Update! Travel Planner Essentials & More

Hi everyone I know it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged but as always, I’ve just been busy. I’m headed to Hawaii again and I’m hoping to do another “What’s in my travel planner bag” video. I did one before and that was just for shorter trips.

For some reason WordPress won’t let me embed this video, you can see it here though.

This is a different situation. I’m going to my house. So I have supplies there, as well as space to work. When you’re in a hotel you generally want to pack light. But when you know you’ll have space to work, it changes things a bit. Now granted we’re going out to pack up the place and turn it into a vacation rental. So I don’t want to pack too much stuff. In the past I’d have probably packed more cause if I didn’t want to bring something home to my mainland house, I’d just leave it. In theory I can still do that. But I don’t want strangers touching my stuff. Some of our neighbors have just installed a proper lock on the closet under the stairs. I may do that myself.

I may want to turn this into a series. I’ve seen some seriously great videos on this in the past. This one is my favorite.

Hopefully I can eventually create a system as great as this lady by popfizzpaper.

I stay with my BIL a lot and we have a bedroom there. I’m free to leave things and he’s encouraged me to do so. I really need to bring a coat and maybe a cardigan to leave there.  But beyond clothes I’d love a few crafty things. I want a few washi cards, some blank stickers, one of my favorite pens, and scissors for sure. My BIL somehow manages to exist without scissors. He does have one pair but they’re horrible and never in the same place twice. He’s a school teacher but has virtually nothing in the way of office supplies. So I really want to make a very small kit to leave there. I plan to use one of those Freckled Fawn poly zip bags. They’re the size of a 1 quart ziplock. So not super big, easy to store, yet still plenty of space to hold all of my essentials. I managed to carry a ton of stuff in a bag half the size, so I should have everything I need and more in a bag that size.

I’m happy to keep the original video up, just so people can see the evolution of my planning style. I love watching these videos but too often people show what they’re planning to bring and you never know what they actually used. I’m all about traveling light. So I want to be able to show what I actually used, and what I’ve phased out over time. I feel like that’s the information people really need.

I’m also hoping to do some journaling/scrapbooking. I bought a Zinnydori because I wanted something personal size, cute, and with plenty of pockets for decorating on the go. I also bought a Polaroid Zip pocket printer. I’ve been trying to use it but have so far been failing. I think the trick will be to actually carry it with me. When I went to Disney I carried just a passport sized notebook in my bag. I wrote the days schedule in it, then as I went about my day I added little things my son said, happy moments, sad/frustrating moments, stickers, etc. I really think doing this with my actual travel notebook and just carrying my printer with me will mean I get things recorded the way I want them and not result in just a pile of memorabilia that collects dust. I also think it’s kind of a cool way to engage my son while we’re waiting for food in restaurants, or taking a break someplace. Obviously I’m going to need to bring some washi, pens, stickers, tape runner, etc. with me. So I’ll be putting together a pocketbook sized stationary case. I may or may not get a video of that shot. But I’m hoping it happens.

On an unrelated note I bought another Elevé leotard. I decided to buy one of the Ready To Wear styles. I bought one in a limited edition fabric that’s exclusive to the RTW line. The particular style I bought is also limited to the RTW line. Naturally I’ve already contacted Elevé to ask a million questions. They know I’m writing another review and tried to answer to the best of their availability but it’s still a very new line so some things may change. I will share everything they told me though. As the RTW line ships right away it’ll be in Hawaii a day before I arrive! I decided to have it shipped there as I wanted to be sure I’d get it right away and I didn’t know if it’d get to me before I left. I’m so excited to get it! So like last year all my pictures will be in my crazy purple bathroom, lol. I’m not sure what other leo’s I’m going to bring. In addition to my review I may end up doing a post on what I pack when I’m going to go to class while traveling. How I care for my leo’s, how I pack them, shoes, and more.

So keep an eye out, more posts will “finally” be coming. I’m sorry I’ve been slacking so much. I’m just trying to do too much, too often and getting burnt out. I have a goals list that’s way too long. I really just need to pick one project per month. Otherwise nothing is going to get done. I have sewing projects (tulle skirts for my friend and I!), a dollhouse I’ve been building, a coat I want to sew, as well as some button downs. I really need those button downs before fall comes and our leaves have been changing for weeks now… As time allows I’ll be blogging about all of it. And as always, please feel free to comment and let me know if there’s any specific project you want to see covered here!

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New Elevé Dancewear!

Hi all, this post was supposed to go up last week, but I’m pretending last week didn’t happen altogether, so there we are. I’m also still out of ballet and we’re going on six months now. I am considering going tomorrow but we’re just going to have to wait and see how it goes. My husband’s been working a lot, I’ve been trying to see how long I can go between food shopping trips before we literally have no food in the house, it’s just been crazy. I’m also still in a lot of pain. So even though we need to do things like eat (I should really just sign up for Amazon Fresh at this rate) I’m basing my attendance off of my pain scale and how much I’m willing/able to just suck it up. Right now there’s like a 50% chance I’m going, which in all fairness is way better than the zero percent it was last week. I really just need more injections. Not just to be able to do ballet, but just to be able to live. IDK, I’m expecting my doctor to call me by Friday. If he doesn’t I’m going to call to make an appointment on Monday and I’ll leave a message for him then. I’m lucky, my doctor is awesome. I actually have his home number and he told me I can call him any time. But I hate being “that patient” so I leave him alone (except that one time but I meant to call the office).

So even though I may or may not be wearing these anytime soon, I wanted to share my new leotards. I bought them forever ago so I can’t remember how long production was, but I don’t think it went outside the normal quoted times. I did have contact with the company. I asked for the solid fabric on both my Anna, and my Tri leotards and Jessica their awesome customer service rep contacted me to be sure that’s what I really wanted. I told her I definitely wanted to do a solid back on the Anna, but that I had been waffling on the Tri when I placed the order. I told her to surprise me. They sent the mesh and I was right, I did love what they picked! So it was kind of a fun surprise. I know some of you might not want to play that game. But I’ve bought from them so many times I felt confident I’d love whatever was sent.

First up is the Anna. This one is a Large, no back hole, and a bust liner. The colors are Bluish Purple and Orange, both are matte.

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As you may have guessed, I had trouble getting the colors to photograph accurately. There will be a photo at the end that shows all three leotards with a more accurate representation of their colors. But this one is still a little off. The color is deep, but not anywhere near this intense/fluorescent. I would say it is more blue, calmer, and very pretty. It’s a great contrast to the orange which I really like. I had debated getting the trim in white, but with the intense colors of the rest of the leotard, I was worried it wouldn’t stay crisp. Any bleeding and the look is just ruined. Knowing how some of the more intense colors have bled on me, I didn’t want to take the risk. I actually have this in the washing machine right now, on the delicate cycle so I can’t say if these colors do bleed. Probably should have washed it by hand for reviewing purposes. But I just wanted it done and I tossed it in without thinking. I probably should take this opportunity to point out, none of my reviews are paid. If I were being paid I’d probably be a LOT more thorough and wouldn’t skip the little things. But I buy all of these with my own money and my reviews are 100% my own thoughts! So while I miss a bit here and there, you can rest assured I’ve not been swayed in any way.

