Wednesday, March 31, 2010

review: old navy for dogs!

In my excitement over great ON finds, I totally forgot my raves about their dog line! Anyone who has a pup knows that although we want to pamper them in the cutest collars and whatnot, pooch accessories don't come cheap if you're searching for options beyond Petco or Petsmart. Furthermore, there's almost no point in spending a ton on accessories when pups just destroy them with wear and tear anyway.

IMO, this is such a smart avenue for ON to explore, and I hope it sticks around! I never understood why J Crew shuttered their Crewmutts line, so having some cute options at these lower pricepoints (and available through mass retail) is awesome! The line includes tees, hoodies, collars, leashes, toys, and the must-have item - a raincoat 'jacket-in-a-packet!'

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

yep yep yep meowww

Obviously, this is amazing:

Monday, March 29, 2010

food for dog thoughts

I've written before on what people food Griffin gets from time to time, but never on what we feed him for his meals! We've been through a few different types of food, and there is definitely a bit of trial and error before you settle on something.

When you first pick up your pooch (be it from a rescue or breeder), you'll want to feed exactly what he was eating before. Dogs have sensitive stomachs, and sudden food changes can really upset their tummies. Our rescue group was feeding a raw diet (*shudders*), and Griff happened to have Giardia and Coccidia, so we didn't have the luxury of trying to slowly transition him. He was put on a low-residue food (mostly available through vets, this is a wet food that has little nutritional value but moves through the GI quickly and easily), and then transitioned to canned food. You'll want to transition the food over a week or two...going from 25% new/75% 50/50 new/ 75% new/25% all new.

When it comes time to start feeding your own food, you must first decide on canned versus kibble. Canned food is more expensive per meal, and since it contains water, your dog will have to pee more frequently. Kibble is easier to dispense, cheaper per meal, ensures more solid poops, and cleans the teeth a bit. Griffin barely chewed his food when younger, so kibble wasn't a great option for us. After feeding canned food for some time, we started the transition to dry food by soaking the kibble in water to soften it up...eventually soaking less and less so that finally he was only eating dry food.

Next decision is what kind of food to feed. This post on the forum is an EXCELLENT read before settling on a brand. Generally, it states that big-brand commercial types (Iams or Purina) have lots of fillers and aren't as good quality as the more expensive, smaller brands (Wellness, Canidae, etc.), which have more meat and meat by-products.

In our case, we started off with the low-residue vet food, and transitioned to Canidae chicken-and-rice canned food. We then transitioned to Canidae chicken-and-rice dry food...and then switched to Innova Adult Dry Food for small dogs (this is what we currently use). We tried lamb-based foods, but these were a bit too rich for Griffin - he would have diarrhea often and occasionally vomit. The chicken-based foods work well for Griff. When we want to give him a little taste of something different, we do it in the form of treats (the Wellness WellBites are excellent for this and have quite the variety).

In short, feeding your pup is a bit of trial and error. There are those who hail raw food diets, organic diets, etc. Some would never dream of serving kibble, while others do a mix of wet and dry food (a good option for picky eaters). You'll know it's right when your dog is at a healthy weight and shape, has a shiny coat and clear eyes, and has a healthy amount of energy.

A Summary of what we feed/treat Griffin:
Innova Adult Dry Food - Small Bites
Wellness WellBites (Griff loves all flavors)
Wellness PureRewards
Dogswell Breathies (for bad breath)
Dogswell Mellow Mutt
Old Mother Hubbard Extra Tasty Biscuits

Occasional Chews/Treats:
Zukes Dental Chew Bones (for bad breath)
Merrick Flossies
Bully Sticks (you prolly don't want to know what they really are, but pups love 'em!)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

review: old navy spring/summer

Old Navy has really been surprising me lately - picking up the slack of its more expensive siblings (Banana Republic and the Gap). I'm finding the quality and style has really improved, and the sales are not to be missed. I bought a few things recently and have to rave...

I've written about my interest in finding a cute one-piece, and this one fit the bill. Ignore the reviews that say it doesn't work for larger chests. This absolutely fit me well and held everything in place. The bust features removable padding...when taken out it made a world of difference. I sized up one for a more comfortable fit up top.

I have always had luck with Old Navy shoes. They are moderately comfortable, especially for the price. Strangely, Gap and BR shoes KILL my feet. These wedges are much more adorable irl. I wouldn't advise wearing them if you'll be on your feet all day, but for a few hours, they are definitely a comfortable and stylish choice. The faux leather doesn't look faux, and the detailing makes them look more $$$ than they really are. Fit is tts.

This was a last-minute purchase but I love it for casual, lazy days. The slub-knit adds some texture, and I like the look of the reinforced neckline. I bought it in white, and the material is thick enough to not be see-through. Buyer beware - this top runs huge. I took an XS, which had room to spare. It's long enough so I can wear it with leggings and a cardigan and not feel overexposed.

