Lilly Pulitzer For Target, An Exercise in Madness

So unless you’ve been in a coma for the last few weeks you’ve probably heard Target’s latest designer collaboration was with Lilly Pulitzer. And you’re probably also aware of the madness that followed. The line went live online at 3am and was sold out within minutes. Target themselves purposely slowed parts of the site for some visitors and totally shut down the site for a time. They really didn’t respond to the customers who contacted them on Facebook. The only update coming in the early morning hours basically saying “Good news, we fixed the site and you’re free to shop!” And that would have been great, if they hadn’t known full well that every last item was out of stock. Cue the rage posts. Women around the country (myself included, I was first in line at my local store) lined up well before dawn knowing that they might not get anything if they didn’t go to the stores. After waiting for hours many of us were met with empty racks because people did things like this.

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This my friends is one of the most hated women in America. I’m willing to bet she’s grateful her face isn’t showing. Despite her top, it’s fair to say she’s likely a re-seller. Because amongst the loyal fans of the brand, there were people who showed up with one goal. And that was to clear the racks and list the goods on eBay for triple the regular retail price. Even before the stores opened, those lucky few who got online seem to not have been Lilly fans, but “e(vil)Bayers”. Tens of thousands of items were listed on eBay while the stores were empty. It ended up not being a collection for Target, but a flash sale and a collection for eBay. The outrage is still alive and well but people have mostly calmed down (not that this means this hasn’t hurt Target). Women have formed buy/sell/trade groups, helping other women to get things near cost. I myself sent out six packages this week to women all over the country.

Despite being first in line I ended up with almost nothing. I foolishly thought we’d all act like ladies. I went to get a shopping cart and walked at a reasonable pace- while the women around me who were working in teams pushed, shoved, and ran towards the racks. They were mostly empty seconds later and I made it in time to pick up a few things that were too big, while girls walked past me with their arms full to the brim. It was ridiculous. I got lucky with returns though. Finding two shifts people decided to return (there was a two week window). These are them.

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I bought one in the Upstream print, but they pretty much only had really big sizes left. Everything under a 12 was gone. I was able to sell mine on Facebook and purchase the right size from someone else in the same group.

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I found this one this week in that same group.

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These aren’t all the shift patterns, there are three others but I’ve totally given up on those. It would seem as though Target didn’t make anywhere near as many of those three patterns as they did of these ones shown above. So, some of you might be thinking what’s the big deal about these? Well, a Lilly shift generally runs about $200, but these cost around $40. Yep. Real Lilly Pulitzer shifts, in exclusive prints, designed especially for this collection for just $40. The quality isn’t 100% the same, but it’s almost there. And for the price difference you probably won’t care. This is why so many women lost their minds, and the evil people who prey on these women went out of their way to take these dresses from them. And it wasn’t just these dresses, there were home goods (something Lilly pretty much never does), and other accessories. The embroidered clutches were a hot ticket item and honestly very few ever saw them in stores. Many stores had virtually nothing in stock, while some claimed no stock. With the employees buying everything and the customers never having a shot. There’s one store locally that supposedly has 4 clutches in stock, but a horrifyingly rude sales clerk has insisted they aren’t in store. Despite Brick Seek saying they have them, other employees in the store saying they’re in the system, and other stores confirming this as well. This woman was downright hostile to me (despite the fact I was nothing but polite) and would barely let me finish asking about them when I called and was shouting at me when I showed up at the store anyways. What’s to say, everyone but her says they should be in the store. Clearly she has them. This is what it’s come down to. Employees who apparently don’t care about their jobs. That are hiding things in the stores, waiting for markdowns, so they can purchase and flip these items. It’s out of control. I’m really lucky I was able to buy anything at all.

I was fortunate enough to find some cosmetic and toiletries bags on the first day. I think most people forgot about them and I was first to that display at my local Target so I got to take my pick. I picked up the headbands, turbans, bobby pins, and some nail files. I was also lucky enough to find one of the more rare items. A Weekender in Nosie Posey.

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The Weekender is really big, and the name pretty much says it all. It’ll fit enough for a weekend even if you’re an over-packer. Some people were disappointed in the size. Thinking this could be a carry-on that would replace a backpack or diaper bag. But this is just not going to fit under the seat in front of you on an airplane. It’s overhead compartment only! It’s perfect for me though. My husband recently switched jobs and it could mean that we’ll be forced to do some short term semi-local travel. This bag will hold enough for my son and I during those trips. I was able to score the toiletry and cosmetic bag that match this one, and it’s such a cute set. I still can’t believe I got so lucky.

There were also scarves, flip flops, hats, beach towels and more. I got really lucky with those too. Lilly Pulitzer isn’t as big a deal out here on the West Coast, so returns are still happening in my local stores, especially for these items. I really got into wearing scarves over the past two years so of course I picked up a number of these.

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They even had cases for the iPhone 6 Plus! I have been so disappointed with the lack of case options for this phone. Hardly anything’s been made for it. Even my favorite brand, Casemate, didn’t bother. Releasing a full line for the 6 and all but ignoring the 6 Plus- but not Lilly! They remembered. :) I was able to snag two for regular retail. The Sea Urchin For You print is my favorite.

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I also snagged both flounce dresses. Initially I had the Sea Urchin print in a Large but it was just too big, I got lucky and found returns in a Medium in stores so bought those and it’s a perfect fit. I really love the orange and pink print as well since it features giraffes, I love giraffes. <3

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It might be hard to see them, but my giraffes are there! I just wish I could find the scarf and cell phone case in this print…

Prior to this I had a love hate relationship with this brand. Their dresses are short, and I’m really tall. Add to that they’re such bright colors. Being a Bostonian the inclusion of color in my wardrobe is somewhat foreign. Oh sure some women back East wear these dresses, but for me grey or navy has been about as crazy as I ever got. Only after I moved away did I get more into wearing color. I think had I never lived in Hawaii I might not have branched out. Over there you don’t see a lot of black. The one day I wore all black (I had a cousin die) I felt odd and out of place. But still, I hadn’t bought more than the occasional accessory from the brand, despite perusing their website on occasion. I did visit their boutique on Newbury Street when I went home to shop for a wedding dress a few years back. But oddly they had virtually nothing in stock, so I left empty handed. It’s just as well. I’m glad this was my first real foray into the brand. I’ve met a lot of really nice ladies online and discovered a lot of pieces I really like from the brand (though sadly many of the items are now discontinued). I even went as far to buy a “real” Lilly from their website after being so impressed by the Target collection.

I decided on a “safe” print/color combo that looked longer. After looking at the entire website and every print I likes “In The Vias” the best. I wanted something really casual that I could wear anytime, so I bought the Palmetto V-Neck T-Shirt Dress.

IMG_1730They also had this print in a maxi dress (and I LOVE maxi dresses) but I wasn’t too sure about the metal rings on the straps. This seemed safest for now. It arrived the other day and honestly, I’m in love. It comes to mid thigh on me but I’m used to things being short on my ridiculously long legs. I really see this working well for at least three out of four seasons. It’s probably a bit too bright for winter, but in a different print or solid (they used to have this in Navy) it could totally work year round. It’s 100% cotton, and so soft. It’s kind of slinky actually and has virtually no stretch which is a bit odd. But I guess that’s just because I’m used to how most brands tend to sneak 1-2% spandex in with their cotton. I wore this yesterday and it’s so comfortable. I see myself wearing this as shown during the summer and come fall, I’ll be pairing it with boots, maybe even tights or leggings. I could easily wear an undershirt under this (I wear an undershirt with most things) and a chunky sweater or jacket over it. I saw a girl on another blog wearing a near identical dress (it was a Lilly but a slightly different style) and she had on ballet flats and a fitted puffer vest from J Crew. It looked fabulous, and it’s totally a look I’ll be sporting this fall. As many of you know I believe the wearing of yoga pants as everyday clothes to be a hostile act. But this is just as comfortable, and it’s socially acceptable. So if you’re looking to break out of a lounge wear rut, I recommend this dress.

I was also able to score a few other things. A maxi dress, other scarves, towels, plates, blows, and some other little things. I realize I’m far more lucky than most women, especially since I bought most of these things at cost only paying above retail for two things. I’m also lucky enough that I could just shop the “real” Lilly site only. And honestly, that’s what I plan to do in the future. This is not the first time Target has pulled a stunt like this, and I know it won’t be the last. I’m just not getting sucked in like this again. I think unless they paired with Kate Spade, I won’t be bothering with any future collection. I’ll just visit the designers website and buy direct from them, the way I’ve always done. It’s not worth the stress these collections cause. I’m honestly glad I missed out on the collections they did in the past (living in HI without a Target I was relegated to the online store and since that never works during these sales I never got anything) they really aren’t worth the hysteria. I did love virtually everything in this collaboration and I’m happy with what I bought. But never again.

