Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Curio (Potions for Skeptics): Serum A

One of the more awesome things about being "hands-on creative" is the practical upside. A propos of this, Serum A was conceived on my way home from a lovely TO boutique (Cure Apothecary), after having just spent a mini-fortune on a restock of my fave face products. I don't know why it took me so long to finally say: I can make face serum. What I can tell you is that, the minute I made that decision, I knew I wouldn't stop there. 

It has been - and continues to be - a process, needless to say, to source the components that meet my ridiculous standards. As far as I'm concerned, if the end result isn't of exceptional quality (organic or sustainably-sourced) and gorgeously presented, why bother? I won't buy things that don't meet those qualifications. Why would I make them?

Serum A gave me the opportunity to explore all of the parameters that go into devising a product: constant research and development, sourcing stable base materials (used for their specific benefits), refining the essential oil therapy component (all of my products contain therapeutic-grade essential oils), sourcing appealing packaging to ensure the stability of the product (blue glass, in most instances) and, yeah, creating a brand.

While I loathe the application of the term "brand" as it applies to the modern individual, there's no getting away from it as it applies to one's saleable product. I know, explicitly, what a skin care brand has to say in order to speak to me. It must be simple. Uncluttered. Clean. It must denote quality. The product must be devised with an achievable outcome. And, while its price must reflect those elements, I'm not into spending simply for spending's sake.

Enter Serum A:

It's made with these ingredients:

Organic Rosa Rubignosa (Rose Hip Seed) Oil, Organic Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Organic Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E) in sunflower oil,  Rosa Damascena (Rose) Essential Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Essential Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Essential Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Essential Oil, 

And what's so cool about them? Well...
  • Rosehip seed oil, high in provitamin A (betacarotene), is a pressed seed oil from a varietal of wild rose. It's widely reputed to be excellent for dehydrated and/or mature skin. It's quite robust, so small volumes go a long way. It's got a beautiful pale orange/pink hue (like the colour of Aperol), it's scentless and it has a long shelf-life (up to 1 year). Stability is key! The reason that I include tocopherol (vitamin e) in all of my liquid, oil-based products is because it's an antioxidant that delays rancidity. (FYI: Oils don't go off the way lotions (oil and water emulsifications) do. An "off" oil will not develop a high-bacteria count, but instead will change in taste or smell due to its oxidation.)
  • Rice Bran oil is extremely high in naturally-occuring tocopherols (vitamin e) which is one of the reasons that it's so stable (upwards of a year). It's also replete with ferulic acid, an antioxidant in its own right, one of the reasons that it is often used in sera which promote youthfulness. Interestingly, ferulic acid has been shown to reduce hot flashes in perimenopausal women, when ingested.
  • As a side note: I have made and used this serum with organic jojoba oil in place of the rice bran oil. I can't decide which formula I prefer, though I am inclined to reach for a jojoba version as the weather heats up. Note: This is because my skin is very oily by nature. Jojoba is not an oil, but a fatty ester and it absorbs very quickly. For what it's worth, I'm happy to make this serum with either jojoba or rice bran oil, depending on user-preference. 
  • Apricot Kernel Oil is a dry-feeling, light oil that absorbs beautifully. I love it.
  • The essential oils I've chosen for this blend (rose absolute, rosewood, lavender and carrot seed) are widely used in face products because they're antibacterial and because they smell gorgeous. Carrot seed essential oil is particularly interesting because it's full of carotol, known for sunscreen properties. (Note: I am in NO way suggesting that this oil makes the serum a sunscreen.)
Brief word on essential oils: Essential oil therapy, an extension of herbalism, is the application of plant-derived oils to achieve "a healing outcome". The application of essential oils, in this fashion, might be construed to yield a medicinal rather than cosmetic end result, which isn't my goal. (Note that I am not a certified professional essential oil therapist.) What I will say is, on the basis of my having used dozens of EOs, thousands of times, in a variety of formats over the years, I absolutely believe in the ability of essential oils to reframe one's mood and perspective (profoundly, in some instances). The application of essential oils in my products is for the purposes of encouraging delight, calm, energy and groundedness via plant-based fragrance. Because I respect the potency of plants, I recommend that anyone who is pregnant or breast-feeding use all skin care products consciously.

Brief word on anti-aging claims: You will not find assertions that any product I produce will turn back the hands of time. Why? Well, I can't confirm that it's possible, for one thing. But more to the point, do you really want to turn back the hands of time? Really? Your face and body are a record of everything you've lived and experienced. They reflect your every joy and sorrow - all that you have accomplished, all the things you've seen. May I suggest that, perhaps, you simply want to look like the most rested, supple, hydrated version of your current self?

What I will assert is that my base ingredients are of the highest quality, that they are organic or produced under social enterprise conditions. I have chosen them to create a gentle but durable, natural product which wears well and nourishes the skin via moisture retention and absorption. I absolutely assert that these products smell fantastic. Yeah, we all have different tastes, but trust me on this. I package with glass, as frequently as possible, to avoid any product interaction with plastic. That glass is tinted, to delay oil oxidation. I use every potion that I sell, regularly, and I take pride when looking at the unadorned labels and simple packaging as I ready myself for work in the morning.

I have a lot of love for Serum A and it is my sincerest wish that you will too. If you'd like to learn more, check out the listing on my Etsy shop.*

*Please note: The shop is under development at the moment but, if I wait till it's perfect to send you there, I may never start this business :-) Please stay tuned for updates and new items, which will be added shortly.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bra Review: Charnos Cherub Full Cup

Charnos is a brand we hear little about in North America. It's from the UK and best known for bridal lingerie, but it does a couple of really nice basics, including the Cherub Full Cup (which comes in black, ivory, white and an occasional, additional colourway):

I really like the way the strap attaches to the upper cup, providing that modified sweetheart neckline. Of course, strap attachment at the upper cup isn't known for providing optimal lift, but it takes all kinds of bras.

The undies that used to match (which I own already, because I've owned this bra on a variety of occasions over the years) are actually super sexy but it doesn't appear that they make them any longer. The "now" version of the matching undies is also nice, but doesn't have the same lace-appeal.

Here's the thing about this bra: It's really reasonably priced and really easy to find. If you want it in all the colours and sizes, Figleaves always stocks it. If you want to dig around for a deal, there are many to be had on eBay. I got this for 35.00 CDN - including shipping. Furthermore, while the brand tops out at a G, the cup fit is generous and the band is very snug. It means that lots of women who wear a GG or H can still fit into it.

The cut is unusual for a UK brand. It's full-cup, for starters (not something you find outrageously frequently in broader-import UK market), and it's very "sophisticated". This is the lacy kind of bra one imagines a French woman would wear.

