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!

Gluten Free Holiday Cosmetics

I know I’ve been gone for a while, again. But I have some time now and I’m going to talk a bit about gluten free cosmetics. As most of you will already be aware most major cosmetic brands have limited edition gifts sets they release this time of year. Last year I mostly purchased Too Faced cosmetics, but this year I bought tarte products exclusively. I’ve talked a bit about them in the past, about how they’re a 100% gluten free cosmetics company. I really like knowing that all of their products are gluten free, it reduces the risk of cross contamination and makes me want to buy from them even more. I also like the quality of their products. There’s also the variety they offer. For the last several years Too Faced has released nearly identical palettes. Well, let me rephrase that. They style the exterior of their sets differently, and they rename the shades, but they’re the exact same shades. I really feel like last years major palette and the one the year prior to that were super lazy. Simply because the eyeshadows were not just identical, but the layout was nearly identical. As a result I bought nothing from them this year. Sadly it’ll stay that way until I either use up all of my existing products from them, or they come out with something different. I do use their shadows quite a bit, and I’m sure I’ll run out at some point. But it’s going to be a long time. I’m not going to throw my money away buying eight of the same freaking eyeshadow just because it’s wrapped in a different box. They need to make something new or they’re going to lose all of their current customers.

So I was all tarte all the way this year and I’m very happy. I’m going to start things off with something that released in the fall and isn’t actually part of the holiday collections, but is still available.

553This is tarte’s Rainforest After Dark palette. It’s limited edition and I’m really glad I was able to buy it before it was gone (I missed their BeMATTEnificent palette and I’m still so, so sad). This has gotten some mixed reviews, mostly saying the eyeshadows are fine but the blush has issues with stiffness, pigmentation, and blendability. I have not actually had any of those problems. In fact I merely touch my brush to the pan and I’m able to lift enough of their incredibly soft powder to get true to pan color. It blends like a dream too. Now I’m not going to say all the people who have reviewed this are lying, but I do think they might have just gotten duds. Or maybe I just got incredibly lucky. Who knows, all I know is I literally find myself reaching for this palette nearly everyday. I’m going to have to force myself to start branching out soon.

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This is the Away Oui Go Portable Palette & Collectors Set. This one was an Ulta exclusive and I believe it’s sold out online, you may still be able to find it in stores though. This is similar in style to last years set, where you could pop ready made palettes into an included travel case. The layout and colors are different (as are the actual makeup shades) but the concept is identical. That set was also an Ulta exclusive. I think sets like this are great for people who aren’t sure what to make of those huge palettes with 30 shades in them. This is everything you need to do an eye look plus a matching blush, it really takes the guess work out of things. I haven’t used this yet as I really don’t have the space in my bathroom. I’d either have to pick a pre-made palette and stick to it, or open the entire box and have that sitting out. I just don’t have the countertop space, that and I usually have my son wandering around while I get ready and I worry he could get curious and knock the whole thing off the counter. It’d really hurt to see everything smashed so I try to limit what I have out at one time. Once we move I’ll probably depot everything here so I could put it all into just one big palette if I wanted, though I’ll probably break them up into favorites and “colors for when I’m feeling daring”. I do like most every color in this box so I’m really happy about the whole thing. I really can’t wait to start using it.

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This is the Petite Treat 12 Days of Tarte Advent Calendar and was another Ulta exclusive. It’s also sold out online (last I checked) but my local store had dozens of them sitting on the shelves. This is a bit different than your standard 24 day advent calendar with only 12 days, but that was fine for me. I picked it up the other day and was able to open a few days all at once so that was fun. My son has been helping me and he loves this. His tiny little fingers have also helped in getting the product out of the holes, lol. I’ve started giving him a chocolate for each door we open and I promised to share the skin care products with him so he’s fine with not having one of his own. I have to say I’m really excited about all the products in this calendar. With any set like this there are bound to be products you wouldn’t care for inside but I love pretty much all of them. There’s also their lash extending primer in this (it’s the product I got tonight!) and I’ve really been looking forward to trying that, so now I’ll get the chance. It also had a deluxe size blush which is a bit stiff in the pan but is a lovely color just the same.

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This is one I really wanted, but sadly I missed my chance. It’s their Chic To Cheek Deluxe Amazonian Clay Blush Set. I am holding out a bit of hope I’m able to find this one in store. But the one I visit most often didn’t have it in stock saying they sold out around Black Friday. It’s also sold out on Sephora and the tarte website itself. You never know though, I could get lucky somewhere. Even if I don’t it’s not the end of the world, it’s just blush. This is the first year they had a set where I liked all four colors, maybe I’ll get lucky and next year and I’ll like that set as well. I’ll be sure to buy early in that case!

