Dressember

I am participating in Dressember this year to help raise money to end human trafficking. To donate: https://support.dressemberfoundation.org/fundraiser/851125

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Dressember 2016

One day while browsing Instagram, I stumbled across a post about Dressember.  I had never heard about it before so I read up on it.  Dressember is fundraiser where women commit to wear a dress (men wear bow ties or fancy dress clothes) every day for the month of December to raise money to end human trafficking.  I let it go for a few days but it kept coming back into my mind.  Then I watched the TEDx video from founder of Dressember, Blythe Hill (posted on Dressember.org) and it solidified that I NEEDED to do Dressember.


In the TED Talk, Blythe talks about sexual abuse and how she felt afterwards.  How she felt like maybe she didn't matter because of what happened to her.  She applied this to the 35 MILLION people who are being held in slavery today, women and children being sold like they are products.  My heart breaks for them.  Not just because it's horrifically sad but because I remember that feeling of hurt, anger, insecurity, pain, worthlessness, depression, loss, and so many other awful emotions.  Then living with all this emotional damage for years, probably decades even after the physical part is over.  Powerless.

I have advocated for so many people, different causes, but never have I fundraised for something so close to my heart.  Dressember is a little terrifying.  Wearing a dress accentuates your femininity which is something I pushed a side for a long time.  But I'm in a place where I have a tiny bit of influence and I NEED to use that for good.  And talk about things that are hard to talk about.  And speak for people who don't have a voice.

Over the next month, I will be wearing a dress everyday.  I will post on social media and I will update here once a week with my dress photos.  And hopefully I can help get people out of human trafficking and on the way to healing.  If you'd like to make a donation, you can do so on my page  here: https://support.dressemberfoundation.org/fundraiser/851125

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Lularoe and the Plus Sized Gal Part 3

Hello!  First, I need to say THANK YOU to all the amazing people who have read my Lularoe and the Plus Sized Gal posts!  I never imagined people would love the post so much and I would get the opportunity to talk to women around the country!  I am floored and honored that you all would take the time to read a post from me.  If you have not read my previous posts, I will link them here:

Since my first post back in February, I have gained so much confidence.  Lularoe has literally changed my life.  I have begun wearing more colorful and at times even LOUD clothing where I used to only wear black to fade into the background.  I feel more polished and put together while still being very comfortable, which is important to me.  I'm a lot less shy about posting pictures of myself because I've heard from so many women that it has helped them.  I know what it's like to just want to fade away and hide, to save all the fun clothes for your kids, and to not want to be in any of the family pictures.  It hurts my heart that so many women feel this way about themselves.  If I can help ONE woman to feel better about herself, my job here is complete.

Here are some styles I haven't tried yet including the newer Carly dress and Joy vest.  

Carly Dress: I love the Carly!  It's a t-shirt dress with a hi-lo hem and it is meant to be worn loose and boho style.  Since the Carly is a looser style like the Irma Tunic, you can fit in multiple sizes.  I can wear from a Large to a 3XL.  Personally, I like the look of the XL on my body.  I love this dress!  It feels like wearing pajamas and I get tons of compliments on it.  I was hoping to get pictures in all the sizes for you but that didn't happen BUT I did the range!  The first picture is a size large and I belted it.  It fits me great and I add the belt when I want a more dressed up look.  The bottom picture is a 3XL in the heavier weight material that has no pocket.  The sizing of this dress is going to depend on what look you're going for if you like things tighter get a smaller size, if you like oversized and drapey go for the larger.



Joy Vest: I really wanted to get a Joy because my daughter's middle name is Joy.  Vests are all the rage right now.  I have the lace vest because I got mine when they first came out.  They now come in a variety of fabrics which is AWESOME for fall!  I can fit in a Large or XL Joy.  If you are bustier (like my friend Heather in this picture), you need need to size up.  My Joy is in a L and in this picture I'm wearing a 3XL Nicole Dress.  

