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Tag Archives: steampunk

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New Year, New…..Lots Of Things

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

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

Ophelia

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

I would like to introduce you all to Sophie.

Sophie, the new fur baby

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

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

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

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

The Victorian Valentine Affair

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

Internation Steampunk Symposium

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Subscription Box Review – Black Unicorn Subscription Box November 2018 “The Wolf Box”

November 2018 Black Unicorn Subscription Box

Today I bring you another subscription box review. If you missed my last one, you can go back and check out the Macy’s Beauty Box review at any time. You can also find all of the subscription box reviews I have done by going to any page here on the blog, find the green bar under my logo and click on the down facing arrow. You should see a search box and you can search for subscription box reviews.

My last few reviews have been aimed at beauty boxes, but there is a lot of different types of subscription boxes out there. So, I wanted to make sure to get a few non makeup boxes reviewed this year too. I went on the hunt for some unique boxes, new boxes, boxes I hadn’t really heard a lot about, but boxes that still included things that interested me. It didn’t take me long till I came across the Black Unicorn Subscription Box.

I mean they kind of had me with the name. After all I do dress up as a black unicorn for Steampunk Symposium every year. It was meant to be, right?

 

Service Name: Black Unicorn Subscription Box

 

Price: $25.00 a month or $75.00 for three months, plus shipping.

 

Where Is It Available: This box is available internationally. Be aware you pay shipping and any customs fees due.

 

Who To Get It For: This box is meant to be targeted at people in alternative lifestyles. If you consider yourself Goth, Punk, Steampunk, Lolita, or even Wiccan this box may be of interest to you or alternatively the person you are gifting it to.

 

What You Get: Each month will have a theme. All items included will pertain to that theme in some way or another. Each box will include a crystal or other magical item, some sort of DIY item, and one or more items from a featured Etsy seller or small business. Types of items that will be included can range from home décor to accessories and everything in between.

 

Drawbacks: Since this box does not have once consistent theme, and items can come from a broad range of categories, there is a much higher chance you may receive items you don’t like. Also, if you don’t typically like the types of items you find on Etsy, this may not be the box for you.

 

The Details:

I often start this part off by showing you the boxes these arrive in. However, this particular subscription arrives in a plain brown box. No identifying logo or anything, and I really didn’t think you guys would be interested in seeing that.

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

November 2018 Black Unicorn Subscription Box

In addition to what is pictured above, each box also includes a card insert that tells a little something about each item you receive. It also includes any pertinent information about the box.

As I said previously, each month the box has a different theme. This month’s box, November that is, is “The Wolf Box”. So most things in the box will relate to wolves in some way or another. I personally was quite happy with this month’s theme. I have really loved wolves since I was a teenager.

An added benefit with this box is that some of the proceeds go to a different charity each month, and this month’s proceeds was going to be donated to a charity that works towards Wolf Conservation. Once you are a subscriber you can join the subscription box Facebook page and you can make suggestions on charities you would like to see supported.

The DIY item in the Black Unicorn Subscription

 

DIY Stark Wolf String Art – Obviously this is the DIY craft project for this months box. It was created to be similar to the wolf that represents House Stark in Game of Thrones. For me this is an item I wasn’t personally crazy about. I don’t have a lot of extra time for crafting, so when I do it I am very particular about what crafts I want to do. This will most likely get passed on to my niece who loves to craft.

 

Custom unicorn beanie made for the Black Unicorn Subscription Box

 

Black Unicorn Beanie – This was the one item that was not related to the theme, but of course is related to the box. This item I was really excited about. I don’t wear a lot of hats, but beanies are one of the few that I can and do wear occasionally. And well it has a unicorn on it, and you guys know me and unicorns, so there is that.

 

 

Hand painted cork coasters in the Black Unicorn Subscription Box

 

Howling Coasters – This is a set of four coasters. They are made of cork and then hand painted with the wolf picture on each one.

This is an item that I felt torn about. On the one hand I really like what they are, or would have if they had arrived looking as they were intended to. Mine, and from my understanding, several other people’s warped. You can see this in the second picture that is from the side. Now of course I let the owner of the subscription box company know. She actually offered me and
Side view of the warped coastersothers several options, including the option for a partial refund. I actually chose to not take the refund because I wanted money to be able to go to the charity.

I decided to just chalk this up to something that  just wasn’t for me. That happens sometimes, and its a chance you take with subscription boxes. But I was just relieved to know the owner handled the situation well.

 

 

Crystal of the Month in the Black Unicorn Subscription Box

 

Magic Crystal – Every month’s box includes a crystal or similar item. I’m not sure if the card always refers to it as the Magic Crystal, or if that is just what it is calling it this month.

This month’s crystal is an orange calcite. According to the card this particular stone was chosen because, “Wolves are known to be extremely loyal to their packs, and this crystal enhances relationship connections, between you and your family. This crystal is also great for camaraderie and achieving goals, portraying
orange calcite compared to a mac lipstick bullethow the pack works together to survive in the wild.”.

I have also included a second picture of the orange calcite to help show the size od stone I received. I have it placed next to a MAC lipstick bullet. Of course due to the nature of the item, there will be variety in shape and size that people receive in their boxes.

This is another item I loved receiving. I have always loved crystals since I was a little kid. I find them fascinating and have a bit of a collection.