Putting Together The Pieces

We’re all moved in and mostly settled now. The boxes have been unpacked since almost day three, and we somehow managed to fit in a trip to Disney World with all this going on. We’re back now so it’s time to start thinking about making this place more like a home. One of our couches has been delivered as has one rug, and the desk for the office. We’re still waiting on some other pieces and I haven’t even finished ordering everything we need. For example we have no coffee table or footstools. I’m probably going to go with something dual purpose like this great ottoman from zgallerie.

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I’m thinking I may want to get two since the room is quite large and I do have two full sized couches. Since these are soft and tufted and I will want to be able to use them as coffee tables as well, I’m planning to get some of those great trays from West Elm.

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They sell them in various shapes and sizes, and in all sorts of colors and materials. I’m partial to the rectangular acrylic ones but they certainly have something for everyone. You can even have them monogrammed- and yes, that includes acrylic and mirrored ones! I really love the idea of a footstool as a coffee table, it just seems so practical. They can be extra seating, they’re soft (when my brother was three he cracked his egg on what we thought was a wooden coffee table with blunt edges…), you can move them to where you need them. The trays seem like a great solution to keeping any spilled snacks and drinks contained. These trays can actually go on stands West Elm sells, so they are designed for food. And I love that if I were to have guests I can style one and set it out only when I have to, putting it away after they leave. So you can still have a lovely styled living room that’s easily put away when kids are running through the place! I also love the idea of them on stands for a unique side table.

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The sofas I picked have quite tall arms. A side table looks best when it’s level or near level with the arm of your seating. It’s also more practical. If you can’t reach your table because it’s down too low, how will you safely place anything on it? These stands come in at 31.5″ high, and that’s before the tray is placed on it! So often side tables are short, coming in at around 24″, 27″ if you’re lucky. So I’ll have to think outside the box for mine. I really like the idea of these though, and even better is that they can be folded and put away if you should suddenly need more space. There was also this really cool bar cart I liked from zgallerie.

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This is also quite tall, perfect for entertaining, and you can place it where you need it. The only downside for me is that when I showed the catalog to my son he said “Oooh, car-car!!!”. Yeah, that’s what I was worried about. This kid has a real fixation with wheels. I can just see it now. I’ll buy this, my son will toss everything I’ve placed on it off, he’ll load it up with cars and dolls and use it like a stroller. No way. So while I’m not opposed to this idea, it’d have to come later. My son truly does not care how severely I’d punish him, if it has wheels it’s like he literally can’t stop himself from trying to push it. It’s best to just avoid something so tempting in the first place.

I’m going to be nice now and share a few shots of the house.

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This is the kitchen and you can see the butlers pantry off to the left. The color is Sherwin-Williams Spirited Green should you be wondering. And it truly is Spirited, the space feels so lively and happy. My countertops are quartz (as is the backsplash) which is the new thing. Granite is kind of getting dated looking, and while I did have that option I’m glad I picked the white quartz. There are silver flecks in it so my countertops literally sparkle, I cannot tell you how happy that makes me. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with this space. I love how it looks empty, yet at the same time it feels too sparse. I really don’t want any appliances on the counters, though I do allow the rice cooker to sit out. I’m thinking about trying to put it away when not in use in the cabinet below. I have the toaster there now (that cabinet is totally empty save for the toaster, so there’s space for it) but I don’t know if it’d feel like too much work. We use it a lot, and I’ll keep the rice for a 2-3 days after I make it. So it wouldn’t have much time in the cabinet. The pink bowl is actually heart shaped and I got it a little over a year ago. World Market had them for Valentine’s Day and I bought two. They’re just so practical. With the point they’re great mix and pour bowls for different batters and they hold even straighter bananas well. In fact that’s what’s in there now. My son is a real banana fiend, I always have to have some in the house and I have to ration them otherwise he’d eat them all in a sitting. If you’re wondering what the weird line on the floor is, it’s painters tape. As you can see the kitchen is open concept, so keeping my son away from the gas burner while I’m cooking is a top priority. So aside from using only the back burners, and ensuring the handles are well out reach, I’ve taught my son not to cross the line when I say I’m cooking. Having that visual reminder really seems to work for him.

The glass cabinet feels just like dead space right now. There are things in there, but they’re not easily visible.

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The tea cups and plates on the second shelf, as well as the ceramic egg tray above it are too short. The really pretty vintage inspired bowl on the top shelf is too transparent. Bottom line, the things I’ve picked for this cabinet just aren’t quite right. I think as I add to my cafe au lait bowl collection that shelf will improve. The same goes for my tea cups, I think they’d benefit from being stacked at least. I really should just put that egg crate to use. It fits a dozen. Just write the date on one with a Sharpie and use that one last. I bought this limited edition Cinderella tea set from the Disney Store.

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I think it’ll look great on display in there, so I’ll be adjusting things soon enough. The chicken stays though. Every kitchen needs one.

The butlers pantry is actually something I’m not too displeased by. It still needs work, but things are happening there.

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Yes I know this mostly empty space is thrilling for all of you.

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This is the side that gets the most use. I bought that book from World Market and just placed it there casually, I ended up liking it there so it hasn’t moved. The straw dispenser behind it is from HomeGoods and I absolutely love it. I almost always use a straw so having it right there is very practical since the fridge is right next to this spot. I got tired of fishing around for spoons when making my tea so I bought this cup little cup from Anthropologie. I don’t make tea everyday so I like having an airtight container to hold my sugar. The tray is a Royal Albert tray I picked up for very little on Amazon, just a lucky find. It’s the exact right size to hold what I need and the colors are a perfect match to my cup and sugar box. The space does still feel a bit plain and I know I need to do more with it. But it’s difficult, I almost feel as though the space is too large. For that reason I wonder if perhaps I made a mistake with my tray. A much larger one that could have also held a tea tin or two, maybe a few tea books as well would work better? The there wouldn’t be as much dead space. I could always take the tray over to the sink. I have need of another over there. I realize this is a nice problem to have of course, but it’ll take me longer to sort through these design ideas.

I suspect at some point I may wish to change out the upper doors with glass ones. It’s not something I’d do anytime soon, it’s something I’d do years into the future. But it is something I’ve thought on. I have a great many beautiful tea tins and I collect mugs, I don’t own two of the same. So it might be nice to see my collection. Although once you can see it, it not only has to be neat in there always. The colors and patterns must play nicely with the rooms nearby. I do know what I want for this house, design wise. And I’m not 100% that brightly colored Frozen and Winnie the Pooh mugs factor into that design…

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As you can see, I kind of have things divided. I’m still unsure if I would rather have everything on one side, or keep them this way. I prefer to have such things on dishes, I hate it when soap bottles just sit in a puddle. They always get so gross don’t they?  I like knowing that every so often I can just toss my sponge, put the bottles in the sink for a rinse off, and put what they sit on in the dishwasher. I got that cute little tray from Anthropologie and it’s lived in so many different rooms and held so many different things in the year I’ve owned it. It’s just a really great shape and size, it’s perfect for so much. I’m also thinking through what I want to do about the bottles. I generally don’t like commercial packaging. The Mrs. Meyer’s bottle is actually pretty cute, as is my lotion. But I really dislike the Method bottle. I only have a few of that scent left (it was a seasonal scent and I bought a ton of them last fall). So I need to think now about what I want to do. Invest in a pretty bottle to refill, or just toss it and go back to using just the dish soap when washing my hands in the kitchen. Yes, these are the decisions that keep me up at night. As you can see, I lead a rather tortured life.

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Another big issue I’m having is cords. Every last one in this room bothers me, but this is hands down the worst spot in the entire downstairs. That Echo has a long skinny cord, the Kitchenaid has the usual thick and super long one that does not want to be hidden, and the wax warmer has a switch on it. I sort of wonder why the builder didn’t install the outlets lower, it would have made hiding the plugs so much easier. I’ve been thinking of trying to Pintrest a solution. I saw this one pin where they wrapped the cord with suede cording. It actually looked great and it’s not something I’d mind seeing. Although if I used white it’d actually blend and I might like that better. I also saw something where they wrapped an iPhone charger with pipe cleaners. And I think if nothing else it’d be a great tool for wrapping the cords into smaller bundles. I kept the little twist tie my wax warmer came with and it’s still folded and tied with that. But I feel like a fun pipe cleaner (or a plain one the same color as the cord) could be a better, more effective way to bundle the wire so that I can still access the switch and have it not look like I’ve just tied the thing in a knot. I’ll be sure to post updates if I find something that works. If anyone out there has any suggestions I’m open to them.

