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Sunday, January 22, 2017

REVIEWS: Faux Leather Jackets Under $50, Striped Tee, Nike Tanjuns

Besides the updates to my closet from THIS post, lately most of my shopping has been to replace staples in my closet.  I originally had a couple of olive jeans to review, but they're both sold out or almost sold out.  

One heads up though--those Old Navy Rockstar Skinnies that I've been wearing nonstop (HERE) are now out in tons of spring colors.  I know it's hard to think about spring right now, but I'm telling you about these because I think they'll sell out.  I picked them up in olive (HERE--available in sizes 10-20), coral (HERE), and maroon (long sold out).  

Anyway, onto the reviews!

For sizing reference, I'm normally size S/M or 6/8.


Striped Tee - size S
I try not to hoard TOO much stuff in my wardrobe, but one item I have no problem hoarding is striped shirts.  Because striped tees are staples in my wardrobe, because I never want to be without one, and because good ones are hard to find, I collect them whenever I find a good one even if I don't need it--yet.  I know I will always need one eventually!  Judge me or whatever, like my husband does (haha!), but it's what I do!  

This one is under $15 from H&M.  It's a crewneck made of stretchy material with a slightly loose fit that floats away from the body--perfect!  That combined with the stripe width makes for the perfect basic striped tee.

One caveat is that the material is the thin kind of t-shirt material that is likely to form random holes in high-friction areas.  (Like, where you stomach rubs against your desk all day everyday.)  Just a warning so you know what you're getting into!  But because many tees are like this, this is also a big reason why I collect striped tees--I expect to go through them every year or so, especially with how frequently I wear them.

I have not washed this yet, so I can't speak to shrinking.  The other long sleeve H&M tee I have that is similar to this shrank a tiny bit in the wash, so if you have long arms or worry about length then beware.  

I'm normally size 8 at H&M yet got this in S.  Runs kinda big, IMO.  Find it HERE.  



Nike Tanjuns - size 9
I already reviewed this in an "official" outfit post (HERE), but I wanted to document it in these review posts as well for reference in the future.  And, I can update you since that last post!

These are ridiculously comfortable.  I thought my Saucony's (HERE) were super comfortable, but these take the cake.  I read someone say in a comment there was memory foam in the sole, which I haven't verified is true, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was.  They are so stinking comfortable!

In my last post I said I bought them for walking, everyday athleisure, and strength training but was worried about running in them due to them potentially being too cushiony for me and not giving enough support.  I'm happy to say that I've now run 2 miles in them several times and have had no support issues.  That said, I still question their durability to last through heavy mileage over time.  I actually love to run in these now because they are much more lightweight and streamline than my old pair of running shoes.  But every time I run in them I debate about whether or not I'm okay with wearing them out quickly and potentially having to replace them in a year.  Still no clear decision, but I continue to run in them, haha!

Another thing to be aware of is that the upper is knit.  Several readers have said knit wouldn't be good for the colder or wetter weather you're in.  If that's not an issue for you and you're looking for a pair of athleisure sneakers I would absolutely recommend these.  If you want to do SERIOUS running in them, I would hesitate to recommend them to you.

I'm size 8.5 to 9 and usually 8.5 in sneakers, but 8.5s were *just* too short for me so I went with 9s.  They come in other colors, and I'm constantly eyeing the grey and purple but am trying to exercise restraint to see how often I actually wish I had a second color.  But gahhhh now they have a cuuuuute coral/pink too!  See them HERE.

See my awesome leggings HERE, reviewed HERE.  My fleece sweatshirt is Old Navy from years ago, but there's a similar one HERE.  


Faux Leather Jackets
After a solid 5 year stretch, my tan faux leather jacket from Forever 21, one of my favorite items in my closet, died.  *sobbing emoji*  It ripped an irreparable hole and caused me to eat a bunch of ice cream while I drowned myself in tears.  Okay, not really.  But kind of on the inside.  I loved that thing!  See the ways I've worn it for the last 5 years HERE.

The great hunt to replace it began.  I would rebuy the exact same one in a heartbeat if I could.  I absolutely loved the fit, how soft, flexible and easy to wear the material was, and the COLOR.  It was a vibrant, brighter cognac that was more tan than brown.  Those are all the things I've been looking for in my new jacket.  Oh, and under $50 please!  

Below are four jackets that are all under $50 with current sales.  Spoiler alert: unfortunately none of the jackets I'm about to show parallel my old jacket in all 3 areas.  That said, they all have positive aspects and are relatively good options.  Here goes!

BTW, all of these come in black also.


