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Category Archives: Rants

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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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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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Ways To Give Back This Holiday Season

Quote by Dalai Lama

Presents are great, especially when you get something you really love. As I have said many times here on the blog gift giving is my primary love language, so I understand the importance of a good gift. But there are also times where maybe you aren’t really doing presents, and what you really want to concentrate on is giving back.

Whether you are giving back to loved ones or in a broader sense, like to your community, you may not be completely aware of what your options are. That is why I wanted to share some ideas here on how you can give back.

 

Your presence is my present

One of the most meaningful and impactful ways to give back is being present and giving of your time. Ironically this often the hardest thing to do for many of us. When it comes to how you do this for the people you love, only you and they know what will really be a meaningful way to show up for them. But let’s talk about ways you can give time to help your community.

A great way to serve your community would to be volunteering some time in soup kitchen. Of course if you are living in a smaller town you may not have a soup kitchen, but perhaps a local church or food bank may offer some sort of community meal for those who are less fortunate. Organizations doing this type of work will vary from town to town. But one organization that has soup kitchens is nationwide, the Salvation Army. Not all Salvation Army locations have soup kitchens, but most in middle to large sized cities will.

Perhaps you are more of an animal person, or maybe you are just an introvert. Did you know you can become a volunteer at an animal shelter? There are lots of ways to donate your service to animal shelter, all depending on your time, ability, and experience. But there is something for everyone to do. Like food banks, the organizations in your area may vary by name. But in most of the US you will have either a Humane Society or an ASPCA close to you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to any of your local shelters to see what kind of help they need.

Maybe you really love children, and you feel like your time would be best served by working with them. There are so many kids out there that need good role models in their life. Sometimes it means nothing more than just spending time with them and listening to what they have to say. You can give this much needed support to a child in need by signing up to be a part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program.

If none of these are quite right for you, and you don’t really know where to volunteer in your community there is help. Check out the website Volunteer Match to find the opportunities that are right for you.

One man's trash is another man's treasure

Many of us may want to volunteer our time, but because of various reasons we can’t. But I am willing to bet that almost all of us have things lying around our house that we no longer want or need. Things that are just taking up space. Rather than tossing that out or getting ten cents for it at a yard sale, why not donate your clutter?

There are lots of places like thrift stores, community outreach centers, abused women’s shelters, missions, churches and homeless shelters nationwide where you can donate new and used clothing as well as household goods. There will always be local places that are specific to your town, but there are absolutely national services that are accessible to most people in the US, and in some cases across the world.

Here is a brief list of some of the most accessible organizations to donate to:

To find out where you can donate locally a simple google search should help. Please keep in mind each place will take different items and have different requirements for what they accept. If you have not donated to a place before always call ahead or check their website before just dropping items off.

There are of course other things you can donate, outside of clothing and home goods. Lots of places take food donations for those in need. One of the biggest and wide spread food banks in my state is God’s Pantry. To find out where the closest food bank is to you, you can check with Feed America. In addition to food banks most soup kitchens and some churches will take food donations.

And if you are feeling really generous, you can also donate your car with some organizations. Catholic Services as well as NPR and Goodwill will accept donations of car.

Quote by Dalai Lama

I often hear people talk about how they want to make a difference in the world, but they don’t know how or don’t feel capable of doing anything big enough to make a difference. I just wanted to give everyone a reminder that while it may not feel like a big thing to you, sometimes even the smallest things feels huge to someone who has nothing. And small things can have big impacts.

In fact if you want to see more of the impact you are making, try helping one family or one person rather than going through a big organization. Many small organizations will let you adopt a family to help. Or you most likely know someone in need and don’t even realize it, maybe even someone you care about. Many people are too embarrassed or too proud to ask for help. In this country we are taught from a young age that we should be independent and its shameful to ask for help. But many people do need help.

So you might ask how do you help someone who won’t say they need help. I know it seems unproductive, but you can do it. Some options might be just asking if they would like some help. If you are going to donate things, perhaps make a post on social media asking if anyone wants to take a look at the items before you donate them. Where there is a will, there is a way. But I think the easiest way to make an impact for the people you care about is to just let them know you care and that you are available if they need you.

