Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Forever 21 - jewelry sale & free shipping on $30+


Forever 21 gives automatic free shipping on $50, everyday. Today enjoy free shipping on $30+, no code needed. It just so happens that I visited the store yesterday looking for some of the dainty style jewelry J Crew has at 12 times the price, like the wishbone cuff. Forever 21's rhinestone t-bar cuff isn't exactly the same style, but it has that lighter feel that's the new rage. And only $4.80. I'll be incorporating  few of the lighter pieces, but I'm not completely won over by the look. My picks are toned down statement style pieces.

More jewelry

* Botanical babe necklace - Similar to J Crew's coated necklace. Smaller in scale, though.

* Coin fringe necklace - More of a summery item.

* Cutout craze geo necklace - The dainty look.

* Dainty beaded pendant necklace - I like the white.

* Dangling triangle earrings - Dainty, again.

* Triangle fringe necklace - Good if you missed the look from Baublebar or J. Crew.

* Ring sets - Mini G and I tried had a lot of fun trying on almost every style they had. I bought one small bow ring and one set of four. All to be worn as midi rings. I threw the ring cards away, unfortunately and the garbage has been picked up. I wear a size 7.5 ring, but generally take the 8 at Forever 21 since they're whole sizes. I dislike being unsure, but I recall only being able to find size 6, 7 and one size ring sets. So, I believe the rings I bought were size 7.

tiered half moon necklace - similar styles here, here and here

One is a midi rhinestone bow ring. The other four are a set. Of course they're not online. Remember the How To Shop At Forever 21 Guide. If you see it and love it, buy it. 

Free shipping on $30+
is good thru today only, 11:59 PST. I'm looking at these rhinestone bracelets. I saw them on A Glamour Girl yesterday. Funny that F21 should have a low shipping code today. #sign

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Loft - plaid shirtdress, polka dot chambray shirtdress, piped shirtdress & Lou & Grey knit moto jacket review

Loft's Friends & Family was extended thru today. Ann Taylor extended their F&F twice last week, thru Tuesday. It could also be extended thru tomorrow, Tuesday, at Loft. However, as far as we know it, 40% off SHAREIT ends tonite.

ETA: Promo did not get extended thru Tuesday. The new promo is 50% BOGO on tops & sweaters. Check out the quilted diamond sweatshirt.

Plaid shirtdress (345720, $79.50) runs XS - XXL.

Size S - This runs tts, imo. There was a little pulling at the chest (38" across fullest part). I didn't feel exposed and it's nothing that a little fashion tape can't fix. I use Topstick. The fabric is lightweight and it's definitely a transitional fall (not winter) dress. Climate dependent, of course.

I'm wearing the classic link bracelet and Seville wedges.

I think the hem was straight across, all the way around. No shirttail hem. However, it felt like a cross between a shirt and a dress. Not 100% like a dress. I'm going to guess that if you're tall, you might want leggings with it. I'm 5'0". The wedges I'm wearing are almost 4" tall. The shoulders have a little pleating and were a little perky. Great if you like a little puff. It wasn't too exaggerated.

The Feeling
It felt like a cute little plaid dress. I'd prefer a flannel or cotton so it would feel cozy. It didn't quite feel comfortable and easy enough to be a Monday or Friday dress. Easy as in don't want to think about pulling, length or fit. The print & colors are cute, though.

Polka dot chambray shirtdress ($89.50) runs XXS - XL (351393) & petite XXS - XL. 100% cotton, which is nice.

Size S - I really liked this one on. There's no definition in the waist. Another shirtdress. If you have a curvy shape, you'll create a nice silhouette in it. Uh. Something like that. Interesting note that there are no belt loops. The dress was asking for the belt to be worn, so I didn't even think to try it on without the belt.

If you have a smaller waist than hips, this will look really cute on you. Note that shirttail hem. It makes the dress look more like a shirt than a dress. If you're shorter, it will look closer to a dress than if you're taller.

The Feeling
I really liked the color of the chambray and the size & spacing of the polka dots. They're also a nice color, not stark white, not too creamy. The shirttail hem takes away from the dress aspect. And the chambray wash had that chemical smell that you hope will go away w/washing. On the upside it wasn't unbearable and will probably come out quickly.

Piped shirtdress (338762, $89.50) runs regular XXS - XL, petite XXS - XL & tall XS - XL.

