Reviewing my Boden purchases

You may remember way back when, I ordered a ton of clothes from Boden (a ton meaning a ton for me but not for people who shop regularly). How’d it go? Well, there were clear winners and losers.

The Winners:

The Pretty Shift
The Pretty Shift

 

A close up of the fabric
A close up of the fabric

 

I LOVE this dress. I need to get the arm holes taken in slightly (won’t be hard with my tailor nearby), but otherwise this dress is perfection. The color is fantastic. The texture is fun but still professional looking. Best yet, it is SO lightweight that it feels like you’re barely wearing clothes. My mom always taught me that if you can feel your clothes throughout the day, they are either not your size or poorly made. Clothes should feel effortless, and this dress certainly does.

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The Kensington Dress

This dress is a little thicker but not too much so. It’s perfect for warmer weather or with tights and a cardigan come fall. Classic and timeless and well worth the investment.

The losers:


Oh this one hurts….

 

 

 

 

The Flowershow Dress
The Flowershow Dress
Don't you just love it?
Don’t you just love it?

I coveted this dress for months. It was the first thing I looked for in the box and when I took it out I felt…. eh. The dress looks beautiful on the model, but in real life this dress sort of looks like a rejected Lily Pulitzer. The fabric is somewhat thin and the colors are actually brighter in person. I just couldn’t picture any occasion where I would want to wear this dress. Just goes to show that sometimes the things you think you want are really not for you.

Flower Organza Skirt
Flower Organza Skirt

I loved this skirt in person, unfortunately it was a little snug. The bigger problem though was that when I tried it on, the Mr informed me that he could see my light blue underwear through the skirt. So while the color is bright and the embroidery thick (it was a very good quality skirt), the sections between the embroidery were a little too thin for me. If they have your size still and you only wear nude underwear then this is a great get for you. I just knew there was too much of a chance of accidentally leaving the house with a color shining through.

All in all, I will certainly order from Boden again. They made returns incredibly simple (just use the provided label and drop it off at the Post Office). The things that I am keeping are fantastic and, with the exception of the flower dress, I wanted to keep my return because it was so beautiful.

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My Weekend at Bossed Up Bootcamp

This weekend I took a chance and took some time for myself by stepping a little out of my comfort zone. I went to a personal and professional development workshop for women called “Bossed Up Bootcamp.” The bootcamp was put on by the amazing ladies at Bossedup.org. To say that I had an extraordinary time would be an understatement.

bossed up

Signing up was a little intimidating. I wondered if I would be totally out of place at this event. Would everyone be younger than me and looking for advice trying to find their first job? Would everyone be older than me and have career issues and family concerns to work on that went beyond my current position in life? Working at a nonprofit and having a rather overwhelming level of debt, I was a little apprehensive since it is an expensive program, but I thought even if you just added up some of the experiences I would probably come close to breaking even. So, I signed up and showed up Friday night ready to take on whatever challenge was thrown my way.

Immediately upon entering the first night of Bootcamp I was thrilled with my decision. I walked into a room of inviting, enthusiastic and lively women. Everyone was eager to meet new people and hear how we heard about the program. As soon as my new Bootcamp buddy and I went from talking about the gender and racial dynamics in America to talking about Kanye’s love for Kanye, I knew I was going to be right in my element.

While Friday night was fun and filled with laughs, Saturday was enlightening. Without giving too much of their program away, we were asked to really take an introspective look at ourselves and focus in on what matters to us and what our ultimate goals are in different areas of our lives. The first time I stated my main goal out loud it felt a little shocking. The second time it felt a little more comfortable. By the third time I stated my goal, I OWNED it. It was a quick and shocking transformation for me yet it felt so natural because I was in an open and welcome environment. I not only felt comfortable reaching high for my dreams, I felt like I would be letting myself and my classmates down if I didn’t reach as high as I could go.

Often times people think that young women who want to work on their personal lives can’t be focused on their work. They think that women who focus on work can’t possibly have diverse interests outside of the office. A strong feminist can’t possibly enjoy gardening, baking, or knitting like those 1950s women did. Working out to feel good about yourself must mean that you put an emphasis on looks over success and intellect. But talking with everyone at Bootcamp showed me that it’s not weird to be a complex and sometimes contradicting person (if you were simply to list out my qualities and interests on paper that is).

You may be wondering if a Bossed Up Bootcamp is for you, and here is what I will say: bootcamp is for anyone who wants to give themselves the opportunity to thrive. I got quite a few “things” out of this weekend including

  • a professional headshot (I really needed one and to be honest this was one of the most appealing parts of the weekend to me before I signed up)
  • a clear vision of what direction I want to take my life in the next few years
  • a plan to work towards both my short and long terms goals
  • a workbook full of information and insight
  • an amazing group of women who I know will motivate me as I watch them conquer the world
  • plus a workout class and lots of yummy* healthy food all weekend!

