Monday, September 3, 2018

Best Places for School Uniforms 2018

I've written previous blog articles on this topic, though admittedly I haven't blogged in a long time. I was blogging previously on my iPad mostly. And honestly, it was a big pain. So, the hubby bought me a new laptop and I'm finally back online. Hopefully, I will be putting up posts more often. So, here are my latest favorites.

This store is one of my favorites for polo dresses. I think it has taken the place of Land's End for me if I rate purely on quality and not cost. Neither Primary or Land's End are cheap, mind you. However, Land's End remains one of the few places that I can buy a dark green polo dress. The big draw of clothes, however, are the pockets! My daughters love the pockets in their clothing. Plus, like Land's End, their dresses are 100% cotton. They hold up well. They used to have a buy 2, get 2 or 3 dollars off promo, but I haven't seen that sale come up in a while. They do offer a cashback percentage offer similar to Children's Place bucks.

Children's Place

Children's Place has a wide variety of uniform pieces. My children's school requires that they tuck in their polo shirts if they wear them. Both of my children hate tucking them in, which is why they opt for short sleeve and long sleeved polo dresses many days of the year. I get tired of seeing them in exactly the same outfit, however. Children's Place makes sweaters with faux collars that look like they are tucked in to their bottom (short, pant, skirt, etc.) They are big hits with my girls. 

You also really can't beat their leggings for the price. Children's Place has frequent sales. They are not the 100% best on quality-I like Land's End and Hanna Andersson just on quality, but neither make a solid white color. Plus, at the price of $3-$5 on sale, you can afford to buy two at the price of one from some of the other places. They are mostly cotton and last better than other reasonable stores-like Old Navy.

French Toast

French Toast primarily sells uniforms. I am listing them this time because their prices are reasonable. I do not like all of their stuff, however, because they tend to use a lot of polyester and I really hate polyester by itself. I do like them for their faux collar sweaters and their pull on shorts as both have pockets! My girls love pockets. I would say to be selective in the items that you buy from here and, if possible, buy from Amazon if you are a prime member, assuming the price is comparable.

Land's End, Target, Wal-Mart, and Old Navy

I'm listing all four together because while I like these stores, they just are not the ones I buy the majority of my items from for school. However, they all do have uniform selections that are pretty varied. Land's End carries long sleeved polo dresses in different colors that are hard to find. I like the jumpers at Target that pull over the head without zippers. Wal-Mart has decent pull-on shorts and pants. Old Navy also carries a variety of colors and their polo shirts are decent quality for the price. 

Thredup,, and Other Online Consignment Stores

If you have read some of my previous blogs, you know that I both sell online and buy from online consignment stores. I think they are a good place to buy uniform pieces both new and gently used. Land's End jumpers, for example, hold up really well, and you can buy them gently used for much cheaper than on the site, unless you hit a 50% off sale. However, the caveat is that you are dependent on their inventory that they have at the time. So, if you really want to buy only here, you need to shop in advance.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas Wrapping using Brown Paper Sacks

It's that time of year again...and as we are traveling out of town, I need to get my wrapping done early so that the packages will arrive in time for Christmas.

Here's the mess I start with...

I don't have a great area to wrap in my great room, so I just decide to camp out on the rug in front of the couch. You can see I have my work cut out for me-ha ha!

I decided to sort of "color code" gifts this year by child. My oldest daughter's favorite color is blue, so I wrapped her gifts with blue accents. Here are a few of my favorites:

Blue Accents

I love using tulle to make bows. It allows for "springing back" after getting smooshed in the mail.
I also added star stickers on it purchased from my favorite online store, Amazon.

I used Washi tape on this package. Oh, and all the writing is done with chalk pens. 

Here's another one done with a different washi tape.
 Quick and easy.

I used self-adhesive jewels on this gift. Rubber cement 
helps if the adhesive doesn't work well.

I added stamps to this one. I used the white chalk pen on the stamp.

Pink Accents

I used a lace washi tape on this one and a bow. I also used 
some self-adhesive jewels to give it a little bit more "punch." I added rubber cement to the bow in several places to help it stay 
on the paper.

Simple round stickers decorate this pretty package. If you make the tulle extra long, you can tie more bows, if that makes sense.

More tulle and self-adhesive stars. 