The fit on this was standard and comparable to my other Anna’s. I love the fit of this one in particular. The length is good, it’s not too tight or too loose. It’s a fantastic style if you want or need to wear a bra. Especially if you get a solid back. No one will ever see it. Obviously you’ll get lines or indents where it is, but you won’t have straps or anything peeking out. So great for fuller busted women. The style never seems to ride up either. So all around, perfect for those who are looking for something simple, easy to move in, but also don’t want to flash a ton of skin. It’s still really cute so you won’t feel dowdy in it either. It really is the ideal blend of traditional ballet leotard functionality and modern styling.

The next up is the Laico With Sleeves. This one is size X-Large, has the full back, bust liner, and the “above elbow” length sleeves. The base is Velvet Roses, and the top is Black Mesh.

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Once again, the colors of this are off. The base is very much a true Navy. The color you’ll see in the last photos with all three is almost 100% spot on for color accuracy. The color looks so weirdly intense here but I liked that because the trade off is a very clear look at the flocked rose design. I have to say, comparing the flocking on this to something like my Wear Moi leotards, this is miles away better. It’s very well done, there doesn’t appear to be any shedding, and it’s very soft. It’s not at all stiff and crunchy like this stuff can sometimes feel. The fabric really flexes well and the designs don’t split apart. I have so many leotards that my Wear Moi ones aren’t worn enough to show serious wear. But just based off of my initial impressions of both, I feel like this fabric would hold up far better over the long term. No flocked design lasts forever though so I would generally recommend hand washing this one if it’s a real favorite to preserve it’s lifespan. I did buy this one in an X-Large. It’s a size that Elevé really only offers in this style. I do feel that this particular style runs smaller than some of the others. So if you generally buy a large, you may want to go with the size up in this one. If you’re unsure you can always contact the company and Jessica is fantastic. She’s always happy to help. You can send her your measurements and tell her what size you usually wear in their brand and others and she should be able to help guide you. If you do want a leotard with sleeves, and you don’t have those amazing, incredibly thin dancer arms, having the X-Large option. I have thinner arms. Especially for someone 31 with a kid, but they’re hardly twigs. You can see them in some of my other review posts. I have normal person arms. These sleeves are seriously my perfect fit. It’s also worth mentioning that I do have disproportionately long limbs (we make a lot of positive ape index jokes in my family as I’m not alone) yet these sleeves literally stop, right above that first bone in my elbow (not the part that sticks out, but if you feel on your arm, you’ll find it it’s like that first divot above the joint). I would so trust them to make me a long sleeved one. I’d probably contact them first to give my measurements to be sure. But I feel like they cut the sleeves long. Yay!

*You can see my review on the Wear Moi ones here, please excuse how heavy I look in those photos! I was on a med that made me gain a lot and I didn’t know how bad it was at the time, so that review is a little skewed on sizing as well.*

The last one up is the Tri. I bought the size Large, no sleeves, with the bust panel. The base is Dragon, and the top is Arabian Mesh. Sadly it would appear that Dragon has been discontinued, Maharaja would be the closest alternative. I actually debated between the two when picking a fabric for this one. Overall I’m happy with my choice though I may still add Maharaja to my collection (availability permitting) in the future.

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Before I say anything else, I want to take the opportunity to point something out here. The design is perfectly centered on this leotard, both front and back. Some people won’t notice things like this, or just expect it as a given. But I do notice these things. This is something that takes extra effort when cutting the pattern and it’s an added expense for the company. When you cut fabric with a pattern like this you’re wasting quite a bit. When working with a solid, or a busier pattern you can just cut with a focus to getting the most pattern pieces out of every yard. With fabric like this, you’ll ultimately throw yards and yards, from every bolt, away. They did not charge extra for this fabric even though some small Etsy businesses would probably (and fairly) add a surcharge.

That said, I love the feel of this fabric. It’s definitely different from all of my other ones. With patterned fabric you never really know what you’re getting. Some are shiny, others are matte, the stretch is often different than that of a similar fabric that’s solid. This one is incredibly soft and would go as far as to say this is not their standard milliskin but more of a microfiber. I haven’t contacted the company to ask, but it’s a very different feel. Despite that, it had decent stretch and wasn’t restricting. I do feel that this particular style is cut a smidge shorter than some of the others, so there is that. But it’s not restricting in any way. This feels on par with my other Tri styles. So it’s not the most comfortable, that probably rests with my Anna styles. But it’s not going to bother me during class. I do sometimes notice that I have red marks on my shoulders after wearing leotards in this style though. So something to keep in mind if you’re going to be in this all day, or if you have a long torso. I have an average length torso, my height is 100% in my limbs. I have my measurements listed on another Elevé review but I can’t remember which one. If you’re here just for these reviews (and I know some of you are) then you’ve probably already seen them. Keep those measurements in mind when considering what size to buy.

I wanted to include a photo or two of all three side by side, the colors in these photos are most accurate.

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I feel as though the first photo shows the Velvet Roses most accurately and the second photo better showcases the Bluish Purple. It is still a bit more blue than purple in real life, but this is much closer. If you’re looking at the Elevé website the swatch they show looks pretty much identical to this, but the real life color is not this purple. It’s just very difficult to capture in a photo.

I’m often asked questions about liners, how transparent different fabrics might be, and so forth. It seems like Elevé has settled on using a piece of the leotard fabric to do their bust liners. I support this. They did use a plain piece of white spandex for the last one, but it matched the interior color of the fabric. I find that matching the leotard often works out better than going with a “nude” color because not everyone is the same version of nude! At least for the bust, it hides a colored bra a bit better. That’s just my opinion though. I found all three of my fabric choices to be opaque enough to hide a bra. I don’t usually fuss over the color of the back so I didn’t double check with the orange color. But I feel confident that most of my bras would hide well under it. I personally don’t care if my bra is visible under mesh. Sometimes I wear one, sometimes I don’t. All of my bras are purchased with the awareness that they may be seen. So bright colors and cute patterns, I don’t mind if they peek out. Or even if the entire back is on display.

I’m sorry there aren’t any shots of me in them. I’ve just really not been up to it. I did try them all on and record my thoughts so I could share them. I’ve taken photos of myself in these styles in the past and you can refer to those to consider fit. I hope to get better at the selfies in the future and one of these days I’ll find a full length mirror I like! At that point I promise to update this post.

If you want to see more of my Elevé posts, click on the links below.

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/my-eleve-leotards-are-here/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/my-newst-eleve-leotards-a-review/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/my-leotards-are-going-back-answers-from-eleve/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/my-replacement-eleve-leotards-have-arrived/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/a-review-of-my-newest-eleve-leotards/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/eleve-skirts-and-pointe-shoes/

Heaven help me, I think that’s all of them! As always if you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them down below. I always try to reply in a timely manner. The company is also super great about answering customer questions so I highly recommend contacting them. Good customer service is kind of a big deal with me, and this company is one others could stand to learn from. They have started a Ready To Wear line. Every style is limited stock and once supply is gone that’s it. So if you’ve wanted to try the brand but were unsure if it was worth the 6-8 week wait, this is your chance! They also accept returns and exchanges within a 2 week period on RTW items. So if you were hesitant to order based on size you can buy the size you think you are to try them out. But be fair! Don’t buy just to size them and then send it back and place your “real” order. They’ve made these in their most popular styles and color/pattern combos. So order something you’d really want to keep. There’s plenty to pick from!

