Product Review: Comexim Cherry

Hello Everyone,

I know what you’re thinking right now:  “Another Comexim review?  We get it.  You like the brand!”  Yes, my wonderful readers, I do love the brand, but the timing on this has more to do with me clearing out the backlogged reviews I mentioned last month than heartfelt affection for the company.  I have been trying to post things in the order I had originally taken pictures/videos although I have some new reviews I will interject here and there as well.  Returning to the topic at hand, today I am discussing the decadently gorgeous Comexim Cherry.


Sizing & Fit:  Per usual, I purchased the UK 32HH (one cup and one band size up from UK size) which has consistently been the best for me in both Comexim and Anna Pardal.  The band of the Cherry was a little looser than my other bras, and I did alternate between the first and second hook depending on the day, but I don’t know that dropping to a 30 band would have been comfortable.  While the band was larger than the styles I tried in the past, it also seemed less stretchy and held up better over time, most likely on account of the heavier fabric on the wing.  The cup did not have any gaping or wrinkling although I did have very minor overflow on my larger side.


In the past, the only other Comexim unpadded bra I tried was Diana from their collaboration with the wonderful Anna Pardal.  I adored the look and lightweight feel of Diana, and I was eager to see if products from the original Comexi Linea Artisana line could do the same.  Spoiler alert:  This bra is incredibly comfortable.  So many times, customers will try on bras in the shop, usually Natori, and compliment the design on being so wonderful that “it doesn’t even feel like a bra is on!”  While I don’t have uncomfortable bras, I do usually notice them, but with Cherry, the bra does feel like air, magic air that props up my boobs and gives incredible cleavage.  Read more ›


The center gore on Cherry tacks well and seems a little higher than some of the other styles I tried, but the cup shape is very open and low.  As you can see from the pictures and in the video, the bra probably feels this good because there’s not a lot to it.  Nevertheless, the support is impeccable, and the shape I receive looks rounded and flattering.  I do worry that the embroidered top cup will create issues for certain breast types though as there is no give or stretch, and I can see it either cutting into tissue or, on the other side of the spectrum, gaping easily.  My breasts are mostly balanced in upper and lower fullness, and I didn’t have any issues with the fit here.


However, I will note that the extreme open shape does not add to security.  The bra does a great job at lifting, but if you want something that is also going to keep your tissue secured and still, this ain’t it.  My boobs definitely jiggle, making the bra impractical for days where I am moving constantly, but I found a tighter t-shirt or cami compensated fine.  As with all Comexim styles, the underwires are low on the sides and narrow in shape while the cups are deeper, allowing breast tissue to be more forward projected.  I did get a little space between the underwire and my breast tissue on this bra, but that is only a minor quibble for me.


Materials & Design:  I originally received this bra as a sample in a totally different size when we first started carrying Comexim, and I instantly wanted it.  Saying this bra is “gorgeous” seems a bit of an understatement.  It is truly one of the most beautiful bras I have ever seen, and I have obviously seen more than a few.  The bold floral embroidery on the top artfully combines shades of crimson with dark oranges while the lower cup provides counterbalance with an inlaid brocade pattern which carries over onto the wing.  The luxurious quality of the color and design propel Cherry from looking like the $50 bra it is into something far more expensive.  However, there’s a strong practicality to the design as well.  Fully-adjustable straps allow for customization in fit, and the embroidery itself is not as braille-like as it seems under t-shirts.  The bra has also held up well over time too although admittedly, I only wear it once a week or so.  Because of the sexy cleavage it creates, and by proxy the boob jiggle, I don’t think Cherry would be a great everyday bra unless you have a pretty sedentary job, but I do believe this is one of the nicest and most inexpensive special occasion or weekend bras out there.


Matching Panties:  There weren’t any!  However, I find the Curvy Kate Ritzy briefs in Ruby were close enough to succeed, but the mix of colors and prints does make it more challenging to find a faux-match.

Video Edit:  So, I shot this video after a long day of work, and there were a couple of things I wanted to note. First, I did actually own a red bra before, and how I could forget the first Cleo Marcie I ever purchased truly astounds me.  Second, I gave the bra an A in the video, but after wearing it for several months, I am going to drop that to a B/B+ on account of the potential fit problems and the jiggle issue.  I absolutely adore this bra, but when I give grades, I am thinking more about the style as a whole and how it will fit and feel to other people in conjunction with my own opinions.  Even though, this bra is a solid A for me, I feel like other people are not going to like it as much.

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The Beige Bra Battles: Comexim Basic vs. Anna Pardal Milk & Honey

Hello Everyone,

The weather predictions were spot on yesterday when they said our area would have at least 8″ of snow accumulation, and I am presently gazing through the window at the newly minted wonderland of my backyard while I write and catch up on work.  Since I am snowed in today, I thought it would be fun to indulge in a little bra competition on the blog.  More or less, I am writing a double review on two similar styles.  So, double the pictures!



Milk & Honey

Milk & Honey

For my fellow pale sisters, beige bras often function as the closest shade to our natural skin-tone, and I am often asked which Anna Pardal or Comexim bras work best as a basic beige bra.  As it happens, when I first requested samples of the line, I received both an Anna Pardal Milk & Honey as well as a Comexim Basic, and I have been wearing them both for several months, meaning my opinions are more evolved and comprehensive.  (Note:  All of the pictures were taken when I received the bras.)

Sizing & Fit:  Both bras are my standard Comexim/Anna Pardal size of 32HH, which worked well.  The band on Basic immediately felt a little stretchier, but I still started wearing it on the loosest set of hooks.  The cup size on both was also correct with no overflow of the cups.  Both of the pictures taken from the side do seem to indicate significant gaping, but my lack of experience with modelling is more to blame than the bra.  Furthermore, both bras also have the practically trademarked Comexim narrow underwires, lower center gore and side, plunging shape, and deeper, lightly padded cups.  The profile from the side is incredibly lifted and rounded, and I am huge fan of how the underwires do not extend too far on my sides or hit too high under the arm.  Women with close set breasts will appreciate this design, but women who have more breast tissue toward the side or shallower busts may need to look at another brand.  Read more ›


Note the aforementioned odd cup gaping

Note the aforementioned odd cup gaping

The Difference:  The Milk & Honey is textbook perfect for me in every possible way, but the Basic had some fit quibbles.  The center gore on Basic barely soft tacks, and I had issues with space near the straps.  The cups near the gore would also gape or fold together depending how I moved, but I still managed to tumble toward the center a couple times every day.