I love this Washi tape and pink chalk tape with a hot pink bow.

I used some old foam stickers that I had from making Valentines for the kids' classes on this package to sort of make a snowflake. 

Other Decorations:

Here's a variety I put together with different craft paper, etc that I had at home. I love making Christmas trees from Washi tape.

Here's a variety of different of different leftover crafts I have at home again. As you can see, tulle, washi tape, foam stickers, and stamps are staples.

Don't forget to invest in a good brown paper craft tape like this one. It works much better than scotch tape. I use a very small spray bottle to wet the adhesive on the back of the tape-like the spray travel bottles. Using a big spray bottle leaves the tape too wet and it takes too long to dry.

Hope you have gotten some good ideas about wrapping with brown paper sacks! It's fun and allows for a little creativity. Plus, if you are like me, you have a bunch sitting around waiting to be recycled or used in some other way. It will save you a trip to the store during the busy season!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Growing Old Sucks

I haven't blogged in several months, but for some reason, felt compelled tonight after a visit to my primary doctor today. A little background: I've had pain in my right hip since probably my mid to late twenties. It's been relatively mild over the years till my mid thirties. Fast forward a few years and I'm sleeping with a pillow between my legs to try and prevent waking up with pain. I also can't sleep on my stomach anymore, which stinks, because I've always been a stomach sleeper. I now have lower back pain, too, and wake up stiff every morning. My husband has been encouraging me i.e., nagging me to call my doctor about my issues. I've avoided doing so partly because it takes time out of my work day and partly because I've not really wanted to hear what my doc might tell me.

I finally scheduled an appointment for today and, after hearing my symptoms, my doc tells me it's very likely I have arthritis in my hip. She wants me to get an x-Ray and is referring me to an orthopedist. Tells me the x-Ray will likely say "mild arthritis," but that really means it's "pretty bad" if it shows up on the x-Ray. Great! Ortho will likely recommend PT, which I do not have time for...who has time to go during work hours 2-3 times a week? I did that before prior to having surgery on both hands for carpal tunnel. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me, which doesn't mean it won't help for my hip and lower back pain. The real issue is the time I do not have in my day during work hours.

Oh, and then my doc mentions that this type of issue is what commonly leads to "hip replacement surgery" down the line. Wth?? I have to admit, this possibility is why I was avoiding going to the doc in the first place. Hearing her vocalize my fear, however, is another thing. I ask her when she thinks I may need surgery if my pain continues to worsen. I say, my sixties? I thought that was a reasonable guess. She surprises me by saying mid-fifties. In my 20's, that seemed ancient, but now that I am on the other side of 40, I hate admitting that, mid-fifties is really not that far away.

So, hear I am sitting on my couch, researching exercises for my hip arthritis, which was confirmed this afternoon by an x-Ray. I was supposed to be going to a work social with my hubby tonight, but didn't feel like going after today's visit. I also admit I do not want to be around the temptation of the food and alcohol there since today's visit has left me feeling like I should FINALLY try and lose the extra baby weight that might be making my hip and back pain worse. I've only ever been overweight in my life since having kids. I'm not that overweight, but any extra stress on my joints can't be good, right?

Like I said, growing old sucks. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

November 2015 Stitch Fix Review

I've been fairly lazy on the blogging front lately, so I decided to do a review of my Stitch Fix box since I continue to get them every month. Connie is my stylist and I absolutely love her. She listens to my requests, but also sends me pieces I would never pick for myself and end up loving. You can read my old reviews here.

Here's a glimpse at this month's box:

I immediately loved the look of the blazer and the color of the dress. I was also excited to see some Margaret M pants in a different print. Now to try them on...
Fate Gradon Sheer Raglan Seam Sweater

It's hard to tell from the card, but the sweater is fairly sheer and has a sheer detail near the shoulder. I decided to pair it with another item she sent to me, the Margaret M pants.

Margaret M Emer Printed Straight Leg Pant

I have several pairs of Margaret M Emer pants. I almost never send them back because they are so comfortable. 
Here's a close up of the print.

Last month Connie sent me a pair in a print I didn't like. However, I liked the look of these pants immediately. I asked for some colored jeans, but they were out of stock at the time of my fix. These were in lieu of the jeans.

