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Pre-Natal Beauty and Wellness at The Green Spa

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As a beauty lover, a certified cosmeholic, as I like to refer to myself, I thought I knew everything there was to know about beauty and skincare, that is, until I became pregnant! Aside from the typical guidelines of “don’t eat raw meat”, “don’t sleep on your back”, “stay away from cat litter”, and “don’t dye your hair”, I thought I was pretty on track to a healthy pregnancy. It wasn’t until I visited the Green Spa, located at 8804 3rd avenue in the heart of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, that I learned there is so much more to beauty, skincare, nail care, and even body wellness, while pregnant!

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I had previously visited the spa for a pre-natal facial earlier on in my pregnancy, it was then that I learned how important it is to be especially mindful when considering spa serbs, but also, overall skincare products. Opting for more natural, vegan, and organic products, like those from the Legend of the Spa line, are beneficial to your skin and also your baby to be. Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and it absorbs everything! While you may have previously enjoyed a harsh chemical peel (guilty) or product with Salicylic Acid and retinol (double guilty), these ingredients are now no-no’s once you see that little double pink line. The Green Spa is mindful to these exceptions, and tailors their pre-natal offerings to suit mom to be in all ways. This is why I had to come back and check out their other pre-natal offerings.

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The Pre-natal massage is offered in both 60 and 90 minuet intervals and allows mom’s to be to experience relaxation, relief from swelling, back pain, tensions, and address specific concerns. Each massage is tailored and adjusted for you and designed to give you the most comfort. It can be enjoyed in any trimester, will not induce labor (unless you ask!), nor will it cause a miscarriage. There is a specific level of training that is given to those preforming a pre-natal massage, so you are always in the most skilled hands.

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Products used during the massage come from the Legend of the Spa line and contain organic, all natural ingredients. They are formulated with therapeutic grade oils, which are diluted to ensure no scent aversions for mom to be. For this massage I chose lavender as it has calming and relaxing properties. The main difference between a pre-natal massage and a regular massage is the attention to pregnancy concerns.

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When you first lay down, your legs and feet are checked for swelling as the Green Spa is known for its focus on wellness. Swelling often occurs when there isn’t proper circulation, so legs are important to pay mind to while pregnant. Pressure on the legs has to be specifically applied in that if it is too harsh, it can cause blood clots. Emily, my massage therapist, was informative and mindful to this, and used soft pressure focusing on the lymphatic  system. Soft touches and light pressure promote circulation, drainage, and reabsorption for the lymph glands.

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Personally, my biggest concerns concerns were upper back pain, foot pain, neck pain, and swelling. Typical massages require a laying on the back or stomach position, but support was given to both raise the feet and comfortably lay on the side. Even when massaging of the upper back occurred, I was able to comfortably rest my body on my side while still receiving proper pressure. No matter the trimester, you can be comfortably pampered and massaged while promoting the wellness of your body. If you’d like to see a full question and answer session with Emily, please check out my Youtube video here.

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While at The Green Spa, I had to check out the pre-natal pedicure since I will be traveling to Los Angeles. I waned my toes to look their best but without all the harsh chemicals. My biggest question was, whats the difference between a pedicure and a pre-natal pedicure? I have always been one that opted for the cheapest pedicure without really paying attention to what was being applied. Many salons don’t even tell you what they are applying to your feet or legs as they reach for bottles with no labels!

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Many nail polishes contain harmful ingredients such as formaldehyde, Toluene, and Camphor – all of which are toxic and can be absorbed by nail beds and lungs when vapors are breathed in. All polishes from The Green Spa are toxin free and offer the same beautiful glossy, smooth look. I oped for the shade Love & Happiness by SpaRitual. There is an extensive line of shades by SpaRitual available at the spa.

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As mentioned prior, massage of the legs is important to be mindful of during a pre-natal massage, the same mindfulness during the pre-natal massage is given during the pedicure. A brand new ball technique is used to apply soft, acupuncture type pressure to the a calves and feet. Legend Of The Spa chocolate peppermint scrub was applied to the legs and feet to remove dead skin cells and callouses while also leaving skin silky smooth. This was followed by a lavender mask  applied to the legs as well. If you love masking the face, just imagine how lovely it is to have applied to your legs and feet!

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While waiting for my polish to dry, I couldn’t help but admire the luxurious yet peaceful atmosphere. I felt so relaxed and at peace as I sipped on the Red Sun Legend of the Spa tea, which is offered before and during any services. Trickling water, salt lamps, and soothing music played through the spa like an oasis get away. You’d never believe you were in Brooklyn after stepping trough the doors!

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Once my polish was dry, I headed to the front of the sore which features an entire beauty and skincare section. All products are natural and non toxic. Browse the in house brand, Legend of the Spa, for skincare, tools, tea, and even candles or check out brands like SpaRituals polish and Coola Skincare. The beauty section is like like a mini non-toxic Sephora- there are testers available and helpful staff to shade match you and give you additional information on any product. You are able to purchase products and also are given recommendations based on your concerns during your services.

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Even if you aren’t currently expecting, the Green Spa offers many other services such as the new CBD massage, Medical Acne facial for teens,  Duo Massage for couples, Bridal skincare with diamond Microdermabrasion, makeup applications, foot massage, and even waxing hair removal. There is something for everyone! If you would like to book a service, I have paterned with the Green Spa, use promo code Recycledstardust and save 10% off your next service!