In addition to decor, I’m still working on some basics like organization. I have a rather large walk in pantry which is great, but it’s something that can get really out of control if you’re not careful. The Master Closet, Office, Bonus Room, and Craft room are still sitting unfinished as well. The Craft and Bonus rooms can wait, but I really need to do something about that closet. The office has a desk so that’s fine for now, and at this stage I need to prioritize I can’t deal with every room at once. So first up is the pantry. It needs to be functional and everything must be easily accessible. The space is so big I’m using it for food, cleaning and general household supplies, and our bags. So I need to get to Target and HomeGoods and start looking for storage solutions. The entire top shelf is just clutter, I need plastic totes or something to put my seasonal decor in. The bottom shelf is where I toss my pocketbook, and ballet bag, as well as my sons playcare backpack. We need baskets for these things cause it looks really bad having them just tossed on that shelf. Not only that those things don’t always stand up straight and I have things I might want to be sure I take with me when I leave the house. So if I have large enough baskets I’ll be able to toss in my bags, plus things like pre-filled playcare drop off sheets, things I want to return, coupons, etc.

It’ll probably take a while to complete the whole pantry. There are a lot of things I need to do in there. But I’ve taken a “before” photo and I’ll try to remember to take progress shots. The pantry really is big and houses a lot of different things, so I don’t expect this to be a quick project. But I’ll do a post once it’s completed. I won’t be posting my before shot now, I don’t want anyone seeing what a disaster zone it looks like without being able to prove I could turn it around!

Elevé Leotard Photos

I was able to take some photos of my replacement leotards and my newest one this afternoon. The light wasn’t the very best but it was okay. It probably would have been better if I’d just waited to publish the last post until I had the photos. But I almost think it really motivated me to get them up more than anything. Here’s a quick link to that post if you’re coming here by email, https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/my-replacement-eleve-leotards-have-arrived/. I haven’t really changed any of the text, just deleted the parts where I say I’m going to get the photos up.

I’m going away the end of the week, we’re going to Disney World again. My husband is working like crazy and I have class nearly every day. So I honestly don’t think I’ll have time to get anything up before then. I do have some ideas, mainly one about the way I dress my son. Not really craft or dance related but it’s something people comment to me all the time about. I’d really love to share how I shop for him and come up with his outfits. I’ve always felt that people think dressing boys isn’t fun but it’s simply not true! I’m out to show that dressing boys can be fun, and it’s really not that hard to get your little guy looking great! And these will be tips that you could apply to any wardrobe, whether it be for a little girl or an adult!

My Replacement Elevé Leotards Have Arrived!

If you’ve been following along you’ll know I had a problem with the fit of my leotards. I contacted Elevé and they really came to the rescue. The representative I spoke to was really a dream to work with, so pleasant and helpful. They paid for postage back to them and put my leotards at the top of the queue. It still took a few weeks from the time they received them until I had my replacements back in hand. But I was happy to wait knowing the company was working hard to ensure my leotards would fit properly this time. They arrived in the mail late last week and I was soooo excited. I literally grabbed the packet from my husband and started running through the house screaming while trying to tear it open. I put them on immediately and they fit!!!! I was overjoyed. I hand washed them and set them aside for class. I was able to wear both once before getting sick and missing something crazy like 2-3 weeks of class! But since I’ve been back I’ve been able to wear both a few times each and they’re holding up super well, just as I would expect.

I find that the sleeves on the Laico are still a smidge tight, but that’s more to do with me than them. I know my arms look reasonably slim in my photos, but they’re easily my worst feature and they’re not that slim. I’m hoping that with continued class they’ll tone up a bit, then sleeves won’t be an issue. Honestly my arms are part of why I don’t buy leotards with sleeves most of the time. I’m always worried they’ll be too tight. These sleeves are pretty good on this though and not overly snug. I can definitely get in and out of them without worrying I’m going to rip them and they’re hardly cutting off my circulation. The length is really perfect though, much better than before. I find that this one is still a bit tight around the middle and I think it’s just down to the fabric I chose. I think the shiny spandex just has less give than the matte and I’ll remember that in the future. All said and done it fits way better than before and I would say is true to the sizing I expected initially.IMG_1551

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The Lauren is a much better fit as well. I did pop a few stitches on the neckline getting in and out of it, but that’s kind of to be expected when you’re squeezing yourself through a neck hole. I’ve gotten better at it though and it’s less of an issue. It’s much longer than the first one and so much more comfortable. I find that the spandex on this one is just super silky feeling and I really like it. I actually wore this one on St. Patricks Day since it was the closest to a green leotard I had. I’ve only worn both of these a few times and I’ve received a number of compliments so I think I did really well with my fabric selections!

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I do have another leotard I bought with my Christmas gift certificate and that came in as well. This was definitely the longest I’ve ever had to wait for a leotard from Elevé, it took the full 8 weeks. Actually it was a few days longer than that because for some reason my post office decided they didn’t want to deliver it on the day they were supposed to. The tracking said Friday but they actually held onto it until Monday. I was fuming. I’ve really had it with the USPS, the level of service they provide has seriously gone downhill over the past 8 years. And they wonder why people hate them… Well it finally got here and it’s stunning! I bought the Vinzant in Vampire and the mesh I picked for the top is Paint Your Roses Red. It came out so nicely and it fits perfectly. I might go as far as to say it’s my best fitting one yet. Now I know this particular pairing has been done to death, but I didn’t care. I just love that red and I really liked that mesh so I’m glad I had this one done up the way I did. I had briefly considered doing the base in black, but I’m happy with the choice I made.

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Now before I go, it’s confession time. Elevé got some new fabrics in, and me having no self control… Well I’ve already ordered another. But I can explain! This new fabric is just so beautiful I’d be devastated if they ran out of stock. So I figured I’d rather buy another leotard straight away rather than miss my chance. I don’t regret it for a second. I’d rather go without any number of other treats in the coming months than forgo a chance to have a leotard done up in this fabric. I’m not going to share with you all the fabrics I chose. If you visit the site you might be able to guess, but you’re all just going to have to wait and see! I’m keeping the style a secret as well. :)

Stocking The Cupboards

As I previously mentioned we’ve moved into our new home! I’m very excited by this and am just completely in love with the place. It’s been a long wait. We were supposed to be in by January but didn’t end up getting the keys until February. We actually discovered the place in late summer and picked the lot when it was still a bunch of grass. Watching it be built was a lot of fun, if slightly torturous at times. It was hard to watch our future/current neighbors decorating and celebrating Christmas when we were still in our little apartment. There was also the whole not wanting to buy any gifts because we didn’t want to have to move them. Same went for decorating. I usually love decorating and I didn’t want to buy a bunch of things not knowing if they’d fit into my new space, my “real” space, the one I’d have forever. So to skip virtually all of it was really, really, hard. We did get a tree, that literally died the day before Christmas so it was gone on the 26th. This holiday was a little sad in that regard. I usually fight to keep the tree for far too long. But it ate most of the living space so it was better to see it go. Sigh…. Well, at least this next holiday season will be a really fun one. I’ll actually be able to decorate. Even bake a bit since I finally have a real kitchen again! The kitchen in the apartment was barely big enough for the oven, so the last thing I wanted to do was spend time in there. Now I have a huge double oven! I’ve already used both at once and I’m in love. I’ll never be able to go back to a single oven again. It’s just so exciting!

Now that I have this huge kitchen I’m stuck with a bit of a dilemma. It’s hardly a bad one, but a dilemma just the same. I have tons of cupboard space. I’m not kidding when I say that half of them are empty. Now I don’t want to go filling them with junk! But it would be nice to get a few of the things I’ve been wanting/needing since moving to the mainland. I think it’s the little things that made the transition hard. I completely adapted in every other regard. But it can be a bit frustrating to think “Oh, I already have that” then remember that I do have whatever that odd needed item is- just not here. I have pretty much everything I could ever need to run my kitchen in Hawaii. But why wouldn’t I? I had years to put it together. I still don’t even have simple things like a funnel here. I have most of the basics, mixing bowls, a frying pan, etc. But pyrex in every size? Nope. Various baking gadgets? Nope. You get the picture. I did buy a couple more towels and trivets the other day. I seriously need at least four trivets, and until recently only had space for two. It was also frustrating only having two kitchen towels for the past year. Those things get so grimy. It’s no wonder they’re so faded after only a years worth of use. Ewww. I kept them but they’re strictly for mopping up spills on the floor now! I actually could do with buying another two pack so I’ll have four (ohh la la, four such a luxury, lol). I did just buy a package of really fun looking microfiber towels from Amazon tonight. I’m really excited for them to come, these are the ones I bought.