And this is me letting you all know I care about you. How can I help?

 

 

 

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A Reminder To Give Some Love And Forgiveness To Yourself

practice self love

Today’s post won’t be anything terribly long. I just wanted to remind everyone that during this Holiday season that is all about giving, its important to also give something to yourself. Be kind to yourself and give yourself some love and forgiveness.

practice self love

There is often lots of pressure on us, especially us ladies to be perfect. There is always lots to do during the Holidays. But no one is perfect, and that is okay. Allow yourself forgiveness for not being the utter ideal of feminine or masculine perfection.

There are all kinds of stresses for people this time of year. Maybe your like me and love the Holidays but the weather puts a lot of stress on you. Maybe you are like some of my friends and have social anxiety and just find the parties too stressful. Maybe you are like the majority of people and you have family that are assholes. No matter what your stress may be, be kind to yourself and know you are not alone. You are enough as you are.

I put together a short list of resources that may offer you some help in dealing with the stress you are feeling.

Better Help – online therapy

Grokker – A website and app with yoga, meditation, and relaxation videos.

Breathing Techniques – An article on WebMD about breathing techniques that can help you relax.

Get Help Immediately – A list of various emergency and crisis contact numbers and emails for agencies around the world. Organized by country.

Massage Envy – Get a massage, facial, or muscle stretch session at one of the many locations of this chain.

Stress Management Self Help Books – A list of what is available in the stress management category on Amazon.

Relaxation Music – A list of music videos for relaxation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What’s Happening In November And December 2018

What's happening in November and December 2018

What's happening in November and December 2018

We are officially in full swing of the Holiday Season now, and both November and December are going to be packed full of all sorts of good things. I have a lot of things on both my personal calendar as well as a lot of topics I want to cover on the blog.

First I want to take a minute to remind everyone in the US to vote on Tuesday, November 6. I’m not going to lecture you on who and what I think you should vote for, that should be a personal decision. Many times we feel like we have no voice or no say in how our country is run. Voting is your chance to make your voice heard and effect real change in our country. So no matter what your political views or which candidate you support, PLEASE VOTE!

On a personal note, November is a big birthday month in my group of people. Me, my husband, and a few of my friends all have birthdays during the month of November. So needless to say there is a lot of parties going on in November. And of course we can’t forget the biggest party of them all in November, Thanksgiving. So the month should be filled with friends and family, and I hope it is for all of you too.

Something you may not know about me is that I really am into being a Scorpio. Not in the sense of reading my horoscope all the time, but I have always love my astrological symbols and I have found the description of Scorpios accurate to me. Don’t be surprised if some related things pop up on the blog and my social media this November.

Of course my subscription box reviews will continue through November and on into December. I have been starting out slow but will be ramping up through November. Speaking of reviews, I will be getting back to my Shampoo and Conditioner Reviews in November. Since I was unable to do them for a few months, I have decided to continue doing these reviews on through 2019.

In December there will be a bit of a theme implemented in a lot of the posts you see here on the blog, and most likely the ones you see on social media as well. I will be talking a lot about giving, whether that be gift giving or giving of your time and so on. There may even be a surprise where I give to you, my readers, so make sure you are following me everywhere. If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have seen that I purchased and beauty advent calendar. I will be opening that on Instagram in December. If anyone is interested in finding out where they can still get a beauty advent calendar in the US, let me know in the comments and I can try to get a post together for that.

And of course most of us will be busy with Christmas at the end of December. I will be spending a couple of days with my family at Christmas time. And then as is my tradition I will be taking a some time off from the blog after Christmas and will be back with you in the second week of January. I will be posting on social media some at that time, so not a total vacation.

 

 


 

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Why I Won’t Be Giving Eloquii A Second Chance

Eloquii purchased by walmart

Several years ago I wrote a mini review of my experience with Eloquii here on the blog. It wasn’t a whole post dedicated to Eloquii, but it was part of a post. It was quite a negative review and I had said at the time I doubted I would shop with them again. To this day it remains one of my most well ranked posts on Google and most visited pages here on the blog.