We were a room full of women, some younger some older, from all over the country originally who were all complex vibrant and beautiful in so many different ways. Every single woman in my class inspired me in one way or another and it’s not often that we have a chance to surround ourselves with inspiring people for a whole weekend. If you have the opportunity to attend a Bossed Up Bootcamp, I really cannot recommend it enough. I know that it changed me for the better and can do the same for you.

*most of the food was healthy. at brunch on the final day I ordered crab cake benedict… not so healthy but oh so good:

I mean... come on...
I mean… come on…

 

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Summer Lovin

We’ve finally reached the point of the year where I am happiest. It is super hot out most days, the farmer’s market is in full bloom, and a breeze on an afternoon walk feels like heaven. Others may tell you that they find it unbearable, but this weather is my jam.

This year the Mr and I decided to try out a few different plants on our porch garden. The main newbie being kale. It got a late start (just a couple of weeks ago) but I think it’s coming in nicely:

 

my little forrest...
my little forrest…

I think I need to spend a little time this weekend figuring out what exactly to do to make it grow in the correct manner, but so far the kale is LOVING our levels of sunshine. There’s something so nice about seeing something green grow based on your own efforts.  If anyone has any tips, share them below!

Have an awesome weekend everyone!

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Business Reads

I’m currently taking suggestions…

I swung through the used book store the other day and picked up this gem for $1:

girls guide

I wanted an easy to read first book on starting your own business, and so far this seems to be it. I haven’t gotten very far in, but I’m hopeful that this is a good starting place. I plan to get a lot of reading done a few nights this week (tonight included).

If anyone has any good business resources for a newbie, comment below with your suggestions!

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Daily Motivation and a New Business Venture

fail

 

I find that having small motivations around me can do a lot to inspire me and start my day off right. You may remember my new years motto sign. Well, I have added to the collection:

photo 3

 

I love the little frame and I think it makes a great addition to the dresser of motivation:

 

pardon the low quality iPhone photo
pardon the low quality iPhone photo

So what would I do? Apparently I would start my own business.

I have an idea cooking in my brain for a new business, and to be honest, I think it’s a really great idea. Obviously that means I can’t share it, but I am currently starting to take the steps to develop my idea into an actual business plan and to start to put together a prototype of the product that I want to make. It’s going to take some time to learn what I need to learn before I can get going, but I have taken the first few steps and I’m excited to learn more.

I can’t wait to share my journey on this, because I really think it’s great. At this point I’m even impressing myself with how much I can accomplish without the tv distracting me!

 

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Date Night Download: Sex Tape Movie

sex-tape-movie-poster-

It’s pretty rare that the Mr and I go to see a movie on opening weekend. Since I am still chugging away at my debt, I’m usually content to wait and see a movie on Netflix or on Demand. He tends to hate crowds, so if we are going to the theater, we usually wait until things have thinned out a little bit. Unfortunately for him, I really wanted to see Sex Tape this weekend starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. So, off to the movies we went.

How was it? Hilarious.

I was kind of worried that this would be one of those movies where all the best parts are in the preview and that is not the case. The movie has an amazing cast and supporting cast and the material itself is really funny. We (and everyone else around us in the sold out showing) were laughing our asses off pretty much the whole time.

The kid actors in this movie are pretty amazing as well. I’m not sure where they found them, but they totally steal some of the scenes which I think says a lot when you look at the main cast.

Finally, while Jason Segel looks great (and his weight loss really stood out in this movie) I cannot believe how good Cameron Diaz looks. I recently read her book and really enjoyed it. Seeing the fruits of that labor really paying off on screen makes me want to go buy a copy and just read it over and over again. They are also totally believable as a couple and I want them to make all their movies together from now on. I don’t think that’s too much to ask…

Have an amazing week everyone and in case you were wondering, yes I did miss the Property Brothers on this first tv free weekend. I hope they’ll take me back at the end of this…

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Bruno Mars (aka why I will never go back to Jiffy Lube Live again)

It’s been a week and I am finally ready to post about the Bruno Mars concert at Jiffy Lube Live. I bought tickets for the Mr and I the day after the Super Bowl where Bruno Mars absolutely crushed it as the half time performer. We have been excited about this show for MONTHS, so our actual experience was really surprisingly disappointing.

The good: Bruno Mars, his band, the weather

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Seriously, Bruno Mars sounds better in person than on the radio. His voice is so strong, his band is phenomenal and at one point he even jumped on the drums (normally played by his brother) and went nuts. He is such an amazing performer and I can’t really put into words how good he sounds.  If you’re on instagram, you can check out a brief video that I posted on my profile (cmtiu).

