Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Boden: Three Reviews. And 25% Off!

Hi, all!  Happy early Tuesday.  For once Boden decided to throw a sale starting on a Monday.  I seem to only ever have time to computer work done on Mondays, and the last few sales/new arrivals came on other dates, or I didn't find out about them until after my "free" time had been used.  (Well I am publishing Tuesday because I didn't get my post done before class last night, humph.)

This is one of those diminishing discount kind of offers, so the 25% off now is set to last until Thursday, replaced by 20% on Friday, and finally ending with 15% by Sunday.  This is usually a good time to pick up items you think will sell out before they get to a further reduction (or if they pop back in clearance because they are popular items, in clearance they will still only be between 20% and 25% off). 

The items I am showing off in today's review post are okay popular, so I don't think you necessarily have to grab them at 25% off, but if you have some particular need for them right now, or you'll wear them a ton, then there may be a chance you would want them with the 25% off.  The Richmond shorts are especially versatile and well done, so I would happily buy them again with 25% off (and am thinking of another color, tbh).

I also am showing off a clearance item that will not be reduced further by the 25% off, as clearance items are excluded.  Having said that, they are really awesome little booties, so they may be something worth it to you, if you actually wear booties enough to justify them.

I have placed a link to the sale in the bottom of this post and in the sidebar of the blog.  It will be switched to the 20% off version provided by the affiliate on Thursday.  :-)

Janie Dress and Keira Stud Ankle Boots.  Size 6 Long and Size 40.

So I decided to buy the Janie dress after seeing a colleague in hers for months this fall.  She wore it all the time!  I didn't love the colors from the fall, and even if I had, they were sold out super early.  When this grey version came out in the spring, I was interested, but I also knew that the price was a bit prohibitive, especially considering I can easily sew a dress like this up.  But it went into one of the bigger sales, and I believe I bought it for around  30% off, which when considering cost per wear (all my jersey dresses get worn a ton, and I keep them for years), I decided made it a better price.  I chose the long because it really is quite short in anything but the long, especially since my school has a conservative work dress code.  The 6 was because all the reviews said to size down, and even though I was concerned it would be too tight at the hips, it fit fine.  I don't love the skirt shape, I do wish it was a touch fuller, but it isn't awful, either.  :-)

The Keira Stud Ankle Boots came out this spring, and though I detest the studded flats and heels from Boden this year, these booties are so awesome.  But again, the PRICE!  It went into clearance quickly, and they held one of those extra % off weekends, which brought the price to a much more reasonable amount.  Now that I have them, I probably would pay more as they are very nicely made and can be worn for hours while teaching.  I only had the option of the 40, and I have other booties from Boden that are 40, but sometimes the size 40 will be too small for my (J. Crew sized) 9.5 feet.  These are great in the 40, just narrow enough for my narrow feet, and just long enough.  The 41 would have been too big overall.  

The pockets are fab, and very much fit a phone or a badge, etc.  The fabric is a bit thin, but very soft.  I wish it was a thicker ponte, but that would likely increase the price, and make it a bit less comfortable.  There are zippers (exposed) at the shoulder seams.  They are meant to be edgy, I guess, but like the studs on the booties, they are paired with something so much more subdued that I definitely don't read it that way.

The booties are pull on, so if you don't like that style, definitely don't buy them.  I find them easy to get on and off, but my feet are very narrow (like AA narrow), so that may be why I find it easy.

I haven't washed the dress yet, so I am concerned the length will get shorter.  That would be a bummer as that would mean I could only wear it to school when it is cold enough for tights.  We'll see.  :-/

Janie Dress and Keira Stud Ankle Boot. The Janie is selling well in all the colors, but the black version is the most sold out.   The Keira Stud Ankle Boot is low stock across the board, but it has been like that the whole time since I had my eyes on them all those months ago.  I guess only some people bought and now they just linger... ;-)

Richmond Shorts. Size 10 6".  These shorts!  I had plans to make a pair of black shorts, but often my sewing is a bit of "ooh, shiny," and I will put off the practical in favor of bright beautiful printed dresses, and colorful skirts, etc.  It may happen, but now I have a pair of shorts that fit so well I might just "forget."  The Richmond shorts fit so much better on me than the Bistro shorts.  For comparison, here I am in last year's shorts.  I like the Bistro, my goodness they are comfortable, but they run very large, especially in the waist and leg.  I don't want to go down to an 8 in the Bistro, because as is so often the case with Boden, it may mean the shorts are just on this side of too tight, but the 10 is pretty darn loose.