The shape is quite natural. It's not boobs on a plate, by a long-shot (see above about strap attachment). The support is actually very good but it doesn't provide excessive lift and "presentation" of the breasts. It's about coverage - though that coverage is by no means excessive.

The lace has a lot of give, though I wouldn't call it stretch. This makes it quite forgiving for breasts of different sizes and for full on bottom breasts. There's an elastic band that runs on the top cup, from wire to wire. It gives a bit of extra support - but wouldn't, I imagine, restrict full-on-top breasts unless they were exceedingly so.

The style is good for projected, narrow shapes - but not to the extent that Cleo or Empreinte manage to be. And, as mentioned above, it's always recommended to go up a band size - as these bands are super-snug - and down a cup size. BTW: I generally agree with that advice. The stretch-factor of the lace provides a bit of give you wouldn't get in your average Cleo, for example, given the relentless sturdiness of Cleo fabrics.

The wires aren't as strong as I prefer and the straps are narrow, but somehow the bra still stays in place and does its job. It provides excellent cleavage, if that's your thing, especially given that it's neither a plunge nor a push up. I believe this is because of the inherent softness of the fabric and overall construction.

I do find that this bra doesn't quite tack at the centre gore (on me), in the right size, because the materials and wires just don't hold, at the gore, the way all other brands (that I wear) do. This is in contrast, say, to the only other bra in my wardrobe, the gore of which doesn't quite tack: the Bravissimo Alana. That gore won't tack on me because the bra's just not immediately-projected enough at the centre-cup. If I push the gore of the Cherub lightly, it touches my sternum with no ill effects, fit-wise, elsewhere. But left to its own devices, it's just not structured enough to battle my natural nemesis - immediate, extreme centre projection.

Mind you, that makes it quite comfortable and less extreme than most bras I wear. It's subtle.

I think the issue here is that the bra was designed a long while ago, when another kind of shape and level of sturdiness was in vogue. Not to mention, that it isn't an expensive bra (though it doesn't feel cheap in any way). I mean, you don't get French engineering on a budget.

I totally recommend this Charnos style as a low-risk adventure purchase. I don't wear it continuously, but I've owned it in 2 colours, 3 times, over the last 8 years. When I re-housed one recently, now not my size, I remembered my fondness for the style. Repurchase was given an additional recent push as I'm in a serious black bra crisis - don't ask, subject of another post - so I had to re-add it. :-)

So that's the Cherub for you. Have you tried this bra? Do you like it? What do you know about the brand? You know I'm interested. Let's talk!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Small Business Chronicles: Starting a Start Up

If you're neither into skin care nor lingerie, it is not your month on this blog... On the plus side, if you can half get with either, it's fun times! Since I wrote about bras last time, today it's skin care. I did receive a new bra yesterday - one I haven't said anything about thus far. I'll review it for you tomorrow but the short story is that it's a winner.

I realize that I said my next skin care post would be to introduce Serum A (a creative end-result that I'm very excited to natter on about) but I've spent the last 2 weeks absorbed in the alternatively-creative, all-consuming act of setting up a small business and I simply must tell you about it. Look: I'm not one of those peeps who bravely quits her career to revel in the self-directedness of entrepreneurship. I'm deeply attached to my salary - which I am only interested to expand (and, no, not after accepting a cut in lifestyle prior to making it big). So you won't see me ditching my day-job anytime soon. As such, it means I'm going to have to be that much more efficient.

Given that I'm surrounded by entrepreneurs, I find it interesting that I have never embraced this path. Oh, I love selling things. I mean, I love engaging with people about things that interest them, that might improve their lives in some small way (whether I've made those things or not) - and I'm totally down with the transactional component. It's like participating in the beautiful cycle of commerce from every bar of beeswax to finished balm. I love R&D and creating product and marketing. Gotta say, though, the whole cost analysis / balance sheet part of the job doesn't exactly call to me. And since I've been mega-living that element of the small business experience, it's really sharpening my focus.

My husband has been relentless on this topic. If I hear the phrase: If you don't know every cost associated with your production model, how will you know how to price your product? one more freakin' time... I finally just decided to do it to shut him up. And wasn't he on the ball? I guess intuition doesn't improve profit margin after all.

I've also been setting up an Etsy shop. (Natch, I'll plug it when it's ready to roll.) OMG, people, I never knew how much I wanted an Etsy shop till I got one! I just stare at it all the time! This part of the undertaking has quickly brought me up to speed on ways that I can improve what I can offer to clients, how to realize discounts on shipping (yay for us all) but it has also made me aware of the steep hidden costs associated with peer-to-peer e-commerce as it pertains to the business beginner. Don't get me wrong, it's the way of things, and I believe the platform is a well-run necessity. But I'm starting to understand why everything I buy costs twice as much as I think it should. :-)

I sense I will not be able to keep myself from writing about all of this. You know I write about what I do and, for better or worse, right now this is what I'm doing. Plus, it's a major learning curve and who doesn't like to prattle on about that?! All I can say is that it's really illuminating to put your money (and your time and your energy and your creative-spirit) where your mouth is.

Today's questions are for the entrepreneurs (or part-time or wannabe entrepreneurs): Lord, people, how do you do this all the time? Aren't you tired?? Oh, and what do you appreciate most about having your own business? What do you sell? Stuff? Services? How did you get started? Is there anything I need to know like, today? Please, please - let's talk!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Bra Review Part 3: Avocado Mirabelle

So today I wore the Mirabelle set and, you know what, it was uncomfortable in EXACTLY the same ways as was the Essentia. (There's hella description here - just apply all the fit info to the Mirabelle and you've got it covered.)

I will say that this set is an absolute confection and I think it's very well-made. Although, unstretched, it has a looser band than the Essentia, when stretched, the band is actually firmer than the Essentia's. On this basis, gotta say I'm inclined to stick with a 34 (75) band. It is snug for size - but very comfortable, given that I should be in a 32 (70).

Here's where I'm at with Avocado. I went back and did a bit more math and realized the following:
  • I ordered during a sale, so I got 20% off. 
  • Apparently, 4 seconds after I ordered, Avocado raised its prices to deal with rising manufacturing costs. It's gone up by about 10% per item.
  • The Essentia is the least expensive bra on offer. The Mirabelle is in the less-expensive style category.
If you combine those deets, were I to order again, I'd likely be on the hook to spend 30%-50% more than I did this go round. And I spent 200 bucks on 2 sets. I'm not willing to spend 150 bucks plus, on a set, sight-unseen - from a place that charges VAT and warns that if they remove it (as is every non-Euro person's right), I'm likely to be dinged more by Customs than if I just accept it. (I don't know if that's true but, having ordered from another Polish brand, Ewa Michalak (shady-practice central), I don't know what to think.  Especially when I don't find these bras comfortable! To wit: The Mirabelle and Essentia are going in the Bra Sale drawer. (Note: I'm on record saying that, given that they've each been worn once, they're lovely and the brand is coveted, they will be priced accordingly.)