Classic Moto Jacket - size M
This was the first I tried and I was relatively pleased with the color and fit.  The material was ooookay though.  It felt like a synthetic, inexpensive, faux leather moto jacket, but not to the point where I wouldn't have kept it based on that alone.  It felt on parr with how these types of jackets from Target feel, and I think many people could/would be fine with it.  I just wanted to mention it for those who are pretty mindful of material.  The plus side of that kind of material is that it's lightweight.

The color was closest to what I was looking for out of all the following jackets.  Overall I actually thought it was a decent jacket, except the material just didn't feel as good as some of the other faux leather jackets I'll review below.  

I didn't keep it for a couple of reasons: The bust was a tad too large for me.  It's not that noticeable visually, but it felt slightly baggy and I know that would have bugged me.  The second reason is because the collar touched the bottom of my chin and throat and I knew that even if the larger bust didn't annoy me, the collar definitely would.  

Not everyone will have the same problems as me, as it would just depend on how long your neck or chest area are, and how big your bust is.  I have a fairly small bust, but if you need more room there, and you're not picky about the fabric, this could be an option to check out.  Find it HERE.

BTW, the zippers are not white--it's the tissue paper the jacket was packaged with!


While this was very similar to the one above, the main differences were 1) the texture detailing at the bottom, 2) an even roomier bust, and 3) more seaming to create an hourglass figure.

You can see that this jacket kind of nips in where the textured detailing starts, creating an hourglass shape.  However, the bust seemed even bigger than the last jacket.  On the top half of my torso the opening left by the jacket is narrower than the previous jacket.  It looks like it fits me better because of the hourglass shape, but it was actually even bigger at the bust than the previous one.      

Overall, I thought this one was fine and perhaps would be helpful if you have a larger bust and/or want a garment that will give you more structure and create an hour glass figure for you.  (A garment with this kind of seaming is one Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear would recommend especially for women who want to hide tummies or for women who desire to have more curves and definition.)

Find it HERE.


Multiple people on Instagram told me they found moto jackets at JCPenney on sale for $30, so I immediately looked into them.  Thanks to a sale and extra promo, I was able to get this for $22.50! 

Between this and the two above, this jacket's material felt the best BY FAR.  It felt thicker and sturdier while also feeling softer and more flexible than the previous two.  And it fit me and my smaller bust the best!  

My one point of hesitation was that the color was on the browner side rather than the lighter tan.  However, for this being a CORE can't-live-without piece of my wardrobe, and for how little I paid for it, I'm inclined to keep this as a temporary replacement to hold me over until I find one with the perfect color--which may be years or may be never.  Also, as I wear it more I might be able to let go of my old jacket's color and be fully content with it.  I'm definitely keeping the black one! 

(I did the "temporary" thing with my $46 cognac riding boots (THESE) and 2 years later they're still the only ones I have.  :D  )

Note: There are some knit panels on the sleeves and bottom hem that you can see better on the product page HERE.  Not a huge deal to me, but some people might not like that.  

Overall, I loved the fit, the material, and how it felt to wear.  It's not on sale for $22.50 anymore and I'm not familiar with JCPenney's sale rhythms.  It's originally $100 and I've seen it priced at $30, $22.50, and currently $37 with code 22SAVING until 1/25.  (Priced at $49.99 then use the code and it'll be $37 at checkout.)  At the risk of overselling this thing, I actually do feel like it's worth its $100 price tag (though at that point I'd be much less forgiving about the color).  That's just to say, while the price might not come down to $22.50 again anytime soon, at $37 or even at $49.99 I think it's worth it.  


Macy's w/ Detailed Shoulders (Plus a more classic looking version) - size L
I didn't have any Macy's jackets on my radar originally, but I popped into the store for something else and saw this.  Of course I HAD TO try it.  As you can see there was a little human running around the dressing room as I tried this on, so I didn't get a great analysis of it.  I *think* material felt almost as good as the JCPenney one above.  I know it felt better than the Amazon ones.  I think the detail on the shoulder gives it some nice character, but I'd still prefer a more classic one.  Fortunately I saw online that there is a more classic one by the same brand HERE.

The color is more reddish and less of the darker brown than the JCPenney one, but it's possibly more red than I'm looking for.  Also, I think the JCPenney one still fit me better, and if I recall correctly the arms on this might have been quite fitted thanks to it being junior sizing.  I would actually like to do a direct comparison between the JCPenney one and the classic version of this one (HERE).  I'd also like to play around with the classic one with my wardrobe so I'll be ordering it shortly.

