Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Shapewear Review - Va Bien 1294 Strapless Bodysuit

The Va Bien 1294 Strapless Low Back Long Leg Bodysuit is an ideal firm control body briefer for use under tight fitting formal wear. It is a strapless design, but also includes straps that can be worn regular, criss-cross, or halter-style, depending on your needs. It is a long leg bodysuit, so you get a smooth curvy look from chest through thigh. Other features include: lightly contoured underwire cups; side bones and undercup stays for added support; two-ply tummy panel; low V-back; silicone trimmed lace legs to prevent ride-up; and a cotton crotch with hook/eye closure with three adjustments.
The first thing you’re likely to notice about this garment is the quality. It is very well designed and made. We get a lot of positive feedback on this garment, especially in regards to it’s shaping ability and it’s comfort. It is especially popular for weddings and for formal occasions. When we do get returns, it’s usually because of sizing problems, especially with very short or very tall women. Generally speaking, if you tend to have problems getting a good fit with body briefers, you’ll probably have problems with this one too. On the other hand (and not to over-simplify things), if you’re a body briefer person and are looking for a comfortable, high quality firm control strapless for a special occasion, you should be very pleased with this. The MSRP is $70.00. Our price is $59.99

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back to School

This week's a busy week with Molly returning to campus for her sophomore year. It's a lot easier than last year though because at least the dorm basics were bought then. However, there's still odds n' ends to pick up and pack -- she's a Luna Bar fan and suggested I go to BJ's to buy them (that's where her friend went). I figured I'd check it out and check on a few other items while I was there. I don't know why people shop in these wholesale clubs. The membership costs and in my experience, the savings are minimal, if not nil and it's an all-around painful shopping experience (keep in mind that I DO NOT LIKE shopping). There's just too much of everything -- the place is too big, there's usually too many people, there's stock from floor to the rafters, and then there's too much price. Basically, I saved over $10. on the amount of Luna Bars I bought for Molly by going to Trader Joe's where I normally buy them -- plus I could choose her flavors (BJ's only sells the variety packs of 24, 8 of which are a flavor she doesn't like). I also priced Brita water pitchers while I was at BJ's -- the price was comparable to Bed and Bath and Linens n' Things. I went to Bed and Bath and used my 20% off coupon, and since I only needed a pitcher, I was able to save even more.

Now, I know I have to factor in time and fuel costs when running around comparison shopping -- these businesses are all near each other and I was able to hit them coming and going. It gave me a chance to once again check out what the big deal is at BJ's, only to learn that it is no deal.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Summer Fading Away

Another summer almost gone. I always have high expectations in the spring (well, what passes for spring here on Cape Cod), but before I know it, summer's gotten away from me. I do like fall though, especially here on the Cape. The ocean waters which give us such cold springs also give us warm autumns. At least I've started exercising more this summer. I took two walks this morning, first with Joe down to the beach, then with Patricia down to the harbor. We also went to a photography exhibit in Falmouth this afternoon. Now it's back to work. Here's a rusty trawler complete with fresh shellfish from this morning.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bra Review - Bali 3820 Soft Cup Bra

The Bali Double Support Bra has been one of the most popular softcup bras on the market for a long time. Bali introduces new style bras and discontinues many others every year, yet the 3820 has been made for many years, a strong indication of it’s popularity and of customer satisfaction. It’s noted for being very comfortable yet still very supportive. Fabric content for this bra is mostly nylon with some spandex. Features include no wires; unpadded, smooth cups; three to four row hook/eye fasteners with three adjustments; stretch fabric that moves with you, and wide shoulder straps.
The downside of this bra? There really is none. Nowadays a majority of women prefer underwire bras while this one is wire-free. A few women have cited durability issues. However, many times bras have shorter lives because they aren’t laundered properly. A laundry bag is a must, as is fastening the hooks to a set of eyes before putting in the bag. Then they should be lined dried, rather than thrown in the dryer. There have been some rare issues of the plastic hardware (strap buckles and especially the loops) breaking. Many lingerie makers have switched from metal to plastic over the years as a cost-cutting move, even some high- end apparel makers. For the most part, it isn’t noticeable (the plastic is a little thicker, thus the strap may not lay as flat and it’s possible that the plastic buckle could be prone to more slippage) and there haven’t been any major durability issues. One bra maker actually did switch to plastic in one of their popular styles, then switched back to metal. Overall, this is a wonderful bra in the under $30.00 price range.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Shapewear Review - Grenier 6505 Briefelette

This firm control corselette (Grenier refers to it as a briefelette) is very well made and is especially made for formal occasions under strapless dresses and gowns. However, some customers have liked it so much that they have worn it as everyday wear (attachable shoulder straps are included). For everyday wear it’s pricey with a MSRP of $92.00 (our price is $72.99) but when you actually see the quality it’s understandable. Features include firm control; sheer lace cups and bodice panel; underwires; four row hook/eye bra section with three adjustments; three row hook/eye crotch with three adjustments; detachable straps; v-cut legs for ease in leg movement; and a back derriere lift panel. It comes in black or white. The bra section is unusual for a body briefer because it has the hook/eye back that floats with your movement and of course allows for a more precise fit – again another one of those quality features. In terms of drawbacks, when we do get returns it’s usually because of improper fit. If you have a very long or very short torso, it may not be a good choice (this can be true of many body briefers). One thing that is occasionally overlooked in body briefers is that while the crotch opening is for convenience, it’s also the torso adjustment, but even those adjustments may not be enough. The other thing to be aware of with this corselette is that it’s strapless but not backless. It wraps around the bottom of the shoulder blades much like a typical strapless bra. However, if you have a low cut back on your dress or gown, you will want to explore other options. Here it is...

