Stylish Plus Size Dresses and Separates

Giant Pineapple Yellow Serpentine Ring

This giant Pineapple Yellow Serpentine Ring by HardCandyGems is so awesome. I love the color, I love the size, and I love the detail paid to the encasement.

A top view of HardCandyGems Pineapple Yellow Serpentine ring.

It’s definitely a conversation starter. You send her your ring size and she’ll size to fit. This eye catcher is $78.

A side view of HardCandyGems Pineapple Yellow Serpentine ring.

You can see more images of this ring in HardCandyGems’ Artfire shop. Don’t like the color? She has many other precious (“my Precious”) stones to choose from.

Topic Links
* Get your giant serpentine ring from HardCandyGems at Artfire
* Visit HardCandyGems main store

Micro or Cotton Tights

If you wear tights you probably have a personal favorite in regards to how sheer or opaque you like them. Personally, I tend to lean towards opaque more than sheer. In nursing school it was a requirement to wear sheer hose (or opaque white) and I guess I have had enough of that. Whether I am wearing a skirt or dress I tend to go opaque in the winter and pretty much bare in the summer.

Laura from The Big Tights Company asked me to check out a pair of their thick cotton tights and their 180 Denier micro tights. Their website is “dedicated solely to plus size hosiery”. Almost all their products have been made exclusively for them through a company in Italy and after years of back and forth between them they feel they have made the perfect plus size accessory; including what they believe to be “the ultimate plus size winter opaque tights”. When they say plus size, they really mean plus size — you won’t find sizes 10, 12, and 14 here. Laura also has another site called The Big Bloomers Company which I had the opportunity to review for BellaOnline’s Large and Lovely site in 2012.

This time she sent me two pairs of tights to review: one style is in a thick cotton mix and the other is 180 denier micro.

All Woman Thick Cotton Mix – I hate to use Internet short speak in a blog post, but OMG, these are so thick, like socks! I love them.

Review of Big Tights Company Cotton Tights

They have a nice softness to them, excellent opacity and are super stretchy. I’ve always loved the sock style tights but they have never been plus size enough for me to enjoy. These ones are the thickness of a women’s dress sock and they have a thick reinforced waistband.

A view of the panty and leg of cotton tights from Big Tights Company.

There is an unlined gusset sewn in both styles.

A close up of cotton tights gusset.

A closer look shows the sock texture I mentioned.

And a close up of the stocking stitch on legs.

At the moment they only have black but I’m hoping they get some red, grey, wine, navy to add to their basic colors.

Plus size cotton tights have a sock knit and feel to them.

All Woman 180 Denier Micro Tights – These tights have a smoother texture than the cotton mix so they are less “sock” like and I would say a dressier tights.

Review of All Woman Micro Tights

I know I was pretty excited about the cotton mix but these ones are probably my favorite because of opacity, texture, softness, and color (these ones are a little deeper black). These ones also have a thick reinforced waist band.

A full view of the micro tights panty and leg.

The flash makes them look like dark grey but they are indeed black (they could be blacker).

A close up of the gusset on the micro tights.

These ones have a finer texture which makes them feel less like a sock.

A close up of the stocking stitch on the micro tights.

Again, at the moment they only have black but I’m hoping they get some more basic colors soon.

The micro tights have a smooth finish that is perfect for dressier items.

A note about opacity, both styles have excellent opacity but both can have peek through skin visible if pulled on too tight. Do not put them on like hose, pulling every inch of stretch over your leg to make sure you have enough to cover your butt. You will have enough! Pull them on loosely over your legs to maintain the opacity then go back and pull a little more after you have pulled them up if you need too. When pulled tight, the cotton tights have a shinier look to them with the other micro ones which have more of a matte appearance.

The Big Tights Company  have not skimped on material to make these plus size tights. They come with a full panty thickness so you don’t have to worry about your nails poking through when you are yanking them up — unless you  have talons. Neither of these pairs have reinforced toe but since the tights do not need to be pulled tightly over the toes I didn’t find they needed to be.