 

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The Visually Impaired Blogger

 

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To be a beauty and fashion blogger and content creator requires a certain vision. It all centers around our intuition of style and esthetic. Anyone can open a vogue and follow a trend but it’s the unique spin and the individual personalty that really elevates and separates those with vision from those without. Gaining that insight isn’t always easy, it goes beyond what we see,  in a deeper sense, its about the journey that gets us there. For me, it was my lack of vision that lead me to my true “vision”.

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Sitting up for a brief moment, the day after surgery 2.

In 2017 I was diagnosed with my first retina detachment. I say first since I’ve had a total of three. I have no lens in my left eye, two degenerative eye diseases, as well as no peripheral vision in my right eye. You could never tell any of this simply by looking at me but I’ve spoken openly about my experience in this youtube video. It has greatly impacted both who I am as a person as well as a creator and pushed me in a direction I never though I would go.

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Hiding my eye since I couldn’t apply liner or faux lashes, foundation, or highlight to my face on the left side.

So many times I hear people in this industry talk about how its hard to create content, editing, shooting, gaining a following, maintaining that following, staying relevant- I’ve even complained about many of these things myself. There is that drive and this belief that if you’re truly determined to make it work, it will. On many levels, I do believe this, however, it may not always be how you envisioned it. Sometimes, you need to let go of what you want and see the bigger picture. There is much that can happen by just letting your intuition guide you. This advice goes beyond social media and beyond content creating.

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Keeping my eyes closed for makeup shoots to hide the redness.

As I was going through this process of going blind, I had to keep my head down for 14 days and be as still as possible. This mental retreat in a physically punishing state is not something I would wish even on my worst enemy, but it did give me time to truly reflect on where my career as a content creator was going. The over saturation of the beauty community on instagram, the changes to the algorithm, and overall downturn that instagram was taking, had all been taking its toll on my long standing @Recycledstardust account.  I was receiving less comments and likes, followers were rapidly unfollowing, and I was left confused and a bit disheartened. Why didn’t anyone like me any more?This was all made worse by the fact that I wasn’t able to film tutorials let alone apply makeup in my current state, I was helpless.

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San Fransisco – Travling the country and taking my happiness into my own hands

I began to shift my focus. My once beloved beauty content was no longer drawing people in and I was in no state to create it. I began to focus on myself and what truly made me happy. My skin and my face had taken a beating from the multiple surgeries. I began to experiment with skincare and share my skincare journey. Since I couldn’t dress up my face, I bought the fashions I loved and went back to my fashion roots – attending fashion week and even meeting celebrities. I wanted to go to California, 10 days after surgery 3, I drove from New York city to San Fransisco. I even started this blog that year to share my more personal thoughts and reviews. It was through going blind that I regained my vision on life and what mattered to me. This ultimately hit the refresh button for my content and myself.

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Meeting Whoppie Goldberg at NYFW

This brings me to you, whoever you are, reading this right now. We can all get stuck at times and become ‘visually’ impaired bloggers, content creators, moms, accountants, students, firefighters, teachers, nurses, etc, we stop seeing what we want, or are completely blinded by what we want in life. We stop taking risks, stop taking chances, stop stepping outside our boxes, even though we should! If even for a moment, we can remove ourselves from ourselves just to see what else can make us happy and also make our goals a reality. Self retreat, self love, self reflection are all so very important and necessary. While it took an illness for me to realize I was more than just an instagram account, I hope it takes much less for you to realize you’re so much more than the sum of what you do daily.

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A focus on fashion

To be a content creator and a beauty and fashion blogger takes vision, but to truly live and be happy in what you do, who you are, and what you want out of life also takes vision. I may be blind and visually impaired in life, but in heart, I am fully sighted.

 

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Dia & Co – The Personal Stylist for the Plus Size Woman

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Betsey Johnson Dress – Received in my April 2019 box

I want to start this off rather blunt, you aren’t going to find cutesy, curated, pictures of me on my white couch, in my well lit living room, gleefully pulling clothes out of my perfectly tape free Dia & Co box. Quite frankly, I’m a mess, no one would ever allow me to buy a white couch, and I still have not gotten my apartment straight since moving in in April! With that being said, I will offer you my insights into this amazing service that I’ve been using for the past 5 YEARS.

 

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Wearing Nanette Lapore from 2018

There are plenty of style subscriptions that have popped up over the years to fill the growing need for millennials looking to grow their wardrobe, enhance their wardrobe, or refresh their wardrobe, with minimal time and effort. Of the 20 or so I’ve found online, Wantable, Trunk Club, Rent the Runway,  Gwynnie Bee, etc, to name just a few, there has been an obvious trend, they are straight size oriented. Even inclusive subscriptions like Stichfix have only just recently started to include plus size options! Dia & Co has been a pioneer in the industry leading the way and opening the door for more size inclusivity.

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Casual meets sexy- I was sent these pieces in my March 2019 / Purse from 2018

I started receiving Dia & Co in 2014. I was one of the first people to try this sub and review this sub – check out some of my original reviews here and here! Over the years they have added more styles, designer options, and even a fitness box! When you first sign up, you take a little style quiz. This quiz helps the stylists better get to know you, your body, and your personal esthetic. You can even link your social media accounts to really help the stylists connect with what you love! This was super important to someone like me that has eclectic, rarely casual, style. The styling fee, which is an upfront payment, is only 20$ and this gets applied back to whatever purchase you make from your box.