Basic_4 MilkHoney_1

Materials & Design:  Outside of boasting fully-adjustable straps and three hook-and-eye closures in the back, these bras are obviously vastly different in this department, and I think it only fair to review them separately, starting with Milk & Honey.  Consisting of an allover lace cup with embellished straps and over-sized center bow, the Milk & Honey captures the essence of how you create a neutral bra without making it feel boring or bland.  The overall color reads beige from a distance as well as under lighter colors, but the lace features multiple tones and textures.  Cream and iridescent pink flower bursts contrast with a gold crosshatch pattern which only adds to the incredibly sophisticated feel of the bra.  Everything from the less stretchy band to the aforementioned lace to the padding in the cup oozes quality worthy of the line.  Many hearts were broken when Anna Pardal announced this style was being discontinued.


Basic, on the other hand, is a cheaper, more . . . well . . . basic bra.  It’s not aspiring to heights of luxury or sophistication, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Sometimes it’s nice to just have a basic bra.  Even with a simpler design, there’s still quite a bit to like about the aesthetic, including the color.  One of my (many) pet peeves with lingerie behemoth Eveden is their refusal to acknowledge that some of us pale people would benefit from a beige that is not so friggin’ yellow, and I really like the undertones for Basic.  I feel like this color would work better across multiple skin tones, and the sheen to the fabric elevates the overall style.  Even with a name like Basic, Comexim thought enough to add some finishing touches like lace embroidery on the top of the cup and an adorable center bow.

Basic_2 Basic_6

Observations:  Despite having more details, I found the Milk & Honey was more discreet under most of my tops.  The seaming on my Anna Pardal bras seems tighter and flatter than the ones I have tried from Comexim.  Even the Georgia, which I absolutely adored, was still not as t-shirt friendly as the lace cup designs of my Anna Pardal styles.  Basic also stretched out faster too, and I felt like the cup shape started to become worse over time.  Now, in its defense, Basic would retail for about $48 in the shop, and Milk & Honey would be around $62.  The price difference is because one is a higher quality bra, and I don’t think it’s fair to not mention this explanation.  As it turns out, this stretch factor was a good thing because when I was sick, this was the only bra I could tolerate (with a full extender even), so it got *a lot* of wear.  That said, in the efforts of being honest, Basic was my least favorite Comexim bra I have tried.  I felt like the fit here was not as good as the other styles, and the materials seemed cheaper too.  However, Comexim at its worst is still better for me than most brands at their absolute best, so when I make this critique, understand it is really me comparing the brands against themselves rather than against other companies.

Basic_1 MilkHoney_4

Verdict:  Milk & Honey — A+; Basic — B

Milk & Honey Matching Panties:  I was also sent the Milk & Honey Thong and Tap Pant in size Large, which are lovely.  They use the same lace as on the cup of the bra with some added flourishes for a coherent overall design.  Thongs aren’t my thing, but the tap pant was cute with the flouncy hem on the bottom.  I did find it would creep up a bit throughout the day depending on what I wore though.

MilkHoney_8 MilkHoney_7 MilkHoney_6

Addendum:  I mentioned earlier that the Milk & Honey was unfortunately discontinued; however, Anna Pardal has an alternative style called Stiff Cappuccino.  Eventually, I will do a mini-review of this bra, but I find it to be comparable in fit, shape, and quality to Milk & Honey.  It uses the same overall lace cup design but adds either embroidery or a satin copper ribbon at the top, depending on your preference.  The lace is a little darker than Milk & Honey but still works well for us pale people.

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Why I am not marketing Valetine’s Day

Hello Everyone,

Even though, as a retailer, I should be trying to sell you lingerie and all manner of items pink and red for the imminent deeply polarizing holiday tomorrow, I decided not to engage in Valentine’s Day marketing this year—a decision downright unheard of in an industry hoping to benefit from the commercialization of love, relationships, and sex.  While the shop is stocked with lingerie suitable for the occasion for the customer who wants it, I opted to consciously not push Valentine’s Day sales through our social media.

When I was younger, my family celebrated Valentine’s Day traditions together.  My parents and grandparents would buy my brother and I little presents along with a box of chocolate as a way of showing how much they loved and valued us.  We celebrated it as a holiday of love itself, not of romantic love or relationships, and it wasn’t until I was older that I became more influenced by the societal pressures and constructs placed on the day.  Slowly, the holiday became more about whether I was in a relationship or not, and if I was in a relationship, upping the game with romantic outpourings and gifts.

Affinitas Sasha - A traditional Valentine's day chemise

Affinitas Sasha – A traditional Valentine’s day chemise

In the business of selling bras and lingerie, Valentine’s Day represents a golden opportunity for retailers to exploit the holiday and milk additional sales from customers.  Everyone expects me to send out emails to our newsletter, post photos on Facebook, pin pretty sets on Pinterest, and tweet about all the lovely products we offer to help you make the holiday special, and for the first few years of operation, I participated in this practice because, well, everyone does it.  This morning, my personal inbox runneth over with all of the emails I have trying to sell me sexy stilettos, tight dresses, gorgeous stockings, chocolates, flowers, makeup, last minute gifts, etc. so that this one event will be as special as possible for me and my date/significant other/feisty single girlfriends who totally don’t need dates/etc.  The ubiquity of the message lends to its credibility, making it easier for retailers to compete for consumer dollars.  Shouldn’t I take advantage of such a highly marketable occasion to increase my bottom line?  Sure, I guess I could.  The more money we make after all means there is more money available to bring in other products, but the truth is I feel less ethically comfortable pushing Valentine’s Day sales.  Read more ›

One of my goals with the shop is to encourage women to buy lingerie and bras for themselves.  I know a bra and underwear set seems an unlikely way of building self-confidence, but I believe some women (not all, of course) can benefit from finding a piece of lingerie or a pretty bra which suits their personality and flatters their figure.  It enables the busy modern woman to pamper herself and buy something exclusively for her benefit.  Every week customers tell me they don’t want something pretty or sexy because “no one sees it.”  In my opinion, that is reason enough to figure out what you love for yourself and wear it  with pride.  While society has become progressively more accepting of personal differences and self-expression, many of us still have to be conscientious of how we dress when we leave home.  Businesses have uniforms or dress codes, and we often strive to make a solid first impression with our peers.  As a result, the clothes we wear for people to see may not always be the truest reflection of who we are or how we see ourselves.  With lingerie, the pressure is off, and we have the freedom to explore.  We can be the person we are, not the person we’re expected to be.  We can buy and wear what suits us precisely because no one can see it and judge us for it.  And I just don’t want to reduce that wonderful, powerful, exhilarating feeling to a sales gimmick.