Both tights wear well throughout the day and I was able to wear them a few times before washing them. There is a little bagging in the crotch by the end of the day but I didn’t feel like I needed to make an emergency stop to the bathroom to pull things up. I threw mine in the gentle cycle inside out (because I rarely handwash) and so far they survived.

I guess it is also important to mention that I am 5’9″ and still had a lot of material left over so to speak if I had been taller. I am concerned about the sizing for petite plus size women.

With a name like Big Tights Company they really hold up to their name as these UK brand tights are only offered in one size range: 24/34 UK (about size 42 Canadian). The site dimensions listed are depth to 26″, hips up to 100″, and thigh up to 33″ (although Laura’s email said up to 40″). Their hose range in price of £19.95 (using Google’s converter I got $30.96 US) for one pair or £54.95 for a three-pack. Shipping is pretty reasonable to U.S. and Canada at about $9. Delivery was really fast for the tights I received, within two weeks.

Overall I am pretty impressed with both pairs. They are a bit pricey but they are definitely better made than some of the cheaper brands I’ve seen. For winter opaque tights these two are definitely an option for us larger sized ladies to enjoy.

Topic Links
* Get your plus size All Woman opaque tights from The Big Tights Company
* Get your plus size All Woman 180 Denier micro tights from The Big Tights Company

Trollbeads and Grandmas

I must live under rock because I have never heard of Trollbeads, a kind of make your own personality inspired charm necklace (16″ to 19″) and bracelet (14″ to 17″) company. I have been familiar with the concept through but somehow Trollbeads never got on my radar even though they’ve been around since 1976. And with an awesome name like that I think I would remember.

Basically, you select a bracelet that goes with your style, then you pick a bead (or beads) which range from affordable to very pricey, then you select a clasp. There are bead styles to fit every personality; seriously, every personality. If you like pretty glass beads they got ’em, if you like buddhas they got ’em, if you like flowers they got ’em, if you like spiders they got ’em. And yes there are even a few troll options.

A few of my favorite beads from Trollbeads.

They have a nice system set up where you can pick the material, theme, designer, or price range. Or you can just surf through all their designs.

There is also the option of ready made designs like this Caring Light Bracelet. I quite like it even though their description describes it as a gift for grandma.

One of my favorite pieces is the Caring Light Bracelet but especially the heart bead.

Because it is is October (Breast Health Month) “Trollbeads will be donating 5% of all online net product sales to support Living Beyond Breast Cancer”.

Topic Links
* Visit Trollbeads to get your bead on
* Get the Caring Light Bracelet

Relax While Taking A Selfie

Like other bloggers, I belong to many social networks including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all of which encourage users to share photos in their updates including “selfies” (“a self-portrait taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone” ~ Wiki). I don’t take many selfies but when I do it usually involves some unnatural arm and hand placement to get the right distance, angle, lighting, and background. Usually there is some fumbling involved and if it weren’t for the wrist band included with my iPod then there would be a lot of bouncing too (and crying). Basically, it is impossible to really relax while taking a selfie.

A few weeks ago I was sent for review the #SelfieRing courtesy of the makers of Glam Screen. When my parcel arrived I was concerned about the packaging because it was partially open but my new tool was inside and protected with an outer packaging that didn’t require brute strength or gardening shears to open.

My new #SelfieRing from Glam Screen.

A #SelfieRing is a tiny double ring attachment that goes on the back of a phone or, in my case, an iPod via a sticky pad and has two finger holes for better control during picture taking. These rings fold back and forth and together can spin 360 degrees if necessary.

The ring side of the selfie ring has a pair of kissy lips and two rings that spin 360 degrees.

The ring has a sticky circle on the back that is peeled off and simply pressed into place.

The sticky adhesive on the back of selfie ring.