Monday, August 18, 2008

New From Rago

Rago has a new addition to their shapewear line, the "Sleek & Chic" Engineered Bike Pant. It's not a hosiery-based shaper, but is very lightweight. It has a special derriere panel to lift and shape the behind, as well as a number of other features. Since it's new, we don't have any feedback on this yet, but it's well-made and it's a Rago, so it should be good. Interestingly, it's made in Japan - rare to not have a Rago garment made in the USA. It has a MSRP of $39.00, but since we are almost always way under MSRP, we have it for $29.99....oh yeah, the link...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Along the Canal

I threw my bike in the back of my truck this morning and headed for the Cape Cod Canal. There are wide, smooth recreational roads on either side of the canal, ideal for rollerblading and bicycling. I used to rollerblade with my kids several times a week when I lived in Sandwich, but pretty much gave it up when I moved to Hyannis, as there isn’t a good place to do it here. The canal can be kind of short for bicycling, as it’s only a 13 mile round trip, so we used to do our bicycling on the rail trail and blade along the canal. But, if you’re vacationing here on the Cape and have small kids, this is a great place to bring them, as you don’t have to worry about traffic (no motorized vehicles allowed other than a rare maintenance truck). Even if you don’t have bikes or blades, it’s a nice walk (including out to the edge of the jetty), good for fishing, sun bathing and there are plenty of restrooms. I’ve never had a problem finding a parking space and it’s free. Today I figured I would skip the blades as I’m out of shape and the bike would be a better way to get back into a routine. Perfect day…

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Site Update

We've updated our Hanes Hosiery section, including Sheer Toeless Pantyhose, Waist Smoother Pantyhose, Rib Tights, and several other styles which you can see on the Hanes Hosiery page.
We also added a Hanes brief section and currently have four styles available in 2 and 3 packs for under $10.00. You can check 'em out HERE.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Blueberries for Sal

A classic children's book is Blueberries for Sal, set in Maine. My children have it (their great uncle's dad graduated high school with Edna St. Vincent Millay in Camden, Maine), and I always think of it when I pick blueberries. Berrying gets me reminiscing -- about picking at Hickory Hills in Lunenberg, Massachusetts with my grandmother back in the 60's and on the cape in a wild neighborhood field that gave way to development after a few short years. In East Sandwich on 6A, there is still a large patch though -- planted years ago by some lovely soul for anyone to pick at their leisure. And pick we did, this past Saturday.

We've tried picking there for the past two years and have emerged with a meager handful or two of berries. But this year we've been several times and each time we leave triumphant with a good pint or two for the freezer and pie. The trick is to pick fearlessly -- forget the poison ivy, forget about the ticks and the brambles and possible field snakes, bury yourself in the branches and pick with abandon. (Wearing a straw hat, and protective clothing helps with the bravery).

Foraging for our food is a very satisfying pursuit, as is growing some of our food (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cukes, greens, beans and herbs this year). It reminds me of the tremendous effort small farmers put into their livelihood and I appreciate their work by buying as often as possible at our local farmer's markets.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bali Panties

We've added several Bali selections to our site recently, including the comfy "Passion For Comfort" microfiber briefs. You can check 'em out here:

Monday, August 4, 2008

Men in Suits

As I’ve been going through some old family pictures recently – mid sixties – it occurred to me that during the holidays (Christmas, New Years), the men in the family wore suits and ties during family gatherings. Now that may not seem that odd, but we were a blue-collar family and extended family – steamfitters, plumbers, Chrysler auto plant workers, etc. I’m not sure how, or exactly when this trend was broken. At some point one of the men (possibly my father) must have shown up in a sweater for one of the holidays and maybe one of the others went WHOA!!! He’s not wearing a suit; so I’m not gonna the next time!
At the same time, I guess the world was becoming more casual. We were Catholic, and with Vatican II kicking in, the Saturday afternoon Mass was born. Dress at Mass immediately became more casual. Instead of waking up and getting ready for Sunday morning Mass, you might sneak into 5:00 Saturday evening Mass right from mowing the lawn. Women began to bend the rules with wearing hats, to the point where they were pinning doily-like things to their head so that their head was covered in accordance with the rules. For men, in the early 70’s, the “leisure suit” became briefly popular as an alternative to the suit or sport jacket. When men came to their senses and reacted, the result seems to have been that almost anything was acceptable at Mass. Nowadays, suits are still prevalent in the business world, but other than weddings or funerals, there are not the dress-up occasions that there were in the past. We have become casual to the point of being almost sloppy at times. The de facto after-hours uniform that was once the suit and tie (and dress/hosiery/heels for women) has given way to the tee shirt, jeans and a pair of sneakers. We’re certainly much more comfortable now, but I think we’ve lost something in the process. Perhaps there’s a certain romance that’s missing. If everything is casual, then nothing is special.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

At your service

There's a downtown restaurateur and property owner who has a history of rudeness, not only to guests at his restaurant, but other business owners and even potential job applicants. I'm not sure if it's tolerated due to his presence in various town business activities, but when I was in Connecticut, I found a Mahatma Gandhi quote on a salon's brochure that reminded me of him.

If you're ever in the sweet little town of Collinsville in northwestern Connecticut, stop in to Rootz, A Salon.It's as lovely as the folks who work there and have quoted Gandhi. Another inspiring place was a tea room in New Hartford. I can only hope we at Brabarella can aspire to the same hospitality and service as I found at those two places.

"A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us, we are dependent on him, not an interruption on our work, but the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business, he is a part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so."