How to Survive The Library Book Sale

How to Survive The Library Book Sale

It’s intense, people; you don’t even know. I’m talkin’ shoving grannies and kickin’ butt. Just kidding! I do take the semiannual library book sale very seriously but it isn’t a life or death situation, unlike Black Friday. It is nice to go at your own pace during this otherwise crazy shopping time. I’ve put together a list of things I’ve learned about attending the library book sale and realistic tips to stick to, to ensure the best outcome for you.

I don’t know where you live but my library has a sale twice a year, each last for three days so I always try to be ready. It doesn’t always work out and it takes a little forethought. You’ll never have to camp out though. Whew. Over the course of the year, books are either donated or just appear (I’ve never looked into it) and then sold for very little money to benefit the library. The library in my town offers so many activities to the community and it is only right that we give back. They have little play classes for babies, reading clubs for teens, regular yoga and craft classes, as well as giving out free passes to local museums. I grew up sitting in the aisles in the children’s section, a book between my lap because I was too impatient to actually walk to a seat. Anyway, on to the tips…

1. Go with a clear head. I learned this the hard way one year when I went with a wicked hangover. I couldn’t focus and was in no mood to fiddle through tables and tables of books, especially because I was sick to my stomach.

2. Wear a cute, but comfortable pair of flats that you probably couldn’t fall over in. You may be heaving some pretty heavy books and even if your heels feel stable, you’ll be balancing some extra weight on one arm and it could really throw off your balance. The last thing you want is a broken ankle. Medical care is expensive and perhaps even worse, the EMTs on the ambulance probably won’t let you take your books. It’s a big deal.

3. Wear pants that fit perfectly. The last thing you want to do is be hitching up your jeans when you’re trying to hold a lot of books.

4. Wear a cute top and a cardigan. This is a very important two-parter. The top should have an average dip neckline. Sometimes you’ll have to balance a stack of books against your chest and if the books are lowered, your top is going with it. Wear any necklaces short, to avoid said issue and also because even though you’re at a library doesn’t mean you have to look boring. The cardigan comes in handy because it is better than a jacket. Why? Carrying around a coat isn’t ideal because it takes up precious arm real estate that could be holding books. Even though it’s a November in New York, deal with it. Sacrifice.

5. Leave your purse (hidden) in the car. I wear skinny jeans and they just about fit my money and my car keys. Cell phone? Wallet? Lipstick? Leave it in the car. You shouldn’t be using your phone in a library anyway. SHHH!

6. If you have reusable bags (and you should, what are you a caveman?), now is the time to NOT FORGET THEM. I use my Baggus and they are not only bigger than the flimsy plastic bags that library would otherwise give you, but they have reinforced and thicker handles that won’t cut your arm in half. Also, fabric is generally more sturdy than plastic and books (taking it back to first grade here) have sharp edges that can tear through a bag before you even get to the parking lot.

7. Make multiple trips. You may feel like Wonderwoman with all the good you are doing by reusing books and donating money, but don’t throw out your back. Also, multiple trips lets you buy even more books! Yay! I picked out the biggest books first, paid, and brought them to the car. I emptied my Baggus and went back in for more, smaller books. On Saturday, I am going back because they have this whole fill-up-a-plastic-bag-for-2-dollars deal and I like to get my swimming students books as little holiday gifts. It is still a good idea to bring a reusable bag for reinforcement when that plastic bag inevitably tears open in the middle of the parking lot.

8. Before you leave the car, take another $20 out of your wallet. You never know what you’ll see. Don’t limit yourself.

9. Wear a bra that allows for a full range of arm movement. Balconettes are not such a good idea in this case, as their straps are usually fairly far apart and can really start to dig in if your holding your arms in front of you for a long time. If you are sorting through and holding books, you’ll be doing a lot of this.

10. Be nice. Everyone there is just shopping for knowledge, just like you. If someone needs help finding something and you happened to see the subject of book they are looking for, let them know. Some people don’t have the patience or the time to look through everything themselves. By giving them a direction, not only are you being kind but you’re also clearing the floor for more customer movement.

Finally, you can go home and smell your books. That’s what everyone does, right?

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Curvy Kate Ella bra review

Curvy Kate Ella bra review

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I purchased the discontinued Curvy Kate Ella. I had previously given this brand a try with the Criss Cross, which turned out to be a pretty terribly fitting bra. After that experience, I dismissed the brand. A year went by and Bratabase announced it would end its free world-wide shipping. In a desperate rampage (UK->NY shipping is pricey!), I purchased any 28H and 30GG bras I could find. I wound up being an altered Ewa Michalak bra, Cleo’s Sadie Longline, and Curvy Kate’s Thrill Me. I will do the reviews at some other time, but the Thrill Me was impressive enough that I was willing to try another Curvy Kate that happened to pop into an Ebay email.

