Category: product review

Just What You Needed: Recycled Leather Journal

Writers, this one is for you!

It’s time to upgrade your old journals and notebooks. This Cool Cowhide Writers Muse is courtesy of the great people at Groovy Groomsmen Gifts and it is the perfect addition to your journal stash!


No need to carry around that annoying metal or plastic spiral that gets snagged on everything anymore. You’ll even impress those around you when writing in public and that last part is just a bonus! According to the site: the journal is recycled cowhide leather, contains 100 sheets (200 sides) and unlined. It’s available in brown leather and sizes at 7″ X 5″ X 0.5″. The customization is laser engraved. 

There are lots of other incredible products offered by Groovy Groomsmen Gifts like cuff links, watches, and even iPhone covers.  Whether you’re planning a wedding or looking for gifts for friends and family, they have it all. The perfect place to get customized gifts for anyone any wedding/party attendees or just pickup something for yourself.



A Gift For Your Girls

It’s that time of year again…wedding season!

Now that the Royal Wedding Day is over, you can go back to planning YOUR big day!

I know. I know. It’s dreadful. It’s stressful. It’s expensive.


Keep remembering that it’s a celebration of family, friends, life, and love.

Plus, I’m always here to help you out with some of that stress so you can cross off something on that to-do list!

Remember this post, Gifts For Your Guy? Have a look to refresh your memory. Well, those same people are bringing us a website to help us all. Check out Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique, here you’ll be able to find the perfect gift for all the lovely bridesmaids in your wedding party!


My favorite (I was able to pick) is the Dazzling Duo $42.

Click photos to enlarge


It comes with a silky smooth cotton floral robe (your choice of colors: Soft Pink, White, Burgundy, and Navy) and a glittering tumbler (colors are Gold or Silver Sparkle.)  Both items come in a customized keepsake gift-box with a magnetic closure.


The robe and tumbler can be customized with the receivers initial, also your choice of color so each recipient can have their favorite color imprinted on the robe and tumbler for even MORE personal touch.



By the way, the robe is available for us curvy girls in XL (plus size) which I ordered. It fits perfectly with lots of room, as a size 18-20, I could probably go to a smaller size and still have room. Just know that it will fit all your curvy and plus size bridesmaids/friends.

Bonus: The gifts on Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique can also be purchased for any holiday or gift for that special lady in your life…trust me, she’ll love it!



Gifts For Your Guy

It’s that time of year again! Time for packing the shopping malls in search of the perfect gift for that perfect guy. Easier said than done of course. Well, I’m always here to help you with your shopping trip. Today, is a special feature for a great site called and yes, they’re really GREAT gifts!


Below is just ONE of their great gifts:



Perfect Strangers (Engraved Shot Glass & Multi-tool Knife Set)

This is the perfect gift for the guy who probably already has everything. With this personalized touch, he’ll be glad to show this off to everyone! The set features a shot glass and your choice of a knife or multi-tool that comes in a keepsake wooden box. All of which can be engraved.

I personally, opted to receive the shot glass and multi-tool not engraved, only because I was unsure of what to put on it. (Of course, totally regretting it now…just means I need to make a purchase for myself in the coming months.) 

Speaking of other items, Groovy Guy Gifts has lots of cool items and great groomsmen gifts for those in wedding planning mode.

This wooden bottle opener can be engraved for everyone in your crew! Find it here: Snap A Cap



Full disclosure: I was given the opportunity to pick an item from the site, have it engraved and sent to me. 

Endless Summer VoxBox from Influenster

Hey, I got an Influenster VoxBox! Feels like forever since I’ve had the pleasure of getting such goodies.


And goodies they were! See more of what’s included…



Max Factor

High Precision Liquid Eyeliner + Masterpiece Max Mascara.

OK, this eyeliner tip is absolute genius! I’ve used countless liquid liners over the years but none like this! The shape allows you to get both a thick line AND a thin line just by simply turning the liner. There’s no hard work…just simply turn the liner in your hand, it’s all about how you hold it to create the perfect line you want! Downside to this great tip….it isn’t soft at all. It feels like a rough tip marker. I would love for this to go on smoother.

