DIY Tokidoki Unicorno

Hi everyone, I’m back. Sorry I’ve been gone for so long this time. I had a lot going on here and the blog just goes to the back burner when life gets a bit hectic. Today I have something new to share.

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This little guy is a Tokidoki Unicorno. If you don’t know who they are you can read about them here. Basically I’ve loved this brand for some time. Years ago they did a collaboration with Smashbox and one of my favorite blushes of all time was from that collab.

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This photo is from what appears to be a now defunct blog, but she talked a bit about this blush on there. It was very purple, so ideal for cool toned skin! I bought a few other things from the line and loved them all. I also bought the totally impractical (yet amazingly awesome) brushes they had when they did a collaboration with Sephora.

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If you click on the photo it’ll take you to Tokidoki’s blog when they first announced the line. I still can’t believe that was in 2010! Crazy! In that post they share some of the other things that were going to be included in the line (though not everything) and I did of course indulge in some other treats.:) Like I said, I’ve loved them for years.

But like so many things, a person forgets. I know they did a collaboration with Hello Kitty years ago (they’re very collab happy) and I loved it. Well, it looks like they’re doing another. It’s not very big, that or I missed most of it. But I was in a comic book shop in Seattle and I spotted some Tokidoki x Hello Kitty blind boxes. To say it reignited the love affair is putting it mildly. I bought two on the spot and have since gone on to buy far more. Oops. ¬†I love them all though. Another thing I love is the Unicornos. For the record, I’m not one of those unicorns and rainbows girls. Well, okay I kind of am. But I’m not really into this kind of unicorn.

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Yeah… You know the type. Flocked paintings and such. It’s not for me. What I am into is more this.

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They’re totally cool and fun right? Girly, but not uber girly. That yellow one in the front is a boy after all.ūüėČ So yeah, I love these guys. The big ones are from the series 4 blind boxes (full disclosure the yellow one in front is a Chaser so odds of getting him are lower). The one with the Hello Kitty is from her blind boxes, and the little ones are “frenzies” and they’re series 2 blind boxes. These guys all just sort of combine a bunch of things I love. For starters COLOR! I’m totally digging the rainbow of colors you see here. Next would be their size. I love little things. That sounds weird to say but I don’t know of another way to put it. Tiny Swarovski figurines, Pandora beads (OMG Pandora beads!!!!), and Tsum Tsums. They also have that element of surprise. I got into blind box videos on You Tube because of my son, but these days? I’ve been known to watch them even after he’s gone to bed. There’s the collection element too. I like limited edition things. Two lipsticks that are basically the same but one is LE, yep, I need the LE one. These being part of a limited series somehow makes them “better” to my warped brain. ¬†I’m also enthralled with the detail work on these. Sometimes you get figurines and they’re just kind of blah. The faces are weird/deformed, the paint is sloppy, etc. These are crazy good quality. Honestly. I was actually really surprised. I don’t know why, Tokidoki never does anything halfway, but still. If you’re the type that likes to collect this stuff you’ll be impressed with the quality.

I’m loving these guys so much that I’d like to think it’s understandable when I about lost my mind after seeing the DIY Unicorno. I don’t want to make my own, I need to. I’m already brainstorming ideas. I don’t expect to complete it anytime soon. The responsibility is too great to rush such a thing, lol. I really just want to be sure I’m going to be happy with the design. There are quite a few of them out there, and Tokidoki held a contest a while back, so there are some seriously impressive ones out there. Aside from the super cool ones they themselves make of course. I think I really want to look over all of my favorites, and try to combine them somehow. I’m thinking a floral theme featuring blues and purples. But plans are subject to change of course. I need to do a few drawings. Maybe I’ll share them here? If nothing else the finished product will be featured here. I do know that no matter what, it will feature some accessories. If you noticed things like the butterflies and snowflake on some of the little ones, I want to mimic that. It’s something I loved in¬†¬†the existing ones.

The finish on this is very different than I expected it to feel like. Take a look at it out of the box.

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If you’ve ever handled their blind box figurines you’ll know they’re smooth for the most part. If a figure is white, it’s solid molded white plastic. This is a bit different. This feels almost as though it’s been painted. I looked over my existing Unicornos and discovered some parts of them that looked and felt similar. On the manes of Yuki and Lily (the butterfly and snowflake ones) in particular they had something similar going on and those parts are painted. Now I can’t be sure but I suspect this white base coat, as I’m calling it, is more or less a primer to help any paint or markers you use work better. When these first came out they came with Tokidoki branded Sharpies. They were real Sharpies that simply featured Tokidoki characters. These new ones do not come with the Sharpies (though you can still buy the special markers on the website). You can also buy an “Adios” vinyl figure like this one that comes with two. Personally I can’t see spending $6 on three markers in colors I have right next to me just because they have a cartoon on them. But everyone likes different stuff I suppose, spend your money on what you like. I know a lot of people on You Tube have opted to paint them, I’ll probably go that route.

Either way this is a totally cool craft for any kid or adult. Personally I started coloring as a kid and never stopped. The world has recently caught on and finding quality coloring books has certainly gotten easier! But if you’re ready to take your art off the page and try something a little different this would be a great option. I bought mine from Barnes and Nobel for $15. I have their membership so I got an additional 10% off which was nice. And since this is classified as a toy I was able to get Kids Club points (Kids Club is free but the membership is $25 a year). I was spending so much that day I decided to bite the bullet and get the membership. It almost paid for itself in that one transaction alone, gulp. I’m still glad I have it. They offer coupons several times a year to card holders and with the Kids Club ($5 coupon for every $100 spent on qualifying purchases) picking up more blind boxes and such will be far less expensive! If you don’t live near a Barnes and Nobel you can find it here for the same price on Amazon. There’s even free one day shipping for Prime members! They also have the Donutella version on there are well.:)

As always I bought everything with my own money. I’m not getting anything from Amazon or Barnes and Nobel if you buy from them either. All photos link back to their sources too!

Goodbye until next time!

New You Tube Video

Hi all. This is totally new and different for me. I know I’ve done one video in the past but I just wanted to try something different for a change. Sorry for the length, as well as how many times I say “um”. Clearly I have work to do. My son was helping me but he got tired so I ended up filming this alone. I hope to do one with him in the future.

I’m working on a few sewing projects right now. I have had to take a break from basically everything because I had some side effects from a med I’m trying for my nerve damage. I can’t wait to get back to ballet and sewing though. My muscles still feel very weak and it’ll likely take me a while to build strength back up. I think I’ll be off pointe for a few months at least. Sewing will be easier now that I’m not shaking and I’m not as dizzy. I’m still working on a skirt for my friend and I have that Granville shirt. I’ve had a request for a tutorial. I’m headed to Vegas this week, and when I get back my Mum will be visiting, so there’s lots going on. With some luck I’ll be able to get back to blogging more regularly next month. If I’m not back before then, Happy Easter!

Reimagining The Sweater

In my last post I talked about my shirt/sweater angst. It’s tough being tall if you’re a woman. But that’s okay, because anyone can learn to sew. And once you can sew, a lot of doors open to you. Maybe just your closet doors. But still, doors are opening. This is good.