IMG_1618

There was fire


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And dancing IMG_1621

Lots of great special effectsIMG_1617

 

But the best was just him singing. The crowd was filled with young and old (and the people like us somewhere in the middle of middle schoolers and retirees), couples and groups of girl friends all singing along and dancing the night away. It was a concert that brought together all ages and races which is always a lovely experience. He was so entertaining and I would 100% pay to go see him again.

The opening act was Aloe Blacc. How was he? Well I have no idea because we missed his performance, along with half of Bruno Mars’ performance. Which brings me to the bad:

The bad: The venue screwed up at every opportunity, didn’t have enough staff, directed traffic incorrectly, and cost us half of the concert in the process.

We left our house for the venue (which is 40 minutes away) and hour and a half before the opening act was set to start. We thought that even if we hit traffic we would maybe miss some of the opener. Nope. There is only one entrance to Jiffy Lube Live. You would think that knowing this, they would tell the cops to have an even flow of traffic from the two roads (one highway, one local) so that everyone can get in and get to see the show. Instead, the Jiffy Lube staff and police let everyone in from the local road, followed by 5 or 10 cars from the highway (where the majority of the people were coming). Repeat x a million.

It ended up taking us over 3 hours to get in to the venue and to our seats. 90% of that time was spent sitting on the highway at the exit that leads to the entrance or just outside of the entrance. As we were trying to get in we could hear Bruno Mars playing and had to listen in the distance as our experience that we paid handsomely for just drifted away without us.

We finally got in to the parking lot, only to discover that getting out of the parking lot at night was going to be a huge problem. We noticed that everyone who was “directing traffic” at Jiffy Lube seemed to be too young to even drive a car themselves. At the end of the night, after hearing 6 Bruno Mars songs (which we paid about $32 a pop for) we got to our car and proceeded to wait for over an hour just to try to get out. The “staff” at Jiffy Lube was not actually directing traffic until it had pretty much cleared out.

To say that the Jiffy Lube location ruined the concert for us would be an understatement. Bruno Mars was amazing, I’m sure Aloe Blacc was as well but we will never know. I will buy Bruno Mars tickets again, especially considering I missed most of my favorite songs. That said, I will never give any money to Jiffy Lube Live ever again and will try to talk every person I know out of attending a concert there. Which is disappointing since Jimmy Buffet is a regular there and I love me some Jimmy.

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The British Invasion

So I regularly go to Boden‘s website to look at all of their adorable British clothing and wish that it was less expensive so that a non-posh regular non-profit worker like me could afford it. Well folks, this is my week!

There is a big sale going on at Boden right now, and I scooped up quite a few deals. Normally I wouldn’t purchase so much but the Mr and I sacrificed an entire Saturday recently to the mall and left pretty disappointed in the offerings. With that in mind, I knew I needed work clothes, and Boden is known for some high quality pieces. I picked up:

The Pretty Shift
The Pretty Shift
A close up of the fabric
A close up of the fabric

The Pretty Shift Dress in navy. I cannot wait to get my hands on this dress. I’ve wanted an eyelet dress to wear to work for quite a while, and this one is pretty perfect for a summer office day. Special shoutout to my girl Sharishta who found this one on the website while we were both drooling over everything. Classic shape in a beautiful modern fabric.

Flower Organza Skirt
Flower Organza Skirt

The Flower Organza Skirt in yellow. I didn’t get the matching top, although I do think its a cute look. I love yellow, but my coloring just does not lend itself to yellow shirts or dresses. A skirt seems like a great way to incorporate this cheery color. I also love the texture and I can’t wait to see how the length looks. It seems like a fun but totally classy look.

Screen shot 2014-07-17 at 8.12.05 AM
The Kensington Dress

The Kensington Dress. I Love this little number. So classy and timeless. I anticipate getting a lot of wear out of this one. It’s also available in an adorable blue color, which I just may pick up if they have any in my size and I like how this fits. 

A
nd my favorite:

The Flowershow Dress
The Flowershow Dress
So pretty
So pretty

I have been lusting after the Flowershow Dress since it first appeared in their catalog. I don’t really have anywhere to wear this, but since it was finally on sale and still available in my size after months of coveting, I felt like I needed to buy it and see if an occasion will appear. It is such a pretty fun dress and I cannot wait to find somewhere to wear it. Maybe I’ll make the Mr take me on a fancy picnic or something.

So this is part of what happens when I give up tv for the #30daydetox. I accomplished quite a few other things last night as well but more on that tomorrow…

Happy shopping everyone!

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