Review: + 50% Off For You!

I switch between contact lenses and glasses in my daily life. Contacts are unobtrusive and extremely practical, but glasses can change your whole look. I have a friend who has a really good eye for them and owns several stylish pairs, and I'm always amazed how they can switch up her look.

I have a very hard time finding eye wear that I like. I actually feel best when wearing contact lenses, but I learned the hard way that I should absolutely not wear them the entire time that I'm awake. So, cue glasses. I recently became aware that my current pair looked awfully dated, so I jumped when Glasses Shop offered to send me a pair to review. Disclosure: I received a free pair of glasses from in exchange for writing a review on the blog.All opinions are 100% mine.

Their glasses online store offers a really wide selection of styles, so I couldn't decide what I wanted. The try-on feature on the website is clunky and not very helpful. So, it was a flash of inspiration that led me to do an image search for Glasses Shop reviews. It was really helpful to see the glasses frames on actual women, and this lovely lady made me fall in love with the Beatrice Wayfarer model and this one proved that they would work with a round face. The Sudbury frames was another close contender.For those with blond hair and paler complexions I think the models with clear frames look amazing.

The glasses arrived fairly quickly. I have to say that the service was really good and friendly, they even noticed a mistake I had made in my prescription. The glasses themselves look really nice, they don't look cheap and feel sturdy. I like them much more than the pair from a certain brand that I reviewed a while back (and who actually tried to tell my what to write in my review -- obviously I rebelled).

It made me really happy that the Beatrice Wayfarers were available in several different colours, I went for this deep red and gold which works with my deep autumn colouring. The interesting nose bridge is a subtle statement and makes the frames look unique. The shape is something between a wayfarer and a cat-eye/nerd. I didn't want a classic teardrop wayfarer because it optically drags the cheeks down if you have a rounder face.

One obvious minus point are the fixed nose pieces. Obviously adjustable nose pieces are not really an option when you buy online, since they need to be custom-adjusted by the optician. I was lucky that the nose pieces of the Beatrice fit me almost perfectly, and I slightly bent the bridge to make them snugger (don't try this at home kids). However if you have an unusually narrow or broad nose, you might have issues.

If your glasses slip of your nose, here are a couple of options: Nerwax is a beeswax based thing that makes the glasses grippy. Glue-on nose-pads are another weird thing that actually works. I also experimented with Sock Stop but it doesn't stay put on plastic, so I'm searching for a similar anti-slip coating product (would be amazing for wooden clothes hangers too!)

Glasses Shop glasses are very affordable, and they seem to have great promotions going on all of the time (right now it's buy one, get one free).

So in a nutshell if you are looking for affordable and stylish eye wear, I can recommend Glasses Shop. I'm really happy with the all round quality and service and can see myself buying my next pair of eye wear there. They also have a nice range of prescription sunglasses. (PS here is an amazing blog post about the iconic sunglasses in movies).

To get 50% off frames of your first order, simply use the code GSHOT50 at checkout. In case you feel like supporting me, you can use my refer-a-friend code INVNUEZ0J97TY which will in addition get me points which I plan to use to get those Sudbury Frames I have been eying.

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The New Amazing Way To Apply Mineral Foundation -- With A Blending Sponge!

I just found the absolutely best way to apply mineral foundation -- it makes my skin look flawless, and it's almost impossible to tell that I have makeup on. It's way faster and better than my kabuki and my flat top brushes.

So what do I use now to apply powder foundation? With a makeup blending sponge! I mean the ones like the Beauty Blender. I lightly wet the egg (I spritz it with rose water), tip a small amount of mineral make-up on a saucer, dab the egg in the foundation and then press it into the skin. Don't rub, but dab or stipple.
I'm in love with the results. The foundation goes on very evenly with no hard edges. The pores are beautifully smoothed out because the product gets pressed onto the skin. The sponge also uses much less product than the brushes. The skin doesn't look powdery and there are no streaks. In the winter brushes often make dry skin look flaky because the bristles lift the skin flakes; the makeup sponge doesn't disturb the flakes.
It really helps if the egg has edges with which you can maneuver around the corners of the nose and the eye area. Because the sponge is already wet, I don't need to do the final spiritz anymore.

