Madewell Sale – it’s so good.

About two years ago, I read this book, and it was a game changer:

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My closet and drawers were STUFFED with clothes I never wore, but was hanging onto for all the wrong reasons:  great designer, got for an insane price, was gifted but haven’t worn (yet), will fit into someday (ha!) . . . you get the picture.  I got rid of everything I didn’t absolutely love, and it changed my life.

I rarely buy clothes, but when I do, I only buy things I love.  I noticed this morning that my summer staples are looking a little sad, so I was happy to see that this Madewell sale is alllll the right things, and at the right prices.

Whisper Cotton Scoop Tank Top in Suzi Stripe

whisper cotton scoop tank top in suzi stripe- $9.99 (reviews say it runs big so I got an xs, for reference)

striped afternoon dress – $24.99 (based on the size chart I picked up a s)

magnolia tie-back dress – $29.99 (again, I ordered a s – this dress looks like it should be loose)

central long-sleeve shirt in lansford plaid – $19.99 (reviews say it runs large so I ordered an xs)

convertible ribbed gloves – $4.99 (I KNOW.  It’s June.  But they are $5 and in December I will be so happy to see these!)

plaid cozyweave scarf – $4.99  (So great for layering and accenting!)

Have fun shopping! xoxo


Where has Aldi been all my life?

You all know Aldi, right?  That stand alone store with the blue A logo?  We didn’t have Aldi in the small town where I grew up, and the first time I saw one was when I was married and trying to do grown-up life stuff.  I didn’t go to Aldi because I didn’t know Aldi.  I went to Kroger because it was set up the same way as the Kroger back in my hometown, which meant I knew how to find items I needed.

Of course, I got the Aldi advertisement in my Thursday mail every week, but when you have babies, grocery shopping is NOT the time for experimentation.  One week, I saw that Aldi had baby trees for $10 each, so I decided to give it a go.  It was a total failure.  I had a baby and a toddler with me and didn’t know about the cart deal, so I was stuck trying to carry baby trees and manage two tiny people.  Then, because you have to walk through the entire store to get to the checkouts, I walked past 800,000,000 things that my toddler wanted to eat. Plus, they are all stacked on the floor so my toddler could totally see the options and help himself.

So, I was carrying baby trees, managing a baby and a toddler, and also carrying boxes of snacks by the time I got to the checkout.  I didn’t know about Aldi’s payment rules, so after the clerk had run everything up, I didn’t have enough cash and had to take items off my bill, one at a time, until I had enough to pay.  Then, I didn’t have any bags, so I had to try to negotiate all my stuff, and the toddlers, through the parking lot.

When I sat down in the front seat, I was hot and sweaty and tired.  I swore that Aldi was NOT a friend of mothers and that I would NEVER EVER go there again.

Fast forward seven years.  My friend Jen blogs about Aldi regularly.  She shops there multiple times a week.  She sings the praises of Aldi – the MILK!  The MEAT!  The PEOPLE!  The DEALS!  For real, Aldi should be paying her advertising dollars because I bet she has brought in a million dollars of revenue for them.  I have been spying on these posts for a while . . . and then, I heard around the holidays that Aldi was eliminating all artificial dyes from the store-brand foods.  This was huge for me – I am constantly trying to dodge food dyes, which show up in the most curious (and unnecessary) places.  The peace of mind of knowing that everything Aldi-branded in the store would be free of dyes?  So cool!  Then, I did a little internet research, and found out that Aldi and Trader Joe’s are sister companies.  I LOVE Trader Joe’s, so I started thinking maybe I should give Aldi another chance.

However, the holidays are not a time for grocery experimentation.  I was too busy making awesome memories and delicious food and wrapping gifts to venture out of my comfort zone.  But then, Aldi struck again – I read an article that the organic and natural food offerings at Aldi are completely awesome.

This was clearly a sign.  I needed to get my bod to Aldi and check things out, now that my children are in school and I use reusable bags on the regular and I actually have quarters in my car.

What you need to know before you go:  Bring a quarter for your cart.  Bring your own bags, and plan time to bag your own groceries.  Aldi only takes cash or debit cards.  The way Aldi keeps prices low is by not stocking things on shelves – most items in the store are still in a cardboard carton that has been cut open.