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Aren’t those so bright and cheery? I’m thinking I might even sew some cute floral fabric to one side of them. Just cause I actually hate the feeling of microfiber towels even if I love how well they clean. Now I’m sure my husband will want to kill me when he finds out I’ve bought yet more crap (as he affectionately calls it) but hear me out. It occurred to me, I’ve been using just the basic yellow ones from Costco for years. They work fine, they wash fine (I use the sanitize feature on my wash), and they last forever. But I was just thinking. Do I really want to scrub my bathroom floors and toilets with these, then wipe down my kitchen counter tops? Yes I basically wash them in boiling water. But there’s just something so gross about it that the more I thought about it, the more it freaked me out. So bright, can’t fail to notice me, pink, will now be the only color to enter my kitchen! I feel quite relaxed now. I actually have basic white ones in Hawaii and I don’t know how I totally forgot I used to use separate kitchen clothes there. For this past year I’ve been burning through paper towels at an alarming rate- it needs to stop it’s so wasteful. I really need to get a cheap plastic wastebasket for under my sink now. I want a setup similar to what I have in Hawaii. I know photos exist somewhere but I can’t find them. But basically I have little shelves to keep my cleaning supplies nicely organized and in the center, just in front of the plumbing in what would have been wasted space, I have a tiny waste basket that I use to toss all my dirty kitchen cloths in. When it gets full I just carry it upstairs and dump it into the wash so they don’t touch anything else. I think it’s important since they could have stuff like meat juice or whatever on them and I don’t want that stewing with my hand washables in the regular laundry basket!

Now as thrilling as I’m sure you all find cleaning stuff, there’s the fun things a person needs for their “upper cabinets”. You know, the good ones. :) The ones with all the pretty plates and bowls and such. I decided when I first moved here I was done with matching sets. I have a Martha Stewart set in Hawaii that I love, but I live in fear of something breaking and not being able to replace it. That’s no way to live. So I’m done with that. Besides, mix and match is way more fun. There’s also a practical aspect to what I do. My husband sometimes eats gluten when he’s at work, or when we’re in restaurants. The last thing we’d want is for him to pour himself a glass of juice then have me confuse his cup with mine. So having different cups helps prevent mixups! So this is a good idea for those with autoimmune disorders who need to avoid certain foods, or even those with severe allergies. A mix up like that after someone eats virtually any fruit could kill my mother. She never saves cups and we’ve never been allowed to (mostly to avoid fridge spills) but if she did this would be a good way to stay safe! Right now the cups I have work fine. There’s nothing wrong with them (aside from the fact they don’t match my kitchen) so I’ll be holding on to them. As pretty cups that do match my kitchen go on sale I’ll slowly start buying some. Here are some lovely one’s I have my eye on.

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These pretty pink and blue pressed glass tumblers are from Pier 1. Right now the site says TBD which scares me as they were on there earlier this evening. But it says they’re still available in stores so it should be fine. These are part of their Easter line and they have some other styles to match. They’re about $8 and I have a 20% off coupon right now! So I’ll probably use it to pick up one or two of each color. Just cause it would be a shame to waste such a good coupon. :)

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This pretty purple pressed glass tumbler is from where else, but Anthropologie. I was actually looking at them today. They don’t have the blue ones online right now but I saw them in store. These are truly lovely in person and they come in two sizes. They’re priced similarly to the Pier 1 cups, a dollar less actually. My husband didn’t like the rim of these, he said they felt “unfinished” somehow. I personally didn’t mind it. But I have a little trouble drinking from a cup without dumping it down the front of myself (don’t ask) so I always, always, always use a straw. As a result it’ll never bother me. It if bothers him he can always use the Pier 1 cups. And I’m not buying them right away. I’ll add them to my cupboard eventually but right now there’s no pressing need. So I’d rather hold out for a sale. Everything goes on sale eventually and it’s not like this is a temporary item for Anthro, they’ve sold these for years. So when they go on sale (or if I should be lucky enough to get a coupon) I’ll probably pick up a few in different colors. The bigger size only, as I didn’t care for the size of the juice cup.

These are some things I did pick up while at Anthro.

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These beauties are from Lou Rota’s Natures Table line just for Anthropoligie. Apparently there was also a goldfish one but I missed the boat on that. I’m sad, but I think this design is more than enough to soothe my damaged heart. I’ve wanted these for soooo long but put off buying them because I didn’t have an Anthro anywhere near me, then because I literally didn’t have the space for them in the apartment. That is unless I wanted to store them in my nightstand… So when I was in the store today I saw them and I just couldn’t hold off any longer. I wasn’t even there for these today, I just went in to browse cause I got an email about all their new housewares coming in. But I’m glad I picked these up. I bought two of each, just in case something breaks so I’ll be less heartbroken. The teacups are sitting proudly in my glass cupboard so I can always see them. :) They have some other plates I love and one other teacup I think is pretty as well. But I can wait for those, these needed to happen today. Speaking of new housewares I got lucky and scored these awesome cafe au lait bowls!

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I knew I had seen the white ones there at one point but I didn’t know they had other colors. I have some red ones I’m in love with and really wanted some new white ones for this new space (since red doesn’t really mesh well with mint green, grey, and pink). But World Market discontinued them and I didn’t know until it was way too late. I’m sad, but I’ll live. Especially since I now know Anthro carries these. Although apparently these are something that come and go there. So them releasing all their new housewares today could be why they had dozens of colors in store. If you click on any of the images it’ll take you to the store page but they don’t even have all of the colors I saw in store. So I feel really lucky I stopped in today. I bought one of each of the above colors plus a really pretty purple one so I now have four. They’re a bit more than my red ones $5 per bowl versus $3.50 but it’s not too bad, very reasonable if you ask me. I’ll keep the red ones obviously, but they don’t get to live in my glass cabinet. I really love this style of bowl. it’s super sturdy, doesn’t get too hot or cold when holding it, and fits just the right amount of everything from cereal to chips, to ice cream, to yes even coffee. They’re dishwasher and microwave safe as well! I actually didn’t even know what these bowls were called or what they were for until jut a few days ago. But once I was able to track down the World Market bowls I had something to Google and learned a lot. I think these are going to be something I collect as the years go on. Just because they’re not just pretty, they’re practical. I’m a magpie of sorts, always collecting and bringing things home. But I love it when something I collect can be put to good use everyday. For example I love little trays and dishes, and I have them all over both here and in Hawaii. They’re prefect if you need to take off your rings and need a safe spot to put them. Or if you have a bit of loose change you want to dump, or what have you. They keep things corralled and they look pretty. I’ve actually been on the lookout for a nice one to hold my nite guard cause the ugly plastic travel container it sits on just does nothing for me and that’s the real reason I went into Anthro today. I came away without something for that, but I’m hardly disappointed! And they just match my pretty little tea cups and dessert plates so well. It’s a match made in heaven.

Before I noticed all the colors they had I saw these pretty bowls.

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The pictures just do not do these bowls justice, they’re absolutely lovely in person. Add to that they’re microwave and dishwasher safe and you’ve got a winning combo. My current bowls actually aren’t safe for either but I routinely toss them in the dishwasher. And I’ve also been known to microwave them as well. The microwave really doesn’t like that, they contain metal. I need to stop before I blow up another microwave (yes I said another, Don’t Judge!!!). They come in a few colors, all of which are great but this one is my favorite. Again, I’m not in some crazed rush to replace everything I own. But I’m slowly building a list so when my things inevitably die I have some options. I’m really shocked I broke nothing over the course of the last year, must have been the carpeting that saved me cause I totally dropped stuff. I don’t exactly have carpeting anymore, so I give it another year before I’m forced to buy more stuff. And now you all know why I’m paranoid I’m going to break my dishes in Hawaii. It’s cause I know it’s not really an if, so much as a when. I just have a bad track record with some stuff. But hey I have a bad history with water too and I haven’t flooded anything in years so that shows real growth! I still feel so bad, but I managed to flood my husband’s apartment in New York something stupid like three times. In fact I managed to do it one last time the day we flew out for Hawaii. I’m shocked his landlord didn’t try to have me killed. The damage was really that bad, every time. And it’s not even the only house I did that too… I swear I don’t mean to be this accident prone! Danger just finds me. Moving on… Plates!