This is from the junior's dept so sizing is small, and I fit Large best.


Moto Jackets (not shown)
I also tried moto style jackets from JCPenney in both black and tan HERE, and while they fit fine, the zippers on the black one were very shiny.  If you like that, try these!  It actually looked cool, but it was a bit too much shine for me.  Size S fit me the best.

Now that I have Macy's on my radar there are several more I want to try!  A fantastic black moto jacket option with some great reviews that I'll be looking into is HERE.

Conclusion
If you are not picky about color, either the JCPenney or the Macy's jackets would be great choices.  The Amazon ones are fine too, but since all 4 jackets are relatively close in price I feel like you're getting more for your money with the JCPenney or Macy's jackets.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Secret to Being Comfortable in Almost Any Pair of Shoes + Worldwide Shipping + Special DISCOUNT!

I dare any of you to tell me you don't want your shoes to be more comfortable!  :P  You should know by now that I'm very much about dressing comfortably, and that includes footwear.  So today we're talking about the BEST secret I've ever discovered for my feet--AirPufs!  They make my shoes comfortable all day long, and I seriously have not been able to live without them since discovering them 2 years ago!


When I first collaborated with AirPufs 2 years ago (HERE), I told AirPufs owner Chai that I wouldn't agree to posting unless I tried the product first and genuinely believed they were better than other insoles.  I've tried many, many insoles, and AirPufs have been the absolute best.  Not only do they come in really pretty prints, and not only are they super thin, they beat out all other insoles in function!

I wrote an extensive review 2 years doing a direct comparison between AirPufs and the standard brand I was using HERE.  Yall need to check it out!  In a nutshell, while their comfort levels felt the same initially, after about 10 minutes the standard brand lost its cushiness and I could feel the hardness of my shoe at the balls of my feet.  With AirPufs, however, I never felt the bottom of my shoe and the cushiness lasted all day.

Also super important: My initial impression of them was kind of like "Meh, what's the big deal?"  They didn't feel extraordinarily cushiony or anything like that.  When I became impressed was after walking and standing for HOURS in heels and not feeling pain in the balls of my toes or heels of my feet.  Does that make sense?  It's not the initial wear that was impressive, but it was realizing the impact they had over a long period of wearing them.  It's important to note in case you feel them and right away are like, "Um, what's the big deal?"  Give them a shot by walking around in them for the day and see if your feet hurt less than they normally would.

There's more, too, like how I dance at weddings in crappy H&M heels without wanting to take my shoes off.  They are the best, so go read my in-depth review HERE!


I wear AirPufs in almost all of my shoes.  It doesn't matter if they're heels, boots, booties, or flats.  I really can't live without them and have been spoiled over the last 2 years from AirPufs' padding!  Unless I'm in sneakers or unless my shoes fit *just* enough that I can't add the super thin AirPufs without squishing my toes, I'll wear AirPufs.  I even have several pairs of shoes that already come with extra cushion, like my Natualizer maroon pumps (HERE), Lucky Boots (HERE), and Sam Edelman flats (HERE), but I still wear AirPufs with them because they provide the LASTING comfort that I talked about in the review post.

AirPufs recently came out with new designs that are soooo pretty.  I particularly love the Something Blue (HERE), Blossom (HERE), and Vintage Hibiscus (HERE), but there are also fun and quirky prints like pineapples, watermelons, and cactuses!


There's an adhesive strip on the back to secure the AirPufs in your shoes, but for the most part I personally don't use the adhesive so that I can take the AirPufs out and switch them in all my shoes.  I have a few pairs in which the AirPufs will slip around too much if not adhered, but for the most part once my foot is in the shoes the AirPufs stay in place.  

Special Promos + Worldwide Shipping
To celebrate the new designs and to give you all a chance to spoil your feet, AirPufs is giving PMT readers TWO special discounts!

  • Buy 2 Get 1 Free (for the first 100 people)
  • Buy 3 Get 1 Free + 1 Free Shoe Bag (for the first 50 people)

You can shop all the designs either on Etsy HERE or directly through the AirPufs web store HERE.  AirPufs has split the availability of the promos between Etsy and the web store, so if the promo has run out on one site, try the other.

On both Etsy and the web store you should see item options that say "Buy 2 Get 1 Free" or "Buy 3 Get 1 Free" (plus for the Buy 3 deal the first 50 people will get a free shoe bag).