Vinyl VHS sticker in the Black Unicorn Subscription Box

 

Wolfen Vinyl Sticker – This was the item from the featured small business of the month. The business is Vinyl Hell Stickers Co. This was a custom designed sticker for the Black Unicorn box and it was based on the thriller film Wolfen. This is another item I wasn’t a fan of. I’m just not a fan of stickers in general. But again one of my nieces might really like this, and I think it could be put in her Christmas stocking as something fun.

Bad Wolf earrings in the Black Unicorn Subscription Box

 

Bad Wolf Earrings – The final item in the box was this pair of Bad Wolf earrings. If you are a Doctor Who fan, then no doubt you recognize the term. And of course I am a doctor who fan, and I was stoked to get these earrings. One of my steampunk costumes is doctor who themed, and I will definitely be wearing these with it.

 

 

 

 

Where To Sign Up:

You can sign up for the Black Unicorn Subscription Box on Crate Joy. You can find their page at https://www.cratejoy.com/subscription-box/black-unicorn-subscription/. They do offer multiple subscriptions, so be careful to make sure you are signing up for the correct one.

 

Final Thoughts:

In this particular box I was happy with half of the items, and with the other half, most of those items can be used as gifts. Personally I feel okay with that at the end of the day, especially knowing that part of what I spent goes to a good cause.

With this particular type of box, I think it is just par for the course that you have some months where you really love everything, and other months there are going to be some stinkers. Hopefully there won’t ever be any months where you don’t like anything.

Tell me in the comments what you think about this box. Would you/have you tried this box?

 

Now if you like the idea of this box but it’s not quite what you wanted, you might want to take a look at these other boxes:

Accio! – the first and only artisanal subscription box 100% inspired by the Potterverse.

Running With Scissors Jewelry & Accessories – Where GOTH, GLAM, and GORGEOUS unite! Jewelry & more you won’t find elsewhere.

Goddess Provisions – Monthly box with crystals, aromatherapy, natural beauty products & spiritual tools

 

 

 

 

 

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A Look At The NYX Cosmetics Machinist Collection

The Machinist Collection from NYX Cosmetics

NYX recently dropped a new collection called The Machinist, and I haven’t really heard many people talk about it. This is a limited edition collection. This collection is being sold on both the NYX website and Ulta website as well as in Ulta’s stores.

The collection has three shadow palettes, three highlight duos, three lipsticks, and three lip lacquers. Each palette, highlight, lipstick, and lacquer has three coordinating names  within the collection. One set is called Grind, one is Steam, and one is Ignite.

The Machinist Collection from NYX Cosmetics

 

Lets take a look at the individual parts of the collection, starting with the eyeshadow palettes. The description offered by the company is as follows:

Kick your look into high gear with NYX Professional Makeup limited-edition Machinist Shadow Palette. Available in steampunk-inspired color combos, the Grind, Steam and Ignite collections all include 12 highly pigmented tones that breathe new life into this retro-futuristic fantasy. Mix and match each amaze assortment of cool and warm metals with bold mattes to create an amped up effect. From grungy romantic to vintage beauty, all you need is a spark of inspiration to make the mood your own. Take things to the next level with the other collectibles in this edgy range.

I can’t seem to find any further description from NYX of the individual palettes. There doesn’t seem to be a list of color names either, but based on what I have seen on their website they may just be numbered. So I will just give my own thoughts on the color range and share a close up of the palettes.

Grind: This palette is going to be more of what the average person thinks of when thinking of steampunk. Bronze and dark smokey colors dominate this palette. While it’s not exactly the same, it does have a very similar feel to the Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Palette. So if you wanted the subculture palette but couldn’t afford the price tag that came with it, this palette may be of interest to you.

Steam: NYX took this palette very literal. Maybe too literal? This palette is filled with silvers, grays, smokey purples, and other colors that make you think of smoke, smog, and steam. It also has two bright pops of color that I am having a hard time understanding what they are doing in the palette. There is bright baby pink and bold teal. Not that I don’t think there is a place for color in steampunk, but it just doesn’t make sense in this palette.

Ignite: This palette seems to be a mix of fire and earth tones. In the pans they don’t look vastly different from Steam, just a little more warm tone leaning and more balanced. However, once you see some swatches on human skin, that is when you see the biggest difference.

 

Let’s move on and take a look at the highlighters next. Unlike the eyeshadow palettes, NYX does offer a color description as well as a product description for the highlight duos. First lets look at how NYX describes the actual product:

Build a brighter future with NYX Professional Makeup’s limited-edition Machinist Highlighting Duo. These powder highlighters are packed with pigment and leave behind a striking metallic-foil finish. Available in dynamic color pairings, each duo is inspired by a different facet of NYX Professional Makeup Machinist collection. Swipe on these velvety-smooth shades for killer shimmer, and dampen the brush to achieve a truly megawatt glow. Take things to the next level with the other collectibles in this edgy range.

For each of these I will share the description provided by NYX as well some of my own thoughts. I have seen these in person, though I don’t have my own yet, but a lot of the descriptions for the highlighters were not accurate in my opinion. My opinions are based on what I have seen, and not in me swatching them. I will have my own sets soon, but we will talk about that at the end.

Grind: This is described as a gold and a copper. I think that in person, and somewhat here in the picture, the colors appear more like a light copper and a peach.

Steam: This is described as a violet and a purple. The description seems accurate, but the violet looks slightly more blue to me in person.

Ignite: This is described as an opal and bronze. I don’t think this is accurate for either. I think it the picture is accurate to how they appear in person, but they seem more like a white and a pink to me.