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They have a few designs in this series that I really like. Like the bowls they are dishwasher and microwave safe. My current plates not so much. Show of hands who can guess how often I ignore the those warnings on my current plates. Everyone? Okay then. I need help, I know, I’m working on it okay? I’m not going to buy stuff with metal on it anymore (mostly). I’m going to be good and hand wash the stuff that needs to be hand washed and stop trying to set fire to my microwave. Geez, everyone happy now (and by everyone I mean my mother). This reminds me, I need a fire extinguisher for this kitchen. I should tell my husband about that, he’ll remember I’ll forget.

This cute little berry basket has been popping up everywhere. I saw them first at Anthropologie of course. But then I found this one from Creative Co-op on Nordstrom for about a quarter of the price. But then I didn’t buy it, and they sold out of the “good” colors. And I was devastated. Then by chance I saw them on Amazon, and a few other websites, and finally one last time as I was strolling down the aisle at Fred Meyer’s, at a snails pace cause my kid wanted to push the huge shopping cart himself. He’s usually pretty good at it but after a while it gets too full and he can’t see. And since he’s two (but with the strength equal to or greater than some 30 year old women) he’s still able to push it with quite a lot of force. It leads to a lot of stop and go and crashes (and snickering grandparent types). Fortunately he happened to crash near these little gems!

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They had them in white, grey, and a kind of minty green color. I’m storing little packets of Mario’s olives in them (the baby and I LOVE them). They’re so cute and you totally could use them in the fridge to keep just washed berries in. They’d look great in these on a table for brunch and there’s the added bonus of the stoneware keeping them chilled a bit longer out of the fridge. Size wise they’re not super big, but they are bigger than the ones your berries probably come in. I could fit about five or six of those little Cuties in here (those are tangerines right?).

I also bought this but I’m still waiting on it.

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Isn’t it cute? Right now I have my Christmas platter in the butlers pantry in-between my Keurig and Breville and I wanted something a little less snowy for the warmer months. It’s around the same size and I think it’ll look great in the space. I want something just to corral my sugar, spoons, and other little what nots I need for my drinks. I have a tiny, pink, heart shaped tupperware I bought a year ago from Target I use to store my sugar. And although I don’t currently have anything to store my spoons and scoops in I’m sure I’ll find something at some point. Maybe a tiny juice version of the Anthro tumbler? Or perhaps something from my favorite store, Home Goods? See this is what’s frustrating about WA. If I were in Hawaii I could totally find something to repurpose from around the house. I did it all the time. It was the upside of living in a house for years with stuff I bought on the mainland and hoarded for a rainy day like a crazy woman. Virtually anything I might need I already had at home. Now when I open my cupboards I don’t see possibilities I see an empty shelf. It’s annoying. I realize I’m still setting up, but starting over is hard sometimes. Just the other day I remembered a white basket looking bowl I thought would look fantastic on my center island and I thought “Oh, I should totally set that out where did I put that”. Then I remembered I put that away, in Hawaii. This stuff is still happening a year later. I’m telling you, my suitcases are going to be so heavy coming back from there. I have an ever growing list of things I want to bring back and it’s filled with stupid stuff like clothes and washi tape, and more serious stuff I don’t want to or maybe can’t replace like sewing patterns I’ve altered and old cookbooks. Even things from my wedding. It’ll be nice once we go back next time. I’ll actually have a place to bring those things back to.

Well that’s all for now. My Elevé order was marked as shipped today so it’s on it’s way to me. I’m hoping I’ll have it in time for Thursdays class. I really feel like I’ll be well enough to attend class by then. So if I could have my new leotard for that I’d be really happy. I’ll try to get my updated review up soon. Since my new leotard is coming I’ll probably lump the reviews together. I do know there are people waiting for those posts so just know it is actually coming. Soon, I promise.

Quick Update

I just wanted everyone to know I am still here. I did get my Elevé leotards back and they fit great. I actually started writing a proper post on them but it’s just a half finished draft right now. I’ve moved house and have been very sick these past two weeks. So extras like my blog are on the back burner. I’ve missed the last two weeks of classes I’ve been just too sick to go. I did get to test drive my leos, but it was brief before I was sidelined.

I’m feeling much better today and hopefully I’ll be back in class by the end of this week, probably Wednesday or Thursday. Fingers crossed. I’m hoping I’ll get my review up soon as well, time permitting. With so many classes I haven’t had as much time to write. I come home from class tired and I tend to zonk. But my goal is to write two posts before we leave for Disney World the end of this month. I have a third leotard I’m still waiting on. I bought it with my Christmas gift certificate. It’s been more than seven weeks now and this is definitely the longest I’ve ever waited for something from Elevé. I’m sure it’ll be on it’s way to me by weeks end though. I’ll have photos of that up just as soon as possible. A new leotard is always motivation for me to post!

I do have a lot going on with the house too. I won’t be doing house tours or anything like that. I know it’s sort of a popular thing to do. You know, give freaks and thieves a literal blueprint of your home, but it’s not my style. There will probably still be some design posts, like my old ones. These will feature better lighting though as the new place isn’t a tomb, that’s nice. I’m still surprised every time I turn a light on and it makes a difference. I know that sounds bad, but the other place was just so dark and there was very little that was going to help that. Right now the place is pretty bare. I bought some furniture from Ethan Allen and Pottery Barn, so I’ll probably see it sometime this summer (no, I’m not kidding). But it’s something to look forward to. And I’ll probably start stalking Home Goods again in the coming months. I really try to stay away from there. It’s my weak spot. I literally can’t walk out of there empty handed, there’s always something. Even if it’s just a box of cookies or some sprinkles. I think my husband hates that place. I love it. I mean come on! Throw pillows in every color you can imagine!!!!! What’s not to love?

My Leotards Are Going Back & Answers From Elevé

If you read my last post you’d know that two out of my three new Elevé leotards had fit issues. I was really surprised by that and even more so when I laid them out on top of one of my existing leotards.

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To say this was shocking would be an understatement. For a while there I really thought the issue was just with me. You know how sometimes you try and put something on and it doesn’t fit and you just get that sad feeling like, maybe I got fat and didn’t notice? Yeah, I kind of had that. Even though I know I weigh less and I’m even building muscle. I wish I’d just done this sooner. I would have been less mopey.

These two leotards were really too uncomfortable to wear and my plan to just loose weight by continuing with class was clearly never going to help in making me shorter. And really, the length was more of an issue than anything else. So it was a bit snug around the midsection. Who cares? That one in the second photo would have been downright painful to wear. I’m flinching just thinking about it digging into my shoulders and riding up as I sit here writing. So I contacted Elevé and they’re helping out.

Elevé really does have great customer service. I’ve never had an issue with them, and I have had to contact them in the past. I honestly didn’t expect them to take them back as these are custom but it’s exactly what they’re going to do. They made sure they had more of my preferred fabric in stock and they told me they’d get straight to work on my new leotards as soon as they received my current leos. They also had me send in my measurements so they could be sure they’re cutting me the right size. Since I sew I was able to take them myself and send them straight off. I kind of already knew them but double checking is always a good idea under these circumstances. As expected they’ve shrunk a bit.

Since I did have to contact Elevé I decided this was the perfect opportunity to find out exactly what they can and cannot do in terms of customization. I had heard in the past from others that they’d do things like remove sleeves, or remove back holes from some of their designs and it turns out this is true. Here’s an excerpt from an email I had from the company,

“When customers come to us with small requests, like sleeves, back holes being removed, or a higher or lower leg hole cut-it all has to be passed and approved by Lisa, the owner and creator of Elevé Dancewear. Whether these requests are approved or not is solely dependent on whether these changes will effect the integrity, fit, or design of the leotard itself. For example, our Anna leotard can have the lower back hole completely removed from it, but our Elizabeth cannot because it would prevent our customers from being able to put it on. If an alteration that is not available on the website is approved, then the next step is to make sure it makes it on the paper work of the order itself. The way to do this is to type it in to the Order Instructions/Comments at the end of your checkout through the website. Anything that is typed into that box, we will be able to acknowledge when that set of orders is printed out.”

So basically it’s common sense stuff. If you want to buy a high necked leotard it’s going to have to have a cutout in the back and a clasp so you can get into it. Unless you’ve somehow figured out how to get in through a leg hole… And you want to contact the company before placing your order because if they really can’t (or won’t) make a change it’s better to know that before you wait however long before the problem is caught. Jessica, the person I’ve spoken to (who is very quick to respond to emails) said that they’re swift to contact people by email if they notice a potential issue with an order. But I don’t know when those orders get reviewed. Is it when they first come in, or once your order reaches the top of the pile? Even if it’s when the order first comes in there are still holidays and weekends to consider. And with a construction time of 6-8 weeks the last thing you want is to have to wait longer because you were a bit impulsive and placed your order asking for customizations that haven’t been approved. And I totally understand the company founder wanting the last say in what changes are made. She came up with the designs, so if you want to change them she deserves the right to say “I love it” or “No way is that going out of here with my name on it”. Cause at the end of the day you don’t want someone’s crazy desire for something dowdy, or risqué hurting your brand’s image.