The good:  I was able to find almost everything on my shopping list.  The prices on organics, natural food, and produce were beyond belief.  I can’t even process the price on organic milk – SO GREAT.  I remembered my quarter so I could use a cart, which has double baby seats in the front.  Way to go, Aldi, for making space for multiple kids.  I brought cash and my reusable bags, so I was able to checkout with my dignity intact.  The beer and wine selection was super; I just hope it tastes good.

The bad:  The organization of the store is not intuitive to me.  I spent a lot of time wandering, scanning up and down the aisles, trying to figure out where items could be found.  Aisles have random cardboard boxes of stuff in them, which makes navigating your double-wide cart around other people and carts tricky.

Overall impression:  promising, bordering on great.  While I could find almost everything I needed, it was NOT a quick stop.  I wandered a lot, and waited for people to move their carts a lot.  I am not sure Aldi will be place I go for just a few items right now, but maybe as I become more comfortable, that will change.

Your turn – what items do you love to get at Aldi?  Are there types of beer or wine or coffee or something that I should try?




New Year? New workout clothes!

It’s January, guys!  Know what that means?  Awesome workout clothes on super clearance at our favorite stores!  I was just in Athleta, Lululemon, and Lucy and there was so much inventory on clearance – it was heaven!  Here are some of the items I scored:

Athleta Ponte Skinny Pant on sale for $39.  This pant is so good it’s ridiculous – looks like skinny jeans, feels like yoga pants.

Athleta High Rise Bloom Chat Tights for $28.  I love the high rise, as it keeps all my stuff covered and warm.

Athleta Frost Chat Tight for $28.  These are so COOL.

Splendour Bra

Lululemon Splendour Bra for $39 online (but I got  mine for less in store!)  I should note that I got five different tops at my local Lululemon for under $30 each, but I am not seeing those prices online.  It is worth checking the sale rack if you have one in town.

It is January, after all, so how about a few options to cover up with post-workout?

This cashmere cowl neck is 75% off ($85!) at Nordstrom Rack.

I love the slouchy V-neck in this 360 Cashmere sweater, also on sale at Rack.

I love the lean look of this Quinn Cashmere sweater, on sale for $70 at Nordstrom Rack!

Vince cashmere for $150?  YES.

Holiday Gift Guide for Moms

Hey there, husbands and boyfriends and partners.  This one’s for you.  You’re welcome.

I love my husband, but he’s not always great at Christmas gift-giving.  Gifts I have gotten in the past include snow boots and flippers.  Yes, these things are practical and yes, I use them.  However, I spend all year long putting others first and I kind of want to be spoiled a bit on Christmas.

Here’s a list of items I’d be thrilled to find under my tree.

Tiffany Jewelry.  You give us something in a baby blue box and we’ll love you for life.  Anything from the Paloma Picasso collection is amazing, and not totally bank busting.  Hint:  check what color jewelry your lady likes to wear so you can buy something that matches.  My personal favorites are:

Paloma Picasso®:Olive Leaf Band Ring Paloma Picasso®:Knot Ring Paloma Picasso®:Hammered Crossover Cuff   Paloma's Venezia:Luce Pendant   Tiffany Solitaire<br>Diamond Earrings

High-end workout gear.  Yes, I know we work out in these clothes and it can be hard to rationalize the price, but we are worth it.  These high end items make us look good and feel good.  Plus, they make us feel spoiled, and isn’t that the entire point?

Wunder Under Pant III All The Right Places Pant &go Everywhere LS All Sport Support Tank  

Boots.  I know, I said earlier that boots weren’t a great Christmas gift.  Practical boots, not a great gift.  These boots?  AWESOME gift.

Women's Joan of Arctic™ Boot    Women's L.L.Bean Boots, 8" Gore-Tex/ThinsulateWomen's L.L.Bean Boots, 8" Gore-Tex/ThinsulateWomen's L.L.Bean Boots, 8" Gore-Tex/Thinsulate

Anything from the Nordstrom Designer Sale, which is currently 40% off.  Seriously, anything.  My favorites are here.  Just put in your lady’s size and price limitations, and she will be thrilled.

