Monthly Archives: August 2016

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Date Night Chic With City Chic

City Chic US

 

City Chic Skater DressFrom the first time I saw a City Chic dress I was in love. And after the first time I experienced their customer service I entered a relationship that will last a lifetime. Sometimes you find a brand that just gets you, and for me City Chic is definitely one of those brands.

They offer a wide variety of styles, from laid back boho to classic retro styles and everything in between. And their dresses fit me like a dream. Like this skater dress, many of City Chic’s dresses are perfect for date night. I may even be planning on wearing one for my upcoming Anniversary Dinner.

 

Plus Size Skater Dress from City ChicI have it paired with a simple Black Lace Headband and my favorite Skechers Wedge Sandals in black.

This particular dress is unfortunately no longer available on City Chic’s website, however if you like what I am wearing you might want to check out these dresses:

b8428ef858f5bc4c6ef2572318df4d76Solid Peek A Boo Dress – Cherry

cd5a414707ed2c9b552e9777f6b78bd0Sweet Denim Fit & Flare Dress

19f480a7bebc8e2ddba825c0a9b2c630Sweet Stripe Contrast Ponte Dress

 

And if you love a great sale like I do, then all the more reason to love City Chic, they always seem to have a great sale going. The best ones are always around the Holidays. And this Labor Day is no exception. They have a couple of Sales I wanted to make sure everyone knows about.

 

Shop City Chic’s outerwear sale for 30% off! Valid September 13- September 26

 

Shop City Chic’s labour day sale for 30% off Formal Dresses! Valid August 30- September 12

 

Get 2 Basics for $20 at City Chic! Valid July 12th – September 26th

 

Get an additional 30% off sale at City Chic! Valid August 30- September 29

 

And if you have never ordered from them before

 

Get 25% off your first purchase at City Chic with code: 25OFF1ST!

 

Since the first four do not need a code, you most likely can combine this one with either of those sales.

So tell me, have you tried City Chic before? If so what did you think? Do you have a favorite item from there?

 

 

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One Top Styled Two Ways

Two look from the Simply Be Cold Shoulder Blouse

Top From Simply Be Styled Two Ways

I lived on a tight budget for many years of my life. Honestly many of my younger years were spent in poverty. Family helped pay for my wardrobe for school. Purchasing items, even cheap items, would often be a struggle. So I understand for many people that when you buy a piece of clothing for your wardrobe you need it to be able to pair with multiple things to help get the most for your money. That is why I wanted to do some post like these. Not only is the top used in more than one outfit, but everything it is styled with was either thrifted, bought on clearance, or bought on sale.

The top I chose to create the looks with for this post is this top from Simply Be:

 

Cold Shoulder Blouse

Cold Shoulder Blouse Bright Pink Size 20 [More]

Price: $16.49

 

 

The original price was $22.99 and it is currently on sale for $16.49. I believe I paid $18.99 for it. It comes in three other color options: black, cobalt blue, and a color they call cassis(the color shown in the picture) but looks like eggplant to me. It comes in sizes 8 to 28, though some sizes are sold out in some colors. I normally wear a 20 at Lane Bryant and Torrid, and that is what I ordered in this top. It seems to fit true to size.

 

In look one, I have the top paired with a pair of J2 by JOUJOU Jeans I found on a TJ Maxx clearance rack for $10. They work great because they have a slight pink tint to them. My shoes I bought on Zulily quite some time ago. They are Top Moda brand. I got them for half price, which is $9.99 plus shipping. They are no longer available, however I found a pair on Amazon that is almost exactly the same.

If you happen to have Amazon Prime, since these have free Prime shipping they would come to about the same price as the ones I have. My necklace is one I got in a lot on ebay a long time ago. It was a massive lot of Icing jewelry. The price ended up break down to 50 cents each.

So lets add that up. $18.99 for the top, $9.99 for the jeans, $9.99 for the shoes, and $0.50 for the necklace. That brings the total to $39.47 for look one.

 

Simply Be Top and Torrid Pants

For look two I have it paired with a pair of culotte pants I got from Torrid back in the spring with Haute Cash. I paid $22.25 according to my receipt. They are all gone now, but I did find something similar on Amazon for a similar price if anyone wants something like it.

 Along with it I have on a pair of Montego Bay Club Wedges I found on eBay last year for $1.99. I looked and couldn’t find anything close in price for you guys. But its one of those things you have to be on the lookout all the time to get good deals. My jewelry consisted of the same necklace from before and an added pair of hoop earrings that came from that same Icing lot. That make $1.00 my total cost for jewelry.

So lets add this up again. The top was $18.99, $22.25 for the pants, $1.99 for the shoes, and $1.00 for the jewelry. That makes the grand total $44.23 for look two.

Where the real savings come in is mixing and matching pieces so you don’t have to rebuy. So the real total for two outfits is $64.21. I don’t think I am sharing anything revolutionary here, but I do know some people find it harder to mix pieces with multiple items in their wardrobe. Perhaps it just becomes easier to do for some of us after you have done it for years out of necessity.

 

 

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Part 2 – Where I Am At, The Challenge Of Staying Positive And Empowered

Hello World

Hello World

Last week in Part 1 – Where I Came From, The Journey to Self Acceptance I told you a lot about my past and how it led me to writing the blog. Today I wanted to talk about where I’m at now in life and how I stay motivated.

With many goals in life, you achieve the goal, you set your next goal, and you move on. But with things like positivity, self-confidence, and empowerment it doesn’t work that way. Just like anything that makes up who we are as a person, things fluctuate and change on a moment by moment basis. So to keep ourselves mentally healthy and strong, it is really a daily task.