As for the mascara…it did show up as promised “four times more volume on natural lashes” so that’s a plus. It didn’t clump either…double plus! All the pics I took didn’t show how happy I was with using both of these which is a bummer but overall, I’m glad to have tried both.



Numi Tea

Organic Turmeric, Jasmine Green, and Pu-erh

Yes, I love me some coffee but I DO drink lots of tea as well. To be perfectly honest, I’ve only tried the the caffeine free Jasmine Green Tea…definitely floral and fragrant. It had a nice taste to it but not my cup of tea (no pun intended.) I’d love to try all the flavors of this brand one day…when I’m back on caffeine again. After visiting their website, I love everything that they’re doing for other communities and their blog with tons of recipes and such. Be sure to check them out.



Not Your Mother’s Way to Grow Leave-In Conditioner

Love leave-in conditioners! As a part-time curly hair girl, having a good leave-in on the days I go heat free and air dry is a MUST! The smell was nice and light…didn’t feel like it was weighing my already thick strands down. Bottom line, this just might be a new fave for me.



Seche Nail Polish


This polish was…meh. The application was smooth and I absolutely loved the fast drying top coat but the manicure didn’t last more than a couple of days. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary during the time I had it on but it certainly started to chip on the SECOND day of wear. By the weekend, I was peeling it off by hand without polish remover. Not sure if I’d actually spend money on this brand of polish in the future. Perhaps, I might get one bottle just to see if it holds up better…I’ll keep you posted.



Iron Tek Essential Protein

Despite being a “protein shake” (and chocolate…personally not a fan of chocolate, I know, I can hear you all screaming at me now) this shake was quite delicious! I already have shaker bottles so I used that one Saturday morning to mix up and I was good to go! I’d definitely buy these in other flavors like vanilla and please for the love of all things great, make a strawberry flavor!


Sooo yea! Crazy good goodies!

Disclaimer: These items were given to me for free by Influenster for my honest opinion.  

Friday Faves: Revlon Affordable Lips To Pucker Up To

Now that you guys have been patient…

We’re all caught up!

Ready to see what I’m crushing on?

Of course you are!


After falling in love with COLORBURST Balm Stain by Revlon a year or two ago, I almost jumped at the chance to try out their matte lip colors! Fast-forward to my attention span being as short as a millisecond, I totally forgot about picking one up on my many (many many many) trips to Target until now. Better late than never right? Right! Here’s my fall go-to lip color…a gorgeous deep Merlot-grapey-yummy color.


Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in  “Shameless” no.215


Revlon has an array of colors for their COLORBURST collection. I’ve found that almost all of them work well with any skin tone.


The matte trend for lips has its moments of perfection and downfall…have a powwow to see which fits your lips and find that key to unlocking blissfully kissable lips.

I’ve wanted to try this since I first laid eyes on Emma Stone in the ads! Yes, I might be one of those people (the best kind of consumer) who buys something because a celebrity endorses it. Not saying I’ll buy anything just because of that reason but I will buy anything the gorgeous and lovable Emma Stone and Olivia Wilde likes.  Not to mention it’s gorgeous color for under $10! Yes, please!

emmastone2Photo via Revlon

Also on the “Why I love It” list…

Hello! It’s like 6 bucks at any drugstore for starters!  Even though it’s a “matte” lip color, it’s actually very nourishing. It’s not something that will dry your lips out, in fact, you can rub your lips together and the color stays put. The shape is perfect for any purse or wallet. Never a need to use a sharpener…just twist the bottom and voila!

If you’ve purchased any of the Revlon stains or balms….what’s your favorite? Let’s share our goodies!

Living The Dream: Writing my way to becoming my own boss



It’s rare that I publish a non-fashion or style post but today is just one of those days. You guys are going to learn a little or a lot more about me (depending on how far of a tangent I go on lol)

It’s been two whole years since Curves And Coffee was born and a huge thanks to those of you who’ve followed me on this exciting journey! It started with a dream and now readers from all over the world visit! I never intended for this to become a profession. It started as more of a hobby until I figured out the next phase in my life while in between grad school programs.