My first dilemma was that I have a cover on my iPod. Wonder Woman to be specific. The #SelfieRing needs a flat surface to adhere too. I took the cover off to apply the ring to my device and was still able to put my rubber cover over it. I have to use these rubber covers because, well, I’m a klutz. My device goes flying out of my hands a least once a week. The cover is super easy to get off when I want to take a selfie and looking at it you can’t really tell it’s underneath.

Wonder Woman rubber cover for my iPod.

This is where I decided to place it on my iPod. As I mentioned those rings are on a dial that will spin around:

The selfiering placement on the back of my iPod.

And a sort of side view:

A side view with my fingers in the rings.

That out of the way, it was time to take a selfie. I was actually quite impressed with what a difference it makes having this selfie tool attached. First the finger rings are a nice size and even with my plus size fingers they fit perfectly inside with room to spare (the rings also have the added feature of acting as a stand if I am watching how-to videos or Skypeing or hands-free Vining).

My fingers fit comfortable in the selfie rings.

The rings move up and down so they are almost flat when not in use. I can use one or two but I find using two better. Holding my iPod without feeling like I am holding my iPod:

Look ma, no hands!

And the resulting image:

Using my Canon EOS to take a picture of hand using the SelfieRing. Not as awkward as you would think!

I actually quite like the security of the #SelfieRing but I still wouldn’t hang my hand over a ledge to take a picture. The best thing about it is I am able to relax my arm and hand and not have to worry about fumbling with the awkward shape of the iPod (basically the same shape as iPhone). A few selfies:

In the couple weeks I have been using this handy tool the sticky area is still very much intact. In fact, I am not sure how I would remove it which leads to a downside for phone users who are constantly updating their phones. This doesn’t seem like a transferable gadget. I think a new phone would mean having to buy a new one.

The #SelfieRing is available from the official Glam Screen website for $14.99 and they ship worldwide — in the US it is $4.50 and internationally it is $6.50.

Topic Links
* Get your #SelfieRing from Glam Screen
* Follow me on Instagram

Summer Hair Care (Psst… Waxing)

I have been pretty open with the fact that I wax my upper lip; well, I don’t wax it, I pay someone else to do it. But that is as far as I go. No eyebrow, waxing, no armpit waxing, and definitely no Brazilian waxing. And it is not just because of reasons like Christine Lakin’s Holiday Wax Nightmare although as you will see in a minute it is a good reason not to wax your feminine parts.

Thanks to Christine I am definitely firm in my belief that hair down there is even more acceptable than it was before — to each her own. Now back to my other lips… I’ve been using Inhibitif which I found makes waxing my lip a little more bearable. So much so I decided to try waxing my upper lip myself instead of going to the salon — sometimes it’s just a pain (har har) to go across town for less than a fifteen minute appointment.

When I was at Sally Beauty last week I was checking out their waxing section and came across GiGi Microwave Sensitive Tweezeless Wax for facial hair. It was about $8 and the associate said I could get a few lip waxes out of it. Cool.

Wax Night: I had to bring a mirror into the kitchen because that is where we keep the microwave. I followed the directions and heated the wax for 15 seconds and went to stir it — rock hard. Nuked it for another 15 seconds — still rock hard. This went on for three more tries before I finally went up to 30 second intervals and felt like I was getting somewhere. Finally I had a pliable enough wax to start applying it to my upper lip. The actual waxing wasn’t too bad. I was able to control how much and where unlike when someone else does it. The downside, no bathroom lighting and having to put it back in the microwave after each attempt. The container — a total mess — and I can’t see me getting another use of it because the wax really did not cooperate.

My attempt at some summer hair care.

One of the things I remember seeing in the wax isle was a wax tub for melting wax and I have to admit that plugging a little heating tub in the bathroom seems like an attractive option at about $45. I could stay in the bathroom and heat up the wax whenever I wanted. But I am undecided and think I will try some other self-waxing options first.