Size S - This one was very interesting. It totally felt like a pajama top on the top half. That had a cool aspect to it. However, visually it really looked like a comfy bedroom top with a skirt more than a dress. All this said, it works, somehow, as a dress. I think it needs a belt and necklace to draw the eye to other places so people.

I couldn't get it to sit right on my body. It sat crooked and so the white piping did, too. A petite medium would have a shorter torso and probably yield a better fit. The dress was very comfortable. No pockets.

Left pic is with the drawstring sitting up high and top half pulled up. Note that if you have a defined waist, the drawstring will befried it. On me, the drawstring is confused. lol The right pic is with the dress pulled straight down.

The Feeling
I'm not totally convinced of the pajama top to this dress. It's a really cute idea, though, and worth a try-on if you can. 

Lou & Grey knit moto jacket (342853, $79.50) runs XS - XL.

Size M - I love the Lou & Grey line. It's sometimes included from promos when it's full price. Once it goes on sale, any additional % off promos apply. It looks like the addtl 40% off applies. There was only M to try. If I wanted to layer under, size M might be the best bet. If I wanted it to fit closer to the body and possibly a little shorter, ize S would be better. So go tts if you want a tighter, closer fit. If you take 2 different sizes, consider the larger of your two sizes if you want more room.I'd probably go with a S, personally, because I think it's going to stretch a little with wear. I also don't think I'd layer anything too thick under it.

I'm wearing the curvy skinny ankle zip jeans, which I passed on at $44.99 + 40% off in-store. They were too tight in some places and loose in others. The curvy fit isn't the best match for me. I do have one pair of curvys and I sized down to 6/28. The fit doesn't work, though, because it's more for those w/curves on the sides. I'm more straight on the sides so there's a little extra material there.

One thing nice about the neckline is that it's a bit open at the collarbone. It made me think of the knit bomber jackets currently in style. I liked it unzipped a little bit, too.

The Feeling
I forgot to photograph the thumb. It was comfortable and their take on the moto design is cute. Thumbsup, in general.

Ink dot print dress - Yeah, yeah, looks like J Crew, but that's not the main reason I like it. The print is cute, I like the cut and Loft dresses tend to fit very well.

Cap sleeve dress - Darling. Love the black, of course.

Cotton plaid trench - So far I have successfully refrained from ordering this even though it's online only. One of the stopping blocks is that the petite size
 is $10 more than the regular & tall. I should've Facebooked & Tweeted Loft about it. Maybe they would've dropped the price down. Ya never know

Corded stripe pleat skirt - So cute and has pockets! $55 on sale. Note the rear, exposed zip in case you're not a fan of the trend.

Floral v-back dress - Cute print. A creme version.

Floral v-back dress - A blue version. This one is $39.88. What a bargain and it's not showing as final sale.

Floral v-back dress - There must be a shortage of product names at the brainstorming table. I saw this one irl. The base color was odd. A little sickly, in fact.

Spotted skirt dress - I saw this one irl. Not my personal style, but it looked cute on the hanger. Seems to have a nice flow.

Did you order on this promo?

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Let's Talk - daycares & preschools

When I was pregnant, I got a lot of advice. Most of it was unsolicited, including from random folks on the street. A good chunk of it wasn't really advice, imo. It was more of a veiled venting. Wishing that some situation the person experienced as a parent had been different. I recall exactly one piece of advice I received about searching for daycare/preschool once I started my search. A woman told me to get a school close to home. All other comments I heard about the care was how expensive it is. Last year I went looking for a preschool for Mini G. Mini G & I did a couple of classes and I took her out regularly. I felt like I was putting myself out there, but I never met any moms that I connected with and made playdates, etc... My friends have kids who are older and many don't live in my area anyway. So I couldn't get recs that way. I relied on Yelp reviews and a couple of recommendations from a mom that I met thru library storytime.