I’ve been sitting here thinking about my sweater situation. A little silly given that at the time of this writing I have flowering bushes in my yard and buds are sprouting on trees. By the time this goes live, spring will have sprung around here! But it’ll still be February and I’ll still need sweaters for a while. It’ll also only be spring and summer for a while, the cold weather does return eventually. This time I’ll be prepared.:)

Right now I have a bunch of sweaters that have sleeves that are just too short. The body on some of them is still too big despite this. In the past I’ve thought about resizing my sweaters. You know, just taking them up at the sides so that they’re not so baggy. But it always seemed like such work. That and, the sleeves were already borderline so wouldn’t I risk them riding up if the body were smaller? I’m not sure why this never occurred to me, but today it has. I think I’m going to start looking for sweaters two to three sizes too big. The bigger the sweater, the longer the sleeves (sometimes). Then I’ll alter them to give me the size I want, with the sleeve length I need.

Here’s a sweater I’ve wanted for, oh, I don’t know? Forever? Yeah, forever feels right…

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I’m sure all of you have seen this sweater a million times. It’s just Ralph Lauren’s classic cable knit sweater, they’ve been making it forever. I always want one, and I try them on year after year with the same disappointing results. A body that fits fine, and sleeves that are two inches two short. Not anymore. The next time I’m in the store I’m going to steer clear of the Mediums and head straight to the X-Larges, maybe even bigger. Hopefully the bigger sizes will give me a longer sleeve.

I don’t particularly care if I have to dismantle the entire thing before cutting it down and stitching it back together. It’s doable. I also love the thinish sweaters¬†Tommy Hilfiger makes. I have the same problem there. Body fits fine but the sleeves are just not cutting it. I think when I’m out at the Outlets next, I’m going to be combing the sale rack so I don’t have to feel bad about experimenting on a “real” sweater. But I think this is going to work just fine. I do have those ones I’m going to be donating soon. So I may just do a trial run with those.

There are some tutorials out there that show you how to do this. I liked¬†this one. I actually used to have a sweater that looked just like that! This is more or less exactly what I had been thinking of doing. There’s also this tutorial¬†that shows a different method on a different type of sweater. This is far more labor intensive but she was making significant alterations. I think if all goes according to plan, you all can expect to see me add a similar tutorial to the blogosphere.

I have decided I’ll be going with the Granville Shirt pattern from Sewaholic. Here’s the fabric I plan to use for my first button-down.

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It’s fun for a button-down right? It’s not so thin that you’ll be able to see a bra underneath, nor is it so think that I couldn’t wear it in summer. It’s a pretty solid mid weight cotton. This is from Jo-Ann’s premium cotton range and the brand is Two Daughters. You can see all the info here. It says it’s out of stock online, but they had plenty left in my local store. If you like it you may still be able to find it in your local store as it’s still listing availability for some places.

I’m thinking I’ll go with a PDF pattern from Sewaholic and I’m not sure how I’ll run the tutorial (should I do one). I had considered sharing how I make semi-permanant pattern pieces but given this is one you just print out (and I could reprint it a million times should I choose) I may just skip that. So I’m not sure if I’ll start after I’ve made my muslin or what. But there will probably be a tutorial, if nothing else I’ll do a review of the pattern.

That’s all for today. So lots of sewing posts to look forward to in the coming weeks and or months. It’s been a long time since I did a ballet post. I should probably try to sneak another one of those in there, just because. I do have a lot of readers who are here just for the ballet stuff. I don’t want them to feel neglected. But I do, do a lot of different stuff and I like to talk about all of the things I do, not just some. I don’t have any new leotards to review and probably won’t for some time. Maybe come summer. There just haven’t been any new fabrics on Elev√©’s website that have really jumped out at me. I try to wait until they’re running a big sale or there’s a fabric I’ll die without. They’ll probably do a Valentine’s Day sale, but I may skip it. Yumiko was supposed to be retiring a bunch of colors this spring. So if I do buy from anyone, it may be them. We’ll see. Either way it would be quite some time until those leotards got here. So sorry ballet readers! You’re stuck with my sewing and crafting posts until then!

See you all next week!

 

Accessorizing & Layering

It’s been a little while since I did a style post that wasn’t ballet focused. Assuming I’m not traveling I think I probably spend more time out of the house in ballet clothes than in “real” clothes. But I do still love brainstorming real outfits. Lately I’ve been feeling frustrated. You see, I don’t own some of the most important basics a person should own. Well, I do, but they don’t fit, naturally. I desperately want just a basic cable knit sweater. Something like this one.

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But the problem is what is always is. The sleeves. Every last sweater¬†I seem to buy has sleeves that are just barely long enough, and that’s if I’m lucky. Companies that carry extended sizes usually don’t bother to make things like sweaters in those sizes, they stick to basics like t-shirts and maybe button downs. If they do make sweaters they’re the foolish baggy things The Gap seems to think I need to hide myself in because not being petite is shameful. Sorry Gap, but I don’t want your sack. They literally have 52 sweaters to pick from in their regular sizes but only 11 in their Tall shop. Seriously? J Crew was even worse, they had none at all. Sure they had some jackets and blazers, but not a single sweater in their Tall section. Apparently tall women don’t get cold. I guess I was mistaken.

Then there’s button down shirts. Some stores have them, most do not. Obviously your average woman can just go into a store, buy a shirt and go home. I do not have that luxury. Tall shirts are often cut differently so I can go into the store to try to¬†get an idea of what the fit will be like before I buy, so I know what size to order but it’s still a guess. I know whenever I buy these things I’ll probably still be making returns. Then there’s the shoulder issue. I have broad shoulders. So even if I finally get the sleeve length right, the shoulders might still be too tight. And the body, oh the body…. I’ve mentioned before I have disproportionate limbs before right? Yeah, so most Tall sized shirts need to be cut down in the body otherwise they look hilarious on my torso. That said, I think I’m done with shopping in stores for my shirts. I’m going to be making my own from here on out.

I bought this pattern years ago and loved it.

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I think with some minor modifications I could turn this into the perfect button-down shirt. Amy Butler is quite tall and not very curvy herself, so her patterns really suit me. All I had to do was add a half inch (maybe less?) to the center back and it was literally perfect in the shoulders. It goes together very quickly too. I think making the muslin will be time consuming just because I may want to make a number of tweaks, but it shouldn’t be difficult work at all. Perhaps I’ll do a tutorial? If nothing else there will be photos of the finished product if it works out. I bought some really pretty fabric on impulse at Jo-Ann’s not too long ago. It was peach, teal, and grey with butterflies and flowers. I think it’d make a really pretty button-down for spring. And that great purple print I shared some months back? The Liberty-esque one? I bought that thinking I needed to save it for something really special. Well, I think this is it. Jo-Ann’s cottons aren’t always the best cottons, but they’ve come a long way and I’d be proud to wear some of them. And I will be soon enough!

If the Amy Butler¬†pattern doesn’t work out the other one I’m considering is Granville Shirt from Sewaholic.

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Cute right? These patterns are designed for pear shapes and I’m defiantly not a pear shape. I’m more of a ruler, just straight lines no curves. Whatever. That’s okay, less work for me with all the darts and stuff. My silver lining I suppose. I’m thinking this will probably be the direction I take over the Amy Butler pattern but you never know. This is a very popular shirt and there’s no shortage of reviews on it. It actually won the number one spot for “Best Woven Top” in 2015’s Pattern Review “Best Of” roundup. You can check out that post here. Definitely worth the read if you’re looking to see which patterns were best reviewed by other home sewists. Sewaholic actually had four patterns win this past year. I’m actually probably going to buy their Minoru Jacket pattern. It’s super popular as well, and as you might imagine. Finding jackets with long enough sleeves is also a hassle. At some point making everything myself just seems like the smarter choice.