 

Next up are the lip products. This collection has both lipsticks and lip glosses (or lip lacquer as they are called here). I have a few thoughts on the choices for lip products with this collection, but we will talk about that after we look at the actual products. Lets look at the lipstick first.

All three lipsticks in the collection are metallic. I think the color descriptions are pretty accurate for the lipsticks. The only difference you will see in the pictures from what they look like in person is how metallic they look. Here is how NYX describes the product:

Stud those lips in shimmery color using NYX Professional Makeup limited-edition Machinist Lipstick. This comfortably creamy formula is loaded with ultra-fine pearls that add over-the-top luster to your pout. Available in honey bronze, copper and bronze – representing the Grind, Steam and Ignite facets of NYX Professional Makeup Machinist collection, respectively – these high-coverage lippies are the perf accessories. Take things to the next level with the other collectibles in this edgy range.

Grind: This is described as a metallic honey bronze.

Steam: This is described as a metallic copper.

Ignite: This is described as a metallic bronze.

 

And finally we have the Lip Lacquers. If you aren’t familiar with NYX Lip Lacquers, they are essentially a full coverage lip gloss. Most of the colors are usually pretty opaque. Here is what NYX has to say about this part of the collection:

Go full steam ahead with NYX Professional Makeup Machinist Lip Lacquer. This limited-edition lippie is the Slip Tease Full Color Lip Lacquer you know and love – now in steampunk-inspired shades! Each grungy tone adds a glossy touch to the Grind, Steam and Ignite facets of NYX Professional Makeup Machinist collection. This perfectly plush lippie goes on silky-smooth and provides full coverage. Take things to the next level with the other collectibles in this edgy range.

Grind: This is described as a glossy wine.

Steam: This is described as a glossy blue. I would go a step further and call it a navy blue.

Ignite: This is described as a glossy nude.

 

I do have some of the items on the way, and I should have them in around the time this post goes up. You can my various social media for pictures and swatches. I will have all of the palettes as well as the lipsticks. I will be getting a couple of the highlighters as well. I completely skipped on the lip lacquers.

My general thoughts are that most of the collection is nice looking and cohesive, but there are a few selections that either because of color or texture doesn’t make sense to me. I skipped completely on the lip lacquers for this very reason. I think the colors are fine in general for the lip lacquers, but they don’t seem very steampunk to me. And why do the gloss colors not coordinate with the lipsticks? It’s not just the color, but just the fact that they are a gloss. Most people who I know that are into steampunk, or other types of cosplay, are looking for longer wearing lip product than a gloss. I suppose the general point I am getting to is that if NYX felt it necessary to include a second lip product in the collection, perhaps a lip liner or a liquid lipstick would have been a better choice.

I also skipped on the ignite highlighter duo. Not only do I think the color described as an opal would not look right on my skin tone, I found it to be very basic. I know I have something just like the other color offered in that duo. Ironically, that is the one color sold out on NYX website in the highlighters. Don’t worry, if you want it the last I checked Ulta still had it. They also have the collection in stores, so don’t forget to look there for these products.

The packaging on the eyeshadow palettes are amazing. I really wish they had carried this through for the whole collection. The lipstick packaging isn’t bad, but the highlights are in serious need of an upgrade.

So tell me in the comments below what you think of this collection from NYX. Will you or have you purchased any of it?

 

 



 

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New Store Alert: The Black Ravens

Spellbook Handbag

We have a new store alert today. We will be taking a look at The Black Ravens.

About mid August some representatives of The Black Ravens contacted me and asked if I would like to pick out a few things and share them with my followers. The Black Ravens are a US and UK based store that focus on Alternative style clothing and accessories. They carry mostly punk, Goth and steampunk items, but there are a lot of items that would fall into other categories as well. They have been around since 2016, but they are now looking to add a plus size line.

This is pretty exciting because if you are into dressing in any of these styles, as a lifestyle or otherwise, then you know it is the hardest categories to find plus sizes in. The thing I get asked the most is where to find plus sizes in these styles, and its a really hard question to answer because there are few places that actually carry any selection at all of alternative clothing. And as most of you know I am very into steampunk, so I am often struggling as well.

The Black Ravens initially wanted me to try out their new plus size line. However, after looking at their site I realized they had China plus sizes and they would not fit me. (Keep in mind I am a US women’s size 20 usually.) But I had a few conversations with a couple of people from the company. I asked if it was okay to share their accessories with you for now, and they were good with that. And I sent over some info on American plus sizes, and I am happy to say they were very receptive to working on increasing their size range and me perhaps sharing their clothing later. And I have even spotted a couple of items that have popped up recently that are increasing in size.

So today I have a few pieces to show you that I selected. I will also be talking about some of the other things they have on the site that you might be interested in. I also want to share some of the pictures of the women’s misses size clothing and the men’s, as I know I have at least a few people who follow the blog who do not wear plus sizes. But also I thought it might give everyone an idea of some of the possible designs they may have in the future. And I encourage everyone who is plus size and wants alternative clothing to reach out to the company or me and say what you want, what size range you are looking for. I have told them there is a market that is interested, but I can not be the only voice expressing that if you want them to listen.

But before we go any further I want to be clear that this is not a sponsored post. I am not an affiliate of The Black Ravens. They did not ask me to say anything in particular about their products. They only sent me a few products and asked me to share them.

So with that being said, lets take a look first at the items I received.