Monroe Kimono: In my first blog post, I showed the Lindsay Kimono but I didn't show the Monroe.  Monroe has fringe on the bottom and the sleeves are shorter.  I can fit the both the Monroe sizes, small and large, but I prefer the large.  It's a fun addition to an outfit to give it a pop of color and some pizzaz!  The large Monroe is shown here with an XL Carly.  

Sarah Duster: The Sarah is a long cardigan with full length sleeves.  (I just realized that I never even tried the size large on, I went for the largest size out of habit and never tried anything else.)  The XL fit me great and it was very comfortable!  This is such a great layering piece!  Where I live, it doesn't get very cold and this duster would be enough to get me through most days.  I think I wore my coat 2-3 times last year.  This XL Sarah is worn with an XL Perfect T and TC leggings.

Those are all the styles I have for you today.  Please feel free to leave any questions in the comments below.  

Monday, October 10, 2016

Lipsense Review (Color, Gloss, and Balm)

For the past few months, I've heard a lot of about Lipsense from SeneGence.  First, my friend Heather  (my Lularoe consultant) mentioned it when she was making a favorite things video.  I would see it here and there.  Then my other friend Heather mentioned it in her Style Tips and Sassy Lips group where she shares fashion tips, sales, and other fun shopping related things.  At this point, I decided to go ahead and purchase some to review.  (I am not affiliated with this company in any way.  The opinions are my own and I get no benefit whatsoever if you buy Lipsense.)  



Lipsense is a long lasting lip color said to last 18 hours without reapplying.  They say that the color molecularly bonds to your lips then you wear a gloss over the top that is permeable through the color and moisturizes your lips while keeping the color in place.  Lipsense is sold through consultants like Lularoe or Tupperware or Pampered Chef.  The consultants will order the product and ship it to you.  Lipsense is gluten free, non GMO, not tested on animals, pharmaceutical grade rated, and FDA approved.  

I ordered Lipsense on Aug 8 and started using it shortly after.  I really like to do thorough reviews.  First off, I have to say that Lipsense is a commitment.  They say that any wax based product will cause the product to not adhere to your lips.  I have not used ANY other lip products since I started Lipsense because I wanted to use it in ideal circumstances.  I was told that your lips go through an exfoliation process as the years of wax build up needs to come off your lips and you can't give up.  I did WANT to give up but I didn't.  They say that the Lipsense will last much longer after the exfoliation process and that is true.

The colors are made with cosmetic grade alcohol to kill any bacterial on your lips or in the tube so it does tingle when you put it on.  You're supposed to do 3 layers of color, letting each layer dry for 3-5 seconds before you put on the next coat.  After it's dry, you're supposed to apply gloss.  Honestly, I think I create my own problems with this product.  I always forget to shake it and I don't apply enough gloss throughout the day.  They say to apply gloss right after color, then BEFORE you eat so that the oils from food doesn't break down the color (umm, I NEVER remember to do this, I need to write it on my hand), before bed, and throughout the day to keep your lips moist.  I need to get in the habit of applying more gloss.  I tend to wait until my lips free dry before putting gloss on and I know that's not ideal.  

LIP COLOR: I have 4 different colors but they are all similar tones of neutral pink starting from light to dark.  I didn't realize how similar they all were until I put them all together but whatever.  I know what I like.  I still have a lot of fun layering them up and creating different colors.  They do last ALL day and if I forget to remove it, I can still see color on my lips in the morning.  I am a person with naturally dry lips and I feel like I don't drink enough water or apply enough gloss or balm.  My lips DO still get dry with this product but I do think that's a big part my own fault.  I'm going to work on that.  The colors do not transfer on anything unless I forget to gloss before I eat then wipe my mouth on a napkin.  It's hard to tell from swatches what a color will look like on you.  Here's my advice, take to Instagram!  Search #lipsense and find someone with similar coloring to you and see what you like on them then get that color.  They seem a bit expensive at $25 a color but they are said to last as long as 4 tubes of regular lipstick.  After two months of use, my colors look completely full.

LIP GLOSS: I decided to get the Glossy Gloss because it's the most moisturizing and I have not picked up any other glosses yet.  I really like the gloss!  It's definitely moisturizing and helps seal in your color.  It's comfortable on the lips but doesn't feel too thin.  It's not the type of gloss that's too slippery.  It has a good thickness but is not sticky.  In the past 2 months, I've used half of the tube.  The gloss is $20 and I am already in the process of getting a new one.  

