Tuesday, October 30, 2012

J. Crew: Collection Cashmere Polka-Dot Sweater and OOTD.

Hello, and Good Evening!

We were spared loss of power, loss of trees, and all the other ills that typically come from severe weather, so I am very thankful for that, however, I do want to express my deepest sympathies for all who did not fare so well during Hurricane Sandy.  I am saying prayers for all of you affected, and my greatest wish for you all is that life returns to normal as quickly as possible.

We are headed back home tomorrow, just in time for trick-or-treating, but since I have a spare moment I thought I would review a sweater I recently received during the last 30% off promo that J. Crew had, the Collection Cashmere Polka-Dot Sweater.  This will also from now on be referred to as the Zooey sweater, as the whole reason I purchased it was because of her (Ms. Deschanel, that is).

We were watching New Girl about two weeks ago, and Zooey's character on the show (who we all know is just her playing herself--SO kooky!) was wearing this sweater

Mr. Dina (he of the white tennis shoes brigade) announced, "ooh, I love her sweater, so cute!"

I side-eyed him in disbelief.

"You do know that is a J. Crew sweater, right?"

"Yeah, it's so nice.  I love it!"


And because I had my computer open, I sought it out, discovering it had been on sale, but of course, because it was SO CUTE, all the JCAs of the world had already snapped it up.

But two days later, the sale had a replenishment, and lo and behold, I saw the sweater, in my size, in the SO CUTE color, that it had an additional 30% off, and it was sort of no-brainer...I could at least try it for my hubby.  ;)

Size extra small.  I was nervous about the size.  Even though most of my cashmere of the past two years has been extra-small, I had read that J. Crew was stepping away from vanity sizing, so I feverishly checked all the JCA reviews of this sweater (there are many), and then I decided I should be okay (but definitely aware I may need to do a return).

It turned out that it fit great, length, through the shoulders, in the waist, and through the bust.

It is also very soft, and nicely made.  I wore it all day today and have not seen any pilling, so that's a bonus in the world of J. Crew cashmere (collection or not).

The dots are actually sewn into the green cashmere, you can't feel it, but when the garment is turned inside out you can see the construction.  I suspect this is part of why it was a bit pricier than other cashmere garments.  However, the full price was very high, so I was happy that I was able to pay around half that, which works far better for my budget.

I had started my day out with the idea that I would need the down vest, but it became very clear that with the wind, the scarf would need to be on as well, so as to cut down on the chill a bit (when the wind wasn't blowing, it was 55 degrees and sunny, but with the wind, it felt like 45).

Anyhow, this Zooey sweater is currently in the sale section with the wine/pink colored version, and the grey/black version is still full-priced.

Hope this helped someone out!  :)

Boden Spring 2013 Pick:

(I explained why I am doing one preview pick of the day in each post when I wrote this post--under #3.  Of course I totally forgot to do a pick yesterday, so I will just do two now.  Sigh.  Mommy brain.)

Adelaide Dress.  This dress is very different, and in a good way.  It has Boden's typical print frenzy, but in a very nice, easygoing shape that works for many body types.  And unlike a lot of Boden frocks, this one has a waist that sits at where most ladies waists are.  Since only a few women can pull off the empire waist, it is nice that Boden is offering options that work for more people.

Draycott Coat.  Since this is a J. Crew centered post, I thought I would pull out a coat that very much reminds me of "Old School J. Crew."  Help me, ladies, which coat is it that is similar to this one?  I think it was yellow and had a bow closure at the neckline?  Am I just crazy?  Anyhow, this is one stunning coat, and the tabbed waist detail is very slimming and lady-like.

That's it!  Talk with you tomorrow!

Have a great night!

Monday, October 29, 2012

OOTDs: Aqualiscious.

Good Monday morning.  I would typically be running (what seems like) a thousand errands on most Mondays, but since this week is clearly atypical, I am sitting here in my PJs in northwestern Georgia working on my blog. 

