big question is what sort of results did I get after just three days?

skin after three days of three products

You can probably see that I still have some dry flaky patches of skin, especially around my eyebrows and eye lashes. But there has been some improvement. The most noticeable thing for me is that a significant amount of the redness has subsided, and I am not having as much of the allergic reaction symptoms. So not as much of the burning and itching.

If you want to find out what product I add to my routine next, make sure you check back next week. I will be continuing to document the products I use and the progress in my skin.

 

 

 

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Plus Size OOTD: Finally A Jumpsuit For The Curvy Tall Girl

Off Shoulder Challis Jumpsuit from Torrid

 

Yes, believe it or not, I finally have a plus size fashion post up for you. Better late than never I think. This is one that I have meant to post for a bit, but never had time. It feels really important to me to share this one with you, just because of how much trouble I have had finding a jumpsuit that fits.

If you too are a jumpsuit lover and over 5’4″, you probably realize how challenging find one that fits can be. I am 5′ 8″, and while I don’t think of that as exceptionally tall, most of my height seems to be in the area that affects jumpsuit fit the most. Add in being extra curvy, and it’s not easy to find a jumpsuit that works for your body. I have even tried a fair share of jumpsuits on, and shared them here on the blog.

Before we take a look at the actual jumpsuit, let me start in my usual way and share my sizing info. If you are new to the blog, I try to do this with outfit posts because I think it can be helpful for you to judge whether the items will fit you, and what size might fit you best. I typically wear a size 20W or 2X at most plus size stores like Lane Bryant or Torrid. As I said previously I am 5′ 8″. My measurements are Bust: 49″ Waist: 43″ Hips: 54″. And I wear a 40DDD bra.

Off Shoulder Challis Jumpsuit from Torrid

Today we are looking at the Black Floral Off The Shoulder Challis Jumpsuit from Torrid. They only have a few sizes left of this in the clearance section, so if its something you are interested in don’t hesitate.

I am wearing my usual size for Torrid, being a 2. And I have it paired with some Sketchers Rumblers Wedge Heel Sandals. If you are looking for a comfortable heeled sandal, look no further.

Jumpsuit that fits tall plus size girls

Here is what you really need to know about this jumpsuit. It is meant to be worn off the shoulders, however as you can see it can easily be adjusted to wear over the shoulders without looking odd. And since it has a flounce ruffle all the way around, you can still get some arm coverage if that is what you are looking for.

Yes, it has pockets. I am not typically a pockets fan, and I know that makes me the odd person out. But this jumpsuit has pockets actually made in a way that I don’t mind.

Back of the plus size torrid jumpsuit

And most important to me was the fit. As I mentioned before I have a really difficult time finding jumpsuits in recent years that actually fits my height. Since most of my height is in the stride, and I have a booty, most jumpsuits end up giving me a frontal wedgie. Not really a good look or comfortable. This jumpsuit however is a perfect fit.

In addition, I love all the details. The print is bright and colorful. I love and off the shoulder look. And the flounce ruffle gives it a slightly more feminine edge. Even the empire waist is a perfect fit for me. And to top it off, the fabric itself is very soft and comfortable to wear.

Now, I recognize that this may not be everyone’s taste. And since they are out of some of the sizes, I did want to point out a few of the other jumpsuits Torrid has that may interest you. While I have not tried these on myself, the way these are structured looks promising for my fellow tall girls out there.

BLACK WIDE LEG STUDIO KNIT JUMPSUIT

Black Wide Leg Studio Knit Jumpsuit

 

MULTI STRIPE TEXTURED SELF-TIE CULOTTE JUMPSUIT

Multi Stripe Textured Self-Tie Culotte Jumpsuit

RED FLORAL CHALLIS JUMPSUIT

Red Floral Challis Jumpsuit

 

BLACK FLORAL CHALLIS TULIP LEG JUMPSUIT

Black Floral Challis Tulip Leg Jumpsuit

 

Now I want to hear from all of you. Are you a tall girl? Have you found a perfect fitting jumpsuit? Share it with us in the comments.

 

 

 

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I know I have continued to be away for a while, and it’s really just more of the same kind of stuff going on in life that has kept me away from the blog. Don’t give up on me, I promise I will have my shit together soon. I am hoping my upcoming vacation will give me a renewed sense of energy and clarity.

But we aren’t here about that right now. I recently attended my first local LGBTQ charity event, outside of Pride of course, and I knew I wanted to share what the event was like with all of you. If you have followed this blog for any amount of time then you know that I am always down to support a good cause and any group that is about equality.