I wore a tank underneath. The side panel that's completely sheer adds a nice detail point. The sweater is very comfortable and I liked how it fit me. I kept it.

Here's a picture of the pants. I also kept them. I'm a sucker for the Margaret M pants.

Loveappella Evie Draw String
Funnel Neck Sweatshirt

I've seen this sweatetshirt on blogs. It's pretty soft.

Here's a close up of the pattern.

I paired it with some blue pants I have that are similar to Margaret M's. At first, I couldn't decided what to do with the drawstring. That part seems a bit extraneous. Still, it was comfy and a good fit.
Oy, I'm looking at these pictures and realizing my mirror needs a good cleaning. Thank goodness the cleaning people are coming today!

This piece is casual, but I dressed it up and wore it to work. Sorry for the terrible booties are navy. Obviously, I kept it.

See U Soon Hatton Structured Blazer

I haven't worn this jacket yet, but it is well made. I kept it.

41Hawthorn Jace Abstract
Chevron Print Dress

Although this dress is sleeveless, the material is thick. It feels like a fall/winter material. 

Here's a close up of the pattern. I love the color.

This was my least favorite piece, but I decided to keep it for the discount. I wore it to work and friends loved it, but the pleats make me look bigger than I want to look. My husband also likes me in this color😉.

All in all, it was a FANTASTIC fix. Thanks. Connie! 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

School Uniforms...Where to buy online?

My oldest daughter will start Kindergarten in the fall at a local charter school. They require uniforms. Like any mom, okay, maybe just me, but, I like to shop early and frequently to get the best deals. I've found there are a lot of places that sell uniforms out there. I'll review some of my favorites. My review may change once the year goes by and I see how they hold up over time.

Land's End

If my budget were unlimited, I would probably buy all her skirts, jumpers, etc. from them. The quality is fantastic. I like that they have skirts and skorts that are knit, but nicer quality than what they call "gym" uniform clothing. They are definitely not the cheapest, but I have found that they are great quality. If you buy off season, like March/April, they hold sales which you can stock up on items here. I love the full elastic non-knit skirts that are not 100% polyester, too. I hate jumpers and skirts that are 100% polyester, though lots of places make them. I think they look cheap and, frankly, are way too hot for the summers around here.

Children's Place

So, if you are subscribed to them, you know they seem to always be having some sort of sale. I have gotten some serious steals on shorts for under skirts and leggings for under jumpers in the winter. My daughter hates clothing that isn't stretchy right now and she isn't great with buttons and zippers yet. I can't say that I blame her, after all, I have recently become a fan of pull-on pants for work, myself. Their jumpers have a bit of a stretch in them and they have some skirts/skorts with a full elastic in the back. Their leggings are better quality than places like Carter's or even Gymboree.


They are not a place I usually shop, but like Land's End, they seem to clearance out stuff in March/April. I purchased some short and long sleeve polo shirts made by Dockers and some knit jumpers for $5 each a couple of months ago. I believe you can get free shipping to a local store, if you have one nearby. 


So, Target sells uniforms under their Cherokee brand. They are pretty decent quality. I actually purchased some of the items off of and was surprised at how good of quality the jumpers and skirts/skorts are. 


Their quality is decent. Their polos are a bit softer than places like Children's Place, but maybe not as soft as Gymboree's. Watch for off-season sales. They've been clearancing their uniform stuff online for a while. I have a feeling they start putting them on sale starting in February. 


This is the place to find the type of uniform you like, but at better prices. I've purchased a few odds and ends here. 

Online Consigmment Stores

If you've read any of my other posts, you know I've become a fan of online consignment store shopping., MoxieJean, and Thredup are great places to find gently used pieces. 

Other Stores to Try

Old Navy is very popular, so I've been told. I have heard that the knees blow-out on the pants halfway through the year, but it may be worth it depending on the price and how fast your child grows. I've also bought a few items on Amazon. They carry a bunch of makers, like French Toast.   
French Toast has a website entirely devoted to school uniforms. I bought a couple of jumpers made by them on Amazon, but ended up sending them back because they seemed thin. I'm now rethinking that decision based on other jumpers I've purchased since then by Gymboree and Gap that were similar. Thin jumpers might be good in the summers if it's very hot, like it is here.

