Monday, September 26, 2011

Pan Am Might Be Another Winner for ABC

I was not happy at all when ABC announced early in the summer that Brothers and Sisters  was being cancelled. 

I cried.

Well, no, I didn't.  I am just being dramatic.  Sigh.

I loved Sally Field as the matriarch, and especially Matthew Rhys as Kevin Walker.  I laughed out loud and so hard at times - and I mean rolling on the floor laughing.  I would even be at work the next day and burst out in a huge grin thinking of one liners from the show. 

Oh, how I miss you Brothers and Sisters.  

Thank goodness for reruns on Netflix.  I get to watch it 24/7.  Well, again, not really.  But it is there if I want to.  It is like a TV security blanket.  

I wanted to be a Walker.  Just like everyone of you out there that loved the show.  I just wanted to sit in Nora's fabulous kitchen and have a cup of coffee and a doughnut.  Oh, and I loved the pantry.  The pantry of secrets...

I was sad to not have a show to look forward to on a Sunday night.  I heard about Pan Am, but I didn't want to like it because it replaced my favorite drama.  I thought, damn you Pam Am.  

The summer passed and my grief has lessened.

On the front page of the TV Topics was a picture of the new ABC drama, Pan Am.  I liked the picture and read the article about this new show - its characters, its plot, and its history.

I liked what I read and liked even more what I saw when, YES, I tuned in at 10:00pm ET to see the pilot espisode.  

I love the 1950's and 1960's.  I love the music, the clothes, the easygoing way of life.  This drama intrigues me and almost made me feel as I stepped back into that time in history.  I enjoyed the retro feel of this show and the ladylike qualities of the flight attendants.  Why can't us women go back to a time when a woman dressed like a lady and carried herself in a classy and elegant manner?  

The look of the show is what initially drew me, but already the first episode had enough drama to want me coming back next week.  My favorite line was - "Keep this picture my son drew and put it on your fridge.  Let it be a reminder to you to not sleep with another women's husband."  Ouch.  

I still miss you Brothers and Sisters,  but I am thrilled to have a new drama to look forward to in a week.  Time will tell if Pan Am has the same hold of Brothers and Sisters....

See you next week Pan Am.  You may be my new guilty Sunday night - the kids are in bed - TV pleasure!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dance Bags For Your Little Ballerina

My little girl started her first year of dancing school this past week.  It was a class full of twenty 3 & 4 year olds that were learning to 'reach for the sky on your tippy tippy toes' in their cute ballet shoes.

A few weeks ago when we went to the Bailey Slipper Shop to get her black leotard, tights and ballet and tap shoes, the sales associate also suggested that I get her a cute little dance bag to carry her shoes and clothes back and forth from home to dance class.  

Great idea, I thought.

So, we went to the dance bag section and stood there staring at all the bedazzled and tacky dance bags.  Leopard print? No thanks.  Fake bedazzled jewels?  Nope.  Shiny, quilted material with half dressed cats on them?  No way.

I did a few dance bag searches that came up with a handful of very nice dance bags - but they were geared toward the serious dancer a handful of fingers older then my daughter.

As I was admiring the Crewcuts by J.Crew girls winter accessories for 2011/2012 and scrolling through the page, I came across the cutest bags for young girls.  A lightbulb in my head went off, flashing...DANCE SCHOOL BAGS!, DANCE SCHOOL BAGS!

How cute is this?  A little ballerina with a hot pink tulle tutu!  We got this one for $10!  And I mean ONLY $10 because J.Crew offers FREE SHIPPING on Crewcut orders.

The Crewcuts ballerina bag is perfect to not only fit both pairs of shoes, but also her leg warmers and yoga pants.  Yay, Yay!

I must admit that my first choice, you know - if money was never an issue, would be this cute, cute, cute ruffle backpack...

It is $59, but I will stalk J.Crew until it goes on sale.  If you are willing to shell out this much for a beautiful bag, then go for it.  How stylish would your lovely girl look?  Just leave a few left for us 'sale' folks, pretty please!

I am glad I stumbled on these girly Crewcuts bags/carryalls.  Of course, these can be used for school, sleepovers, etc., but they are also the perfect dance bag for a little girl's dancing gear.

Seriously cute.  Seriously functional.  Seriously stylish. 

Visit Crewcuts at to see these great alternatives to the mundane and predictable dance bags that are hanging at your local dance shop.  Don't do it!  Go girly and preppy!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thumbs Up!! The Crewcuts 2011 Long Powder Puffer.