I definitely have my days where I feel less than my best. I have my self doubts, old fears start creeping in, and negative messages get to me. Thankfully as the years have went by those moments have gotten fewer and fewer. I have found now that I am in my late thirties I am happier with who I am. I not only feel more confident in myself, but I just care less about what others think of me and my choices. And quite honestly, the prospects of my forties have me excited. I know a lot of people fear aging, but why? Your age will never hold you back from doing anything, only your mind will.

One of the main things that helps keep me motivated to do the blog is helping others. At this stage in my life there is no greater compliment that you could give me than telling me that I have inspired you or made your life better in some way. Don’t get me wrong, everyone likes to hear that someone finds them attractive from time to time, especially their spouse. But those kinds of compliments meant a lot more to me when I was younger.

Empowered women are beautiful beyond measure

I have had people tell me recently that they wish they could be brave like me. I honestly was kind of confused by this at first. Then as we chatted more I realized they were simply talking about the fact that I usually don’t wear sleeves in the summer. I will be honest here. It’s not bravery, its hot as balls in Kentucky in the summer and it’s certainly too hot to have to give a fuck what anyone else thinks about how my arms look. And if my arms or any other part of my fat self helps inspire anyone else to not give a flying fuck then I am elated. And I will be happy no matter what you think of me. If you think wow she looks fantastic, I really want to try out some of those same looks she wears, then that’s great. But I will be equally okay with you think wow what a fat cow, well if she can wear that then so can I. Either way the goal has been achieved to inspire someone to try something new.

While we are on the subject of blog content, I have been trying really hard despite personal issues and illnesses to get the blog on a schedule. I feel I am really happy with the direction I have it going in, and I hope that you as the readers are too. I certainly have felt like there has been a momentum growing from it since I implemented some of the changes at the beginning of the year. I want more than anything to build a safe community in which other women feel supported and where they feel like their opinions matters. I will always welcome any and all feedback from you. And I will do my best to always keep the trolls out. I have been lucky to not have been hit yet, but I know my day is coming.

I feel blessed that I have been able to work with such a great company on a continual basis like Beauteque. It’s really important to me that if I work with and promote any company here on the blog, outside of a general review, that it be a company that I thoroughly believe in.

Outside of the blog coming up next months will be mine and my husband’s third anniversary. It’s odd how it feels like it was both yesterday and forever ago at the same time. Like any couple we have some small bumps in the road, but we work on it daily. I love him as much now as I did the day I said I do. One good thing about our marriage is that we both truly believe that it’s not important whether you have conflict (because you will), but how you resolve those conflicts determine whether you can last. We are also really fortunate to have a fantastic supportive friends group that we consider family. You have seen a few of them here on the blog, and I am sure you will see them in the future too.

I think that pretty much covers where I am in life and what keeps me motivated. Do you blog? Let me know what you blog about and what helps keep you motivated.

 

 

 

 

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This Playset From Charlotte Russe Isn’t Child’s Play

Charlotte Russe Plus Size Top and Shorts play set

These two piece play sets that have made a sudden comeback along with jumpsuits, rompers, and crop tops bring back fond memories of some of my favorite outfits I had as a young girl. Even as a child they always seemed like so much fun, and that is no different now. So when I saw Charlotte Russe had this play set available I had to purchase it, and I have had zero regrets.

Plus Size Short and top set

Unfortunately this set has long been sold out. Chalotte Russe seems to have a quick turn over on their clothes. They are a juniors and junior plus store though, so that may have something to do with it. But its well worth checking out their website. You may have to size up due to it being junior plus. I typically wear a 2X at places like Lane Bryant and Torrid, but this is a 3X.

Paired with it I have on a pair of gladiator sandals from Ashley Stewart that I purchased months ago. They also are long gone, however I found something similar on Amazon.

They are the Orly Shoes Women’s Wide Width Tall Caged Calf Butterfly Gladiator Sandal in Gold.

I paired it with some wooden accessories, like these Evbea Round Wood Big Dangle Earrings Sterling Silver Gold Spikes Wooden Pierced Earrings in Brown.

And this Hawaiian Koa Wood Large Rectangle Hair Clip Barrette From Hawaii.

I really love the look of wood accessories, and I thought this was the perfect outfit to pair them with.

Plus Size shorts and top with Ashley Stuart Gladiator Sandals and wood accessories

What was your favorite thing to wear when you were a child? Would you or do you wear it now as an adult?

 

 

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Product Review- Suave Professionals Refresh & Revive Dry Shampoo – Bonus Tips on Using Dry Shampoo

Suave Professionals Refresh and Revive Dry Shampoo

I was recently sent the Suave Professionals Refresh & Revive Dry Shampoo to try in my Unilever Dry Shampoo VoxBox from Influenster.

This is one of nine dry shampoos that was sent out for people to try. Other options people could have received were:

I will be super honest here and say that the one I received is not the one that I would have picked out for myself had I been given a choice. Based on my personal needs, and keeping in mind I have no experience with any of these particular dry shampoos, I most likely would have chosen one of three. My first choice would have been the Dove Detox & Purify Dry Shampoo. I think that the Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Weightless Dry Shampoo or the Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Color Care Dry Shampoo would have also been good options for me.

Before I tell you my thoughts about the product I want to tell you my personal history with dry shampoo, so you know where I am coming from and what I am comparing this too. I am a long time user of dry shampoo, way before the recent hype. With my particular hair type if I wash my hair too often my hair starts breaking, so I try not to wash my hair more than twice a week at most. When I have my hair colored, then I try to cut that down to once a week or less if possible. So dry shampoo has really been a beauty staple in my life.