Here's what I will do:
  • Wait till there's a sale.
  • Order the Essentia in the beige colourway, one more time, one cup size up - in the K style. The H style is just too wide-set in the straps for me. And I think I could manage narrower wires. If the wire discomfort is an matter of too-little lower-cup depth projection, that should resolve the issue. I suspect it will make everything too big, but one must experiment. Furthermore, if it doesn't work the next go round, I'm returning it.
Truth is, I'm not willing to compromise.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Curio (Potions for Skeptics): Get Curious

So, a propos of my previous post, I do promise that this isn't going to turn into a blog about skin care products (namely ones that I make and sell). Mind you, one requires a marketing platform. I figure if 8 years of blogging should buy you something, it's a well-travelled space. For the moment, this is where I'll give you all the deets (you know I have approximately 8000 per potion), and the pretty photos. Having said this, I'll make my post titles pretty clear so, if this isn't your scene, you won't be lulled into reading.

This, ahem,  nascent business is a growth opportunity for me, inasmuch as it's a vehicle for providing terrific product at a reasonable price. As you know, I'm a professional with a bat-shit, crazy-paced day job. I have a 15 year old daughter, need I say more? The back of my century home is (technically) falling off. I sew and knit and bake and garden etc. The point: I'm doing this in my own way, at my own pace - but the standards will be high because I expect that of myself and, natch, you should expect that too.

I don't propose to be an expert entrepreneur at this moment, but I am most definitely an expert consumer. I know what I want, what I will buy, what I will spend. I also know what good skincare looks like, for me, and how to combine raw ingredients to create a beautiful finished product. The reason I have an inventory of 11 products, 6 months in, is because my motivation is always to make things for myself that I will use. I've decided to stop buying the majority of products I spend a fortune on, because I can make them because I like to make them (and also to control the quality). But you know I don't go slowly!

If something doesn't work, it's out the door. And, peeps, I am a bitch of a tester. Furthermore, in the last 6 months I've gifted (aka market tested) my wares amongst dozens of people of all skin-types and needs. Yeah, super small sample size, I know. But they've provided feedback, which has been carefully considered. They've also, to a one, come back for more.

My mandate for myself - and by proxy for anyone who might choose to use my potions - is to wear natural skincare which is not fussy, which is elegant and which is sustainably sourced (to the best of my abilities). I will pay for quality, but I will not pay for a name. Oh, and all the things must smell fucking awesome because everything should.

How it Works: What I intend to do is to profile individual potions in separate posts (not specifically in back-to-back posts, but when the info is available and as I have time to produce the content). Until I have the opportunity to move this topic to a new platform, the information will be stored in the sidebar (like my Sock Tutorial of a couple of years ago).

Technically, I'm open for business so if you read about any particular product and you'd like to know more, reach out to me by email at kristinm100 at yahoo dot ca. While I'm still determining long-term costs of shipping, for the moment, assume that it will be 10 dollars to Canada, US or UK (I can provide estimates to those in other places). This is in line with what I've spent to-date to mail potion parcels. Actually, the cost is sometimes higher within Canada but I cannot bring myself to charge my national neighbours a higher shipping fee than I would my international ones. If I discover, over time, that the shipping costs are routinely higher or lower in any location, I'll alter the prices. I will be entirely transparent. That's how I roll.

For starters - and again, this ain't no hard launch - my brand is called Curio. Those of you who know me IRL will know that's a play on my last name. My tag is "Potions for Skeptics" because that's what I am and IMO, that's what everyone should be.

Thanks to all of you who've reached out so far, to find out more, to be my first clients (or to offer your blogging review services). Next up, Serum A.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Curio (Potions for Skeptics): Soft Launch

So, I do intend to show off my new skin care line (I find this concept hilarious) with a fun post or 10 (don't worry - this is not going to turn into a Kristin Sells Potions blog) but I've received a few emails inquiring about what might be available and when.

In the interests of, well, sparking interest - here's a list of my preliminary offerings:
  • Lip Balm to rival Burt's Bees (And organic)
  • Serum (Beautifully hydrating but in NO way greasy)
  • Hand / Body Lotion (It's got excellent glide - not slippery but not too thick...)
  • Hydrosol - Neroli (It works perfectly with the Serum... I source this because I'm not equipped to make it, currently.)
  • Deodorant (This is like the crack cocaine of my skin care products. All of my friend and family testers want a container, and then another. It's not crunchy-granola - I can't abide that. And it works shockingly well.)
  • Roll On Perfume (I can customize this. But I love my beautiful Cedar and Ylang Ylang version.)
  • Arnica Salve (Awesome for muscle pain. Smells great.)
  • Calendula Salve - (Awesome for booboos. Smells even better.)
  • Immortelle Salve (Awesome for softening scar tissue and rheumatic pain. Also appreciated for its "youthening" properties. Note: I'm not here to convince you that well-made, natural skin care will make you look 10 years younger. It will make you look better and the beautiful scents will improve your mood. Essential oil therapy is notably entrenched in my lifestyle and has been since I was a child. I use it in many ways but it is never more valuable to me than in its ability to transform my state of mind. FWIW, scent blending is my my most intuitive art.)
  • Body Oil – Ylang Ylang / Grapefruit (A floral citrus, blend that brings out the best of both.)
  • Body Oil – Neroli / Rosewood (A deep floral with a chypre subnote.)
  • Eye Serum A (The original is very popular but I'm not quite satisfied quite yet. This is in the works and should be ready in the near future.)
I promise to take attractive photos of each (highlighting tasteful labels) and providing details about the organic ingredients and their reputed benefits. This is in the works - if only because I find these products so lovely that I have to capture them as part of the journal of my life and creative pursuits. FYI, I use them all - all the time - and I wouldn't bother if I could buy stuff that I considered to be better. Y'all know that's how I roll.

Having said this, if you're interested to try anything between now and who can say exactly when, feel free to email. I can regale you with the narratives which underpin each product and (slightly more mundanely) with info about cost and shipping, which I do not mark up, as you know. Moreover, my interim pricing will be discounted by 10 %, per product, as I iron out the kinks in the process and refine the brand to suit my own strict specifications.