LIP BALM: I bought the lip balm after using the color and gloss for a little while.  I wanted a bit more moisture since I have dry lips.  The balm works fine but I guess I was expecting some sort of miracle.  The balm was a lot smaller than I expected at .25 fl oz.  It's in a squeeze tube and is clear.  It is softening and moisturizing but I don't find it to work any better than the lip gloss.  It's $20 and while I will finish using it, I don't think I will repurchase it.  

 Apple Cider

Raisin

1 layer of Apple Cider, 2 layers of Raisin

Bella 

Praline Rose

If you'd like to order some Lipsense, you can join my sister in law's group (she started selling Lipsense a few days ago) : Lasting Lips with Mindy Facebook Group or on her Lasting Lips with Mindy Instagram page.  My friend Heather used to sell Lipsense too and she might have some left in her shopping tips group but either way join Heather's Style and Fashion group for fun and meeting amazing people!  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Fluttering the Community Year 3

If you've been a follower of mine for a while, you'd know that I've been raising money for Unravel Pediatric Cancer for three years now.  You might also know that I'm one of the Unravel Glitter Squad Champions this year which basically means I'm one of the fundraisers for the nonprofit.  I don't take that honor lightly.

For the past 2 years, my family and I have done a small community event to spread awareness for Unravel.  It started as a bake sale and lemonade stand and the following year it escalated a bit.  This year, with my new amazing title, I decided to blow all the other years out of the water.  I had a vision.  I wanted a couple bounce houses and princesses walking around because I know Jennifer Lynn Kranz loved princesses.  We made that come true and with the help of my amazing community,  we did so much more!  We were able to raise $500 from this fundraiser and we used my husband's employee matching program so we ended with a $1000 donation to Unravel Pediatric Cancer!

Our event took place at The Porch at Light of the Valley.  We had some amazing volunteer princesses taking photos and playing with the kids.  The local cos-players in our community really stepped up for us!  We had six Power Rangers and Link from Legend of Zelda.  We had a balloon twister who made amazing hats and animals.  We had several local bakers donate treats Hot Mama's Cake, Jill from Our Kitchen Table, and Rooftop Macarons.  We had donated coffee from Rescate Coffee, water from Raley's, and lemonade from Trader Joe's.  The beautiful paper crafts made by my amazing friend and party planner Carin from Simply Grand were made with paper donated from Paper Temptress.  We had two donated bounce houses from Rosita's Fiesta Rentals and Gordo's Jumpers.  We had horse painting donated by Nicole's Mobile Pet Grooming.  The Meltdown Ice Cream Truck came out to visit us and donated proceeds.  We had some face painting from Kidvocates who are 8, 9, and 10 years old!

My amazing friend Tiffany of Tiffany Elizabeth Photography donated her time to take photos of this event.  If you are in the Sacramento area, please check her out!
















And here are some snapshots from other people:






My donation link is still open if you feel moved to donate.  http://give.unravelcancer.org/newellfamily  Together, we can Unravel Cancer.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

We're Fluttering Again! (Year 3)


It's September and that means it's Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  For the third year, our family is embarking on the Fluttering journey.  Each night in September, we go to a house and put 12 dragonflies and a sign on the lawn as a fundraiser for Unravel Pediatric Cancer.  My kids thoroughly enjoy Fluttering!  It's a fun and beautiful way to raise money for a very worthy cause.  It also allows me to teach my kids how to give back and have empathy for others even if we are not in that situation.


We fundraise because Childhood Cancer is severely underfunded.  ALL childhood cancers (brain, blood, etc...) combined receive less that 4% of the government allotted funding for cancer.  Relay for Life only gives $.01 of every dollar earned to pediatric cancer.  Pediatric Cancer is the #1 disease killer of children in the US.  I have too many friends who have children who have cancer.  I know too many people whose lives have been touched by cancer.  We NEED to find some sort of cure.  There are scientists and doctors with ideas that just lack funding.  It breaks my heart.