The Eleanor Set from Harlow & Fox

The Eleanor Set from Harlow & Fox

I would rather you come into the shop when you’re ready to look for something new or to take advantage of our special order program to find something unique to your aesthetic.  I want you to buy lingerie you love because you want to, not because you feel like you should.  It’s a fine line to walk here because I do love holiday wish lists, both reading and writing them.  They open up readers to new styles and brands at a time when they are receptive and interested, but when it comes to actively encouraging a person to buy something for the sake of the date, I am not as keen to participate.  Not to mention, Valentine’s Day seems to push feeling sexy more than any other emotion, and what makes a person feel sexy and desirable is unique to the individual.  A slinky red chemise with garter straps like Affinitas Sasha may be perfect for one woman while another may like the softer, vintage quality of the Eleanor set from Harlow & Fox.  We’re all different, and that’s okay.  It makes the lingerie world rich and diverse, and with so many varied tastes, designers have the leeway they need to create these beautiful works of art for us to enjoy.

If you like dressing up for your partner or dressing for your partner’s tastes on special occasions, I think that’s wonderful too.  However, I hate making women feel like Valentine’s Day means running out to buy something new to wear for someone else.  In every relationship I have had, there have always been more significant days for us, as a couple, than one now turned into something universally shared.  Find something unique to you and your partner or be spontaneous.

I’m not trying to hate on Valentine’s Day either.  If you love the holiday, then you should be true to yourself and participate in ways that make you happy.  At some point, I felt, as a retailer, that I developed a conflict of interest with the pressures of the holiday and how it related to my everyday recommendations in the shop.  I want our customers to explore the lingerie world on their own terms without me exploiting the omnipresent marketing of the holiday.  I don’t care if it’s February 14th or May 19th, you deserve to wear something lovely every single day.


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Product Review: Curvy Kate Dare

Hello Everyone,

I won’t rehash my unrequited love affair for Curvy Kate again for this review (although if you’re just finding my blog and are keen to read a tale of woe and misery, click on the “Erica’s Reviews” tab), but suffice it to say, the generally wide and shallow shape of most CK styles is the antithesis of my narrow, close-set boobs. However, early last year, Curvy Kate released the Daisy Chain, and for the first time in many months, I felt the kindling of a spark between us. You can read the full review here, but my general take was the fit was much better for me even if the profile was too pointy for my taste.  Then, I saw Dare, which was rumored to be an improved version of Daisy Chain, and with renewed optimism, I bought it.


Before I get to the meat and potatoes of my review, I do want to note that I received this bra shortly before I was faced with some health setbacks which lead to weight setbacks. The photos and video were taken before my illness.

Sizing & Fit: My sizing experience with Curvy Kate has been fairly consistent, and as a result, I opted for my go-to 30HH size with the Dare. The band was comfortably snug on the loosest hooks, but it also felt firmer than some of the other CK styles I tested. The cups fit well without any gaping or wrinkling, but on the larger side, I had the hint of overflow toward the center. Since it was not visible under my clothes, I considered this size to be the best for me.


As I mentioned above, Curvy Kate routinely utilizes a wider, shallower design with their bras, meaning the underwires extend further toward the side while the cups themselves lack depth. For someone like me, who prefers a narrow underwire with a lot of projection in the cups, CK bras can easily create fit issues. Nevertheless, Dare manages to toe a more crowd-pleasing line with its low and narrow center gore and more open cup shape. On the side, the underwires still extend too far back, leaving about two fingers worth of space between underwire and tissue, but the overall height of the cup is lower. While it’s certainly not my ideal, I can tolerate an underwire which extends further back on the condition that the cup is not so high as to pull into my arm uncomfortably. Usually, that is the issue I face with CK bras, but Dare manages to eschew this fit deal breaker for a comfortable, supportive design.  Read more ›


Because of the width of the underwire, I do have a little extra space at the bottom as well, but it has been reduced greatly since my experiments with Daisy Chain. Of course, I didn’t decide against keeping Daisy Chain because of fit issues. Daisy Chain was crazy pointy on me, and it was not flattering under my clothes. Again, a testament to the improvements, Dare offers a rounded profile albeit one that is somewhat pointed down on account of the stiff upper cup.


Materials & Design: Curvy Kate always uses lovely materials, and Dare preserves the tradition. The lower cup is a double-layered deep pink mesh while the upper cup is sheerer with embroidery. The firmness of the embroidery keeps breast tissue contained as you move, and the overall design lends itself to a hint of sexy cleavage, perfect for lower cut tops. Three hook-and-eye closures in the back ensure the weight is distributed nicely, and the straps are fully-adjustable to allow for customization.  However, the star here is that gorgeous silver embroidery. It simultaneously contrasts and complements the deeper fuchsia, and the geometric-inspired floral embroidery blends tradition with modernity beautifully.


In the video, I mention I had all intentions of keeping this bra, but once I became ill, I had a lot of issues with my band size. It ultimately became too tight to wear, and I decided I wasn’t going to hold onto anything in the hopes it would fit again. With that said, I would definitely order the spring variations in a 32 band.


The Matching Briefs:  I have always liked Curvy Kate’s panties, and these are no exception.  The UK size 14 (Large) fit my 41″ hips beautifully without cutting in, and the angled cut of the back was very flattering.


Overall Grade: A

For more information, check out the video below:

Posted in Product Reviews, Recommendations Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Anxiety, Poor Health, and Recovery

Hello Everyone,

(Warning:  This post doesn’t have anything to do with lingerie and is more a personal post explaining my consistency issues with the blog.  Feel free to skip . . . or not, if you’re into this kind of thing.  Also, I didn’t feel like adding pictures to lessen the TL;DR quality either.  I know, bad blogger.)