Finally, my official Crewcuts by J.Crew Puffer Jacket review...

Within the last week I received a huge J.Crew box with my daughter's long anticipated Girls Crewcuts Long Powder Puffer Jacket!  Yip Yip Yippee! If you have read any of my previous posts, you know my crazy obsession with this dandy little puffer jacket.

Initially, I wanted to get her the Cobblestone color, but she loves blue and begged for the Navy Blue powder puffer.  Last year she wore a Gap Warmest long parka in a champagne color, and although it was very nice, it got dirtier and dirtier as each day passed.  I was washing it at least once a week.  Sigh.  So, we ordered the Navy Blue at my daughter's request and my first impression was - WOW!

I was so excited to open the box, and when I did I was pleasantly surprised.  From the picture online the blue seemed a bit 'too blue' for me.  Meaning, I thought it would be a brighter navy, not the awesome navy it truly is.  As I ripped open the plastic packaging, I was thrilled that the navy is dark - a cross between navy blue and black.  It is stunning!  Here is my little darling wearing her winter gear for Winter 2011/2012:

Crewcuts 2011 Girls Long Powder Puffer in Navy Blue
The Crewcuts Girls Long Powder Puffer is worth every penny spent.  The style has a very girly look with the grosgrain sash that slides through 2 loops to form a bow or just a knotted sash.  This makes the jacket classy and sweet.  I already have visions of changing up the sash with different colors for a stylish twist. Also of note is two subtle pin-tucks in the the chest area for even more feminine definition, and two side pockets. 

This jacket is a soft, yet thick, down filled puffer.  Even though it is a puffer, the jacket is not too poofy -  it has just the right amount of down to still give it a somewhat streamlined effect.   My daughter is 3.5 yrs. old and 41 inches, so, we went with the girls size 4-5, according to the J.Crew sizing guidelines.  Overall, the jacket fits very well, with plenty of room for growing.  J.Crew has the right idea by allowing a little more extra room at each size, for 2-3 to 14.

Here are the important points:

  • Length - falls to the right above the knee.  This is my favorite length for the very cold, blustery, snowy weather.  The tush stays warm and the upper legs are toasty, too.  I don't know about you, but I have no tolerance for cold air zipping up my back on a frigid day.  Yay for the long puffer jacket!
  • Sleeve length - Not too long and not too short.  Perfect!  They even have a snow barrier layer on the inside of the sleeves.  No snow or cold air is getting though this adorable monster of a jacket!
  • Hood - the hood is attached and is plain, no fur.  Thank goodness because I think the fur is becoming dated and too busy.  The hood fits on the head well, but their are no strings.  It fell off fast, but we wear hats instead anyway - so this wasn't a big deal for us.  
  • Inside - the main body is covered in a very warm fleece - and I mean seriously warm.  Being in a cold weather area, this is probably the main selling point for most parents.  Combine the thick fleece lining with the goose down and this is easily a jacket that can withstand temperatures well below freezing.  Also on the inside is a small area with This Belongs To... for personalizing with your child's name.  Many jackets I see have pockets on the inside for a cell phone, iPod, etc. for the older kids, but this one does not.  Please note that in case this is an important feature for you.
  • Closure  - the jacket contains both a zipper and a snap overlay.  This is a double barrier to keep the body warm when that wind is whipping.  The zipper has a matching grosgrain loop attached for easy grabbing and the snap are heavy duty.  The snaps actually go all the way up to the chin for neck warmth - so scarf needed here!  My daughter was able to snap a couple herself, but they are a bit tricky for the preschooler age.  But, then again, I don't have the expectation that a child this age has mastered this skill.  That is what Mom and Dad are for, right?
The warmth of this Crewcuts Powder Puffer Jacket is exceptional.  I put my arm through the sleeve and within a minute or so, my arm was noticeably warmer. My daughter wore it for 10 minutes and said to felt soft and 'roasty toasty'.   I am beyond happy with the Crewcuts Long Powder Puffer and would recommend this for any girl living in a very cold winter climate.  J.Crew has taken the warmth of this jacket seriously, and the classy style is a major added bonus.  By far, this is the most sweet, stylish and preppy puffer jacket for girls on the market right now.  This powder puffer is going to be our running around town jacket for the winter season.  J.Crew has one happy, happy customer in the eastern Great Lakes!

Bring on the lake effect snow and blizzard conditions - we are really ready now!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thumbs Down! J.Crew Tissue Tee.