The Richmond shorts, though, fit perfectly in the hips, legs, and leg openings.  Though the waist is still gape-y, the waist measurement is around 34.5" (and where it hits on me I am closer to 33", it is about two or three inches below the waist).  I think the key is the legs and leg openings.  Because they are a closer fit, it feels like the shorts will stay up better.

The shorts are made with this very nice cotton sateen with stretch, and the cotton is substantial.  These feel like they will last a very long time.

I chose the 6" length as my inseam is 34" long.  The 4" length only ever works on me if the shorts are of the "skort" variety, with a very large loose leg opening.  The 9" works, but I personally feel I look dowdy in my longer shorts and only wear them if I will be doing a long day of hiking or traveling. 

Richmond Shorts. Black is less popular than the other colors, but I can assure you that if you find your right length and size, you'll wear them constantly, no matter what color.  I love these so much.

The 25% off sale goes for a couple more days, it ends Thursday.  I think I may bite on one or two items, but I am still seeing a lot of basic tees, striped crap everywhere, and little eensy weensy dotted items.  I need more oomph from Boden, and all I see is items I already own, or don't really excite me.

I lol-ed at a recent comment from my Instagram.  I had placed the outfit in the #bodenbyme category because the shoes were from their 2012 season, but the dress was made by me.  One of my favorite blog friends wrote that she had hoped the dress was a new arrival from Boden.  Come on, Boden, my made by me stuff can't be more you than you right now!

Boden USA

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

OOTDs: Spain!

Last Day, Barcelona, at Playa de Sant Sebastia
Hi, all!  Hola! 

I am glad to be back from Spain, I did have a lovely time, and I really do want to get back (especially to see the finished Sagrada Familia in 2026), but I was beat by the time we got home.  :-)  I have more travel type photos to share later, but since this is more an "ootd" kind of blog, I know those can wait.  (I know, I know, I haven't really been all that great at the ootd lately.  Ha.  But I am trying to get back! Hand on heart!)

Okay, so though I started with the above image (one of my favorites from the trip), I am going in order from the first day traveling on the plane (from Philadelphia to Madrid), followed by Madrid, then Barcelona (and day trips), and finally the trip from Barcelona to Philadelphia.

I knew I would have to wear super comfortable clothing, but I also didn't want to wear clothing that was shlumpy, so I tried hard to meet my needs for cute and comfy right in the middle.  I did choose to use three main colors, a deep teal/aqua, grey, and black.  I only brought two pairs of shoes, and that turned out to be more than enough.  In fact I brought just enough, and we had room left over to bring back souvenirs (including the "top" from the top photo up there).  I bring more than this to my trips to Mississippi and Louisiana.  I think I am going to try this capsule kind of thing again. It was great!

Day: Monday-Tuesday, March 28-29, 2016.

Where:  Travel to Philadelphia from Alexandria, then the flight from Philadelphia to Madrid, and finally Madrid (with a nap for me at the hotel).

Ease of Wear: (5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) Made the tunic so I could wear it with the Madewell leggings without showing off my bum.  I did this so I could basically wear pjs in public.  LOL.  I barely slept on the plane, but still felt danged good because I wasn't pinched at all in the outfit.

Outfit Details: Coat, Anthropologie; Tunic, handmade (used New Look 6240); Shoes, Clarks (find them here at amazon.com); Sunglasses, J. Crew (here); Leggings, Madewell.

Anecdote of the Day: I had a sinus infection before leaving town (yep, that's my third illness of 2016, after the Pink Eye of January and the Strep Throat of February), so I had antibiotics and strong cough medicine to take with me on the plane.  I was very tempted to just go when we arrived in Madrid, but I heard the doctor in the back of my head reminding me to not overdo it, since that was likely what landed me with a third illness this year.  (She called it having a suppressed immune system, sigh.)  So while the rest of them went sightseeing, I slept for four hours instead.  I felt much better after waking up.