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Something else worth mentioning, the absolutely beautiful Secret Garden spandex (shown above) and mesh appears limited to the RTW line. I hope it’s eventually added to the custom options. But even if it isn’t it’s great that they’re thinking ahead to help limit the cookie cutter look with fabrics only available in one form or the other.

That’s all for this post. For those of you that have been waiting for this I’m sorry it took so long. I don’t have any more leotard or ballet posts planned as I’ve been out for so long. Elevé did have a Fourth of July sale but I didn’t partake in it given my circumstances. Perhaps during their next sale.

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 risqué. 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 Elevé 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)!

My Visit To Yumiko in NYC

Two weeks ago I said my husband surprised me with a trip to NYC for my birthday. We were already on the East Coast and he decided it would be easy to drive into the city and spend a couple of days there. So as a treat that’s what we did. I had the opportunity to get fitted for pointe shoes at both Gaynor Minden and Grishko (more to come on that in a future post) and the following day I was able to visit the Yumiko boutique. I’ve been there before and it was just as fun. I know in the past I’ve said I really prefer Elevé leotards to Yumiko’s and that’s still true, but when an opportunity like this comes up you take it.

Now the first thing you’ll find is that you need to ring a doorbell when you get there. It’s not in the safest of neighborhoods. My husband decided to take my son to the park directly across the street to play while I shopped. My husband is from the burbs and didn’t notice anything amiss, fortunately my mother and sister are city dwellers. Naturally they noticed pretty quickly that the nearby public restroom was actually a crack den. So try not to visit after dark and maybe don’t go by yourself. If you’re in the store you’re okay though, you’ll be locked in.

The store itself is tiny and chic. The leotards they have on offer are basically what you see on the website. They generally have two of each style in two different color ways. One will be an exact match to what you see on the website. For example, on the site you’ll see the Becky in Cassi, Brule, and Chilli. That exact model was available in store. They also had it in another color way I can’t recall (I really liked the purple and orange as I’ve been thinking of doing one like that for some time now). The sizes for each varied, some were only in small, others were in a medium, and they actually had a fair number of larges to pick from. They also had a number of the dip dyed pieces on hand. I tried on a really beautiful Wendy that was in a stunning blue but despite being labeled a large it felt like a medium- it was also well over $200 and that’s just crazy money. I did not feel bad putting that one back. I can fit into a large, despite preferring the x-large. So I did buy two. Here they are.

First up is the Heather.

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Yeah, had to do that to a few photos. I’m horrible at selfies. Not that this is supposed to be a picture of me anyways, it’s supposed to show the clothes.

I like this one. I tried this one on on a lark. I usually avoid spaghetti straps because of the shoulder thing but I think they actually look okay. I usually wear a crazy colored sports bra under this. As you can see from the very last photo, the white tag (by the little tag on the outside) is visible underneath. So this one like so many other Yumiko’s is semi sheer. This blue wasn’t that bad though. There were many (and I mean many) that I picked up and instantly put back because I could see thorough the fabric on the hanger. I don’t know who they’re selling some of these sheer pastel colors to. But they have a no exchange, or refund policy so I sort of think they’re just hoping people look at them and think “oooh pretty” and just walk out without trying them on knowing they can’t bring them back. The fabric is beautiful, honestly no other company is using anything like this. Their spandex is different. But it clearly has a trade off. I decided not to wear a bra or tights for these photos to show that you don’t need to. It is opaque enough for that (it has a shelf liner, all in store leos come with them). But I prefer to wear both to class. And when I wear a funky bra, usually something neon, it’s not so sheer with the bust panel that it looks odd. You really can’t see it from the front and I don’t care if you can see it from the back.

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This is the interior. I really like how they’re using FOE on the bust panel. It lays flat, is comfortable, and doesn’t bunch or shift. This one did not have a crotch liner, I did not notice one on any of the other models I tried on and I must have tried on seven or eight styles.

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As you can see the back straps are free floating, they’re not sewn down so it’s more comfortable. This fabric looks crumpled because I had washed it (I’ve already worn it) and I took the photos then kind of left them on the floor in a ball while I did stuff with my son before taking these photos. I know its weird that a leotard is holding wrinkles, but it’s just part of the nature of this fabric. It’s strange and silky.

I had a very difficult time taking color accurate photos. Both for this leotard and the next one. The colors of this one are Turchese/N and White/N. The blue is downright electric, not for the faint of heart. the other color they had available in the store was a yellow called Sun, a very accurate name. You can see it on their website here.

This one is one I’ve wanted for quite some time. It’s the Marieke but it’s sleeveless. I have one with sleeves but I regret getting sleeves on that one and have debated getting a sleeveless one for some time. Well, when I was in there store I made it a point to try on one of these and fell in love.

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Now there’s just one little problem, and you may or may not be able to spot it. The bust panel. It fits very differently than the one in the Heather. You see now that I’ve worn this one a couple of times I’ve noticed it, but I wish I spotted the problem in the store, before I shelled out nearly $100.

As you may have noticed, I, in all my rectangular glory, am not particularly well endowed. I am not wearing a bra at all in these photos, I am a B cup at best. Yet, the bottom of the bust panel rides up and cuts across my boobs in a very visible way. I had just put this on so perhaps it hadn’t had a chance to rise up yet, but it’s too short on this one. I have to call it a defect because obviously I’m flat as the day is long. Not super flat of course, but I’m hardly popping out of my top- ever. When people complain about empire waisted tops and say who are those made for cause they cut across the boobs most every woman. Yeah, they’re made for me.

So I’m probably going to be forced to cut it out and that stinks. But I don’t really have a choice. I’m sick of having to mess with my boobs during class. It’s not a good look.

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The color of this one is also off. The pink feels pretty spot on, but I feel like this is coming across very blue when in reality is has a much cooler slate grey thing happening. Imagine a slate blue grey color, that’s the actual color. I tried moving these to different rooms to access different light sources, but they refused to be photographed accurately. Not sure why. I know some colors are just difficult to capture, but I wasn’t aware blue was one of them. Maybe it just is for me.

The colors for this style are, Paros/T Mauve/T

When you buy in store you are limited with your sizes, they do not carry x-large which is a shame. I really prefer it for the length. I can make do with these, though I’m obviously much more comfortable in a longer length given that I’m so tall. Here’s both of my Marieke leotards so you can see the difference.

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As you can see, there’s really no difference in width at all, it’s all length. I’d say it measures almost two inches, so it’s significant. In the future I may wish to simply buy online. But there is a savings if you buy in store. For me it worked out to be about $22, and that’s just what I saved on shipping. When you buy in store you’re not charged any sales tax or shipping, it’s just what you see on the tag. So my leotards were $71 and $72, that’s the base price for each plus the $10 upcharge for the bust panels. Then add to that the time you save. If you like the colors you see in the store, why not just buy what you see? It’ll be a 6-8 week wait just for production, then it has to be shipped- from Spain. All Christmas orders had to be in by October 1st and that date has long since passed. So the convenience factor is not to be overlooked.

When I bought mine I was given a reusable bag, it was quite cute.

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The only dance shop that didn’t seem to do this was Capezio. No worries. I really liked this one though. It’s such a good size.

And here’s an updated shot of their color chart.