Over the years I have tried a lot of different types of dry shampoo from salon level to just outright making it myself. For the last five years I have narrowed down to essentially three things I use on a regular basis depending on budget, my current hair and scalp needs, and what I want to achieve with the dry shampoo.

So I still sometimes use homemade dry shampoo. If you do a google search or even better a Pinterest search you can find hundreds of recipes for DIY dry shampoo. Personally I have found just straight up corn starch does the best for me, and its the cheapest anyway. This does a great job when you simply want to quickly remove oil from you hair, but it can be messy if you are not careful.

I have also found two retail brands that I have remained pretty loyal to. I tend to go back and forth between the two because they are very different in what they offer. I use Batiste Dry Shampoo Tropical Scent for the best oil removal. And as an added bonus it has a wonderful fragrance I enjoy. Most of you know I am very fragrance sensitive due to my Balsam of Peru Allergy, however this Tropical Scented Batiste has been the only scented dry shampoo I had found that did not bother me in one way or another.

The other dry shampoo I use is the Not Your Mothers Clean Freak Dry Shampoo. I find this one is best for when you want to get some volume in your hair. However I don’t feel its quite as good at removing oil. But it is unscented, so if you are fragrance sensitive this one might work for you.

Me using the Suave Professionals Refresh Revive Dry Shampoo for the first time.

So Influenster asked me to the three day dry shampoo challenge. No problem since I usually go longer without washing my hair and using dry shampoo, right? Well, sort of. I did do the three day challenge. I even hung in there the fourth day, but I couldn’t go longer with it.

Photo_012

Me and my hair on the third day of the three day dry shampoo challenge.

It actually did a decent job of taking the oil out of my hair (not quite as well as Batiste thought), and it gave a decent amount of volume to my hair with use. Performance wise it was actually quite close to the Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo. However, this dry shampoo put out more of a white cast than any dry shampoo than I have ever tried. I could have lived with that part but the fragrance was horrible for me. But if you like a very orange/citrus scent you may like the fragrance. But be warned the fragrance is strong and it never seems to dissipate.

I do not plan on purchasing this in the future. But since I never had a reaction from it, I suppose if I needed dry shampoo and that was all that was available I at least know its a useable option.

I did receive my bottle of dry shampoo free for review purposes, however all opinions are my own and are just that, opinions.

I do want to share a couple of tips on using dry shampoo while we are on the subject. One of the biggest complaints I hear about dry shampoo, even with the really good ones, is it leave a white cast on your hair. After some conversations with people I have come to realize there is some misunderstandings on how dry shampoo is supposed to be used.

The instructions should be printed on all the bottles, but I do realize some people tend to skip that. Anyway make sure you shake the bottle well before use each time. Hold the bottle about 10 to 12 inches away from your head when you are spraying. The closer you have the bottle to your head the more of a white cast you will get. Granted some brands are going to have more than others.

Now here is the big thing after you spray it in, let it sit for a minute or two. Then use your hands to rub it into your hair roots. Then brush it out. Any white cast that was there should completely brush out, even with the worst of them. There are only a couple of dry shampoos on the market that are made to stay in your hair, most are meant to be brushed out. Dry shampoos are meant to control oil, some to give you volume. They are not meant to be used in hair that has product in it. So don’t use it over top of mouse, gel, or hairspray.

Additional tips, if for some reason you still can’t get the white cast to go away, you can get dry shampoos to match your hair color. Also, some people say that dry shampoos make their hair look too matte and shineless. You can use a dry hair oil spray to help give your hair some shine.

What are your favorite dry shampoos? Do you have any tips for using dry shampoo?

 

 

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Locked, Cropped & Ready! An OOTD And Tips For Wearing Crop Top When You Have A Large Bust

If you somehow missed it, news flash crop tops have been all the rage in plus size fashion this year and part of last year. And it looks like its a trend that is not going away anytime soon.

Some of you may not be ready to rock a crop top, but for those of you who are I thought I would share one of my favorites that I own as well as some tips for wearing a crop top when you have a large bust.

Plus Size Crop Top and matching skirt

This is the Caged Crop Top from Society Plus. It comes in several different colors, though I don’t think this particular color is still available. I have it paired with the matching J. Kane Skirt, also from Society Plus.

For accessories I have on Comfortview Fallon Sandal‘s in mint, though I think the mint color is sold out currently. However they have three colors to choose from, and they do come in wide widths. If they are out of your size, for a similar look you might also try the Comfortview Fran Cutout Sandal.

I also have a Mint Green Hair Flower Clip in my hair. And I had on a 10k Yellow Gold Round Aquamarine Swarovski Crystal Pendant Necklace.

Society Plus Caged Crop and J Kane Skirt

Since I didn’t mention it before, for the ladies who love pockets, this skirt has them. I also love how this is totally the type of skirt that makes you want to twirl.

Plus size skirt and crop top from society plus

Finding crop tops that fit you functionally are hard to find when you have a large bust. Keep in mind when I say large bust, I am speaking relative to me as I am in between a DDD cup and a G. When I was a teenager and crop tops were in, I was in a D cup then and did not find it nearly as hard. The problem is, now most crop tops ride up every time you move and show your bra.

The best solution I have found for finding a crop top that fits well on a larger chest is finding ones that have fitted bottoms with stretchy fabric like this one from Society Plus. This prevents a lot of the lifting at the bottom. If this look shows too much skin for your taste, there are similar crop tops in tank styles or some with sleeves. Or you could try pairing it with a cardigan like the Avenue’s Ribbed Mesh Cardigan. Or you could put one of the pink crops with a pair of jeans and pair it with eVogues Floral Chiffon Long Kimono Cardigan

The other solution is finding those longer crop tops that almost aren’t crop tops. A great option is the Crochet Lace Crop Top from Torrid. I have the black version of this top and its nice because you can put what you want under it for your own comfort level. Feel comfortable showing a lot of skin, go for it. And if you don’t you can easily put a cami or tank under it and it still looks good. You could even put it over a sheath dress.