Day: Tuesday, March 29, 2016.

Where:  Madrid.  Mainly the Museo del Prado.  This was after I had my nap. 

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) Again, super comfortable.  Very few of these outfits, btw, are anything but comfortable.  One or two might be described as a bit less comfy, but nothing dramatically uncomfortable.

Outfit Details: Coat, Anthropologie; Top, J. Crew; Shoes, New Balance for J. Crew (they have this cute pair in gold and ivory right now); Pants, J. Crew; Sunglasses, Ray-Ban (I think these are the same from amazon.com); Necklace, Stella and Dot, Bag; Travelon (buy the same one from amazon.com).

Anecdote of the Day: The Museo del Prado had free hours between 5 and 7, if I am remembering correctly, and though I would have preferred to spend more time there, we got quite a bit more of the "must-sees" done in that time, so yay for small things.  I would have thought it would have been more crowded, and though there were a lot of people there, it didn't feel overwhelming. 

Day: Wednesday, March 30, 2016.

Where: Continued Madrid sightseeing, including the castle and the Museo Reina Sofia.

Ease of Wear: (5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) I made this dress a while back and I think I forgot to give you all the blog post I wrote on it for Fabric Mart.  Anyhow, the dress is wonderful and fits so well, plus the knit fabric (from Halston Heritage!) moves and drapes beautifully.  It also has pockets.  :-)

Outfit Details:  Dress, handmade (used Ottobre Magazine 05-2015, read more about it here); Shoes, Clarks (find them here at amazon.com); Sunglasses, Ray-Ban (I think these are the same from amazon.com); Tights, probably Spanx, but I can't remember; Necklace, Stella and Dot.

Anecdote of the Day: This was day one of MANY many miles walked in Spain.  Most days we walked 10-12 miles.  Angus was in his buggy or on my back for the most part, but the older two were forced into walking the whole amount.  That said, we ate and drank very well, so though I didn't lose any weight, I definitely didn't gain any (and I ate a lot of very high calorie foods and all my beverages were of the vino category).

Madrid, btw, is where my mom was born.  She is Spanish only by birth (she is German/American), but I know that your birthplace is still important, and it was nice to see the city she knew as a little girl.  I was quite taken with Madrid.  It is apparently a very big city, but it felt small, and that was appealing to me.

Day: Thursday, March 31, 2016.

Where:  Madrid to Barcelona, and then a lot of sightseeing in Barcelona (including a frightening funicular trip--my first of two terrifying rides up mountains while in Spain). 

Ease of Wear: (5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) These pants were made by me to fit extremely well and do well on travel, so it was a no-brainer I was going to bring them.  I wrote more about the process of making them here at this Fabric Mart post.

Outfit Details: Top, J. Crew; Shoes, New Balance for J. Crew (they have this cute pair in gold and ivory right now); Pants, handmade (used McCall's 6901); Sunglasses, Ray-Ban (I think these are the same from amazon.com); Bag; Travelon (buy the same one from amazon.com).

CW, by the way, is wearing one of my favorite mini Boden dresses ever, the Sweatshirt dress.  It is still available, but it is out of stock in most sizes in this color.

Anecdote of the Day: We walked so much that day, and I LOVE walking, but by 6:30 pm, I was done.  This is the first time in my life where I can remember actually wanting to stop.  We had to keep going, but at least we didn't head to another museum.  I think the kids and I would have revolted had we continued.

We ate dinner at a hole in the wall, and this British couple was sitting near us, and very quickly identified that we were from Virginia, based on our accent.  I was stunned.  People in Wisconsin think I am from the deep deep South, but people in Mississippi think I might as well be from the Bronx.  Turns out they had lived in Harrisonburg, VA, and knew the accent of "us" very well.  Yeah.  Good for them.  They may be the only people who can do it outside of Virginians.  :-) 

Day: Friday, April 1, 2016.