The roller coaster weather in the Fall, especially is the Northeast, can have you wearing shorts and a cute tee one day, skinny jeans and a trench coat the next. And, who doesn't love a well fitted trench?

Well, I have the same feeling when it comes to long sleeve tees this time of year.  I like mine to be figure flattering and fitted, not unshapely and slouchy.  For the past few years I have bought the picture perfect tissue tee from J.Crew.  I love the way it looks in the J.Crew catalog and online - just looking at this beautifully fitted tee makes me want to order more online...    

But, I won't.  Every year I get sucked into buying this perfect looking tissue tee in fabulous rich jewel tones and wear-with-everything neutrals.  

The fabric is thin and lightweight, hence the name - tissue tee.  Surprisingly, I find it warm when layered under a cardigan or another tee.  The arm length and torso length are a bit on the longer side, but I like that in a tee - it makes the layering look modern and fresh.

Now the bad news, and it is B.A.D.  Because this tee has no lycra, it looses its shape quickly and in an ugly way.  The first 20 minutes or so are glorious - until you start moving around and the stretching begins.  The waist area balloons out, and the sleeves from the elbow down resemble parachute pants from the 'stylish' 1980's.  Let's all take a moment of silence as we remember those good 'ol days.  (wink, wink)  

Another thing I have noticed is that small holes appear in the fabric after a few washes.  I wash the tissue tee according to the J.Crew care label, so I find this unacceptable from such a quality retailer.  

I understand that this J.Crew tissue tee is primarily a layering piece, but who wants an overstretched under layer that is sprouting little holes wherever it gets a little tugged or pulled.  Not me!  And to wear it alone, all I can say is...yikes.

This year I have vowed to myself to not get sucked into the beautiful looking picture on by remembering my unsightly figure in this tee. Sigh.

J.Crew should really consider adding a little lycra so this tissue tee hugged the body more closely.  The theory of a lightweight tissue tee is great, but the reality is a boxy, overstretched layering piece.  If J.Crew tweaked the make of this a little, it could easily be a little hot number for us stylish women.  Oh, and while you are at it J.Crew, the v-neck tissue tee's are not made for anyone that is larger than an A bra cup size.  It is hard to dress classy and professional when you are "Little Miss I See All Your Cleavage".  Throw us a bone, lovely J.Crew designers.   

Friday, September 9, 2011

MacGourmet - Ooh La La!

In July, Apple rolled out their Lion OS X update and with it I discovered many features for my MacBook Pro that I didn't know existed.  One was the recipe software for Mac OS X - MacGourmet!

Being a woman that loves to cook and bake, I wanted a find a home for all my recipes, plus the ones I want to save & try from sites such as Betty  I discovered MacGourmet in the App Store and after reading some reviews and visiting the website, I decided to give the free MacGourmet demo a try.

Before I tell you how fascinated I am with this recipe saver, let me give you a quick screenshot of what my own online recipe box looks like.

It is basically iTunes for you recipes!  The format is simple, classy and easily readable.  My color scheme is pinks, but there are bunch of available colors to choose from to make it your own.  I especially love how they use different shades of the color schemes to highlight certain portion of the recipe page.  All your recipes sit in the second column with a picture and can be scrolled back and forth. 

The recipe importer on MacGourmet is, by far, the easiest one have I used.  It has at least 50 different cooking and baking websites that it imports directly from, i.e.. Betty Crocker, Kraft, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, The Food Network, Rachael Ray - just to name a few.  All these websites import quickly and completely to MacGourmet with one click.  And the pictures are excellent - sharp and clear.  Each recipe can have one main picture, then additional pictures to show preparation.  You may think that little picture in the right hand corner looks small, but if you click on it once, it comes center-stage and becomes much larger.  It is fantastic!

The actual recipe when imported is very well organized and easily readable.  I really enjoy how they number each step and not combine all the steps into one messy paragraph.  The Notes section of the recipe is very helpful.  I like to add little tips to myself and also what to what to serve it with - a green salad, egg noodles, rice, etc.  I can also add private notes that are for me only, meaning, if I was to print the recipe for someone else, while my notes would appear, my private notes would not.  Primarily, I use these private notes to remind myself who liked what recipe.

The overall layout is similar to iTunes with a main recipe section that is similar to your music library.  It holds all your recipes.  And although you can add the recipe to different recipe folders (like playlists), the main copy sits in the recipe library.  To delete it from another section does not delete the main recipe - you would have to delete it in the main recipe library to delete it altogether.  