I also wanted to know more about their tights, fabric options, and fitting info. I get a lot of hits on this blog looking for fitting info so I’m going to start there.

When it comes to sizing they recommend you start with looking at their size chart. That’s a pretty standard recommendation and it is where you should start. But they do understand how frustrating it can be to pick dance wear sizes. So if you have any fitting questions you can always contact them. And if you’ve placed your order but you’re just sitting at home worried it really won’t fit, email them. So long as they haven’t cut the fabric it’s not too late. They’re really more than happy to help you find the right size. I truly believe my leotards were a fluke. As I’ve said before I own three from them that fit identical. These two were just off. I’m going to put it down to the holidays. Sometimes things get overlooked or a person just isn’t paying as much attention as they should because their mind is other places. These things happen when you’re dealing with humans and as you can see here, they’re working to make things right. I’m going to be brutally honest here, my measurements are as follows:

Girth- 62.5
Bust- 35.5
Waist- 30
Hips- 38

So I should be in the low range for their Large size. Accidents happen. Fabric types vary, and that can effect fit. I think just looking at the sizing chart makes me feel better about this being a one off. But in the future I know if I really wanted to I could attach my measurements to the comments box when placing my order. I probably don’t need to, but I could and they’d have it attached to my order form there to jog their memory. To me it’s overkill so I don’t think I’ll do it but you could with no harm done.

Moving on to tights. I don’t actually have any of these from them but I won’t deny being intrigued. There are actually a few girls in my studio who like to wear cool patterned tights/leggings. One girl has these fantastic Romero Britto leggings and another has ones that make one of her legs look bionic. The teacher actually walked in one day and freaked, thought she was wearing some kind of freaky brace or something. They’re awesome. Now Elevé’s tights are more like leggings as they have no feet. They’re made of the same fabric as their leotards (no mesh allowed) and they don’t currently have a women’s selection. So you have to place your order from the mens section of the site, the style name is Nicholas. To gauge your size just pick the same size you buy for your leotard based off of their sizing chart. If you’re in-between go with the larger unless you’re very petite. And very important! When placing your order you need to put your gender preference in the comments box! That way they know to cut a smaller women’s size and not a mens.

I’m really on the fence about buying the tights myself. Sometimes I think I really want a pair (and not just for ballet…) but other times I think I’m happy enough with my current stuff. I really hope as they continue to grow and expand their site they’ll offer more options for women’s tights. I get why they wouldn’t offer mesh for men, but for women? We wear leotards and shorts and stuff. So I would totally see the mesh looking amazing as tights. But given the nature of mesh stretch material it might be hard to pull off. It generally doesn’t have the same level of stretch and they’d probably have to alter all of their existing patterns as a result. Then there’s the issue of some mesh fabric being two way stretch and others being four. I don’t know if all of Elevé’s mesh is one or the other, or if they have a mix. But if they have a mix it could lead to one pair fitting well and another not even going on. So I could see why they might want to avoid it for that reason or at least limit it to certain patterns. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what they come out with in the future.

Lastly I’m going to talk about fabric. I noticed some old fabric choices were gone and some new stuff added, and I waned to know if they were planning on adding any more fabrics anytime soon. I was told it’s mainly to do with supply and demand. When they run out or something gets discontinued they try their best to replace it. And I understand, fabric gets discontinued all the time. Usually after a few years, although sometimes much sooner. So if you see something you like you might want to get something made in it. Because if it’s popular it might not be available after a season or two. I personally like patterns with roses, but they always seem to have something with them so I’m happy. I was also told that if the owner Lisa come across something that fits their aesthetic she orders it straight away. I guess that’s why the new mesh in smoke is up on their site. I’m sure it was kind of a no brainer when she spotted it, and it is an awesome print. And I know that when it comes to spandex, stretch mesh, and lace fabrics there’s not a lot out there. Well there is, but it’s not like quilting cotton or something like that. For every one printed spandex in the world there’s probably thirty printed cottons- or more floating around. It’s just not a super in demand fabric and not a lot of places stock it. You’re lucky to find even a couple decent four way stretch spandex fabrics at your local Jo-Annes and it’s because it doesn’t sell well. It’s an intimidating fabric and most people don’t want to deal with the hassle when they could buy a swimsuit (what most people are sewing with it) for the price of a single yard. So designers aren’t in a rush to churn out new designs. I will tell you this. I know Elevé has had velvet and burnout velvet in the past. Kathryn Morgan has this one really amazing red leotard with their burnout velvet and I’m incredibly jealous. If they ever come out with another similar fabric I’m buying something in it. I don’t care. I will show no restraint. I cannot miss out on something like that again. And I’m not surprised Elevé doesn’t have any fabrics like that on offer right now since I’ve searched every spandex wholesaler site I could find and there’s virtually nothing in that category. So I couldn’t even buy a little and sew a leotard myself. So sad. :(

So basically if something good actually comes out, they buy it. But if there are no awesome patterns to be had then there’s really nothing they can do. I won’t fault them for that. So waiting for the next season to place an order hoping they’ll have a bunch of new fabrics release just isn’t the best choice. If you like something they currently have in stock, get it. If you really hate everything they have then you just have to be patient and wait for something to pop up at random.

I really hope this post helps the people who come to my blog looking for the answers to some of these question. If you do have a question I didn’t answer here feel free to comment or contact the company itself. I do want to point out I’m not being paid or compensated in any way for this review. I’m just a fan of the brand and I love to share things I like. And really, I’m just sort of over the moon thrilled with how great they’ve been in wanting to help me and answering all my many, many questions. Companies like this deserve attention so far as I’m concerned. I’ll be sure to post a follow up review after my replacement leotards come in so keep an eye out!

My Newst Elevé Leotards- A Review

Well, they’ve finally arrived. Through a stroke of good luck the post office delivered my mail early today. I ran down to the box with my son, who was complaining all the while. I didn’t think it was worth while to dress him just to go to the mailbox. But I forgot, it’s a rather arduous trek (insert sarcasm). And for that reason he felt the need to point to his romper and say “Uh-oh” over and over, and when we finally got outdoors he resorted to yelling “naughty, naughty” at me. Yeah, I’ve got you kid, I’m negligent. We did finally manage to get to the box and my leotards were in there! After racing back as quickly as I could drag Captain Naughty and setting him up with some food I tore them out of the packaging. I was able to take some quick shots of them and I tried all of them on. I do have some good first impressions as well as a proper review for one of the three. It was still a bit damp but I wore one of them to class. It was fine by the time I got there but boy I was cold on the way to the car.

First up is the, Amber With The Full Back.

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I really love this one, I’m not sure it’s my favorite style/color wise, but it definitely is fit wise. This fit the best out of the three. I opted to do this in “Branch Out” and “Black Mesh”, and only got the bust panel. The sleeves are “Below Elbow” length. This one just fits so well and looks so good. The black mesh on the back really sets it off. It looked fantastic while I was in center and I could see both the front and the back at the same time. I would definitely order this style again. This one was very comfy and fits just as well as the two I previously owned.

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Sorry for the super messy bathroom. I didn’t have time to tidy up before the photos. That weird blue thing is like my husbands favorite Christmas gift ever. It’s some stupid gun that tells you the temperature of stuff. Why he likes this I’ll never know, but whatever. Moving on… As you can see I’m still horrible at selfies but you still get an idea of the fit. I think the legs come down a little lower in a more traditional line, but that’s fine. The butt stays put and doesn’t ride up. I hate it when that happens, but even more so when it’s cold out and I’m wearing my sweater tights (I have the Gaynor Minden ones and they’re amazing). Just cause it’s weird to reach into your tights to rearrange your butt. It’s not attractive, don’t do that. I found this to be plenty warm to wear without a sweater, most days I have to wear one for the first half of class, sometimes even throughout the entire class. This was just enough that I wasn’t freezing, yet I never got so hot I overheated. I don’t think this will work in the summer, but it’ll be nice during the colder months.