No matter what your comfort level is, don’t rule them out till you at least go and try one on.

Do you have tips for wearing a crop top? What is your favorite crop top?

 

 

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Part 1 – Where I Came From, The Journey of Self Acceptance

The Journey To Self Acceptance

The Journey To Self Acceptance

As I am moving into my third year of blogging I have found myself making plans for what direction I want to take the blog over the next year. I have also been reflecting a lot on past post and the growth I have achieved in just this past few months. But as I think back I realized I have never really shared my journey that brought me to blogging.

I thought I would make this a three-part post about 1. where I cam from. 2. where I am now, and 3. where I am going. I think, if nothing else, many of you will see yourself in parts of my story. And I hope my journey helps someone who is struggling find their way to self acceptance.

I think there is nowhere like the beginning to start, so lets start there. I grew up in eastern Kentucky on a farm in the middle of no where (which to be fair, to most people the middle of no where would describe most of eastern Kentucky). I was, and still am, an only child and grandchild(at least on my father’s side of the family). My whole family was always big to one degree or another. That is, everyone except my father. Your father being skinny wouldn’t normally be an issue, that is unless he has a fat phobia and lives with all large people.

For the first five years of my life my father treated me like a princess that could do no wrong. I was the apple of his eye, his pride and joy, you get the point. Around the time I was 6 things started to change and at the time I didn’t understand why. All I knew was my daddy didn’t seem to love me anymore and he was treating me different. What I understand now is that was the year I started to put pudge on. I say pudge because previously I was nowhere close to being fat. I had previously been so rail skinny that I now just looked healthy. But that’s all it took for my dad to start treating me differently.

That was when things like forbidding food, especially sweets, started happening. I was forced to exercise beyond what was normal. At that point I really was still in the heavy play mode and very physically active on my own, but once the forced exercise started it suck all the fun out of it and I no longer wanted to do it. But for the next couple of years I maintained the same sort of weight. I was at a healthy level for my height, yet I thought I was fat and was already worried about my weight. Let that sink in…at 6 to 8 years old despite being a healthy weight, I thought I was fat and was constantly worried about it.

I remember comparing myself to the other girls at school all the time. Yes, I was bigger than most, but not fat. In reality I was really just taller and had larger bone build than most of them and a very different build. It didn’t help that I was the only mixed girl comparing myself to a room full of white girls. But to my young mind I just knew that since my dad was making such a big deal out my weight, and I was bigger than the other girls, then I must be horribly fat.

By the time I hit age nine I started getting ill a lot. I often wouldn’t feel well and that meant I laid around more than I had. By the time I was ten I had put a little more weight on. Again not so much that me looking back would say, “oh look I was really fat”. Rather, I had the kind of weight that the average person would have looked at me and said I had baby fat.

But of course at this point is when things really got worse for me. This is around the time my father started saying things to me that stuck with me for a long time. I distinctly remember him for the first of many times telling me, “no man will ever want you if you are fat”. This also started a deluge of forced diets, bribes to lose weight, and even a few threats. And I just kept getting sicker, so I was also accused of just being lazy and often forced to go out and exercise no matter how bad I felt.

The sicker I got the more weight I seemed to gain. I don’t really remember what my heaviest was as a teenager, but I do remember that around 16 I had gotten into a 26W in pants. My family was poor, so I never go to go to the doctor the way that I really needed to. We had no health insurance. Today I know that most of what I was experiencing was because of several health issues I have, but there was no way to know then. And through out my mid teens I was really depressed. Oddly enough I didn’t even know that I was depressed until someone else I knew was talking about their own depression, and it was like a light bulb went off in my head. I was depressed! Its funny, but somehow just knowing that it was depression made me feel better.

I actually felt so much better that I got out and did so much stuff for a while that I had a brief remission from the other health issues and I made some changes. I stood up for myself and demanded no more diets. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted. And I got out and did things with my friends. And you know what, I lost some weight. I think at my skinniest, if I remember right, I was around 190 lbs and in a size 14W. I kind of teetered back and forth between a 14W and a 16W up till my early twenties.

But during that time in my late teens there were really some key things that happened to me that really helped my confidence a great deal. I remember a couple of days into my first job this man came in and kept making passes at me. He was very aggressive about it and very expressive about how much he liked how I looked. While I am not one to encourage getting your confidence from outside sources, this man helped me in a way no one else could at that time. You see, I had really bought into my fathers insistence that men don’t like fat girls. And while I had zero interest in this man that was probably just trying to hook up with me, what he did do was open my eyes to the fact that my dad lied.

My dad lied, and I was so buried in his lies that I had not seen the truth. If you have ever seen the movie the butterfly effect, those moment when he switched to a new timeline and he got an instant update on information, that is sort of what I felt like in the moment that I realized most of what I had been taught about myself was a lie. That didn’t instantly fix everything. I still had moments where I felt really shy and embarrasses, but I definitely was on the move to change.

It wasn’t long after that when MODE Magazine hit the scenes. If you know what MODE magazine was, then you know I am really dating myself here. And if you don’t know what MODE Magazine is, first off I am sorry and second it was the first magazine of its kind. It was an actual print magazine just like Glamour or Red Book, but everything was for Plus Size Women. I remember being in awe of all the amazing clothing, and wanting to be those girls. We need to bring back MODE Magazine for the girls of today. I know we have several online magazine for plus size women, but MODE was sold in the store on the rack just like VOGUE. Finally we were but for a moment equal.