Another fantastic feature is the ability to use many, many categories when filing the recipe.  All I have to do is type in Halloween, and all my recipes that fall under that category appear.  No more fishing through hundreds of recipes.  This makes organizing and finding your recipes a flash.  

On the many occasions when I need to scale down a recipe or double or triple it, the scaling feature allows me do this correctly and accurately.  And, it doesn't change the integrity of the original recipe either.  After you are done using the scaling method, just reset, and the scaling recipe disappears. Simple. 

While I have mastered the recipe section, I am still getting used to taking advantage of the many other fabulous features in the application.  I love using the wine notes to remind myself of the favorite wines we use for family holidays, birthday's, or get togethers.  Not only can you add your own notes, but the wineries notes, and label photo as well.  Classy and sassy!

There are a few plug-ins with MacGourmet that are useful, but cost an additional $9.  These are the Weekly Meal Planner, Cookbook maker, and Nutritional info.  I purchased the Weekly Planner and it is simple, but does what it says.  You can plan all your meals throughout the day for the entire week then print it out to hang on the fridge along with a handy shopping list.  Note:  If you purchase MacGourmet Deluxe (like I should have in the first place - duh.) all the plug-ins previously mentioned come in the package.  This is the better deal.    

Starting on September 6, 2011, and running thru September 11, 2011, MacGourmet can be purchased for $10 by using the Coupon Code: SEVENYEARS.  Try the free demo first, then purchase if you enjoy it. I know you will.  

Also, if you miss out on this generous offer and you have a competitor's recipe software on your Mac (such as YummySoup! - I had this), email the developer, Michael Dupuis, and he will give you a nice discount of $10 off of MacGourmet!  

I am smitten with MacGourmet's recipe software for Mac.  I feel soooo organized. Cooking & baking is enjoyable with Macgourmet's user friendly interface.  Functionality with design and style are big sellers for me, and MacGourmet has it all...and then some.

Try MacGourmet and get Cooking!!  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Yippee! J.Crew Listens to their Customers!

Last year I bought Crewcuts by J.Crew girls solid somersault leggings because I liked all the fantastic colors they were offering - neutrals and vibrants.   I was pleased to open the package and see the the colors were just what I expected, the feel was soft and stretchy, and the fit was true to size.  I was disappointed to discover that after a few wears, the waistband stretched permanently and my little toddler was a slave to picking up here leggings every time she bent over, sat, or just walked a short distance.  I have visions of her looking like a little rap star if she was was to be wearing these while playing on the playground if she was in school.

As I was checking out J.Crew's sale last weekend, I took a glance at their other leggings and pleasantly found this  - redesigned Crewcuts somersault leggings!  Holy cowsers!  I know I sent their Crewcuts expert, Melanie, an email regarding the poor waistband on these leggings, and I am guessing a legion of other mom's did the same exact thing.

Here is photo of the leggings in a vibrant reddish-orange that goes by the name - 'eternal flame' - and a little description of the new somersault leggings fit and feel.  Yippee!

You asked for it, you got it: our littlest leggings (sizes 2 and 3) now have a whole new fit and feel, which means playtime has never been comfier. Plus, all our sizes have a thicker, sturdier waistband she's sure to be head over heels for (on the monkey bars, that is). Cotton/Lycra® spandex jersey. Elastic waistband. Import. Machine wash.

Crewcuts Somersault leggings $16.50

Thank You J.Crew for listening to your customers and making a semi-good product a FIVE-STAR wardrobe staple!  We received ours a few days ago and the fit around the waist is sturdy and well fitting.  After a couple hours of wear running around the park, they held their shape beautifully - a big difference from last year's legging.  

What I like besides the colors, feel and now fit, is that wash after wash, the colors was retained and there was no piling whatsoever.  

Here is two thumbs-up to the team at J.Crew for trusting the feedback from their buyers and giving great customer service.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

Too all the workers out there...YIPPEE!...a day off!  The unofficial end of summer and the unofficial start of the Halloween Season.  Don't shoot the messenger — I went grocery shopping today and saw Halloween decorations and pumpkins.  And so it begins.....

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Budget Shopper: Get a Crewcuts Look at a Target Store Price

When you really think about all the clothes you buy every year (more if you have to wardrobe kids through four seasons) - how often does your child wear those items?  Chances are, there are a handful of favorites that get worn routinely, while others are lucky to get a wear or two.  I have learned the past few years the beauty of mixing and matching.  I think kids look adorable when their outfits are not match-matchy.  