Big Baskets Of The Bluegrass Social Media Flyer

This was the Big Baskets of the Bluegrass Underwear Fashion Show & Charity Auction. The event was hosted by a local group called the KBB (Kentucky Bourbon Bears) and the Bar Complex. The charity they were raising money for was Arbor Youth Services. I took a lot of pictures at the event, as well as a selfie of what I wore, so I could share it all with you (just a reminder before you scroll down to the pictures they will be considered NSFW for most people). But before we move on to the pictures, I want to take a minute to share with you a little information about the event as well as each of the organizations and how you can be involved if you would like.

First lest talk about the KBB. According to their website:

The Kentucky Bourbon Bears, Inc. is a social organization whose purpose is to provide a brotherhood and place of acceptance. We are a network for gay and bisexual men who identify themselves as bears, bear admirers and friends of bears. Our members are from all walks of life, size, shape, age, color and social standing.

Our main goal is a drama-free, accepting brotherhood that opens our membership to all men of Kentucky and, through our diversity and differences, create a strong organization that is able to give back to the community in which we live.

You can help support the KBB by becoming a member or attending one of their events.

The events co-sponsor, The Bar Complex, is Lexington’s most well-known gay and alternative bar. Don’t quote me on this, but I believe they are also the oldest one in town. They consist of three levels. On one level is lounge that offers various shows and events, then on the next level is their cabaret, and the top floor is the dance floor and light show. All three levels have their own bars. The Big Baskets of the Bluegrass was held on the ground level in the lounge.

Since this is my first year attending the event I am not sure if they raise money for the same charity every year or if they pick a different one. But what I do know is that this years charity was Arbor Youth Services. They are a great organization that helps children. Their main focus is on homeless and at risk children. They have an emergency shelter as well as several support services for these children in need. Since LGBTQ youth are the most at risk, this makes a lot of sense to be the charity the KBB chose to support. If you would like to support Arbor Youth Services, you can do so by either donating either money and items or by getting involved and giving of your time.

So while the KBB is focused on Gay and Bi men, the actual Big Baskets of the Bluegrass event included women. And the event itself wasn’t advertised as a body positive event, I know body positive when I see it. In fact it was also very body inclusive. There were both men and women who modeled in the show, as well as people of various ethnicities and colors. I won’t go so far as to say every body type was represented (because I think we all should realize bodies are really like snowflakes and they are all unique), but there was a true variety of shapes and sizes.
The event itself was set up so you could show up early and take a look at all of the baskets up for auction. Then once the auction started each model came out wearing underwear/sleep wear/lingerie and would also show off a basket. When bidding you were not only bidding on the basket but also whatever the model was wearing. In addition to the auction they did have entertainment in the form of Drag Queen performances.

Not only was this for a good cause, but the event was just a great time. My friend and I that went together had such a good time that we already have plans to go next year. The evening in all was a success. The KBB managed to raise $4,400 for Arbor Youth Services and a good time was had by all.

I took a lot of pictures, I am not sharing them all just the ones I thought were the best of the evening.

Since this is still a blog about plus size fashion, you may be wondering what exactly someone wears to a charity auction and lingerie show. I am pretty sure the answer is anything you want. However, I did manage snap a selfie that evening so I could share what I wore.

What I wore to the charity event, Torrid and Reddolls

I had been holding on to this cupcake print Rebdolls “Loaded Up” Crop Top for over a year now, just wondering what I should wear it to. Going to an event hosted by a gay and bi men’s club and it seeming so body positive appeared to be the perfect opportunity to me.

I paired with it a pink skater skirt from Torrid. While they don’t currently have this color, Torrid always has at least one skater skirt available. They have several at the moment like this Pink & Black Plaid Twill Skater Skirt. I also put on my favorite rainbow necklace made by the beautiful and talented Alyssa of butter n’ honey.

You can’t see them very well in this picture, I do have on a pair of white Skechers Rumblers. You can sort of see a glimpse of them in the lower right hand of the picture. If you haven’t tried these, they are the most comfortable wedges you will ever put on.

I know this post was a bit different from what I typically do, so make sure to let me know if you like this type of post or not. I always appreciate your feedback.

 


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Hidden Gems Of Amazon: GMHO Hepburn Style Midi Cocktail Dress

Hidden Gems Of Amazon

Hidden Gems Of Amazon

It’s been a while since I have done an outfit post, and I promise this won’t be the last of them. Today’s post is a little different from normal, as I am not the one who will be showing you the clothing. My friend Jenny, who you have seen here before will be modeling. And by the end of the post you will understand why.