As luck would have it a rep from Nad’s (“Australia’s favorite hair removal brand”) emailed me this morning with some tips from the founder Sue Ismiel. And while I haven’t tried the product yet (it is available in the U.S. and Canada) I thought I would share her tips with you in case you are thinking of doing a little summer hair care yourself.

Sue’s General Guide to Waxing

  1. Clean and dry the area to be treated. Ensure all oils, makeup and moisturizers are removed.
  2. Apply wax slowly in the direction of hair growth
  3. Firmly smooth over strip 3-4 times
  4. Quickly remove strip holding skin taut in opposite direction to the hair growth.

Home Hair Removal Methods/ Tips

  • The quicker you pull the strip back the more effective the hair removal. Don’t forget to hold the skin taut and pull the strip back as close to the skin as possible. Bruising may be a result of not holding your skin taut.
  • On some parts of your body, like for example your underarms or your center brow, hair can grow in different directions. Always assess carefully before applying the wax.
  • Make sure the hair is at least 3-5mm long; otherwise the hair may not be removed.
  • Check that you are not perspiring or that your body is too hot (i.e. if you have just come out of the shower) as this will prevent the wax from adhering to the hair effectively.
  • Try to avoid waxing just before or during your period. Your skin is really sensitive during this time.
  • For optimal results, exfoliate your skin no sooner than eight hours before hair removal and 48 hours after. Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells and maintain vital skin health. It also helps minimize ingrown hairs.
  • It is normal for the skin to appear red after waxing. Remove any residue then soothe your skin following hair removal with a cooling aloe vera, this helps to soothe and calm the skin after hair removal. Can be used daily as soothing moisturizer.
  • If you breakout or suffer skin irritations after facial waxing, apply a cold compress immediately after waxing. If the redness is still noticeable apply calming Aloe Vera Gel which will help to reduce redness and irritation after hair removal. To prevent breakouts, apply an antibacterial lotion to the skin after waxing. Nad’s Ingrown Solution is perfect as it contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredients.
  • Ensure your skin is held taut before removing the backing strip
  • Ensure you pull off the strip close to the skin rather than upwards
  • Ensure the hair length is at least 3-5mm long

Do you wax at home, at a salon, never?

Topic Links
* Check out the Nad’s website to find out where to find
* Purchase Nad’s Products from Amazon

Summery Butterfly Kisses

When I think of summery nails the first thing to pop into my mind is pale hues of blue, yellow, green, and of course pink. I came across this great shade from L’Oreal called Butterfly Kisses — even the name is beautiful. I love the pale pink with almost a hint of lavender in it.

Despite how it looks in the bottle, the first coat goes on sheer. I found the first coat difficult to work with and a bit streaky so it is definitely not a one coat polish even if I wanted a sheer look.

My nails with one coat of L'Oreal's Butterfly Kisses pink nail polish.

Two coats are definitely much better but there were still some spots that needed a touch up.

My nails with two coats of L'Oreal's Butterfly Kisses pink nail polish.

So three thin coats are best for this formula. If you look closely you can still see the edge of the nail tip so it is not completely opaque but that is not a necessity for this pretty color.

My nails with three coats of L'Oreal's Butterfly Kisses pink nail polish.

This color was released in 2012 and is still in some stores (I just got mine at Shopper’s Drug Mart) and online at Amazon (link below). While I love to dabble in the “summer” hues I still will not put away my darker colors for the season. What about you?

Topic Links
* Get your bottle of Butterfly Kisses from Amazon

Minty Condition Feet

Over the last year that I have been a Julep Maven they have shared many beauty products that were not nail polish related. There was lipstick, dry oil, cleanser, cuticle oil, facial sponge, eye shadow, foot balm. For the most part they were either “Meh” or just “OK”. In my last mystery box they included a tube of Mint Condition Pedi Crème.