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This is another one I don’t own, but I’m still sharing it because I just love it. This is their Bon Voyage Collectors Set & Travel Bag and it’s a Sephora exclusive. I do love this set, I really do. But the thing is, it’s a $60 cosmetics set and I clearly have quite a bit of makeup already. So it’s not like I need more which makes it difficult/impossible to justify. There’s also the little issue of loyalty points. I’d really rather shop at Ulta because you can get actual dollars to spend on anything in their stores when you buy from them. With Sephora you get one point for every dollar you spend and you need at least 100 to get a trial size of something random and the better sets are usually about 500 points. I get trial sizes and travel sizes for free all the time from Ulta. That’s in addition to my points which I earn at a rate of 1.25, assuming they’re not having a bonus point promotion where I could earn as many as 5 per dollar spent. I feel like this is going to become a growing issue for me. Sephora is also the sole distributor of the Repetto perfume I recently fell in love with. But again, I really don’t want to spend the money when I’m, 1. Not getting any “real” benefits in return, and 2. I have to spend real money to purchase the product (as opposed to with Ulta where I have enough store credit to buy three of these sets). So I’ll be skipping this one this year. Maybe next year I’ll indulge in some of the Sephora sets. But for now I just can’t bring myself to do it.

That was a lot, but I hope all of you enjoyed this post! I hope if any new Celiacs find this post they look at these images and realize they can still wear cosmetics. That you’re not limited to indie brands you can’t see in person before you buy, or that come in boring packaging and boring shades. That there is a lot of safe stuff out there and major retailers are selling it! That you can take part in the holiday sets with the fun packaging and admittedly great pricing for what you’re getting in return. The Away Oui Go set features all full size blushes and eyeshadows, and only the glosses and mascara are half size. The last set has all full sized eyeshadows and the lip products are full sized as well. With most of these even if you only like half of what you’re getting it’s still a phenomenal deal. They also make really great gifts. I personally like the Away Oui Go set for anyone, but especially teens or people who are new to makeup because of the foolproof palettes. And the blush set would make a great stocking stuffers and you could totally break up the set.

Happy Shopping!

Elevé vs Yumiko

I mentioned in my last post that I’m starting to take more ballet classes. I go Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. In January my studio is starting a new class on Wednesday night at an even better time for me. Since I’ll only be able to do some Saturday classes (scheduling conflict) I want to try the Wednesday class out. It’s an intermediate level which I’m really not up to, but my instructor said I’m more than welcome. So when possible I’m going to try to do that class. Really I’m always trying to take as many classes as I can, and it’s a rarity I’m able to attend all of them. I think over the course of the next year I’d be lucky to go to class all five days a few times. But that’s okay, and the more classes I have open to me the better. After all, before last week I had never done a Saturday class. And unless I want to get my son (who sleeps till noon or later) up at 7am to feed, clothe, and drive him to the play center before backtracking to the studio there will be many Saturdays that I just don’t get to go to class. Just this week I had things to do on Monday and Tuesday and Thursday was a holiday so I’m happy for these past two Saturdays. And that’s how I’m trying to look at it. I want three classes a week minimum and it’s what I’ll need if I want to progress onto pointe.

My teacher in Hawaii (who I still talk to and see) said if I keep up what I’m doing now I’ll be getting my shoes in the next year. But I want to feel confident in them. My current studio will let anyone with a years training take pointe, so I could be doing it now (I could have been doing it in September to be honest). That’s great and all, and if I really just wanted the shoes I’d schedule a fitting tomorrow. But it’s not just about the shoes. I want to do more than just wear them, I want to be able to dance in them. I also don’t want to hurt myself, so while my current teacher says I have good ankle strength and really good feet (and I can do any foot exercise you throw at me without thinking twice about it, yes I’m a freak) I think I could still be better. So I’m going to keep taking class, and maybe in the spring or summer I’ll start thinking about getting pointe shoes.

Since I’m taking all of these classes I decided to get some more leotards and that’s what this post is really about. Right now I have one Gaynor Minden leotard (the Lyric in plum in case you’re interested) that fits well, as well as two Yumiko’s and two Elevé’s. I do have a few others but they were less expensive and ultimately the quality wasn’t there. Both Yumiko and Elevé are expensive but the quality is so much better than my super basic leos from Discount Dance. However, I’m starting to move away from Yumiko.