Amazon seller GMHO recently reached out to me to see if I would like to review one of their dresses. You all know I am always happy to show some affordable options in plus sizes, so I said I would be happy to.

I was sent the GMHO Hepburn Style Midi Cocktail Dress. It is actually named something much longer on Amazon, but I shortened it here for effectiveness. It is available in sizes 14W to 22W, and it comes in four color options.

For sizing reference, I typically wear a size 20W or 2X at most plus size stores like Lane Bryant and Torrid. My measurements are Bust: 49″ Waist: 43″ Hips: 54″ And I wear a 40DDD bra.

So when asked what size I wanted, of course the first thing I did was take a look at their posted size chart.

GMHO Size Chart

I determined based on this, and the fact that the dress had stretch to it, that I needed a size 18. So when I received the dress a couple of days later, I was actually surprised to find that it was actually still too big on me. And that is where my friend Jenny comes into the picture. She was kind enough to give the dress a try, and it did fit her perfectly. She also agreed that I could take pictures and share it here. So you will be seeing her in this post.

I do not have Jenny’s measurements to share with you. What I can tell you is that we wear the same bra size. And while I am between an hourglass and a pear shape, she is more of a square shape I believe. We both wear generally a 20W, but I think because our body shapes are so different it affects whether we size down in clothing or not. If you do order this dress and you are an hourglass or pear shape, you might want to consider ordering a size down.

Midi dress from GMHO, a Hidden Gem of Amazon

It fit really nicely on Jenny. And I think the dress actually looks better in person than it did in the stock photos. You can see it better here, but my pictures still don’t do this dress justice. Its made out of a really nice quality fabric that both looks and feels great.

Close up of the neckline and belt on the plus size mide dress from GMHO

It does have a surplice neckline, and since the fabric is also stretchy, if you have a larger chest you don’t have to worry about there being enough room. There seemed to be plenty of room in the arms as well, so no worries if you have bigger upper arms.

Also, the adornment at the waist actually looks nice in person. I don’t know about all of you, but I have definitely bought dresses online that had similar adornments, and when they show up they look really cheap like plastic. This one does not look that way though.

You can find GMHO’s clothing on Amazon. Additionally they have merged with a previously reviewed brand ESPRLIA, and have launched their own website where you can also purchase their items. If you prefer to shop for the dress on their new website, on that website the dress is called the Esprlia Women’s Plus Size Dress Wrap With Belts. The sizing is a little different, but the size chart is the same.

Have you tried a dress from GMHO before? What did you think? Make sure to share your thoughts.

 

 

 

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Why I Am So Over Life Updates

The last thing I want to be writing right now is yet another life update. But after another couple of months of unexplained absence from the blog and most of my social media, I don’t really feel right about jumping back in without explaining to my regular readers what has been going on.

I did manage maintain social media for a while, but honestly life has just been consumed by other things and I didn’t have the energy to even put towards that. So I had to decide what priorities were. And there has been a lot of things happening in life recently that just had to be my priority.

I honestly don’t remember how much of this got covered in my last blog post when I tried to come back last time, so I will just start in the beginning. If you do follow me on social media, then you know at least part of what happened. I did adopt a new kitten. What you may not know is I ended up adopting a second kitten.

After my cat Ophelia passed away this winter we were not planning on adopting any more for a while, but we soon realized Lady Catterly was having a harder time with it that we had expected. So we adopted kitten number one.

Sophie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her name is Sophie, and she does the best Gene Simmons impersonations. The first week we had Sophie things went really well between her and Lady Catterly. It was the next week when things started to change,  and Sophie became very aggressive.

I have had a lot of people tell me this was normal for kittens, and some degree of high energy and kitten play is indeed normal. But when I say she was being aggressive, it was including things you typically see only when cats are going after prey. We kept hoping it was going to get better, but after several weeks of it just getting worse And it got so bad, we were really worried we would have to rehome her.

So we did a lot research and talking to people again. A friend who helps run a rescue organization suggested the best thing to do was to get another kitten who was about the same age and size. She said that occasionally there are kittens who are just so far above average on energy, that when paired with a cat that doesn’t want to play as much as they do it can lead to the kitten becoming aggressive.

My husband and I talked it over. Neither of us were opposed to getting another kitten. And it wasn’t as if we hadn’t had three cats before. So I went on search of another kitten close to Sophie’s age.

Luna Lovekitty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that is how we ended up with our second kitten or third cat. And I named her Luna Lovekitty, which if you are a Harry Potter fan you will get the reference.