Handbag available on The Black Ravens website

The first thing that I had no doubt I wanted to share, and that I had a purpose for in my own life is this Spellbook Bag.

Spellbook Bag from The Black Rvens

These are available in three colors. I have the red one, but it is also available in black and purple. The strap is adjustable and is long enough for me to slip over my head and wear it messenger style if I wanted. They can also be tucked in, like I have shown in the first picture, and used like a clutch.

For me personally I am going to be using this for one of my costumes at next years Steampunk Symposium. If you are into Steampunk and haven’t heard yet, next years theme is Steamtastic Beasts. I expect to see lots of Fantastic Beast and Harry Potter themed costumes. This will be the first year any of my own costumes will be on theme, maybe all of them will be. But I expect a spell book will fit quite nicely with one of my costumes I have planned, and its a huge bonus I can carry things in it.

 

cat mug

The next thing I picked out is their Adorable Kitten Mug. On it is printed, “I’m not crazy. My reality is just different than yours.”. You know I’m a sucker for anything with a cat on it anyway, and this one will fit right in with my oddball collection of mugs. I love that is kind of celebrating being different. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be available on the website at the moment. If it gets added back I will make sure to come back and link to it.

 

Full-Ear Slithering Earring in gold and black

And finally I picked out two of these earrings, or at least that is what they refer to them as on their website. They call them Cute Full-Ear Slithering Earrings to be exact. I personally think they are sort of hybrid of an earring and an ear cuff.

Snake Ear Cuff from The Black Ravens

The black and the gold earring are surprising two different sizes. The gold one is slightly smaller. It doesn’t seem to affect the fit for me, but it might be something to keep in mind if you have especially large ears.

 

Lets talk about the clothing and sizes. First of all, at least when it comes to what they have listed in their plus size section, the size charts are different for each item. When you look at size charts, if you are in the US and not use to the metric system, you will need a centimeter to inches conversion chart. The majority of their measurements are in centimeters, though there are a few items that have both centimeters and inches listed.

As I said previously, they are starting a plus size section. The section currently doesn’t have a lot to select from, just a couple of pages of listings. If you are a size 14W or smaller, you are probably going to fit everything. Alternatively a misses size 16/18. They do have a selection of corsets that will most likely fit an 18W or possibly a 20W depending on your body shape.

Since I originally talked to The Black Ravens, I have seen a couple of items pop up that are more plus size friendly. I wanted to make sure to share those with you first.

Plus Size Sexy Back Ladies Casual Top from The Black Ravens

This laced back tee is now available. It is also available in black, but I really like this gray color because I think the black laces pop against the color. Based on their size chart, this should fit up to a size 18W or 20W. It will depend a bit on your body shape and how you want it to fit.

Plus Size Off-Shoulder Gothic Halter Tee from The Black Ravens

And this Off-Shoulder Halter Tee has just recently been added. You won’t find this one in the plus size listing though, I am sure it is just an over sight. I found it because I saw it in one of their newsletters about new items. But it can also be found by just typing in Plus Size in the search box. This is by far their most generously sized item yet. It should fit around a size 22W or 24W.

Just browsing through what is in the women’s section, I found lots of things I would love to see them add in Plus Sizes. Rather than spending a bunch of time talking about them, I decided to just share the pictures.

 

The Black Ravens do also have a plus size men’s section as well, but I honestly don’t know men’s sizing well enough to tell you if the items run small or not. That section mainly consists of tees and hoodies, but there are a couple of really nice jackets. The straight sizes are very similar, but with the addition of jeans. I think where the men’s section really stands out is their jackets and jewelry. Below are some of my favorites.

 

I can’t wait to see what The Black Ravens add to their plus size line. And again, I encourage all of you who are interested in alternative clothing to reach out to them and express your interest. Let them know the sizes you need and the kind of styles you will buy. If this is something you want to see happen, make your voice heard.

Tell me in the comments below if this is a line you are interested in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Store Alert: Beefcake Swimwear

Beefcake Swimwear logo

I am sort of excited to talk to you about this brand because of how different they are. They aren’t completely new, but they only came on my radar a few months ago and I haven’t really heard anything else about them since. Today we are talking about Beefcake Swimwear. They are a company with a unique concept who got their start through Kickstarter.

Beefcake Swimwear logo

What makes them different? Quite a lot actually, but lets start with the most obvious things. First of all their designs are based on vintage styles from the Victorian era. Because they are Victorian era inspired designs, in addition to offering a little more coverage than that of most modern swimwear, it also means the styles are unisex. And before you ask, no I did not make a mistake, they are a completely gender neutral swimwear company.

There are some other pretty great things about this company. They are made in the USA, based out of Portland, OR. And that is manufactured in the USA, not just designed here. And to top off the proverbial sundae they only use 100% recycled polyester and spandex.

They currently offer two suit designs, The Original and The Dreamboat.

The Original Beefcake Swimsuit

The Original

The Dreamboat Beefcake Swimsuit

The Dreamboat

Each style is available in three color options and a wide range of sizes. They are available in sizes XS to 5X. Make sure to check the size chart before ordering as this is unisex sizing, but I found the 2X measurements to be pretty standard for a woman’s plus size 2X.

Beefcake swimwear really seems focused on inclusiveness. It’s written all over their website and Instagram. I love that they are using real people, of all shapes, sizes, and genders, to model their swimsuits. And their plus sizes aren’t model perfect. Their real, with real bodies you see walking down the street every day.