Long-time followers of the blog know that I faced multiple struggles in the last half of 2014 ranging from hormonal weight gain and issues with PCOS to a serious illness that sent me to the hospital. Suffice it to say, handling all of the responsibilities of store ownership, home ownership, blog writing, and general life maintenance became more overwhelming than I ever anticipated. Recovery from this particular illness can be as quick as a couple months or as long as an entire year—a recovery time during which you are supposed to rest. In my defense, I did rest(ish) for a week or two before phasing back into my work routine. One of the unfortunate facts about owning or managing a small business is that downtime hurts. Ignoring potential lost revenue, business owners can find themselves without anyone to pick up the slack when they are sick. If the illness/injury persists longer than a day or so, you can find yourself falling further and further behind until there is so much in need of doing that you don’t even know where to start anymore.

Soon, a poisonous apathy born out of anxiety and exasperation took root in my mind, leaving me struggling to stay focused or to muster up enthusiasm for my work.  Every time I thought I was recovering, a new setback befell me, due in large part because every week we help sick customers.  In fact, I am posting this blog today from the cozy confines of my couch because the store has been closed for the last six days on account of a nasty cold turned bronchitis and middle-ear infection. Fortunately, even with this lengthy closure, I have still not relapsed as badly as the initial illness, but a day here, two there, add up over time. During this latest bout of sickness, I realized that since September, I have taken as many sick days as I had for the whole of the store’s history. It’s a sobering thought that left me reflecting on how quickly and easily something you take for granted can change.

Compounding my health issues, the store also faced a myriad of challenges ranging from suppliers dropping orders or entering the wrong information into our accounts to repeated unsuccessful attempts to have our meter audited by the power company, and so on. Before long, I found myself questioning the entire purpose of the store, and on more than one occasion, I told my business partner/dad that I was done. Everything felt like it was going wrong, just one long series of failures and mishaps cascading into each other until something that I thought was my dream turned into a waking nightmare.  Read more ›

I retreated. I postponed projects. I covered the bare minimum necessary to keep the store active, but I could not bring myself to tackle my “To Do” list with the same verve and gusto of the pre-sick me. In short, I was depressed. I tried to be happy. I tried to be optimistic. I tried to put on “the good face” and smile, to take stock of all the blessing in my life, but it did not change how I felt. I didn’t even feel like myself anymore.

However, with 2015 on the horizon, I was determined to improve my state of mind. I Netflix-binged on Ted Talks, read some Zen books my brother recommended, and basically decided to “will” myself out of this funk. Some days were more successful than others, but I was still struggling.

Then, about three weeks ago, I was so depressed I refused to budge from my bed until well after lunchtime. I plugged in my computer, put on Fried Green Tomatoes (which I had not seen and I now acknowledge in retrospect was probably the worst thing to watch), and basically cried all morning. I felt sorry for myself, and I was never raised to feel sorry for myself. Even after I managed to drag my butt out of bed, I still didn’t want to do any of the things I had planned for the day. There was just too much to be done.

It hit me then that I was feeding this apathy, feeding this depression, but not addressing the cause or even attempting a solution. I was more or less hoping to wake up one day and feel like I used to feel without any effort whatsoever on my part. When I spoke with my dad about these issues, he explained to me that I am a worker bee (parents may forever rely on animal analogies once they have kids). “You’re not happy if you’re not doing something, and you’ve always been that way.  So start doing something.”  He was right.  I don’t have to work non-stop from dawn until dusk, but I naturally feel better on days I accomplish a few things, even if they’re little. It centers me and allows me to refocus my perspective on a positive experience.

And that’s what I am doing now. I am working on little projects and not worrying if I still have more to do. I’m not getting upset at what’s left on the “To Do” list and am instead giving myself the proverbial pat on the back for what I did do. Whenever the shop throws another obstacle in my way, I think of all the people we have helped and how truly wonderful our customers are, and my attitude shifts, making it easier to find the right solution.  I am also reading and writing more to manage stress.  When I first became ill, I thought my mental state became stronger because I now appreciated my health and body more.  The long-term results were not so optimistic.  Long-term, my poor health began to gnaw at me, and I realized the only way to feel better was to start taking back control of my life.

And that’s why I am writing today’s very lengthy post. I wanted to let you know why I haven’t been as consistent here, why I am having issues writing newsletters, and why a lot of the features or promises I made have not yet come to fruition.

To this effect, another aggravating side effect of catching all the viruses I have fallen victim to in the last couple of months is the havoc wreaked on my workout schedule (although I did greatly improve my diet—hooray for small victories!). My issues with PCOS are still unresolved, and I am currently in the process of working with my doctor to find a better solution. Of course, in the meantime, I gained more weight and have not been able to lose it. My usual 30HH size is now more of a 32HH, and if I am sick, I can’t tolerate anything less than 34. This is another reason why I have not been keen on new product reviews. I’m still working through some body image demons.

However, I also have a pretty substantial backlog of bra reviews which have not been posted yet. When everything fell to the wayside, so did the reviews. Notable exceptions include reviews performed on free products as I did not want to make the manufacturers think I was taking advantage of their generosity. For all the products I bought myself? Meh. I also was not sure how exactly to post them knowing I am at a heavier weight now . . . and also have a different hair color. After much thought, I decided I will post everything with notations about when they were written/photographed. My weight/hair color changes do not impact how the bras fit at the time, so the information is still valid.

I was also pleasantly surprised this year when both Sweets of Sweet Nothings NYC and Cora from the Lingerie Addict linked to my blog as one they enjoy reading. In fact, Cora named our little section of the web one of the 7 blogs to read in 2015. That was a truly amazing and totally unexpected honor for me as I respect Cora and her work immensely.

Consequently, with renewed vigor and purpose, I will be working to blog more consistently this year, and I already have fantastic ideas for new posts in addition to some top notch product reviews from pre-illness and now. (Newest ones have black hair.). We’re also working on inventory changes for the shop, an alternative version of the calculator, and a collaboration discussion with Anna Pardal and Comexim on the alterations process.  Basically, there’s a lot of things to get excited about this year!

Reading back through this post, I know it seems like a bit of a downer, but I do not intend it to be. I wanted to be honest with you about why I have been struggling here as well as why certain changes/posts have not been written. And if you made it to the end of this completely irrelevant emotional exploration by an overworked business owner, I do want to say I believe things can get better, even if it feels nothing is going right. We all struggle sometimes with depression or anxiety, and I think it’s important to never lose faith that tomorrow can be better than today. “Breathe and believe,” as my mom liked to say, which are words I know I need to take more to heart.


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Strap Saver Winners!