But you are at this point probably wondering how getting new cats kept me from blogging. I promise, I am getting to that part, and it’s not just the cats.

So we did the slow introduction thing again with Luna Lovekitty, just as I have with every cat I have ever introduced into my home. Luna had been fixed just a few days before we adopted her, so we wanted to make sure to take it extra slow and only let her out a couple of hours at a time so she wouldn’t strain herself. But after just the first time out playing with Sophie I noticed that Luna’s incisions where she had been spayed were leaking. (Previously I had also noticed when we adopted her that her incision spot was lumpy, for lack of a better term. At the time I just thought that maybe her stitched had been done oddly, but didn’t think anything else about it until this moment.)

Of course this happens all late on a Friday night. Along with it being a weekend, the Humane Society where we adopted her was having phone and messaging issues, so getting ahold of them was not possible. We took her to our regular vet in an emergency appointment.

It turned out that Luna had an infection from the stitches they used. My vet said occasionally that cats react to the type of material they use in typical stitches. So they gave her some antibiotics and told us to contact the humane society. She needed to have her surgery redone with different stitches, and there was concern that the lumps we were feeling in her tummy was actually a hernia. In the mean time she had to be kept separate and calm. We also had to clean and disinfect the area where her stitches were several times a day. The topper was they wanted all this to happen for two weeks.

And if you want to see the saddest thing in the world…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…it would definitely be a cat in a head cone.

Luna’s got her surgery scheduled, she was in and out in one day. They replaced the stitches with what they called meta plates. However, I thought they looked like just regular staples to me. The one thing to be thankful for was that it was not a hernia she had. It was from the allergic reaction, a cyst like structure had formed under the skin. They were able to remove that at the same time they did everything else.

Unfortunately, that was not the end of Luna’s struggles. She has since also had a stomach bug that she had to take medicine for. She has had a really hard start to life. Thankfully things are getting better for her, but taking care of her and the other kitties did consume a lot of my time. At one point all three of them were sick and on medicine, and they all had separate vet appointments. It really was all I could do just to keep up with them and their health care.

But as I said, it has not been just the cats that has taken me away from the blog. Amongst all of the time I have spent taking care of the cats health, I always have the issues with mine. While I am definitely feeling better than I was last year since I am in clear from the B-12 deficiency, I will always have my fibromyalgia to contend with. And in general our weather has been cold and rainy until the last couple of weeks, so I have had at least a couple of bad days a week. Pair that with a couple of major sinus infections that lasted longer than they should, and it really takes time away from what you are trying to do.

I have also had a lot of positive things keeping me busy. I believe in one my last blog post I had mentioned that Steampunk Symposium was coming up. That happened, and a lot of fun was had by all. My friend Jenny and I did do a panel. I still intend to share a recap of that here.

We also keep finding things that need to be finished with our house before my niece moves in with us at the end of this month. So while I keep feeling like we are almost done with what has to be finished, we aren’t really finished. In fact there is a lot to be done even after she moves in, we just have a list of things that must be done before she is here. At the moment I have am trying to clear out the closet of the room my nice is moving into. That of course means I have lots of things I will be adding to my Poshmark closet if you want to check that out.

And we have planned a vacation for this year, or I should say we are still in the midst of planning. We will be going to London this August. Do expect to see some vacation tie in posts again this year, both before and after the trip. Just like last year, some of them will be clothing related while others will be centered around other aspects of travel. If there is something you would like me to cover specifically, or if you have a question, make sure to send me a message.

My schedule at this point seems to be getting back to a normal pace, so I hope this time I will be actually able to consistently blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Subscription Box Review – Margot Elena Discovery Box – Winter 2018 Box

Everything that came in the Winter 2018 Margot Elena Winter Discovery Box

Before I say anything else, I want to acknowledge that yes, this is a very late review for this box. In fact the Spring box is about to ship, or may already have for some people. My box didn’t arrive until well after Christmas, and Christmas is when I typically stop reviewing until I start back in September of the next year. Then I got busy with doing things to my home. But what can you do, life happens and you move on.

I honestly did not want to just skip reviewing this box. I think people aren’t really aware of this subscription box on say the level they are Fab Fit Fun, and that box is just not for everyone. I know it wasn’t for me. So I wanted to try to review a good quarterly lifestyle box that I thought people would like as an alternative.

So today we will be taking a look at the Margot Elena Discovery Box for Winter 2018. Spoiler alert – I really love this box, so I am actually considering reviewing this box all the time, rather than just once like I usually do for most subscription box reviews. This review will be done in the typical way I review subscription boxes, however if I continue to review this box it will be review slightly different. I will link anything you can purchase on the Margot Elena Website. So let’s get to it…..