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It has a mock turtle neck, no zipper, and is sleeveless. There is no back hole option for this one, so the full, high back is standard. This one and the one featured below this feel small. So much so that I thought I’d somehow ordered the wrong size. So either Elevé has changed the fit of their leotards, this particular seamstress cut them too small, or these two styles just don’t work for me. I’ll probably be contacting Elevé over this just to get their take. I literally had trouble getting both of these on. It was a real struggle. This is compared with my original two and the Amber above which fit really well, so much in fact I could probably size down and still be okay. Although I’m not so sure about that anymore…

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If you look at these two pictures you’ll see the warping of the fabric. This damage occurred just from trying to get it on. That’s really disappointing. It doesn’t seem as though it’s lacking in stretch, but when it’s on. Well… It’s short too. I’d say I’d just gained weight but I’ve actually lost weight since I first bought from this brand. I’m 142, down from 146. That might not seem like a lot but considering I’ve actually been putting on muscle as well, it is. I’ve noticed a real difference. I haven’t gotten taller either (I hope). So it was crazy when I had a hard time getting this past my thighs. There’s also the little bit of the collar, it’s not sewn the best. As you can see in the photos (left side) it’s curved. I actually noticed the way it was sewn before I even too it out of the bag. It’s probably just because I sew myself, but all I could think when I saw the stitching was “Oh, that’s sloppy”.

The color for this is “Smoke” and the mesh is “Mallard”. If I’m not mistaken they now have Smoke as a mesh option, but that was not possible when I placed my order. That’s fine. I’m very happy with my color choices and I think doing an entire leo in Smoke might be too much of a good thing. Also, even though this is called Smoke, and it does seem like a good descriptor, I think this is water scene. There are what look like tiny water bubbles in the design, like just here.

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You see that up in the top left? Those are little bubbles. At first I thought there was something on the leo. In fact it looked like perhaps it had rubbed against something rough and those were little pills. So while it may not come across well in photos, they have an almost 3D quality in real life. The fabric really is lovely and I’m super glad I picked it. I think the Mallard mesh really looks good with it. Elevé lists 11 different colors that are present in this print, so you really can’t go wrong picking a mesh to compliment it. You could also go with a solid spandex back, or keep it all the same color. Despite the issues I’m having with it it’s a great style and I really like it.

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You might be able to see (if you look at my butt) this one really digs in quite a bit. It was also a bit tight up by the shoulders. It’s probably not supposed to be this low cut, it is pulling a bit.

This last one is the Laico With Sleeves.

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This one is probably my favorite style/color wise. I opted for the “Below The Elbow” sleeves and had it made without the back hole. I’m really not into those. This one is really beautiful, the base color is “Navy” with the shiny finish and the top is “Antique Roses”. I know they show swatches on their website, but lets be honest, they’re never really enough are they? Here’s a good closeup of the mesh. :)

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Isn’t that just so much nicer than the tiny little off color swatch they show on their site? Don’t get me wrong I think they’re okay photos, but some are bigger than others and I find the colors are a bit dull compared to what you get in real life. The colors may be slightly off here because this is sheer fabric and it’s against a colored background, but I find them very true to life. The Elevé site lists the colors featured in this mesh as light blue, medium gray, steel, dusty rose, ivory, navy. I think that’s a fair assessment. But I personally wouldn’t pair this with their dusty rose spandex. Now it might work, but I think this would look best with blues, grey’s, ivory, and maybe even a dark forest green. I was actually torn between a dark green and the navy I went with. I think that while the navy was a safe choice, it was a good one. I love the way this looks.

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Sadly like the Lauren this one is a bit snug and short. I had an even harder time getting this one on. And getting my arms into the sleeves? It was a workout to say the least. Now my arms aren’t the thinnest, but as you can see, they’re hardly my worst feature. I was able to get this on, but it was actually tight up by my upper arms/underarms. So much so that it actually pinched. I just don’t understand why these two leo’s fit so very different from my others. I guess it’s probably just because all of these are handmade. A person really can’t expect things to fit the exact same way every time. Even with the same style. Because if the person who’s cutting and sewing this is the type to cut a bit small, or to take a bit too much off with the serger then it’s going to effect the fit. Humans are just that, human and I can’t really expect perfection. Something very close to it yes, but not total perfection.

I’m a very lucky lady since my mother and siblings gave me a gift certificate to Elevé for Christmas. I’ve decided to hold off on using it until after the move. I figure between now and February they’ll have a sale (probably for Valentine’s Day). And I want to be able to use my new address. Right now the house has been delayed. If something crazy should happen, we could see the move pushed back even farther. We’ve already been delayed once and there’s a limit to what you can predict. I mean, if there’s a problem getting the appliances installed, or the driveway poured then it’s going to be delayed again and that’s all there is to it. I’m telling myself we’ll be in by the end of next month and hopefully that’s true but I can’t know for sure. Besides, Elevé has a 6-8 week production time. This leotard came at just a day or so under 6 weeks. But it could always work out that if I put in my current address, we’ll have moved and it’ll be a hassle. My new address doesn’t actually exist yet anyways. So I’ll wait. It’ll give me some time to think about exactly what I want to get next. I’m thinking about the Vinzant. Kathryn Morgan likes that one and she suggested the Laico to me as well (you can ask her anything, she’s really sweet). She also has broad shoulders she tries to downplay and I agree, the Laico is a good style. I never would have thought I could wear it, but somehow it works. The Amber and the Lauren were pretty good too. I would recommend them to people with broad shoulders as well. The Vinzant is similar to the Laico in that it has sheer shoulders, if you get flesh tone mesh it’ll look strapless. It’ll take me a while to narrow down my selections and I really do need to contact Elevé to be sure there are no further fit issues. It’ll be hard not to be super impulsive, but I think waiting will be worth my while. :)

Gluten Free Cosmetics & Freedom Palettes

This is another post that’s very Celiac focused. But I think it’s important to share where I can. I do rely on other people’s blogs when I’m looking to find out what’s safe. Contacting companies can be a pain. Sometimes you get someone who doesn’t know what you’re talking about, other times they don’t know what they’re talking about. Then there are the times they don’t even bother to reply. So if someone out there contacts a company that knows what’s going on, and they get back to you, you need to share this info. At least that’s how I feel.

As much as I like tarte and Too Faced, I need more. I’m not trying to be selfish, I just like variety. I mean seriously, just walk around a Sephora or Ulta for two seconds and you’ll quickly realize one thing. For every beige eyeshadow there are like a hundred different variations of that beige and no less than a dozen finishes. Clearly I need them all. And that can’t really be achieved by purchasing from only one or two brands. So I’m going to share with you all some more celiac friendly brands today! First up is Urban Decay. They have every crazy color plus every neutral you’ll ever need. I only own two of their world famous naked palettes, the Naked3 and the Naked2 Basics palettes but I love them. I also have their Book of Shadows volume IV, the new Vice palette, plus a few of their older smaller ones. There’s just something about UD shadows. They have the nicest texture and go on so well, they also have great color payoff and at least on me never crease. There’s also a lot less fallout with this brand over Too Faced, so if you like shadows with a bit of glitter (or even a lot of glitter) this is a good brand to look at.

I contacted Urban Decay and they informed me that ALL of their eyeshadows are gluten free. As is their De Slick Mattifying powder. All of their eye primers are gluten free with the exception of their anti-aging one, that one is not gluten free. And while I didn’t ask about lip products they told me that their lip glosses are not gluten free. They also let me know that most of their products are made in separate facilities and there is no chance for cross contamination. So if you were hoping to try out some of their Naked palettes you can do so with confidence. They use to have a chart on their website but that’s gone now. While it is nice to have a chart or list at the ready on their site, they’re very good about responding to emails. I did not contact them by phone but they were so prompt with email responses I can’t imagine it’d be difficult to get a hold of them by phone if that’s what you prefer. What I really liked is that they knew what I was talking about. My husband and I feel like if we go somewhere and ask about gluten, if they give “the blank stare” or ask “what’s gluten” then there’s no way they’re being careful about things like cross contamination. This company actually knows what they’re talking about and they encourage you to call or email them to ask any question about any product. I will definitely continue to buy from this company. And I really hope they expand to become completely gluten free. There are a lot of companies that have realized making small changes to become gluten free can mean a huge increase in profits (think Chex cereal).