Reading the Washington Post, I see that the hurricane is truly striking the region between southern Virginia upwards to Maine pretty hard.  I normally veer towards sticking things out, but am very glad we made the decision to drive here to be with Mr. Dina's relatives instead.  And in some ways, more work can get done here than there, especially for Mr. Dina, who can do his writing as long as there is power and my laptop with a strong Wifi connection.

Going to keep this post short and sweet, though, because I do want to at least make dinner for our relatives as a way of saying thank you, and because it is "Cheesy Shrimp, Grits, and Sausage," I need to make a grocery run to get all the ingredients.

Onto the "aqualiscious:"
Speaking of making yummy food, I was wearing this outfit last week when I made Shrimp Po'Boys for Mr. Dina.  (He love shrimp, can you tell?)

I had been meaning to wear this abstract floral scarf again, but wanted it to be with an outfit that was tonally similar (unlike the first time I wore it), so I brought out a sweater I scored on super sale from Anthro last winter.

I did notice the pants (that's the jakarta print, btw, same as one of my favorite J. Crew dresses) have the same brown color as the scarf, so I decided the prints could work well enough together.

I am so not a food blogger, but looking at this sandwich makes me want to make it again.  Sadly the remoulade would likely be too spicy for the kids here, so I will hold off and make something a bit more kid-friendly.

Yes, this is a slightly boring outfit, but it is all aqua.  ;)  I wore this around the house.  I don't even think we left the house that day (it was a Sunday and I had gone to church the night before). 

The shirt is a Liberty print, though, from J. Crew's Spring 2008 collection.

Okay, that's all. 

If you are in the path of the storm, stay safe, stay warm, and hopefully if you lose power, it will come back on quickly. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Boden Weekly Review Roundup: Sixties Special.

Good morning, all!  I hope everyone is having a lovely Sunday, and if you are in the path of Hurricane Sandy/Frankenstorm that you and yours are safe and sound.  We are technically in the path of the storm, but after last summer's derecho and the Snowmaggedon of 2010, we made the executive decision to leave town and stay with our relatives in western Georgia.  I know my dad is only three miles away and his house rarely loses power, but even with that insurance, and as much as I love my dad, my childhood home's small three bedroom/one bath would be very cramped with all five of us plus my dad, my stepmom, and my brother.  Hence our trip to see Mr. Dina's sister...which we will chalk up to a mini-vacation if our power doesn't go out.  But since we lose power if the dog down the street sneezes on the power line, I have a feeling our decision will be justified.  ;)

Anyhow, I have a portable hotspot on my new cellphone, so I figured I could publish this week's BWRR on the road.  (And a big ole thank you to I-81 for their cell towers!)

Alrighty, so here goes.

1.  On Friday Boden sprang their Spring (get it?) Preview on us, and from the looks of it (go here to see more), there are some very lovely and classic pieces out there for us.  I am seeing bits of Boden circa 2008 or 2009, just cleaned up and simpler.  I am also seeing more of what they gave us this fall, very mod/retro shapes with bits of edge (well, edgy for Boden).  From what I am hearing from all of you, there is quite a lot that you see that you love, too.  I hope Boden can keep this momentum going, it is great to see our favorite purveyor of womenswear finding a very solid ground to stand on, tying what they used to be with what they hope to become.

2.  CC gave us a code that can be used for 20% off with free ship and returns, so definitely enjoy that if you decide to pre-order anything.  The code (PRV3) expires on November 9, so you have a lot of time to decide on what you would like.

3.  Speaking of pre-ordering, I am going to publish a "picks" post, but I will actually publish that on November 8, the day before the code expires.  Until then, I will put one "pick" from the collection at the bottom of each post I publish daily, starting with today's post and continuing on until two Thursdays from now.  I normally wouldn't do this, but with my wonky crazy schedule, it will help me get it done, rather than try to get all of them up at once, this will help my brain work through all the pretty one piece at a time.