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I picked this dress out from Rachel Roy for my April 2018 box. Denim jacket from March 2019

Unlike other subscriptions, you can choose your frequency. Want a quarterly closet upgrade, a monthly splurge, or a special event only type of box, you can specify! You are able save your favorite pieces from the Dia & Co Closet to your profile as well, and if there is something you truly have your eye on, there is even an option to choose these pieces to be a part of your next box. While I love a good surprise, sometimes you just find a have to have it piece. Each box contains 5 items – these can be a mix of accessories, purses, and clothes.

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I loved this Rebel Wilson X Angels Faux Fur coat- I exchanged a bright pink one for this more subtle maroon!

What makes Dia & Co stand out to me are the designer collaborations. Most recently, Dia & Co included pieces from Betsey Johnson’s line. In the past they have partnered with actress Rebel Wilson for her Rebel Wilson X Angels brand as well as Designer  Nanette Lapore. For the plus size girl eyeing the designer brands, they have you covered!

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Wearing Nanette Lapore Jacket from 2018

The size range is size 14-32 which I feel is generous! Many brands, let alone subscriptions, rarely go beyond size 20-28. After you receive you box, you are able to leave feedback on all the items you received. This feedback covers price, material, and fit. If you receive something that doesn’t fit, you do have the option to exchange for the right size. You only pay for the items you keep, and a prepaid postal bag is included for your returns.

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Girl With Curves Collabration Dress – received 2018

I have always been the type of girl where if I order something online and it doesn’t fit, I would rather just keep it than go through the hassle of having to pay for a return! Shipping is free both ways with Dia, so you never have to have to keep an item you aren’t in love with! With each box you receive and the more feedback you provide, your stylist really beings to understand your personal style. I love that my boxes always include something that pushes me outside my comfort zone. If my stylist finds an amazing piece in black  (even though I request no black) or something casual like a pair of jeans that they KNOW will fit me perfectly (even though I request no jeans) they always let me know why! Nothing is ever careless or thoughtless! This is the ultimate level of personalization that you won’t find with other brands.

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Betsey Johnson Dress from my April 2019 box

If this sounds like something you’d like to try out, please be sure to check out my referral link : https://refer.dia.com/Nikki65 you’ll receive a 20$ credit – which basically waves your styling fee!

This post contains referral links. Be sure to follow me on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/Recycledstardust

https://www.instagram.com/fabulouslystardust

 

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The Instagram Shadowban and my Social Media Journey

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In The Beginning…

I realize that for many who follow this blog, this topic may be out of sorts, however, I felt it was necessary to address. I won’t lie to you and tell you I have the secrets, the answers, or even the magic fix! I will tell you about my experience, my best tips, and how to really share your passions online without hindrance!

As you can tell from this blog, I am a lover of cosmetics – cosmeholic after all, but I also have a deep love for fashion as well. For many years, my instagram @Recycledstardust was a mix of both fashion and beauty. I have since streamlined and segregated my content with fashion moving on to my account @Fabulouslystardust. I have been using instagram as a platform to share my passion since 2012 and used it as a full-time job since 2015. So much has changed between 2012 snd 2015 just as so much as changed between 2015 and now! I am going to break them up into eras to really explain how instagram and its treatment of accounts truly plays into the social media experience.

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When I first started my blog it was very raw. I get asked all the time, why did you start working in social media? I have to be honest, I wanted a place to BITCH! It wasn’t the age of social media it is now, advertisers were lying to customers, there was no one to check them, and you had no idea how a product really preformed until you bought it and put it on. You could then either trek back to the store, hopefully you still have your receipt, and return it, or just suck it up and hope that somehow the next release is better. I needed a place to vent my frustrations.

My first blog can be found at http://thecosmeholic.blogspot.com , which since January 1st 2012 has amassed  209,696 views! I find the number of views impressive considering I’ve abandoned it for years now aside from the occasional post here and there. It was my place and my space to really talk about beauty and fashion for no other sake than the fact that I wanted to do it. It was a labour of love.

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When I first started my journey on instagram it was more for fun than anything else. Instagram was more about what instagram was … just instant posts that I would share with no real purpose. I joined because I was a bit of a jerk to my friend. I told her instagram was for hipsters and said things like “want to know how much a hipster weights? One instagram!!” ha! Seriously though, it wasn’t very nice, so I joined, told her I was sorry, and said see, now I’m a hipster!

The Good Life…

At the time, in 2012, my son was 2 years old, I had just gone back to school and I was rediscovering my joy for cosmetics – and discovering for the firs time, my joy of fashion. My blog, while still a place to bitch, started to include products I loved using, and looks I loved wearing. As time passed, I was starting to get noticed by brands as well. Valentines day gift from Pepsi, invite to NYFW thanks to Woolite, a package from Kiss to try their lashes, was this really my life? By 2014 I was attending NYFW regularly, so yes it was!

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I started to post officially on instagram around this time as well as on youtube.  I shared swatches, beauty subscription boxes, my outfits of the day, I was active, engaged, and I loved all the friends I made on instagram. We all were joined by our love of beauty, talking about new releases and our experiences. As a busy mom I didn’t have many friends in real life and even fewer that were as passionate about beauty as I was. In real life I was a nerd studying to be a science teacher and dissecting sheep livers, and online I was this cinderella beauty, who’d put on gorgeous clothes, attended events and was gifted products by my favorite brands. It felt unreal!

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My account went from just a handful of followers to well over 10K in just about 2 years- maybe less. The comments and likes would fly in so quickly I would spend hours just trying to respond to everyone! Not long after I was soaring over 100K and then 150k, I was being PAID to post.  In 2015, I stopped going to school, I was able to stay home and watch my son, I was no longer having to buy products or clothes, and I was making a livable income. Life was good!