 

I actually got a chance to ask the Beefkcake Swimwear’s owner and creator Mel Wells’ a few questions recently about the swimwear and where she sees the company going. Here is what we talked about:

Me: I see you started out in book publishing and nonprofit administration, what inspired you to start a swimwear line?

Mel Wells: The inspiration for Beefcake Swimwear came from a good friend who identified as female but dressed very masculine. She struggled to find swimwear and mentioned that she wanted a suit like the 1920s one-pieces. Naively, I offered to make her one. I’d sewn a few items of clothes in high school and college (I’ve always been super tall and struggled to find clothes) but sewing a swimsuit is hard. Other people who heard what I was doing thought it was an awesome idea, so I began toying with the idea of starting a small business making these suits. Mostly I needed to find a professional to do the sewing!

Me: The concept of your swimwear is not like the average swimwear line. What made you decide to create something both so vintage looking and unisex?

Mel Wells: Perhaps it’s because I’ve been in Portland, Oregon for over 10 years now, but a gender-neutral swimsuit didn’t strike me as radical. When I researched one-piece suits from the 1920s and 1930s, men and women are pretty much wearing the same thing. I wanted to stay true to that inspiration, well, except for the little skirt thing some of them had. 🙂

Me: I see you have two patterns available on your website at the moment. Do you have any plans on adding any other patterns?

Mel Wells: I definitely have more patterns and colors in mind! The most challenging part is that with the current choices (2 designs, 3 colors, 10 sizes, and a shelf bra option), we have to stock 120 swimsuits just to have one of each. Not only does this present a storage issue (we’re operating the storage/packaging/shipping part of the business out of a tiny one-bedroom apartment), but it’s pretty expensive to make 120 suits in the first place. So, additional colors and designs will have to be rolled out over time.

Me: What is your dream for the future of Beefcake Swimwear?

Mel Wells: Honestly, my vision is to make the best possible version of these suits and stay alive as a small business manufacturing in the USA. The very best part of running this company is hearing from folks who haven’t gone to the beach or got in the pool in a decade, and who now feel comfortable and confident in a swimsuit. The black Original suits are by far our bestsellers, so I can see us making those for a long time. It’s daunting to know that H&M or Forever 21 could do this style of swimsuit tomorrow, and probably do it super cheap, but my hope is that we would still appeal to folks who are concerned about the human beings who do the super labor-intensive and skilled work of sewing receiving fair wages. I’m also really excited about the new Italian-milled recycled polyester we’re launching this spring–environmental responsibility is another big concern of ours.

Me: I love that you have a pretty inclusive size offerings. If someone were to not fit your sizes, do you do custom pieces?

Mel Wells: Thank you! It’s important to me that our sizing be as inclusive as we can afford. (I already mentioned the challenges of producing and stocking inventory.) I wish we could offer custom suits, but it is prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. We’d need to pay the pattern maker to adjust the pattern, the designer to adjust the markers on the printer and dial in the colors and printing, and then custom-print that single suit, all of which would cost hundreds of dollars. This isn’t just me at my kitchen table with scissors and a sewing machine–there is a whole team and process involved in making these suits. Of course, I still package suits at my kitchen table and respond to emails personally, but even that happens on evenings and weekends since I have a day job. Honestly sometimes I wonder if this whole endeavor is bananas, but I’m going to keep doing it for as long as it’s sustainable.

 

I also hope she manages to keep Beefcake Swimwear going. This may not be the swimwear to everyone’s taste, but I definitely think it fills some gaps that needed filling. I can see Beefcake Swimwear appealing to several markets beyond just those looking for gender neutral swimwear. I know you vintage lovers as well those of you into Steampunk will want to get your hands on these. And I think that there is a rising market for modest clothing, and I would assume that would include swimwear. And the conscientious buyers take note of this company as well. Lets all help get the word out about this swimwear line.

Tell me in the comments what you think of Beefcake Swimwear. Would you wear a gender neutral swimsuit?

 

 

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All Dress April 2018 – Week Four & Five

All Dress April

All Dress April

I really wanted to have this posted way before now, but this past weekend really took a lot out of me. I feel like that is the story of my life, but I am doing the best I can with my life circumstances. I think a lot of you get that, and maybe that is why you have stuck with me as readers of this blog. My life isn’t always Instagram perfect and I am going to be real about that.

But let’s focus on the positive. We are here now, and I am finally able to focus and am back to a semi livable energy level. So let’s talk about what I wore the last two weeks of All Dress April. I bunched the fifth week in with week four since week five was only two days long.

If you haven’t seen the previous weeks and want to get caught up, make sure to check out week one, week two, and week three.

Day 22

Wearing Forever21 Plus on day 22 of All Dress April

On day 22 my outfit is from Forever21.

The top is their Off-the-Shoulder Lettuce-Edge Crop Top. It is not a super short crop top, and since I have the skirt raised higher, you wouldn’t even be able to tell its a crop top. But this particular style from Forever21 Plus does work really well for those of us with larger busts.

The skirt is also from Forever21, it is their Scuba Maxi Skirt in Black and White. This however it is currently sold out. They do have some other items in black and white that you may want to consider. Check out the Striped Wide Leg Pants, Striped Scuba Knit Skirt, and the Faux Leather Striped Mini Skirt.

Day 23

I missed this day.