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Full disclosure, the colors on this are a bit off. I was indoors and the overhead lights were competing with the outside natural light but I did my best. Please use this as a guide, don’t assume anything you order will be perfectly identical to the swatches in this booklet though. Also, this booklet is not going to be valid for much longer anyways. I was told by the shopgirl that they’re coming out with new colors in the Spring. Though she did not state whether or not the whole line would be overhauled, more colors would be added, some would be removed, or what exactly would be happening. Just that the line up is changing. So if there is a special color you feel you can’t live without, you need to consider ordering in the next few months, because it may not be around much longer.

As always I do hope this is able to help those looking to purchase one of these. Designer leotards are definitely a vice of mine. This week is Thanksgiving here in the US and the day after we have what’s known as Black Friday, a big shopping holiday. I can’t remember but I think last year Yumiko did something for it I can’t remember though. Be sure to check their Facebook page as that’s where they tend to announce such sales. Elevé always does something for either Black Friday or Cyber Monday, last year I think it was 15% off. They announce sales on their Facebook page first usually and if you’re signed up for emails you’ll get them that way as well. So if you were thinking about getting something it might make more sense to wait until the end of the week to see what deals may be offered first as these are expensive. Just be aware that neither brand will be able to deliver in time for Christmas.

I don’t plan to partake in the sales this year. But if any of you do please feel free to share in the comments section!

See you all next week!

Koolchicken’s Fall Fashion Favorites

Today is my birthday so in honor of that today’s post is just about fun things that I’m loving this fall.

First up is this amazing dress from Anthropologie.

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I’m definitely in-between sizes on this one. The Medium was too snug and the Large is quite roomy. I don’t care though. This dress is so comfortable it’s worth the alterations. Add to that I never thought I’d be able to find an off the rack dress with long sleeves that fit. Usually they’re way too short. So hat’s off to Maeve my favorite Anthropologie designer, you’ve done it again! I wore this today with black tights, thick burgundy over the knee socks scrunched down to just below the knee, my favorite brown riding boots, and a thick plaid scarf.

Next up are Grace and Lace’s Alpine Thigh High Boot Socks

wineedit__29634.1385514667.1280.1280I bought these in their “Wine” color way and though I have yet to wear them out, I’m in love. These are seriously thick, and even on me they do come over the knee! I almost worry about them fitting into my boots they’re so thick, but I’ll figure it out. I suspect they’re going to be well worth it. When I bought these I used a 10% off promo code they had sent me and they were running a promo for a free gift with every order. I was over the moon when I saw they sent me a pair of their leg warmers for free! And in purple no less! I love wearing leg warmers and I’m in them from fall until spring since I wear dresses most days. They’re just a really nice extra layer to wear over my tights and under (and sticking up from) my boots. I’d have never bought the color ordinarily, but now that I have it I can’t wait to wear them.

This is the plaid scarf I mentioned above.

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This is the Preppy Plaid Wrap from Francesca’s. I’ve been in the store a few times but had never bought anything, until I saw this scarf. I honestly don’t know why it looks so thin in these photos, it’s very substantial in person. I like to wear it folded in half lengthwise and wrapped around my neck. It’s a super cute way to embrace the plaid trend that’s happening now (clearly my prayers for plaid everywhere have been answered). And I love how the colors will work fantastic come Christmas!

This is a dress I’ve shown you all before, it’s my absolute favorite.

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I steadfastly maintain it’s one of the best things to have ever happened to me, at least fashion wise. This dress is thick, warm, beautifully made, the detail is amazing, and did I mention it’s comfortable? You really can’t beat that. Tragically this is gone now, but it’s called the Needlepoint Garden Dress and should you ever stumble across one in a thrift shop or on eBay buy it without hesitation. May mine live forever.

And what do you top all of this off with you might ask? I present to you, the infamous Lady Day Coat from J. Crew.

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I own it in the Navy shown, but a word of warning. To say that obtaining this coat was an odyssey would be putting it mildly. At one point I had about seven of them laying in my dining room and not one of them fit. I don’t know if they’ve sorted out their quality control issues, but it was a massive headache at the time. Discovering that their size 10 was actually smaller than a size 8 was not funny. And the Tall and Regular tags clearly meant nothing. I finally was forced to call customer service and the woman I talked to was very helpful. She ended up sending me a label to return them all for free, and then had someone go to the warehouse and measure every last coat until they found one that fit my exact measurements. I cannot tell you what size I ended up with because by the end I did not care, their labels hold as much weight as a tiny piece of toilet paper. I can tell you that my coat fits me like a glove. But I can’t see myself investing in any of their other amazing/beautiful/plentiful/drool worthy colors (ugh, Retro Pink, I think I’m in love…) due to the stress of ordering my current coat. I do have a lot of people approach me and ask about it though. So if you’re looking for something very warm, with classic styling, that won’t make you look heavy, this is the coat for you and it may well be worth the hassle.

And since I’m not a fan of strolling around town barefoot, I present to you the best boots I’ve ever encountered.

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Tragically these have been discontinued. But, if you have very tiny feet you can still snap them up for a pittance! I looked all over for something very basic, that had a low heel, and I could wear with everything. I found these by chance and I’m so glad I bought them. I’ve actually had them re-soled already since I’m very hard on my shoes but it was worth it. I looked on eBay for more in my size but with no luck. These work with dresses, skinny jeans, you name it. They’re just the all around perfect leather boots and I truly hope the brand comes out with more similar styles in the future.

So there you have it. A small list of things I’m really loving this fall. Everything is comfortable, yet stylish, and easy to move in. Important since I do have an almost three year old running around! My husband is forever calling my wardrobe “impractical” for a mother but I disagree. One need not wear noting but yoga pants and sweatshirts to be considered practical. Beautiful clothes make me happy. And yes, I may fret about something getting ruined, but it’s only because I truly love everything in my closet. If I didn’t care about the things I wore, and was fine with them being treated like a dish rag I think that would make me far more unhappy than the momentary frustration of having to explain to my son I’m in silk so he needs to go wash his hands. And while I do own many items that are dry clean only everything pictured here is machine washable! Well, besides the boots and the coat obviously of course. Bonus points top dress, with it’s fun texture and interesting keyhole detailing in the back is actually stretchy! So I looked nice today, but I still felt like I was in pajamas. Score! 😀

A quick note, just so everyone is aware especially if you’re new. While none of these photos belong to me, you can click on any of them and they’ll lead you straight to the’s item page on the retailers website. And as always, I bought everything you see here myself. Nothing was gifted or traded for a review. These are all things I’m just very happy with and wanted to share with all of you!

See you next week!

Discount Dance Leotards Review

***I am so sorry this post didn’t go up sooner. I have no idea what happened, WordPress totally failed me.***

Hello all, I’m coming to you from Hawaii again this week! I’ve been taking a lot of classes while staying here, and having just a few leotards isn’t cutting it. As I mentioned in a past post Discount Dance was having a big sale so I figured, why not? They had a few leotards that were on my wish list and I had them shipped here. They arrived today (it’s a Friday) so too late for this weeks classes, but they’ll be washed and ready for next week!