As they say, if you're interested, holla. This stuff truly is gorgeous. I hope to wrangle a few long-standing bloggers into trying it and posting (absolutely honest) reviews. And, if you're interested in participating in that way, let me know.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bra Review Part 2: Avocado Essentia

I can see there will be three parts to this initial review of Avocado Lingerie. Today I wore the Essentia for the full day - which is key, don't you think, to writing a review? I'm going to talk about it in this post and later on, the Mirabelle, after I've worn that for a full day too.

Here are a few pics:

Alas - I took a weird photo and didn't capture much of the matching thong...
You can see how nicely unencumbered it is at the base of the cups. For short waisted peeps, this is a plus.

Brief Word About the Undies: I bought an XL (I was afraid that they'd be snug, based on what I've read.) I could easily do with a L. They'd fit better. But I'd always rather a loose thong over a tight one. Next time I'll keep this in mind.

Now, let's talk about centre cup fullness. See the photo below - see how, when I pull at the top cup there is LOTS of fabric that lifts from the centre gore. If you've got shallow breasts (or if you're wearing a bra that always seems to shift throughout the day, or causes breast spillover), look at that bra. I guarantee, you will not be able to lift the fabric to anywhere near this degree. On the outer cup, mind you, that may be a different story...

Shape, peeps - it's freakin' everything. If this space were at the outer cup, it would be a disaster on me...

Let's start with the less good:

OK, gotta say, those wussy wires are an issue. Not a huge issue. Not a deal breaker (especially not if you are young or your boobs are not heavy or if they're self-supporting). But what started out as a really stable and comfortable bra in the morning, became (as the day wore on) kind of fussy at the underwire where it meets the underbust.

I'm not too concerned about it. It's my first time wearing this bra and it needs to conform to me and I need to understand it - but I'm pretty sure that the issue isn't one of shape incompatibility. This shape could not be more compatible with mine. It also doesn't have to do with weak straps or band - those are surprisingly firm, after all, despite seeming a delicate on first try. The wires simply aren't strong, so as the day goes on, they shift a smidge - on me, to clarify - and that causes a bit of chafe. It might resolve itself. I hope it does. The issue also might be ameliorated by a snugger band. But I feel the need to mention it. I'll keep you posted.

As it happens, the Essentia is the shallower of the two bras I purchased, if not by much. It's shallower at the lower cup, interestingly. It's dimly possible this might also be contributing to the underwire issue. We'll see if the Mirabelle has the same issue because it's deeper in the lower cup.

One other challenge - and this is something I never experience - is that the straps are slightly too widely set for my frame, at the side breast. These straps are very widely positioned relative to the centre-point of the bra which, I'm pretty sure, is a feature specific to the H cut. There are also K and A cuts - each of which provides different and narrower strap settings, and also different cup depths and overall shape. This post provides more deets on how Avocado uses modified construction to increase the likelihood that a bra you like will fit you.

If I sense that the same problem occurs with the Mirabelle (which I also bought in H cup - it's the style I prefer), then I'll give the K cup a shot. Note, however, that the H shape comes with the widest wires on offer at Avocado. Since Polish brands generally have very narrow wires, you might want to consider this before embarking on one of the other cuts. The H wires are PERFECT on me, so I'm loathe to mess with this.

And now for the actual good:
  • I love a narrow gore and this bra really fits the bill, both at the top of the centre gore and at the base. It's only .75 inches in width which is great for those with really close-set breasts.
  • The fabric really is soft. And pretty. And sexy - which is weird for a beige bra. I love how delicate and lacy it is. This is much more fun than pattern-printed duoplex (a firm synthetic with no stretch, the kind that Cleo uses in the majority of its projected styles).
  • The shape is delightful. For those of you who like round, round round - well, this is it. I am just as happy with a slightly pointier (aka realer, to my mind) shape. But under a T shirt it's useful.
  • While it's not Cleo-style boobs on a plate - I mean the fabrics are less strong as are the wires, after all - it does give a very front and centre projection.
  • Occasionally, I wish I had the kind of life / blog wherein I could model the bras I review. Cuz this one looks seriously fine.
  • The band is actually very supportive. I don't even know if I would size down next time. I mean, it's not tight but it does the trick without yielding. It's firm. It does seem short for size but not to the degree that Cleo bands are. I'm going to see how it wears before I weigh in further.
  • The cups are truly projected (though not like Empreinte, exactly). The overall shape is a bit wider which likely makes it more practical for a wide variety of projected boobs.
  • The wires are a perfect width for my narrow, but not excessively narrow, shape. The side cup is also adequately high to enclose side breast tissue, without encroaching on the underarm.
So that's this bra. Next up the Mirabelle.

Today's questions: If you've tried Avocado, how do you feel my review corresponds with your perspective? If you haven't, does it seem like it would work for you? Let's talk!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bra Review Part 1: Avocado Essentia and Avocado Mirabelle

OK, I'm going to start this post by saying that the reason I've never ordered from Polish powerhouse, Avocado Lingerie, before is that they didn't have a workable online system. That means, till about a month ago, you had to order from an English distributor site called Wellfitting and that increased the complexity of the process and the difficulty of returns. In truth, I don't know how direct-to-Avocado returns would work, in practice, though I was prepared to take on that administrative task. Mercifully, I don't have to figure it out, but I have heard that Avocado's customer service is awesome and, thus far, I have only good things to say. You may be interested to note that I ordered the very first day that the system went live and I had no issues. During a previous attempt at an online platform, things did not go well and it took them quite a long time to ramp up to what they've got now.

A Bit About Price and Shipping: I'm not going to go into detail on pricing, shipping costs and add-on VAT charges etc. I'll leave that for another day. What I'll say is that for 2 sets, undies and bras, I paid 180 bucks all in. 90 dollars for a sexy bra/undies set that fits beautifully and looks great are ENTIRELY in my budget. I know this might be a ghastly thought for some, but I barely hesitate at spending 225 bucks on a bra at this point. And undies to go with it cost another hundred. As a non-Polish person ordering from Avocado you will be charged in Euros. That's your only option. Yeah, that sucks, but so does being charged in USD (at this point) and I deal with that all the freakin' time.

A Bit About Avocado Sizing: You know I read everything in the land about bras and bra fit. I've had occasion to become sensitized to this brand over the course of a couple of years. Many of the lingerie bloggers I like best have taken the plunge (ha!) on a variety of occasions. I highly recommend that you read Miss Underpinnings on the topic. She actually took a lingerie tour of Poland and blogged about it?! This post and this post are particularly enlightening but Two Cakes on a Plate has also written about Avocado as have many others.