 

Day 24

Day 24 of All Dress April and I am wearing Reb Dolls

This is from Rebdolls. It is their “Rumor Has It” Maxi Skater Set in White. There is only a couple of sizes left in this set, so if you are interested, check it out quickly.

This was my first time ordering from Rebdolls, but I was pleasantly surprised at the size range and quality of what was offered. I did purchase one other item, which you will see soon hopefully. And I believe this won’t be my last time ordering from them, so more in the future.

Day 25

Wearing Simply Be for day 25 of All Dress April

On day 25 I decided to wear another Simply Be dress. And this one is still available. It is their Embroidered Stud Mesh Dress. I have it paired with some Aerosoles Pumps that I have had for a long time.

Day 26

On Day 26 of All Dress April I am wearing head to toe Amazon available items.

I think my outfit from day 26 was the most popular on social media out of all of my looks from the month, or at least it got the most comments and requests for the links. I purchased this look to wear to Pride this year, and I thought I would share it with all of you ahead of time. This look, head to toe, is available for purchase on Amazon.

The dress is the Summer Fashion Plus Size Rainbow Print Sleeveless A-Line Mini Dress. I am in a size 3XL. I do think the dress runs true to their size chart, or possibly a little large. The fabric does have a lot of stretch.

I have it paired with:

My unicorn shoes were in white, but unfortunately they don’t have that color left anymore.

Day 27

Day 27 of All Dress April and it is the first day of the International Steampunk Symposium

Day 27 brought me to the first day of the International Steampunk Symposium. I didn’t actually get a picture of my costume that day, but I had this picture of the exact same thing I wore for Time Traveler’s Weekend at the Ohio Ren Fair. I actually think I did share this look before, but I am not 100% positive about that.

The dress is from Torrid’s Dr. Who Collection. And while this dress is long sold out, they do have a couple of sizes left in a similar dress. My boots are from Avenue, but they are long sold out. However, Torrid has several styles of lace up boots that would work well. To complete the look I have on a black felt derby hat from Spirit Halloween.

Day 28

Day 28 of All Dress April and day two of the Internationa Steampunk Convention

Day 28 and day two at the International Steampunk Symposium. This is the one and only picture I managed to get of my costume that day. Unfortunately it doesn’t show the whole costume. But once again, it is something I have had a picture of from a previous year, and nothing new here on the blog. The picture below is from two years ago in the same costume.

Unicorn Queen costume at day two of the International Steampunk Symposium

The black top is from Spin Doctor, but it has long since sold out. If you are looking for something similar, then you might try this Hell Bunny Scullion Blouse. The corset is a Daisy Corsets Women’s Top Drawer Cotton Steel Boned Overbust Corset With a Zipper Front in Navy Blue. My skirt is from Hips & Curves. It is their Victorian Bustle Skirt.

The accessories were both bought on Etsy. The necklace is from Dr. Brassy, but her store is currently empty and from my understanding may never be refilled again. The headdress is from the BlackUnicornShop.

Day 29

Day 29 of All Dress April and the final day of International Steampunk Symposium.

Day 29 was my last day at the International Steampunk Symposium. This outfit wasn’t complete, as I took off and forgot the jacket that was supposed to go with it. But here is what I have on:

As you can see, most of the accessory items are available on Amazon. I word of warning on the skirt. I have had a few issues with the fabric and seeming quality. But it is much more affordable than the average Victorian costume piece for a plus size skirt.

Day 30

I did not participate this day, I was just too worn out from the Symposium to move.

 

And that wraps up 2018 of All Dress April.

As a side not: Next year will be a bit different for me. Every since I started participating I have always had the Steampunk Symposium in there somewhere. Usually it is at the end. But next year things the Symposium got scheduled for a month earlier. So for those of you who look forward to the costumes, I will try my best to still do a post related to the Symposium. I am super excited about the theme that has been announced for next year. It will be Fantastic Beasts. Lots of plans have already started. Let me know in the comments below if you would like some posts about things I am making for costume and various things my steampunk group is doing.

 

 

 

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Welcome To April

April events

April events

Like it is every year, April will be a busy month for me. I will, first and foremost, be participating once again this year in All Dress April.

All Dress AprilAnd since you should be seeing this post on the third of April, that means the challenge is already under way. I will, as always, be posting weekly recaps of what I wore here on the blog. But if you would like to keep up with me on the daily, make sure you are following me on my Instagram. Or if you would like to see what everyone who is participating is wearing, make sure to follow the hashtag #AllDressApril. While you are at it, why not join in too.

I am also trying to simultaneously participate in my friend Jaime Moore’s (a.k.a. @retrocutie) Instagram style challenge Band Tee Saturday.

Band Tee Saturday

So don’t be surprised if at least a couple of Saturdays are some skirts mixed with graphic tees. Make sure to check out her Instagram feed. She shares a lot of great things for women and moms on a budget. And check out her blog, No Delusions of Grandeur, when you have a chance.

In addition I will also be returning to the International Steampunk Symposium in Cincinnati, Ohio this year.

Steampunk Symposium 2018

The theme this year is superheroes and villains. That will be taking place on April 27 – 29. So the last few days of All Dress April will be filled with steampunk looks (I also have my local group meeting earlier in the month, so there may be an additional look then). And if you are at the event, please feel free to say hi. Also, the location has changed yet again this year, so make sure you check their website for all of the info. If you do plan on going, you can save 10% off your weekend tickets with code: CADUCEUS

I am also really happy my niece is going to join me this year. I have been, and will be, spending extra time with her to help prep her with her costume and makeup. I love getting to spend some quality time with her. She only has one more year till she is in college, and while she isn’t moving away she will be much busier.