4.  A few days ago I was contacted by the author of Poppy's Style and she invited me to join Avenue 57, which is a website where women can publish their outfits daily.  It emphasizes a supportive atmosphere amongst women who love fashion and being stylish but also want ideas on how to dress for their own unique body types.  I have joined and I happily inserted my body type as I wanted to be sure that not only could I search for other women with "big thighs," but that they could search and find me as well.  It is a UK-based website, but they welcome all from around the world.  Definitely join, especially if you don't have a blog but have a desire to show off your outfits daily! 

5.  Right now I have a coupon in my sidebar for 15% off with free ship and returns.  I have also included the coupon down at the bottom of this post for all mobile users.  That is the best that is around right now, however I did receive a catalog with a "20% off any order of $175 or higher," so if you have one of those catalogs, make sure you put the code into the shopping bag if you plan to buy more than $175 worth of Boden.

Okay, now that the wall of text is done, onto the reviews!  :)

Regular Boden:
Sixties Heels.  Ooh, look at the pretty.  Love the point, love the delicate buckle, love the perfect patent leather. 

Okay, that's not a review, more a love letter, but yum.  Yum.

Alright...now for the review part.  I ordered these in a size 41, unsure if I would need to send them back for a size 40, which I end up having to do around 60% of the time.  Boden's shoes always run too long and too wide for me.  This time the shoe is a great length, perfect for my size 9.5 (J. Crew ballet flat, anyhow).  The shoe is a titch wide in the heel, but I am going to give it another wear or two before I inset a heel pad to make it a bit more narrow, as the extra width is not bothering me right now.

The buckle can be adjusted, which I may end up doing as I can also try and get it to be a bit more narrow that way.

The shoe is all leather, from the upper, through to the insole, and the sole.  Very well made, gorgeous patent leather, and exceedingly comfortable.  I could have worn these all day as a teacher and not taken them off. 

The height of the heel is very small, maybe 2 inches, and well-balanced with the ball of the foot, so the height is not even close to causing discomfort.

I adore tapered cropped pants, but when worn with a flat can make me look stumpy, so the bit of a lift that these heels give me help my silhouette a lot.

These pants are the Tie waisted tapered trousers from Pure Collection in black (I did a review of them in navy, and since they were such a great price and a staple, I bought them in black).

The top and cardi are fairly old, but since I love them, they still make rounds in my closet.

Detail of the lower-half of my outfit.

Sixties Heels
Sixties Heels.  Nice long wait for these in red and the mid-brown color, but black is back in stock--woo hoo!

Funnel Neck Jacket
Funnel Neck Jacket.  I wore this recently and blogged about it here.  :)

Jewel Neck Top
Jewel Neck Top.  Shopwithm did an amazing review of this top here at this post.

I was also e-mailed a review by a blog friend, Ann, who had this to say about this gorgeous top:

I received the Jewel Neck Top, and it's beautiful.  It's made of a very light, nice, high-quality fabric and is fully lined (very comfortable and not itchy).  The impressive thing about it is the jewel neck...it's really well done, goes all the way around, and the neckline where the jewels are is thicker than the rest of the top.  It is shaped and structured, and there seems to be a layer of something else inside the neckline.  I'm not describing it well, but I wanted to try because this doesn't show in the photo or the description.  It really contributes to the quality look and feel of the top.  I ordered my usual Boden size and it fit well.  This top was still on the pricey side ($110.40 after discount), but I feel it was worth the money and will enjoy it for years to come.

Skinny Jeans
Skinny Jeans.  Lou wears these in loganberry cord with a very pretty Anthro blouse and adorable booties from a French supermarket (?!?!?).  Love!

Printed Scarf
Favourite Cropped Cardigan
Printed Scarf and Favourite Cropped CardiganLou wears both of these with one of my all time favorite Anthro skirts (the Tria skirt from winter 2010).

Thank you to Shopwithm, Ann, and Lou for their reviews this week!

Spring Preview Pick of the Day:

Ballerinas.  At $78 (before any discounts are applied), we are looking at a fairly simple, definitely derivative (hello copy of J. Crew's Cece ballet flats), but very versatile pair of shoes.  And because the price is so low, if you have wanted a pair of Ceces, but were unwilling to pay the higher cost for it (especially since both versions have man-made soles), here is your chance to have them in a very pretty, current color (this is called cypress) for a much lower cost.