I will agree with Bras I Hate in that the bra is much prettier in person than in the stock photos. The bra felt fine on and it was a good fit, in 30GG. The wires encased my tissue and the cups didn’t come up horrendously high, which is a common problem when you’re five foot tall. I am happy with the width of the wire but I think a narrow-shouldered person, such as myself, may find the strap separation too great. Even though the bra is comfortable just walking around in, it became less than comfortable when I had to do activities requiring my arm or arms to be held in front of me for long periods of time (driving, cashiering, walking the dog). Due to the design, the straps are something I couldn’t easily move further into the cup. Speaking of the straps, they adjust almost 100%.

P1010556I quadboob (it’s a verb in my book) on one side just a little, after I’ve been moving around a lot and that’s easily adjustable but I did feel like the shape is not my favorite. I don’t know if it’s an optical illusion but I find that on bras with a sheer panel up top and a solid panel down below, after a while the girls look…sad. It is less obvious in this bra than in the Criss Cross. Maybe the top panel is pushing my tissue down?

The unfortunate part of the straps/cups width is that the wings/side of the cup show under tank tops but I’ve noticed that on every single non-contour bra I own. It is good for tees and sweaters, more so sweaters because the embroidery is raised and it easily shows through non-substantial fabrics.

Despite all these problems, I consider this bra a successful buy. I have another fitting bra, even if the clothes that cover it and the time of week(ie not work) are limited. I would recommend this bra to non-narrow-shouldered women who have bottom heavy, average or wide-set busts.

My Bra-Fitting Journey

My Bra-Fitting Journey

The journey to find the correct size was a messy one–a massacre ending with a dozen or so bra corpses strewn about. In high school I remember walking up to the building and my back strap coming undone. I was literally busting out and so I began looking for bigger sizes. I would walk around Target, each trip going up a cup size. UNTIL I RAN OUT OF CUP SIZES TO GO UP. The only huge (to me at the time) cups I saw were the ones on those ugly beige bras. No way. Well, I thought, I will just have to go up band sizes now. After some time, I noticed that I was spending a good part of the schoolday with my hand between my shoulder blades yanking my bra band down because it had ridden up AGAIN. I’ve reached the end of the US chart, DD so where could I go from here? Fredericks of Hollywood. It was the only US semi-close brick-and-mortar store that I could find that carried up to an F cup. I found that I was able to fit into a 34F there. People would say, “Well isn’t that store just for sexy-time lingerie?” Lacy and molded cups became my norm and I still carry that preference. I was a happy camper for a while until I noticed the band creeping up my back again and again; it wasn’t so obvious as previous times but it was still there. What do I do from here? I turned to the internet, beginning with eBay. I started buying bras left and right. My reasoning was, well the cups on those 34F bras aren’t a terrible fit so maybe if I get an F cup, with a smaller band it will fit. I would go ahead and order a 30F and low and behold it was jokingly small. I started to read about larger cups existing and how the measurement should be that of your ribcage. I purchased an M&S 28G. It began to occur to me that band size and cup size are relative. A dozen bras later, it was becoming apparent that I was running out of funds for this trial-and-error system. I turned to the magic of Google, which brought me to Thin and Curvy. It was there that I read about how to fit myself. My world…if it were flat…flipped over. With my trial and error leading me to a 32G, I was in a “sister size” and Thin and Curvy’s posts just tidied that size up for me. I have since settled on 28H/30GG and occasionally 32G (I find M&S bras usually have firm backs). Along this journey, I have stumbled upon bra blogs from across the world and I follow them religiously. Beautiful lingerie has become an obsession and I spread fitting information like a Jehovahs Witness. Have you accepted Ewa Michalak as your lord and savior? Just kidding. I don’t knock on your doors but give me a chance (and a drink) and I will talk your ear off. Just the other day as I was settling down to watch Double Divas, my dad said “Isn’t this bra thing a bit of an obsession? You’re not going to be 25 forever.” And to that I said, “Dad, I’m 24.”