This is not to say that Yumiko is bad, or that the quality is lacking. It’s not that at all! I still feel like my Yumiko’s are super nice and they are beautiful. But they’re short, and the arms are snug, too snug. I find I don’t wear my Marieke at all. I’ve tried a few times, but the shoulders just keep popping off and it’s beyond annoying. The Anna is much better, but the arm holes are still a little annoying. I do wear that one a lot though so it’s not annoying to the point of distraction. The Marieke on the other hand… Perhaps if I hadn’t gotten it without the sleeves it would be better. Actually I know it would. I’ve thought about removing them in the past but I feel like it’ll ruin the look because I can’t match the trim. I would probably buy the Anna style again, but forgo the sleeves. That aside, there’s still the issue of length. For some reason the Anna isn’t as bad as the Marieke, but it’s still a bit too short as well. I feel like Yumiko’s are great if you’re under 5’6″, but anything over that and you’re really running the risk of it not fitting properly. Yumiko allows you to customize so much of their leotards, I wish they’d give you the option to pay for extra length. Perhaps this will be an option in the future. Until then I’ll be holding off on ordering any more.

Now on to Elevé, my new favorite brand. This company is fantastic if you’re looking for a longer leotard. It’s just they way they’re built, long. They also have mesh, which is something Yumiko is only now getting into, and with only one style. I find that in terms of quality my Elevé leotards are holding up super well, and I wear the two I own all the time. I hand wash them and hang them to dry, and both still look brand spanking new. There’s been no fading and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve actually decided to branch out a bit and order three new ones, in three different styles. I’m not going to tell you all my fabric choices, you’ll have to wait and see when they come in. :)

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The first one up is the “Amber”. I initially thought I could never wear this style, I was sure I’d look like a line backer in it. But Discount Dance had some of their new Yumiko knockoffs in stock and one of them was very similar to this. I was actually surprised at how good I looked in it. If it didn’t have the huge cut out in the back I probably would have bought it. But I’m not a fan of cutouts, and the price was $50. If you’re going to compare that to a Yumiko it’s a steal because a comparable style there will cost you $91- before shipping. So it’s half price. But an Elevé is $72 before shipping and unlike Yumiko the shipping charges are only $6-7 and if you spend a certain amount it’s free. Elevé also offers sales (like the 15% I got off this order). So I basically paid a bit over $10 more than the DDS one and got to pick my fabrics and have it made without the back cut out. I also didn’t pay tax on this, and I would have had to pay nearly 10% if I bought the DDS one. So I feel like I made out like a bandit and I’ll be looking good doing it!

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Next up is the “Laico With Sleeves”. I was initially wary of this style as well, because of the shoulder thing. But they had some Ainsliewear leotards at DDS that were similar but with short sleeves and that looked good as well. Kathryn Morgan also suggested this when I asker her opinion on styles since she feels her shoulders are broad as well. She wears this style a lot and I think she looks good, hopefully I’ll look good too. Like the Amber I opted for the 3/4 sleeves on this one, I got the longer ones that stop just below the elbow. And I know you’re probably all wondering, yes I’m still kicking myself for not buying that Ainsliewear one. It was so pretty in black and gold, and they have nothing similar on their website right now either but it’s part of their holiday collection so it probably sold out. It’s not available on DDS>com at all. It was less than $40 too (sobs). If I hand’t bought these I’d probably ask my BIL to go pick it up for me.

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This last one is the “Lauren”. This is the one I’m most nervous about as I think it has to potential to emphasize my shoulders more than the other two. But I’m counting on the v-neck to sort of cancel out the sleeveless style. Sort of like how the Amber style DDS leo looked fine so long as I didn’t zip it up all the way. Worst case I still look broad and I just suck it up and wear it anyways because I bought it in a beautiful fabric I’m going to be happy wearing. After all, they’re just shoulders and people are focusing on themselves. No one’s spending the entire class staring at me and if they are it’s my feet and arms they’re looking at, not my perceived flaws. If you notice on this one it has a cute little mock turtleneck to it. I thought that would look so cute peeking out under my wrap sweater. Just a fun little pop of color (or pattern, again not telling!) up by my face.