If the wet method doesn't work for you for some reason, some people swear by applying mineral foundation with a dry sponge. Also, not all mineral foundations are equal, some may be more compatible with a blending sponge than others.

All makeup sponges like products are not created equal. I started out with dupes from DM and Müller and was pretty disappointed. The material is inferior and either swallows up the product or doesn't deposit it evenly. Then one day I found that someone had bitten off the top -- not sure if the kids or the cat is to blame, anyway I had the opportunity to get a better one. Now I have the Real Techniques Miracle Sponge and am very happy with it -- it works really well and I read that it lasts much longer than the Beauty Blender. Plus it's cheaper, and right now it's available at the DM stores. One very affordable dupe that is supposed to be almost as good as the original is the egg from HandM.

 How do you apply powder foundation? Do you own a Beauty Blender or do you have a dupe that you can recommend?

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How To Deal With Bumpy Chicken Skin On Upper Arms And Thighs

  A lot of people have chicken skin: rough, dry, sometimes dark bumps on the butt or upper arms, sometimes also on the thighs or even on the whole body. This is called Keratosis Pilaris, harmless and considered a variant of normal skin. Apparently 40% people have it so it's really common and nothing to get self-conscious about. However often the bumps can get red and irritated and then inflamed, especially because a lot of people compulsively pick the bumps. On people of colour it can cause hyper-pigmentation if the bumps get inflamed.

   The key to minimising Keratosis Pilaris is simple: exfoliating, moisturising and preventing irritation. With regular care the area can look pretty smooth, although the the condition never completely goes away.


Gently exfoliate the area two to three times a week. You can use a gentle body scrub (no walnut or apricot shell grit), or use exfoliating gloves like the Kessa, Korean scrub mitts or a dry brush. Be gentle, and repeat every few days. If you have wounds or breakouts, then skip this step till they've healed.
Chemical exfoliation works really well against Keratosis Pilaris -- use a cleanser or moisturiser with AHA or BHA. Salicylic Acid pads work pretty well. Right now I use a very simple DIY AHA toner with 5% mandaleic acid.


Keep the area really moisturised. Use a rich product like a body butter or oil after each and every shower. Coconut oil works really well for lot of people, but be sure to get the cold-pressed kind and do a patch test first. Products with Urea are pretty effective against Keratosis Piliaris.

Preventing irritation:

Skin with Keratosis Pilaris gets irritated really easily, so you need to think about what comes in touch with the area. If possible clean the area only with water, or with a very gentle sulfate-free soap or body wash. Or a gentle cleanser meant for the face. And don`t use hot water. Switch to natural laundry products for your clothes as the synthetic perfume and harsh detergents can irritate the bumps.
Upper arms Keratosis Piliaris is sometimes worsened by rubbing shoulders in a crowded commute. Loner sleeves or a light cotton shawl will protect your skin.
What else comes into contact with the area? In summer I see women in shorts with what I call the "toilet seat skin", basically bumps on the area where the upper thighs come into contact with the toilet seat. At home you can switch from harsh cleaners to white vinegar or a gentle natural product, and as a last step wipe the product away with just water. At work you can wipe the seat with a wet tissue.
Finally, non-breathable fabrics can trap sweat and irritate the area, especially the buttocks. Thongs or skimpier briefs keep the butt area well-ventilated, and cotton is better than synthetics.

Those of you with KP, what do you use to manage it? Which products and routines work for you?

Image via Unsplash

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Eco Cosmetics -- Natural Sunscreen For Dry Skin And The Body

 The Eco Cosmetics Sun Cream SPF 30 Toned is the the most affordable sunscreen so far that fits my very strict criteria -- mineral only, free from alcohol and nano-particles, doesn't leave behind a white mask. It's also certified organic (Ecocert), Vegan and not tested on animals.

I bought this little gem accidentally. I was going to get my usual Eco Cosmetics Sun Oil but was wooed by the much cheaper price of this one. Sunscreen often changes texture completely after being on the skin for a while, this one is an extreme example of that. When applied it looks like a pink-beige paste, but soon the tint starts fading and it becomes completely clear and shiny oily. It works really well on my body (which soaks up the oiliness very fast), as well as on dry skin. I have combination skin during the summer and when I apply this sunscreen on my face I use a mix of Hide-A-Pore and my current mineral foundation to mattify things. The end effect is beautifully smooth and dewy, but it may not be everyone's cup of tea. If you like matte skin or have very oily skin, you should probably use this only on your body. Normally tinted sunscreen doesn't work for me because it's too pink or beige for my very warm skin tone, but this one blends right in.