Where else do you buy school uniforms from online or in person? Any suggestions are appreciated as I'm sort of a newbie here in the uniform shopping department.

Kids' Uniforms...which brands last?

It's November and I've already started shopping for next year's uniforms. Perhaps, I'm a bit early, but I like to buy year round. I'm starting to figure out which uniforms will hold up and which ones will not. Partly this is because my daughter now comes home FILTHY from her new daycare. I'm going to do a brief review of my favorite items. My other review has good tips on where to find these items online.


As expected, the skorts and skirts I bought from Land's End are holding up beautifully. I bought some brand new skorts from Children's Place that are not holding up as well as the gently used skorts I've purchased that are Land's End. My favorite skorts are the canvas pull-on that have the elastic waist in back. You may pay more up front for the items if you buy new, but they will last. I've also purchased leggings from here. However, I'm not sure they are worth the extra cost. 


While the skorts I've bought from Children's Place are not holding up so well, I love the leggings, especially for the price. If you hit one of their sales, you can get them for $5-$7 a piece. I also got shorts for under skirts from there and they are great. I like the stretch in the leggings.They are a combo of cotton and spandex. I also bought some Gymboree leggings and Carter's leggings. The Gymboree leggings are just as thick, but stretch out too much because they are 100% cotton. The Carter's leggings are a bit thinner and just not as great quality wise. 

Polo Shirts

I'm still figuring out here which polos are the best, but I'll give you my thoughts. For the price, you really can't beat Children's Place or Old Navy. They seem to be holding up pretty well. They aren't the softest out there, though. If you want softer polos, go for Gymboree or Gap. I can't comment on the polo shirts from Land's End, but I did break down and buy a couple of their long sleep polo dresses at my daughter's request. They are soft, but not as soft as the other places. Dockers and Izod also have decent shirts. The advantage of the rougher polos is they pill much less. My daughter hasn't complained that they are rough at all, by the way.

Other Pants

Because my daughter can't do buttons and zippers great yet, I really had to search around to find some pull-on pants. I finally found some made by Gap and Gymboree. Gap makes come cute corduroy pull-on pants. I've owned them before and they are well made. Gymboree has some pull-on ponte pants in navy that seem pretty thick. I'll update you if they don't last, but I've generally found Gymboree items hold up well.


So far the winners here are Gap and Gold Toe socks. I bought the Gold Toe socks on Amazon.


I don't have any clear favorites here yet. I do like the knit ones from Target. I think that they are nice because they have a bit of stretch in them. Children's Place also has some jumpers with spandex in them that are nice. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Schoola-Another online consignment store for children's clothing

One of my favorite online consignment stores for kids, MoxieJean, just combined with another that I was unaware existed-Schoola. Schoola is a bit different in that you will not make money for items sent in, but rather sales go to benefit the school of your choice. It's an interesting idea. I have to look at the site to see if you get a tax receipt for what you donate. Honestly, I probably will be less likely to send in items, but I think it's great that people donate for their kid's school.

As for inventory, I have yet to buy anything on the site. They rank the quality of the items they receive, similar to and Thredup. I have found that the website is less user friendly than the other sites. I think they need someone to go in and revamp it. 

I will probably try it out, especially since they are offering free shipping right now with a promo code. So, check it out and see how you like it. I will miss Moxiejean, but maybe I will grow to like Schoola.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Car seats...and vomit

If you have a small child, at some point, he or she will vomit in your car. It's the most dreaded parent task you will ever out the car seat. Yesterday, my youngest came down with the latest daycare pukey bug and of course, she managed to vomit less than five minutes from home in her seat. After getting her home and in the bath, it was time to clean the seat. Here are a few tips you might find helpful:

1. Get yourself some long dishwashing gloves, if you have some available. The vomit will get on your arms and, frankly, it's pretty gross. They help.

2. Remove the car seat cover, pads, etc. to take to washing machine. Try to clean the undigested pieces off the cover before throwing it in the washing machine because otherwise, you will find these pieces in your machine. Yuck.

3. Use vinegar in the wash. It helps get the smell out.

4. Get yourself a good pet enzyme spray and drench the heck out of the car seat. The enzymes eat the vomit bacteria and help get rid of the smell. Use toothbrushes or old chopsticks to remove vomit from the crevices.