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In the middle of 2015, my first real smack of reality hit. The major brand that I was working with and making major commission from turned off my promo code. I stopped earning income just like that. They said they found it on a promo code site and thus have ceased its use. I went to the site they said they found it, others where there, others were all active. All I could think was, why was I targeted? After months of trying to live on less than 50$ – they reactivated it, and then their factory burned down. Just is my luck.

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I had put a bit too many eggs in one basket. I had no income, and just enough saving to get me through a few months, if I was lucky. I kept posting, keep pushing forward, and hoped for the best. I was now a part of IpsyOS which was a new group for Content Creators that gave us access to networking events, Gen Beauty, and even put us in connection with brands. It was the first time I really felt there was a name and way to describe what I do. I hated being called a guru or an influencer- those titles always felt so vapid. Content Creator… I create content for social media, it fit

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I was being invited to branded events, boxes started to arrive at my door every week from brands I loved and I joined platforms like Octoly, Socalix, Grapevine, and other paid campaign sites. I was getting 800$ in gift cards almost every month just through Octoly! It was a great time to be on instagram and work on instagram.

Nothing Gold Can Stay…

Unfortunately, nothing gold can stay, and I noticed a very steady and sudden decline. No new followers, no comments, no likes, and I thought, has my content gone stale?, am I boring?, did I offend someone?, possibly everyone? I googled to see if instagram was down, what the new glitches were and everything in between. I had no answers. I had created some of my own hashtags like #TheCosmeholicMotd and #RecycledstardustFashion to keep track of my own posts. I clicked on my hashtag and noticed something very strange, there were no new posts from me. The reason? Instgaram had a warning for all of my personally created hashtags when they were searched, it said “Recent posts from #TheCosmeholicMotd are currently hidden because the community has reported some content that may not meet instagram’s community guidelines” It also gave the option to learn more – guidelines prohibit posting photos or videos that you don’t have a right to share, nudity and sexual content, hateful, hate speech, spam, unlawful, self injury, and violence. So why were pictures of my face with makeup, nail swatches, eyeshadow swatches, mirror selfies, and even food posts being blocked?

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This is current as of today!

The shadow ban is a real thing. I will say it again, THE SHADOW BAN IS A REAL THING. Do not let any influencer, website, or even instagram themselves tell you its not! It absolutely is and they will never give you a reason as to why your account was targeted. They will never tell you how to fix it, what you did wrong, what you need to do to change it. Thats it, you’re on a list, you may forever be on that list, and there isn’t much you can do about it… or can you?

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This is considered to go against the community guidelines for instagram. Doesn’t make much sense does it?

When I first figured out what was happening, I freaked out. My posts were being hidden from being seen on hashtags, some hashtags they worked on but only for those who already followed me. Some said I didn’t even show up on their timeline and this is before all the woes of the algorithm. I had to hunt down and figure out in my own way, why I was being targeted and what behaviors I could do to change it. If you’re wondering how you can check if you’re indeed shadow banned- create your own hashtag and have a friend unfollow you and check that hashtag. If you show up, you’re fine, if not, you’re shadow banned. Simple right? Maybe not so much any more.

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So here is where my advice and tips come in. Thank you for sticking around long enough to get this far. I felt it was important you saw my experiences and how positive they were with instagram before you labeled me as just someone who’s mad they aren’t growing or mad they never went viral- neither are the case. Once you discover your account has been flagged – either by hashtag or being hidden on the timeline due to algorithm – there is some hope. First, go through ALL your posts. Go back to when things were successful. Were you using the same exact hashtags over and over? Were you always maxing out at 30 hashtags? Did you post them in the comments section rather than the caption? Did you use any banned hashtags (check here for a current list, yes its long!)? If you did any of those things go back and fix it asap. Remove the banned hashtags, change your hashtags for each post, even if its months in the past, remove hashtags from comments and plop it in your caption, and make sure you’re adding a geo tag! It will place your post where it can be searched and seen by location helping to boost your account.

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Change your geo tag right under your user name when editing your photo!

If none of these work, and you have a business account, check and see how many accounts your reaching via hashtag, if the number is low, you need different hashtags, maybe different thumbnail for your videos, maybe even refresh your content, and do something different. If this all fails, shake your phone, make sure the setting to shake to report is on, and report the problem every time you post. When you shake your phone it takes a screenshot and sends it to instagram. I want you to channel your inner Andy Dufresne (he wrote nonstop letters to get books for the library in the Shawshank Redemption) and shake with every post, shake and show your insights, shake and show your profile, shake shake shake señora!!! If you spam them enough, they do lift it. I have had to do this over 3 times, with patience and proper spamming, they eventually listen!

Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginnings End…

That brings me to my very last piece of advice and my last shared experience with you. It’s now almost the middle of 2019, it is just crazy how the year is flying by, and my account has stagnated. The once glorious growth I experienced in instagram’s early aughts is now the continued gain and loose, ebb and flow of followers. Likes are down, comments are way down, and engagement groups do more harm for your account than you think! This is why I created a new account to see how instagram would treat the same content with a shiny new name, and its a doozy!

My new instagram account, @FabulouslyStardust which I started in maybe 2017 but didn’t show much love to until easter this year, was hovering at a few hundred. In April I started to post some fashion I shared on my main account @Recycledstardust, I used the same hashtags, the same geo tag, the same everything. In just 3 weeks I went from about 400 followers to 2,775 at the time I was writing this. So is instagram really dead? Is the algorithm against us all? Or is instagram targeting older and possibly larger accounts? I can’t explain why a post I made recently received 84,000 impressions on an account with 600 followers, 49,963 coming from hashtags, and only received 4,850 impressions on an account with over 150k with only 608 coming from hashtags. Why are posts treated differently on hashtags when posted from different accounts?  For this I have no answer and no solution.