One piece of advice I remember reading in MODE stuck with me, and I actually did it for a while. I have even suggested it to friends that were struggling with their self image. It essentially said, stand in front of the mirror for a few minutes each day and just look at yourself. And replace any of those negative thoughts you have with a positive words that you find empowering. Don’t just think those positive words, speak them. I believe the advice went on to say to work  your way up to looking at yourself naked when you do this. But either way, its good self love, because if you can’t say positive things to yourself how can you expect it of others.

replace negative thoughts with words of empowerment

It was in MODE Magazine that I saw Emme. Emme was and is the world’s first Plus Size Supermodel. She really has been one my biggest inspirations in life. It wasn’t long after I first saw her I heard about her book. I had to rush out to get it. If you haven’t read it, her first book was True Beauty Positive Attitudes and Practical Tips from the World’s Leading Plus-Size Model. She has since come out with a couple of other books. She has Life’s Little Emergencies: Everyday Rescue for Beauty, Fashion, Relationships, and Life and most recently Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident: 101 Stories about Loving Yourself and Your Body. Take some time to read about her journey, and maybe you will find her as inspirational as I did.

It was around 19 when the really big change happened. I had already gained some  confidence. I had worked on my clothing the best I could at the time, but my options were still pretty limited at the time between where I lived and my income level. I guess those changes were enough to get people’s attention though. Roughly around the same time I was approached by two different local stores and asked to model for them. It wasn’t anything big, but it was enough to help my confidence make that last push it needed to really become confident in who I was, and it also sparked an already budding interest in fashion.

While my stint into modeling was a brief couple of years, my passion for fashion was fueled for a lifetime. Through my twenties and early thirties I had a handful of opportunities to act as a sort of personal shopper to a few women, which was a really great experience. I think that was where I really started feeling a need to help other plus size ladies find great fitting clothing, and perhaps with it a bit of confidence. I have always found it amazing how finding that one piece of clothing that fits you just right can change your whole being. When you look good, you feel good and the world around you feels it too. And the first time I had someone turn around and thank me for helping them feel beautiful, I almost started crying. Which for me is hard, I hate crying. But, I understood what she meant. This lady was actually quite gorgeous, but it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside if you never feel it on the inside.

I know that last statement sounded a bit contradictory since I am sitting here saying its what you feel inside and not what you look like that matters, but its not. The things is, I suppose my helping people find clothes came with a bit of therapy as well. These were all people I knew at least somewhat well, so I knew what was really missing, and what risks they had been afraid to take.

During all that time in my twenties I managed to graduate from college, get married and divorced, move 9 times (I am exhausted thinking about it), get diagnosed with several major illnesses, and lose a whole friends circle(that’s a story for another day or maybe never). But as I moved through my thirties, while most people were terrified of getting older, I relished in it. I can honestly say I am so much happier in my thirties and I really look forward to seeing my forties bring. I was lucky enough to find the love of my life who I married three years ago. And as many of you know I wrote for a couple of plus size publications for a while, one being Pretty Pear Bride.

After writing for other publications for a while, it didn’t take long for me to realize I really wanted to do my own thing. My husband and I discussed it, and that’s when we decided the blog was the right move to make.

As I sat here and wrote all of this down for you, I couldn’t help but think about what advice or words of wisdom I might have given my younger self all those years ago. And I think the only thing I could say, whether it would have helped or not, is “its not about you”. Maybe some might think that is a odd thing to say, but as an adult I now know two very important things that my younger self did not. One, my father had a mental illness that was not treated and he was not fully in control of his actions. And two, not just in the case of my father, but most people that target other with mean or hateful words, its more about how they feel about their selves and not about you.

And since I know many of you will probably be wondering about my relationship with my father, things will always be challenging because of his mental illness. However, I do want to give him credit and say that at some point in my mid twenties my father apologized to me for a lot of the treatment I received from him as a child and teenager. Knowing my father the way I do, I know that was really hard for him. And while it in no way makes up for the mistakes he made, I still appreciate that he is trying to change. That is all any of us can do.

We all have a story to tell, and I would love to hear your stories, your struggles, your triumphs. Or if you just want to talk about the fun times that good too. Do you remember MODE Magazine? I can’t be the only one.

 

 

 

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Giveaway! Korean Skin Care Giveaway!

Giveaway time

Giveaway time

Guess what time it is, that’s right it’s giveaway time!

I have been trying to do this giveaway all summer and now that I finally have everything in hand I finally can. If you have been with me for any amount of time you know I do a giveaway about once a year. The two previous years we have had a jewelry and accessories giveaway, and a cosmetics giveaway. This year is Korean skin care, which should come at no surprise. Just like previous years, this is not a sponsored giveaway. These items were all procured by me.

The entry to the giveaway will be open for two weeks, and you have many different ways to get entries to the giveaway. There are just a few rules this year. You may only win one prize. So if I draw your name as a winner and then draw your name again that second win will not be valid. US residents only may participate. I am sorry, I would like to include everyone, but since this is out my own pocket including the mailing cost I can not afford to send out packages over seas. You must be at least 18 years old to enter and win. The giveaway closes at 12:00 AM EST on 8/28. Winners will be contacted by 6 PM at the latest on 8/28, and they will have 2 days to respond before a new name is drawn. All prizes will be mailed out on 9/4.

So now that we know how its going to work this year, lets take a look at what we all are here for:

The Prizes!