Hello Everyone,

A few weeks ago, I not only reviewed Strap Savers, a new lingerie accessory on the marketplace for easily shortening straps, but I also hosted a giveaway for five $15 gift certificates.  Because the first of the month was Sunday, I am late announcing the winners, but better late than never as they say.  Anyway, without further introduction, our lucky winners are:

  • Noelle P
  • Cate M
  • Jennifer
  • Jenny
  • Emily

Congratulations!  I am hoping to email the winners sometime today, but per usual for a Tuesday, I’m running a little behind.  If you want your gift certificate sooner, please feel free to email me.

Also, a big thanks to Strap Saver for donating the gift certificates for us!


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Guest Post: Designing Bras for KK+ Cup Part III

Hello Everyone,

I was so pleased to check my email this morning and see this gem of a blog post with fantastic pictures awaiting me.  Jillian from our KK+ bras series is back with some astute observations on developing her patterns and prototypes.  As the Lingerie Addict pointed out last week, bra making can be an artisan skill, and Jillian’s quest certainly underscores this.  I hope you enjoy the post as much as I do!


P.S.  You can find the two previous entries here and here.


Hey everyone! It’s Jillian again with an addendum post to the second entry. I apologize for its tardiness- I experienced for the first time a tension headache that lasted almost two full months. I basically curled up in a ball and tried not to move or look at light the entire time. In the last entry, I spoke about the thought process used to develop my pattern drafts. The actual materials used for the practice bras and for the final products were mistakenly left out *hanging head in shame*. This entry would serve to correct that.

Pick up a bra that you’re not wearing and try to count the different parts that make up the whole. Such a tiny garment having such vast importance and so many parts. My current bra design has:

  • Rigid/non stretch tricot knit fabrics for the cups, center bridge and side wings,
  • ultra thin padding for a strength/shaping layer in the cups,
  • heavyweight powernet for the back wings,
  • full plushback satin elastic straps,
  • Single picot edged plushback elastic in TWO widths for the band,
  • O-rings AND slides on the straps,
  • vertical steel underwires,
  • underwire casing,
  • three row hook and eye tape that can be cut to fit as the back closure,
  • Polyester thread.

Twelve components in total- pretty trippy considering everything this garment has to do. It isn’t budget friendly to create an entire complete bra just to test out a design. So practice materials are used to mimic the final result as closely as possible.

When creating a practice garment, the best bet is to use a light toned fabric that is similar to the end product fabric. In most cases for clothing, 100% cotton muslin is the go-to fabric used. It is inexpensive, easy to mark changes on, comes in a variety of weights and is easy to rip across the grain to separate lengths from the bolt. However it is flimsy and can’t support the pressure or weight of a heavy breast like mine without wanting to rip or droop. For jeans, twill and/or drill are often used as their weave is very close to denim and is light toned. But even the non stretch twill/drill does have a fair amount of mechanical give (meaning it stretches slightly on its own without the presence of lycra, elastene, etc.) and would have the ability to throw off the pattern’s physics and lines if you wanted a non stretch fabric for the cups. So my choice of these fabrics in the initial stages was wasteful of time/energy/money and very misguided.

Read more ›

Besides bra making, I’m very much into corsetry, lingerie, shapewear and vintage undergarments like girdles and garter belts. Those in the corsetry community are very open with information sharing and troubleshooting- they are some of the most helpful, kindest, innovative people I’ve ever been lucky enough to meet. When I told the members of the Facebook corsetry group I participate in of the roadblocks I was hitting in my bra journey, they suggested looking at this like a corset. I have an abundance of squish to contain, corsets do just that and I needed my bras to do the same. In my practice corsets I found that duck cloth and heavy duty non-coated cotton canvas served well. Both had little to no mechanical give, easy to mark changes and were blissfully inexpensive. Thank you 50% coupons! Using the duck cloth for the cups, center bridge and side wings made all the difference. My bra design began coming together!!!

Although I lamented about the limited color choices during my RTW bra life, I knew that obtaining the basic colors during my material gathering would be the most cost effective. Stitch patterns, embellishments and thread colors could spice up my designs before I risked cutting into any limited edition/one of a kind fabric. One of the best staple fabrics on the market right now is Duoplex, a lightweight, opaque, non stretch micro knit “jersey” with almost no mechanical give. Beverly Johnson ( has the gamut of colors (25+ currently, all richly colored with matching components available) and is working with her supplier to create more colorways. Plus she just debuted new colorways in the poly laminate foam to mix and match with the Duoplex. But this lovely fabric comes at a great cost, at least to me. Ms. Johnson is in CANADA so pricing is in the Canadian dollar (CAD). Logically shipping and handling internationally are expensive on top of fabric cost. Because of the currency fluxing, the cost varies. $29.75CAD for ONE METER of fabric is quite rich for me currently. In the last year, she has collaborated with an American company to get her products to the people like me in the US who have small budgets but they only offer kits that can make one complete “large” bra if using a commercial pattern. I couldn’t trust that in those kits there will be enough fabric for my ginormous pattern pieces so I searched until I discovered a rigid lingerie tricot locally. Thankfully it comes in cream, black, white, ballet pink and true red (YEA!!!!!! RED!!!!!). I plan to purchase the Duoplex and other supplies in the future AFTER all the kinks are worked out of my design.

Most of the other components were easy to choose and obtain (mainly from in Alabama and various shops on Etsy):

  • Band elastic (upper edge and lower edge); I used ¾”and 1” respectively until I realized that the 1” for the lower band edge was too bulky for my full band style bra design. I switched to ½” and ¾” and everything is now laying flat.
  • Strap elastic; dependent on the clothing I expect to wear over the bra, I chose to get ¾”, 7/8” and 1” satin plushback elastic. I do have some ¾” looped picot edge I’m saving.
  • Plain underwire casing; I should look into getting the plush type casing but so far this kind has not let me down and is pretty comfortable.
  • Vertical underwires (also called strapless underwires); I currently use a size 54 which is three sizes smaller than the size 60 wires in the Panache 38K bra. That solves the “jabbing in the arm” problem. But I would like to find RTW strength underwires and/or taller on the wing side underwires. I’m playing with the idea of doubling up the flexi-weight wires I have to increase stability in the cup tension.
  • Heavyweight powernet; this has greatly helped in the band strength. There is a fabric called Techsheen that is thinner and more lightweight but just as strong that I do want to try in the future for summer bras. If you want to feel what Techsheen is like, pick up a new Panache Tango and test the stretch of the back wings. It is in a double layer for the 38K.
  • Nylon coated metal O-rings, slides and flat oval rings in corresponding widths and colors to the strap elastic plus g-hooks for when I master my design for a multiway bra.
  • 1/8” sheer tricot fused, non stretch poly laminate foam padding
  • The cut to fit, three row hook and eye tape I have found in black, white and beige. After extensive research, I have located it in other colors on various sites but have yet to buy it.
  • I have collected an assortment of galloon laces and embroidered tulles to use in the upper cup areas. Some have significant stretch, enough so that I could use them for the sides of panties that I plan on learning to make.