This tinted sunscreen feels extremely light on the skin and is almost fragrance free -- the light smell has reminds me a bit of fragrance-free shampoo. The texture is extremely convenient to apply -- it's is the first sunscreen where I don't have to struggle to apply enough of it on my face or struggle to blend it in. It is water resistant, so it doesn't melt off when I bike. It is also very moisturising. The only minus point is that it does not contain zinc oxide so it doesn't give you complete protection from all UVA rays, only from UVA2.
This is the first time I have seen mica used as a sunscreen ingredient. It also explains why this product evens out the skin tone so beautifully.

I compared the Sun Cream SPF 30 Toned with the Sun Oil Spray SPF 30 and found that after 30 minutes they both looked very similar, the oil was a bit more yellow. At ca 12,00€ the Tinted Sun Cream is much more affordable.

One more thing -- don't confuse this product with the untinted version!

I'm really interested in what Eco Cometics are doing with their sunscreen products, they seem to be bringing out some new ones each year and I'm hoping they will surprise me with innovative new products in the future.

Have you tried any of the Eco Cosmetics sunscreen products? What is your favourite sunscreen for your body?

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So My Favourite Organic Self-Tanner Contains Formaldehyde + Safe Alternatives

Do you use self-tanners? Do you like the look of tanned skin? I find pale skin really beautiful, pale blondes have something etheric and light about it, pale brunettes look mysterious. Personally I do like to use self-tanners on my skin because a lightly tanned skin feels more "me" -- probably because I grew up in a more sunny place than I live in now and have seen myself without a tan for the first time a couple of years ago.

Since a couple of years I have been using the Lavera Sun Sensitiv self tanning cream, which has an impeccable ingredient list... or so I thought. The November 2015 issue of the Öko Test magazine examined several self-tanning products in a laboratory and found that most contained formaldehyde. This chemical not only is a human carcinogen but also causes a number of other health issues, and is been banned in cosmetics by the EU since 2016. However there are no laws against chemical ingredients that release formaldehyde over time.

The ingredient that is rescponsible for tanning the skin is DHA, which is harmless in itself and even used to enhance the colour of meat. However with time and with warmth DHA gasses of formaldehyde. Of all the self-tanners that Öko tested examine, almost all had too high levels of formaldehyde -- including the organic brands. Most conventional brands also had other problem substances such as allergy-causing perfume, pthalates, parabens, lilial and PEGs.

Luckily there were three self-tanning products that the Öko Test laboratories found that were almost free from formaldehyde -- the one from Douglas and the one from Lavozon (Müller) got the rating of "very good". The one from Yves Roche got an "satisfactory", with points taken away because of the irritating perfume Cumarin, PEGs and aluminium. Next in line came the La Roche-Posey self tanner with a rating of only "sufficient", because of silicones and PEGs.
To prevent the release of formaldehyde all self-tanners that rely on DHA should be stored in a cool place (the fridge) and used up much sooner than their use-by date. I also found a couple of interesting DIY self-tanner recipes, they all contain some kind of fats which should keep the mixture on the skin and off your clothes. let me know if you try them! Other alternative is carrot oil (mixed with other oils).

The full article and the list of the products that were tested can be seen here.

Photo credit:  Alexander Shustov

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Weekend Reads 20-05-2016

* Lilacs are blooming and if you want to pluck some, this is how you keep them fresh.

* I really loved you're not my child, don't call me mom.

* You might be old enough to rememer The Scatman song, but did you know that he struggled all his life with a debilitating stutter for which he was bullied in school, which made him depressed and addicted to alcohol, until he found scat music? My hat goes off.

* So apparently you can easily turn leather into suede at home. Who knew!

* Homesong. A beautiful blog about a beautiful simple home. I want to move in and steal all her stuff.