Where: Figueres, Spain, which is a small city outside of Barcelona fairly close to the French border.

Ease of Wear: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  The pants are the same ones from the day before, and so still comfy, but stupid me only brought the rain jacket (not pictured, well except I am holding it in my hand in the courtyard at the Dali museum) and not the Anthropologie knit coat, so I was a touch cold all day.  I drank wine to make up for it.  Ha.

Outfit Details: Top, J. Crew; Shoes, New Balance for J. Crew (they have this cute pair in gold and ivory right now); Pants, handmade (used McCall's 6901); Glasses, Bebe eyewear; Scarf, MoMA (yep, it's Jackson Pollock inspired; apparently you can buy anything on amazon.com, including this).

CW's rainjacket is the Pack-Away Rain Mac from Boden.  It's wonderful, and does truly and easily pack away and was exactly the right layer for her that day and others.

Anecdote of the Day:  To get to Figueres, we ended up on the fast train to Paris.  I was very very tempted to see Paris, so I threatened to stay on the train with CW.  But I did want to see the Dali museum, and it was worth it.  There were hordes of French teenagers everywhere, too, so it kind of felt like I was in Paris, anyhow. 

Day: Saturday, April 2, 2016.

Where:  Barcelona (mainly Gaudi sites besides the Sagrada Familia) and La Rambla

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) The tunics CW and I are wearing are made by me, and they were super soft rayon knit from Joann's, so they felt wonderful, but mine kept riding up a bit on the jean leggings.  Ding down for that. 

Outfit Details: Tunic, handmade (used Kwik Sew 3463 for mine and Kwik Sew 3958 for hers; I wrote more on my original make of this pattern here); Shoes, New Balance for J. Crew (they have this cute pair in gold and ivory right now); Leggings, the grocery store...seriously; Bag; Travelon (buy the same one from amazon.com); Necklace, Stella and Dot.

Anecdote of the Day: I loved this day.  I was stoked to take it all in, and though the trip to get to the Park Guell was a bit of a bear, once we got there, it was very lovely, and I dug the mosaics everywhere.  The view was great, too.  We decided to walk (of course!) to the next Gaudi site, and it took us through these darling streets with cute shops and restaurants.  It was hard not to fall in love with Barcelona that day.

We ended up having to go to Zara to get the kids some shoes (they complained theirs were too small), so we found some there in the sale section, and because it is Spain, and it is Zara, of course I had to peek in the women's section, too.  I ended up with dos vestidos (two dresses--more like tunics on me, of course).  They were both on sale, and when I checked the American price, I realized the price I paid in Spain was much better.  Woo hoo!  The cashier was super handsome, too.  (Not that this matters, wink wink.) 

Day: Monday, April 4, 2016.

(There is something and an ootd for Sunday, but the dress is under wraps until late April as it is my April make for the Fabric Mart blog.  You can take a peek at it here at this instagram.)

Where: Barcelona, mainly the harbor/beach, and a very very long walk to the Sagrada Familia.

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) This is one of the two dresses I bought from Zara.  I decided to wear it under the skirt as a top, but if I hadn't gone to Sagrada Familia that day, I would have been tempted to wear it on its own.  Sure it was short, but I *think* I can get away with it. 

Outfit Details:  Dress, Zara (here, I did buy it for about $23, btw, but it sold out here at the higher price, it is worth it, though the back button is a bit flimsy); Shoes, Clarks (find them here at amazon.com); Sunglasses, Ray-Ban (I think these are the same from amazon.com); Tights, Boden; Necklace, National Trust UK.

Anecdote of the Day: So that beach there that I am posing at?  It has a nudist beach there in the summer (though unofficially).  No nudists there while we were there, but that would have made for an interesting discussion with the kids had we ended up there by accident in the summer.  :-)  Angus is really vocal when he sees bare chests, declaring that those people are "naked, Momma," so I imagine he would have been very loudly exclaiming over the nakedness surrounding him had this been the case.  Instead we ended up nearly getting killed by an errant skateboarder who acted like we were the problem (yeah, no, you were skateboarding DOWN the stairs).  I would much rather see naked people.