If you'd like to donate, please do so at : http://give.unravelcancer.org/newellfamily.  If you are local to us (Sacramento, CA area), please check out our SUPER FUN Fluttering the Community 3 Event!  

Thursday, July 28, 2016

LulaRoe and the Plus Sized Gal Part 2

WOW!  I want to thank you all for the AMAZING response to my Review: LulaRoe and the Plus Sized Gal post!  I had no idea how well this post would do and I am humbled that you all would read my words and use the info I shared with you.  My only hope that I was able to help you!

After I wrote my post, LulaRoe put out some items in extended sizes so I wanted to write another post to give you more information on the items I was not able to fit in when I wrote the first post.  I also wanted to show you a few pieces that I didn't show before like the Irma and the Cassie skirt which I talked about but didn't have pictures for.  Huge thank you to my friend Heather from LulaRoe by Star for letting me do a photo shoot at her house and for taking some of the photos!  Here goes nothing!  ;)

Julia Dress: This dress scares the bejeezus out of me.  It's a sheath dress that's very form fitting.  You know, then I put on some stripes...  lol.  This is the 3XL and it fits really nice.  It's extremely comfortable on me.  I'm not sure I would wear this dress out because I'm insecure about my large mid section.  I love the way this dress looks on other people though.

The Amelia Dress: The dress I am wearing is a 3XL BUT if the material is stretchy, I can also wear a 2XL.  I was concerned about the box pleats because I thought they would make me look even rounder than I already am.  I no longer feel that way.  I feel that the pleats HIDE my roundness because people might think "oh, the pleats make it flair out a bit."  The pockets are to die for!  I actually bought this watermelon dress and I wear it all the time.  I love being able to put my phone in my pocket so I can easily take it out and take photos which is something I do ALL the time.  I also feel like Amelia dresses up really well.  I can put on heels and jewelry and look like I'm ready for a night out on the town.

The Nicole Dress: In my previous post, I was wearing Nicole in a size 2XL which fit me but squished my chest a bit and is a little tight in the arms.  I can still wear it especially if I love the fabric but I much prefer the 3XL Nicole like the one shown here.  I LOVE the flirty skirt on the Nicole, it makes me feel very feminine!  I wear this dress all the time because I feel very put together but fun when I wear it.

The Cassie Skirt (and The Perfect T): The Cassie skirt is a pencil skirt and I think it looks great for the office.  Also for a date night because the pencil skirt can be styled to be very sexy.  This Cassie is in a 3XL but I can wear a 2XL in stretchy material.  I love how Heather styled me in this skirt with the Perfect T, tied on one side.  I'm not comfortable wearing a tight skirt and a tight shirt.  I usually like to wear fitted either top or bottom then loose on the other half of my body.  You can also pull Cassie higher or lower depending on your shirt to make it a short or longer skirt.

Perfect T: The Perfect T is my new favorite piece!  I will even wear horizontal stripes in the Perfect T which I NEVER wear.  In this picture, I'm wearing a 3XL which is too big for me.  I think you should size down in the Perfect.  I really like the Perfect T in an XL on me if you can believe that!  I'm confident that I could actually wear the 3XL as a dress if I was bold enough.

The Randy shirt: Randy is a baseball tee.  This is in a 3XL which fits me.  The 2XL is way too tight on my tummy for my comfort.  It's a cute casual shirt that would be cute with jeans.  The length is good for leggings too.

The Irma Tunic: In my last post, I complained that the Irma was too boxy for me.  I still feel that way.  The way I'm shaped doesn't suit wearing a loose shirt like this.  My chest is too big and if the shirt doesn't pull back in at the waist, I look like a giant blob.  But I still posted a picture for YOU because I love you and I hope you love me and in all my blobby glory.  This is a 2XL Irma and I think it's the size that looks best on me even though I can fit into the XL.