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While it may sound like a nightmare for some, creating a new account, even if you’re recycling your old content, it may be beneficial. This being said, I don’t think you should delete your old account either! If you post multiple formats or niches of content, you may absolutely find this valuable. Create a new account for your smaller niche. Do you cover skincare and lifestyle? Why not post skincare with a hint of lifestyle on one account and lifestyle on the other with a hint of skincare. You keep both your niches but you become more focused on your content. You can start to hashtag old posts that no longer fit your new esthetic. You can also gain new audiences by blogging, youtube, instagram stories, even twitch! Try a new space out and bring that audience back to your main platform.

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Applying the new instagram account option will streamline your account and help foster a whole new audience as well. You can direct your followers back and forth between the accounts so they get the best of both worlds while you get a boost! You can host giveaways with your self, just have your followers follow both accounts. You now have two ways to monetize as well! A brand my love one page and not the other, you will open your opportunities and you will kick instagram, its algorithm, and even its shadow ban to the curb. It may sound scary, but all new and exciting things are!

What have your experiences been with the shadow ban or instagram’s algorithm? Lets share our collective experiences and I look forward to hearing your story!

 

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‘Tis The Season – For Good Skin!

Cooler temperatures bring us falling leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, and changes to our skin! Raging wind, dryer air, and changes in the position of the sun all effect our skin. This means its time to switch up the skincare routine. Even if you aren’t a skincare aficionado,  skincare is an easy routine to get into. Plus, there is no better time to start than now!

Holiday deals, kits and sets, make it super simple to try new skincare or venture into a skincare routine. Ulta has so many options this holiday season, so even as an avid skincare lover, I love trying new products. Since skin varies by person, this is a great way to find a product that works for you.

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On the higher end of the spectrum is the Peter Thomas Roth Power Players Set . This set is only 38$ but is a 95$ value! It includes Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel – which provides peachy clean freshness and brightens skin with glycolic acid, salcylic acid, and botanical extracts which helps keeps skin blemish free! The Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask helps draw out dirt and oil while still moisturizing skin with vitamins, essential minerals and antioxidant benefits! Pores will look clearer and smaller. The Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads help to exfoliate, resurface, and clarify skin. Exfoliating helps to remove dead skin and help to reduce the look of fine lines. Before bed, apply the Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum. This is vitamin A and it delivers skin-renewing benefits with concentrated encapsulated retinol for maximum results with minimal irritation. Vitamin A tends to get a bad reputation, but this is quite gentle on the skin. For ultimate moisture, the Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream Hydrating Moisturizer its perfect for drying environments. It transforms atmospheric vapor into fresh, pure water, providing your skin with a continuous burst of intense hydration that lasts up to 72 hours.

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For the modern skincare lover, HEMPZ Original Herbal Body Moisturizer  Don’t let the name fool you, this does not contain active THC nor will it make you high. It contains 100% Pure Organic Hemp Seed Oil that are blended with natural extracts to provide dramatic skin hydration and nourishment. This is perfect to apply to all over skin as it helps to  improve the health and condition of skin. Hemp Seed Oil is one of nature’s richest sources of Essential Fatty Acids and Key Amino Acids containing natural proteins, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, vital for healthy skin conditioning. This is also Paraben Free as well as gluten Free, and 100% Vegan.

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FIRST AID BEAUTY FAB Holiday Cheer Kit contains a mix of full size and sample size products from the brand First Aid Beauty. It is available for 48$ but has a 96$ value. These fan favorites are perfect for gifting individually or restocking your own skincare this season. It contains the Pure Skin Face Cleanser which is perfect for sensitive skin since it is irritant-free. Remove makeup, dirt and grime easily. For extra moisture this season, the Ultra Repair Cream a whipped, thicker, rich, emollient that covers skin and helps retain hydration. You can use this for full body and even works with distressed skin and eczema.  Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer is a great way to hydrate the face and works for all skin types. It is a soothing, nourishing and leaves skin soft and hydrated. I love to use this as part of a makeup routine.  To exfoliate skin gently, the Facial Radiance Intensive Peel is a non-abrasive, extra-strength at-home exfoliating peel that helps resurface, smooth and brighten skin. This helps the also reduce the look of fine lines. Finish up with the Ultra Repair Lip Therapy which is a long-lasting lip treatment that helps moisturize, protect and soothe dry, chapped lips. These allergy-tested and fragrance free.

If you want to see all of my holiday Skin, Hair, and Nails picks for the holiday season head over to youtube and check out my holiday gift guide!

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Holiday Opulence with Soncy

Promo code- StardustxSoncy for 15$ off ANY order

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Cannot Be Tamed Blouse with Hold Me Tight Bodycon Pencil Skirt 

I love to pull out patterns and textured fabrics during the end of fall and the holiday season. While temperatures get a little colder, styles certainly heat up! Plus size tends to get the back burner treatment, but Soncy doesn’t feel it should! With affordable, trendy, and fashionable pieces in sizes 10-30, it is the ultimate destination for holiday opulence. You can save 15$ off any purchase if you use my promo code StardustxSoncy

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Cannot Be Tamed Blouse with Hold Me Tight Bodycon Pencil Skirt 

Casual days, walking among the leaves don’t have to be basic! The Hold Me Tight Bodycon Pencil Skirt with tie detail hugs the body while keeping you warm. Pair with your favorite t-shirt, sweater or even a Cannot Be Tamed Blouse leopard print tie blouse. Add layers like a fluffy scarf, or booties for everyday or a pair of heels and a gold necklace for some unexpected glam.