What I ended up ordering was a 75 back size (roughly equivalent to a 34 in UK sizing), given my current sensitivities and that I have read that the bands run tight. In fact, I think I'll size down in the band next time to a 70. I just don't find the 75 that snug - which is a wonderful thing, IMO. This might be on account of improvement in my pain condition. Of course, were I to do this, I'd need to go up in the cup size because, given the perfection of cup fit, I don't want to mess with that volume or shape.

For what it's worth, I used the Avocado sizing system and it worked out pretty well. Were I to purchase my "correct" band size - a 70 - then I'd be in a cup size which is 2 higher than that which I wear in UK bras. This is Euro sizing non-standard sizing in which cups go up in 4 cm volumes.

I believe that the fit guide worked for me because a) I truly fit the shape that Avocado is designing for (really deep cups, immediate projection at the centre gore, narrow (but not too-narrow) wires) and b) I truly know and understand my bra size / fitting needs in many different sizing systems. I've got every my every vertical and horizontal breast measurement memorized. If you haven't gone full-on with the Bratabase, multi-dimensional measurement system, I urge you to do so. It will advise you about your shape and size in some very meaningful ways, which you'd have to be an intuitive whiz to figure out otherwise.

Brief PSA: Even though Bratabase is annoying, consider entering in the 8 zillion requested measurements for all of your bras. This is how we can all get better at buying online, without disappointment. The broader the sample size, the greater the accuracy. I won't buy online without adequate info about, among other things, the horizontal depth of a bra cup. That's my "difficult" measurement and most of us have at least one. I will enter in info about these new bras, particularly because there's not a lot of Avocado representation in the database, so every review counts.

A Bit About Avocado Materials: If I have a disappointment, it's in this category. Don't misunderstand, the fabric materials are very soft and comfortable. They are also very lovely to look at and high-end-seeming. But all you need to do is hold an Avocado bra in one hand and an Empreinte bra in the other to recognize that there is no comparison in terms of the materials and construction. Of course, there's also no comparison in price.

Empreinte provides extreme lift and support by virtue of otherwise unsourceable band materials and incredibly strong (but delicate-looking) lace. The wires are also unparalleled in their firmness. (Note: They're not painful-firm the way that Panache wires tend to be.) This is to say nothing of the beautiful, elegant, sexy shape that Empreinte designs.

Avocado wires are amongst the bendiest I've encountered. I can source wires stronger than these for handmade bras. This is a shortfall, IMO. I think the situation is that this brand is not actually high-end (though it does a good job of looking that way). The materials are nice, but not luxe. Don't get me wrong. They're infinitely better-looking and more supportive than anything Ewa Michalak. (I'm so over that brand.) But they're not strong in the UK-brand sense of things.

I don't think this is particularly relevant to the young lingerie bloggers who've reviewed this brand (they haven't had kids, aren't even in their 30s), but for more mature women, I wonder if the support would be adequate. Note: Because my breasts are fairly self-supportive (gravity notwithstanding) and because the cup and band fabric is reasonably firm, these bras provide me with more than adequate lift and support. But I don't know if the average 50 or 60 year old, with projected breasts, would feel the same way. I'd NOT hesitate to recommend Empreinte to a woman of a certain age, with projected, soft breast tissue. Those bras defy that sort of boobs. But not so sure about Avocado as yet. I'll need to wear these for a while before I weigh in.

A Bit About Avocado Construction: This is surprisingly good. Strongest feature, dare I say.
  • The bands are firm and short - optimal for narrow torsos.
  • There are 3 hooks and eyes (at least in the brands I deliberately bought for that feature).
  • The seamed cups are ingeniously designed for centre-full projection (a very tricky shape for which to design). 
  • The under bands are narrow - not thick and wide in the way that projected Cleos always seem to be. (Note: The Mirabelle is wider at the base of the gore than the Essentia - and this results in a less-optimal fit for me (though not for everyone). It's by no means a deal-breaker.) 
  • The straps aren't in any way thick or tight nor do they dig in, but they do provide adequate lift. They're on the wide side, fyi. 
  • The length of the wires (and the shape) are perfect for projected breasts. These wires are narrow but they're not as narrow as Ewa Michalak, IMO.
I realize that I haven't got into the specifics of the Mirabelle and the Essentia as yet - though all of the things I've discussed in this post do apply specifically to each. For that, and more pics, you'll have to wait for the next post.

Part and Parcel

OMG, my friends. Today has been quite something. Sure, work was a chaos but, in the midst of it, we experienced sun and 18 degrees. I do not know how to explain the healing properties of good weather. IMO, if you don't know bad weather, you can never truly appreciate the shift. (Mind you, I'd happily live unable to truly appreciate the shift if it meant I had more than 7 tolerable weather-months a year.)

At any rate, that was just the start of a chain reaction resulting in mega-fun! My zillions of outstanding parcels have started to arrive and the most exciting of them all was in today's post. Now, y'all know - after a slick thrill - that's pretty meaningless. How often do you buy online only to discover that fit is a horror and now you've got the irritation of returns with which to contend?

Today was truly awesome because I got a long-awaited parcel from the cultish Avocado Lingerie - a brand I've only read about, a brand the fit of which is dicey on so many. I received bras and undies (perhaps the world's most challenging garments to buy sight unseen) that I completely guessed about: how would they fit, how would they look, what would I make of the construction? I purchased in centimeters, people! And it all worked FUCKING perfectly. Online shoppers out there, I know you are fist-pumping your screen, even as you read.

Now, I'm off to write a post about the fit (photos already taken) which I hope to publish later this evening. I just cannot wait to tell you all the deets.

Till then, here's a little taste:

Avocado Essentia

Avocado Mirabelle
 Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

OTG Krissie

Oh, the glory of blue skies and warmth! This morning, emboldened by gorgeous weather, I forced Scott to go for breakfast at this really popular place a few blocks away. We arrived at 10 am and got the last table. By 10:10 am there was a line around the block. The food is terrific and it's not pricey. We downtowners know the deal. There was fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, smoked bacon, terrific multigrain toast with tons of butter, sausage, perfectly cooked fried eggs and potatoes (the crunchy ones, not the soggy ones). Not a piece of lettuce to be seen! Alas, the coffee was swill. Had to hit up the Coffee Pocket on the way home. At which point I was ready to roll.

I bought 2, very generous, extra orders of house-made pork sausage (the patty-kind) to turn into Bolognese. Also, there's some nut milk to be blended. I'm working on package-refinement and labels for the skin care. It's a productive, if scattered day. And given that I have no idea what awaits me at the office tomorrow (I refuse to wreck things by looking at my email), I'd better enjoy it.

While sitting at the restaurant this morning, it occurred to me that I was wearing my own deodorant (man, this stuff works AWESOMELY!), body oil, face serum and a new, handmade Liberty-print T shirt. It made me feel so truly capable.