* I've always been fascinated by the Korean 10-step routines, but not a huge fan of all the products with dubious ingredients. Now one of my favourite bloggers presents a zero-waste, natural version of it -- based on actual traditional Korean DIY skincare.

* The Murmuring Cottage is a beautifully curated tumblr of the most calming images ever. What are your favourite blogs or tumblrs for aesthetic inspiration? I'm looking for new ones.

* How to quick-soak chickpeas.

* An in-depth article about heels, their psychology and their history.

* War and Peace is one of my favourite books ever and one of the the greatest stories ever told, so I was pretty stoked about BBC making a miniseries based on it. It's quite good (even if not Russian enough and not philosophical enough), with some amazing actors. And Prince Bolkonsky. And that ball scene.

What great posts or blogs have you read (or written) this week? Do share in the comment section.

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How Often To Exfoliate? + A Roundup Of Gentle Exfoliating Methods

Exfoliation not only makes the skin look fresher but also unclogs pores. The "traditional" western way of exfoliation is to use a strong gritty scrub once a week. Recently the once-a-week trend is slowly getting replaced by the daily exfoliating routine where you use a very gentle method of exfoliating most days.

Gentle mechanical exfoliators:

Daily exfoliation can be mechanical or chemical. The gentlest form of mechanical exfoliation is the Konjac sponge, which is suitable for even very sensitive skin. Sometimes before applying make-up in the winter I'll go over my face with a Konjac sponge to remove and dry skin flakes. The silicon pads are also very gentle. Then there are microfiber cloths and the slightly harsher muslin cloths, often used to remove make-up -- these can be used often providing you don't use a lot of force. Clay face masks make great daily exfoliators if you massage them in gently. My favourites are the Khadi sandalwood mask, Rhassoul clay and of course almond paste -- all three are very gentle. Then there are all the face brushes -- electric like the Clarisonic and manual ones. Here I'd advise most people to err on the side of caution and use the softest possible brushes. And not every day.

Exfoliants to avoid:

I am not a huge fan of grainy/gritty scrubs like salt or sugar for the face. They can tear the skin easily and thus make more spaces for dirt and bacteria. Also, research shows that they affect the skin barrier function.  The worst offender is be the St Ives apricot scrub.
Another scrub that nobody should ever use is the plastic microbeads which are a seriously bad for the environment (polythylene or polypropylene on the ingredient list).

Chemical exfoliation:

Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids loosen the dead skin, I have explained it here. A lot of cosmetics contain smaller concentrations of acids, especially anti-acne, anti-ageing and masques). They are a godsend for skin with very delicate capillaries that can't stand mechanical exfoliation. Both AHAs and BHAs can be used daily if necessary, in lower concentrations (1-2% for BHAs, till 10% for AHAs). If you are a newbie to hydroxy acids, start with a small amount every third day and work up to every day. Dial back if your skin becomes dry and irritated.
If you are doing regular chemical exfoliation you should exfoliate mechanically 1-2 times a week to remove the loosened dead skin cells. This could be as simple as using a microfiber cloth during cleansing. If you don't chances are the skin flakes will block your pores.

The rule of thumb is -- the gentler the method, the more often it can be used. Observe your skin and see how it reacts. My skin doesn't like to be scrubbed too heavily and I had broken a lot of capillaries by using scrubs that are way too harsh (St Ives with the walnut shells). So I prefer regular but gentle exfoliation.
If you are Caucasian you must remember that your skin is statistically thinner that east Asian (or black) skin, so don't copy the aggressive cleaning techniques that you find on east Asian beauty blogs. 

Personally I like to rotate a couple of exfoliants because no two are the same. Clays draw out impurities from the skin, microfiber gathers dead skin flakes, Konjac root and the silicone pad make a nice massage, almond paste calms dry skin and hydroxy acids even out the skin tone and lighten light lines.I'd say that on the average I exfoliate every 2-3 days.

What does your exfoliation routine look like? What if your skin type and which exfoliator brings you best results?

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Martina Gebhart Cosmetics Review -- My Favourite Moisturising Products

I realised that I haven't done a post about my all-time favourite moisturisers! I have mentioned Martina Gebhardt products but haven't told you about how it's my go-to brand for basic creams and lotions.