 

Service Name: Margot Elena Discovery Box

 

Price: $49.99 if you pay quarterly, and $179.99 if you pay annually.

 

Where Is It Available: the contiguous United States, this does not include PO Boxes or APO Military Mailboxes.

 

Who To Get It For: This is great for anyone looking for a lifestyle box. Especially great for anyone who loves the Margot Elena Brands. Even if you think you are not familiar with her brands you may be. Brands of Margot Elena include – Lollia, Tokyo Milk, The Cottage Greenhouse, Library of Flowers, Love & Toast, and Me Life + Home.

 

What You Get: Every three months, or four times a year, you will receive a box filled with products from the various Margot Elena brands, including some items exclusive to the box. All products will be full size and will total over $200.

This is a lifestyle box, and the items you receive could fall in many categories. You might get anything from fragrance to home décor to clothing items and so much more.

 

Drawbacks: I must say that for me personally there isn’t any drawbacks to this subscription box. I mean, yeah like any box that contains fragranced products there are going to be some items I can’t use. But the good news is the items I can’t use are highly giftable. I can easily save myself some time on shopping for a few Christmas gifts.

But I also realize drawbacks can be subjective. So I tried to think of what some of them might be for other people. Seeing as this a quarterly box, the price is $49.99. That is more than your average monthly box. If you are on a budget, that might be a drawback for you.

Also, while the idea of items being pulled from very select brands are a selling point to me, I can see that it might be a drawback for some people. It definitely limits what can possibly be in the box, and for me that is a plus. I like knowing it’s going to be from brands I am most likely going to like the style of. But if you are looking for a broader range of things, maybe its too limiting.

 

The Details: Your subscription arrives in a branded box. It is a cardboard box, but there will be no doubt that it is your Margot Elena box. It arrives looking like this:

How the Margot Elena Discovery Box.

Photo taken from the Margot Elena website.

I had to share the picture of the outer box from the Margot Elena website because 1. mine was covered in shipping labels and labels from my mail box. and 2. like a savage I couldn’t wait to rip into mine before I took pictures. Don’t judge me.

When you open it up you will immediately see a few things.

First look at the inside of the Margot Elena Winter Discovery Box

First thing laying on top was a letter. I thought about sharing a picture close up of it, but it’s really just a letter of the reasons the items included in this box were chosen. It was definitely a sweet touch to the box, but I didn’t think it would translate for this review.

Just behind the letter you can notice a picture on the inside of the box.

Theme for the Margot Elena Winter 2018 box

It says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” and then it says that the Winter 2018 box marks the one year anniversary of the Margot Elena Discovery Box.

This little graphic card is really there to mark the theme of the whole box. brands I also think it’s a fair representation of the Margot Alena brands in general. They are filled with art work and the esthetic of Margot Alena herself.

Just under the letter that was included all the items are wrapped in a printed Lollia tissue paper.

Lollia tissue paper

Yes, I ripped into the paper too. There was no waiting for this box.

Now lets take a look at what you all really want to see, what was tucked under that paper.

I managed to avoid most of the spoilers for this box. But this first item was the one thing I had already seen, and I was pretty excited about receiving it but slightly worried at the same time.

Front of the Margot Elena Peacock Silken Kimono

Back of the Margot Elena Peacock Silken Kimono

This is the Margot Elena Peacock Silken Kimono, and it has a retail value of $60. This, along with a few other items, were created exclusively for the Discovery Box. As I said, I was quite looking forward to this, but I was also hesitant. I love peacock prints and feathers, and well anything peacock. But this is a one size fits all item, and I think most plus size ladies can relate to the dread of a one size fits all piece.

However, I am happy to say that this piece actually did fit me at a size 20W. I would wager to say that it should fit up to at least two sizes larger. I will be posting pictures on social media a couple of day after this post goes live. I will make sure to include some of me wearing this for those who want to see how it fits on a plus size body.

The Kissing Bell frm Margot Elena

The next thing that came out of the box, I actually heard way before I saw. It is called The Kissing Bell, and it came with a little note card that explains what it is and the tradition behind it. It has a retail value of $14. This was also an item exclusive to the box.

Now this isn’t really my thing. I love the color, but I’m not really into decorating for the Holidays. With just my husband and I, and spending the actual days at other places, it just seems sort of pointless for me to decorate. So most likely this will be passed on to someone else.

