Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Reviews: Exploring my Swimwear Options.

Most of the time when you see a swimsuit post, the author (and I have done this to in the past, to be fair) will wax poetic about being nervous about showing it all off.  Well, I personally am over it.  If I can walk around in a bikini in front of strangers at the pool, I can certainly bare the belly here at the blog and not stress out about it.  I am turning a "special" birthday tomorrow and I am leaving all the insecurities of my last decade behind. I figure it's about time.  ;-)

Of course I chose my "preview" photo to be the most conservative of all the images, so maybe I am teensy weensy not over it, lol.

So presented without apology for any of my bodily bits--a review Boden's rash guard, bikini set, and J. Crew's Ruched Femme swimsuit.

Rash Vest and Mix and Match Short.  (Vest Product Page here and Short Product Page here.) Guard is size 6 and the Short is a size 8.

I love rash guards.  As a swim coach who on the regular spends time in frigid indoor pools in the winter (heated my butt!), these save me from over-freezing.  The kids I coach warm up through exercise, but I usually stay fairly motionless, which means I really do have to stay warm through other means.  This guard is exactly right for that.  It wasn't especially super hot the day I modeled it, but I could only wear it in the pool for a brief few minutes before it got too hot.  I ended up leaving it off for the rest of the day.

The size on the guard is fine, I wear a size 6 in most of Boden's tops, and this fit like those did.  If I had a preference, I would take a 4 at the neckline and bust and an 8 at the hips, but they don't make things exclusively for me, so the 6 is a good compromise.

It rides up a touch in the water, but if I tuck it into the bottom, the guard does stay put pretty well.  It is a bit long on me, so I think that is part of the issue.  For most of you with regular length torsos, you should be fine.

The short is wonderful.  They are almost a boy-leg brief and usually those look just terrible on me, too low in back, too wide in front, and really focus the eye on how much bigger my bottom is than my top.  With the guard on, you can't even tell that I am wearing bikini bottoms on the lower half, but even with the bikini top, they still manage to be fairly flattering.  I think it is the combo of longer rises on both front and back with the busy-ness of the print.

The 8 worked out fine.  Eventually they will stretch out and I will have wished I had bought a 6, but I think as long as I sew in some elastic in the waist to cinch it back up, I should be okay.  Of course it could take years to stretch out (my hope) and I will be over this suit by then.

(Reminder--always hand wash in cold water, NO soap, your swimwear made of either nylon/lycra or poly/lycra.  After rinsing it out--I usually take about two minutes per piece--hang it to dry.)

Ruffle Bikini Top. (Top Product Page here.)  I initially purchased this top in a size 4 since I am very tiny in my bust (32B) with a narrow back, but it ended up being too small in the band.  The cups were more than fine, as well as the strap length.  I did read that other ladies suffered the same fate, so I decided to exchange the 4 for the 6 and am glad I did, as it fits much better. 

I love the ruffles for me as it gives my ladies a lift and draw the eye up from my hips, so silhouette wise, it flatters my shape.  It also has a hint of padding.

If you have more up top, you may want to think about one of the other bikini options, especially since this one does not feature any extra support in the form of boning at the sides or underwire.  (The St. Lucia Top, which I also ordered as an alternative look for this bikini, features boning.  I ordered the 4 in that, and it was more than big enough, btw.)

I never wear a rash guard without a complete suit underneath (I assume everyone else does, too, but maybe some people wear the guard without a top under it?).  So even though I could have gotten away with just the bottoms and the guard, I wanted a complete suit for under it.

And with the weather around here, that makes sense, since we rarely get cool in summer, so my need for a rash guard is winter only.

For those of you wondering, the sunglasses are the Selina sunglasses, also from Boden, and the sandals are the Malta crackled leather sandals in green. 

Side view.  You better believe I am sucking it in, lol.  :-)  I don't walk like a robot at the pool, though, hand on heart.

You can really see how nicely covered the bottoms are from here.  I love this bikini bottom.  Good job, Boden.

Back view.  The bottom nicely covers my larger posterior, and the bikini top has a very secure closure on both the neck and back.  I detest tie backs for bikinis, but the ones at the necks don't bother me.  I think I just worry the tie at the back of a bikini top won't stay secure and I will show off more than I care to, so I always bypass any that don't feature a proper closure (looking at you, J. Crew!).

Tropical Fern Ruched Femme One Piece Suit (at right).  I have been purchasing these suits for years now.  The one on the left is from last summer, fwiw, but is in great shape and can still be worn.  Both suits fit my frame well, but they are two different sizes.  Last year's is a size 6, and this year's is a 4.  They fit exactly the same, so if you are used to this swimsuit, go one size smaller.  I did purchase the fern one in a size 6, too, but the straps are too long and only fit marginally better in the bottom, so the 4 stayed, and the 6 is being returned.  I ordered the regular in both, they also have D-cup, and long torso options.