 

Prize Pack #1:

June's BB Bag from Beauteque

 

June’s BB Bag from Beauteque. – I got an extra BB Bag for June just for this giveaway, and its a good one too. Every month’s BB Bag has a theme, and June’s was “Beauteque’s Beauty Treats – Desert For Your Skin”. As you can see one item didn’t fit in the bag, and that is the super popular Black Sugar Mask from Skinfood. But that bag is filled with other great items. I am not going to list them because if you don’t already get this service I don’t want to spoil it for you. Half the fun is opening the bag and finding out what all the surprises are.

 

Prize Pack #2

Lemon D-Toc Peeling Gel   My favorite sheet masks and hair masks out of Korea

 

The person who wins this pack gets a full size Lemon D-TOC Peeling Gel from Secret Key as well as a large pack of masks that I picked out. These are all some of my favorite masks of all time, some of which I haven’t been able to find recently.

The masks included are :

  1.    MediHeal Ade Cacao
  2.    Mediheal Pumpkin-ade Mask
  3.    Esfolio Milk Essence Mask Sheet
  4.    Esfolio Banana Essence Mask Sheet
  5.    Esfolio Egg Essence Mask Sheet
  6.    Freeset Donkey Milk Hydrogel Mask Pack – Aqua
  7.    Skinfood Beauty In A Food Mask – Rice
  8.    Skinfood Beauty In A Food Mask – Black Bean
  9.    PureDerm Vital Radiance Hair Mask – Honey
  10.  PureDerm Vital Radiance Hair Mask – Jojoba Oil

 

Prize Pack #3

Lemon D-TOC Peeling Gel and All Day Fine Pore Toner    Sheet Mask Sampler

 

The person who wins this pack gets a full size Lemon D-TOC Peeling Gel from Secret Key, a full size All Day Fine Pore Toner from Scinic, and a selection of popular sheet masks from Korea.

The sheet masks included are:

  1.  Tony Moly I’m Real Mask Sheet – Lemon
  2.  The Face Shop Intense MasCream Sheet – Brightening
  3.  Esfolio Red Ginseng Essence Mask Sheet
  4.  FaceQ Pearl Brightening Mask Individual
  5.  Tsaio Green Tea Whitening Mask Sheet
  6.  Tsaio Deep Moisturizing Mask Sheet

To enter just sign into the Rafflecopter just below here. Only the first item is mandatory to enter. Everything else is optional to receive bonus entries. Good luck everyone.

* There seems to be some confusion for a couple of folks. The area to leave a blog post comment is at the very bottom of the page, not in the rafflecopter box.  In the raffle copter box you just need to type something like yes or done to identify that you did the task. If there isn’t a comment on the actual page your entry won’t count.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

 

 

 

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Navigating The World Of Women’s Plus Size Clothing Sizing

Female belly with tape measure

Plus size clothes shopping can be hard for many reasons. Its difficult even when you can try the clothes on before you buy it. But when you take your purchasing online, while it does open up a lot of options of where to shop, it becomes way more confusing about what size to buy. Without the ability to try an item on you are now stuck relying on size charts.

Why is this a problem? It gets confusing because: 1. Women’s sizes don’t just start at the smallest and go to the largest. Instead they are broken up into a bunch of categories and sized in those categories. And 2. Women’s sizes, at least in America, are not standardized. So how an 18W fits at one store might fit completely different at another store. And finally 3. To get the biggest variety of options you might shop stores that are either vintage styles or from another country, and they all have their own sizing as well.

For the purposes of todays article I am only going to talk about non-vintage US sizes. And if it is requested enough I will do follow ups with Vintage sizing and Maybe sizing from other countries. You, the readers, will really have to speak up and let me know what you want with this one.

I am going to use size charts from JC Penny’s because they offer all the sizes I am going to talk about in one store and their size chart tend to be fairly accurate, or at least they have been for me in the past.

First lets examine the two sizing differences that get most confused. This would be Plus Size and Junior Plus.

Camparison of Size Charts for Plus Size and Junior PlusKeep in mind that these are all JC Penny's size charts, so while a 1X here is a 16/18W that is not the case for every store. When shopping at a new store always check their size charts before ordering.

When you look at both size charts they look the same at first glance. Both have a 0X to start with, and both 0X sizes are equal to a 14. So let’s take a look at the differences. Obviously there are W’s behind the numerical sizes of plus sizes, but to make things even more confusing some plus size stores and brand have quit including the W on the end. The real difference comes when you start looking at the measurements.

Lets look at a size 18 in both charts. The bust measurement on the plus size chart is 46″, and on the junior plus side it is 44.5″(which is a generous sizing for junior plus, a lot run much smaller). That is a 1.5″ difference. But for some people, if they didn’t realize the store or brand was junior plus they might assume they had put on weight. Or if they were ordering online they might be very frustrated at a item that doesn’t fit. And at times that can lead to pricey returns at the customers expense, or with some companies even worse an all out loss.

There is so much more that clouds the water though. Its not just about trying to determine whether something is Plus Size or Junior Plus. There is also Misses sizes to look at, and some people can fit in both because of an overlap in sizes. So let’s take a look at both the misses and plus size charts next to each other for comparison.

CompareMisses&PlusThis time when you initially glance at the charts they look very different. And your first thought might be that if you where plus size, why would you even look at misses sizes. And for a large portion of plus size women that would be correct, but as we already said women’s clothing sizes in the US are very complicated.

The problem is not with the letter sizing (at least not for the most part, but we will talk more about that in a minute), but you see we again have many of the same number sizes again. Everything from a 14 to a 20 is on both charts, and depending on the brands you are comparing this could be everything from a 10 to a 24.