Tokyo Milk Dark Fragrance Duo Novacaine & Tainted Love

Next I found this little set. It is the Tokyo Milk Dark Fragrance Duo of Novacaine and Tainted Love. This set retails for $18. These aren’t really fragrances I can use myself, but I have a few friends that really love these sorts of fragrances. So I think this would make a great birthday gift for someone.

This item is currently sold out on the Margot Elena website, but you can sign up to be notified when it is back in stock.

Peacock print Hand-Glazed Stonewear Mug

A peek inside the peacock mug

When I pulled this item out of the box, I may just have squeed a little bit. This was my favorite item in the box. It is the Margot Elena Hand-Glazed Stoneware Mug, and it has a retail value of $14. And yes it is the same peacock print that is on the Kimono. This was exclusive to the box, so unfortunately you can not purchase one for yourself.

Tokyo Milk Signature Stationary Trio

Stationary in the Margot Elena Discovery Box

Tokyo Milk Stationary with sparkle

While this isn’t my favorite item, it would be hard to top the peacock items, it is something I had hoped would be in the box. Several of the Margot Elena brands have things like card stock and fabric and various other printed good, and I really love all of it. This in particular is the Tokyo Milk Signature Stationary Trio. The detail card include in the box says the set retails for $15. However, I do not see this available as a set. Each card retails for $5.50.

I included a couple of up close pictures of the cards so you could see that they have a subtle glitter accent. I don’t think it even shows up well on the Margot Elena website, but you can sort of see it

White Pine & Balsam Travel Candle from The Cottage Greenhouse

The next item out of the box is this White Pine and Balsam Travel Candle, and it has a retail value of $12. The travel size doesn’t seem to be available anymore, perhaps it is a Christmas only item. But you can still get this in a full size candle.

This is the only item in the box that felt any real disappointment in. That isn’t because it’s a bad product or anything, it mainly because of my allergy. The two scents listed are both things I react to. They don’t really say what type of balsam, so maybe I could have the worst allergic reaction ever. I was worried enough about it that I haven’t even taken the lid off of it, hence why there is no pictures of the inside.

I also don’t really know anyone in my immediate friends circle that I think would like this type of scented candle. So I haven’t really decided what I will do with it yet, but maybe it will go in a future give away or something.

A collection of Lollia products in the scent Wish

The last four items all sort of go together. They are all part of the Lollia line in the Wish scent. Now these are actually all individual items, and I am going to talk to talk about them individually, but I wanted to show all the items as a collection. The scent is described as, “Delicate infusions of Sugar Cane, Vanilla Bean, and Jasmine meet comforting Ylang Ylang and sheerest Amber Woods to leave skin deliciously fresh.”

Limited Edition Wish Bubble Bath

 

This is a Limited Edition Wish Bubble Bath, and it retails for $18. On the card that came in the box that is all it said. However on the summary that was posted in their blog, it calls it a mini size. But for a mini size, it is quite large.

And while the mini size was an exclusive to the box, this is still available in the full size on the Margot Elena website.

 

Wish Shea Butter Hand Cream from Lollia

 

We also received a Wish Shea Butter Handcreme that retails for $25. Unlike the Bubble Bath, this is a full size product.

 

 

 

 

Wish Bath Salt Sachet fom Lollia

 

Also included was this absolutely adorable Wish Bath Salt Sachet. It retails for $14. I think this might be the cutest and best smelling sachet I have ever seen. I honestly am tempted to keep on a shelf as decoration and never use it. But then I would feel bad for wasting it.

 

 

 

Wish Triple-Milled Shea Butter Soap from Lollia

 

 

And finally, the last item is this Wish Triple-milled Shea Butter Soap. It retails for $12. I know some people might not be excited over a bar of soap, but when I get one I can use, I really love it.

 

 

 

 

Everything that came in the Winter 2018 Margot Elena Winter Discovery Box

And that is what came in the Winter 2018 Margot Elena Discovery Box. That brings the total value of the box to $202.

 

Where To Sign Up: You can sign up on the Margot Elena website.

 

Final Thoughts: I really love this box. Everything is beautifully packaged. There is a decent variety of items. And I think the value is pretty great. Even though I may not use every item myself, I will be able to use it as a gift. And I do like everything. This is opposed to some of the other lifestyle boxes I have tried where I was left feeling like I only really liked about a fourth of the items. But everyone likes something different, so if this isn’t the one for you there is sure to be something out there for you.