In case you worry that I'm short on imagination, I have this (not so) secret alter-ego I call "Off The Grid Krissie", OTG Krissie for short. She's the woman who makes potions while drinking herbal tea. Her kid's placenta is still in the freezer, 15 years later. She reuses the tacky residue at the base of heat-sealed lotion tubes by cutting the tops off. She replants the hyacinth bulbs in a special spot in the garden after the potted flowers have withered (no, none of them has taken - the squirrels eat them). She's this close to keeping bees, you know, to save the world. She wants to buy a sheep farm.

Look, I realize she's a marginal element of my personality continuum. After all, I hyperventilate and scream piercingly at the sight of a spider and I've been known to lose it during a 20-minute power-out. (What? Where were you in August 2003?)

But I'm a creature of many facets and I won't apologize :-)

Today's questions: What's your favourite alter-ego, of late? I'm curious to know - is (s)he high or low? How do you express your different sides?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Spring Tease

We're all over the scale here - 90km winds, 10 degree temperature spreads every day, wretched freezing rain and, very occasionally (like for 2 hours every week), some sun and encroaching warmth.

April really is the cruelest month (well, with the exception of January, February and March). Yeah, I know we're in the home stretch. But what I would give to walk out of the house without waterproof shoes with treads, a scarf/hat/gloves and a fucking coat.

Refusing to let the weather get me down, I bought these tulips a few days ago and I'm thrilled by how they've opened:

Are they not the most cheerful things you've ever seen? They look even better in real life. Their little pointy petals are perfection!

To ease the transition - and to mentally extend myself to warmer climes - I decided to make a couple of T shirts. Last weekend M and I made a one which we're sharing (first time she's asked to sew something with me, like, evah). She kept her focus, which is admirable given her nature, but she did more watching than anything else. We'll see if she wants to give it another go... This weekend she has "other plans" including appearing in her friend's film (said friend goes to art school and this is one of her assignments). She's an extra in a party scene, pretending to be from the 90s, and she looks utterly awesome! She straightened her hair and bought this black moto-jacket (from H&M but it's an shockingly good fast fashion fake). I wish she'd have let me take a photo cuz she looks totally NYC mean girl circa 1994.

At any rate, last weekend's sewing event reminded me of how fun it is to sew T shirts and how really easy it manages to be. Not to mention that I have a great sloper and practically all of my RTW T's have bitten the dust. Seemed like a no brainer to pull out the fabric in my stash. Did I mention that I've somehow managed to buy the same fuchsia fabric from multiple vendors, like 3 times? I don't even know how that's possible. People, it's identical.

Today was about using up some blue fabric. I know, what a shock, I've got yards of navy jersey. Alas, nothing wanted to photograph well, but whatcha gonna do?:

I urge you not to use cheap jersey. That's what I did (with the navy above) and my serger ate it as it sewed the seams. Now there are micro tears at the shoulders - revealed as I stretched this thing all to shit over my too-wide dress form. Oh well, I'll wear it 5 times and toss it. The fun was in using a contrast fabric (that floral is a Liberty jersey, used previously to make a Lady Skater). I bought it at Ewe Knit - an excellent place for both fabric and yarn, also my LYS. Alas, I've been very absent there over the past winter. Not knitting much has had the impact of precluding yarn purchase. Sigh.

I also used the Liberty to make this 3/4 sleeve version:

Technically, the shoulder seams start about 1/2 inch inside the shoulder of the dress form...

This fabric is all that. I mean, I don't love that the pattern lightens as it stretches (cuz it's printed onto white jersey), but it's forgivable given the beautiful hand, drape and recovery it also sports. I bought 2 yards of this and used about 1.3 to make a Lady Skater (which I wear all summer). This was a chance to use up the remainder, though I did keep small scraps (not like me) because I want to use those for contrast binding when I make my next navy T.

I lengthened my sloper by 1.5 inches. It was always on the short side but, due to body changes, I do need the extra length or it would ride up over the course of the day. Fun thing about Ts is that you can pretty well stick with the same size, once you've figured out your sloper (barring serious weight changes). Length gives you any necessary additional fabric if, say, your bust or lower abdomen change in size or shape slightly.

So, that's the first half of my Saturday. I think I'm off to make some calendula and immortelle salves. I've been thinking a lot about my skincare line (cuz at this point, that's kind of what it is). People have started asking me to sell it (including a local hair studio), which is very encouraging. I do wonder about how viable it would be to add a little sideline business to my already busy life. Mind you, I make this stuff whether I sell it or give it away. Might as well recoup my costs and make a bit of fun money. And I LOVE it when people enjoy the product and tell me that it makes a difference, that their skin is improved, that they love the scent of my serums and oils, that the salves work to heal, as is their purpose.

I'm still perfecting my brand - improving packaging, refining the look at which point I do intend to show off my pretty potions with details. What do you think? In theory, would you care to buy skincare from a blogger friend? I mean, I have. And I buy online all the time. But I'm my target market, after all :-)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cleo Minnie: A Brief Review (And Other Lingerie Stories)

I don't know if you'd call my latest online shopping exploits a success, but they're interesting IMO.

To recap, in the last month (following the bra sale) I've online shopped:
  • Empreinte daisy thong
  • Cleo Minnie bra and thong
  • Masquerade Persia bra and brief
  • Avocado Essentia bra and undies
  • Avocado Mirabelle bra and undies
  • Bravissimo Alana thong
  • Freya Nadine thong
  • 3x3 extenders
  • 2x3 extenders
Everything is taking a stupid amount of time to arrive. 3 weeks later, I'm still waiting on the Alana thong and the 2 Avocado sets (well, only ordered these 2 weeks ago and they are coming from Poland) and the smaller size of the Masquerade set (the original one arrived quickly and was way too large in both bra and undies). The extenders were ordered more recently, and from Thailand, so I'm not surprised that those are taking a while.

I was about to lose it but the Minnie set arrived today. I'm exceedingly irritated with Belle-Lingerie for having charged me shipping 3 times when I ordered 3 things at the same time and advised them as much. I'm even more irritated that 2 of the 3 items were packaged together and I was still charged shipping x2. I can scarcely be bothered to argue about it at this point. I've already followed up and I got a lame response. Note: When and if you order from Belle-Lingerie (eBay shop with terrific stock and good prices), make sure you EMAIL them directly - not via eBay messaging - to ensure that your multiple purchases are shipped together.