I’ve also been trying to diversify in terms of my accessories. Traditionally I wouldn’t wear anything unless it was small, and real. I do have some larger real pieces, but those are certainly not for every day. And even then, they’re still delicate. I actually had one pendant made for me that was more or less a replica of an Edwardian brooch, just on a much smaller scale (maybe about a fifth of the size). It’s hard to find things I like in stores to be honest, I love things you see in antique stores but that’s about it. I’ve never been into the chunky, bold, modern stuff you often see in the stores. I’m a big fan of Sarah Vickers blog Classy Girls Wear Pearls. She is like me, a New England girl and I love her style. Every now and then I see her wearing something I actually own, so it makes sense her blog and sense of style appeal to me. Something I’d seen on her, as well as other bloggers, are the J. Crew necklaces. Take a look at this shot from her blog from last Christmas.

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All the necklaces she’s wearing are from the J. Crew outlet. Every time I’m in that store (or the regular retail one) I find myself staring at their costume jewelry and debating it. Still, I never bought a single piece. Even after I saw this post, where two out of the three necklaces she’s wearing I pick up and put down every time I go in. I’ve also seen these necklaces and others from the same place on her in other photos and you know I loved them and everything else she was wearing. Did I mention I actually tried on this sweater before I even saw this post (guess what happened with the sleeves)? Yet somehow I couldn’t figure out these were something that really did appeal to me and I might actually wear. Clearly I’m dense.

I saw some other really pretty photos on Pintrest that caught my attention and things just sort of snowballed.

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Isn’t this whole outfit just lovely? It was suggested for me as a “Fall Outfit” because I have a board for those and this was labeled as such. But this is just perfect for spring. I have that coat in Navy (it’s J Crew’s Lady Day Coat), and those flats are very Kate Spade-esque so you know I’m in love. I’m not normally an animal print kind of person, but here I actually kind of like it. And what do you see by the collar? Yep, another J. Crew necklace. This girl even has my hair. You’d think I could take a hint. But no.

Don’t worry, eventually I got with the program and I started searching them out. Look at this one!

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This necklace is actually Forever 21 and not J. Crew but we’ll forgive them cause it’s just so pretty. It looks like jelly beans! And there’s that sweater, button-down, necklace combo I didn’t know I definitely love again. It’s a very easy look, put on jeans or a skirt and you’re done. If you need to be fancy, dress slacks instead.

Just today I was driving to pick up my son and I was thinking of the comments you always hear women make when they say they don’t want to get dressed, ever. That it’s not worth it to put on a “real” shirt or pants because if it gets dirty they’ll have to take it off. What, cause¬†you don’t have to take a booger crusted t-shirt off? That’s only if it’s a “good” shirt? Nope, they all come off in my house. Booger, vomit, spit, pee, basically anything gross. Especially if it’s from another human. I don’t care if that pocket human is mine, I don’t want his crud on me! And if you’re layering, well then maybe you’re actually doing yourself a favor right? Cause the grossness won’t actually soak through to your skin? We can hope/dream/pray…

Seriously, swap the heels for ballet flats or even sneakers (assuming heels¬†aren’t your thing) and this is a look that works for anyone, going anywhere. It could definitely work for a Mum.

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You have the hair up out of the way. The pants aren’t too tight so you’ll be able to get on the floor without the circulation being cut off in your legs and you won’t be flashing your bum at everyone when you try to get back up. But they’re not too baggy so you still have shape and you won’t look frumpy or heavy. The patterned shirt is interesting and will help hide any marks you might get on the cuffs from sticky fingers grabbing at you. And the necklace is really cute, but it’s not so long it’ll be in your way or bonking your kid in the head when you bend over to pick them up. The spikey bracelet might have to go, but just swap it out for a wide bangle and you’re good to go. Really, this is a fantastic look and it’s one I’d be pleased to add to my rotation.

I ended up buying about five different J. Crew necklaces last week. The one I recommend the most is their Venus Flytrap design. The sales associate told me they don’t even get an employee discount on it it’s so popular. It goes with everything and if you like to layer your necklaces, it’s the perfect piece to have in your wardrobe. For reference it’s the top necklace in the Christmas photo¬†above, the single strand of round crystals.¬†I really think I’m going to get a lot of wear out of them. I’m not looking to buy many more just now. I want to see just how much I really wear these first then go from there. The all white one was a steal at just $12 on clearance, the others were on sale and we had their little booklet so we saved an additional 10%, that was nice. I suspect some of them will get year round wear (the Venus FlyTrap one for example) and the coral and teal one will be more of a summery thing. But that’s okay. I think these are going to look really cute with a lot of my Lilly Pulitzer dresses and I’m looking forward to pairing them with them. Same goes for my Popovers, they’re so casual these will really jazz them up.

That’s all for this week. I have a bunch of stuff going on, life here is never dull that’s for sure. I have another post I’ve been working on I just need the photos so with a little luck I’ll have that post up on time. My big goal for this month is to finish my friends sequin skirt. It’s a very intimidating fabric, the sequin covered mesh. But I am not going to let it defeat me, not again! I endeavor to have victory photos to prove it’s completion by the end of them month. And knowing me, it’ll be another six months before I managed to mail it off because mailing stuff is hard for me apparently. So all this forcing myself to get it done really is wasted effort. But still, I trudge on. I have to have something to obsess over, right?ūüėČ

See you next week!

DIY Valentine’s Decor

Last time I wrote about this I was whining about the general lack of decor for this holiday. I think perhaps I was just being lazy. I’m going to blame mid winter dreariness and being sick on that. I’m better now, and so is my house! Just take a look!

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Yeah, sorry but I had to cover the photos. I don’t share my face or my son’s online.

This is definitely not exactly perfect, but it’s much better than what it looked like before. And there’s certainly room for growth. We’ve only been in this house a year, barely. So rushing into filling it’s a top priority. I want to find the “right” things. We still don’t even have a coffee table and the television console has a missing panel. It did have one, but it was just shattered one morning. We checked the security cameras and don’t know how it happened, probably ghosts. It’s all okay though, I’ll buy those pieces¬†as I find them. I don’t want furniture¬†that’s kind of right, I want to be sure it’s right. Mostly because I’m lazy and once it’s here, it’s here to stay so I need to like it. For smaller decor items I’m okay with making some mistakes. That painting for example will probably be redone. Or maybe I’ll keep it. For those that are interested, I call it “Frustration at 2am”.

My Christmas display was probably the best look I’ve done so far. But Christmas is a holiday that decorates itself. Grab some sparkly bottle brush trees, a few cute animal statuettes and suddenly you’re done. And even more remarkably, it all looks like something straight out of a catalog and you think you’ve become an interior designer overnight. Then you pack those decorations away and you realize¬†it wasn’t you, it was just the materials. When there’s a lot to pick from, it’s easy to make good choices. Now it’s time to really try.

As usual I visited Pintrest to look for inspiration and came away with some ideas. I’ve had this huge hurricane vase for a couple of years and I’ve found it’s kind of perfect for vase filler. I never really understood the whole vase filler concept but I totally get it now. Not only is it an easy way to decorate, but it’s inexpensive and very easy to store. Important to a lot of people who may not have a lot of storage space. It’s also fun to get creative with it. You can buy specialty vase filler, use candy, or even just look for items that fit your theme.