Some other good things I like about Elevé that I’m not getting with Yumiko are the style options. For starters Yumiko has 33 styles to pick from, Elevé has 55. Then once you’ve picked your base style, there are often sleeve styles. Both have the same number of sleeve options, but Yumiko’s cost far more. There’s also the bust panel or full front liners and you can get them on both. However bust panels are free with Elevé and they’re $10 for Yumiko. A full front lining won’t even run you that much with Elevé. Now many dancers will roll the legs of their leotards to make their legs look longer, or you can buy them higher cut. For this service Yumiko charges an extra $22. Yes you read that right, to use less fabric they’re tacking on an extra $22. Elevé leotards on the other hand come with a higher leg standard. Both have options for turning various styles into biketards and unitards but I’m not into the look. I do think it’s weird that Yumiko charges less to make something into a biketard which uses more fabric. But hey, they know what people want and will change for it. There’s also the issue of the cutouts. Both brands offer cutouts on many of their styles, but Elevé unlike Yumiko gives you the option to forgo the cutouts. On many of their styles there’s even an option to click “full back”, though I’m told when placing your order if you don’t want it just add it in the comments section and if it’s possible they’ll make it without the hole. So basically they’re giving you even more style options. Then there’s the mesh. Yumiko is just now moving into mesh and that’s great. But I do wonder what the limitations on it will be. In the promo images it looks like they just have black and white, Elevé has dozens of choices and many of them are prints. They also offer matte or shiny spandex (they stuff they use is called milliskin and it’s really cool) and prints. Sometimes they’ve even offered burnout velvets and lace (Kathryn Morgan has a Laico in Vampire with matching burnout velvet that I adore). Now Elevé leotards are a bit more “edgy” and they don’t do just the solid color with contrasting trim. But they have so much else that I personally don’t miss it. And if you do want to do something simple and streamlined you can, like my simple grey and orchid leo for instance. That one could be done solid color (or spandex with matching mesh or just spandex altogether) with a contrasting trim. And there are a few others as well. So you can get a similar look to Yumiko with at least a few of the Elevé’s, but for less. And lastly there’s length, Elevé has it and Yumiko just doesn’t. That’s fine, shorter dancers need something too and Yumiko might be a better fit for them. But for me I just love the length on Elevé’s leotards. They never ride up, they stay in place, and I don’t have marks on my shoulders when I get home from class.

I have mentioned some of these things in the past but I really feel like they bear repeating. Especially since I’m saying I really only want to buy from Elevé in the future. Again, if Yumiko started offering extended lengths I’d totally try them out. But for now I have so many styles, and fabric options with Elevé I’m not sad to say goodbye to Yumiko. And as I’ve mentioned before, Elevé rotates it’s stock, so once a fabric is gone it’s likely gone for good. So I’d rather buy two leotards from Elevé with cool mesh or crazy spandex before those patterns are gone than get just one really basic leotard from Yumiko that has a so so fit and colors that will pretty much always be there.

I just placed my order yesterday and I don’t expect to see my leotards before January. I am moving that month but something this awesome deserves to be shared. So you can be sure I’ll stop whatever it is I’m doing and take photos of these as soon as they get here. And I’m not making any promises but I might be updating my last Elevé post. Previously I was too self conscious to photograph myself in my current Elevé leotards. But suddenly, my back has stopped marshmallowing out of the cutouts. I don’t know how it happened because the scale insists I’ve lost nothing, but I suspect things are starting to shift. I noticed last years knee high boots are a bit snug, as are my skinny jeans so I think my leg muscles have started to bulk back up (oh dear) and I know my midsection is looking like it has a shape to it. I’m still a rectangle, but I now have almost a waist, I’m not the same measurement all the way down! It looks like this ballet stuff is having some nice side benefits. :D So I may take a few selfies and add them to the previous post. It’s fun and all seeing what other people have designed and what the fabrics look like in real life, but sometimes it helps to see them on an actual person. And I want to help anyone who’s on the fence about a style or color.

I know my leotard posts generate a lot of traffic and I still get comments on my Yumiko posts. So please, if anyone out there has something to ask or add please feel free to comment. Even if this post gets old I do read all of my comments and try to answer every question as best I can! Don’t be shy. :)

Quick Update

I’ve been such a bad blogger as of late. I really, really want to get back to it but just haven’t had the energy. I don’t think I’m sick, but I definitely feel drained these days. I want to rest, but I simply can’t allow myself to do it for some reason. I always have a pile of things I’m working on. Be it laundry, seven random crafts, ballet, or whatever. Right now I’ve decided to devote myself to ballet and the house cleaning so my projects have gone to the way side for now. I’ll get to them, I always do it’ll just have to wait. I did get my Spoonflower stuff in and I have to say, it’s pretty exciting. I really need to take some photos of those fat quarters. There’s definitely enough to do some shorts so that’s a new project. I still haven’t even washed the fabric for my pj’s and yes, I am quite cold. I’ve taken to stealing my husbands pants. I need to make my own. Maybe by Christmas… So basically here’s a run down of what’s going on.