The best features about the components I found are that all of them are latex-free and the white versions of them are dyeable. Once I master the art of dyeing, then my color options will explode. You would think that with all the hoops I have to jump through that I would have no additional limitations but yeah…. Latex is not my friend. Neither are the companies that have no idea if their elastics have latex or not. But it’s alright. The better I become at research and discovery, the better my end result will be. And I’ll actually be able to use the fruits of my labor!

Ok. NOW the next installment will be on how I prep for the construction of this particular bra design I’ve been developing. I’ll submit the construction tutorial soon after my new materials arrive…. I kinda used some of them up before I knew I would be writing this series. *SEVERE BLUSH OF SHAME* Sorry…..

I almost forgot! Here’s a peek at my self-drafted pattern including the padding layer and a reference of just how big one of the lower cup pieces is (that’s a 12 inch ruler next to that piece!!!).

image(3)image(2)image(1) IMG_20150123_102710

Posted in Commentary, Tips & Tricks Tagged with: , , , , ,

Product Review: Glamory Stockings

Hello Everyone,

After my review of the fabulous Kix’ies holdups, I was contacted by a distributor for Glamory hosiery about testing some of their products as well.  My expectations were high since I was so pleased with the Kix’ies, and after I received my samples, I realized how complementary the brands can be to each other.  Kix’ies strictly sells hold-ups at the moment and focuses on modern patterns and textures while Glamory offers a more subdued but equally wonderful range of stockings and tights, even to include those designed for men.



Glamory is also technically a plus-size hosiery line with sizes 40-42 (Large) to 60-62 (5XL), but the size large fit me comparably to my size B Kix’ies.  Still, I think the inclusion of higher sizes is fantastic as far too many plus-size women are left out in the cold by the lingerie market.  Price-wise the brand is between $15 and $22 making them comparable to what you can find in most boutiques or department stores.  For the review, Glamory sent me four different pairs of hold-ups:  Glamory Micro 60 in black, Glamory Deluxe 20 in black with red lace, Glamory Vita 40 in black, and Glamoury Couture 20 in black.


Before I begin my gushy outpouring of love for how gorgeous each pair is, I feel obligated to answer the question every woman asks about hold-ups:  Do they stay put all day?  I am pleased to report the answer is a resounding “Yes!”  After doing my now traditional stocking dance around the house, I tested them at the shop, and in both instances, I did not have to fiddle or readjust once.  Like the Kix’ies pair I reviewed, Glamory does not cut into the top of the leg to create that less-than-sexy-why-am-I-even-wearing-these muffin top look.  In fact, I think the stretchier lace manages to smooth and perfect, even if you’re like me and have jiggly thighs.  Glamory accomplishes all of this by using two extra-wide panels of silicone gel at the very top of the lace which sticks to skin to keep everything in place.  Read more ›



To me, Glamory offers women a traditional aesthetic—and I hesitate to say “traditional” as it can sometimes carry a negative connotation, but I love having choices.  One of my complaints when I wore strictly Cleo bras, for example, is that I was stuck with bright colors and quirky prints even if I was craving something different.  And sometimes I want something that makes me feel like Sophia Loren.   Glamory captures the essence of what makes vintage stockings look so beautiful and bring that grace and style to the modern woman.


I am also a big fan of how Glamory offers multiple deniers in their stockings.  The Deluxe and Couture are both on the sheer side, thus making them softer and more delicate, but the Micro and Vital designs are more like tights.  Since the weather in NC has not been the warmest lately, I appreciate the added weight and thickness of the Micro and Vital.  A sharp gust of ice cold wind rips right through the sheers, meaning they only come out to play on days when it’s at least 50F (Yeah, I’m a baby).  The Micro tights also have the least amount of lace at the top, which leads me to believe Glamory married practicality to pretty to create perfection.  I feel more confident in these than in my tights with whom I have a love/hate relationship.  I love how they keep me warm, but I hate fiddling with them or getting runs wherever my zippers happen to sit.  I never appreciated how much I actually adjust, readjust, take down, pull up, etc. my tights until I started wearing hold-ups as much as I do now.  Once the hold-ups are on, I do not have to do anything else with them for the rest of the day.  It’s liberating!




From a non-practical, purely-aesthetic point of view, however, all of the samples are lovely.  The Couture epitomizes the vintage stocking and features a reinforced foot and toe region—the latter does limit these to more closed toe shoes.  However, I absolutely adore the contrast red and black lace on the Deluxe.  It’s one of those design decisions that pops and makes the whole stocking that much better.  Now, in all fairness, the lace of the stockings extends further down my thigh, increasing the risk it will be seen.  However, I don’t wear super short skirts anyway, so this isn’t so much an issue for me.  If you do, the lace may flash a little with movement, but hey, it’s so pretty!  At least it’s not like that weird gradient thing on top of tights and hose.




Micro_4 Micro_3

Overall Grade:  A+

Posted in Product Reviews, Recommendations Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Product Review + Giveaway: The Strap Saver

Hello Everyone,

Petite and short-waisted women often suffer from an inability to tighten bra straps as much as needed, particularly if the straps are not fully-adjustable, but even women who purchase a well-fitting bra initially can find that time wreaks havoc on how much the straps stretch.  Short of breaking out the sewing machine, options were scarce for fixing the problem until Shari and Beth created the amazing Strap Saver.

The Strap Saver was designed to fix a problem: expensive bras and bathing suits tossed in the trash because of wear on only one part – the strap.  Shari Deutsch had a favorite, worn, expensive bathing suit and was unhappy that it no longer gave her the support she wanted. (especially given that she’d only had it for 2 seasons!) The straps were stretched out and soon it would be bound for the garbage. One day, hanging out by her friend Beth Lieberman’s pool, Shari started commented about it and Beth chimed in that her straps were too long because of her (lack of) height. It started out the usual “there has to be a way…” and “surely someone has fixed this…” conversation.