What I love about this suit style is the coverage without looking frumpy, the cute prints they usually use, and the fact that my ladies up top are covered but feature no boning or underwire.  I don't need boning or underwire, so I actively look for suits that don't have them.  I do understand the need for them, and if you have ladies that are ample, this may not be the right suit for you.  (I don't know if the D cup features undewire or boning, if you do, definitely chime in at the comments.)

I also love the ruching at the sides.  It adds even more detail to draw the eye upward, which I desperately need.  I imagine the ruching would be very flattering on someone with a larger waistline, too, but I have no proof other than the fact that I *think* it would be flattering.

Up to 50% off + free shipping on orders $49+
Okay, before I go, I saw this banner over at Boden this morning when hunting for the links above.  So yay on a sale!  But not the bikini bits or the guard (at least not the color I bought).  Anyhow, definitely go and enjoy the start of the big summer sale.  If you see low stock for any of your choices, now is the better choice for purchasing than later.  If you see all of the sizes are fully stocked, you might be able to wait.  Mini Boden is another deal, though, that line typically sells out and fast during sale time. 

Have a great Tuesday.  Brave that bikini, friends!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Boden: Winter 2015 Preview Picks!

I know that since Boden dropped my affiliate program, and thereby dropped me, I said I would do less with Boden overall, but I genuinely like writing up the Preview Picks Post, so for now I will keep this up.  The BWRR went to the graveyard, though, at least for now.

Of course since being dropped my income is pretty darn teeny so I can't actually order from the preview, lol, (not that I would have ordered after all the weird financial things going on with ordering).  One day maybe I will be able to again.  ;-) 

Speaking of money and finances, etc., I received a job offer from my kids' school to teach two days a week.  I am keeping this on the down low, even though they have made the announcement to the other teachers, etc. But until I have signed all the papers, I need to keep it a bit quiet.  I am so excited and grateful.  It is perfect--something stable, something I love to do, but also something that will allow me to still be home part-time since Angus is not old enough to go to full-time school yet.  I know a lot of you have been sending good thoughts my way after I told you of the unexpected loss of income, and I thank you for thinking of us.  That's the power of friendship, I tell ya!

Okay, before I show the picks, I wanted to remind you that all of the information on the preview is here at this post, and to access the preview, head on over here.  Remember, the 20% off code (3H2J) expires tomorrow night (6/26/15) if you are able to enjoy ordering from the Preview.

Vinatge Party Dress
Loving this silhouette and the amazing printed fabric.  It helps that the fabric is wool/viscose/silk, as opposed to all viscose.  This is a dress made for longevity, and if blue florals are your thing, I could see this being in your closet for years to come.

Annabel Dress
I've had a lot of luck with Boden's jacquard jersey dresses.  They hold up well, are in very interesting designs, and are very figure hugging without being too fitted, if you know what I mean.  The proportions on this are great for an office, but can easily be dressed up for a night out.

Chic Full Skirted Dress
All viscose, sigh...but that print is darling and makes me salivate.  Must resist unless said dress goes on deep sale.  (Viscose, especially of the woven variety, is very prone to shrinkage.  I always wash gentle and with cold water, that helps a bit.  NEVER put in a dryer.)

Back Detail Chic Full Skirted Dress
The back is awesome.  How freaking cute.

Cord Denim Shirt Dress
It was dresses like this that first enticed me all the way back in 2004 (been a loyal customer ever since), and I am relieved they still have some of that vintage-y, quirky, colorful playful prints in their wheelhouse.  If Boden kept this up, I would have ZERO complaints.  I know some of you are here with me on that point.

Hartland Dress
Hey, the Hartland Dress is back.  This time they put a bird or two or a gazillion on it.  Not as "fun" as the squirrels from last year (here on me), but the little blue birds are so sweet. 

Swinging Sixties Dress
I love this pattern, and the fact that it is a sweater dress, but I am sure some of you think I am out of my mind.  I don't know, the geometric aqua/mustard/white is so appealing.  I may just have to get this one if I can afford it. 

Winter Pocket Shift
There is a potential that this could either be FABULOUS or just AWFUL, and I am excited to find out which one it turns out to be.  Love the tweed fabric, very Linton of them, and the pockets on the bias, combined with the raw selvedge trim, make it a gorgeous dress to look at.  That said, it doesn't look as awesome on the model, and honestly, my hips would hate me if I attempted to scrunch them in there.