I found this bag of candy on sale at Target, I think it’s about $5 regular price. It’s filled with (horrible for you, yet reasonably¬†tasty) candy inside translucent plastic easter egg type hearts. Perfect Valentine’s vase filler! I was at Daiso and found some leftover Christmas ornaments that were heart shaped. I want to say there were 5-6 to a pack and at $1.50 per pack I didn’t need many. I was just sad there was only one glitter one left.ūüė¶ I popped off the silver tops and strings and arranged them in the vase how I wanted them. I love how it looks and something I love even more is when the season is over, I can just toss these in a ziplock bag until next year.

 

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There were twenty two in the bag. They had Frozen themed hearts and the other bag had Ninja Turtles.

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Out of the wrappers this is what I had. They split in half like Easter eggs.

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The small hearts are from Daiso, they only had two packs and I’d have preferred three. I¬†found the glittery ones at Dollar Tree. They come on wooden stakes. I saw them being used on other blogs and stopped in to pick some up for myself. I knew I wanted a couple to top off the felt heart trees I planned to make, and I needed a few of the wooden sticks so I cut off the remaining pieces and stuck the hearts in the tiny¬†apothecary jar (HomeGoods, a year or two ago). The crystals are table scatter purchased from Jo-Ann’s last year around this time, you can find them in the wedding aisle. The conversation hearts are just that, conversation hearts. I was worried about bringing those into the house. I know I can use candy as decor but my husband seems incapable of walking past the stuff without “sampling”. Sure enough it wasn’t on the mantle 12 hours before I heard it hitting the floor because I purposely overfilled the jar (I like the look) and my husband tried to open it and eat some. Pantry full of candy I told him he couldn’t have but he bought anyways and he’s still eating my decor. That man will be the death of me…

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This fun little family under the dome is one I made. The dome is a Christmas item from Jo-Ann’s and I grabbed it at 70% off! I hated the look of the wood, it was unfinished and honestly, looked dirty even though it wasn’t. Probably why so many of them didn’t sell. I’ve painted this since I took the photo. A couple of coats of Martha Stewart’s rose gold craft paint and I think it looks fantastic. I found all the pieces to make the little family at Jo-Ann’s (save the red sticks, those were from the Dollar Tree heart things) and it was mere dollars to put the whole thing together. I messed up on the lady’s eyelashes but otherwise I think it’s okay. I’m sure I’ll get better at them in the future. I want to make one for each holiday. I’m really looking forward to making an Easter one.:) I think I may even brach out later on and add in some fabric details. And if I ever get bored with them, this thing cost me maybe $3-$4 to make so I won’t feel bad about tossing it into the recycling bin. Although I could just probably peel off the hot glue and re paint them if I were so inclined.

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The blank boards you see in the first photo (the pink heart and purple rectangle) are actually chalkboards that were still curing at the time I took this photo. I bought the MDF shapes at Jo-Ann’s (of course) and the heart was most expensive at maybe $2.49. I like it because it’s on theme, but I’ll probably be buying more of the funky shaped ones. I bought the Rustoleum clear chalkboard paint after hearing good things about it and decided to try it out. I love the notion that I could have chalkboards in the “right” color for each season. I also love that they’ll take up soooo little space in storage. Seriously, I can just lay them one on top of the other. You really can’t beat that. I know chalkboards are trendy but I love them anyways. I like drawing and growing up my grandmother lived in a condo in what was formerly the old high school in our town, so every unit had huge chalkboards (unless you removed them, and only the crazy people did). I loved drawing on them, it was something my siblings and I¬†could spend hours doing. I found a tiny one at HomeGoods a while back and have really enjoyed coming up with things to draw on it. It usually lives in my butlers pantry and it looks pretty cute if I do say so myself.

One thing I didn’t know though is that you have to “season” chalkboards. I thought that little one I bought was “bad” or that the chalk pencils I bought were. Nope, I just didn’t know because being from a land as old as time (or as old as it gets in America when it comes to such things), all the chalkboards I’ve used in my life were seriously old. Chalkboards have porous surfaces, no matter if you make or buy them. So you have to “season” them before the first use or using them will be difficult and you can even ruin them by leaving a “ghosting” of previously written words. To season one you need to rub the side of a piece of chalk on the surface and then rub it in with a cloth. Then if you like you can wipe down the board with a slightly damp cloth. You’ll never get that perfectly black background back again, but you will fill in the little holes in the surface with chalk so hopefully you won’t leave impressions when you write or draw on the surface. Every time¬†you wash the board you will need to season it again.

The felt heart trees were something my sister helped me with. I used scrapbooking paper and rolled a sheet into a cone and I made a stencil for my sister and she¬†painstakingly traced and cut each and every heart by hand while I was busy painting and putting together everything else on the mantle place. I had four colors and she filled each sheet with hearts before cutting them out, I had just enough to do this one tree with some leftover. So it took quite a few to make this. If I didn’t have her doing this it would have been an extra day or so worth of work so it was nice she helped out. For the stand I just flipped a Pottery Barn stand I had laying around and set the cone on top of it. These really needed to be on some sort of stand, but I didn’t have anything. Sometimes just looking around your own home and seeing if you can’t repurpose something is all you need to do. There’s usually something laying around. Assuming you’re the same sort of pack rat I am.ūüėČ

So there you have it, my Valentine’s display. There are some things I planned to move or change, like the hearts on sticks you see in that candle holder. I planned to make a second tree, and have almost enough hearts cut out. I’ll probably get that done just as the holiday is passing us by at this rate. As always, that’s okay. But for the most part, I think it looks just fine and I’m not really inclined to change anything.

Starbucks Security Lapse

This is a bit of a departure from what I normally write about on here. It’s usually all ballet, sewing, crafting and the like. But the good thing about having a blog is when something serious happens, you can actually share that serious news with others. I’ve mentioned in the past I like Teavana, they’re now owned by Starbucks and this is about a serious problem I encountered on the Starbucks website. I want to start out by saying I don’t think everyone needs to boycott Starbucks or do anything drastic. I’m not that kind of person, you know the sort, the “lets just destroy them cause they pissed me off” type. But what I am saying is this, if you pay by credit card in their stores or on their website, stop now. Paypal and cash are options, use them.

This is a little embarrassing to admit, but I actually noticed there was a problem no less than a week before I took action. But (and yes, I’m going to use my kid as an excuse) I was distracted when I was out and forgot. I was looking at my phone while at Fred Meyer to see if I had a free drink and I saw someone else’s name. I thought perhaps it was a fluke. You know how sometimes you’re on someone else’s wifi and you see something you shouldn’t? We’ve all had that happen. I was in a store, I logged out of the site, logged back ¬†in and saw my name and figured that was the end of it. But it wasn’t… I should have looked closer, but I was paying attention to my kid and forgot to look again at home.

The next week I went to look at my account again because my account had been running low. As some of you may already know I own (and love) the Breville Perfect Tea Maker, and I like making my own fancy beverages. But this winter things have been so out of control I’ve been buying more than I make at home. I really haven’t been putting enough care into anything at all lately.ūüė¶ But back to my story, I went to reload my account and at the very last second stopped. And it’s lucky for Alyson W. Jackson of Alabama that I did, because I almost used her credit card to do it. Yes, that’s right, I had full access to someone else’s credit card. I could have spent hundreds reloading my card, or bought a number of coffee and gift items. All with her money. And what would she have done about it? Complained she didn’t make the charge? Still would have been too late, and really I could have claimed I never noticed it wasn’t my money I was spending. After all, I was signed into my account. Morally I’d have been doing something wrong, but it’s sort of the virtual equivalent of finding cash¬†on the ground. Fortunately for Alyson and Starbucks I’m the sort who will shout for miles “Has anyone lost any money!!!!”.