The Mint Condition Pedi Creme from Julep offers another great solution for silky feet.I loves it! It has a nice light mint scent and is a little tingly. For a foot creme, it has a few unique ingredients (alpha hydroxy acids, shea butter, coconut oil, essential oils, and vitamin E) for treating our tender tooties.

The creme has a lovely texture and absorbs nicely when it is massaged into the feet. I put mine on at night time and it doesn’t have a sticky feel — no sleeping in socks required! Like almost any lotion I have tried I still have to be dedicated to regular foot care. There is just no getting away from the foot file but I have noticed I can get away with doing it less.

The only downside I have noticed is that it becomes a bit slippery when I step into a hot shower. I was taken aback the first time I noticed. Now I am just a little more careful stepping in.

As much as I like it, it is a bit pricey. A 3 oz tube is priced for $20, $16 if you are a Maven.

Topic Links
* Get your Mint Condition Pedi Creme
* Become a Julep Maven

Make a Squid Statement

Squid and cuttlefish are the new statement jewelry. Yes, I’m serious. Look how darn cute these handmade polymer pieces by Sheryl Westleigh of Noadi are. Her octopus, squid and cthulhu come in all sorts of poses, colors, and sizes.

This Jade Squid is $30:

Jade Octopus necklace created by Sheryl Westleigh for Noadi on Etsy.

This Yellow Squid has two tones and is also $30:

Yellow Octopus necklace created by Sheryl Westleigh for Noadi on Etsy.

This Neo-Victorian Steampunk Octopus is $40:

Neo-Steampunk Octopus necklace created by Sheryl Westleigh for Noadi on Etsy.

This Frankenpod (so cute) Octopus is $35:

Green Frankenpod Octopus necklace created by Sheryl Westleigh for Noadi on Etsy.

These adorable Candy Pink Tentacles earrings are $15:

Candy pink tentacle earrings created by Sheryl Westleigh for Noadi on Etsy.

If you want something with a little more shell then check out the Black Iridescent Trilobite for $35:

Blue Trilobite necklace created by Sheryl Westleigh for Noadi on Etsy.

There is much more to look at in Sheryl’s online shop at Etsy — Noadi. She ships worldwide at very reasonable rates from $3 to $14.

Topic Links
* Get your squid statement jewelry from Noadi

Neutral with Sparkle

I do not get particularly excited about neutral colors so when my Julep’s Lois arrived in my Mystery Box I put it aside as a, “someday I will get around to it” nail polish. Well it happened last week and I am really glad it did. I am surprised how much I liked this pale dusty rose, described as a “frost” but it reminds me of pink pearls (in natural light).

I tested Julep's neutral pink frost which has its own little sparkle to it.

Even though I love it as is, that did not stop me from dressing it up with a little accent glitter Remix by Cuccio (came in my Top Box).

I added a multi-colored glitter top coat to the ring fingers and thumbs.

Lois is a little pinker in natural light.

This polish looks pinker in natural light.

It is still available at Julep if you like it (on sale for $3.99 when I last checked).

Julep's Lois accented with Cuccio's Remix glitter.

Topic Links
* Get your Lois nail from Julep

Plus Size Shortlettes Underwear

Another alternative to thigh rub is Under Summers. They offer pretty bicycle style short underwear in pretty fabrics with or without lace accents — they call them shortlettes (they are not shapewear!) They are pretty reasonably priced too, under $35. There are lots of options from solids colors to animal prints. And there are matching camisoles. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Two options for battling thigh from from Under Summers shortlettes.

The base layer shown in coral here comes in three other colors (turquoise, black, and silverfish). As does the print (zebra, brown leopard, and grey leopard). There is an excellent size range from XL to 6X. In the U.S. they offer free shipping for orders over $50, not sure if they ship to Canada yet or what the rate is (sent them an email and will update when I find out).