Angie Silk Top
I love that they have a 100% silk top in gorgeous wearable shades, but I am more than slightly disappointed by the neckband on this top.  It appears it was drafted too long for the neckline, leading to a wavy/floppy look on both the still photo and on the model.  It would be too distracting for me as a seamstress, but hopefully it doesn't bother the people who buy it (or they have fixed it on their manufacturing run).  Seems really sloppy.  I wonder if they had made the neckband narrower if that would have fixed this issue, but I think they wanted a thicker band, but didn't compensate for the way the band would lay with the extra width added on...

Cosy Sweat
Haha, cosy sweat.  That's pleasant sounding.  :-)  Beyond that, though, this is amazing, and I want one right now.  I will figure out someway to get this bit of glitter and comfort in my life.

Cowl Neck Cashmere Sweater
I own something very similar from PURE collection and wear it to death when traveling.  It is a wonderful addition to a carry-on, you know how cold it can get on flights.  But since it's lightweight, it doesn't take up a ton of room.  I can see this one selling out.

Reindeer Yoke Sweater
So I will admit to being just daring enough to preorder this one sweater since last year's version of this (with the penguins) sold out immediately.  I like this one more because I think the addition of tiny red pompoms for the nose is just enough to push it over into "ugly sweater" territory.  My ugly sweater (seen on me here) died a sad death when my husband washed it and then dried it on HIGH HEAT.  It is now CW's.  So I need an ugly sweater replacement (although it's really not that ugly, lol).

Relaxed Toasty Roll Neck
I love this so much.  It is long and warm looking and that color!  Thank you, Boden, for remembering we LOVE color.  It has mohair and nylon in the mix with merino, though, and I am not sure that will wear well or feel well.  I will have to see what others think of it before deciding on it for me.

Tamara Top
Dear friends of mine, say a wee little prayer that this beautiful top will make it to sale (say 35% off or so?) so I can purchase it.  Look at it, so utterly feminine and gorgeous and floral.  It is viscose, though, grr.  (But I can overlook it for the print!)

Boucle Jacket
I have made a sweater with similar fabric and I wear it a lot, so I can attest to the awesomeness of it.  It is warm, unusual, and stands up to "life."  I have a darker version (a light tan/black) boucle I bought, as well, and I think I know my next "let's copy Boden" sewing project.  I might try and make mine with closures, though, even if it is pretty without closures.

Karlie Coat
You know what?  I am not really feeling the coats this season.  They were so much better the past few years.  This Karlie coat is lovely enough, but not great enough to entice me to spend.  And I love me a pink coat (I own a stupid number of them--three, I think).

Leather Jacket

I am willing to concede to Boden on this one.  This is definitely from their "we are trying to be hip and cool" collection, and I must admit to digging it.  What a great way to do the chic, cool, modern.  That said, the price.  OUCH.  (Although it makes sense--it is all leather and all that seaming and zipper work takes a lot of work on the sewing machines.)

Lace Jumpsuit
I know the lady who chooses this and wears it well will be the envy of all of her friends.  Wow.  This is the way to make an entrance.  I won't be that lady, but I am definitely jealous of her.  ;-)

Alexis High Heel Boot
So I do like these, and I would love them even more if I was 25, in NYC in 1979, and going to Studio 54.  If you have a reason to buy them and wear them, come find me and take me with you.

Embellished T-Bar Point
I almost put these in the "Hmmm..." section, but I decided they reminded me enough of something my grandma would have worn in the 50s that I decided they deserved an actual "picks" place.  I will consider them if they go down significantly in price.

Marcy Boot
This is just a good boot, in three great, classic shades.  Nice work, Boden.  :-)

Bloomsbury Bag
Like the Marcy Boot, this bag is stunning, classic, and this peach/tan shade goes with nearly everything.

Jewelled Belt
I love wearing jeweled belts.  They really do a lot for a dress or top.  Anthropologie is usually my go-to for items like this, but the above is pretty special looking.  I am a touch concerned with the gold color in the center, it may be too harsh with the lighter shades in the rest of the belt, but I will reserve judgment until I see others' thoughts.

Cashmere Onesie
I would rather spend that money (it's a lot, you all) on the Cowl Neck Cashmere Poncho AND a couple of other items than buy this.  I mean, yes, it does look comfortable, but I can't get past wearing it and then having to go to the bathroom.  It would end up pooled up near the toilet.  EWWW.  And it's cashmere!  Why do that to cashmere!

You could spend less (but still not cheap) and buy this one instead.

Fun Slipper
Why would any adult woman want these?

(oh, wait I would, but don't tell anyone...)

London Bag
London bus seems smug and Black Taxi seems sad.  Plus they don't carry much.  Boo.

Oven Glove
I totally want one for us, but I use the one we own all the time, and therefore can justify this ridiculous purchase.  I am not sure whether to applaud Boden for branching into kitchen textiles or be all, "huh?"

Slipper Shoe
A good pun!  On a pair of shoes!  Why the H E DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS not?