Nightwear for the Bust-errific Ladies

Nightwear for the Bust-errific Ladies

There’s an Australian brand out there called Sally Jones that has been creating beautiful straight-sized lingerie/nightwear since 2004. Recently, they decided to create a line that will work for DD+ women. The products do not seem to be on their website yet so I’m not quite sure how the sizing will be; if anyone knows more, please comment! Anyway, I’m excited because after all, this is the company responsible for such beauties as:Screen shot 2013-01-23 at 10.11.30 AM Screen shot 2013-01-23 at 10.15.21 AM Screen shot 2013-01-23 at 10.16.49 AMVictoria Secret couldn’t beat those with a stick. My favorite of the DD+ designs would probably be:Screen shot 2013-01-23 at 10.20.54 AM Screen shot 2013-01-23 at 10.21.28 AMCan you tell that I’m a sucker for berry shades? Also, I like that the model they use to show off this range is actually busty. It gives a more realistic image of how it would look on its target customer. The support is obviously not going to be that of an underwire piece and it looks to be about the same support level of the nightwear from Bravissimo (review some other time). I can’t wait for these pieces to hit the market and methinks they would make for nice luxury items to sweeten up holidays.

Fashion Fridays: Bras go back farther than previously thought

Fashion Fridays: Bras go back farther than previously thought

As it turns out, bras were not invented ~100 years ago. It was recently revealed that four bras, carbon-dated to be more than 600 years old, were discovered in an Austrian castle. The bras are linen and appeared to be decorated with lace. Imagine that! There are some images from the side and it seems to have been a longline. This gives “retro styling” a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?

Trauma Thursdays: Can your Wonderbra do this?

Trauma Thursdays: Can your Wonderbra do this?

It may not give you car-crashing cleavage, but it can detect breast cancer! The bra–“The First Warning System”, invented right here in the U.S., detects changes in cell temperature. Cell temperature, for those who don’t know, changes when new blood vessels pop up–blood vessels associated with tumors. While the bra is still going through trials, the company says it will be used mostly in commercial settings as a diagnostic tool. According to them and three trials with 650 women, the bra is more accurate (and probably less painful) than mammograms. My only question is if they will be used in ob/gyn offices, how would they be kept sanitary for each patient? The item is much too expensive to be single-use and I imagine all those sensors aren’t exactly machine-wash friendly…

Read more here.

Fashion Fridays: HerRoom is off my map.

Fashion Fridays: HerRoom is off my map.

HerRoom.com is a leading online retailer of bras and other lingerie. They offer a large range of sizes, for a United States company and if one of our citizens is weary of ordering from overseas, this is often the place to where they will turn. The company has its downs, as well as its ups.

A while ago, HerRoom took the initiative to create a universal sizing system. If you are not familiar with the lingerie industry, one size in one brand may be different than in another (as if sizing wasn’t hard enough). Some companies may go B, C, D, DD, E, F, G, etc while another may skip the DD and go right to E. This is further complicated by the fact that cup sizes are different between countries. A G cup in the United States is an F cup in the United Kingdom. HerRoom’s universal sizing system fixed all of that, for that site only though.

HerRoom also created a get-to-know-your-boobs quiz which doesn’t help you to determine size but helps you to describe their attributes then proceeds to recommend bras that can help fix or flaunt said attributes. For instance, busts that are full on top may be recommended bras that have a looser upper section. Busts that have a large space between them may be recommended a bra with a wide center gore. Of course, not all of the products they recommend come in your size. While I appreciate their efforts, many women in the lingerie blogosphere (OMG spellcheck did not underline that. That’s a real word?) are up in arms over the quiz especially, saying the test and the words used is insulting, taunting, and racist (I don’t even want to get into it). I took this quiz after it was brought to my attention and found that as far as insults go, I was not. I found the words, were just well…words. I don’t know if maybe these women are overly sensitive or if I am just not. It may be different for women who have had body image issues and they may see the words “splayed” or “settled” as triggers.

But this is not why I am writing this today. I CAN NO LONGER RECOMMEND HERROOM.COM as a place of business. Why? One blogger who wrote a criticizing post about said quiz was contacted by HerRoom via a nasty email. The representative wanted her to take down the image of one page of the quiz that she had posted. Then the representative went about insulting the woman’s site, reviews, and expressions. She did not even touch upon how she could take the blogger’s recommendations to improve the quiz. The blogger took down the image, just for fear of being sued, even though the terms and conditions state that she was completely in the right.

I also feel like HerRoom.com is only getting business from women who don’t know their are better and cheaper options. They keep their costs to the level of high end boutiques, but without giving that personalized service. The shipping isn’t even free (only one-way is if you spend over $70)! Brastop, Bravissimo, eBay, and a whole list of others are so much better and cheaper, but I will talk about that more some other time.

Anyway, I don’t do business with bullies so GOODBYE HERROOM.COM!