Ballet

I’m aiming for four days a week now. And I’ve decided to try a different school on Tuesdays. Up until now I’ve been doing hour long classes. My Saturday class which I’ve just started is 1.5 hours, this new Tuesday one will be as well. I really want things to work out well at this new school as I think they can teach me more. It’s also in a more convenient location for me. So while I’ll only be eligible for one class at this particular school, in the future I’ll be able to take more classes with them and it’ll just work out better for me overall. The classes are also later in the evening so I’ll have fewer issues driving through rush hour traffic, I’ll miss it completely at this new later time. And because I’m taking so many classes I decided to add to my leotard collection. Elevé was having a Black Friday sale and I bought a few new ones. I’m keeping the styles and colors a secret for now but I’ll post photos when they finally show up.

Crafting/Sewing

I’m doing so much ballet now I don’t have the same amount of time to devote to my other hobbies. I really need to get on my pants and I’m probably putting them off because they feel like work. I’ll make them (cause there is no buying them, grrrr), but I just need to admit defeat. Dragging out the serger, drafting a pattern, washing, ironing, cutting, and sewing the fabric. It’s just more trouble than it’s worth right now. I ended up buying my fabric from JoAnn’s and I think maybe I’m just so lax about doing it cause I’m a bit luke warm on my fabric choices. It’s okay, and it’s plenty nice. But it’s just not jumping out at me, you know? I’m sure I’ll love them once their finished, and if that happens before April I’ll be happy. I also need to sew some shorts for ballet. I have the fabric and I’m looking forward to putting them together. They’ll be super easy and will probably only take an hour. But again, it’s the dragging out the serger that puts me off it. I also have other fabric that I have a lot of ideas for, but I’m not feeling super inspired right now.

Travel

I have mercifully been granted a reprieve. I need it right now too. I can’t bear the thought of boarding another plane at the moment. We will probably go to Hawaii some time early in the new year and then we have a Florida trip already lined up. I’m hoping I have a bit more pep by the time all that rolls around cause again, it’s feeling more like work than fun.

Housework

I know this isn’t really a fun thing to talk/read about, but it is part of what’s keeping me from blogging. I feel as though there’s a never ending amount of it these days. It’s to the point I’ve been thinking of dropping my son off at the hourly play center down the street for a few hours so I can get some extra work down without him running under foot. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good baby. But he does make housework take longer than it needs to by “helping” and sometimes you just want it done. By the time he goes to bed most days I’m dead tired. Even tonight, I’m exhausted yet wired. I’m too tired to do more than write, but I can’t sleep yet. I need to go to bed right after this though as it’s 1:30am and I need to be up at 9am so I can be at ballet at 10am.

The Holidays

I’ve done virtually nothing to decorate and I do not feel sorry. I’m moving in a couple of months. The last thing I need to do is spend a bundle on a bunch of stuff that’ll need to go straight into storage. My kid will live with little more than a tree. And I don’t want to buy a bunch of stuff that works with the decor I have now, but might not work in the new house next year. Usually I go all out, so it’s a bit depressing skipping things this year. Yet I can’t bring myself to do something different. We’re going to make our Christmas ornaments (I bought little kits from Target) and that’s it.

So that’s what’s going on with me. I have a million half finished things and no time or motivation to finish any of it. I’ll get my energy back though. Perhaps if I put it on the schedule it’ll get done. If nothing else it couldn’t hurt.

Spoonflower Fabric, What I Made & What’s Coming

I’ve vented about my difficulties with Spoonflower in the past, I definitely have a love hate relationship with them. I am willing to give companies a second try most of the time though. For instance I stopped buying from Fabric.com a few years back after repeated issues (and by that I mean every order was an issue for almost a year, they never had anything in stock and liked to cancel my orders for no reason other than it was fun). But once I got wind they moved into a bigger space and hired on more workers and things had turned around I was back. It was a very sad time though when I did stop buying from them. Living on an island I didn’t have many fabric options and they were the only company that would ship to Hawaii for less than a pint of blood and the promise of my first born. My local Walmart did carry a lot of really cool Japanese fabrics (ones that sell online for an absolute fortune) but sometimes you just want something a little more sophisticated and not covered in hedgehogs… So like Fabric.com I’m hoping Spoonflower turns things around too, they’ve got a great product.

I did recently try my hand at designing some of my own fabric. It was both easy and difficult at the same time. My second round definitely went a lot better. Playing around making my own stuff definitely makes me want to study graphic design. It’s something I enjoy for sure. Here are some of the fabrics I came up with. These are just 8″x8″ swatches done on plain combed cotton.

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Once again the photos have been taken at night, and on a dark background. They do look nicer in real life I promise. I think they look good on the basic cotton, but I suspect the ones I’m having printed on a synthetic will look way better.