Okay so those are my choices!  What are your thoughts on this Winter Preview?

Monday, June 22, 2015

OOTDs: Rest of Georgia on My Mind.

Day: Wednesday, June 17, 2015.

Where: Atlanta to visit the World of Coke Museum, the Georgia Aquarium, and the Varsity for dinner.

Ease of Wear: (5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) God bless you, Garnet Hill.  I can always count on them to make jersey dresses that are sublimely comfortable, beautifully made, and in gorgeous bright colors and patterns.  The Born sandals I have had for years and I finally realized that I had to bring the straps in a notch, which made them fit my narrow foot better.  I wish that lightbulb moment had occurred earlier.  :-)

Outfit Details:  Dress, Garnet Hill (find this version from last year and this year's version here, I have bought the navy floral from the current year and have plans to wear it soon); Sandals, Born, but there is a similar style from Clarks available at Amazon.com here; Necklace, Madewell here; Sunglasses, Anthropologie.

Anecdote of the Day: Two things! 1. At the World of Coke, they have this amazing tasting room with all the flavors of soda throughout the world.  I am not really a soda person (though I was as a kid), but it was a blast trying them all out.  My favorite from when I was a child in Germany was there, Mezzo Mix (I also drank Spezi, which is similar), I was giddy with excitement over remembering it.  It is now my mission to find it at the German Gourmet store up the road from my house. 2. We took the kids to the dolphin show at the Georgia Aquarium and since I have never seen dolphins up close, I didn't know what to expect.  Although the show was super cheesy (it was bordering on Stilton, you all), I get the love dolphins get now, they are pretty darn magical creatures.

INSTAGRAM HERE (day in Atlanta).

Day: Thursday, June 18, 2015.

Where:  Watch the movie Inside Out.

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) It's made by me for both my husband and me, so I would think his would also be a 4.5.  (You can read more on that sewing adventure here at my blog post for Fabric Mart's blog, where I am a regular contributor.)  I always find sitting in movie theaters in a dress is weird, but overall not an uncomfortable night.

Outfit Details:  Dress, handmade from this Japanese Pattern Book (you can find a copy of it at Amazon.com); Sandals, Target here, but if you want the real thing (Birkenstock Arizona), you can find them here at zappos.com; Necklace, Target; Sunglasses, Anthropologie.

Anecdote of the Day: So there are volcanoes on our clothes (Mt. Fuji to be precise), and the intro cartoon before Inside Out was called "Lava," about a lonely volcano singing about wanting to find his Lava Love.  It was such a sweet little cartoon and I felt it was serendipitous we wore these clothes that night.  ;-)


Day: Friday, June 19, 2015.

Where: Steak and Shake. Yes, I dressed up for Steak and Shake.  :-)  Earlier in the day I had been at a pond/pool in Cohutta, GA. 

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) I love this dress.  I actually decided to get the blue version of this dress (similar pattern but not the same), I love it that much.  It is a touch short, but I wear enough conservative dresses otherwise, it is nice to let my legs out from time to time.  I wore this one a few weeks back, btw.

Outfit Details:  Dress, Target here (the version I am wearing in this post is here and the version I just purchased is here); Sandals, Target here, but if you want the real thing (Birkenstock Arizona), you can find them here at zappos.com; Necklace, Madewell here; Sunglasses, Anthropologie.

Anecdote of the Day:

INSTAGRAM HERE (day at pool).

Day: Saturday, June 20, 2015.

Where: Drive home from Georgia to Virginia.

Ease of Wear: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) I was comfortable enough, but it is really hard to be comfortable in anything when sitting in a car for twelve hours straight.  The Turner pants do well considering.  :-)

Outfit Details:  Turner Pants, J. Crew here; Top, Zara; Sandals, Target here, but if you want the real thing (Birkenstock Arizona), you can find them here at zappos.com; Necklace, Madewell here; Sunglasses, Anthropologie.

Anecdote of the Day:  You all probably think my Steak and Shake obsession is weird, but my husband adores something even weirder, Krystal.  Most southerners will understand, either with me in my "ugh, more Krystal," or with my husband in the "OOOOH, Krystal."  Krystal serves these steamed burgers and hot dogs and fries, and while it's *okay,* that's kind of low praise from me considering I'll eat almost anything.  Anyhow, Mr. Dina HAS to get at least one last meal at Krystal before we leave Tennessee, so we always have to stop right outside of Knoxville to grab his grub.

Their sweet tea is awesome, though!


Okay, that's all for now.  I am so glad I was able to write this post up.  Our internet has been really spotty since getting home, and since I can't blog from my phone (I mean maybe I could, but no thank you, very very much), I have been unable to do much.  It should be fixed up real soon.

You all have a great Monday night!