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

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

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

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

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

 

Service Name: Margot Elena Discovery Box

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

How the Margot Elena Discovery Box.

Photo taken from the Margot Elena website.

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

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

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

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

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

Theme for the Margot Elena Winter 2018 box

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

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

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

Lollia tissue paper

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

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

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

Front of the Margot Elena Peacock Silken Kimono

Back of the Margot Elena Peacock Silken Kimono

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

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

The Kissing Bell frm Margot Elena

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

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

Tokyo Milk Dark Fragrance Duo Novacaine & Tainted Love

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

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

Peacock print Hand-Glazed Stonewear Mug

A peek inside the peacock mug

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

Tokyo Milk Signature Stationary Trio

Stationary in the Margot Elena Discovery Box

Tokyo Milk Stationary with sparkle

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

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

White Pine & Balsam Travel Candle from The Cottage Greenhouse

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

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

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

A collection of Lollia products in the scent Wish

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

Limited Edition Wish Bubble Bath

 

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

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

 

Wish Shea Butter Hand Cream from Lollia

 

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

 

 

 

 

Wish Bath Salt Sachet fom Lollia

 

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

 

 

 

Wish Triple-Milled Shea Butter Soap from Lollia

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

Product fails for March 2018

Product fails for March 2018

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

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

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

Makeup

Maybelline Total Temptation Palette

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

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

Skin Care

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

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

Personal Care

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

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

Clothing

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Lace trim faux wrap cotton knit skirt customed from eShakti

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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The Plus Size Brands That You May Not Have Heard Of, But Should Have

In the online plus size community it seems like we constantly hear about the same brands over and over again, but there is so much more out there. I wanted to share with you some of my favorite brands that I never hear about, or at least rarely, and some of my favorite things they offer.

Love Your Peaches

Do you dream of the days you can afford custom made clothing where you pick your own style and fabric. Then that day has arrived. Love Your Peaches does just this. Owner Janelle Lowe started the company based on the need she saw. She offers all types of clothing including a large selection of bikinis, and everything is made to order. And best of all, she uses real plus size women, of all shapes, to model her wears. With regular priced items starting at just $31.00 you can have that dream wardrobe. Here are a couple of things I have had my eye on. Click on the pictures to be taken to the items page.

 

 

The Capri Catsuit from Love Your Peaches

The Capri Catsuit from Love Your Peaches

 

The Marilyn Top From Love Your Peaches - Shown paired with the V-Band Bottom B4

The Marilyn Top From Love Your Peaches – Shown paired with the V-Band Bottom B4

eShakti

Dream of having that cute retro looking dress or skirt, but they never fit you right? Your always thinking if they would just make these to fit my shape. Well that is exactly what eShakti does. They have a large selection of clothing. You can either buy from their size chart, or for a small fee extra they will make the item to your measurement specifications. Tailored clothing at a very reasonable price. Regular priced items start at $39.95. Sizes range from size 0 in misses and go to 36W. Best of all everything is available in all sizes. Here is a tip, first time buyers get free shipping and if you register before ordering they will send you a $25 gift certificate to use on your order. Here are some of my favorites.

 

 

Red lips tulle full skirt from eShakti

Red lips tulle full skirt from eShakti

 

Floral print belted trench from eShakti

Floral print belted trench from eShakti

Pinup Girl Clothing

Also specializing in retro style clothing. Pinup Girl Clothing offers many of the same styles in their plus size line as what is in their straight size line. They often use luxurious fabrics, but their designs are always traditional styles from the 40’s and 50’s. Yet another company that uses real plus size women to model. With prices starting at just $38.00 anyone can afford to add a piece to their wardrobe. Here are some of the pieces that I love.

 

Monica Dress in Red Matte Jersey Knit - from Pinup Girl Clothing

Monica Dress in Red Matte Jersey Knit – from Pinup Girl Clothing

 

Sean Top in Gold Poplin from Pinup Girl Clothing

Sean Top in Gold Poplin from Pinup Girl Clothing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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