Topic Links
* Get your plus size fancy bicycle short underwear from Under Summers

My Favorite Scent — Citrus

Scent is a funny thing. You either like it or you hate it. I’ve always been attracted to lighter citrus scents more so than flowery scents for myself (although I often enjoy flowery or rose scents on others). I have been wearing pretty much the same scent for over ten years — Clinique’s Happy. I have taken breaks to try other scents along the way but I have always found myself going back to Happy because it makes me, well, happy. The name alone even makes me smile.

I’m not sure where my love of citrus began — I can tell you a story from my childhood where overeating mandarin oranges led to disastrous effects — so much so you’d think I’d be turned off citrus for life. But no, I definitely consider it my scent.

I find Clinique’s happy to be very light. It provides enough scent that I feel fresh but not so much that it inspires a headache in my migraine suffering spouse. I like the feel of the glass bottle and how it sprays just the right amount of scent in two presses. And that one small bottle lasts a long time — I don’t know the time frame exactly but it’s long. Which is good because $50 is nothing to sneeze at. When I need a new bottle it is usually timed right for when one of their promotions is on and because of the price I end up with a free kit which usually includes a lipstick, eye shadow, or mascara as a bonus.

Clinique can be found at department stores like the Bay or Sears. Or if you are in the U.S. you can buy it from their official website.

Do you have a scent that you just can’t let go of?

Topic Links
* Get your Happy scent from Clinique

New Duffel Bag

Baggu has added a new duffel bag to their long line of eco-friendly bags. It is pretty simplistic and traditional in design. My favorite would be the white with blue stripes which they are calling the “sailor stripes”. It also comes in chestnut, indigo, and black. I’m surprised red was not an option. The heavy canvas bag is not super long, only 23″ and comes with dual handles. I am kind of disappointed it is only “spot clean” for an $82 canvas. If it is the same canvas they used to make the dual handled tote, I throw that in the wash all the time and it still looks great.

Baggu's new duffel bag is nautical looking.

It seems like a perfect size for a yoga mat, towel, throw, and water bottle. Or for a weekend bag.

Topic Links
* Get your duffel bag from Baggu

Mystery Brand Vox Box

This is my third Vox Box from Influenster but this one is a little different. Product wise, this box is all about hair. Sample wise, instead of sending full brand samples and product information they sent mystery samples in generic bottles with little product information other than shampoo, conditioner, and split-end serum. They are still tagged from L’Oreal but they have many hair brands. Our task is to use them for a week then they will send full size samples in another package unveiling the brand.

I was chatting with another blogger on Facebook and she thinks it is “L’Oreal Advanced Hairstyle”, a new higher end hair product “not quite professional, but better quality than the regular stuff”. Only time will tell! In the mean time:

Day one: Last night I used the shampoo and conditioner for the first time. Both have a very light scent that is not over powering. It reminds me of something but I cannot put my finger on what. Both are very creamy and a little seems to go a long way — my hair is pretty short but sometimes I find I need a little extra shampoo to get a good sud. I decided not to use the split end serum the first time out just to see how the shampoo and conditioner worked on their own. This first day out I didn’t notice any noticeable change in my hair but really was not expecting it. I posted my end result on Instagram last night:

Day two: Tonight I used the split-end serum after shampoo, conditioner, and towel drying. After blow drying I noticed my hair was considerable softer. I did not notice any change visually in terms of texture. But I did take another Instagram shot for posterity — is it me or are my highlights darker in this photo?

Day three/four: I noticed a significant change in hair texture. I have not been using any extra styling products but I have noticed my hair seems to be keeping it’s style until the end of the day. Normally it becomes quite flat as the day progresses if I don’t have “extra” stuff on it. On day three I think I might have used too much of the serum because my hair seemed heavier, but today, day four it is doing much better. I know I have commented on the light scent but I really am impressed with that. I live with a migraine suffering so heavy scents can be a problem. I like that it smells clean without being over powering or triggering.

I will update further here as I continue to use the product and when the final product is unveiled.

Topic Links
* Learn more about Influenster

“I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.”