So here's where we're at, fit-wise:
  • Masquerade set was way too big but it was gorgeous. I'm really hoping that the smaller bra and undies does the trick - or this will have been a pricey experiment, what with paying return shipping twice.
  • The Cleo Minnie is very cute but, in my experimental one back-size up / one cup size up, I'm learning quickly that, during the week I did the majority of my purchasing, I over-estimated my dimensions. So far, in Masquerade and Cleo, the 34 back size is actually great. Both Masquerade and Cleo bands are notoriously snug. We might say tight. I mean, Cleo fits a good band size to a size and a half smaller than it should. For example, I've owned 30 back Cleos that only stretched to 29 inches. A 30 should arguably stretch to at least 30 inches and generally would stretch to 31 inches. In this instance, where things have gone sideways is in the cup. Not that I didn't realize this before ordering, but upsizing the band and upsizing (by 1) the letter measurement results in a cup jump of 2 sizes. I mean, my boobs are marginally a size larger - but they are most definitely not 2 sizes larger. So upping the band without going down in the cup is a crap shoot. 
  • Sidebar: I find it very odd to receive bras that don't fit cuz they're too large. As a person with a very projected shape, this isn't a regular occurrence. In my experience, brand-for-brand, projected breasts tend to fit a size larger than breast volume warrants, given the way projected tissue is distributed. It's much easier to design for a wider root and shallow shape, and it takes less fabric. The near-constant exceptions to this are Cleo and Empreinte, both of which design with a projected shape in mind. Masquerade, now defunct as it's been absorbed and devolved by Panache, is another brand that was known for its projected offerings in certain styles.  Update: Just tried on the Minnie again today and I do not know what I was thinking. This is as oversized as the Masquerade Persia was. Must be returned for smaller size, no two ways about it.
  • The Daisy thong is great - and I got it for a very good price. Too bad I can't really get with the matching bottom in an inverse colourway. I'm working on it.
  • The Nadine thong - repurchased in an XL as the M was really snug (right from the get go), has only marginally improved the situation. That bottom is crazy small. I mean, I like thongs that fit loosely, so it is a bit of personal preference, but the XL fits like a medium in my opinion. Still, it's better than a medium that fits like an XS. It's passable.
A bit more about the Cleo Minnie:
  • I'm impressed by how this brand grades its sizes. The larger size manages to be very firm, supportive, uplifting and totally boobs on a plate (what it's known for). 
  • The cups in the Minnie fit quite deeply. I'd put them on par with the Ellis. It's the same cut.
  • There's still too much underband for my liking. I think this signals the death-knell of Cleo for me. I'm a short-waisted person who doesn't want an inch of wire and fabric at the under bust. The Lori is a much better Cleo style from this vantage point, but it provides a totally different shape.
  • The fabric is on par with the Melissa, in terms of softness and quality. That's better than some of the other Cleos I've tried lately, but the fabrics are never going to scream luxury. This is a cheap and cheerful brand designed for ladies who are new in their bra careers.
  • The polka dot pattern is totally fun and youthful. I've recently seen the red and white polka dot version and I actually think it's cuter than the black and white - but it fits even more generously than the black. Black dye tends to shrink fabric very slightly. Why bra companies don't grade with that in mind is beyond me, but whatevs.
  • The thong is sized generously. You might want to consider going down a size.
So, there you go. Still waiting on the fun bras - the Avocados which I am SO hopeful about (in a way that's likely to disappoint me, so I should just stop with that). On this topic, anyone here tried Avocado and, if yes, how's the fit? Do you own the Minnie? Thoughts about that one? Let's talk.

Monday, April 6, 2015

McCall's 6844: Fifth Time's A Charm

I'm feeling pretty good about the fit on this, but I know it's one of those pieces that owes everything to the fabric:

This ponte's got good drape but it has too much synthetic in it for my liking.

This overexposed shot is very similar to the one of Version 1, see photo below, which is why I've included it...
If you compare it with the original version below (which was already somewhat pattern-altered), you can see how much fit refinement has actually occurred over the course of this process:

See that fluttery fabric at the hem-line. That's because there's way too much of it. Even though this isn't the peplum version of the pattern, you can see how it's been drafted with the peplum in mind.
Version 5 (the blue one) still closes over the bust area, and then some. But at least now, there aren't 4 inches of excess fabric on either side of the placket at the waist. BTW, you can read about muslin 2 and muslin 3 here. Muslin 2 shows the ridiculous amount of fabric at the waist, in some ways better than version 1 (grey photo above).

What's Different Between Muslin 1 (slightly pattern-altered) and Muslin 5 (very altered, almost there):
  • The shoulders are 2 inches narrower on each side of version 5, as compared with version 1. Yes, you read that right. What you can't see in version 1 (the grey one, above) is that the shoulder seams were hanging off of my dress form - and its shoulders are considerably wider than mine.
  • The shape and size of the sleeve head and sleeve have been changed substantively (to be made smaller in some ways and larger in others). The shoulder is rotated forward to accommodate my imperfect posture.
  • Version 5 is 2 inches longer below the waist and the up-down hem is now straight.
  • Version 5 is narrower at the side seams than version 1.
  • Version 5 is shaped over the bust (the underbust to hem has been narrowed at the side front where it meets the front band). I also did an upper bust "small bust adjustment" which, it became apparent after version 4 (unphotographed), would be necessary. This is effectively a hollow chest alteration. I don't have a hollow upper chest but that's how my proportions read when you compare the projection of my full bust with my upper chest measurement. There was some puffing above the full bust till I narrowed the side front where it meets the front band. In case I ever want to feel like a buxom cartoon, here's my chance.
  • Version 5 has a 1 inch swayback adjustment, so the piece now has a back seam. Note: I don't have a swayback any more than I have a hollow upper chest, but if the alteration works... It's my way of removing excess length to suit my short waist, while maintaining length required to fall properly over the full bust at the front.
Specifically, in the last alteration session (changes to Version 4, see bottom of post, which produced version 5):
  • I cut another 1/2 inch of width from each shoulder seam.
  • I resized the armscye and sleeve head. The underarms were given a bit of extra fabric with horizontal stretch. But I also made the armhole shorter. The sleeve was narrowed.
  • I did the hollow chest / small upper bust adjustment by cheating: I created a version of the side front piece altered by a 1 inch wide / 4 inches long fish-eye dart from the shoulder seam to just above the nipple. I closed the dart on paper and put it atop the muslin 4 version of the piece. I then adjusted the shoulder and upper chest to account for the narrowed dimensions produced by the dart.
  • I straightened the hem.
What is the final, necessary alteration (as far as I can tell at this time)?
  • I need to take another 0.5 inches from the back length at the waist because there's still a bit of pooling.
IMO, mine is a chic-er and more elegant version of the original design, which is no doubt why I worked through 5 muslins to get here.