Who knew that next phase would actually include USING my degree in communication to promote self-love and share my love of fashion with the world?! I’m just glad that there’s a visitor here now and then.

As time continues, I’ve started to think about what’s in store for Curves And Coffee instead of what’s next for me. There’s NO way to predict the next steps..not even a bit! What I can share with you, is that, Curves And Coffee will become my full-time project. I want to produce a great lifestyle site both visually and intellectually, be able to travel and spread the word of self-love and a sense of community among the curvy world. Some day, I’d even like to open a small café that serves the finest coffees (of course) with possibly a boutique right beside it. One day, I’m gonna need money for all of this!!

Pretty sure by now you’re wondering, “why is she sharing all of this?” Well, a few weeks ago, while shopping on eBay (yes, I have a shopping problem) I noticed an advertisement for this company called Kabbage. The ad said something about owning your own company and it immediately caught my eye. It was like a sign, brightly blinking telling me to go ahead and go! Of course, me being the forgetful person  that I am…time passed and nothing ever came of me going further than browsing and reading their testimonials.




Then, an email arrived from one of the Kabbage community managers asking if I would be interested in sharing my dreams. That’s DEFINITELY another blinking sign. Needless to say, I accepted the “challenge” to share my dreams with you guys so here we are! No, Kabbage didn’t offer me an instant starter loan for this post…it’s just me sharing this pretty cool company!


What is Kabbage?

Kabbage is a like a lending bank but better! Instead of using just your credit score like other lending sources, Kabbage allows its’ borrowers to use their company accounts’ that are already established. Kabbage provides small business loans for fellow entrepreneurs in a very unique way. You can see part of their process in the diagram below.




See, it’s THAT simple to get approved for your start-up or “already” thriving business. I once created a business plan for my company way before those “dreams” ever popped up…it was actually during an Entrepreneur  course in undergrad. The fact that my brain still retains most of that course is pure wizardry! I’m fully equipped to branch out make Curves And Coffee an official company and get stamped with a big hunk of LLC, so am I waiting on?




Influenster #GoVoxBox – Product Review – Next Step FIt N Full – Playtex® Sport® Fresh Balance – AquaSpa – Blue Diamond Almonds


Thanks to Influenster, I’m able to check out some pretty awesome products and share them with you guys! I’m your official “lab rat” today…have fun!


Influenster boxes aren’t just “given”, I do have to put in some work and be an active member within the Influenster community. Just a small task when you think about it. Anywho, take a look back here, to watch me unbox the Influenster GoVoxBox and see everything that was included in the #GoVoxBox.


After having this box for almost two weeks…





I’ve managed to test almost everything. Read on to see the good, the bad, and the ugly about this VoxBox.




Triad Orthotic and Pedi-Rock by ProFoot

Ahhh walking on cloud nine! It’s summer, which means it’s time for toesies to get some much needed sun and Profoot arrived just in time. The pedi-rock is amazing! It’s soft and squishy which allowed me to get a good grip while rubbing it on the bottom of my feet. The best part is the shape of it…it’s really made like a rock but a soft rock and it gets into the arches perfectly! Also by Profoot and included in the #GoVoxBox, was the Triad Orthotic. It’s an insert that claims to help with knee, leg and back pain. I suffer from and receive treatment for lower back pain so I’m not sure if these will cure my pain but they are very soft insoles for my espadrilles which have ZERO support. So far so good. #GoProFoot

Next up…

Blueberry Almonds by Blue Diamond

Flavored almonds. Yep. It’s a real thing! So glad this was included in the #GoVoxBox, otherwise, I never would’ve walked down the nuts aisle and bought blueberry almonds. The not-so-healthy Rena only eats almonds when they’re mixed in Poppycock caramel popcorn. Stop judging me with those judgy eyes. Almonds are usually the hardest nut to eat…literally.  Blue Diamond deserves a round of applause for these because they were delicious! Sooooo good that I’ll be heading to the store soon to buy the other fruit flavored almonds by Blue Diamond! They were sweet yet salty and fruity but nutty and nothing but yummy in my tummy! Guess what I found out about Blue Diamond Almonds………COFFEE FLAVORED. The end. Winner winner chicken dinner!