I love Crewcuts clothes for girls.  If you have glanced at other posts I have written, you will soon see that I love the classy, girly, yet kid-like look at Crewcuts.  Most of the time though, I don't like the price.  I will splurge on a jacket (I bought my 3 yr old the Crewcuts powder puffer), but I wait for a lot of the items to go on sale.  I frequent other stores looking for Crewcuts look-a-likes.  Some of my favorite stores for 'Crewcut knockoff's" are Target, Old Navy, Gap and Carter's.  

In this installment of Budget Shopper, I focus on a handful of items I found at Target this Fall of 2011 that mimic the preppy, Crewcut wardrobe essentials. Here are some Target clothes that look like J.Crew's Crewcuts...

First is this classic striped cardigan sweater.  It is lightweight in feel, but with layering over a tee or tank, will be prefect for chilly days at the bus stop or a playdate at the park.  
The ruffles around the neckline are modern yet girly, and the contrasting white piping around the neckline and buttons make it look more than the $14.99 on the price tag. Pair it with a bright skirt, colorful leggings, or casual jeans and ballet flats.  This runs a bit small, so size up by one.

My next Target favorite is this heather brown cardigan with hot pink flowers on the upper left chest.
This runs true to size, with a little more extra room thrown in.  I can picture this with a tulle skirt and footless leggings.  Are you seeing the resemblance to Crewcuts here? Absolutely, Iam!  Again, this little number goes for $14.99! 

As I was browsing the toddler clothing section at Target, I came across these other gems.  Here are a few of my choices....drumroll, please.

What I like about all these pieces is their simplicity.  They can be paired with each other for an handful of practical outfits.  All you need are some basic tee's, tights, leggings, ballet flats, or boots.  All these pieces (shown) together cost less than $85.00!  

So, while you may not have the budget for a Crewcuts wardrobe, it is easy to find those preppy and classy pieces at Target for a fraction of the cost.  And, who doesn't love a GREAT deal?

I have been guilty of overbuying for my daughter, but after packing away clothes that she never wore, or never even had a chance to wear, I am more aware of buying pieces that all work together.  That means I buy less, but am able to have more outfits!  The best part of that is I end up having more money to spend on a fabulous Crewcuts sale!! 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Foul Weather Friends - Crewcuts by J.Crew Girls Long Powder Puffer Jackets!

The calendar may say September, but store inventory is screaming - Puffer jackets! - for the blustery, cold winter months ahead.  I have been on a winter coat and accessories scavenger hunt for the most stylish, yet warm, little girl winter wardrobe essentials.  My favorite puffers are coming from Crewcuts, for boys & girls 2-10, by J.Crew.

I have been completely in love with Crewcuts girls long powder puffer jacket since last year.  The length is perfect to keep the tush and upper legs toasty while looking oh so adorable with the sash around the waist.  They are filled with down and are exceptionally warm for the harsh cold and wind.  Here is a peek...

This is my favorite choice of colors for the 2011-2012 season.  The cobblestone color is a versatile neutral that will compliment many outfits from jeans to leggings in a array of colors while not looking too busy.  

This is choice number two.  The navy and pink sash is stunning, but I wish the navy was a bit deeper.  Still, overall, it is a great neutral and beats all the pink coats that will be saturating the market soon.  The other color offered in this style is a vintage olive green with a same color sash that is nice, but the color is a little too drab.  Last year they offered a dark charcoal gray color which is MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE, but after consulting with a J.Crew rep this week, I found out it is not being offered this season.  Drats.  

The other puffer jacket being offered by Crewcuts is the girls convertible puffer.  It is a classic puffer jacket that transforms to a puffer vest!  This is a great choice for a play coat - sledding, skiing, you name it.  Just pick up a pair of snow pants and your little one is ready for a long day of fun.

The color choice for this style are more numerous, but I think this pink is to die for.  Pair it with some ivory or black snow pants for a streamlined and classy look.

What I love most about these girls Crewcuts puffer jackets besides their style and warmth, are that the hoods are plain and don't have fur around them.  A couple years back I loved the look of fur around the hood, but now it just looks dated to me.  This look, without fur, looks simple and clean.

Check out and head to the Crewcuts tab for a look at these fabulous and really warm jackets for your little girl.  The foul winter winter that I absolutely can't wait for is coming faster than you think.  Get your Crewcuts puffer before they fly off the shelf - like they did last year.  I bought mine today so I am not kicking myself in November when the size I want is sold out  -  those are my least favorite two words.

Happy Back -to -School :)

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