Okay, that's it for now. :)

If you are on a mobile device, here is the coupon I promised you (sorry it is so big, still works, though)!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Boden: Spring Preview 2013 is Live and Ready!

Polka dots, stripes, and pastel yellow.  I can hear you all swooning from here.
Hi, all!  What a day!

If you follow me on Facebook, you have already read that Boden's Spring Preview is all up and ready for us to salivate over.  I haven't had a chance to look around yet, as I have spent the day with Rex running around the city (he wanted to go the Natural History Museum).  Rex is out of school, btw, teacher workday.  No truancy charges need to be filed.

Anyhow, I really want to thank CC, Julie, and Louise who let me know very early on that the Boden Preview was up.  I didn't even look at my computer before I left the house this morning, so letting me know was essential to getting folks informed (at least at FB, which I can easily update from my phone)!

CC also let us know how to get the 20% off code (with free ship and returns) as it is not currently showing up at the Preview site (at least not on my computer).  On the shopping bag page, you can put in the code PRV3 in the coupon box and it should show the 20% off as soon as you do that.  The code is accepted until 11:59 PM on November 9, 2012, so you do have a few days to look around before the 20% offer expires.

Enjoy taking a look around, I am really excited to see what your picks are.  Eventually I will get my picks post done, but since I don't have the time to do that today, I will at least have fun reading what your choices are!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

OOTDs: Time for Turmeric.

I have some turmeric in my spice basket and even though it seems to be an orangey-yellow, sometimes even orangey-red color, Boden keeps insisting that the color that I see as a yellow-green is in fact turmeric.

So I will go with it, although based on my very amateur sleuthing, what is called turmeric by McCormick spice company and what is called turmeric by my most favorite British clothier, are definitely different hues.

In my opinion, J. Crew had the closest shade to turmeric last year, which is the color you see on the sweater above, which was part of an outfit I wore on Sunday to church.  Boden's Amazing Embroidered Skirt (which is my hands-down favorite piece from them, ever) came close to the real color of turmeric in the threading of this skirt, but since the main color is navy, this skirt was not amongst the items named after this delicious spice.

The shade nearly matches the turning leaves of the sassafras tree behind me, which means that if Boden wanted to, they could name the shade sassafras as well and be nearly as close.

Pieces of the ensemble from Sunday's outing. 

Normally I try to be more conservative when attending service at church, but by the time I got to this photo, it was too late to put on a longer skirt.  I had wanted to wear tights, but combined with the very warm turtleneck and the high afternoon temps of 70 F, I would have been boiling whilst singing the hymns.

In real life the skirt seemed less short, but looking at it here, I am a bit ashamed to see that maybe it was shorter than I realized?  ;)

Ah, well, still no big deal as I have personally laid eyes on halter tank tops and shorter skirts than this at church, but I don't know that wearing any of those is necessarily the best example for the future generations (my darling Rex, CW, and Angus) that I bring with me.

I probably should have flipped my outfits and worn this outfit from Saturday to church instead.  Live and learn.

Was running errands all day with my brother, with a stop at the Sushi buffet.

Don't worry...still focused on the title of this post...turmeric.  This Funnel Neck Jacket is an absolute steal at $88 (down by half), but is also inexplicably supposed to be the same shade as the yellow sweater above.  Do you see any pure yellow/orange in this jacket?  I see a yellow bordering on olive.

But because I don't care, and happen to love this shade of yellow/green, Boden could call is asparagus juice and I would still have bought it.

Here is the jacket all buttoned up.  Was a bit much to button it that day, as by noon the day was warm enough to not wear it (I spent most of Saturday just in the striped tee and pants), but since I can't resist reviewing new items for you all, I buttoned it up to show how it looks all done up.