It was late and their phones were closed. I knew this was really important and they needed to be alerted to this as soon as possible so I left my account alone and sent off an email. When I still hadn’t heard back from them the next afternoon (around 4pm) I called. The lady I spoke to was very polite and friendly, but also very, very dumb. I hate saying that but sadly it’s true. I had to explain the problem several times and finally when she deleted the card from my account (FTR, I could have done that myself but I left it because I wanted them to see I wasn’t making this up) the woman asked me if I wanted to add another card! I told her under no circumstances would I be doing that as they clearly couldn’t protect their customers credit card information. This woman really couldn’t have been more casual about the whole situation and it was like she dealt with this sort of thing all day. It was very scary. I finally received an email from them at around midnight that night. It told me they thought this was a really serious matter so I should call right away. You can’t make this stuff up.

I had an exchange going with them, it was brief as they eventually just stopped writing back. I told them flat out I was going to put the entire exchange on here. This is completely unedited. And yes, I was a bit snarky. I make no apologies.

 

Received: 2016-01-11 04:12:06
To: <info@starbucks.cust-serv.com>
Subject: Other

Hi,This is about a security issue I’m having. I logged on to do my “Starbucks For Life Game” (BTW, I felt like I wasn’t getting credited properly for the game and I might know why now). And I decided to reload my card. The payment and billing info linked to my account is not mine! It’s someone by the name of Alyson W. Jackson and she lives in Alabama. I have never been there and don’t know her. Obviously I’m not evil, so I didn’t reload my card on her dime. But this needs to be straighten out ASAP! I’m positive that the account I’ve signed into is mine. I signed into my computer and iPad, both times with my email and my password. The result was the same, this is not a fluke. I thought I noticed something amiss on my phone several days ago, but I was out with my son and didn’t really have time to do more than glance. I wish I’d been paying more attention then… Clearly something has gone wrong and our accounts have been merged. Please help me sort this out! I don’t want access to someone else’s credit card!

Hello ———–,

Thank you for contacting Starbucks. I hope you are doing well today. I just finished reading your email and appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with us.

The situation that you described is very concerning to me as I’m sure it is to you. I would like to help you get this taken care of promptly. In order to best assist you, we would like the opportunity to speak with you over the phone.

Please call our customer contact center and have reference # 21336919 handy to provide to our representative. Our contact center can be reached at 877-309-3180 Monday-Friday 5am-8pm, as well as Saturday-Sunday 6am-4pm (PST).

If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please visit us at customerservice.starbucks.com.

Sincerely,

Annice M.
customer service
Hi,

I emailed your company almost 24 hours ago about something very serious. And your response is please call us? For starters I’d have to wait another day to call because your phones are closed, and secondly this is not something that you should be just sitting on your hands waiting to take care of.

Since I clearly take breaches of privacy more seriously than you do, I’ve already called. I called hours ago. The woman I spoke to on the phone had the same casual attitude towards this as you do. She had me give her the info on the account and just deleted the credit card like it was no big deal. Uh, I could have done that as I HAD ACESS to the card just as if it were my own. Then, and this is hilarious, she asked me if I wanted to add another card. I told her absolutely not as it’s clear your site isn’t safe. There was no apology, no “we’ll make sure this never happens again”, no nothing. I’m so glad I’ve never used my credit card on your site, and now that this has happened, I never will.

I’ve already taken the liberty of posting about this on your Facebook page. People need to be warned to delete their credit cards from your site, they aren’t safe on there. Since I know you’ll probably just delete that post I reposted it on my own page and it’s already started to be shared there. Thank goodness.

Best Regards,

———————

Hello —-,

Thank you for getting back in touch with us.

I apologize if you felt us asking you to call meant we did not take your concern seriously.
We take maintaining the security of customer accounts very seriously. Because of the nature of your email, we wanted to make sure we could address it as soon as possible, and get all the information we needed at one time.

I am sorry if this made you feel like your personal information, or that of other customers does not matter. And I do apologize if you felt your concern was not properly addressed by the representative you spoke with earlier.

I want to assure you that I’ve shared your comments with the appropriate teams for their review.

If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please visit us at customerservice.starbucks.com.

Sincerely,

LaTosha J
customer service

*Time Out*

I just want to take this opportunity to point out the spot where my name is in the greeting is shortened. Some of you might have picked up on that. That’s where this employee decided they were somehow at liberty to give me a nickname despite the fact I was using my full name in all of my correspondences with them. It’s a little thing but the unprofessionalism just really irks me, especially given the circumstances.

*Time In*

Hi,

No, it had nothing to do with you asking me to call and everything to do with the amount of time it took you to respond to a very serious issue. The response time for the first email was twenty hours. This time it was eighteen. I could understand if I were writing about ingredients, or a problem reloading my card. Please, take your time getting back to me on those questions. Issues regarding credit card safety? That needs to be addressed ASAP. That’s why I emailed. Because it was too late at night to call when I discovered there was indeed a problem, so I emailed assuming you’d get it first thing. Not that you’d get it then sit on the information until it was once again too late for me to call. So I’m glad I took the initiative when it became clear you do not care.

And for the record, this little statement “I am sorry if this made you feel like your personal information, or that of other customers does not matter.” is laughable. Your tone implies I’m overreacting. I’m not. If a customer contacts you and alerts you to a serious security breech you act promptly. You do not sit around twiddling your thumbs, you do not have your reps on the phone act like it’s NIB and happens all the time, you do not basically say “Oh well, sorry you feel that way.” You say, “You know what? You’re right, we screwed up big time and for that we’re genuinely sorry.” You do NOT try to SHIFT BLAME.

This entire exchange will be going on my blog. I really can’t believe you guys. This is horrifying.

—————-

 

Now again, I’m not saying anyone should just give up Starbucks or Teavana. I am saying you should log onto their site if you have an account and delete your credit card if you have one on there. You’ll still be able to reload your account with Paypal or go into any store and do the same¬†with cash. It’d be nice if they’d just stop their nonsense altogether and get with Apple Pay. They don’t want to do that though and now they’re having security issues. I’m not exactly surprised. They want to use their cards. I get it, but it has problems. So please, be safe. Because if you have a problem I can’t imagine Starbucks is going to care at all. It’s going to be you fighting with your credit card company trying to claim you really didn’t go on a shopping spree and them saying but of course you did, no one else was signed into your account.

So please, I never ask this. But if there’s a coffee/tea junkie in your life, pass this post on to them. Make sure your all your friends and family know. Maybe if you’re a credit card only person and you’re too afraid to visit the stores now you might consider buying the little Via packets they sell at Target and the Supermarkets so you don’t even need to visit the chain to enjoy their coffee. The company has said they’re gluten free in the past and I’ve yet to get sick on them, but I encourage you to contact them yourself if you have any concerns as they’re not labeled GF. I still have my account and I’m not planning on deleting it. But I’ll really never use a credit card with them again. Keep that information safe!

See you all next week. Hopefully with a much happier post!

Seasonal Decor

I have no photos. I want there to be photos, but there are no photos. Why are there no photos? It’s due to the lack of decor. I know you’re probably all thinking “Um koolchicken, I saw the title of your post there and I thought we’d get to see some seasonal decor. I’m feeling kinda misled.” Yeah, here’s the thing, I want it, but I can’t find any.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m starting too soon. But I feel like there’s nothing out there for Valentine’s Day decor. All the candy is out in the stores, and there’s “some” decor. But the selection is miniscule. I was at HomeGoods today looking for a toothbrush holder and they had a section for Valentine’s stuff, it was literally three shelves. Christmas, Halloween, even Easter, those holidays take up the majority of the store. At Joann’s they actually have most of the Easter stuff out already! So I say, where’s the love for Valentine’s Day? No pun intended.