 

For the ultimate holiday party look, Coming In Red Hot Wrap Knee-Length Dress adds just the right amount of sizzle. This low cut, high rise, soft cranberry velvet wrap dress is comfortable and effortless. This is a true wrap that will accentuate your waist while giving the hourglass look. The fabric is both soft and lightly starchy so you’ll feel comfortable all night long!

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Shine Bright with Lane Bryant

 

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Foil Tie Neck Blouse

There is no denying that the holiday season is a time when fashion gets a little brighter, a  little bolder, and certainly, just a bit more sparkly! There are so many new trends as well such as the revival of 70’s and 80’s as well as fun textures such as fur (faux), sequins, and velvet! More than ever, this is the time of year to really flex your creativity when it comes to fashion, and Lane Bryant, literally, has you covered! #sponsored

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Bryant Blazer Double Breasted Tweed with Metallic Buttons

While I may not be a traditional 9-5 kind of girl, being my own boss as a content creator, I still need a good outfit for when I go to meetings or want to look polished at events. Office style or office chic, doesn’t have to be stand on its traditional laurels. Now is a great time to pair a soft pink, tweed blazer with a  foil tie neck blouse and finish it with a star mesh full midi skirt.

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Star Mesh Full Midi Skirt

This outfit truly comes to life during golden hour. Golden hour is the time of day when the sun is just a bit lower in the sky and adds a delicious golden or warm glow. The foil blouse comes alive and the stars on the midi skirt really shine. Take this look from day to night simply by removing the blazer.

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Foil Tie Neck Blouse

This look can be mixed and matched in a variety of ways including pairing the tweed blazer with a pair of jeans or the mesh midi skirt with a cami for an almost “dress” look.

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Bryant Double Breasted Tweed with Metallic Buttons

Shop the look:

Bryant Blazer Double Breasted Tweed with Metallic Buttons

Foil Tie Neck Blouse

Star Mesh Full Midi Skirt

 

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You’re The Apple of My Eye

I ask myself one question every autumn and that is “Is it really autumn yet if I haven’t gone apple picking?” I am not one of these people who gets hype over pumpkin spice lattes or the cooler weather, but give me an apple orchid and that all changes.

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Every year, I head upstate to Maskers Orchids and pick a huge bag of apples! Since I love to cook, I pick up enough to make apple pie, pork with apples, and apple jam. This season, the roads were a little muddy but the apples were plentiful. I threw on my Faux Suede Rebel Wilson Trench jacket and got to picking!

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This cozy orchid is filled with rows of different apple trees. You are allowed to eat all you want while you pick. I come with my appetite every season and of course a bottle of water for rinsing the apples. If you’ve never had an apple, fresh from the tree, sans the wax, you are certainly missing out. The juicy, sweet, flavorful selection is a reason New York is known as the big apple and why the apple is the fruit of New York!

Thats All Faux Suede Skirt

Thats All Faux Suede Skirt

I wore my new Soncy’s That’s All Faux Suede Skirt and Why You Gotta Be So Cold Shoulder Stripped Shirt! I loved this combo. It was casual, flirty, comfortable, and just a little sexy. Use my Soncy Promo  Code StardustxSoncy to save 15$ on any purchase.

Why You Gotta Be So Cold Shoulder Stripped Top

Why You Gotta Be So Cold Shoulder Stripped Top

If you live in the city, you know how important it is to get away every now and then. This little yearly escape from the noise, and pollution, and bustle of the city is just what I need to refresh my soul every season.

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The sound of silence, he wind through the grass, the fresh air and the panoramic views of the Catskills mountains, always capture me in a way that nothing else can. I have driven all over the country, have seen have the entire United States, but there is still something special about being rich here.

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I normally am not very festive but for this trip, I decided to have apple themed nails done at GlossLab using Emilie Heathe, warm tan skin thanks to Coola, and a fresh green shadow and bright red lips from Profusion.

Lastly, I treated myself to an apple cider donut and let my diet go to the side for a week. If you’ve never had an apple cider donut, it is a must! It has a subtle apple sweet flavor and is covered in a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon.

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What are some of your autumn traditions? Do you apple pick, pumpkin pick, or stay at home with some warm apple cider? Do you  grab a pumpkin spice latte? Or are you just waiting for the holiday season! I’d love to know what your favorite places to visit this fall season!

 

This post contains affiliate links as well as affiliate promo codes.

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The NARS Palette You Need This Holiday Season!!

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It’s Heartbreaking

Whether you are a long time fan of the NARS brand or are just discovering it, there is no denying that, the cheek shade Orgasm, has that something, something. With its long time cult following and a mile long reputation for being the ultimate, wearable blush for all skin tones, it really isn’t much of a shock that it was included in the Heartbreaker Palette.  

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It’s Orgasmic

I think what makes this palette stand out, however, is its textured packaging. Usually, NARS is an understated brand. The products talk for themselves without all the glitz and the glam. This isn’t to say that there haven’t been capsule collections featuring unique packaging, but all in all, NARS isn’t all that flashy. Its subtle sophistication and high quality is what draws you in. For the holiday season, NARS decided to get all dolled up, and a little edgy with this textured, spiky, red packaging that houses three cheek shades Luster (sheer golden apricot), Orgasm (peachy pink w/ golden shimmer) and Amore  (matte rose pink).