I'd highly encourage you to take advantage of these deals and give AirPufs a shot!  Or maybe don't, because then you'll be addicted like me!  :D

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

5 Outfits With a White Plaid Blanket Scarf + Tips for Making Blanket Scarves Work for You

I sang the praises of this scarf a few months ago and it remains to be true!  This is the second blanket scarf in my wardrobe, the first being the ever popular Zara one several years ago.  (Lookalike Zara scarf HERE.)  Last year I was looking for a lighter colored blanket scarf and tried a couple but they weren't quite what I wanted.  When I saw this one in the Oct at ModCloth I jumped at it because it's exactly what I was looking for!

I love how the lighter cream "lifts" outfits, especially during winter when I tend to wear a lot of neutrals and darker colors but don't necessarily want to feel weighed down or drab.  So far I've worn it all these ways!
Outfits With a White Plaid Blanket Scarf

Two Almost Identical Options
This exact scarf has been sold out for a while, but I found two almost identical options for $15 and $18!  One is HERE and the other HERE.

Shop for the Look:
Sweater: Nordstrom (exactsimilar, similar)
Leggings: Nordstrom (exact)
Shoes: Zappos (exact)
Scarf: c/o ModCloth (almost exact #1, almost exact #2)
Watch: c/o Daniel Wellington (exact)
Bag: c/o Lily Jade (exact


Shop for the Look:
Sweater: Old Navy (similar)
Striped Tee: H&M (similar)
Jeans: Paige Denim (exact, exact #2, similar)
Boots: Nordstrom (exact, exact #2)
Scarf: c/o ModCloth (almost exact #1, almost exact #2)
Bag: Nordstrom (exact, similar)


Shop for the Look:
Dress: Old Navy (exact, nearly identical)
Scarf: c/o ModCloth (exact)
Boots: Nordstrom (exact)
Bag: c/o Lily Jade (exact)
Scarf: c/o ModCloth (almost exact #1, almost exact #2)


Shop for the Look:
Top: c/o ModCloth (exact, similar, similar)
Jeans: Nordstrom (similar)
Scarf: c/o ModCloth (almost exact #1, almost exact #2)
Boots: c/o ModCloth (exactexact #2)
Bag: Nordstrom (similarsimilar)


Shop for the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact)
Cardigan: Nordstrom (similar)
Leggings: Nordstrom (exact)
Boots: Fergalicious (similarsimilar)
Scarf: c/o ModCloth (almost exact #1, almost exact #2)
Bag: Nordstrom (exact)

I know some people don't like how blanket scarves overwhelm them, but that's precisely what I love about them.  I like how they add pattern and a focal point to all of my solid sweaters, dresses, and tops, and because of that I often feel like the simple addition of a blanket scarf pulls together my outfits in a huge way.

Making Blanket Scarves Work for You

Tip #1: Cut it.  Yes, you read that right!
If you're one of the people that feels overwhelmed by blanket scarves, like you're getting swallowed up, or you overheat in them, but have wished and wished you could make them work, I have one tip for you: cut it in half diagonally to make two triangles.  You'll end up with two triangles, one that you can wear and one you can give to a friend.  It should solve your overheating problem, your swallowed-up-feeling problem, and your feeling-overwhelmed problem!

I saw readers mention it on a blogs last year (maybe 2 years ago?).  While I haven't cut mine because I LIKE being overwhelmed by blanket scarves, tonsssssss of women in the PMT Style Challenge group have cut theirs and have LOVED it.  Many of them were scared to do it, but anyone who has taken the plunge has not looked back!

How they did it:
  • Fold it once diagonally and cut on the fold.  That's IT.  Remember, you just want two triangles.
  • They said they didn't need to worry about frayed edges because they either don't fray and/or the part that could potentially fray is usually around your neck and concealed.  

Tip #2: Treat it like a cardigan (if you won't cut yours).
Now, I don't mean wear it like a cardigan, though you could because it's a blanket.  Until this year, I thought I couldn't justify getting more blanket scarves because it's often too warm to wear them here in Southern California.  Well, I finally realized they more or less provide me with the same warmth as a cardigan does.  So, I started wearing a blanket scarf in place of a cardigan or a light jacket, and that's allowed me to wear them far more often than I ever have.  

For example, Outfit #3 above was taken in October and normally I would have needed a cardigan with that dress.  Instead, I ditched the cardigan and opted for a blanket scarf.

In Outfit #2...well, that picture was TAKEN on a clear day, but I actually WORE the outfit several times on cold and dreary days.  Normally I would have worn a lighter jacket, but I went without one and wore a blanket scarf instead.

And then, of course, if you're in a super cold climate you totally understand the need for blanket scarves, cardigans, AND jackets!  :)  (As described in the recent post How I Stay Warm in the Winter.)