Lets look again at the size 18 to compare on both charts. Once again on the plus size bust measurements is 46″ and on the misses side the bust is 44″. That is 2″ difference. While 2″ is quite a bit, if you remember the junior plus sizes was 1.5″ different. So the junior plus and misses sizing is relatively close on measurements, at least in the bust. And if you look once more at the plus size 18 and this time compare it to the misses 20 you will see the bust measurement is actually the same. Actually the hip measurement is the same as well. The only variance is that the waist is 1″ smaller on the misses 20. So while it can be very confusing, if you do happen to fall in that zone where you could fit numerous categories, you have so many more shopping options.

Not that we aren’t already confused about the sizing enough, but now some brands have decided that they no longer want to use the sizing we have used for years. So we have brands that have branched off into a multitude of other types of sizing. The easiest to deal with is places like Torrid that often number theirs sizes 0, 1, 2, and so on. Simply add and X to the end and its the same thing as traditional sizes. Then we have brands that have started using S, M, L, and so on to mark their plus sizes. This is obviously confusing since this is the sizes we traditionally connect to misses  or juniors sizes. With the stores that use these sizing methods, if no size chart is available you must ask. And then we have stores that are not necessarily trying to use misses sizes for plus sizes, but they carry both and so they tag them all using traditional misses sizes and it just goes straight from XL misses over to a XXL plus size. And while just looking at that alone seems like a good thing, until we have everyone on the same page it just adds to the confusion.

I am not really going to discuss the difference in sizing, but I wanted to share this with you so you can take a look for yourself. To make matters even more complicated, some stores like JC Penny have added a third category of Juniors sizing. Now there is Juniors, Junior Plus, and the third added option is Curvy Juniors.

Juniors, Curvy Juniors, and Junior Plus Size Charts to compare

But here is the good news. Yes it may be confusing at times, but its not impossible. And there are certain things that can make shopping easier. First and foremost, I hope that I have impressed upon you the importance of knowing your measurements, especially when shopping online. Because no matter what size range the brand may offer, if you know your measurements, you will most likely end up with an item that fits.

Second, if you take some time to find out how a brand or store is categorized you will find your size there quicker. For example I know at most plus size stores I am a 2X or a 20W, but if I go to Junior Plus I am usually in a 3X. So some examples of straight plus size would be Torrid, Avenue, Lane Bryant. And Junior plus would be Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, and Wet Seal (quick tip: if you are having a hard time telling if a store is junior plus check their prices, prices are usually quite a bit less and stores targeting juniors since they either don’t have jobs or only part time ones). But beyond finding the right size, I hope this has perhaps helped at least a of my readers to open up to some new shopping options. All I really want to say is don’t limit yourself just because a store is categorized as something you don’t think you are. Don’t be afraid to just try it.

And finally, if you are ordering from online, always make sure to check out the companies return policy. There is nothing worse than ordering from a company only to get something that looks nothing like what it does in the picture and then find out they have a no return policy. Or just as horrible maybe they charge you a restock fee on top of you paying for the shipping. At the end of the day, read everything because we live in a buyer be ware world.

So do you have any useful tip or tricks that I missed about sizing or shopping? If so make sure you comment below and share with everyone.

 

 

 

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A Review Of The Sheet Masks I Tried For Beauteque’s Relaunch As Your Mask Marketplace

As you probably know, last month was Beauteque‘s relaunch as Beteaque: Your Mask Marketplace.

Beauteque: Your Mask Market Place

And at the beginning of last month I posted about the relaunch and the masks I was sent for review. All the masks I was sent I had never tried before. To refresh your memory here are the mask I was sent.

Collection of Sheet Masks Available at Beauteque

In the photo left to right is the Tosowoong Aqua Tok Tok CO2 Fresh Mask, 
Holika Holika Pig-Collagen Jelly Gel Mask Sheet, ThFace Shop Intense 
MasCream Sheet - Firming, Esfolio Essence Mask Sheet - Banana, Etude House 
Wonder Pore Black Mask Sheet, Tsaio Stayed Up Late Mask - Emily, and Mizon 
Ampoule Essential Sheet Mask Peptide.

Lets take these one at a time.

 Tosowoong Aqua Tok Tok CO2 Fresh Mask

1. Tosowoong Aqua Tok Tok CO2 Fresh Mask :

What it does – This nourishing and hydrating face mask contains Glacial milk, Bee propolis and Niacinamide to help moisturize the skin and diminish the appearance of fine lines!

How you use it – Massage CO2 Aqua Gel into the skin for 1 to 2 minutes. Apply CO2 mask sheet to face, leaving it in place for 10 to 20. Rinse off excess with lukewarm water.

My thoughts – This mask was the most unique out of the ones I have tried. It came in two parts. The first part is the CO2 Aqua Gel and the second is the sheet mask. However the mask sheet is completely dry. You put the aqua gel on your face first then apply the sheet mask over it. Once the two are combined on your skin it activates. I didn’t really find the sensation pleasant with this one, however I did see nice results with my skin. On first try I would give this a rating of a 6 out of a 10. I would like to give this one another try in the near future and reevaluate then.

Holika Holika Pig-Collagen Jelly Gel Mask Sheet

2. Holika Holika Pig-Collagen Jelly Gel Mask Sheet:

What it does – Rich in nutritious elements, this pig collagen gel mask and is made with 10,000 ppm collagen from pig skin. Why pig collagen you ask? Pig collagen, much like human collagen, helps to keep your skin hydrated and enhance it’s elasticity. Diminish fine lines, increase your skin’s luminosity, and get supple, baby soft skin with this mask!