Next Step Fit N Full Protein Shake by Vitamin Shoppe

When I think of protein shakes, I think of guys who live at the gym and way too tan with spiky hair. Maybe I’ve watched too much Jersey Shore way back when but that’s the image they left me with. Needless to say, I’m not a Muscle Milk drinker. Shocked and almost appalled I was stuck with some chalky substance to try from Influenster and Vitamin Shoppe, I shied away from tasting this until I saw the cool shaker bottle! This bottle has a huge jax inside that will help shake up all that chalky stuff (you can remove the jack by unscrewing the top). The Vitamin Shoppe was kind enough to include three flavors: Fresh Berries, Swiss Chocolate, and French Vanilla. My taste buds allowed me to try the French Vanilla…verdict…eh not my favorite thing to drink but it’s not the worst thing I’ve tasted. Since this was my first time EVER trying a protein shake, I’ll give it another go with the other two flavors. As far as the shake being a meal replacement, eh, I tried this in the middle of the day so I wasn’t planning on eating much anyway…maybe for breakfast this could be perfect!

Don’t forget…

Aqua Spa relax Body Creme in Lavender + Chamomile

Ok, soooo, my sensitive skin is always leery of trying new things but for the sake of beauty and giving you guys an honest review, I tried it. The scent of this creme was on point…not overpowering like most lavender scented lotions. You know, the ones that practically burn your nose hairs (if you have them, girls are all made from sugar so we don’t have that problem.) Since I do have uber-sensitive skin, my feet were the guinea pigs of this operation and they were in absolute bliss! I decided to apply the creme after a long day at the pool, the texture was thick so even though the directions say “apply lavishly” you really don’t need to. A little goes a very long way.


Playtex Sport Fresh Balance Tampons

Upon opening the #GoVoxBox, there was a fresh scent that flowed into the air. Once I  emptied all of the contents, I figured it was the Aqua Spa lotion but no. It was the Playtex box. The box says “odor shield” & “lightly scented”…gonna have to disregard “lightly” because EVERYTHING from the box now smells like whatever flowery fresh scent Playtex dipped these in. Now, don’t get me wrong, as a woman, when it’s that time…fresh is ALL you want to feel and smell like but I’m gonna have to pass on this scent alone. Women have to be careful when it comes to scented feminine products because they ultimately disrupt your pH balance, not to mention they may irritate the most sensitive area of your body. As an Always and Kotex lover, gonna have to stick with what I know and just say no to Playtex and their heavily scented tampons.

That’s all for now stylish sweets! Hope you enjoyed these reviews!



UnBoxing the Influenster #GoVoxBox Box

Say that five times really fast!




This Influenster Vox Box is all about getting it going…by “it” I totally mean your body. I definitely get lazy every now and then, especially now after having surgery a month ago. My body just wants to chill so this opportunity came at the perfect time!


I created a video of everything in the box, have a looksie…


(video opens in new window with music, don’t be alarmed 🙂



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Well, there goes all my excuses. Time to give my curves some extra loving!



City Cosmetics: Product Review of City Lights Radiance Perfecting Cream (Dark Spot Corrector)

As a beauty junkie and product hoarder, I’m always looking for the “next best thing.” When that best thing happens to be a “dark spot corrector” you have to do your research! The last thing you want is a product filled with things you can’t pronounce that’ll be bad for you. Insert me… Your research guru!


The first task at hand was to find as many of these products were out there (um, a lot!) Second thing…narrow that list down to the exact “target spots” I wanted to reach. Third, read up on those products as best as I could. What I found was interesting and disturbing. Lots of products contain chemicals that are extremely harmful to your health like mercury. Yes, mercury! So once I found products without bad chemicals, I found lots of other reviews on dark spot correctors and went from there!