Anyway, those are the couple of tips I've got for you!  Do you like feeling swallowed up by blanket scarves, or have you or do you think you'll cut one?  :)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Two Outfits for Momming It + The NEW Lily Jade Line

Today I'm excited to showcase Lily Jade's newly updated line of diaper bags, and spoiler alert: the changes are awesome!  When I was pregnant with Addie I really wanted a diaper bag that didn't...you know, look like a diaper bag.  So many of the ones I saw were huge and bulky and nylon, and didn't help me feel the least bit pulled together as a new mom.  Thankfully I remembered these gorgeous, sophisticated, leather Lily Jade diaper bags (HERE) and have been a fan ever since.

You all know I'm about pieces that can serve multiple purposes, taking you from different contexts and types of activities depending on how you accessorize them or what you pair them with.  You get the most bang for your buck that way, and Lily Jade bags do exactly that.  These bags look really great for professional "grown up" settings, a casual lunch with friends, or playtime at the park or zoo. The styles are soooo versatile, really giving you bang for your buck.  Plus, they're so beautiful that once your kids are grown you can still use this bag for yourself.
I'm showing the Rosie bag in two outfits: one for lunch with friends where you might have kids in tow and one for playtime at a park.  The Rosie works perfectly in both settings!  I'm also showing my current favorite olive sweater in both outfits because like I said, I like pieces that serve multiple purposes.  :)


Outfit #1: Lunch w/ Friends 
I've worn this outfit a ton lately!  It's pulled together enough for a lunch date with grownups, but casual, comfortable and easy to move around in when kids are present.  And the Lily Jade Rosie fits right in!  I never have to worry about whether or not my Lily Jade bags will go with my outfits.  They are all so versatile and always go with what I'm wearing, no matter how dressy or casual the outfit is.  


Update #1: All brandy and charcoal bags now come with a jade lining instead of red.  I absolutely love this color!  It's bright and beautiful, and I feel like it's easier to find things since the interior is lighter.  

Update #2: The interior organizing bag now holds structure on its own.  It used to be fairly flimsy and sag a little in your bag, and it did not stand well on its own.  Now it can hold its own.  Plus it now has handles.  These things allow the insert to act like a second bag housed in your bag.  In cases where you want to hand the diaper bag off to someone, you won't need to bring two separate bags because with the LJ bags you have two-in-one.  For example, when we drop Addie off at kid's church, we can put all of her stuff in the insert, hand it off to the kid's church teachers, and I can take the leather part with my wallet and other stuff to the main church service.  

Shop for the Look:
Sweater: Nordstrom (exactsimilar)
Striped Tee: H&M (similar)
Jeans: Old Navy (exact--sized down to 4)
Boots: Nordstrom (exactexact in more colors)
Watch: c/o Daniel Wellington (exactsimilar--half the price)
Bag: c/o Lily Jade (exact



Outfit #2: Playtime
For the second outfit, I paired the sweater with these super comfy, not-see-through leggings and my new sleek Nike Tanjuns.  It's an easy outfit for anytime I'm doing something that requires a lot of movement with a little one, like going to the park, the zoo, or the children's museum.  

The Rosie even works for this super casual outfit, but not only does it work, I totally prefer it over any other bag I'd be carrying because it converts to a backpack!  That allows me to be hands free to pick up my kid, to get down on the ground with her, to go down the slide, or do whatever else she wants to do.

Shop for the Look:
Sweater: Nordstrom (exactsimilar)
Leggings: Nordstrom (exact)
Shoes: Zappos (exact)
Scarf: c/o ModCloth (almost exact #1, almost exact #2)
Watch: c/o Daniel Wellington (exact)
Bag: c/o Lily Jade (exact


Update #3: EVERY Lily Jade bag now converts to a backpack!  Before, only certain models had backpack functions, but now every single bag in the updated line can turn into a backpack (in addition to a shoulder bag or crossbody strap).  The backpack function is THE BEST part, and basically the feature I can't live without.  It was the most helpful part about the bag when Addie was a newborn and needed to be held, and it's still the most helpful part now that Addie's a toddler who is nonstop running around and playing.  The old Rosie doesn't convert to a backpack, and I was sooo sad about that, so I'm ECSTATIC that not only the new Rosie can become a backpack, but all new bags can be backpacks too!

Lily Jade's got tons of bags, and their entire new line has me drooling!  Check out the Rosie HERE, or see all Lily Jade bags HERE.

Created in partnership with Lily Jade
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