Monday, June 1, 2015

OOTD/Review: Loving the Boden Blackberry.

I still have the rest of the Me Made May ootds to post here, but I really wanted to show off today's outfit on time since I am trying (desperately making this pledge) to go back to the daily ootd posts like I used to do.  We'll see if it's possible, but some things 'round here have changed enough that I do have more free time to get them done more quickly and easily.

The ootd portion is first followed by the review.

Day: Monday, June 1, 2015.

Where:  Little Gym with Angus, a stop at Harris Teeter, and the school pickup.

Ease of Wear: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  The Target sandals are what made me uncomfortable!  The length and width is great, but the bit between the toes is not as far forward as I need them to be, so until they stretch out a touch more, I can only wear them for a few hours at a time.  (Fortunately the Little Gym requires bare feet in class.)

The dress is stupid comfortable.  It is soft and lovely and all will be explained in the review.

Outfit Details:  Blackberry Dress, Boden here; Selina Sunglasses, Boden hereJ. Crew Factory here; Necklace, J. Crew; Sandals, Target, this year's version here (I have a pair just like this year's version, and I prefer that styling to the one they replaced it with last year, which are the pair above).

Anecdote of the Day: One of the little girls at the Little Gym came up and touched the circles on my skirt, I think she was excited to recognize the shape.  Angus can't stop talking about shapes, he insists on finding triangles, circles, squares, ovals, and rectangles wherever he can.


Blackberry Dress and Selina Sunglasses.  The Blackberry dress I took in a size 6 Regular as I had read that it ran long a bit big.  I don't mind long dresses, but longer fitted knit dresses can look a bit frumpy on me, especially in summer, so I sized down in both length and size.  I made the right call.  The 8 R would have been way too blousey up top, and would have been a touch too big on bottom.

The details are wonderful.  This is this year's answer to the Newquay dress (had a review of that one here) and the Adelaide dress (that one had a review here).  I am so excited by this dress, I am selling the Newquay if any of you are interested in that one.  (I have a massive closet cleanout that has been on since last fall, if you can believe it.  I am not quite sure where to sell all the items.  Hmm.)

The Selina Sunglasses fit my face, which hasn't been the case with the last few sunglasses that Boden has produced.  The frames often run wide, and since I have a narrow face, they just don't fit!  These are much less wide, still not super narrow, but close enough that they don't fall off my face when wearing them.

Though the skirt is fitted, it isn't tight, just covering the curves.  The blousey top is just blousey enough, but not so overwhelming for my petite upper body.

I am bugged that the side seams at the top are off but the skirt's aren't.  That said, my arm covers the side seam on the top, so I can live with it.

This is how I know if a dress shape will work.  If my bottom doesn't look super massive from the back, I know I have a dress I can wear in public.  No, I am serious when I say that.  If I see a rear view that shows a massive disproportion between my top and bottom halves, it definitely gets returned. 

The length is a couple inches above the knee, and though I am normally more comfortable keeping things knee length, I am glad to have a dress like this in my summer wardrobe.

The fabric is super soft and cozy.  They should make pajamas from this fabric.  :-)  The colors are pretty true to the screen, so a bright white/light olive green/mint-aqua blue. 

The Selina sunglasses are a perfect neutral shade for my skin tone, but if your skin is mid-toned, this may be too much of a close match to work as a proper nude, you know?  They do a great job of keeping the sun out and have all the proper factors/ratings for sun protection. 

Okay, all, that's it for that...

But before I go, a word about the affiliate program.

It is gone.  Well, not the affiliate program, that still exists. (used to be called Commission Junction but is now Conversant or something like that) is around, but Boden no longer is part of the businesses that are accessible to those of us who publish blogs or coupon sites, etc. 

Last Saturday, May 22, I woke up and decided to check for the status on how the 30% off sale was going and to see if they had published any banners for coupons for the next week.  I clicked on the home page (which I rarely do) by accident and I saw, in the teeniest font ever, a red exclamation point.  I decided to take a look and it said that Boden's affiliation with me was set to end on May 29.  I wasn't expecting that, and considering they have expired the terms of their program before, I was set to find out how to renew the affiliation, but couldn't find that!  So in a desperate search, I went all over my portion of the site and finally found a mysterious email box and it had an email from Boden saying they needed me to remove all my banners, etc., by May 29, 2015 as they had ended my affiliation with them.

I was so sad and dumbstruck.  After four plus years of working with them and I couldn't get more than a random email in a email box at the program itself?  Nothing at my regular email?  Nada? 

I thought and thought and thought and came to the realization that they might not be happy with me not being happy with their offerings of late, and even though I tried to maintain some positivity while trying to be proactive and telling you all about the changes to finance terms (billing with preview orders, etc.), and the change in their aesthetic with Fall 2015, I was CONVINCED that I was the reason it ended, and was blue for nearly a week. 

I also lost a source of income that by the end was doing well enough that I didn't need to think of going back to work full time away from the home.  It was enough that when my husband would lose a contract or we would have a big repair at the house, we could still manage.  But it was never anything mind blowing as we all know I am not Atlantic-Pacific, with a thousand gazillion followers.  ;-) 

So of course it stung knowing that an income that was consistent and helpful was gone.

It also bummed me out that I couldn't get you all those coupons anymore, even though they had dwindled down over the past few months.  I just figured it was a snafu at the time and that they would eventually come back. 

But, nope, the affiliate program had probably been prepared to be shuttered by Boden for a while and now I know why the coupons disappeared and why my contact at the program never emailed me back when I would contact them.

Guess what, though?  It wasn't just me, as it turns out.  On Saturday, May 30, the day after Boden left the program, the whole operation was gone from the site.  To make sure I wasn't seeing things, I went over to Shopsense/ShopStyle and Retail Me Not (they used CJ for their Boden links, too) and all their Boden links were dead, just like mine was (I checked before I removed it).  Here's an example of what you see when you click on a link to Boden through an old CJ link: Selina Sunglasses using ShopStyle.

Anyhow, it did make me feel massively better that I wasn't the only one, that it wasn't me alone getting the pink slip, but I do wonder if they have any plans to go on and have another relationship with another American affiliate program?

For now, I can't devote time to Boden Weekly Review Roundups.  I will try to still do the reviews, but if I don't have time, I have to put it on the back burner.  I would like to continue ootd posts and the sewing stuff, and from time to time do the reviews. 

I have employed ShopSense as my links to products, but as anyone who uses ShopSense can tell you, it is nowhere near as good for the wallet as an affiliation through an affiliate program.  I am fine with that, but I do know that any income I make from there will be small in comparison, so I know I do need to move onto something else.

I have a desire to become (of all things) a Disney travel agent since a great friend of mine is an investor in a Disney travel agency.  The possibility of this being my future career is in its infancy, but like Boden, Disney is something I am pretty passionate about having spent so many of my vacation days as a child and an adult at the parks throughout the world.  So we'll see what happens there, but I definitely will let you all know when I start figuring it all out.

Thanks again for reading my blog, you all.  I know that for many of you, the coupons and the BWRRs brought you in, but I hope that you'll stay even though I can't really offer you those right now.  :-)