Since over two years this brand is somewhat of a holy grail for my skin. I remember testing one of the lotions out for the first time -- waking up bleary eyed and staring with surprise at my reflection in the mirror, wondering why my skin looked so. Then I remembered that I had tried out the Martina Gebhardt Young and Active Lotion the previous evening. I rarely get that "wow, that worked" moment with skin care product, but it's there with Martina Gebhardt products. From what I gleaned from a German Facebook natural cosmetics group, I'm not the only fan of this brand. Especially women with acne had really good results.

  The ingredients are interesting and differ from the typical natural cosmetics. For one, many of the creams and lotions are alcohol-free (so many natural cosmetics contain a lot of alcohol, which my skin doesn't like). Apart from oils and herbs, there are Spagyric herbal extracts as well as gold, silver and sulphur. The products are formulated in a way that they don't need preservatives. They are also pH-neutral.
   My skin feels really moisturied and taut when I used the Martina Gebhardt products, and I don't get breakouts or flaky skin.
 Martina Gebhardt products are certified organic (Demeter quality), all are vegetarian and many of them are vegan (here is a list). They are free from Palm-oil and palm-oil derivatives.

Martina Gebhardt carries several series, each meant for a different kind of skin type or issue. I ordered a set of samples from their site (for 5€, which is then subtracted from your next order). Here is a handy guide to help you figure out what to get. If you speak German you can also write them an email or phone them, I have heard they are good at helping clients to find the right products for their specific skin issues.
I have a couple of favourites: the Young and Active series balances my dry-but-oily skin, so does the Melisse cream which additionally brightens up my face. The Salvia line is the bees knees for oily skin -- I woke up with a completely matte face after using it. After a few days I realised it was too strong  for my mixed skin though, but do try it out if you have are struggling with a truly oily skin. The mask from this series is amazing if you see a breakout coming.
If your skin is on the dry side, the Rose series will work well for you. The Shea Butter line is meant for extremely sensitive and allergic skin, it has just a couple of ingredients that are extremely gentle. Many people with Neurodermitis like it a lot. You can also use it on small babies (also the Calendula line).

Another product worth noticing is the Rose Bronzing Fluid. It is more neutral and less orangey than the bronzing fluid from Dr Hauschka. It's very light and doesn't moisturises though, it's meant to lightly even out the skin tone and add a little golden glow. If you like forest-y scents you will like the Wood Massage Oil. Another product I loved was the Herbs face and décolletée mask. The Martina Gebhardt hand cream is probably the richest one I have ever tested -- deal for very dry hands.
In the winter I prefer the cream versions of the products. They have a really wholesome quality about them, and they keep my face from getting flaky. In summer I usually go for lotions, unless my skin is feeling dry. Both lotions and creams are rather greasy so I use them in the evening. My skin drinks it all up and I wake up with almost no sebum (when I don't use them for a while, I wake up with an extremely oily T-zone). If I want something really light for the day, I use the Rose eye cream all over my face. Around my eyes I prefer richer products than this, like the Avocado eye cream.

  There are a couple of other Martina Gebhardt products that I haven't tested yet -- the summer series, the Neroli cream and the ampoules. I also have not tested the cleansers yet, but they look very interestingly they do not contain surfactants.

   The prices are not exactly rock-bottom, but they are affordable, especially because a little of the product goes a long way. Online and in some brick-and-mortar stores you can find the smaller versions of the products. In Germany they are available in many organic stores, in the US via BeWellStayWell.

   If you have tried Martina Gebhardt products I'd love to know what your experiences are. What have you used? Right now I have started using the Ginseng cream to revive my skin after the winter.

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These Medicaments Make Your Skin Mor Susceptible To Sun Damage + Foods That Help Protect Your Skin From UV Rays

There are a lot of medicaments that make the skin more sensitive to the UV rays of the sun, which puts you at a higher risk of sunburn, ageing and skin cancer. The full list of those medicaments can be found here, they include common ones like Ibuprofen / Advil, oral contraceptives . Here are a couple of lists: 1 and 2. Remember that medicaments can have different names in different countries and that a brand name drug often has generic versions.

So what do you do if you have to take those medicines? If your skin is already very sensitive to the sun or if you are at higher risk of skin cancer, you should check with your doctor if an alternative drug would work for you. Obviously this is not always possible, in this case you should take extra care to protect your skin from the sun.