After only two plastic prototypes, Shari and Beth had a working Strap Saver template which they then tweaked into the patent-pending stainless steel creation seen today.  Straight from their extremely professional press kit, here are some additional facts about the product:

  • Stainless Steel Construction, designed to outlive several garments
  • Durable Ceramic Coating on Black and Tan Strap Savers
  • Works on any strap, with or without an adjuster
  • Made in the USA
  • Three Colors: Black, Tan, Metallic
  • Four sizes: ¼”, ½”, ¾”, 1”
  • Price: $15 for the first pair, $10 for each additional pair

While I am going to review the product for the blog, I have to be honest in that I almost never have issues with my straps.  My average height, long torso, and broad shoulders combine to eliminate issues with slippage or stretching.  However, I have witnessed how often straps can ruin an otherwise good fit, and in some cases, women miss out on fantastic styles because the straps do not tighten enough.  When I heard about Shari and Beth’s Strap Savers, I admit I was intrigued, particularly because I am always on the lookout for innovative accessories which can help our customers.  In our shop alone, there’s certainly potential for this nifty little product to provide a solution to the short or stretchy strap dilemma.


As part of the Strap Saver experience, Shari sent me the sample in the little pink bag which accompanies all purchases as well as a pamphlet with instructions.  While the presentation with the bag is nice, I actually appreciate it more for the practicality as the Strap Savers are pretty small even in the 1″ size I ordered.  With my personal penchant for tossing small items on my jewelery stand, I could see one or both disappearing into the ether of my house, but the adorable little bag accompanying them provides me with an easy, no excuses way of storing them when not in use.  I’m a sucker for thoughtful product details, and this definitely qualifies.  Read more ›

My next step was reading through the instructions because the tiny metal clip does not intuitively intimate how it should be put to use.  The instructions were clear and easy-to-follow, and rather than explain each style as a paragraph, I though it would be clearer with pictures.


I found it easiest with my very textured straps to adjust the length I wanted to shorten first.


Then, I pulled the rectangular clip down the circular strap holder, creating a large loop.


Bring the loop straight up so that it touches the rest of your strap.


Use the side with the larger side and attach it to the loop . . .


. . . as well as the regular part of the strap.


Then take the narrow part of the Strap Saver and attach to the top part of the strap.



Strap_Saver3 Strap_Saver2

As you can see, the device basically removes excess strap length by folding the strap over onto itself—a design decision with multiple implications.  First, the strap isn’t physically removed, so it has to go somewhere.  In this case, it basically thickens how much strap is resting on your shoulders/back.  On the positive side, I think it’s an extremely clever and easy-to-use way of shortening a strap, but I know some customers may balk at the excess strap, particularly if they need to shorten the straps substantially.  It’s also a little trickier to use the closer you get to the top of the strap.  In all fairness, I do not anticipate that many women will need this much adjustment, and I instead think the design will generally work in the way it was intended.  The excess strap does not cause any pain or discomfort although it is more pronounced under certain tops.  I also want to note that it’s a little trickier with a textured strap too, but it still works well.  Overall, I like the way they created a no-sew option for women needing to shorten straps.

The finished product

The finished product

Furthermore, I think it is great they created the Strap Savers in multiple sizes to ensure women get a secure fit, and the multiple finishes is a nice touch too.  To increase durability, the strap savers are stainless steel with a ceramic coating.  Since one of the intentions for being able to wear the Strap Saver is swimsuits, I think the use of heavier hardware is wise.  From what I can tell, the Strap Saver also stays put when you move, and since it basically looks like another strap adjuster, it’s pretty discreet too.  Finally, Strap Saver is another “Made in America” product by a small business, and everyone reading this blog knows how I feel about that!  My only caveat with the design is that it’s a little hard to figure out how much to shorten a strap, but after two tries, I got the hang of it.  Overall, I’m extremely impressed with the ingenuity of the product, and as such am happy to announce we will be giving away 5 $15 gift cards!  Simply comment below before January 31st, and we will randomly pick the winners.


Posted in Product Reviews, Recommendations Tagged with: , , , , ,

Saturday Spotlight: Scarlet’s Letter

Hello Everyone,

As I mentioned in a previous post, I wanted to reinvigorate the Saturday Spotlight by focusing more on the businesses and bloggers and allow them to tell you firsthand what makes them worth reading.  Today, I am proud to present the first entry in the rebooted series:  Scarlet’s Letter.  Named one of the five blogs to watch for 2014 by the Lingerie Addict, Scarlet’s Letter is a lingerie and fashion centric blog which showcases everything from full-bust favorites to hand-made Etsy brands.  Before I severely lapsed on the Saturday Spotlight front, Amber’s blog is one I had really wanted to share with you, and I am so glad I now have that opportunity.


Instagram: @amberscarletsletter
Twitter:  @scarletsletter

The blogger behind the curtain:  Hi! My name is Amber, and I run the lingerie blog Scarlet’s Letter. I’m in my early 30s, and have been blogging since I was a teenager…when “blogs” were called “online journals”! ;) I’ve also been an active actress in stage theater since I was 10 years old, and I love to sing and dance. I’m also a total beauty addict, and a collector of antiquarian books. I speak French, and I’m currently writing my first novel which I hope to have published sometime in 2015. Oh, and I also love love love lingerie. Obviously ;)

Scarlet’s Letter according to Amber:  Scarlet’s Letter aims to showcase intimates for both lingerie novices and addicts alike, with a focus on full bust, handmade, and luxury brands.


What made you decide to start Scarlet’s Letter?  What did you hope to accomplish?  Do you feel like you are making progress?

I’ve been blogging for around 15 years off and on, before blogging was really as popular as it is now. Though I’d had blogs over the years, they were more personal based, and I’d never had a blog that focused on fashion and something that I really enjoyed and reviewed. By starting my blog, I was hoping to share my opinions on beautiful lingerie and hoped to help readers along the way with suggestions and honest reviews. Scarlet’s Letter has only been around for nearly 2 years, so I do feel like I am making progress, but would love to take the blog further.

What mistakes have you made in the past?