The Azure Skirt: This is a cute mid length skirt that I would consider a little flow-y and flirty.  I can wear 2XL or 3XL in this skirt.  In the photo, I'm wearing a 3XL.  I prefer to wear my shirt untucked with this skirt to cover my tummy but I've seen some people tuck their shirt in and it looks GREAT on them.  Maybe someday I'll be bold enough to do that.  I love Azure!  I think it's a light and cool (temperature wise) skirt that's really easy to wear.

Let me know if you'd like to see another post with the Joy vest and Carly dress and I will see what I can do.  Also, if you are looking for more styles, please visit my Review: LulaRoe and the Plus Sized Gal post.  Thank you all for the support and love that you've shown me!  I really appreciate it!

ETA: I wrote another post with more styles and you can find that here: http://www.ashleynewell.me/2016/11/lularoe-and-plus-sized-gal-part-3.html

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Market at Power Inn

One day, I received a message on my Instagram from Masa Taco Kitchen inviting me to a brand new event that was opening in April called Market at Power Inn to meet them and try their tacos (which are amazing.)  I had never heard of Masa Taco Kitchen or Market at Power Inn but when I started EatingElkGrove, I decided to push myself, do new things, and have new experiences.


My hubby and I headed to Market at Power Inn put on by the amazing people at Unseen Heroes for the very first event in April.  We also went back one time in May too.  Market at Power Inn is every Friday from 10am-2pm at Regional Transit Park and Ride at Power Inn and Folsom Blvd.  Though they call it a farmers market, I think of it more as a super trendy lunch spot where you can also buy produce, local prepared foods, and shop from craft vendors.

Vendors

Food Trucks

Prepared Food Tents
Fun chairs to hang out in
They have this huge awesome tent where they set up seating; regular and high top tables with cute center pieces where you can eat your food in the shade.  There's a band playing and the vibe is awesome.  As you walk around the perimeter of the market you can find food trucks that rotate from week to week, tents where they prepare food like my new friends Masa Taco Kitchen, tables where people can sell their prepared foods like gourmet marshmallows, baked good, tamales, salsa, etc..., and farmers selling their local produce, flowers, and nuts.  The tented food and food vendors mostly stay the same from week to week.  The food trucks and craft vendors rotate.  I like to get some early lunch since I like going before it too hot, sit down, hang out a bit, listen to the live music, then shop for my produce and goodies before I leave.

Local produce
Locally baked bread


This is an awesome spot to hang out!  You can bring your kids and try all the fun samples.  It's a great place to talk to local farms and small business owners to learn about the food they sell.  I've also had some great conversations with the friendly people who attend, too!  I can't wait to go back again!

BBQ vendor

Masa Taco Kitchen 
You can check out the Market at Power Inn on Facebook or Instagram.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Nor Cal Expo Podcast

A couple weeks ago, I was asked to be on a podcast called Northern California Exposure.   I went to the website and read up on what the podcast was about and it really aligns with what I do as a blogger.  Amado Carrillo is the creator of the podcast and his mission is to talk to people in Northern California who are doing unique things and are passionate about their dreams.  He wants to inspire his listeners into action so they can follow their dreams too.

Amado's goal is a lot like mine.  I want to shine a light on local businesses and show people that you don't always have to go to a big box store or online for your needs.  You can support local businesses while getting great quality, comparable prices, and most importantly helping a family in your community.  If we all help each other, all of our dreams can come true.

I'm on episode 50 of Northern California Exposure (Nor Cal Expo) if you'd like to give it a listen.  You can find all the different formats to get the podcast HERE.  

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Midtown Jerky Review

Before hitting Instagram and the local farmers markets, I had no idea all of the amazing food you could purchase from local businesses in Sacramento.  One of the first companies that I talked about working with is Midtown Jerky Co.  I was super new to the scene but Ryan from Midtown Jerky Co, was super nice and wanted to work with me, saying that we could help each other.



First, let me say that I LOVE jerky.  I always have some in the pantry for when I need a high protein snack.  I pack in on road trips, take it on vacation with us, and at almost any given time will have jerky on me.  I buy all different types of beef jerky.  I'm a jerky enthusiast.  I, somehow did not know that I could buy LOCALLY made jerky.  Midtown Jerky Co. is a small batch artisan jerky company that only uses the finest meat and ingredients in their product.  Ryan sent me 3 packages of beef jerky to review which made me super happy.