In amidst everything I will be doing for the actual month of April, I am actually already starting work on some things for May. I don’t want to say too much right now, but I am trying to put some things together that I think you all will really enjoy.

Tell me in the comments what you have going on for the month of April?

 

 

 

 

 

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Women’s History Month and Other Upcoming Events

Women's History Month

Women's History Month

 

As you all probably already know, March is Women’s History Month. At this moment, as we struggle to hold on to many of our freedoms and rights we have fought for through the years, I think it is more important than ever to talk about Women’s rights and the women who have fought for them thought history. We need to remember where we came from, and why we must fight to maintain the rights we have both earned and deserve.

So all through the month I will be sharing, both here on the blog and on social media, information, thought, and feelings about women I admire through history. I have already started on social media, and you can find those post easily by searching the hash tag #womenshistorymonth

I will be talking about women both living and deceased, so know one is exempt. I know a lot of other people are also sharing women they admire, so don’t be afraid to explore everyone’s post. And I fully encourage all of you to share as well, whether that be here on the blog in the comments section or on your social media accounts.

 

Just another reminder of some other things coming up soon.

Next month I will be participating again in #AllDressApril. If you don’t know what that is you can check out last years post. This year I am working on something really special for you all in conjunction with it. Look for the announcement on that near the end of the month. Since April will be filled with fashion, you probably won’t be seeing a lot of it this month.

Also next month I will be going to The International Steampunk Symposium in Cincinnati, Ohio. It will be on April 28 – 30 this year. Let me know if you are going too. And don’t be afraid to say hi.

 

Tell me in the comments below if you have a personal female hero from history.

 

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My Plus Size Costume For The Cincinnati Midsummer Masquerade Ball 2016

Plus Size Lovesick Fashion Used as a costume for masquerade ball.

You may have seen my previous costume posts from the last two years of attending The Pandora Society’s Steampunk Symposium. And you can see those previous posts here and here. But this past weekend was the first time I got to attend their Cincinnati Midsummer Masquerde Ball. It was held at the Moonlite Gardens in Coney Island, which is a beautiful venue if you have never seen it.

The costumes for the most part were very different from the steampunk events. While there were a handful of people in steampunk most people wore fairy, goblin, or other various magical creature costumes. I did another version of a unicorn costume, but it was very costume light.

Plus Size Lovesick Fashion Used as a costume for masquerade ball. The pants and tops are from Lovesick. The top is currently sold out, but the Lace Flare Pants are still available in most sizes. The pants also are available in a deep red tone that should be in though the fall.

The shoes are FLOJOS Women’s Fiesta Flat Sandal in Black. If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time you know my love and loyalty to this brand. It is literally the only brand of flip flops I wear because they are so darn comfortable. I have them in so many styles and colors.

The head piece is from an etsy shop called Freckles Fairy Chest. She is based out of Orlando, Florida. Everything in her shop is beautiful and you will have a hard time choosing.

You can’t see my makeup in the photos unfortunately, but in addition to some glittery eyeshadow I also was fairly covered in Glam Dust in Nymph from Manic Panic. I used Glam Glue from Manic Panic to attach it and make it stay. If you have never used Glam Glue use it sparingly and carefully. It took using makeup remover and two showers to get all the glitter off after. Once you put anything on with glam glue its not falling off. It goes on looking like water, but it dries super quick. It is a costume lovers friend, especially if you are heavy on the makeup side. And it can be used for everyday makeup if you want to keep those glittery eyeshadows in place.

I would have done a more elaborate costume, but honestly it was hot and I knew it was going to be hot when I was planning what to wear. I don’t think I could have managed to wore a traditional costume. What I wore was so comfortable and airy. And yes you could see a lot of my body, but sometimes you just have to embrace your curves and be comfortable.

My friend Jenny went with me because we both love being geeks and getting dressed up in costume.

Jenny's Plus Size Costume for the Masquerade Ball

I don’t know what creature she was suppose to be exactly, I suppose I should have asked. But everyone kept calling her the dark mistress of the night. LOL

There was entertainment through the night. Like …..

Fire Dancer at the Cincinnati Midsummer Masquerade

Fire Dancers and ….

Fire Performer at the Cincinnati Midsummer Masquerade

And other Fire Performers…..Costume Contest at the Midsummer MasqueradeAnd a costume contest, which my friend Jenny entered upon my prompting.

Final round of the costume contest

And then she made it into the final round.

The winner of the costume contest...Jenny

And she won Best Dressed Lady. So that means we will be at Pandoracon this year too since her prize was a weekend pass to Pandoracon. If anyone has questions about Jenny’s costume and where she got anything she is wearing or any of the parts she has made leave your questions in the comments and I am sure she would be happy to answer.

There was lots of other entertainment including musicians and a DJ with dancing at the end of the evening, but I just didn’t get pictures of everything.

One of the best things about events like these to me is seeing all the creativity of other people and what they choose to do with their costumes.

Another Unicorn at the Masquerade Ball.

I met another Unicorn. We are pretty rare.

Jenny with timmymessyfingers

We both loved this mans creativity. He turned his beard into something like a rose bush and had birds all over his head. I wish now I had taken a more close up picture myself. But if you would like to see more of his creativity, you can find him on Instagram as timmymessyfingers.