I did get lucky at Daiso. I found some Christmas ornaments of all things that were shaped like hearts. They had them in light pink, hot pink, and red. Each pack had maybe five or six in it and there were a range of finishes from high shine to satin (one pack was even glitter!). So I have those in my large hurricane vase. They also had some tiny medium and pale pink puff heart ones so I bought those to fill one of my two small¬†apothecary jars. The other has a mix of big and small conversation hearts. I have a few candle holders up there as well, in varying shades of pink, two are hobnail and one is this round sort of mercury glass looking thing. I still have up one of my Christmas ornaments but my son asked me not to put it away. It’s a pink house with tiny little bottle brush trees in front of it, and everything is covered in iridescent “snow” all of it is housed inside a glass globe. It is an ornament that could go on a tree, but it’s so big I’d never put it on there. It actually lives on a stand I bought from Pottery Barn years ago.

I have a very large canvas that’s still in the shrink wrap sitting up there. It judges me. I need to paint something, but I’m still waiting for inspiration to strike. I gave painting up years ago and never intended to go back to it. Initially I used not having all the colors I needed as my excuse, but I bought them so now I don’t really have one anymore. I need to get on it.

I did, finally, after living here almost a year, get some pictures printed so that’s nice. Actually having pictures in frames to look at has made a huge difference to the space. I do think I have too many up there. But that’s okay. I may take some down, put them in one of my boxes in the pantry. I can rotate them every so often to keep things interesting. And if I can ever get off my butt and get some more pictures printed, it’ll be even better. I do love my acrylic frames if anyone is looking to purchase frames in the near future. They’re just the coolest thing. I have these laser cut frames that come in the neatest shapes, and they sandwich together to hold the print with magnets so it “floats”. Visually they don’t take up much space and let the picture take center stage, but they still make quite the impact. I highly recommend them.

I always see these cool looking vignettes on pintrest and on different blogs and I wonder, where do people find this stuff? I suppose over the course of a lifetime a person acquires a number of interesting objects and I will too. I don’t need to have “everything” all at once. But it would be nice to have an idea of where people are shopping! Or at least how they’re making this stuff. I think I need to do more crafting. I’ve seen some really cool garlands/bunting lately, in store, on Pintrest, and different places online and I need to make some. This is just not something you need to buy, it can be made. I have to start saving more of my sewing scraps I think. They’d be perfect for some of these bunting projects. You really want variety there and it’s an easy way to get it, plus it’s a fun way to remember favorite prints. I have one print I bought recently at Joann’s just because it was 40% off and really cute that has the most lovely coral, teal, and grey tones in it, it’s just very spring. I also have some fabric I bought especially for Valentine’s Day to make some of my own things. I hope to share that at a later date with all of you. It’s actually in the washing machine as I write this.:) I’m very excited to see what happens at the sewing machine. I honestly haven’t a clue but I’m sure it’ll be exciting. Sometimes the ideas don’t come to me until I’m ready to start cutting. I’ll have to be sure to bring my camera to the craft room¬†so I can blog about what I make.

I did make something for my friend this past week. A full on seven layer tulle skirt. I did start taking photos of the process, but it’s a lot of work to make one of those. So at some point I had to stop if it was ever going to get done. I’m going to make a different skirt for her. One that’s black sequins. Perhaps I’ll photograph that one? Or maybe I don’t want to spill all of my secrets? I am trading these for some very expensive hairstyles done in the connivence¬†of my own home… Oh, who am I kidding. I’d do it for her anyways. The fabulous mermaid hair (it’s violet, aqua, and orchid!) is just a bonus.:)

I had my friend out for a few days and yesterday I picked up my sister from the airport and dropped her off. My sister will be here for a week (or more?). I’ve decided not to travel with my husband at the end of the month because it’s just too much for me. I found out we were actually going to Phoenix and not Vegas (where my SIL lives) so I was just like, “um, nope” and my son and I will be staying here. We’ll probably go out to eat just the two of us for fun, but I’m glad I won’t have to fly. Again. And did I mention I have a sinus infection? Yeah, I was sick all the way back the end of October beginning of November and never really got 100% better. I want to say I got 75% better. Then we went to CA and the cousins had something so¬†of course I got it. Well, I did and I didn’t. It just felt like the original illness back with a vengeance. I need to just get back on track. My last ballet class before the holidays I had to leave early from. As I said, I never 100% recovered I just felt so ill I had to duck out. I was so sad. I missed the class after that too because I was still feeling unwell and then we had to leave. I’m still not doing all of my classes, and I actually feel dizzy during and after turns! I’m the freak who never gets dizzy! I’m so excited I’m on antibiotics and I’m going to get better now.

I’m just counting down the days until February. I’m going to be feeling better, I just know it. I’ll probably be back up to strength and able to do all my ballet classes. The house won’t look like so much of a pit. I’m going to do some crafting, some of it promised work for my friend and some of it just for fun. With everything going better I’m sure I’ll be back to writing weekly again. That’ll be good. I don’t like slacking on here. Makes me feel lazy. And I have some clip art I commissioned ages ago that I need to use. I really need to get to work with updating the look of the blog, I’m thinking of a new background.:) 2016 is going to be very exciting I’m sure.

See you next week!

Brand New Year, Same Old Stuff

2015 is coming to a close and it’s none too soon. This year has been a good one for me, but it has been busy! I know I haven’t been writing as much as I would have liked, my goal of one post a week every Monday has been only moderately successful. But I’d like to keep at it over the course of this next year. Hopefully I’ll do better in 2016!

I was lucky enough to go on an impromptu trip this year to California and Mexico and meet family members I had yet to be introduced to. My son even got to meet three of his young cousins so that was a lot of fun for him. But as the days wore on, we were ready to come home. We’ve done a¬†lot of travel this year and of course, we’re still not done. We’re never really done. There will always be places to go, people to see. If I’m not very much mistaken we’re going away again the end of next month as well. It’s difficult to complain though. I get stressed when I travel, but at the same time I do love to see my friends and family and I know they can’t always come to me. In fact it’s very rare that they’re able to. That’s why January is going to be a big month for me as both my very good friend and my sister have back to back trips set to come visit me! It’s kind of crazy too. I’m literally dropping one off at the airport and picking another up the same day. Everyone wants my son to themselves, but that’s fine with me. I do need to get on with getting the guest room and bath in order though!

I’ve been sick since I got back from California. That’s what being in a house with four kids will do to me. If I were a school teacher, I’d be dead by the end of the first week. My immune system hates me, truly. So between the travel, the holiday, and getting sick I’ve been out of ballet almost the entire month of December. I’m scared. The bathroom scale is saying all the right numbers, but I know the truth. Just because a person can shimmy into their leotard, doesn’t mean you didn’t get fat and lazy over break. I might literally die when I go back to class. No Saturday classes for me for a while I guess. I think my heart will thank me when I don’t give it the shock of the lifetime by jumping straight in with a four class week and ending it with an early morning that goes on till after lunch. My goal is starting back on Monday, well see though. I’m still pretty weak.

All in all though it was a good holiday. I got some fun dance gear that I hope to share on here at a later date. I also got to go see The Nutcracker with my husband and son on Christmas Eve. I hope everyone else enjoyed their holiday and was able to spend time doing things they enjoyed with people they love!