I purchased this in a size 6, and as you can see from the side shot, the jacket runs short in the body but with quite long arms.  I prefer it when my jackets have a fit like this because of how disproportionate my torso is to my lower body (if jackets are longer I have to accommodate my larger hips).  So if you are a pear shape with a short torso, this jacket may be one you should have in your closet.  I tried it with fuller skirts, btw, and it is a great topper for those, as well.  (I often have troubles with what type of top to wear with full skirts since I don't want to look like I have no upper body, and if I tuck my tops into full skirts, that is what I end up looking like.)

From the back.  Nicely made, great boiled wool fabric, and lined in a luscious purple lining.  I like the funnel neck detail, so I wore my hair up so people could better see it.

This is the most accurate shot of the color.  Plus if you open up the photo you can see what the boiled wool looks like up close.  Very warm fabric, btw, here in VA, definitely can be outerwear during the mid-fall/mid-spring months of October, November, March, and April.

Close up of the makeup and the very cool Kirna Zabete earrings that I found on clearance at Target for $7.50.  I think they look like jelly fish, but I don't know if that is what they are supposed to look like.

Okay, that's all, folks!

P.S. I have received or seen quite a few Boden reviews for this week's Boden Weekly Review Roundup.  Since I *know* there is no way I can get the post up today, if you send me the review by tomorrow morning, I will be able to include yours in this week's.  :)  Thanks in advance, btw.  You all are the best!

P.P.S. Oh, and before I go, I will leave you with an image I found of turmeric, which shows it as both yellow/orange and pure yellow.  You make the call...is Boden correct in calling its items turmeric or should they switch to asparagus juice or sassafras?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

OOTDs: Weekend at Skippy's.

So last weekend we were in North Carolina.  It was thrilling.  :)

No, really, it was a lovely time with our very best friends and their three daughters (yes, all three of mine were beyond happy--CW had girls to play with, Angus had girls to flirt with, and Rex had girls to torment).

Anyhow, it was a very brief weekend away, just a nice little journey to get out of dodge and out of our routine.

We happened to celebrate our 11th anniversary there, but beyond that, there wasn't anything over the top special, so I was able to bring the very bare minimum as far as packing goes, and with all the extra kids I pack nowadays, the less I can bring means the easier it is on me.  Blah.  One day I can go back to packing amazing clothes and shoes and accessories in multiple suitcases, but for now and the next eighteen years of my life, the less the best.

(Oh, who am I kidding, I never had amazing clothes and shoes and accessories in multiple suitcases...but one day, it will be the way I travel, oh, yeah.)

Here they are!

Wore this on the anniversary evening, which was last Saturday (10/13).  We came down from VA that day, but the traveling outfit on the way to NC was kind of boring, so you will only get a very brief glimpse of it later in this post.  And the only reason you are getting a glimpse of the outfit from the way home is because it has two J. Crew reviews.  :)

This outfit looks so professional, but underneath that amazing Robert Noble wool jacket (J. Crew--2006) is a very inexpensive Target nursing dress and Macy's necklaces.

The heels are from Boden last year, which I love having around, they are literally the perfect little heels for most occasions.

And there it is, the world's most lovely, cheap, comfortable nursing dress.  (Technically it is maternity, but because it is made from jersey it doesn't read maternity if you don't have a pregnant belly.)

Wore my makeup fairly bare, but definitely made the lips as rosy as possible without being too done up.

The next day we had church, so I wore this ensemble of navy and chartreuse.  ;)  (I didn't blind the folks at mass, I wore the jacket from the last ouftit during the service.)

The top is the Roll sleeve silk t-shirt from Pure Collection, the same one I reviewed here.  I tucked it into some spank shorts as I hate it when silk is so silky that it comes out of the skirt it is tucked into, but other than that, it was the perfect blouse for the longer baby cord midi from Boden.

That skirt, btw, is my very first purchase ever from Boden, way back in 2003 or 2004 (can't remember).  It is so old that the tag only has the British sizing (12 L, thank you very much).

Close up of the shirt, makeup, hair, and jewelry.  The jewelry is by Premier Designs, and my gal Rachel is the lady to go to if you are interested in any of these pieces.