City Cosmetics seemed to make their way on many of the “good for you” and “best dark spot corrector” lists. Of course if a company and one of their products is making the rounds across the beauty world as being one of the best, it has to be some truth in that, right?




Let’s find out!


I decided to contact City Cosmetics PR department (on my own) to ask for a sample and that’s what I got! City Lights Radiance Perfecting Cream came via mail just a few days later.





Pros of using this cream are obviously the results! There isn’t a big change but definitely a slight lightening effect on my dark spots. The scent of the cream is great. It isn’t sweet or medicine-y just a light fragrance. It has a sparkle effect when it comes out of the bottle but once it’s completely rubbed into your skin it’s almost undetectable!





The directions were to use the product twice a day after washing and drying your face. Apply to target areas and/or as a total face illuminator. According to the reviews, some people saw results within two weeks of using the cream, users saw a change in their skin. Now, me being the non-routine person that I am, of course I missed some mornings and some nights within two weeks of using the cream but I made up for it by continuing to use it. I’m currently on the third week!



This is a before and after…you can see how the dark spot is spreading out and slowly dissipating. I tried to show ONLY the target area and this mark has been annoying me for months and it’s finally starting to disappear! I’m a believer!


Having a darker tone and sensitive skin, any type of acne I get will leave me with a dark mark whether I mess with it or not. The marks I have now are now being treated using the cream. I have taken “selfies” of the progress and I will update you guys as I continue.


The verdict so far…









Face Forward: Julep’s Mask Noir Facial Review

Julep Maven’s October box came with tons of goodies! And no, this sugar loving chick isn’t talking about the candy corn. I’m talking about the facial mask that was tucked in with the polish! Julep’s MASK NOIR with Power Cell Complex to be exact.

  • A peel-off mask of gentle kaolin clay and black volcanic ash.
  • Features and Benefits of Mask Noir:
  • Black volcanic ash boasts anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial peptides.
  • Kaolin Clay is as gentle as it is deep-cleaning.
  • Incredibly clean, visibly brightened skin upon removal
  • Enriched with Julep’s proprietary Power Cell Complex™, a trio of skin-boosting superstars:
  • Rosehip seed oil – a nourishing oil (and natural source of vitamins A and C) that helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and post-acne marks. Contains natural fatty acids that bond moisture to skin
  • Malvaceae Lipid Extract™ – a lipid complex that provides immediate and long-lasting hydration and works to rebuild skin structure from the inside out
  • Green coffee bean oil – a natural anti-inflammatory that promotes cell turnover

Now, I’m pretty decent when it comes to French…blanc is white and noir is black. Seriously, I know that — but for some odd reason, “noir” didn’t quite register in my brain as quickly as it should’ve. First squeeze of the tube and thick “black goo” comes out (insert minor freak out) then I keep squeezing…MORE BLACK GOO! Then, it dawned on me…duh, Rena, it’s supposed to be black. NOIR. We’re just gonna say breakfast was skipped that day…hence the lack of brain cells smh.

Anywho…let’s see how using the mask turned out:

I’ve only used it twice so far which isn’t enough time to see a real difference in my skin. If following the instructions correctly, the mask should be applied twice per week so I’ll try my best to add this to my beauty routine. After the first use, my skin was definitely soft after peeling the mask off. I didn’t put on any moisturizer…only because I wasn’t going out anywhere but it definitely didn’t feel dry or dehydrated.

The cons of this MASK NOIR…it is messy! My nails were black, my sink was black, my cotton face cloth was black….everything was BLACK! Once the mask dries and you peel it off, there WILL be excess “residue” on your face that should be rinsed off. I soaked my face cloth in warm water and rinsed…well scrubbed with a little arm power (tad exaggerated). Nothing too serious but the little specks of “black goo” were everywhere.

Final thoughts…

I like it! After two tries my skin did feel softer and that’s a claim to its’ fame so that’s a plus! As far as the other things its supposed to do…just gotta wait and see.