I'll start with the Peppered jerky.  Peppered is usually not my preferred choice when picking a jerky flavor BUT I think Midtown Jerky Co's peppered is my favorite.  It's not your typical peppered jerky.  This jerky has an overtone of savory matched with sweetness, then it's loaded up with course black pepper.  It's smoky, chewy, and a perfect snack for any time.

Next is the Sweet Heat.  You can tell by looking at this jerky that it has a nice sweet glaze on it from the sheen.  The sweetness hits your palette first then it finishes with heat in the back of your mouth.  I think the sugar level on this jerky keeps it the most moist of all the flavors.  This is pretty spicy.  If it were at a restaurant, I will give it 2.5-3 chili peppers.  (You know how Thai places and some other places have a scale of chili peppers on the menu?)

Last but not least is the Sesame Citrus.  I like that Midtown Jerky Co. has a unique offering for people who don't like spiciness.  Most companies do a teriyaki which I love but it's always nice to have flavor options.  This jerky has the most rounded flavor since you get that orange juice bringing a nice twang to the jerky.  It's salty, sweet, and you get pops of both flavor and texture from the sesame seeds they sprinkle on the jerky.

Overall, I LOVE Midtown Jerky Co. and I'm excited to be able to buy some local jerky for my snacking needs.  I just wish they had resealable bag since I try really hard not to eat it all in one sitting.  I just popped mine into a zip top freezer bag after I opened it and it stayed fresh.  You can find Midtown Jerky Co. at SaveMart grocery stores in the Sacramento area, at farmers markets around town, OR you can order online from Midtown Jerky Co.'s Online Store.  You can also find them on their Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

NSBW Spotlight: Eat Right Edibles


Mixed in with the rows of fresh produce and ready to serve foods at the Farmers Market, I found Eat Right Edibles.  They are the perfect mix of both.  Eat Right Edibles is a family business from West Sacramento and they make what they call "The tastiest snack you'll have all day."  The offer an array of dried veggie chips, corn snacks, dried fruit, puffed corn, and candy.  They also offer the sweetest service.

I've run into the Eat Right Edibles booth 3 different times.  I've fallen a little in love with their family.  The first time, I talked to a lady (unfortunately I didn't get her name) who I later learned is the matriarch of the family.  She was so sweet and so informative.  She told us to come have a sample.  It's a farmers market, I figure I should sample everything.  I did not expect to love the product.  She had us try the veggie chips which were good.  Then she had us try their hull-less puffed corn.  I don't even know how to explain it to you.  They are fluffy, puffy,  with a coating that's almost shell like of delicious flavor.  They are halfway between Cheetos and Pirate Booty but way better and they have sweet flavors.  She also had us sample the toasted corn.  I thought they would be like corn nuts.  I was wrong, they have a crisp texture but without the feeling that you might break your teeth.  The FLAVOR was amazing!  We ended up buying the Ranch Toasted Corn because these crisp little kernels had the BEST ranch flavor you've ever tasted; salty, a little tangy, and the perfect mix of herbs/spices that makes an awesome ranch.


 Last Sunday when I walked up to the booth, I saw little Jacob standing their running the booth.  He's a darling 10 year old boy who is so knowledgeable on the product his family makes.  I asked him why he was working the booth by himself and he said that his grandma (the lady I met before) was on a much needed vacation and he told his dad to take a break but he was just behind him in the truck and they had walkie-talkies.  He gave me a few samples and we really starting talking and he decided that I should try some of his favorites.  He gave me a churro puffed corn and a caramel puffed corn and told me to eat them together.  Then he told me that he was running a special where I could buy 2 of the $6 bags for $10.  Needless to say, I left with more ranch toasted corn and some churro puffed corn.





I didn't get a chance to reach out to them for any comments but they are literally at a different Farmers Market event EVERY DAY so I'm glad I didn't bother them.  Drop by their booth and give their products a try.  You can check their Eat Right Edibles Facebook page to see where they will be.  They also ship so if you're not local and want to give it a try, check out their website.