The Sagrada Familia is certainly interesting from the exterior, but the interior was so beautiful, I nearly started crying upon entering.  I rarely have moments like those, but I felt the love and passion all the artisans had poured into its creation, and the fact that it was made for Catholics to worship in made it even more special and spiritual.  I just wish we could have gone to mass there.  (We went to Monserrat on Sunday instead, also a very spiritual place.)

Day: Tuesday, April 5, 2016.

Where: Barcelona to Philadelphia, and then the car drive to Alexandria.

Ease of Wear: (5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) The shorter length of the Gaudi top (purchased on the day we visited all the site) didn't ride up with the leggings the way the tunic did, so it was super comfortable.  And considering I was on a plane with three children for eight hours along with a very surly flight attendant crew (not surly to us, just surly/complainy in general), I was very relaxed and at ease in it.

Outfit Details:  Top, Gaudi inspired, made for the museums that showcase his work; Shoes, Clarks (find them here at amazon.com); Leggings, Harris Teeter.

Anecdote of the Day: I could have stayed a few extra days, but my body thanked me for returning to normal by insisting I sleep non-stop for days upon return.  I was going to bed at 8 every night for a week.  I am still very much hitting the hay as soon as I can.  I do want to try and get more walking in, even more than I already do, since I love the benefit of eating and drinking well in return.  :-)

Okay, that's it for now.  Thanks for reading.  :-)

BTW, Boden has both rolled out a collection for April and the Icons.  The Icons are nearly sold out, but the new stuff for April is still around and I have a code for 15% off below and in my sidebar.  I want to talk more about it, but I really wanted to get this post up instead.  I am sure Boden doesn't care which I do.  LOL.

Shop New Spring Arrivals Now With 15% Off Plus Free Shipping! Valid through 4/25 with code 8W5Q

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Hola From Espana!

At the Dali Museum in Figueres, Spain.

At Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain.

(Done in the accent of my eldest with just a bit of a slight twang) "Hola, everybody!"

We've been out of the country for a week now, and I didn't even bother to tell anyone on the internet because I have been just that bad with keeping up with the blog writing.  To be fair, I did make a few of the pieces I brought with me to wear to Spain (including the two blue floral tunics CW and I are wearing above), so that took a bit of time.  I do teach, too, but really it's getting kind of ridiculous, this whole "where is Dina?"

I have kept up on Instagram, so check that out if you are interested in some daily shots I compiled from my phone.  

Literally at the same time we were leaving for Spain, Boden announced that they were adding 20% off to the mid-season sale, which I hadn't even had a chance to announce here, much less the 20% off.  I did add the links for the mid-season sale, but the 20% off, feh, yeah, right.  I hope that you all were able to enjoy either the mid-season sale or the 20% off mid-season sale.  I did get the Janie dress before the 20% off happened, and I am glad I did as the size I wanted was all gone by the time the extra % occurred.  Did any of you enjoy either sale?  Honestly, this was the only way I was going to buy anything from them this season (other than the beautiful Martha dress, of course).  The "meh" factor was high at the full price for most of this season's pieces, the "meh" goes down significantly when the prices go down.  ;-)

Anyhow, we've been having a great time here in this beautiful country.  We started in Madrid, took the fast train to Barcelona, and have had day trips to Figuerres and Montserrat.  There has been a ton of walking, so I actually can eat all the amazing food and drink without fearing weight gain.  When I say a lot of walking I mean between ten and twelve miles a day.  So, yeah, a lot.

We'll be back in Virginia in a couple of days.  More than likely if the mid-season happened right now that means Boden is going to drop some rollout or another soon, so be on the lookout.  I hope that the meh factor is gone, I am really missing the Boden of yore now.  (I love some of the Spanish retailers, btw, color/pattern/texture is very high on their list, and boring is out.  It's awesome!)

Talk with you all soon! Hope you all are having a great start to your April!

Below is the link for the sale at Boden, with the additional 20% off.  It lasts for another seven hours or so.  Use the code 8V9T.
Shop an extra 20% off sale AND get 20% off new full price styles with code 8V9T, valid 3/31-4/3