Yes, I've embraced shorts again after a 10-year hiatus. I'm only partly kidding. I just went through a phase (since high school lol) where I did not want to wear shorts...unless they were 1) for the gym or 2) bermudas. Lately though, I've been loving the look of mid-thigh shorts with billowy tops or even tees and cropped jackets. I thought a black pair might be perfect to test out, for dressing up or down. What I love about these is the 5'' inseam - not too long, not too short. 3'' is just a little too short for this geezer.

Everyone should drop into Old Navy if they get a chance this spring/summer. I spotted cardigans and tees in a million colors, adorable floaty maxi dresses in muted floral prints, gladiator- and thong-style sandals, and tons of great workout gear (also bought a few long-sleeve running tees that have thumbholes for $11)!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring wishlist

I have a fairly small wishlist for spring. Mostly because I've managed to find several of my wants on supersale or with great discount codes/cashback offers. I'm still digging prints of all kinds! And because NYC has been blessed with the first real taste of spring this week (highs in the 70s!), I've finally allowed myself to get excited about shedding the layers and bulk!

Ali Ro Silk Racerback dress

I'm pretty sure this is going to be the dress I wear to curl up in the fetal position and cry celebrate my 30th birthday. Thankfully, I'll be doing it with JUST my best friend (aka Husband) in Sin City. Picturing this dress belted and paired with...

Frye Corrinna Wedge

...some cognac-colored wedges! Okay, so the above pictured aren't cognac, but I do like the shape of these and suspect they look much better irl. If I wanted to go the espadrille route...

Dolce Vita Uma Espadrille

...These lovelies would be a great choice. Adds some toughness with the buckles and thick straps to a girly and whimsical dress. I'm kind of loving these AE flats too, for daytime. As far as whimsical, no one does it better than Anthro (did you think I wouldn't have any Anthro finds in my wishlist?)...

Aniseed Skirt

Followspot Tank

Lightning Flower Tunic

I saw the Aniseed skirt on a girl out a few weeks ago. She paired it with a simple drapey black tank and some gladiator-type heels. It was hot and incredibly flattering! Since then, I've been fixated. The skirt is backordered in most sizes, so I suspect it's not going on sale anytime soon! I saw the Followspot tank while making a return at the Anthro store about a week ago. It is gorgeous irl and so fun and flirty. Talk about a top you could have a big meal in! I need to try it on next time I visit the store. The Lightning Flower Tunic is just such a pretty combo of colors. One of my girlfriends wore it out on our trip to Mexico with some straight leg dark rinse jeans and wedges and it was so cute! The colors are much more vibrant irl.

Rockport Jeannie Thong Sandal

Yeah I used to equate Rockport with geriatric. But don't these sandals look like you could walk miles in them? And they aren't as clunky as my Fitflops, which I usually trust to day-long hot weather walking. I saw these in a bright yellow on the TimeOut site, and I don't think they have appeared for sale yet. But I'm def interested in trying them!

J Crew Luxe Amber Ring Tank

J Crew Vista Paisley Twist Bandeau Tank

What would a warm-weather wishlist be without swimwear? I have been loving one-piece suits lately, and feel like the options have gotten so chic. I've found myself gravitating to tankinis and one-pieces for comfort (eat and drink by the pool on vaca and not worry about sucking in my brink-of-30 gut that is here to stay). I've only recently discovered J Crew swimwear and am thoroughly impressed with the quality. Plus the D-cup options are a big-busted gal's dream! The second suit pictured even comes in D-cup sizing!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

get your clean on

Ok, I know I have been a terrible blogger. Spotty and/or nonexistent posting. I'm super stressed with work and just need to get a handle on life. Consider it a partial blogging vaca (I did just return from a girls' trip to Cancun, which was a much-needed real-life vaca). Anyway, I recently bought this duster and wanted to extol its virtues. Extremely effective (picks up the dust without sending it back into the air or on the floor), and best of all, it's machine washable. Way more cost-effective than the Swiffer dusters, which I formerly used.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

review: lululemon gear

So I finally caved and got myself some Lululemon gear (pronounded Lulu-lemon like the fruit). For years, I've gotten by with cheap yoga pants from Old Navy, and even some more expensive Hardtail foldover pants. Tops included white men's Hanes tees, ribbed tanks, and old college tees. Over time, the tees and tanks got dingy, and the pants started getting small holes along the seams (mostly in the crotch area - how embarrassing!)

I've read a ton about the Lululemon products and brand, and have seen plenty of the pieces in action since more than half of the gym-goers in any given class are outfitted in some Lululemon. People claim the pieces wash and wear well and last for years. Even the salesgirl, while ringing me up, cheerfully proclaimed 'welcome to the addiction.' There were a few reasons I was hesitant to buy Lululemon in the past, mainly the prices. Cropped pants start at $60, while the famous Groove pants start at $98. Tanks start at $40, but can run up to $60. The items rarely go on sale - the website's loot section is usually picked over quickly and limited in sizing, and in-store price reductions vary by store, season, and even color of the product.