However, I do realize that given time a company can change. People get fired, new people take their place. Corporations make policy changes. So in three years a lot could have changed with Eloquii. And a few of you have taken the time to reach out to me and ask for me to give it a second chance. Some people were wanting the second chance because of how much they already love the brand, and the rest because you wanted to see a detailed review of the fit. And for the last month or so I had been seriously considering giving it another try.

Obviously by the name of this post, you know something happened to change my feelings on the matter. My guess is by the time you are reading this, many of you will already know what happened. But for those of you who haven’t heard I will share the email that was sent out by Eloquii.

 

Announcement 1

Announcement 2

That is right, Eloquii has been bought by Wal-Mart. If you read my post about why I would no longer be shopping at ModCloth, then you already know how I feel about this topic. But for those of you who haven’t read it, or for whatever reason don’t want to go back and read it, I will summarize here.

Essentially I don’t want to give my money to a corporation that consistently pays their employees less than a livable wage. I have no judgment for anyone who does shop there. I certainly have had lots of times in my life where I had no other option. But at this point in my life I do have options. I may not be rich, but I have enough money to get the things I really need and even if I didn’t I live in a city where there are many options at the same price point or less than Wal-Mart for plus size clothing and anything else I need. So I feel it is important to put my money behind what I believe in, and that is more important to me that picking up a few extra pieces of clothing at cheaper price.

I am sure that there are also a few people out there who are huge fans of Eloquii thinking I am not giving them a fair chance since they have said they are still going to be making their own business decisions. But the great thing about there being so many more places to shop for plus sizes these days is that we can all have the luxury of making decisions where we want to shop. And for me, just the fact that Wal-Mart would be getting even a percentage of my money as the corporate owner is enough for me not to want to shop Eloquii.

I believe in practicing what I preach, and I have from day one on this blog said that I believe equality for one is not equality. So even if this acquisition does make fashion more available to the plus size community, I always have to ask myself if it is worth achieving something by stepping on the backs of someone else to get there. Ultimately I feel if Wal-Marts has so much money to constantly invest in other businesses they should have the money to be paying their workers fair and livable wages first.

If you want more information on the business side of what happened, I highly recommend you read the post “Are you Sitting Down? WalMart to Acquire Eloquii” over on The Curvy Fashionista’s blog.

Tell me in comments what you think about this acquisition? Do you shop Eloquii? Will you continue to shop Eloquii?

Because of the nature of this topic, I ask that if you comment on this post you keep your comments polite. Everyone is allowed to have their own opinions here.

 

 

 

 

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Rant: Old Navy Completely Dissed The Plus Size Women Of Kentucky

I was originally working on another post to go up today when I felt the need to write this first. This is something that has happened many times before with other retailers, and I feel very passionately about this topic. So the other post can wait.

You may or may not be aware that Old Navy announced recently they would be adding plus sizes to select stores. That is 75 stores to be exact. Those select stores will now be carrying up to a size 30W in store. I think we all thought this was about time. And I was really excited to hear plus sizes were coming to stores for many reasons. For me personally I seem to be all over the place in their sizing, so I really need to try their clothing on to find a good fit. But I also was excited for the women in my state, many who don’t have disposable money to order something and then it not fit. Old Navy is more on the affordable side, and for women to be able to buy in store is a huge thing in a state where poverty is a huge problem. I had plans on going and getting some things to share with all of you.

Now I don’t know exactly how many stores in total Old Navy has (I read its a 1,000, but I have no confirmation), but I do know that there are a least a few states that don’t have any stores, like Alaska and Idaho. So my initial thought when I heard the news was that obviously some states, bigger states like  California, are going to have more than one location with plus sizes. But aside from that then all states that have a store will get at least one location with plus sizes in the stores, right?

The email announcement that plus size clothing was now in stores went out on the 9-21-18. I didn’t have a chance to look it over for a few days, but did finally make the time to sit down and read my emails. In case you did not get that email or just don’t read your emails, here is what it said:

Your Style. Your size.