If you remember my last post where I talked about the leotards I bought, I bought two brands, Wear Moi and Bloch. I’ve never bought either of those brands before and had only tried on a couple of Bloch ones in the past, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve tried them all on, but haven’t washed them or worn them in class yet so this is just an overview and my thoughts. Also, I’d like to make something clear. I’m not happy with the way I look in any of these. The meds I’m taking for nerve pain have made me gain an epic amount of weight and I’m not loving the cellulite I now sport. I also didn’t really bother with my hair, so there we are. 😦

First up, the Bloch leotard.

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My my first impression of this is that it’s a decent quality leotard. The shelf bra is nice and I’ll never say no to one. The lace is also pretty nice. There’s a hook and eye at the top and you’ll need to use it. The zipper is good it slides really well. That’s a good thing, but it’s also why you’ll need that hook and eye. Zipping it up without it fastened meant the zipper just kept sliding back down if you put it down to switch hands (I can zip myself up). Once up though it stays- so far.

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The fit on this was pretty good. The size is a Large which is what I’d usually order and it did fit despite my weight gain. It was comfortable enough that I’d be able to wear it now, but it’ll be better once I can get the weight off. Something to consider if you have a long torso, the zipper doesn’t stretch. Now I thought about that when placing my order but I know some won’t think of it, and it’s important. Because it’s nearly two thirds the length of the leotard that won’t stretch and that could spell disaster for some. So if you’re very concerned maybe try and see if you can try it on in a local dance shop or buy it knowing you may have to pay for return shipping. Overall I think this was a good buy, it’s totally worth the $35 it’s selling for full price, but it was a downright steal on sale.

Up next are the Wear Moi leotards.

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So first impressions were “wow”. Something not mentioned in the description is that the flocking detail is metallic on the black leotard. When I see myself straight on in the mirror the detail is black, but as I turn to the side it shifts to a really pretty silver. It really is lovely. Something else I noticed straight out of the packaging was the little flocking flecks all over the leotard. 😦 I was pretty disappointed in that. For the price I expected a bit more. I don’t know how well this one will hold up but I’m hopeful. Something else of note, there’s branding on the outside of the leotard. I personally don’t care for labels all over the outside of my clothes (dance or otherwise). I’m just grateful it’s not super obvious, if it was I’d have sent this back.

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This one is pretty snug, more so than the Bloch one. It fits and is comfortable, but it’s certinaly not the best fitting one I own. I’m hoping it won’t ride up or anything, if it does I can always wear my tights over top to hold it down but I’d rather not be forced to wear it a certian way. Again, I’m hoping when I lose the med weight it’ll fit better. As you can see the branding is largely invisible which makes me happy (though not as happy as if there were none). And if you notice the flocked design looks just plain black here compared to the silvery way they look in some of the other photos. And that’s pretty consistent. Sometimes they appear matte black, other times a glittery silver. This one really is pretty and a nice option if you’re only allowed to wear black.

As far as the price goes, it’s just over $50 which I think is a lot for what you’re getting. This is a nice leotard and all, but the $30 Bloch one managed to include a bust liner. Why does this one cost nearly double but lack the same amount of detailing? Espically since the blue and purple ones I own (same style) have a full front liner. Obviously with a lighter color (which they are) you’re going to need a full liner, but including a shelf liner wouldn’t have killed them. If I hadn’t gotten this on sale I think I’d be upset. I paid around $43 for this and I think that’s okay. But given that a Elevè leotard, purchased on sale will cost $51 (that’s the least one will run you) it’s almost better to hold out for an Elevè sale if Discount Dance isn’t running a sale or you don’t have a coupon. Unless of course you really, really love this design. For me I’m glad I got the oppertunity to try something new and I know I’ll wear these a lot, but I’ll probably stick to the custome ones in the future. The Bloch one was just so well priced I can only hope they come out with some more colors and styles in the future that speak to me. Maybe I’ll get lucky and this winter they’ll have some in burgundy or hunter green. As I’d like some darker colored leotards.

This next one is the same as the above Wear Moi, just in the color Pacific which is a Aqua color.

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Comparing this one to the black it’s like a totally different leotard. The material feels different, softer, much softer. And the flocking wasn’t shedding. It also has a full front liner. It does have the same branding but it’s almost impossible to see, much less obvious on this color than on the black so I’m pleased by that! The fit was also completely different. I bought a Large in both colors and this one fits infinitely better. I have no idea why. I also purchased one in Lilac and that one was shipped to Washington. I have seen it via FaceTime but I told my husband to leave it behind. I don’t need that many here, I can wait until I get home to try it on. But when I do you can be sure I’ll update this post. I really want to know which color is off in terms of sizing.

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As you can see, when its worn the flocking appears more blue. The mesh is also pretty opaque, though it’s still mesh so you can still see through it a bit. I feel like the promo images make it look like it’s totally opaque and only through reading the description did I learn this leotard featured mesh. It has a decent stretch in both color ways and it’s comfortable. It’s also pretty thick (probably why it’s not super sheer) but that’s a good thing because it means that it’ll hold up well over time. I know at some point the flocking may start looking shabby but the rest of this should hold up really well.

You may have noticed that I’m wearing a bra in all of these photos and I did that on purpose. I picked one that was close to my skin tone but just off so you could see just how sheer each leotard was. I feel like what you see in the photos is exactly what you get. So all of these are good options for girls and women who feel like they need to, or simply want to wear a bra. If you pick something similar to your skin tone it’ll be very difficult to see underneath. Something else I like about all three is the neckline. I do like the sweetheart neckline with the higher neck in mesh, I have a couple of those from Elevè and I know it’s one of their best selling styles. So it makes sense the mainstream brands (as well as Etsy sellers) have started selling similar styles. Personally I don’t like a high neckline because I think it makes my shoulders look even bigger, but if it’s too low I feel self conscious if we’re bending over a lot. We do sometimes have men in my regular classes and though I know they’re not staring, I still don’t like flashing my boobs in class. So this makes me feel more covered, while still getting to enjoy the prettier low neck styles. Really a best of both worlds thing.

While this is primarily a Discount Dance/leotard post I thought I’d throw this in as well. I bought this skirt from Amazon and it’s just so pretty.

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This pattern is called Twilight and I really love it. I stumbled across it by accident. I also own the Celestial Black one and I’m forever getting compliments on it. Everyone always wants to know where I bought it but it was in a dance shop in Massachusetts so that’s not much help to anyone at my studio. I’ve been searching for it for two years when I spotted it on Amazon! It wasn’t there before, that’s for sure. When I discovered it I saw they had two other patterns and this one was just so pretty I knew I had to add it to my collection. The material is nice, it’s almost impossible to wrinkle. The only thing I dislike is if you notice in the front, there’s this rippling? Yeah… The hem isn’t the best and it curls either up or under depending on its mood. My other one has mostly just the rippling and not the curling. I don’t really mind it though because the prints are so pretty and the length is just absolutely perfect. If it really bothered me I could fix it, but I haven’t felt the need. This is a superb skirt for adult who want to feel covered, but don’t want to wear something so long they look like the teacher. I haven’t worn my orignal skirt much (though that’s changed recently) and it’s still looking brand new. I’m sure two years from now this one will also still be in pristine condition. Here’s hoping!