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It’s Amore

This palette is 42$ (66$ value) and exclusive to Ulta. These applied flawlessly, easy to build up and blend out. They didn’t accentuate pores or fine lines. I liked that this palette has different finishes – sheer, shimmer, and matte. They lasted about 8 hours before I saw any fading and were lightweight on the skin.

Disclaimer: This post does feature affiliate links and I did receive this product complimentary. All opinions are 100% my own.

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A Little Bit of Soncy In My Life

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Save 15$ with promo code StardustxSoncy

So if you guessed that the title of this entry is a nod to the 90’s one hit wonder, Lou Bega, you’d be correct! I can’t entirely explain why I was compelled to reference him, but maybe its because Soncy makes me feel just a little sexier, a little more confident, and with all the sass of a Lou Bega lady.

Push Your Buttons Mini Dress

Push Your Buttons Mini Dress

Soncy is the new kid on the block of the plus size fashion industry and they’ve hit the ground running! This trendy, inclusive, comfortable, and wearable brand helps to fill the gap that most retailers don’t even think exists. When shopping, I tend to notice my options are either grandma or “can you see my whooha if I bend over?” Sometimes, a girl just wants to be sexy, classy, and edgy without all the coverup or loss of fabric.

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Dusty Roads Ahead Tie Waist Jacket

While many brands tend to start their lines at 1x/14/16 and end at 3x/22/24, Soncy is a bit more inclusive. This line is available in sizes 10-30, so it covers even the in-betweeners! You’re not quite plus size, but you can’t exactly size up from other brands, Soncy has you covered.

You’re Royalty Asymmetrical Sleeve Maxi Dress

You’re Royalty Asymmetrical Sleeve Maxi Dress

Soncy allows you to express your personal style and chose options that really flatter your body. There are choices for apples, pears, hourglass, and even rectangle. While most plus brands focus on the bootylicious customer only, Soncy caters to all. I am an apple shape, and I have fallen head over heels with these options!

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Dots All Folks Faux-Wrap Dress

Another perk, like Sephora and other brands, Soncy offers a VIB option. While you do have to buy into it, its 40$ a year, gives you free shipping and returns, and up to 30% off of everything! This can be combined wth sales and other promotions as well, so it helps you to achieve maxim discount! I opted in as soon as I discovered the brand, and I’ve saved hundreds in just two orders!

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Their new fall line is nothing short of stunning! I have shared some of my favorite pieces below. If you’d like to check out any of these pieces, be sure to use promo code StardustxSoncy to save 15$ off any purchase. This code will be in effect for all holiday sales this month!

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Are you excited about holiday shopping? Be sure to follow me on instagram @Recycledstardust so you can stay up to date on all of Soncy‘s sales as well as take a peak at what I’m picking up!

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I Am A Golden Goddess Maxi Dress

This post contains affiliate content. I both received pieces complimentary as well as bought some on my own.

Soncy Promo code StardustxSoncy to save 15$ off any purchase.

Shoe Shopping is Finally For Everyone with Customized Shoes from Shoes of Prey

Shoe shopping! Nearly every girl can imagine the first time she walked into the wonderland that is the shoe store. Tugging at her mothers arm, trying on new pairs, checking to see how much her foot had grown since the last time. These are the memories that my mind congers up as i think back to my early days of carefree ,shoe shopping, that is, before the wool was pulled over my eyes and I discovered something rather grim. The shoe store doesnt exactly cater to all ladies.

They say act your age not your shoe size! Well, by the time I was 11 years old, I was a size 11! While my friends pranced around in cute little shoes- I had to wear the kind you would see on a middle aged woman heading to the office in a beige suit. It was disheartening to say the least. Options didn’t improve as i aged. Shopping became a chore. I was isolated to the end of shoe isles where all sense of style goes to die. More often than not, I would shove my feet, painfully, into shoes a size or two, too small and wear them until my feet bleed. The stuggle was certainly real. After years of suffering, I have finally found a shoe store that caters to me!

Shoes of Prey is an online shoe store that has sizes 2-15 with width from narrow to extra wide. Not only do they have shoes for everyone, you can design your own shoes. Heel, boot, flat, sole, trim, leather, satin, lace! You name it, they have it! It is a shoe lovers dream!

I am a size 11 extra wide width and I had the oppertunity to work with this amazing brand and try their service. I loved being able to design my own shoes. My sense of style is somewhat out of the box and slightly wild. I am, what i like to call, early Cindy Lauper meets modern chic. I am a whild child and i love to make a statment! Even if i didn’t hace issues with size, I’ve always had some issues when it came to stye. So many designs felt boreing, mundane, repetatve. I loved being able to create something uniquly me! If you’re in a rush, you can also shop pre-designed shoes.

When you first navagate the website, you will be asked to take a quiz. This quiz is designed to help you and guide you to the right fit. You are then able to choose a template for your shoe and begin the customization! I created two shoes with very different deisgns.

 

The first pair i created are Savoca 114 . I was so excited when i was creating these! For some, they may appear flashy or gaudy, but for me, they are perfect. I love a bit of flash and I the design elements of the 80’s. Lots of details, lots of wow factor, lots of flash. These shoes contain pink silk, black lace, a black glitter heel, black soles, white paten leather bow with black patten leather cetner. I also opted to design these with a soft powder blue lining. These are perfect to pair with a little black dress and nothing more! These shoes steal the show.