Since Spoonflower is having a buy one get one sale on fat quarters right now I decided to partake. Between the sale and my designers discount it wasn’t too expensive. I bought a number of these in different fabric types. I bought Linen Cotton Canvas, Modern Jersey, and Performance Piqué. I have a few ideas for them. Maybe a cover for my day planner (though I now wish I bought the Eco Canvas). And I plan to use the jersey and performance fabric for exercise related items. I’m not sure exactly how much I’d need to make shorts for ballet. I have some jersey laying around and I’ll probably use it to test drive a pair and make my pattern. I looked online for shorts and nothing I liked was in stock and I didn’t even know if they’d fit the way I want them to. Most of them have no inseam, they’re more like briefs. I want something with a one to two inch inseam at the very least. I may be being a bit ambitious with what I can do with a piece of fabric that small, but I won’t know if it’s possible until I have it in hand. If only because Spoonflower’s fat quarters vary in size depending on the type of fabric you’re buying. The performance pique is 28×18, the modern jersey is the same. So a little larger than your standard 22×18 quilting cotton ones. I could probably do a top if the shorts don’t work out though. If only because I’d want a contrasting trim on a top, and the direction of the design won’t be as much of an issue. I don’t want my little ballerinas going sideways on my shorts!

I’ll probably make at least one top, and will use the scraps to make a headband. I have these amazing yoga ones from Life Is Good that they made for a single season and then discontinued them. I love them because you can scrunch them up to make a narrower headband, or if you have short hair you can wear it with the fabric spread out (it covers the entire top of your head) to keep your hair completely out of your face. I’ve seen similar lace designs online that cater to religious women who wish to cover their heads for church or random prayer while still staying fashionable and enabling them to forgo a full covering 24/7. I love mine not for exercise actually, but for sewing. On my old machine the little metal thing you thread the thread through that bobs back and fourth had a tendency to catch the little hairs near my hairline. After having that happen twice and being terrified of being scalped I started wearing headbands to sew. Now I feel like I can’t sew without my hair covered. Here’s the metal bit I’m taking about, can’t remember what it’s called for some reason.

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(photo taken from I heart Naptime, image links)

I also like them for cooking. And I suspect that when I’m taking class in summer or Hawaii I’ll be grateful for them. My hair is long, but I have these wispy bits that never seems to get longer than about 5″ that always work their way out of my bun, and this will keep me looking neat while also reducing the urge the brush my hair out of my face.

I’m still not 100% on what I’ll use the rest for. I’ll find something to do with it though. Probably small accessories but that’s fine, you can never have too many. I’ve been thinking about getting a small pencil case for when I travel, but making one would be so much better. I hate being forced to buy whatever the stores are selling. Sometimes you need something but they don’t have anything you like and you’re forced to buy something you’d rather not just to get what you need.

I won’t receive my fabric until I get back from California, so it’ll be a while until there are any new fabric pictures. But I’ll post them when I get them. I know people like to see the fabric they’re thinking of buying, so it’s only fair to post up some images if I’m going to make it for sale. I’ve already had sales (I hope you like it strangers who bought my designs!) but I want to be fair and share what the fabric will really look like once it’s been printed up. Just cause I really hate Spoonflowers buy it to see if you like it policy. I’ll buy it, and I’ll share it so others don’t have to take that gamble. After all, I’m far more likely than anyone else to love it regardless just because I’m the one that made it.

Getting Organized, The Fun Way

As I mentioned in my last post (if you remember it, it was a zillion years ago…) I’ve been a bit swamped. In an effort to dig myself out I bought myself a planner. I did try out some apps and did a ton of research on them, trying to find the best ones. What I found was that there were a lot of good ones, but nothing great. They were also really specific, calendar apps, cooking apps, notepads, etc., they were all separate apps. Now don’t get me wrong, that’s fine and I’m not asking these developers to revamp an app to include things that don’t interest them. If all you want to think about all day is cooking you’re not going to create an app that reminds you to put in a load of laundry. But I did need something to help me stay on top of both cooking and cleaning, that’s where paper came in. Do you remember it? It’s this flat white stuff, you use these little sticks to make marks on it. You can find it in most stores, and I bought some.

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This is the planner I bought. It’s a Martha Stewart discbound notebook planner from Staples. Sadly the line is being discontinued and they were out of the blue ones. I was able to score this one on a big discount though and the cashier had a coupon too, score! It came with the tiny silver discs and I bought some of Staples own Arc brand discs in hot pink, they’re the next size up. The notebook came with a lot of basic lined pages and I set them aside in favor of some task specific printables I’d found. There are a lot of printables out there, both for free and for purchase. I tried my hand at making some but quickly discovered it was outside of my skill set. I flirted with buying some, but was eventually able to find free ones that I loved. This site, Scattered Squirrel has a ton of them. Most of the ones I downloaded are from this lady’s site, a few are from other places. I don’t know if Jesus told this particular blogger to make them free, but it seems like why so many other bloggers are doing it. Whatever, I call it an even trade for Catholic guilt.