My goal is as was stated above, to try and get back on board with my every Monday posting schedule. Wish me luck! I’ll see you then.:)

 

Ballet Warmups, A Review

So far on this blog I’ve talked a lot about leotards, but I’ve never once mentioned warm ups. I do live in a colder climate so I do wear them for at least half the year, sometimes more. When I was in New York I ended up buying a few new things as some of my old items had become shabby. Items I already owned are basics like the Body Wrappers leg warmers most people own.

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These are the ones I have.¬†I have them in both pink and black and both colors fit very differently. They don’t have a ton of stretch, the material is synthetic and not very nice. And I bought the 36″ (if you click the picture it’ll take you to those ones) but they fit me exactly like the 27″ ones fit the model in their promo images. Though I can’t really fault Body Wrappers for that one. If I want them to go over my foot, they’re just not going to go that high up my leg. They do sell even longer ones though, at 48″ so I could get this look. But as this brand is so hit or miss with the stretch I can’t be bothered to try again. For the record, the ones I have now are an exchange. I bought the longer ones but they didn’t stretch enough to go around my very normal sized thighs. So I exchanged them for the shorter ones.

I also own these ones.

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I have them in this color and the pink/purple color way. These came at the recommendation of my instructor in Hawaii. She told me that Wear Moi stuff ran long and right she was. I’m not sure the exact length of these but they are very long. I usually wear them over my feet and while they don’t quite come up as high as in the photo, I’d say they’re close to the second highest stripe. They also have enough stretch that I could pull them up to the widest part of my thigh no problem. They never sag, bunch, slide around, or fall down either. The only two complains I have about them are the lack of hole for my heel, and the stitching for their logo itches something fierce. Now I know that the heel hole will not be a deal breaker for some, but the embroidery? Why must Wear Moi stamp their name on everything? One of the other women in my class has a beautiful wrap sweater from them but it has the same logo stitched on so I’m sure that itches too so I won’t buy it. I usually end up folding that part over, I don’t really care how it looks. Just so long as I’m not itching.

I also have some shorts, but those aren’t even worth sharing photos of. One pair no longer exists and the other, the Natalie warm up shorts¬†warm really well, but are almost more trouble than they’re worth. And they look really bad, I’ve had them less than a year too.ūüė¶ They’re overly fuzzy, have pilled a bit, stretched out funny, and the list goes on and on. I’ve found washing and drying them in a garment bag helps but I suspect they’ll die soon. Not good as I have wonky hips that should be kept warm.

So I’m going to share some of my new finds and what I like about them so far!

We’ll start with the shorts. These ones are from Capezio.

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These are the Cross Country Romance Shorts and they’re part of a line. There are shrugs (like the one pictured), sweaters, wraps, scarves, and leg warmers. I really want to add the leg warmers and maybe one of the sweaters to my collection. When I saw this amazing rose color I really couldn’t resist it. Usually warm up shorts come in¬†black, black, or black. So these were a treat to find. They don’t even come in black! They come in a sort of purpley navy blue and a dark sage green in addition to this bright rose. All the colors are lovely and they coordinate well enough that you could mix and match if you were so inclined. I personally love these shorts with my Anna leotard with the Bed of Roses back panel. That fabric is still available on Elev√©’s website should anyone be interested.

Next up are these ones from Gaynor Minden.

Bamboo-Shorts-511x768

I actually bought these shorts at the Capezio store and not the Gaynor Minden boutique. I totally forgot about them when I was there and when I was browsing at Capezio looking at shorts I stumbled across them. Sadly they didn’t have them in the black as well, but I’m happy to have the purple. They also come in pink now which I didn’t know about, I’m pretty excited about that. These are great shorts if you prefer something shorter and not too bulky. These are thinner and the Capezio ones are quite a bit longer. The Capezio ones also tend to alternate between bunching and sagging at the crotch (attractive right? Once I’ve started sweating they stick a little and stop doing that but initially it’s not a good look) whereas these ones don’t do that. But I think these ones have a much thicker waistband and I like to wear these Adidas pullovers¬†at the barre (they’re seriously amazing) and they add a lot of bulk around the middle where you might not want it. Especially if you fold the waist band over, the way pretty much everyone in the world will.

Next up are these leg warmers, also from Gaynor Minden.

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I have these in both colors, the black and the purple and I love them both. I was very excited to have leg warmers in a “fun” color and I can only hope now that they’re making the shorts in pink, they’ll make these in that color as well. The only thing is, these say in the description on the website that these will never slip or fall down, and they do manage to do that. But it feels as if that’s by some sort of miracle. These are very loose. If you’re a person who has trouble finding leg warmers because they’re all too tight, then these are the ones for you. There’s just no way these will be too tight on anyone. They’re also incredibly long. These actually fit me as shown in the photo, that’s a first for me. Now granted mine aren’t all bunched and are smoothed out, but I can get them up that high and there’s still a bit of bunching. So these are very, very long. A bonus for me as I like to take that tiny¬†bit of extra and bunch it around my right ankle where I need it. Another upside to these is where the heel cut out is. Have you ever had your leg warmer flip off your foot? Annoying right? These will never in a million years do that, because these are cut so that they cover the majority of your foot. It’s also nice because I tend to get cramps in my right foot especially. So anything to keep that one warm is a good thing. Now full disclosure, I have size 10 feet. In this photo it looks like there is slight bunching of the product on the dancers foot, and that’s fine. She probably doesn’t wear anything smaller than a 7.5. But if you do, that’s something you might need to think about, because the heel on these might actually be cut too far back for you. Although you could fold the foot part in half if you really had to. The fabric is not so thick it would get in your way or interrupt your line. I bought the M/L, I don’t know what the size difference in these is. But it might be something worth contacting the company over before you commit to purchasing these if you have petite feet or have shorter legs and don’t want to have these bunched up on your leg or folded over. I may end up putting mine in the dryer but I’m still on the fence. So far I’ve machine washed and hung them to dry several times and they’re still looking brand new, no fading, pilling, or stretching out funny. I’ve always found Gaynor Minden’s clothing to be top quality and these are no exception. The fabric is very nice, and I’m loving the length. But length is something I have too. So these may not be for everyone.

So there you have it. I didn’t really buy much. Just a few new pieces, but I love them all. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone and I even hope to pick up some of these items in other colors. The coordinating leg warmers from Capezio are top on my list.

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They don’t have that heel hole I love, but I could always add one in if I were so inclined. And the shorts are such nice material so I’m sure these will feel equally lovely. I just wish they had these in stock when I was buying the shorts. When I was there they only had the wrap/blanket thing, shorts, and the shrug pictured with the shorts. All of these are new items this season.

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And the rose version of the Gaynor Minden Bamboo shorts, they really are lovely. Though those will need to take a backseat to a pair of black ones. Because although I joked earlier, very soon I won’t even have a single pair of black shorts. And winter is long…

Given that I did actually purchase a few things with a 20% off coupon I’d been saving for a rainy day. Those items are mostly being saved for Christmas but I got a couple of things early due to heating issues at my studio.

I’d heard some good things about these Sansha leg warmers online so decided to give them a shot.

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These look amazing, and even my instructor said “Wow, you look great!” as soon as¬†she walked in. But there’s just no way around it, these are fashion not function. This photo doesn’t show it but they do have a cutout for the heel, not that it stays on. It kept flipping off. They slid down my legs, bunched, and the material is only so so. They arrived dirty and with loose threads on top of it. For $12.90 I thought they were an awesome deal and wanted to love these as much as everyone else. Especially since I had a 20% off coupon so they were even less. But these just aren’t working out for me. These are just a couple of photos I took to add to my DDS review.