When you log on to Old Navy’s website and go to their store locator, there is now a link at the top you can click to see a list of where the stores that carry plus sizes are located. (Just a note: The link that lists where Old Navy is adding plus sizes is working, but Old Navy seem to have take the actual list off of it between the time I started writing this and the day it was scheduled to post. I am not sure  why, but I am leaving the link in case they put the list back.) Obviously, the first thing I did was going to see where my local store was. That is when I realized, oh not every state is getting plus sizes. And I have to admit, I am kind of pissed about it.

old navy disses Kentucky

Here in Kentucky we have one of the highest populations of plus size women per capita, yet we are not getting not even one store with plus sizes. And it’s not just Kentucky they left out. Other states like West Virginia are also getting skipped over. Actually, only 31 states are getting plus sizes. Why?

I’m sure if we asked Old Navy they would respond with some polished bull shit answer like “we analyzed our orders and we felt we had to give the stores in the areas where we receive the most plus size orders the clothing in stores”. I want to be clear, I have not asked them, and as far as I know Old Navy has not said this. But this has happened time and time again to my state when companies choose where to go, what stores to incorporate plus sizes into, etc.. They don’t realize how short-sighted they are being. If your goal is to bring in new sales, you don’t go where you are already making the sale.

Don’t get me wrong, I am really glad Old Navy is finally bringing plus sizes back into stores. I just think if they truly cared about making their clothing more accessible, they would spread their plus size stores out better. The demographic and market is here, they just haven’t been given the opportunity to see what you offer. Not everyone is comfortable ordering online. And even if they are comfortable ordering online, your sizing is just not consistent enough, and dealing with returns eats up time and money.

I’m really tired of companies skipping my state. There is a store the next state over that would be about an hour and a half drive away. And I have driven that far in the past to do a store try on. But that was for a new store with limited locations. So I don’t feel inclined to do that here. Quite honestly I don’t think I will be spending any money at Old Navy till they put plus sizes in a store in my state.

Tell me in the comments if Old Navy skipped over your state, and if so what state are you in?

 

 

 

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Update & What’s Coming For September And October

Most of you know I have been away on vacation, and the last few posts were pre-scheduled to post while I was gone. I simultaneously was, and still am, dealing with some extra health issues. I still don’t have answers about everything regarding my health, but I will cover that more fully in another post soon.

My last post that went up was the summary of what sheet masks I used in the third week of August. I will have a week four posted soon, but it will be quite different. Rather than my typical day to day post of what I used, I will instead be sharing en mass what masks I got specifically to take with me for travel. If you want to see specific sheet masks I used the rest of the month you can find those in my Instagram feed.

This past month was a personal challenge to help jump start getting my skin care back on track. I may occasionally do a monthly personal challenge again that I share. But most months I think I will be doing about half of the sheet masks I used last month. So rather than sharing a weekly summary I will be doing a monthly summary.

Just like my travel has sort inspired a travel related skin care post, I will have quite a few travel centric post including a post about some of the outfits I took with me and some ways to make life easier if you are traveling with health issue. I have been toying around for the last couple of years with the idea of adding a travel section to the blog, and I am pretty sure I will be doing that now. But I would love to hear any feed back you may have about that.

I am working with my doctors, and while it is taking longer than hoped to feel better, I still have hope that I will be back to my regular energy levels soon. I did take this past week off with no posts scheduled. This post will start me back to the posting schedule I have been using the last couple of months, which ends being about one and a half posts a week. I am super hopeful that by October to be back up to two posts a week. So I am hoping to be able to have time to work some product reviews in as well.

I also am already gearing up for the Holiday season in a way. One of the things I do every year here on the blog is review subscription boxes. I usually start in late September/early October and go till a couple of weeks before Christmas. I love subscription boxes and I think that they make great gifts, especially for people who are into something maybe you don’t know much about or anyone who just loves getting surprises. I have already got a  couple of new ones planned, but I would also love to hear if any of you want a review of one specifically. So tell me in the comments what subscription box you want to see reviewed this year.

 

 

 

 

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

Self Care

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

Self Care

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Decoding Sponsored Posts, Banner Ads, And Affiliate Links

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

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

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

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

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

Banner Ads

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

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

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

Affiliate Links

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

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

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

Sponsored Posts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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