Side note: I do apologize for the picture quality on these. As I said I’m not at my regular house so I’m working with different lighting issues and I’m not used to taking pictures here. I’m also pretty unhappy with the way I look and that’s not a feeling I’m accustomed to. So I feel like this post really suffered as a result and I’m sorry. I also have one more of the Wear Moi leotards in Lilac and when I get back to Washington I’ll take some photos and will add them to this blog posting. I’ll create a new post with a link so if you’re subscribed you’ll get an email and won’t have to keep checking back. 🙂 I have another two weeks or so here before I head back and I’ll probably have at least one more pointe class while I’m here. I’ll be writing about that in the coming weeks as well. So if you haven’t subscribed yet may I suggest that you do? There’s a button on the right hand side, just click there. And I wanted to give a big thank you to all of my current subscribers. I honestly still can’t believe I have so many, thank you again for joining me here. ❤️

See you next week!

Elevé Skirts And Pointe Shoes!!!!

Well, it’s been two years of classes and it’s official, I started pointe! I knew I was going back to Hawaii and I said to my husband if I’m going to start pointe I’d like to do it with my original teacher. So I said to her I’d like her to assess me when I come out and see if she thought I was ready. And she told me to get fitted! I actually went the next day and was fitted before class. After class I talked to my teacher and told her I also wanted her opinion on whether or not she thought this was a good idea. She was actually very enthusiastic and told me I was totally ready. I was pretty surprised by that. I’d been putting off asking week after week, month after month because I thought for sure I wasn’t strong enough. But after starting the meds for nerve pain, the lidocaine patches, and the steroid injections…. Something has changed.

*Time Out*

Those who have followed this blog since the very beginning know I have been suffering from chronic pain since my c section 2+ years ago. For those of you who are new here, well now you know. And I haven’t mentioned it on here before now but I’ve been seeking treatment and so far it’s working. The meds are hard core and not easy to be on, but it’s getting better. I’m hoping this sticks because I do not want to have to keep getting the injections or stay on these drugs indefinitely. I’m still in pain, but I’m a lot better so it’s easier to cope with. And it wasn’t until now that I thought I could do pointe. You need your core to do it, and until very recently I simply couldn’t use those muscles. Now I can.

*Time In*

Before when I went to do something like a pirouette, I’d arch my back, wobble wildly, and fall out of it. I’d do the same thing whenever I’d try to stand on one leg, etc. I started treatment and suddenly I was landing pirouettes, balancing, and my arabesque is halfway to decent. My teacher actually asked what happened and mentioned that my abs are now pretty prominent under my leotard. It really was like night and day and I suppose it probably seemed strange. I go away for a few weeks and come back a totally different student. But because of it I was actually feeling confident. I still worry the whole thing will come crashing down under me, and that overnight I’ll be back to where I started. And given that I still have sudden surges of pain I know I’ll probably be bed-ridden for a while if it all suddenly stops working one day. So I’m crossing my fingers that this holds. And I’m going to make the most of it while I can so I’m happy I have the support of two of my instructors. And then there’s what I was fitted with…

I tried easily fifteen pairs of shoes and five different brands. The Gaynor’s were my second favorite but they didn’t have my size. I’ll probably try them again in the future if I find someplace with a bigger selection just to see. The Bloch’s were a nightmare, but I wasn’t surprised since their flat shoes never fit me. Eventually we got to the Grishko’s. The sales lady didn’t think I’d be able to wear them, she said they were too hard for a beginner. But nothing else was working. Well, I can more than get over my box in them despite earlier predictions. I bought the Grishko 2007’s and I have to say, at the time I’m writing this I really like them. As I start actually wearing them, that might change, lol. If my feet are strong enough to do that despite never having done pointe before I’m sure I’ll kill them pretty quickly which is sad. But I didn’t get the hardest shank they make (I bought the medium) so I can still go up one. Regardless of all of this, I’m super excited. I’ve worked really hard, taking as many classes as I can. Pointe was a goal, but it wasn’t my main goal. If I never ended up on pointe I’d have lived. After all, I didn’t bring it up to my current teacher even though I’ve been at that studio taking enough classes, and for long enough for them to have given me the green light. I’m glad I waited until I felt ready.

Now that the big pointe news is out of the way, my newest Elevé order is here! This time I bought skirts! This is something totally different for me, previously I’d only ever ordered leotards from them. I’m glad I decided to branch out though, these skirts are super cute. I decided to buy colors and patterns that matched my favorite (at the time) leotards. I really love the look. Here they are!

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Aren’t you just in love with how the back of the tank style Vinzant looks with the matching mesh? It’s so pretty! Here’s a look at the skirt on it’s own and a closeup of the fabric.

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If you notice those crazy zig zaggy lines they aren’t a problem with the image, the fabric actually does this. I do not know why. But when it’s just presented as a single layer like on a leotard or in the skirt while worn it’s not something I’d noticed. This is the skirt folded so it’s four layers thick as that produced the most accurate colors. These colors are true to life. Somehow the skirt seems more vibrant than the leotard, but it’s definitely the same fabric and I’m thrilled! You’ll also notice that the skirt is longer in the back and may I just say, I love that. It’s a very flattering look. Now it’s not longer by much, as you can see. So if you have more of a rear end it may appear level with the front. I suppose this is one of those times I’m grateful to have no butt to speak of, lol.

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This one I didn’t think looked as good as the Vampire/Paint Your Roses Red combo. I think it’s because the reds just sort of blend together and it creates softer look overall. But this one has lighter mesh paired with a very dark spandex so it’s a little more jarring. Not that I think it looks bad, cause I don’t. But this is something to think about. I’ll actually probably be pairing this with some of my other leotards for now simply because it’s summer, and we’ve been having a heat wave. Mesh or not, I have no desire to pass out so sleeveless is the order of the day for now! That’s okay though, it’ll be fall before I know it. After all, September is only two months away.

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The colors you see in the first image are true to life. I feel like the closeup is just a bit paler and less blue overall. It’s mostly seen in the background. The background color is a very noticeable light blue that’s not as green leaning as it is in my second photo. I think this one would look fine with my black leotard, and I’ll probably try it out with my purple one. But I wish I had a green one to pair it with. I think that would look super pretty.

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I show you the back in this last photo not because I like the way it looks (I think it looks fine BTW) but to show you how the Tri looks with a skirt. The back panel is very long and designed to show off mesh/lace (although you could do a solid spandex if you wanted). And with the sheer skirt you’ll see that it covers part of it, even if it’s not much. So just keep that in mind if that’s going to bother you.

This leotard and skirt were incredibly difficult to photograph. The colors either come out way too bright or too dark. In these photos the colors look like they’re the same, and that’s good because they’re supposed to be (both are Raspberry). But they most certainly are not. Just take a look at the following photos.

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This skirt is very bright and the leotard is very subdued. I did not expect this. I know Kathryn Morgan likes to match her mesh to her leotard and hers all seem to match really well. They have a leotard on their site called the Michelle and it’s a mesh/solid spandex leotard and the colors are the same. The mesh sleeves on that leotard are the same vibrant pink my skirt is made out of. Sadly they didn’t list the fabric info on that one so I can’t see if they just used the wrong color. Honestly if I’m going just off their Fabric Gallery I’d say this looks like their Lipstick color and not like the Raspberry color.