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If you look at the promo images in DDS you can see the elastic threads but they don’t do a great job of advertising it and I think they should cause it’s not the best look. I thought at least it’ll keep them up, but nope. I may just get some of that silicone stuff like for strapless bras and tops at Joann’s and put several drops in there. That will probably help. Same as if I didn’t wear tights, but wearing these sans tights would be very uncomfortable I think. Fixing the stitching is easy enough, but I feel like I shouldn’t have to do it. Regardless what I paid. And I’ll probably put some of that silicone stuff at the foot as well. Despite all the stuff I don’t like about them, they do keep me very warm. The heat has been broken at my studio lately and some days we have none at all. The weather here has been hit or miss, with some days being in the 50’s and others being in the 30’s with snow on the ground. So these were quite toasty. But that was about it.

Given the heating issues I also bought these.

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These I have yet to have to wear. I brought them along last Thursday fully expecting to need them because the heat was out the previous day. But go figure, it was restored. Not only that, it was so warm I ended up doing the whole class en pointe. These feel like you’re walking on clouds though. I have size 10 feet and thought I wouldn’t fit into these but I do. I happened to see them in store and they had a Large on the floor so I tried them on just for kicks. This was back in summer and I obviously didn’t need them then. So when we started having heating trouble I decided to go for it. I can wear them with my flat shoes and with pointe shoes (though that’s a bit of a stretch). They don’t have a real sole so I wouldn’t go wearing them around outside, but indoors is fine. You wouldn’t want a real sole on them anyways because it would get in the way of moving your feet. In these I still have full control of them. It’s a bit more work (never a bad thing) but I could definitely wear them during barre.

So there you have it. All of the new warmups I bought in New York, and a peek at some of my others. I’m really loving most everything I’ve shared here, only the one miss for the most part and if you’re looking for a good last minute gift idea for a dancer in your life many of these would fit the bill nicely. I know most people like to give leotards because leotards are fun, but warmups are practical. Just be sure that if you’re gifting a student their studio allows warm up clothing! Some do not allow such things at the barre. Or they only allow certain items as part of their school uniform. So check with the parents! But for adults or recreational dancers, usually anything goes. Also, for younger students, class time itself is a nice suggestion.

As always I’m not getting paid for any of this and I bought all of these things myself. I love all these pieces (except for the ones from Sansha) and I’m happy to recommend them just based on my own experiences. If there are brands you love please let me know them. I’m always interested in learning about new companies. Especially small companies that are hand making their items. ¬†The larger companies are nice and all, but when I can support a smaller business I like to.

See you next week!

 

Ainsliewear and Mariaa Leotards

This is round two of the leotard reviews from my time in New York. I actually bought both of these at the Capezio store near Times Square. I bought a couple of other warm up items (to be featured in another post) but not a single leotard was actually Capezio brand, go figure.

I got to the store very late, they actually closed while I was there. In all fairness I’d have checked out while they were still open but there was a lady in front of me in line who was arguing about the return policy on tights (yes she had worn them, no they didn’t want to take them back cause gross, they ultimately did it anyways cause they have fantastic customer service). While I was busy touching every last item in the store I came across the clearance rack. They were doing a promo on those items and it was buy one get one free, on top of the clearance price! So I actually got the Mariaa one for free! Makes me feel a little better about it. A lot of you are already aware of this, but for those that aren’t Mariaa is basically a Yumiko knockoff. They have been very overt in copying their designs but since suing over copying a clothing design is almost never successful the line has not only continued since it’s initial debut, it’s expanded.

This store had a great selection and was just overall lovely. It’s also huge by New York standards. This isn’t the best photo but it’ll give you an idea.

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That whole display off to the right hand side, those are all Ainsliewear leotards. That particular brand used to be a bit harder to find but now I feel like I’m seeing it everywhere. They’re the official uniform of Canada’s National Ballet School, and yes, they’re a Canadian brand. So far I’ve seen this brand at one of my local dance shops here in Washington, at Discount Dance in California, Grishko in NYC, and this store. So they’re definitely catching on here in the States. They’re very nicely made. Not overly fussy but they still have some nice design details. Here’s the one I ended up with.

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Now I definitely feel a bit exposed in this one. The entire back save for that tiny bit that covers my bum, is mesh. The sides are the same, and dare I say, it’s a bit risqu√©. I always wear a bra with this one even though there’s no way to ever hide it just because I feel so exposed. I still like it though. I didn’t own a purple leotard previously, so I was excited about the color. I definitely won’t have to worry about over heating in this one, so there’s that too, lol. One thing I don’t like is the seam that runs down the center back. None of my other leotards have that so I’m not used to it and I find it annoying.

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It has a simple bust liner. It doesn’t offer any support, and it’s dark enough that it doesn’t really need it but it’s nice that they added it in.

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I had to cut the tag out. It was huge and well, inconveniently located. It had to go. You can see that center back seam I hate so much. The mesh is not tacked or anything to allow freedom of movement. I have no complaints about it. Despite the seam and the exposure I really like this one and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy from the brand again. This one was plenty long enough, so it’s fine if you have a longer torso.

Next up is my Mariaa leotard.

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The legs really are that high cut and I’m not a fan. I don’t need a high cut leg and I hate the way it looks on me personally. But if you’re someone who likes that, this is a brand to consider. This is also a brand that I feel runs a bit shorter. It’s long enough to work, but I wish it was longer. As you all know I’m not a fan of cut out backs. I avoid them whenever possible, especially when they come down this low. Again, I just don’t like it. I feel very exposed. The Mariaa leotards, like the Yumiko ones are heavy on the cutouts. That’s not to say you can’t find one without a cutout, but they’re few and far between.

As this one was free I’m a little less picky about it. I was lucky in that they just happened to have two leotards in colors I wanted in my size. They really didn’t have many leotards on the clearance rack, it was mostly Betsy Johnson stuff. So I was very lucky. I actually wore this one today and it was fine. It didn’t twist, shift, bunch, pinch, ride up, or do anything weird. By the time I got home I was happy to take it off, but it was just fine during class and for quite some time afterwards.

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Finally I’ve managed to capture a color accurately! Yes, it really is this electric. It almost glows, and it’s shiny.:) This shelf bra actually does something, but only because this leotard is actually rather snug. Partly it’s the cut, and partly it’s the fabric. The fabric is just not the same as Yumiko’s. It’s thicker and the more basic sort of stuff you’d encounter at the fabric store. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, especially if you don’t want to wear a bra. I’ve cut that tag out as well, this one kind of sticks to you. I just cut them all out, saves a lot of hassle cause I’ll probably hate them all.

So there you have it. These are all the leotards I bought while in New York. I did buy a few other things while I was there, warmups and the pointe shoes I’d mentioned previously. I’m not sure when I’ll get those posts up but I’m trying. I do have to go away again, as usual. Then we have the holidays so I make no promises. I also have the photos taken for an Elev√© review that’s seriously overdue. I bought and received those leotards in summer. You can’t even get some of the fabrics anymore it’s been so long. But I still think the review will be worthwhile given the solids are always worth a look at and the lace comes in and out of stock and it’s good to know if you want it or not so you can order it as soon as it becomes available because it does tend to go quick. So there’s lots to come. It’s just a matter of when I’ll be able to get it up.

See you next week (I hope)!