The Balm is also gluten free. I’m not a super big fan of the brand ever since they held a supposed “sale”. Basically they got everyone all whipped up into a frenzy, they sent out info to all the beauty bloggers letting them know about the sale so they could get the word out. It was supposed to be something crazy like 50% off everything and I was really excited about it. I already owned a couple of their shadows at that point and loved them. The quality was great and they’re huge, the price isn’t anything to sneeze at either. So 50% off would have been a steal. Well, I don’t know if they ever even had the sale. The start time came and went. The site crashed and people couldn’t check out. They were going to have it back up and running several times over, but so far as I know it never happened. People on their Facebook page were very vocal about how this is sort of a recurring theme for them and they were really upset. They announce a sale and then “oops” website crashes. So I haven’t bought anything else from them. I really don’t have a lot of time for a company that tries to generate interest in such a questionable manner. If they turn things around I’d totally try them again. But there are so many other great brands out there, I’ve kind of moved on. But if you’d still like to give them a try they’re easy to find and the quality is actually quite good. The packaging has cute retro designs and they teamed with the Muppets at one point which is huge selling point (at least for me).

Now The Balm comes in cardboard packaging and I hate that kind of packaging. It gets dirty and you can’t clean it, it also tends to get really banged up over time and will sometimes even rip. Urban Decay has amazing packaging more often than not. The only downside is it’s usually pretty bulky. The Naked palettes are pretty streamlined, as is their new Vice palette. But they’re heavy, very, very heavy. If I’m not mistaken their Naked3 palette is metal. That’s just too much bulk for me. As for their Book of Shadows palettes, those are monsters. The one I have literally comes with a USB thingy with a built in speaker so you can plug your phone or iPod into it and watch instructional videos. It’s a great idea don’t get me wrong. But wouldn’t it just be easier to send an iTunes code so you can download these videos for free (or buy them)? They’d totally save a lot of space packaging wise, I really don’t need or want a built in phone stand. But I doubt they’re really going to change. Urban Decay loves their incredibly heavy packaging and we all just have to get used to it. Or get really good at depotting….

I really like to depot everything that I can. As I’ve said over and over again, I travel a lot. And anyone who travels and wears cosmetics needs to learn how to depot. It’s the only way to pack your bag without it weighing a ton. I really like two different types of palettes, their called freedom palettes. One is a pre-made one that’s amazing but can really only hold a little. The other is one I make myself. First up are my Unii palettes.

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Usually this purple one has a lot more in it. The bottom three shadows are Urban Decay and the blush above them is tarte. The other two shadows are a Sephora one that’s no longer made and the bottom is one of my two The Balm shadows. I want to depot my tarte Rainforest After Dark palette and put it in here but I haven’t done it yet. I don’t have my tools here in WA and I can’t depot without them. That funky little thing on the bottom is the thumb grip. It has a metal thing on the bottom and you can move it around. I’m ambidextrous and use both hands to do my makeup so I keep it in the middle. The bottom of these palettes is magnetic and the palettes come with “not a magnet” sheets so if you pans aren’t steel they’ll still stick. I’ve found this sheet is not so good. They’re thick and just not effective. I bought the z-palette stickers off of Amazon and they work way better. Sometimes they do come un-stuck from the bottom of the pan. The magnetic action is seriously strong so it’s good because the pans don’t slide around in there even if I’m rough with it (and I am). But if I try to pull a pan out of the palette the sticker might stay stuck to the palette. I’ve found just using a smidge of super glue helps tremendously. The stickers can be cut (with trauma shears at least) but they fit onto practically every brand without trimming. I’ve also never needed more than one sticker. I have used two once before just to be sure. But you could totally put a big face powder in there with only the one and be okay. Most brands do use steel pans, but these stickers are good to have on hand for the few companies that use aluminum, like MAC.

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I really love these colors. They did have other ones in the past, they were darker jewel tones and a little different on the inside. You could take them apart on the inside but apparently there were production issues or something like that. Some people really preferred the old style because there was a silicone gasket and even if something inside it smashed the powder was unable to escape. With these powder could possibly make it out but I don’t mind, and I’ve never had an issue. These are seriously solid, and they are heavyish. But if you can pack everything you’ll need for an entire trip inside one it’s totally worth it. It’ll probably end up weighing less than a bunch of compacts too, so it’s not like carrying around a boulder. One last thing is these are sparkly! Some of you may not care, but this is crucial to my cosmetic experience. :)

Now as much as I love my Unii palettes they aren’t super big. I mean they’re totally big enough to hold a blush and enough eyeshadows to do a few different looks. But they can’t hold a few gift sets worth of makeup and that’s what I like for storage. So, I made these.

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For those that are interested these are mostly Urban Decay. I showed my DIY palettes on here in the past but I’m surprised how many hits that post gets. So I thought I’d do a refresher (what I need to do is a tutorial). I bought these empty palettes on eBay for around $5 each (probably less) and I lined the bottom with self adhesive magnetic sheets I bought on Amazon. I covered the top and the magnetic sheet with contact paper. I found that the magnetic sheets when left uncovered got dirty really fast. Any makeup dust just stuck to it like glue and wouldn’t wipe off. Contact paper however is made of plastic and you can wipe it with a baby wipe! I’m so glad I decided to make these, they hold so freaking much stuff. I like to swap out the stuff that’s in my everyday palette a lot and it’s just nice to have everything organized and easy to grab. I love big palettes and most of the brands I buy don’t really sell singles of their eyeshadows. So depotting is a must for me. I’m not willing to have every big seasonal palette and gift set stacked and impossible to access quickly. Sometimes you just really want one shade from each kit, and that could mean compromising or dragging out seven different things. No thank you. This is just way easier long term, at least for me.

I had hoped I’d be writing my review on my new Elevé leotards today. I got the shipping info days ago and it was two day priority mail. Unfortunately this means nothing to the USPS, they deliver when they’re darn good and ready. So even though it was supposed to be delivered today my box was empty. Maybe I’ll get lucky and they’ll be in there tomorrow but who knows. I’m seriously bummed because I thought I’d be able to wear them to class tomorrow but I guess not. Especially since my post man doesn’t come until at least 5pm (I’m not exaggerating). I have to leave the house by 4:30 to drop my son off before class, so they won’t even be delivered yet. If it were a day my husband was home I might have been able to hand wash them and let them dry before class. But it looks like the soonest I’ll be able to wear them is Saturday. Sigh…

OMG, They’re In The Mail!!!!!!!!

It’s happening, I’m so excited. After more than five weeks my Elevé leotards have been completed and I got the shipping notification this morning! I’m vibrating with excitement. It’s priority shipping so I could have them as early as Thursday. As soon as they get here and I get straight to work washing them so I can photograph them. I’ll really try to get a review up as soon as I can. But I’m just so excited all I really want to do is get to class so I can actually wear them!

Speaking of ballet things tonight’s class went pretty well. It’s nice to have a teacher that likes you. There’s also the awesome way I discovered how to achieve much better turnout on what was previously my “bad” (left) side. I’m still not super strong but my teacher assures me that will come in time, and I know it will. But I can achieve near perfect turnout on my left side while in passé (same for the right but I was always able to do that). I didn’t know I could touch my foot to my knee, for some reason I thought it was cheating. So it was always a bit off. Now I can do it perfectly just because I’m able to achieve better balance, and I can push slightly and it’s all the extra help I needed. My teacher was having a field day with my feet as well. For some reason (and I honestly have no idea why) I’m able to wing my feet. So I can wrap it around my ankle, I can get that fantastic arabesque line, etc. Again, my right side is a bit looser so it’s easier on that side but my left is not too shabby. I really can’t wait until we move. There’s no space here to practice, or even to really stretch out. Once I have a space to work in it’ll make a huge difference, I know it will.

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Yes I know my left foot is pronating a bit. For some reason I do that while standing (I’ve done it my entire life, for the most part I can’t do anything to rectify it while standing) but I don’t have issues while walking or on relevé and one might argue that’s more important. Also, I know you’re probably all wondering about my amazing pants. They’re part of this fantastic elf pj set I got at Target. My son has the same one and it’s hilarious, my husband can barely keep a straight face when he and I are wearing our matching elf outfits. They’re actually supposed to come to my ankles, but since I’m not exactly elf-like they’re more knee length on me. Whatever.

If anyone is wondering what I’m wearing I ended up getting Russian Pointe shoes. It was based on a suggestion a sales clerk at Discount Dance made. I had to kind of guess my size since they didn’t have them in store or online. Russian Pointe does sell them on their own website though and I love how you can customize them the same way you can their pointe shoes. The only problem is that my right foot is in-between sizes. They say canvas shoes don’t stretch but that’s either a flat out lie, or Russian Pointe stuff is weird cause they do so stretch. I’m currently wearing a pair that’s too snug right now in the hopes they stretch just enough to make them perfect. I’ve found these work really well for my tapered feet. So if you like Capezio Juliet but are looking for something a bit more fitted or durable these are a fantastic alternative. I also got them for a whopping $14 during their back to class sale this fall!