I had a feeling they’d have another sale for the 4th of July and I was right. So I ended up buying a few more skirts and a couple more leotards. I said to my husband it’s barely a week into July and I’ve burned though almost half of my allowance already and he just laughed. But it’s totally worth it. My allowance is supposed to cover the expenses he doesn’t understand anyways so he can laugh all he wants. I don’t regret the purchase at all. Since this is being written in advance by the time this goes live we’ll be almost halfway though the wait till they arrive. I’m so excited about it. All I’ll say is that while there are both leotards and skirts, one of the skirts is lace. I can’t wait to see what it looks like. 😀

See you next week!

Lilly Pulitzer Agenda Review

Hi all! A couple of weeks ago I showed you all my day planner supplies and mentioned that I’d ordered a Lilly Pulitzer agenda. Well, it’s finally arrived! Here it is.

This is the Large agenda, and the pattern is Wild Confetti. Honestly this is the first one I’ve ever bought from Lilly so I wasn’t too sure which size to go with, but I think the Large will work fine for my purposes. This agenda will be strictly for keeping track of my blog posts, and YouTube videos (should I decide to keep making those). Since I won’t be using this to keep track of my normal day to day (for that I use coz) and it’ll live in the house I opted to get a bigger planner. If this were for my everyday I don’t think the Large would have been too big, but I’d have probably sized down simply because it is rather heavy. Honestly, if you’ve ever owned one of those hard sided, spiral bound notebooks, this is the same size only heavier. So it’d be a lot to lug around. I’m going to try this out this year and if I like this brand I may actually size up despite this. Just because I don’t care how much it weighs if the farthest I’ll carry it is from my craft room to the living room. I’d rather have the writing space. I actually thought about exchanging this but decided to just stick with this one this year.

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Something you might not be able to see in the photos is the shine the artwork has. The following colors are matte, navy blue, white, purple, light pink, and coral, so are about half the tulips. So it has a really pretty effect when you see it from different angles. When you open it up the inside cover has the hashtag #RESORT365 and the definition of that. The opposite/first page is really fun. It’s actually a pocket! It’s double sided so there’s the palm trees on one side and a Lilly Print (I forget which one) on the other. I love this simple little feature. I tend to just write stuff wherever. Before digital address books half of my addresses were just ripped from envelopes and stuffed inside the front cover. Now I simply lose them, lol. But in all seriousness, pockets are my friend.

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The next page has a full sheet of stickers. Now this is my first Lilly agenda, but from what I understand they always include a sticker sheet and this year was no exception. I think they’re really cute and totally plan on using them!

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After that there’s a page that says “Welcome to Palm Beach” the following pages include what I’m sure is a totally accurate map of Palm Beach. 😉

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Now one of the things I really like about this agenda is this. In the front there’s all of your months one after the other, further into the planner there’s another full month view followed by the daily pages you’d expect. It goes like that for the rest of the planner. I’ve heard some people complain about this, saying it’s just unnecessary and they wish these pages weren’t included. But I think they’re a good idea and I’ll tell you why. Digital calendars are the norm now. Paper is very “old fashioned” and even if you use a paper planner odds are you probably use a digital one as well. And we all know that with digital calendars you scroll through the months. You can see years fly by with the swipe of your finger. So having a section where every month covered by this agenda runs back to back just makes sense. You can put you’re “super important” stuff on there and you won’t miss it. Birthdays, big vacations, doctor appointments. Basically big stuff that you might not be able to reschedule. Flipping through your whole agenda is a pain and this keeps it simple for those who are used to just scrolling down before they commit to something. So I’m glad it’s there and I hope they never do away with that section.

Now after the month by month section there are your “Dates To Celebrate” for your birthdays and anniversaries and such. After that there’s what’s probably my favorite part. The travel section! I love how it gives you a space to write where and when you’re going. Your flight info, activities you have planned, and a packing list. It’s really perfect. Even though I’m using this for my blog, I totally plan to also use this section. Simply because even after all these years, I’m still forgetting to pack something. Like the Disney trip I took last summer where I forgot socks (and by that I mean ALL of my socks, yeah…). Then there’s the itinerary. I’m still asking my husband “So what are we doing today?” and I need to get better about it. So yeah, I’ll be using this (and in total koolchicken fashion I’ll then be ripping the page out and stuffing it somewhere random never to be seen or heard from again).

After that there’s your standard numbers and addresses page (watch, I’ll totally end up using this more than my digital address book then I’ll toss the planner at the end of the year). After the address page theres a really solid note section, ten whole pages! I have to say, this is one of those sections that you either love or you hate. In the past when I used paper agendas I’d get frustrated with these sections because I’d use half a sheet then it wouldn’t be relevant anymore but I’d feel like the sheet was “ruined” and I couldn’t just rip the page out cause the other side was still good. So they’d often just sit blank (while I scribbled in the margins or stuffed them full of note paper like a lunatic). But this time I plan on seriously using them. Hopefully I won’t forget my plan at the end of the year, but I really want to keep this agenda as a record of my blog. So I plan to use this section to record ideas for posts. At the end of the year I want to then take my top posts and print them off and attach them in there. Then over the years I’ll be able to look back and see when and where I came up with the idea, and how well it panned out. And I mean, yes wordpress keeps track of my most read posts and stuff, but it doesn’t know about all the stuff that went into the posts. What I thought I’d do, and what I actually did. That sort of thing. So it’s like a proper history of the blog. As told by a madwoman who will write every word in a different color ink so it’s barely comprehensible…

After all of those little sections you finally come to the main body of the agenda. This one starts out in August, so it’s perfect for people going back to school or for those of us that are too impatient to wait for January. Each month starts out with a two page spread with some beautiful Lilly artwork that’s the “theme” for that month along with a little quote. The first two pages are you’re typical two page month at a glance pages, and they’re identical to the ones seen at the front of the book. I really like the little “To Do” section off to the side where I can write in ideas I came up with that specific month. We’ll see how I actually end up using it, but that’s the plan for now.

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After the month at a glance section comes what I think is the part that’ll make it or break it for most people. Assuming you know what kind of person you are. Every brand seems to have their own way of doing the daily pages. Erin Condren has little boxes, Filofax will give you a page per day, and so on. I really like how Lilly did theirs because it’s actually very similar to the way a Buffy the Vampire Slayer (yes I’m dating myself here) planner I had years ago was laid out. I was in the 10th grade and I still remember it all these years later because I liked it so much. Basically you’ve got your whole week in front of you and it’s just lined spaces to write. No wasted boxes, no hourly look at the day, no wasted space at all. Just write if you want/need to and it’s super simplistic. This is actually great for writing down homework assignments which is what I did in that Buffy planner and I swear it’s the reason that particular one worked for me.

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Now I should point out that this agenda doesn’t end where it starts. It’s a August through December planner which means that you’ll need another one not in August of 2016, you’ll need a new one in January 2017. I don’t know exactly when Lilly Pulitzer puts out her agendas but I’ve heard they do, do traditional ones that start in January as well. If that’s the case then I guess it’s what I’ll buy, but I’ve obviously got plenty of time to figure that out!