5. Repeat with pet spray as many times as necessary to get the vomit smell out of the straps, etc. it helps to let it fully dry and then you can tell if you need to do another round.

6. Put car seat back together once clean. Pray you never have to do this task again. Curse car seat makers that do not allow car seat straps to go in washing machine. Curse car seats for being so expensive that you can't just throw the whole thing away and buy a new one every time your child vomits in it.

7. Relax and try to enjoy your day off with your sick pukey child.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

How to get your children's clothes clean

I'm not sure how kids do it, but if there is a mess to be made, then it somehow ends up on their clothes. Now that my oldest wears uniforms, this means white polo shirts some days that are filthy. I thought I would offer a few tips.

1. Use an enzyme based pretreater. 

I've tried a lot of pretreatment cleaners out there. In my experience, the best one out there is the Resolve cleaner. It even seems to get out set-in stains. I keep the stain sticks or the sprays in each of my girl's bedrooms. I pretreat before throwing in the hamper and let them sit till I can wash on the weekend. I buy it on Amazon.

2. Use Oxiclean in the least 2-3 scoops.

If you do use it, make sure to fill up the washer with detergent and water first before putting in the clothes. Also, a second rinse often helps because sometimes Oxi cakes on your clothes.

3. Try good old fashioned blue Dawn on oil based stains

I've used dish detergent many times for oil based stains. Some people like chalk on oil stains, but it hasn't worked as well for me.

4. Use a fabric color catcher in the wash

I use the Shout brand. I think these are crucial if you don't always sort by color. Since I usually wash their clothes on hot, these fabric sheets often catch the bleeding colors.

5. Try soaking in Oxiclean for a week

Before I discovered Resolve, I resorted to week long soaks in a bucket. This saved a few items.

6. Chlorine bleach when needed

If I have a mostly white item that is going to be otherwise unwearable, I'll resort to bleach as a last resort. I recently got some blue ink off of a mostly white My Little Pony shirt for my youngest. It didn't really ruin the other ponies. 

Hope you found these tips helpful!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

August 2015 Stitch Fix Review: Beautiful Blues

It's my favorite time of the month and my Stitch Fix box has arrived! As usual, I did my sneak peek when I got my email, and everything looked great! I asked Connie for more maxis and Bermuda shorts.

My first looks revealed that I had received lots of items in blue! As you know, I love blue. I loved the various shades. I couldn't wait to try on everything.

41Hawthorn Lisbon Stud Detail Blouse

I have several blouses in this style and I loved the rich blue. 

I loved how this blouse fit. I always like the blouses that are tapered to my waist since they can otherwise be too blousy. I paired it with some pants I have that are similar to Margaret M pants.

I know the lighting is terrible in here. Sorry! The pans are a lighter shade of blue. I decided this shirt was easily a keeper!

41Hawthorn Veria Cross Over Knit Top

I have a similar shirt by Pixley, so I was excited to see this top. 

Here's a close-up of the pattern and color. I liked the Aqua, but wasn't sure if it would be too light for me.

I paired the shirt with the next item Connie sent me:

Kut from the Kloth Haiden Straight Leg Jean

As you can see, the style card has a shirt very similar to the 41Hawthorn shirt. Connie sent these pants because there were not any Bermuda shorts available.

Because I'm only 5'3", I folded the pants up one more time as they are supposed to be Capri length.

The lighting is still not great in my other daughter's room, but maybe it's a bit better. I liked the fit of both items, though I do have fabric tape on the shirt in the bust area. I might wear a thin tank or cami under it if I wear it to work. The jeans were very comfy. So, in case you haven't guessed, both items were keepers!

Market & Spruce Randall Scoop Neck Polka Dot Tank

It's a nice basic piece with an interesting element on bottom.

It's ok on, but it's tight in the bust and it is not doing anything for my waist. I think I look pregnant in it. 

I decided to send this item back. 

Gilli Mitchel Maxi Dress

I didn't receive the style card for this dress. At least, not the right one. I had pinned this dress, so I was excited to try it on. Unfortunately, it was a bit too tight in the waist and WAY TOO LONG. So, back it went.

All in all, I kept 3 items this month. Not too bad! As always, I look forward to seeing what Connie sends me next month!