Jenny with one of the leaders of Airship Ashanti

And we also saw a lot of familiar faces from the Steampunk Symposium, like this lovely lady from The Airship Ashanti. Make sure you check them out if you are living in the Cincinnati area, they really do a lot of good things for the community.

Jenny and I really had a great time, and we without a doubt will be going back next year. If you live in the area, you should consider going. In the meantime if you are interested costume events or steampunk and live in the Cincinnati area, check out the Pandora Society’s website for upcoming events. Or if you live in the Lexington area and are interested in Steampunk contact me, Jenny and I have started our own steampunk airship. We are looking for people to join and come compete with us at the events or help us practice before hand. Our airship will always be a safe place with no bullying tolerated. So just contact me for info.

 

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Plus Size Fashion at the 2016 International Steampunk Symposium

2016 Steampunk Symposium

2016 Steampunk SymposiumI may be boring some of you by now with my many post that have included thing about the 2016 Internation Steampunk Symposium. Since it has overlapped with doing the All Dress April Challenge that means that my personal fashion for the weekend has been covered for the most part. I did leave some of the details out so that we would still have some things to talk about, but I also have some things outside of my own fashion that I have not shared yet. So for those of you who are not into steampunk, I will get back to normal (well normal for me) after this post. But also, if you aren’t into steampunk, why? Yes its nerdy or geeky, whichever you prefer to call it. But it really is 90% fashion, and fashion forwards/backwards (time travel is confusing) at that. So lets talk about the things I haven’t shared first. I think I mentioned last year how much it really pleased me to see the number of beautiful plus size curvy ladies that were there. And this year was no let down. I think that the curvy women outdid themselves this year. t seemed as though there was an even larger number of plus size ladies participating this year, and the talent in costume construction was even more spectacular. Here are just a few of the ladies and their costumes that I thought were highlights: (Anyone I have a link to or permission to post their name will be listed below their picture)   This costume and lady was amazing. You might remember her from last years post from the Steampunk Symposium, she was one of the few that I didn’t get her info. She had the beautiful Russian Queen looking costume. This year it took a little thought to figure out what her costume was. Once you had it, you realized it was not only visually stunning, but absolutely brilliant. She was a hot air balloon. Even down to her feet there was a little caged basket. Well this year I actually managed to get her name, and a link to her business. This beautiful and talented ladies name is Brittney Benjamin. And you can find her new costuming business on Facebook as Shewolf Studios. I highly recommend you check her items out, you won’t regret it.   SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Any other Doctor Who fans in the house? I knew The Doctor was really a woman. I don’t know where she found her jacket or if she made it(in hind sight I should have asked), but it was so spot on The Doctor and I loved it.   SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Representing the Airship Ashanti is the beautiful Ofeibea Loveless. (Side note: If you are not familiar with how steampunk cons work, groups can form airships that compete in competitions to earn points for winning.) If you would like info on Airship Ashanti you can contact them through their Facebook Page. This costume just looked so regal, and I loved the mix of fabrics. And best of all it was unique to her and the character she was embodying. If I remember correctly, she did make this herself.   Plus Size costume from the Steampunk Symposium This lady and her family were walking around enjoying the festivities. I found out that her mother made the outfit. But the whole family were very talented. The umbrella she is carrying she made. And the gentleman walking around with the ladies (I assume he was related, but I did not have that verified) had made his own hat with moving parts. And we both laughed that she and I have the same necklace, well not exactly the same as they are all hand made and made unique.   SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES  And this gorgeous lady was such a delight to meet. She is starting out a brand new plus size modeling career. Her name is Persephone Jones. Go give her Facebook fan page some love and check out some of her pictures.

 

Now I have already posted the pictures of my costumes on Instagram and in the Looks From Week Two Of #AllDressApril post. But I will share them again here in case you missed them, and share the details I didn’t in the other posts.

Plus Size Costume for Steampunk Symposium

I was going for a steampunk version of a gypsy/witch. I listed most of the clothing and where I got them in the previous article. But I left the accessories out. In this particular costume I have three accessories. There are the shoes, a necklace and a bag that goes around your waist or hip. You can choose how to wear the bag. So both the shoes and the necklace I purchased them gently used off of shopping apps. I will talk about which ones and how they work in an upcoming post I have planned. The bag at my waist though came from The Pyramid Collection. It is their Unisex Hip Pack. I really was quite thankful for this item. One of the best investments I have made for a costume. It was great to have somewhere to put my things without having to carry a purse.

 

Steampunk look for Day 10 of All Dress April

Everything has already been posted for this look in either of the previous two articles listed. But I also managed to get some decent shots of my makeup this year.

Steampunk Unicorn Makeup

 

Steampunk Unicorn Makeup

 

Steampunk Unicorn Makeup

 

Steampunk Unicorn Makeup

 

Outside of all the costuming and beautiful plus size ladies, there is a lot more to the Steampunk Symposium. Here are just a couple of the highlights from this year.

Derigible races from the Steampunk Symposium

Derigible races are always a fun time. And this was one of my favorite ships to run. It didn’t win, but the design concept was awesome.

All kinds of neat wares can be purchased or just browsed if you don't have the money to spend.

These were some of the neatest toys in the sellers market. They were all kids animated toys that had been stripped down and made steampunk.

Spending time with frieds at the Steampunk Symposium

And of course, nothing is better than getting to spend time with friends.

 

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