With the jacket on so as to not disable the vision of reverent Catholics in the greater Greensboro area.

Next day we were headed home, and while I planned to be comfortable for the ride, the addition of the shrunken anorak by J. Crew turned out to be a good choice (last photo of this set of outfit photos) as it was definitely needed in the lovely drizzly rains we had that morning.

Anyhow, the outfit under the rain jacket was functional enough.  I really do love the Peter Pan Collar Tee (J. Crew) and was glad to have grabbed it before it sold out in my size (extra-small).  It does pop back on occasion, and if you like the look of this top and have a short enough torso to wear it (definitely runs short, even on me, it barely hits my high hip), this could be a winner for you.

It is super soft and the neckline and collar fabric is silk, so big thumbs up.  I know that J. Crew could have used a poly fabric (and am frankly surprised they didn't), so to pay near full price for it seemed reasonable enough (I think I had one of those 20% off coupons when I ordered it).

The Desert Bloom bracelet was an "on a whim" buy from the Greensboro J. Crew, where it was marked down to $29.99 and further reduced by 30%, making it a whopping $20.  I have now worn it twice since I bought it, so I would gather I made a good choice.

I just like the way this photo turned out.  :) 

The Leather Loafers are still available from Boden, btw, but on deep backorder.  I did a review of them here.  I actually purchased them for traveling, I find that I wear loafers on long trips, especially ones involving airplanes, as I can get them on and off easily through security.

The lighting was off in this photo, but you can get the gist of the jacket from what you see. 

It really is a "shrunken" anorak.  Much like the Peter Pan Tee, it is shorter through the body than most anoraks.  HOWEVER, I prefer that as my hips are wider than my bust and waist, and for an anorak to normally fit me, the bust and waist has to be huge to accommodate my hips.  But this one doesn't even hit my hips, just lays there on the top of my hips.  Awesome.  :)  I am possibly the only person this one worked for, which is why it is on super sale now (yay for super sales, I even got mine for a good price a month ago--that is how unpopular it is).

It is not the best at keeping water out (is canvas, not nylon), but for mild drizzle and wind, it will do the job.

OH, and for those of you wondering, I did happen to have a version of this back in 1992, the one that inspired this current version.  I also had a rain jacket from 1995 *still have it, in fact* that bears a passing resemblance to this one (but is red).

You can't see it from this pose, but it has side pockets where I could stick my hands in for protection.  And all those zipped compartments?  I totally used those, 'cause I'm a nerd, and see no reason not to...so the big one there in front?  Held my cell phone.  And the next time I wear it, I wouldn't be surprised if I stuck a size 3 diaper in the pocket, too.

Okay this one and the next three photos are just some fun shots from the trip.

I told you my "going to NC outfit" was boring.  I only put the info in the photo because who knows, maybe one of you is all, "ooh, where are *those sunglasses* from--must. know. right. now."

Okay, so why in the world am I posing with the Hamburglar and Birdie from McDonald's?  Well...it turns out that the South Hill, VA location was having a GRAND OPENING spectacular the very day we decided to eat there for lunch.  Oh, yeah.  My kids were in heaven...and omg, if you ever want amazing service from a McDonald's, you must go to McDonald's on an opening day celebration.

And, yeah, the folks at McDonald's totally loved Angus.  I think it was because he matched Grimace.

Speaking of Angus, look!  He is literally one big dimple.  I can't stand the cuteness!

(There were other photos of my kids from the trip, but to keep my friends' privacy in mind, I won't be publishing any of them here.  I know you all are cool with that.)

Guess where I am?  Steak and Shake.  Mmm...Steak and Shake.  Mmm. 

Okay so the rains are definitely a bother when driving, however, when you get to see this for nearly a half-hour of your drive (don't worry, Mr. Dina was driving, I took the photo from a non-driving position), it is totally worth getting wet. 

And that's it!!! :)

BTW, if you are interested in getting any last minute "Catch of the Day" sale items from Boden, the sale ends in less than two hours.  ;)  Thought some of you may want to know...