Other good ideas?  These aren’t working for you?  Here are good standbys:

  • leg warmers
  • gift certificate for massage, yoga classes, or manicures
  • a seriously amazing date night
  • tickets to see her favorite band
  • a weekend getaway

Happy holidays everyone!

Foam Roller Shopping

As a follow-up to my foam roller post the other day, I want to do a shopping post!

Here are the foam rollers I considered buying, and why I did (or did not) choose them for my home gym.  First, I think the mantra “different strokes for different folks” is going to apply here.  We all have different bodies and different issues and different pain thresholds.  What works for me is not going to be what works for my husband, momma, dad, or neighbor.  BUT.  I can do some legwork for you and make your googling a little easier, right?

LuxFit Premium High Density Roller – Not going to lie, people.  I bought this because it was the #1 rated foam roller on Amazon and I am a sucker for the ratings.  However, I did put a little more thought into it than just the rating.  First, the price.  Can’t beat the price on Amazon.  Next, there are three sizes available – 12″, 18″ and 36″ lengths.  Not being an experienced foam roller, I went for the middle size.  I am really glad I did.  I am not a big person, and I am pretty sure the 12″ would have been too small for me to maneuver on well.  I like that I can shift from one side of my back to the other easily, without falling off the end of the roller.  Similarly, I think the 36″ would have been too big for me – again though, just based on my frame.

LuxFit Foam Roller (hollow and bumpy style) – this one looks way cooler than the one above, but it is more expensive.  Plus, I was reading about how rolling can be painful at first, and I was nervous that the bumps might make the process even more painful.  If you are an experienced roller looking for some added pressure, this could be for you!

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller – This is the #2 seller on Amazon, and it looks really awesome.  However, it was 3x as expensive as the one I bought, and because I wasn’t sure I was going to love foam rolling, it seemed prudent to be budget friendly.  Also, some of the reviews noted that their roller had cracked or broken because the roller isn’t one piece.

AmazonBasics High Density Foam Roller – Guys, this could be my foam roller’s twin.  They look the same and are the same price.  Mostly, I didn’t order it because it was the #3 seller.

Master of Muscle Foam Roller – How cool looking is this guy?  I almost bought this one because of the claims that it is like your own personal massage therapist (Um, YES!!!!) but the 13″ length gave me pause.  This might be a good one to take along to the gym or when traveling, but in the end, wanted a roller that was a big longer.

I hope this helps you shop for a foam roller that meets your needs.  If you have one you love that I haven’t mentioned, please post!

You need these pants.

Why beat around the bush?  You need these pants.

My mother and sister-in-law both got these Athleta City Jogger pants in the spring, and loved them so much.  SO much.  I heard about them constantly.  Even though my birthday was in August, they bought me a pair, but they made me wait to get them until a few weeks ago.  Of course, an August birthday does not lend itself well to wearing pants because of the HEAT and the HUMIDITY and the SWEATING . . .

But.  This weekend, I had the house to myself and was getting down to some serious organizing and cleaning.  I tend to get a bit chilly in air conditioning, so I put on the pants.  I have to admit, I kinda thought my in-laws were nuts – how could a pair of pants be that great?  Also, the cuffing at the bottom reminded me of the sweatpants of the 80s so I wasn’t expecting great things here.

YOU GUYS.  These pants are life.

Not even kidding.  They are silky and light and comfy and they look amaaaaazing.  And, best of all?  They are on SUPER SALE!

I may have ordered a few more pairs.  (I totally did.)  You need a pair.  Or three.

Order Athleta City Jogger pants here.  (Side note:  the swim collection is on super sale as well, and you might as well check that out at the same time, right?)

Loving Kimonos

This time of year, I am all about layers.  I am freezing in the morning, and hot by mid-afternoon.  They key for spring is light layers – nothing too heavy or bulky.  Enough sweaters already!

Have you seen all of the amazing kimonos in the shops currently?  I am seeing them everywhere.  As with all things trendy, I am looking for budget-friendly options.  I save my splurges for pieces that defy trends.  Here are my favorites:

Pom Pom Kimono Jacket - Xhilaration®

Dolman Sleeve Kimono - Fashion Union