 

My second pair, I aimed for a more editoral fall look. These are hunter green leather ballerina flats with yellow snake skin accents! They mix feminen deisgn with edgy textile. They will be perfect for fall and match well with brown, rust, beige, mustard, white, and of course black. I would eve wear these on a casual day with jeans.

If youre looking for something in just your size with a unique flair you absolutly have to check out http://www.ShoesOfPrey.com

I recieved these shoes complimentry, all opinons are 100% my own.

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Labor Day Fashion: Rebel Against The All White Trend

Labor Day Blues

Fashion rules are silly! I have always said that it is best to wear what makes you feel the most confident, after all, nothing is sexier than confidence. While I have primarily always chosen to focus on the plight of the plus size woman, I can’t help but consider the general fashion rules for all.

Have you ever wondered, where do these rules come from? Don’t pair black and navy. No socks with sandals. Don’t mix prints (I love to break this one!). No white after Labor Day. I may not have all the answers but I can give you the break down about Labor Day whites and why they give me the blues.

Once upon a time…

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I make the rules

During the late 19th and into the early 20th century, the rich and elite, decided to express their status in a way they still use today, fashion. The Civil War prompted many changes in the way society interacted not only with race but also with class. The upper class opted to set themselves apart with specific fashion rules. One of the major rules that came to be was that white would only be acceptable for summer. At first, I wanted to be outraged by how outlandish this seemed, until, I realized it makes perfect sense. Scientifically, white does not absorb any light, therefore, this shade will keep you much cooler than if you were wearing a darker shade (Black, for example, absorbs all light and will make you feel hotter when standing in the sun). As logical and as lovely as this all sounds, one major class of individuals would be excluded .

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The industrial revolution was in full force until around 1840. This just about coincides with the beginning of the Civil war (1861) as slaves were used in a major way to drive industry; this was especially true in southern states. Once the Civil War and Industrial Revolution came to an end, there were still a great many people employed in factories, fields, and other dirty work. The working class would most likely not have the privilege of wearing white, as it would become dirty rather quickly. An upper class individual wouldn’t have such a worry and thus this, mainly unspoken, fashion rule was a way of distinguishing the classes.

Considering that many of the more fashion forward capitals in the United States are Northern, like New York, after the first week of September temperatures tend to cool. This means that one can wear a darker shade of clothing without getting swamp ass. Lets be honest, no one wants swamp ass. Its just logical.

The Villain Emerges

The actual holiday of Labor Day was created to celebrate the working class and it became a federal holiday in 1894. If you’re a sucker for numbers you’ll begin to see a timeline emerging. At the end of the 19th century, the United States entered a period of stability and property. The unspoken fashion rule among the elites had now trickled down to the working class.

This header is a bit dramatic, but non the less, in a somewhat ironic twist, the upper class, who primarily had never really favored the working class or the labor movement, devised a way to turn the lower class celebration into an unofficial end of summer holiday. Summer does not officially end until around September 22nd so rules.jpgthis was highly a symbolic celebration rather than a literal. The end of the summer social season meant that only those in the know, knew to wear white on it and not to wear white after it. In working class social circles it also became a faux pas to wear white after this holiday in an effort to appear more sophisticated. Many were unaware as to why this was a rule but followed it regardless as to not seem ignorant. This trend continued into the 1950’s/1960’s at which point white and pastel themed resort wear was the du jour style until that first Monday in September.

At What Point Do We Break The Rules?

For many, white doesn’t reappear in the wardrobe until mid winter. At this point it has lost its sigma and can easily be reintroduced without judgment or scrutiny. As for modern fashion, this rule is still a staple and has transcended into end of summer all white parities, which for the most part, are thrown by the upper middle class and upper class. While there is nothing inherently wrong with wearing white or enjoying a fabulous party, we must consider that this rule was originally instated as a silent diversion of the working class holiday.  Anytime you follow the “no white after Labor Day” rule, you are a part of it. So I say break the rules! Wear what makes you feel comfortable, confident, and beautiful- whether its white before, on, or after Labor Day!

My Labor Day outfit consisted of an American flag motif as I payed homage to the working class and all that the holiday stands for, and yes this included incorporating a little white!

I paired @rebelwilson @rebelwilson#TeamRebel The Pin Up mid rise ultra skinny jeans with a @rainbowshops red peplum style top, @forever21plus cropped blue stripe blazer and @torridfashion tan wedges. I love the causal sexy vibe I get from these jeans #getyourrebelon They IMG_2273seriously hugged my curves and made me feel confident and sexy! I don’t really have a booty but these pants really made my derrière look lifted, curvy, and sculpted. You can find these online and in stores at @dillards , @nordstrom , @lordandtaylor , @diaandco and @additionelle
http://www.rebelwilsonxangels.com
#ipsyos #ipsyosmember #contentcreator#microinfluencer #plussizeblogger#plussizevlogger #plussizefashion#plussizestyle #plussizeclothing#newyorkvlogger #newyorkblogger#beautyvlogger #forever21#forever21plus #torrid #torridfashion#torridinsider #torridinsiderplatinum#torridplatinum #rainbowshops#rainbowstyle #recycledstardustfashion#torridshoes #recycledstardustfashion

I hope you enjoyed this brief history lesson. I personally am always asking “why?” and google random facts in my spare time. If you ever want to know more about any topic I would be happy to research it for you! In the meantime, do you follow the fashion rules or are you a rebel? What trends or rules do you think are silly? Which ones do you love? Let me know in the comment section below!