Well, I didn’t learn about proper bra fit until my very late 20’s, so when I first started writing about lingerie on my blog had misconceptions about bra sizing and fit, and was a total bra size newbie when I began. I had been wearing the wrong bra size nearly my whole life, but after learning through the lingerie community and bra fit blogs and lingerie bra fit retailers, I found that I was wearing a cup size 4 sizes too small for me!

What are you plans for the future? How do you hope to achieve them?

As for the blog, I’d love to add more features and more interactive posts, as well as continuing to add new topics. I recently began collaborating with my blogger BFF Tiah from the lingerie blog The Daily Knicker, and I’m hoping to expand the blog and hope to add better photography to my reviews in 2015.

In what ways does your blog stand out from the crowd?

In the lingerie blogging world, we’re lucky to have bloggers of many bust sizes, including full bust. Besides adding my voice to the list of full bust lingerie bloggers, I try to create content that is fun. I truly think that to enjoy blogging you need to have fun and really like whatever you’re blogging about, so I make sure to have fun in whatever I do on Scarlet’s Letter. Some of my most popular features include my Inspired By storyboards, The Geeky Fan Girl’s Guide to Lingerie series, as well as my newer series Let’s Talk About Sets, BabyRead more ›

What advice would you offer someone considering entering the same industry?

If you love lingerie, do it. Write it. Review it. Share it. Especially women of color, members of the LGBT community, women with less common bra sizes, and women who are 40+. I feel like we’re lacking enough voices in the community, and would love to see any woman who loves lingerie add her voice to the world of lingerie blogging.


Have you ever received criticism from readers? If so, what did they say, and how did you address it? Did you feel it was legitimate?

I’ve had readers have a different opinion of a lingerie piece than I do, but thats great. We all have different tastes, and if someone doesn’t agree with my review or opinion I fully respect their choice and don’t see that as a negative thing. Lingerie is about making you feel good, and what works for me may also work for some of my readers, but it doesn’t mean my opinions will resonate with all, and thats okay! I’m lucky to have readers that are very kind, respectful, but also like to share their own opinions.

What do you think is the hardest part of blogging/running your business? How have you coped with it?

I think finding your readership is one of the hardest things about blogging. Finding a niche audience that follows your blog and interacts with your blog can take some time. Even as a blog, rather than say a brand or shop, I feel that marketing is important. Putting your best foot forward and helping to create content that engages people and makes them want to share your posts, or subscribe to your blog.

Have you ever had any moments when you wanted to quit and throw in the towel? What kept you going forward?

I’ve definitely felt that way at times, I think many bloggers probably do. Where you question all of the work that goes into running a blog (it takes a lot more time and money than most people think) and ask yourself if it’s worth it, and if you’re contributing anything important at hand. But, what does “worth it” mean? You know? It’s different for each person, but it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of having a blog, and if at least one of your pros says “I enjoy blogging”, then that makes it worth it to me.1527485_406611779474062_280258946_n

Were there any people who helped pave the way for you to succeed in this industry?

There are many brands and shops that have been so nice to me, letting me review lingerie for them, and then sharing my posts via social media. I think the relationships that I’ve made within the lingerie industry has been so important and so vital for Scarlet’s Letter to thrive. Then there are the other lingerie bloggers who I not only respect and admire but also feel inspired by many of their posts and their passionate opinions on the lingerie industry.

What are your favorite posts that you have written? Why?

One of my favorite posts was Why Lingerie for Women in Ageless, which I wrote in the summer of 2013 and is still one of my most popular posts. I enjoyed writing the post, and feel like it shared how I truly feel about lingerie: that every woman, no matter age, color, or size, should be able to feel beautiful wearing it.

What’s something you hope to change or wish you could change about the industry or your business/blog?

As for my blog, I’ve definitely wanted to change the name to something more lingerie inspired, as I feel like my blog has kind of outgrown it’s name. As for the industry, I’d just love to see more diversity, I really can’t stress that enough. I would love to see more brands and shops using diverse models in their photoshoots and campaigns.

What has had the biggest impact (positive and/or negative) on your blog?

My readers! They’re so amazing. I get some of the nicest emails, well thought out comments and social media shares. Other lingerie blogs have helped Scarlet’s Letter grow as well, as many of them have been so kind and linked to my posts or added me to their blogroll, which means a lot to me. The lingerie community is a small but really warm place and I’m glad to be a part of it, and hope to see it continue to expand and grow.

And now for something totally different . . .

Please share your favorite recipe.

I’m sugar-free, so I don’t bake sweets often, which is hard for someone with a huge sweet tooth. One of my favorite quick recipes are these great super easy peanut butter cookies that everyone gobbles up whenever I bake them! They are flourless! One cup of peanut butter (natural or regular), 1 large egg, one cup of Splenda baking granules (or sugar, if you’re not sugar-free). 1 tsp of vanilla. Mix all ingredients until well combined. Spoonful rounded scoops onto a baking sheet, cook at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Makes about a dozen bite sized peanut butter cookies.

What’s one of your secret talents?

I like to surf!

What have you bought recently that you absolutely loved? Hated?

I recently bought the Sheer Show Pant Suit from Dottie’s Delights, and it’s swoon-worthy. Really well made and so unique and fun. As for recent purchases that left me underwhelmed, I was a bit disappointed with a few small Etsy brands that I tried recently, which is hard to believe because I nearly always have an amazing experience with Etsy lingerie designers. A great thing about handmade brands though, is there is always room for improvement, and I’ve seen many brands grow and prosper between their first collection and their second. Which is why I’m such a big fan of buying handmade, the prospect of the brand coming into it’s own and becoming even better.

How do you like to unwind after a tough day?

Books. I love to sink into a good book and disappear for awhile.

Guilty entertainment pleasure?

I try to make a promise to myself to never feel guilty over things that I enjoy, so my answer would be that I love Netflix shows, especially Orange is the New Black, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Bomb Girls. Obsessed, but totally without guilt. :)

Would you consider yourself more of an extrovert or an introvert?

I’ve always been more of an introvert, I’m more introspective. I’d rather spend a weekend with people I love, doing things that make me smile, than going to a club or party full of strangers. I’ve always been a bit melancholy, but I’m also a writer, so I think they go hand in hand. Artists are always a bit mad! ;)

Do you prefer movies or TV series (and books do not count as an answer!)?

Movies, mostly because I love a story that builds and can make me feel a range of emotions in just a few hours.

The secret to happiness is . . . Letting yourself have it! Do what makes you happy and make no apologizes about it.

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