I really do hope this planner works out. I “share” a calendar with my husband, it’s an Apple one so everything’s synced so it’s nice. But it really feels more like it’s his and not mine. He does work outside of the home so that’s fair. But I felt like cluttering it with notes and ballet and childcare stuff wasn’t fair to him. I also couldn’t see it when I added it (cause Apple only shows like one thing per day the rest is just a note telling you there’s more that day). Coz has really worked for me on so many levels because it’s my calendar, shopping list, to do list, journal. and more. If I have multiple things per day I see all of them. And it’s synced with all of my devices. I can also add my husband to my account (been meaning to do that for ages, oops) so he can see things and I can send him stuff. My favorite feature of it is that I can set it up so it’ll remind me of stuff I need to do and it’ll text me up to three times so I can’t forget it. It’ll also email me. Score! I did try using that to help me keep track of the blog, but again, clutter. After a while having 18 things on a single day is just too much in one spot. I needed to break things down even more. I used a few printable planner sheets I had on hand to test drive the paper version and so far, so good. It’s really working for me. So I think this is the best option for me.

I have to say. I think I’m really doing well keeping up with the blog. I set that goal about one post a week and with the help of my planner it’s been easier than I thought to keep up with it. It’s to the point I’d totally recommend other bloggers just starting out, or hoping to start posting more constantly, should consider trying it. You don’t have to shell out for something fancy in the beginning. Just do what I did, or even just use a basic notebook, just to see if it works for you.

A Review Of My Newest Elevé Leotards

I mentioned on here months ago that I ordered a new Elevé leotard. Well a few weeks after that they had a sale so I ordered three more. There’s free shipping on orders of $150 or more, so really I was saving money by ordering more. 😉 I decided since the orders were placed pretty close together I should just wait until I had all four before doing a review on them. My first leotard took about six weeks to the day to arrive, so technically ahead of schedule. These last three took closer to eight, being one day shy of the day I placed my order. I’ve often found that the more I order at once the longer it takes for my order to arrive. Makes sense, I seriously doubt they spread different items from the same order to several seamstresses. They likely go to one, and she (or he) is responsible for the total order. And they finish when they finish. I’m fine with that, these are worth waiting for.

First up is my new Vinzant leotard. I picked “Bed Of Roses” for the base and “Celery” for the mesh. The size is Large and it feels a bit snug in some areas, as well as a smidge short. I’ve found that this is just the way the shiny spandex seems to be. It’s just tighter. My last Vinzant was in the matte spandex and even though the tag says Medium (an error on their part, I only noticed the other day) it fits fine.

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The next up is the Anna style. The base is “Blush”, the back is “Bed Of Roses” and the trim is “Ivory”. I bought a size Large and it’s spot on. I want to caution that the Blush color is very sheer. So sheer in fact I will not be sharing detailed photos of it. I even pulled on a pair of tights thinking it’d fix it, but nope. So you either need to be willing to wear black (or another dark color) tights, or shorts with this. I really wish I got the full front liner but it’s too late now. 😦 I tried a neutral thong, but it’s painfully obvious. As are the tights. This color is basically see through and I almost wonder why they didn’t contact me to say “what are you thinking”. The bust panel seems to do a decent job of covering up the girls. But I could obviously just wear a bra with this style. I have another Anna with a mesh back (and a back hole, I asked for that to be omitted from this one) and when there’s mesh a bra doesn’t look so great. Although I have been know to wear them sometimes, but I wear a bright contracting color so it’s clear it’s a deliberate choice.

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This one is the Laico With Sleeves. The Base is in “Jade” and the mesh is “Flower Bunches”. The size is a new one and it’s X-Large (please note as of the time I placed my order not all styles were available in an X-Large). Given how much trouble I had with this style I decided to try it out. I found that it is a much better fit. I laid this one out on top of my other Laico and as you can see there is a real size difference. Now granted it’s more in width than length but that’s okay, because it’s a four way stretch fabric. If you need more stretch one way, and less in another, the fabric will give where you need it. I often buy tights too big so that they’ll have the stretch lengthwise. So it’s snug enough, yet the perfect length. The fabric really blew me away too. I pulled it out of the mailer and it just took my breath away. These photos don’t do it justice. The Jade is bright! I tired taking photos under different lights but it made no difference, it refuses to be accurately captured, but the closeup of the mesh is spot on. It’s just absolutely stunning. I desperately want a skirt in this pattern now. Fingers crossed they have another sale soon cause I don’t think I’ll be able to resist. It’s funny too, since I knew I liked this pattern but it wasn’t at the top of my list or anything. I bought it because I was pressed for time. They announced a sale when I was at Disney and my husband wanted us to get ready for the day so we could hit the park. So I really rushed through the order. Clearly the best thing that could have happened to me since this is my new favorite leotard.

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This last one is one of their newest styles, the Tri. They describe it as being for mesh lovers and I would definitely fit that description! I picked the “Raspberry” color for the base and the “Black Tulip Lace” for the top/back. I bought this one in a size Large. Once on this fits perfectly, but getting it on is another story. This lace doesn’t have the best stretch, so it’s a bit snug going over my hips. That’s something you might want to keep in mind if you’re planning to do something like sleeves. Often stretch lace is two way stretch only so I’m not too surprised by this. Four way stretch fabrics are much more comfortable but most mesh and lace fabrics just don’t come in four way stretch, some printed spandex fabrics are two way only as well. So that’s something to remember when buying these crazy/fun patterns. If you’re concerned about fit I’ll tell you what I always do, just contact the company they’re happy to help. I opted for a sleeveless style so my broad shoulders and somewhat flabby arms wouldn’t be restricted. I’m glad I did. I feel like the photos on the website don’t really showcase the tulip design as well as they should. Somehow the tulips get lost in it, probably because the photo is taken from a distance. The photo on the site makes it seem like the lace is a smaller pattern, but in reality it’s very generously sized. The Raspberry fabric is to die for as well. I had a hard time photographing this one as well, but it’s just such a beautiful rich color in person. It’s actually much brighter and more pink in person. It’s very much a fuchsia/raspberry shade.

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All in all I’m very happy with this order. I’m definitely addicted to these leotards, they’re one of my favorite things. If I were Oprah there’d be nothing on my list besides these leotards and maybe washi tape, lol. I just love them that much. I really can’t think of a single bad thing to say about the brand or company. I had to contact them about this order and they got back to me straight away as they always do. And you can just tell the people who work for the company are happy. You can almost hear them smiling in their emails.

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This last photo is a comparison of the lining material they’re using. The one on the right is new, and the left is from my last round of leotards (I think that one is my Lauren in Smoke). The material is thicker, and more like a microfiber versus the same sort of spandex they use for the rest of the leotard. I really like it and I know that if my Anna had been fully lined in it, it would have been fine. Also worth mentioning. There was no bleeding when I washed these leotards. I know some people have mentioned a weird fluorescent yellow that comes off of their leotards for the first few washes and I thought it might be coming from the lining. Given that there was no bleeding (not even with the pink one) I think it’s safe to say it was probably the lining material and the new stuff doesn’t do it.

I do want to apologize for the photos in this post. I’ve been having trouble with my phone and computer and I had to email these to myself. The quality really suffered for it. Then there’s the lighting. I’m just horrible at selfies, sorry. The exposure is always off when I take them. I hope you’re all still able to get a good idea of what these look like in real life. I know there are a lot of people who visit my blog just for these reviews, so I try to get the best photos I can. But what can I say, I’m no great photographer. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or comment on this post if you have any questions I didn’t cover in the post. I’m always happy to help out!

See you next week!

My Replacement Elevé Leotards Have Arrived!

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

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

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

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

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