My change of heart came when Husband finally convinced me to just invest in some good-quality workout wear. Pieces that looked good, made me feel confident at the gym, and which were made to last. So, I ordered a few tops off of the Lululemon loot section, and visited the store to try on some pants. Here are the items I bought, and my thoughts.

Shade Tank

I studied the size chart, busted out my tape measure, and decided I'd be a 6 or 8 in Lululemon tops (for reference, I'm typically a 2/4). Took a chance on the final sale items, and purchased black, green, and a striped version. Big mistake. The black and green, both size 8, were falling off me (consequently they're up on ebay now: here and here). Even the 6 was big, but doable since I typically double up my sports bras for added support. I wore the 6 for cardio, and I always feel rather hot in it. Hot like my-skin-can't-breathe-and-I-might-melt-into-a-puddle hot. I later found out that this top is made of luon (Lululemon's signature material), and is designed to wick moisture away from the skin. In order for the fabric to efficiently do so, the garment needs to be fitted against the skin. Because my top is a touch big, the sweat just sits there and can't be wicked away. Good to know and dammit! If I actually lose some weight, I'll probably have to sell this one too. The Shade Tank has a secret pocket inside at the back, which is cool, but not super useful for me. I did use it to store my lock combo, but doubt I'd use it for keys and cash. Still, a nice feature to have.

Movement Tank

This was another loot purchase. Strangely, I bought this in a size 6 (the failed 8 is up on ebay too), and it fits ok. A size down would have fit better in the straps, but this hugs nicely without being too constricting in the tummy. Again, since I double up sports bras, the looseness up top wasn't much of an issue. What I LOVE about this one is the longer length. It is perfect to wear with running tights or cropped leggings, since it covers the tush nicely. The extra length also allows you to bunch up the fabric a bit around the middle, for added coverage. The fabric at the chest keeps the top from feeling too low cut. The Movement Tank is made of light luon, and it felt a lot more comfortable through heavy cardio sessions.

Groove Pants

I bought all of the bottoms in-store, since I wanted to make sure and get it right the first time. They are all made of regular-weight luon, and I took a size 4 in all 3 bottoms (I'm a size 26/27 in pants). I have to say, the hype about these are spot-on, They lift the rear, tighten the legs, and look amazing. The rise is a mid-rise, which I prefer for working out. IMO, these might be the best bootcut workout pants around. For reals. Online review claim that the quality of these is different from the Grooves of years past, so I'll have to update in a few weeks after repeated washings. I hope that's not the case!

Wunder Unders

I loved these so much, that I bought the full-leg version and the cropped version. Like the Groove pants, the Wunder Unders have this magic ability to slim your legs and flatter completely. The crops hit at the bottom of my calf, and the full leg version have a tiny bit of bunching at the ankle. Lululemon offers free hemming for anything (you can bring them in months after purchase and this will still apply), so if I can shorten them at anytime. These leggings are really great quality...I'm tempted to wear them out an about as well as to the gym!

Lululemon markets most of their items for yoga, although they can clearly be used for any activity (even casual wear). I'm intrigued by their running selection, especially the I Just Wanna Run tank and the Empower Crop Pants.

Some Takeaway Lessons:
* Don't be afraid of the 'educators' who work in the store. I'm usually a silent, on-my-own, leave-me-alone kind of shopper, but the girls who worked at my closest location were very knowledgeable and honest. They took one look at me, and picked my exact size in the bottoms.
*Luon products, when sized right, give you great shape, hold you in all the right places, and wick sweat away efficiently.
* The bottoms, when sized right, should be snug, but never appear shiny when you stretch. Shiny indicates they are too tight.
* You can hem for free just about anything - pants to make shorts, tunic tanks to become regular tanks. It's a nice option, especially with the cost of the items.

My advice is to visit your local store and try stuff on. I am crossing my fingers that my items hold up for the long haul. They appear to be great quality and make me look great, which is 2/3 of what I was looking for in workout wear! I apologize that some of the items I listed aren't available online. The Lululemon website leaves a lot to be desired, but I think if you call Customer Service, the inventory is more extensive than what appears online. Also, they seem to phase out their seasonal items rather quickly, so pieces come and go or are reborn in different colors and designs, all the time.

PS - I also bought some Nike workout wear that I love, so look out for an upcoming review!

Monday, March 1, 2010

quotable monday

A report on President Obama's recent checkup didn't just reveal that he has yet to quit smoking, but also that the gym obsessive and healthy-eating advocate has high cholesterol. To reassure a worried nation today, Obama decided to head back to the White House on foot, cameras in tow, from a speech he made at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Obama told reporters that he needed to "make sure that I'm walking off some of that cholesterol. That's a year of campaigning right there." (Side note: Can you blame your high cholesterol on a campaign that ended fifteen months ago? We'll leave that to the doctors.) As planned, headlines like "Obama walks to White House to improve cholesterol" appeared soon after. We're glad that Obama is making an effort to stay healthy and all, but the trek back from the speech was all of one block. And when he left for the speech earlier today, he traveled that block in his motorcade.

-- Dan Amira, NY Mag