I really wanted a Spanish immersion class and set out to find out. I'm not sure we can get her truly bi-lingual since we only speak English. However, I want her to be exposed to another language and Spanish is one I know enough of to read and speak at the beginning level. Spanish preschool didn't work out. The program I liked was only 3.5 hours and was easily 20 minutes away in morning traffic. By the time I got her to school it would be time to pick her up. That's when I realized finding a school near home was good advice. Particularly since I work in a variety of locations, not one office. I visited 5 or so places total, focusing on school settings only. I didn't consider home daycare at all since I didn't have a referral to a place from someone who had personal experience with it. The school we chose was 5 minutes from home and seemed to provide the hours, flexibility, meals, curriculum and care we were looking for. The school is corporate owned, which I figured would have its ups and downs. I tried not to overreact at the first downer, which was the director getting fired. There was an incident between a couple of the kids and she tried to cover it up. I was really surprised because I liked her and, well of course you never really know people, but I chalked it to a poor lapse in judgement and not that there were problems with the entire school. The next director was an unlikable pill. I tried the bees with honey, kill 'em with kindness thing, but she rang as false and phony as they come. As many new managers do, she tried to come in with sweeping changes. No bueno. Another downer was that some of the teachers and parents/kids left. I chalked that up to a natural by-product of change. Mini G's teacher and classmates stayed the same.

I never (ever) did like the director, but I felt I reached a modicum of peace and figured she wouldn't last long given that she was trying to direct two schools. I also was fine with the situation because she was only at the school part-time and she didn't interact very much with the kids. When we first started the school, it took 2 months of sad drop-offs before Mini G stopped crying. I really, really thought it would be a bad idea to move her because she seemed to be settled. If I had it to do over again, I would do random drop-ins. I did none, but I would pick her up at off times and felt like I was seeing enough of the school. I did witness some excessive yelling and reported it to the district manager. Again, everything was fine with Mini G, her teachers and classes and there was a positive change in the demeanor of the yelling teacher and the director after my phone call. I was so attached to the idea of not wanting to pull her from the school. We went to 5 schoolmate birthday parties this spring, including the princess party that I fretted about.

She didn't seem to be bonding with any kids in the class in particular, but I chalked that up to parallel play being most common with kids around 2.5 and hoped that seeing the same kids in-school and at the parties were in her best interest whether she was "friends" with them or not.

The school recently got its 3rd director in the 10 months we were there. Again, no bueno. The new director smiled nicely and came across more personable than the 2nd director. But she didn't smile with her eyes. There's a phoniness and coldness about her that got me thinking we need to get the hell out of the school. This 3rd director wasn't hired permanently and is an interim director. Between that and being overcharged for 4 months, I was started to get irritated. Most of the fees were reversed, but the school kept acting like they were doing a favor giving us a "credit." There was no credit. Those were erroneous fees. Get it straight. Alas they could not. Also, they wanted to remove the flexibility we were promised with being able to switch up days. More positioning themselves as doing us a favor as opposed to taking the position of being a service provider. I was also irritated that they kept throwing the 1st director under the bus. Girl is gone. Her name doesn't need to be brought up as if you're still cleaning up her messes from months ago. One of the biggest flags that I didn't deal with was that there isn't a way for parents to look at billing online. I didn't think it was an issue because I knew the rate. I pay it. Period. Well, not being able to check it regularly online is how I ended up being charged erroneously and not knowing it. I paid in advance so the overcharges took awhile to catch up to putting our account in arrears. Oh and the way they handled that also pissed me and George off. To end the story, we decided on a Thursday that it would be her last day, dropped off our 2-wk notice and Mini G has never been back. By Monday when we had no care I was thinking what the hell have we done. But we decided we did make the best decision and that it wasn't rash.

Of course I got an appointment with a new school the same nite that we decided we were pulling Mini from her current program. I was on the searach immediately. This time I decided to try a home daycare. One that I'd found on Yelp and whose website I looked at tons and tons of times online. Mini looooved it. She was comfortable pretty quickly in the house and interacted w/the owner/care provider. There are so many things about it that I loved, but you never feel like any one is going to be good enough for your kid. I also didn't know if I was being influenced by our now desperate need to find a new school. We went back to the school a few days later for a 90 playdate, which went very well. I was present the whole time, but Mini wanted to sit in the circle without me and she participated physically and verbally. Two things she didn't do consistently at the old school, despite being a parkour wanna-be, talk-a-thon at home. Later that same day we visited a larger, school-school. She wanted to be carried the entire time and didn't interact with the director as much she did w/the home daycare provider. Even when we went outside, Mini wouldn't let us put her down and she didn't want to play on the play structure. She can't resist a slide, so I knew she didn't like the school. 