 

 

 

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Product Fails – Makeup, Hair Care, And Subscription Boxes – January 2019

Product Fails January 2019

Product Fails January 2019

There have been a lot of things I have loved over the last year, and there so many of them that I want to share with you. But, I thought as I come back from my winter break from the blog, it might be good to get the bad out of the way first. I did after all say last year that I would do one or two of these posts a year about things that didn’t work for me. And that is exactly what these post called product fails are, at least for the most part, they are products that didn’t work for me. That is to say that, I recognize that most of these products may work for someone else. Just because they are a fail for me doesn’t mean they don’t work for other people. We are all different people and can have different favorites.

For the sake of these posts I will not be linking to the products. So lets take a look at the products I have tried over the last few months that didn’t work for me.

Makeup

NYX Total Control Drop Foundation

 

The first product I tried this year that was a fail for me is the NYX Total Control Drop Foundation. I was really excited to try this as I had heard so many great things about both drop foundations in general as well as this one in particular. But it just didn’t work for me.

While it was advertised for all skin types, I don’t think it really works well for anyone with textured skin, especially if it is dry textured skin like mine. This formula dries down to a really matte finish, and it left my skin looking extremely dry and cakey. It dried my skin out even more than normal and it was almost to a painful point. I even gave it a second try, but still had horrible results.

 

NYX PRO Total Control Drop Foundation Brush

 

Along with the foundation I had to try the NYX PRO Total Control Drop Foundation Brush. There are many foundations out there that suggest using a certain brush with the foundation, but it’s not always necessary. However, everything I had read and saw prior to using this foundation made it seem that using NYX own foundation brush with the product was very important for proper application.

I have definitely had foundation brushes that I thought was fantastic, but it has never been my first choice for application of foundation. But this brush was a fail because I felt like it absorbed twice the amount of makeup a sponge does. I never could figure out where it was absorbing to, but the product was definitely not on my face.

 

Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tint in Moody

 

I recently tried the Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tint in the color Moody. I had gotten this sometime last year, either in a multi pack lip kit or in a subscription box. I honestly can’t remember which. And I do believe that Tarte is clearancing this product out and planning on not carrying it anymore.

Now Tarte claims this is the best of two world. You are supposed to get the pigmentation and staying power of a lipstick with the hydration of a balm. This was definitely not my experience. If anything I found this to be the exact opposite. It was very drying on my lips and it went on patchy and wore off fast. Now I did try mine in a sample size. I will suppose that it is possible that could have effected it somehow, or that I got a bad one. I doubt it though.

 

Clinique High Impact Mascara

 

I also tried a sample size of the Clinique High Impact Mascara. I honestly thought I would love this mascara since one of my top five favorite mascaras is the Clinique High Impact Curling Mascara. However, with this mascara there was a lot of clumping and flaking that I never experienced with the curling version.

I know at least part of my dissatisfaction lies with the wand. It is incredibly different from the one in the Curling mascara.

 

 

 

Hair Care

Macadamia Professional Style Extend Dry Shampoo

 

I had actually been using the Macadamia Professional Style Extend Dry Shampoo for some time. It had been one of my favorite dry shampoos.

But when I received my most recent order I first noticed that the bottle looked different. I was hoping that was all that had changed, but that was not the case. I immediately noticed upon application that the fragrance was different. And it wasn’t too much longer that I had an allergic reaction.

So if you don’t have fragrance issues like I do, this one may be a great one for you. I do believe it is only the fragrance mix that was changed, the way it behaved in my hair was the same. And it is a great dry shampoo for anyone who has dry hair.

 

Aquis Peime Starter Kit

 

Most of you know I often get packaged called VoxBoxes from Influenster. A couple of months ago I got one containing a hair care system from a brand called AQUIS. It is sold on the AQUIS website as well as at Sephora.

When you are sent a box from Influenster there are always requirements you have to meet in order to receive future boxes. For this particular box the only requirement was to review the product on Sephora’s website. However, I had initially intended to review this here on the blog in she shampoo and conditioner review series. I did not end up doing that because after using this product once I had nothing good to say about it at all, so I decided to wait and include it here instead.

This was sent to me claiming it was great for thick heavy hair that breaks easily. It was supposed to limit the amount of water your hair was exposed to, all while thoroughly cleansing your hair. And it was supposed to be easy to use. While I am sure this works wonderfully for some people’s hair, it did not work for mine. My hair never felt clean and at least a couple of the steps didn’t realistically work in my hair at all.

 

 

Subscription Boxes

For the last category, I only have one item at the moment. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of this to share, and I think once I explain what happened you will understand why.