I also noticed that some people have a habit of popping an Ibuprofen every time they have a headache instead of asking themselves what is the cause behind them. I had two period in my life where I had severe headaches; the first time it was because my blood pressure dropped really low due to dehydration, the second time was many years later and and Osteopathy treatment got rid of them completely.

Basics of sun protection:

* Women need around 1/6 of a teaspoon of sunscreen for just the face (the 1/4 teaspoon recommendation is for men with the biggest surface area). Doing 2-3 layers ensures you apply  it evenly.
* Sunscreen of a minimum of SPF 30!
* Hats, parasols, shade.
* If you want bronze skin, self-tanners are great.
* Zinc oxide is the most effective sunscreen agent, followed by titanium dioxide. Chemical sunscreen breaks up within a few hours and needs to be reapplied several times a day.

Foods that help:

There are some foods that increase the skin's resistance against UV rays. The list includes foods rich in lycopene like tomatoes, watermelon, guavas, papaya (link to study); and foods rich in vitamins C and D, beta-carotene and Omega-3. Astaxanthin, a carotenoid that 
looks like a very promising UVB absorber, supplements exist which are made out of microalgea or Phaffia yeast.
  According to the studies, the effects of these foods start kicking in after 10 weeks of consumption. They are not as effective as sunscreen, but I think that every little helps. Besides all these things are really good for you, so you can't go wrong.
Photo credit: Jessica Rabbit

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G and GG cups – Do they Always Stand For "Get A Reduction"? (Guest Post by BFCidade)

Guest post by my bra-blogging pal from Bra Fitting Cidade and Soutienocracia
Reblog, because I think it needs to be seen.

Internet and Youtube are full of stupid videos made by people who are complete ignorants about bra-fitting.  Just like this one for example:
It’s totally idiotic, and if you start reading the comments there you’ll come to the conclusions that 95% of them are even more moronic (let’s not be afraid to use this word) than the film itself.  What videos like these do is only to reinforce harmful stereotypes that having bra sizes with cups over DD is something strange, abnormal  etc.(here you can put any other negative adjective). Generally these stereotypes force women to wear bras with D or DD cups (which are considered “normal”) and much too wide bands. Even if any of these women who wear bad sizes happens to enter a store with a real bra-fitting, she’s often shocked to hear that she should wear a 34FF or 34G instead of 38D that she always used to wear, what’s more she may get hysterical saying – I can’t/don’t have such big breasts. And refuse to wear a correct size because of that. This is what we call a “letterphobia” – this fear of wearing DD+ cups.
We  fight with these painful stereotypes. The Lobby organises numerous bra-fitting events and members try to promote the idea wherever and whenever possible. I’d like to present you the latest initiative by user butters77 -- G and GG busts. Dear ladies, look at this photograph.

Don’t believe the stereotypes – G cup is a size like any other

   The caption under the photo says: Don’t believe the stereotypes – G cup is a size like any other –   (click on photo to see it big – you can zoom it more than twice there). The point is – all the women shown on it wear G or GG cups with different bands. What’s more, almost all of them wear British G/GG cups, which means if they wanted a continental bra size they would have to go for J, K or L cups
   Are these huge, enormous breasts? No, as you can see they vary in size. There are some smaller breasts that sport 60G or 60GG and some bigger ones with 85G but none of them reaches the proportions that were show in this idiotic video from Youtube.
   And the bras themselves. Aren’t they beautiful? There’s a huge difference between lingerie that you can buy in so called “normal” shops that don’t carry all the sizes and the ones that do have them available (no matter if they are online or real ones). The bras that I an M were given  when we were doing the research here in Lisbon didn’t even resemble  the ones from the photo by butters77. Frankly speaking they were ugly (though it’s also a matter of taste, and as they say, you don’t discuss taste) . And much more expensive than these colourful, lacy bras that we normally buy.
   Ladies, take a look at your breasts. Look around yourselves too. Look at the breasts of your mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins, girlfriends etc. How many of you have similar busts but yet choose to squeeze them into cups that are too small for them and bands that are much too wide and don’t provide support?

This post appeared originally on Bra Fitting Cidade

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