I printed out a ton of different ones so I could test them all. Every couple of weeks I’m going to take out the old pages and put in new ones. I’ll keep that up until I find the specific sheets that work for me. Right now I’m getting the most use out of the monthly calendar sheets, menu planning sheets, cleaning sheets, and general note sheets. So in the future I’ll probably remove the weekly and daily ones. Though I may wish to add them in on weeks I’m traveling. Just because there’s so much that doesn’t merit going into our digital calendar and I like to know what we’re doing each day. While we’re away I find myself asking my husband “what are we doing X day” over and over again. Now I’ll just be able to write it down in one place and refer to it as needed. I had used the notes app on my phones for years, but it ends up cluttered. I literally have dozens of notes going at any given time, with lists, addresses, recipes, and more. Now I’ll be able to write these things down in their designated spot, and when I don’t need them anymore I can just take the sheets out and toss them. I’m far less likely to let clutter build up in a paper binder than I am in a digital format. Just because I don’t want to have to lug the excess but on my phone it’s not taking up space in the same way so I delete nothing. Not good.

Here’s a look at how I have some of it set up. I’m just getting started with this so it’s a bit more bare than many of the planners I’ve seen on there blogs and Pintrest. That’s okay, eventually I’ll figure out what I want to have in there and I’m sure every pocket will be full sooner than I expect.

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Sorry for the dark photos, I haven’t had time to take many photos during the day. So it’s night time photos or no photos at all.

In one of the card pockets I have my travel washi tape. I just took an old hotel room key from my sons stash (he has dozens and won’t miss it). Then I wrapped the washi tape around it several times. In the zip pocket I have a half sheet of stickers. Behind that I have several sheets from a notepad I found in the Target dollar section and punched using my Arc hole punch. Right now it has a list of all the coupons I have that are good this month, how much they’re for, and when they expire.

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This is my dashboard. I didn’t even know I needed something like this but found a ton of boards and pins on these on Pintrest and realized it might actually be a good idea to have one. You can buy or make them, I made mine. I used some Christmas wrapping paper from Paperchase they had at Target and some laminating sheets. I do hope to own a laminating machine in the future (a long held dream) and they’re really cheap at Costco but I don’t have the space for it so it’ll have to wait. I can’t remember the brand I used, Avery or Scotch but I bought them at Target, they were inexpensive, well sized, and leftovers take up almost no room in the closet. Now granted they’re not very thick sheets but they get the job done. I cut out two sheets of the wrapping paper, taped them wrong sides together and laid them in-between two laminating sheets. I cut them out and punched them. After I did that I realized they weren’t going to be sturdy enough so I wrapped the edges in washi tape. and re-punched them. I actually wish I did that in the first place cause it looks so cute and a lot more polished. Now I have a place to lay out all of my sticky notes and page flags (bought at Target and Dasio). They take up so much less room than when I had them in the zippered pouch and I’m actually able to carry a wider assortment. On the other side of the snowflakes I have a bunch of notes that I wanted to keep front and center. I love that I can now move them around without wearing out the adhesive. And since these were so inexpensive and easy to make I can update it each season. So after Christmas I can make a new house one, in February I can have hearts, and Disney ones for March, and so on. I hope to have a decent sized stash to pull from in the future just to keep things fresh and interesting.

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This is my monthly page. It’s missing some dates and even has one that shouldn’t be there. But it works This is one of my most commonly used pages and I don’t know if I’ll need to have more than this in the future. As I’ve mentioned above I just don’t really use the day or week at a glance sheets. Perhaps that’ll change in the future, but for now we’re just not that busy. I used washi tape to embellish and block off certain days. I like that I can remove it if I need to. It also adds a fun splash of color.

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I’m using this page a lot as well. I really got behind with all the travel and then getting sick. One week with everything written down like this and I’m almost back to zero. Granted I’m leaving for California in just days. But I’ll have this to lean on again when I get back so I’m not concerned. I just realized I have some of the letters backwards in towels, I’m dyslexic and this does nothing to help correct my constant mistakes. But I know what I’m trying to write and that’s all that matters.

Sadly I do not have a color printer. I was so bummed when I discovered last year my husband bought one that only does ugly black and white copies. In the future I’m sure we’ll purchase a color one. Until then I’ll just have to keep embellishing the pages. I don’t mind though! I used washi tape to embellish the page dividers and I have a ton of pretty fine point Sharpies as well as Avery markers. They sell much better Avery ones in Asia and I could probably ask my MIL to pick some up for me as I know for a fact some they’re sold in Singapore. But for now I’m fine with the colors I have.