How you use it – On a cleansed and toned face, spread the gel mask over your face. Leave on for 20-30 minutes. Gently pat in the remaining product for full absorption.

My thoughts – I think this was one of my two favorites out of the group. It was a gel mask which I love because they have a very cooling a soothing feeling by nature. It was deeply hydrating, but without clogging my pores. And my skin did feel softer after use. I would rate this one a 9 out of a 10.

*Note – This mask is not currently listed on Beauteque’s website. I do not know if it is coming back or not. You can contact their customer support to find out if you are interested.

ThFace Shop Intense

3. The Face Shop Intense MasCream Sheet – Firming:

What it does – This Intensely firming mask sheet with anti-aging cream essence has the effect of an entire jar of cream The dense microfiber sheet adheres closely to the skin, providing soothing comfort. It is formulated with marine collagen and black truffle to leave skin looking supple and improve elasticity.

How you use it – Unfold the mask an carefully place it on your freshly cleansed face. Avoid the eye and mouth contours. Remove after 10-20 minutes and gently dab remaining essence into skin.

My thoughts – I was curious to try this, but a little hesitant at the same time. While I am not prone to having a lot of acne I have had some breakouts when using heavy cream based sheet masks. This did not cause a breakout, so that was a plus. It left my skin feeling very firm, and it seemed like I felt the result for several days after. The only drawback was the scent. It had a fragrance, and you know for me that is a big no no. It did not cause a reaction, but I found it unpleasant. It reminded me of a moisturizer I had tried in the past from the Face Shop. This may just not be the brand for me. However if you do not have fragrance issues you definitely should give this a try. I would rate this a 7 out of 10, and if it were not for the fragrance it would have gotten a 9.

Esfolio Essence Mask Sheet - Banana

4. Esfolio Essence Mask Sheet – Banana:

What it does – This highly concentrated essence mask sheet is formulated with fresh banana extract to help soothe and soften your skin! The fiber and vitamins contained in bananas will help moisturize and brighten the look of your complexion by removing dead skin cells.

How you use it – Apply to face after cleansing and toning the skin. Make sure the mask fits your eyes, nose and lips. Take off the mask after 15 to 20 minutes and dab remainig essence into skin.

My thoughts – Esfolio has consistently been one of my favorite brands because of how well their masks perform. This was not a disappointment. I don’t know that I thought it was super soothing, but it definitely was cleansing and brightening. My one disappointment with this mask was not a fault of the mask so much as I just made and assumption beforehand that maybe I shouldn’t have. Since it was banana I was expecting a banana fruit scent, and it was instead a banana leaf smell. It wasn’t a bad scent, just not what was expected. Any way I would rate this one 8 out of 10.

Etude House Wonder Pore Black Mask Sheet5. Etude House Wonder Pore Black Mask Sheet:

What it does – This mask controls sebum and cleans pores with its black sheet containing oak tree charcoal cooked in a kiln with temperature over 1,000 degrees.

How you use it – Place mask sheet so that it fits contours of the face. Remove mask after 10-15 minutes later and lightly pat to absorb remaining contents.

My thoughts – This is my other favorite new mask. It is a black mask, which usually means there is charcoal involved somehow, and there is with this one. Regardless if you have issues with acne or not, everyone needs to do something to help clean their pores out from time to time. I was especially in need when I tried this mask. While I don’t break out often when I do I get the really painful type. I had a really bad break out after helping a friend clean, and I just knew my pores were clogged. This has to be the best sheet mask I have ever tried for pores. Its reputation is well deserved. It actually cleared up a couple of small pimples over night and my skin felt super clean. I would rate this 9 out of 10.

Tsaio Stayed Up Late Mask - Emily

6. Tsaio Stayed Up Late Mask – Emily:

What it does – Have a late night? Lack of sleep can cause you to not only feel tired but look tired as well. This black mask will help you fake a good nights sleep in just 5 minutes! It can make you and your skin look well rested by helping to brighten and firm your skin with a concentrated beauty essence. Suitable for normal, oily or combination skin.

How you use it – Cleanse and tone skin. Remove from package and fit to face. Can be worn for just 5 minutes if pressed for time, or longer.

My thoughts – This was the only one out of the group that I really just didn’t like. I don’t think there was anything wrong with it, I just don’t think it was for my skin. I didn’t see the type of results I would want. I think it would probably be better for someone with less mature skin. I would rate this one a 3 out of 10.

Mizon Ampoule Essential Sheet Mask Peptide

7. Mizon Ampoule Essential Sheet Mask Peptide:

What it does – Smooth out wrinkles with Mizon Ampoule Essential Sheet Mask Peptide. Powerful peptides in this face mask work to firm and lift your face. Use weekly for a major boost to your skincare regimen. Ideal for all skin types.

How you use it – Simply lay mask on cleansed and towel-dried face, leaving on for 20-30 minutes before removing and patting in excess serum with fingertips.

My thoughts – I thought this did a great job, but yet again it had a scent I didn’t care for. Because of the nature of this mask though you would really need to use it on a more regular basis to see real results. I would give it a second chance. I would rate this one a 5 out of 10.

 

So those are the new masks that  I was sent to review. And while these were sent to me for free all the opinions stated were my own. I want to always strive to be honest in all of my reviews. I would love to hear what you guys think. Have you tried any of these before? Let me know what you think of the ones you have tried before and what your skin type is. If you have any recommendation on what I should try I would love to hear that too.

And as always if you guys would like to purchase any of these masks or anything else from Beauteque, you can receive 10% off your entire order with coupon code KAREN. That can even be used on subscription services and sale items. The code does not expire as long as I am affiliated with them and you can use it multiple times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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