We decided on the home daycare and Mini starts in a couple of weeks. None of the other home daycares I saw online resonated with me. The other traditional school building settings seemed to be close to the same large environment she would be coming from. We saw 16 kids on cots and 2 teachers when we toured the 2nd school. Too many. There are 2 teachers to 8 kids at the home daycare. I didn't stick to the rule of keeping close to home. It's about 15 minutes without traffic, 20-25 minutes with. However it's convenient to many things, including the freeway. Every day she asks if it's a school day and she has repeatedly asked by name for the home daycare. I'll be curious to see how the first couple of weeks go. I will be overjoyed if she loves it.


Parents - 8 Tips For Choosing Childcare - This article looks pretty good. I like the advice to Look down. The bigger schools will have many visuals at the adult eye level so you feel good about the education, meals, etc...that the school provides. One thing I noticed about the kids at the previous school was that they didn't smile back at me when I smiled. There was a blank look in some of their eyes at times. I took exactly zero childhood eduation courses. I chalked their demeanor up to being only 2 years old.  The children at the home daycare smiled back at me, held eye contact and their eyes looked alive. I also like the last piece of advice, which is to be open to change. If you feel like you need to switch providers, start researching and be open to looking. The way everything went down in our situation wasn't comfortable, but it worked out. The reminder is to not be afraid of change because often times there are much better things ahead.

BabyCenter - How To Find Good Daycare - I didn't know about the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) or the National Association of Family Child Care (search). The NAEYC also has its searchable database of accredited daycare centers online. Of course our former preschool isn't listed. I did find a few other schools. I still think a home daycare will be the best situation for Mini G based on how well she's responded the times we were there and in between.

I wish I'd ordered a couple of these and read them to her when I first started looking for schools.

* Maisy Goes To Preschool
* My First Day At Nursery School
Preschool Day Hooray!
* The Night Before Preschool
* What To Expect At Preschool

I'm so happy we found a new school home. I'm optimistic that this will be the right place for her.

Bring on the daycare/preschool advice to share to others.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Loft 40% off sitewide

Loft -- home of my beloved modern skinny ankle zip jeans (sz 6) -- is having a 40% off sale.

The code SHAREIT will definitely go thru tonite. There's a chance it might get extended thru Monday, like Ann Taylor's Friends & Family 40% off last week. I'm going to guess that it will get an extension.

ETA: Yep. The promo got extended thru Monday, 8/18.

Zip Front Field Jacket - I love this color. Loft nails most of their outerwear, so I'd expect this to fit well.

Plaid Henley Blouse - Very J. Crew, popover-ish. Noteworthy, though, because of the burgundy present in the print.

Camo Buttoned Field Jacket - If you've been on the fence about the trend, you can take this season to pick a side.

Mosaic Striped Skirt Dress - The top looks questionable as far as fit. The skirt portion looks awesome. Loft had a smashing spring/summer dress season. Some of the fall ones are worth a try.

Light Chambray Softened Shirt - No. Can't have too many chambray tops. There are so many shades out there. I'm really digging this very pale shade and like it paired w/the Light Chambray Softened Shirt

Watercolor Floral Sleeveless Dress - How pretty & perfect for fall is this?

Cotton Twill Cadet Jacket - This is darling. The little puff on the shoulder probably isn't a match for me, though.

Custom Stretch Trouser Leg Pants in Marisa Fit - I like these and the 8P is the best fit.

Cotton Plaid Trench - I love the plaid! It comes in regular, petite & tall. 100% cotton. I have no idea why the petite size is $10 more than regular & tall. My fingers are twitching about this one. I have a wool short blazer from Anthro in the same plaid print & colors though.

Let me know if you found anything. I'll be excited with and for you. :)

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Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 - Sep - J Crew Style Guide

Here's something for your weekend! Thank you very much to Suzy (Instagram) who is sharing Sept 2014 J Crew catalog pics with us. She focused on capturing pictures of the items that haven't been released yet. Enjoy.

ETA: I got a hold of the catalog and captured all of the women's images, including pricing. In the interest of time, I deleted the other pics to tell the catalog story from cover to the end of the women's section (no bridal).

gigiofca's 2014-9-Sep-JCrew Catalog album on Photobucket

Uh. The shoes? That's about all that piqued my interest.

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J. Crew
30% off final sale in-store
SHOPSALE gets 30% off promo items & 30-50% off sale items
8/15 - 8/19

30% off new arrivals, priced as marked
8/14 - 8/17


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