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If you were wondering about my washi tape collection here’s a bit of what I own. These all came from either Target or Dasio. And all of the Target ones (with the exception of the sprinkles one in the dispenser) are from Scotch. You can also get them at Staples, they actually have the best selection. I swear they never order it at Target, so I’ve had to go to a few to get all of these. Dasio, if you’re unfamiliar, is a Japanese $1.50 store and I’ve really done well at my local one. The few we have here are really small, but they’ve just opened a new one that’s not in a shopping mall. I haven’t checked it out yet and I’m hoping it’s bigger than the two I currently frequent. You really can’t beat $1.50 for washi tape. Some of them don’t have as much tape as the $3.50 Scotch rolls, but others (like the three striped ones on the left) have a ton more so it evens out. I got the little punches from Target and they were only $2! I really scored with those and have already put them to good use. They’re the perfect size to make washi stickers with and won’t take up much space on my calendar. So they’re really perfect. I hope they get some more shapes in, they only had these and a mustache one.

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People always ask “how do you use washi tape” and there are lots of ways. It’s pretty, you can write on it, it comes off cleanly, and is reposition able so really the sky’s the limit. Here’s a little shot of how I used my washi tapes and new punches to dress up my phone. There aren’t many cases to pick from yet as it’s so new. I didn’t want it to get scratched and I also wanted it to be a bit more colorful. So I just ripped strips of tape and alternated them. Then to add a little more interest I punched some stars and hearts from a tape in a coordinating color.

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I did roughly the same thing on my iPad. It was a birthday present so I broke out the birthday tapes (from Dasio) and got to work making stickers with my new punches!

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I have the best husband. <3

Since I couldn’t let the outside of my devices have all the fun I used Cocoppa, which I’ve written about here to refresh my icons.

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I really can’t control myself where Christmas is concerned. We’ve already been watching Christmas movies, for months. Now not all apps can be given a makeover but most can. The last time I wrote about this app fewer of these could be done over (like the App Store and Mail for example) but now you can! I made a couple of them because I couldn’t find any I liked and I made the wallpaper as well. I used Stencil which I wrote about here. Stencil is a paid app which I think was totally worth it as I still use it all the time, Cocoppa is free as always.

I hope to take some photos before I go away, then if I have the time I’ll be able to write a few posts. Unlike last time I don’t have anything scheduled to post while I’m away. I do have a little done with my felt food and unless I want to have to hand it over to my son now I can’t photograph it during the day. So maybe I’ll get to it once my son is in bed tonight or tomorrow. I bought the fabric for my pajama pants and I still haven’t even washed it, let alone started sewing. It’s going to be a long cold winter if I don’t get on it soon… Spoonflower is having a buy one get one sale on fat quarters so I bought a couple. I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to make with them, but I’m hoping to come up with something simple and write a tutorial. It’ll just be a tiny amount of fabric so it’ll be an accessory of some sort. I may buy another couple before the sale is over. Just to have a little something fun to play around with.

A Quick Update

It’s been a while since I last posted and I wanted to let everyone know I am still here. What can I say for my absence? Well, I’ve been tired. I was away for two weeks which was one week too many I think. Then I got sick during the last few days and spent most of my time in bed. Naturally I was still sick when we got home, and it took me a while to get better. Just as I was almost better, I got a new infection. I’m just batting a thousand these days.

I do have some posts coming up, as always. Before we left I had actually started to make some of the felt foods I was talking about. I made some different types of pasta and even sauce! There are also some cute little pancakes with syrup/jam toppers. I really can’t wait to share those, I feel terribly clever for some of the things I came up with. I also finished the sash for my husband’s Kristoff costume. I really need to just take some photos of that, if only to get them up here before Halloween. Having been to WDW again I had to eat in the parks and they’ve made (yet more) changes to their gluten free dining experience. Not in all places, but in some and I like them. So I’ll be sharing some images if their new menus! I’ve also discovered some new cool stuff and I want to share those items and companies as well.

I’m sure there are other things I’ve been meaning to write about. But I’m just too tired to think right now. My son has entered a whiny phase, and I’ve been trying to get my house back into proper order since I got home. Basically cleaning two weeks worth of dust and the clutter that formed before we left and just got worse when we got back. I’ve also had to swap out all of our summer clothes, at the same moment we’d emptied our luggage. So I’m up to my eyeballs in laundry. I don’t sleep much anymore. But it’ll get better, it always does. Until then wish me luck!