What's wrong with McCall's 6844, as originally drafted?
  • It's vanity sized into stupidity. And to confuse matters still further, version 5 is a modified XS but the pattern, according to dimensions, suggests that I should have cut a Large.  (I started with a medium.)
  • It's drafted for a voluptuous apple-shape - but it doesn't refer to the pattern as plus sized. The result is that many people make it way too big.
  • The shoulders would only work on a very wide frame.
Anyway, that's what I got. I'm happy with the fit, less happy with the fabric, but next I'm going to refine the pattern for stretch wovens and make a version that looks like a casual, but tailored jacket to go with a matching skirt or pants. I've also half considered buying this to make a matching, ponte skirt.

Today's questions: I'd love to know if you can see the difference in versions the way that I can. Maybe it's one of those things that's much more notable in real life than in pics? Do you like the latest (almost final and totally wearable) version? If you've made this, did you make a lot of alterations to improve the fit? Let's talk!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

What Am I Up To?

Not sure if you know this, but I really don't like Easter. IMO, it's the worst of all the holidays. As a child, I had to go to church on all three days (Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday). The meal never appealed to me. There was always tons of cleaning up that somehow was delegated to me. And it inevitably fell in the week of my mother and sister's birthdays (and now my kid's). So there was already tons of hoopla happening and none of it was about me. Not to mention that the weather on Easter, in TO, always sucks. To wit: today, there's snow on the ground.

(Lest I hear about this on the flip side, I will disclose that my parents always got us excellent, little Easter-morning gifties and left a rhyming poem from the Easter Bunny to give us hints about where they were hidden. But, sorry, nothing could make up for the endless church-going.)

So I don't celebrate. Of course, it would be utter hypocrisy for me to celebrate, what with my not being a practicing religious person. But I don't even get into it culturally. Really, I prefer Passover as a holiday. It seems more lively, though it could benefit from a nice spiral ham :-).

Lest you think I never eat an Easter dinner, most years my best friend Hilary invites my family to her house, along with her family. Sadly, her aunt recently died (one of the long-standing wonderful participants), and this year, naturally, the celebration is being held very close.

The upshot is that I don't have a damn thing planned for this long weekend - unless you count my kid's 15th birthday dinner (which happened on Thursday), dinner with friends (that was Friday) and a big-ass chicken tonight (cuz Scott feels it's sad not to eat a roast of some sort when other people are doing the same).

As a result, I've been doing all the Kristin-things:
  • I'm getting there with my skin care "brand". I've done a lot of work to improve my labels and, while there are many glitches still to correct, I'm on the right track.
  • Made skin-care: Lotion A, Deodorant A (this time it worked!), Serum A (I go through this stuff). (I can't keep my potions in stock because everyone I know wants them. Makes me feel very popular, in truth.)
  • Bought more freakin' ponte from FabricLand. While this isn't like me, earlier in the week, I decided to buy the additional amounts I required (to bolster amounts of left-over fabric, after making every possible muslin for McCall's 6844) without bringing swatches to the store. I've given all of the muslins away (they were VERY popular with friends) but I didn't want to waste the 1/2 metre remaining, of all the fabrics, when I could just buy another metre and have enough to make them all again (or something else, for novelty). How hard could it be, I mused, to remember which bolts I'd already purchased from? Well, apparently harder than you'd think. It's amazing how I messed up, given that there were only 4 blue fabrics to choose from. So I had to go back and buy more in the actual colours I have remnants of, and more in the colours I'd erroneously bought on Monday. Let's just say my plan backfired but I sure do have a lot of blue ponte in the stash right now.
  • I finally implemented the alterations to the next version of McCall's 6844. One should always do this immediately after making the last muslin. I started the process but lost interest (having sewed all day prior to realizing that muslin 4 was also a bust). Yesterday I spent quite some time remembering what I wanted to do and implementing the changes. Lord, I do hope muslin 5 is the well-fitted final or I do think I'm done with this.
  • I'm currently sewing McCall's 6844 muslin 5. Hope to have this done today...
  • I'm also knitting sock 1 of Kristin's Simple Sock Recipe. Note: This has been in the works for a while but I can't knit for more than 10 minutes at a time without taking a break, so who knows when we'll see the finished pair. How cruel to realize that I cannot live without handknit lounge socks at a time when knitting binges cause pain.
So that's my weekend. But what about you? Do you celebrate Easter (or some sort of holiday on this long weekend)? Are you working on your special fun crafts? What's up with you? Let's talk!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Not Quite Done Talking Shop

I have interesting intel for you: A local TO boutique started selling Ewa Michalak bras (or a small sample thereof, at any rate). This is very good news from my vantage point because, in the past I went through the stupidity of buying this brand direct from Poland and, after all the fuss, the end product didn't fit. I was able to determine today, once and for all, that EM bras don't work for me.

On paper, the narrow wires / projected cup combo is perfect for someone of my shape. In practice, on my body, the wires are too narrow (when have I ever said that) and the cups, while projected, seem to lack integrity at the centre cup. The net result for breasts that are not young or notably firm is that these bras don't support very well (especially compared with Empreinte offerings).

I may be the first person to dis this brand and, really I have no issue with it, shape-wise, it's just not for me. Furthermore, I do think the fabrics are a bit on the cheap and cheerful side. You might think I'd be bummed by this outcome but I'm actually pleased because now I won't feel longing every time some blogger does a love letter post on this product. I prefer brands that are easy to source.

Turns out there is not an every-day bra in that store (in my size) that I don't already own (or dislike). Imagine that.

So, I did what any sensible woman would do - I bought some erotic lingerie. And lest you think it cost what it does in your average sex shop, think again. I've never spent so much money on such a small amount of fabric, evah. Volume-wise, it was kind of like buying jewelry.

Anyway, I got a couple of outrageous pieces by Bordelle and FYI by Dani Read (links NSFW). If you're looking for some impractical underwear, I urge you to check them out.

And while we're on the topic of lingerie, gotta say that these two posts have revitalized my dressing habits. Having reminded myself of the truly excellent, well-fitting sets I own, I've put every fashion set back into regular rotation. I was becoming that woman who wears a beige bra (albeit a different one), every day of the week. Now I have extenders, in every colour, winging their way to me, to facilitate wearing the tighter-backed fun bras, even when I'm sensitive to snugness. As yet, I still haven't received my replacement for the too-large, Masquerade Persia set - and my Cleo Minnie still hasn't got here more than 2 weeks after having shipped. I'm not expecting the Avocado lingerie to get here before the end of next week. Have to say I'm feeling sort of agitated with anticipation.

Today's question: Have you tried Ewa Michalak bras and, if yes, what's your experience? I'm very curious to know. So let's talk!