So some of you may remember back in November I was sharing some Scorpio related products. I had mentioned in one post that I would be doing a review of the My Zodiac Box. I have actually paid for two boxes, one of which I sort of received. I say sort of, because they sent me the wrong box (This was after them not sending my box out to begin with). I spoke to the owners and was told I was going to be sent a replacement. I waited a couple of weeks and nothing came. So I messaged them, and no response. I messaged again, and again no response. So obviously I cancelled my subscription, and in no way can I recommend this box to anyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Year, New…..Lots Of Things

I am finally back from my yearly break. Of course this one lasted much longer than usual, and longer than planned. A lot happened while I was away, if you follow me on social media you may already know some of this, but to be honest I didn’t keep up with social media like I had intended either.

While I was away from the blog I was sick twice, once with a combination of the flu and a sinus infection. That pretty much sucked a week of my life away. Then precious fur baby Ophelia passed away, it was kind of traumatic and sudden. It wasn’t exactly unexpected as she was almost 18 years old, and I think once your cat approaches anything near 15 you probably start feeling a little concerned that day may come soon.

Ophelia

Her death definitely took a toll on our spirit. Surprisingly, it seemed to even bother our other fur baby Lady Catterly. I say surprisingly because she had never gotten along with either of our other cats, and she didn’t seem all that affected when Luscious passed away last year. But Lady Catterly started displaying a number of signs of being sad and lonely. So, after talking to both our vet and an animal behavior specialist, we decided to go ahead and bring another baby into the house.

I would like to introduce you all to Sophie.

Sophie, the new fur baby

She is almost ten weeks old and she is all energy all the time.

I am happy to say that she transitioned into our home very easily, and Lady Catterly loves her. We used the Jackson Galaxy method of introduction, and it really works.

During my time off we have also been working on our house. We do this every year to some extent. This year it has been a lot more than normal, and we are still not done. As I have mentioned before, my niece is moving in this summer and we have been on a mission to make room for her. Our house has always had a severe lack of storage space, so we are adding a lot of items that give us storage in one way or another. Also, we have been getting rid of a lot of things that we just don’t use any more or just don’t want.

I have also been working on some exciting things, at least it will be exciting for those of you who follow me for steampunk related content. First of all my airship is working on our first charity event. We are hoping to work on some larger things in the future, but we are getting started with small Valentine event. If you are in the Lexington area, or want to make a short trip here, come check out The Victorian Valentine Affair.

The Victorian Valentine Affair

Also on the steampunk front, The International Steampunk Symposium is coming up at the end of March. It is a little earlier this year due to some scheduling conflicts, so don’t miss out thinking it was in April. This years theme is Steamtastic Beasts. I have recently been asked if I would speak on a couple of panels, one of which is for plus size women who do steampunk. So make sure to get your tickets if you want to come hear me talk about costuming for plus sizes.

Internation Steampunk Symposium

I will definitely have recaps of both events for you here on the blog. I have a lot of clothing related things coming up for you. I have a couple of subscription box reviews that I didn’t get to in time for Christmas, but I really want to make sure to share them with you. I also have an update on recent things that did not work for me. So lots of good stuff coming.

I also want to take a minute to thank everyone. This past year has been really tough for me. As most of you know I had quite a few months where I was really sick and didn’t know what was wrong, and once I did it took me a while to get to a place where I could function normally. There have been a lot of stresses, and a lot of struggles. But I appreciate all of you who have stuck around and took the time to read my blog, offer comments here or on social media. Your support means so much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Goodbye 2018, See You In 2019

This is going to be a pretty brief post again. If you follow me on social media, then you may have already seen my post the other night about me being ill. I have managed to get both Sinusitis and the Flu at the same time, and I have been pretty out of it. I am starting to feel minutely better, but it will most likely be a few days before I am really better.

I of course missed posting the subscription box reviews I had for Thursday and today. And if you have been with me for at least a year or more, you know I take a couple of weeks vacation from the blog to work on my home and Poshmark every year after Christmas. I had planned on taking three this year because of a lot of changes that need to be made before my niece moves in this summer. But due to being sick it looks like that may be extended. I am just going to officially call it, and say that my vacation has started.

I will be posting on social media some during this time, I won’t be completely abandoning everything. I will be back to the sometime mid January. I was hoping for the 13th, but it really will depend on how long it takes me to recover from being sick.

Good news for those of you who have been missing fashion posts, I do have several planned for January and February. I am hoping some of the home changes we are making will make it easier to keep them coming on a more regular basis. I will also have those last couple of box reviews for you as well as some shampoo reviews and some new things I am working on.

In the mean time, I want to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

 

 

 

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