Holding onto spring with Echo Verde

Hey you! Nice to have you back. How are you liking this fall weather lately?
I absolutely love this time of year, with the exception of not being able to find a ton of colour in the seasonal attire. Don’t get me wrong, I love basic black (doesn’t every girl?!) but finding something other than a dreary palette, or wine red, is always a nice surprise. That’s why, for this post, I am holding onto spring colours and fashion with the Echo Verde line. I recently reviewed some fall garb by the company, which you can read about here, and mentioned how their collection gives warmth to a wardrobe for chilly temperatures. This specific outfit adds a splash of colour there as well;
I am presently sporting the staple of this particular assemblage in the cerise print, by way of the skirt that you see here. This piece works as the skirt shown above, a top, or as a sundress that you can wear with, or without, halter straps;
photos sourced from echoverde.com
I was not able to sport it as that beautiful lady did, due to my chest size causing me to look quite a bit heavier than I really am in the dress. There is a point to consider if you are a pattern-loving, busty lady but it definitely worked for me as a bottom and I enjoyed the ability to change the length, if I so desired. Talk about versatility-  and the skirt looks great with a variety of solids. You can see it worn at least four ways in the catalogue here, as well as peruse the variety of colours in which you can find the piece. This is a cotton and bamboo blend, meaning that it wicks away perspiration (not that sweating is an issue in this Canadian nippiness) and is a piece made entirely of certified organic fabrics. There is an addition of spandex, which amounts to 4%, in the top that I am wearing but all products are tested and chemical free so I can live with that.
Here is the outfit from the back and, as you can see, the spandex in the top pays off with a bit of a booty accentuation and helps bring out shape in the getup.
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The jacket is my own addition, as well as the crazy boots, and I think they work well with the look but this would do just as well with cute ballerina flats, sandals or a simple pump. I had originally paired the ensemble with a cardigan but I felt that I looked a bit like a school teacher- which demonstrates that it will suit a variety of women, shapes and style preferences.
Once again, Echo Verde comes through with quality, sustainable, versatile products that are manufactured in an ethical way and still prove affordable for an average gal. Check out their site www.echoverde.com or visit them on Facebook for more information. You may want to get your own dose of spring before it’s too snowy for bitchin’ heels ūüėČ

 

I’m (re)ENGAGED- Lessard Coutu Custom Jewellery!!

Now that you have read what happened with my original engagement set, or how gutted we had been with our dealings with the previous retailer, I wanted to tell you about my experience with Lessard Coutu Custom Jewellers.

Lessard Coutu Custom Jewellery

I’ve been so nervous about this post and, for the first time, I allowed myself to feel pressured where a review was concerned- Not because of the business that I worked with, especially considering¬†they’ve been more than patient waiting for this to be published, but due to the fact that¬†I have so much to say and I don’t even know where to begin. I can’t do justice to the subject with a simple review, as it lacks emotion and I can’t adequately convey how much this means to me.

We met Moe Coutu as a result of a recommendation that came from the man who appraised my broken, shoddily made, Divine Diamonds engagement set. The appraiser¬†told us that it would be smarter to “get rid of it” and, as they made custom jewellery at Lessard Coutu, they would be able to see the value of the piece and may want to trade it for something different. He advised us that, if we were willing to take a loss on the appraisal value of the ring, or its original retail value (but not what we paid for it), then we may be able to trade it in for a set and have something we could use immediately. At this point, although my ring was The One for us, I just wanted to be done with the heartache, stress and upset. We dealt with so much grief that my whole engagement was darkened¬†and I actually started feeling like my ring repeatedly breaking was some sort of bad omen; that the odds of it happening should have been so slim that maybe fate was trying to tell me that I didn’t deserve to be married, or something crazy like that. Honestly, the damn thing started making me mental…. so we were done. We were just so shattered that we went to Lessard Coutu Custom Jewellers to see whether or not they wanted our bad luck charm and might exchange it for another disappointment (as it wouldn’t be the ring we wanted) but a sturdy one, at least.

Moe, one of the store owners, was immediately likeable, with a soft-spoken, calming demeanor and sharp, intelligent, blue eyes that gave away his boyish excitement about what he does when he started discussing his craft.¬†When we first went to the store, I was¬†incredibly nervous because we had our two girls in tow. Moe was very patient with them and seemed to take joy in our children, letting us know that he had four of his own and he said it was nice having little ones around again. This seemed to be a sincere comment and immediately helped us feel at ease, even though our discussion was a difficult one. We wanted to try to swap out our set for another,¬†in order to avoid court, an unknown amount of hassle and more heartache.¬†When we went to the quaint, little store that’s set within a large, old home, I was unaware that the stock is all¬†made by the family. Due to everything being made-to-order, so to speak,¬†the selection¬†quite small.

 Custom Jewellery

There was not a lot to choose from, nor was there a ton that really spoke to either of us but all of it is absolutely stunning- the pieces just simply weren’t the one we had originally picked. Moe spent the better part of an hour talking about what we had been through with our set, about our relationship and really getting a feel for us as a couple. I assume that’s why he went into the custom jewellery business, as he takes a¬†genuine¬†interest in people and their stories,¬†¬†and we¬†tried to brainstorm a solution that worked for both of us. Although Moe was incredibly helpful and agreeable, there was not much that could be done without either one of us taking a loss. As he uses diamonds of exceptional quality, he could not take my main stone because of a flaw (one which was not present upon purchase and our stone size does not match the appraisal size, so we’re now worried it was switched during one of its many, many repairs) and it made little sense to swap out my main stone into a ring of his own creation that had as many stones as my set.¬†Moe¬†wouldn’t make his money back on it, as mine was essentially scrap metal, and my extra small stones would help compensate him for his gold, quality rings and labour. Fair enough. We ended up picking an engagement ring that had pretty detailing in the gold, with two small stones in either side of the main one. The wedding ring would be custom-made to match, although it would also lack more than a small accent of stones. We left with the agreement in place, which already meant a great deal to us because Moe had no real reason to attempt to help us rectify our engagement fiasco in the first place. My bitty diamonds in payment for gold, hours of labour and craftsmanship seemed a small price to pay and I could live with that if it meant being able to finally get married.

Within minutes of leaving, Bear and I discussed the set and realized he had been confused; He thought that I was having a halo effect ring made so that my engagement ring would sit inside the wedding band, instead of my wedding band inside the main ring. Uh-oh! He had been mistaken, as he was tending to our wandering toddlers while Moe and I discussed all of the details, and was very upset as soon as I told him as much. We were also both nervous as is, wondering whether or not we were doing the right thing, trading in our ring instead of taking Divine Diamonds to court. Bear said to me, “If we’re having second thoughts and it hasn’t even been 15 minutes yet, do you think we’re going to be fine with it in the future?”. I immediately called Lessard Coutu¬†and asked that they halt everything, thanking them for our meeting and their kindness.

The next morning, I spoke to Moe on the phone and thanked him for the time he spent attempting to help us. We had such an awful experience with the previous business that, to meet a business man who seemed to genuinely care about people, or wasn’t trying to get the most money possible out of customers, was a refreshing, encouraging change. I let Moe know that we were going to take the previous jeweller to court because Bear had been so proud of the original ring that he couldn’t simply give up on it for something he had not been as settled on and he had mistaken our plans the night before. I explained about our wait, how I rejected many rings previously and how my boys helped pick this set. Moe told me how issues like ours bother him a great deal, saying “I take that very personally”. Experiences like the one we had make people hesitant to trust the little guys, like himself, and he told me, “You’ve got four children, you seem like nice people who have been through so much. You deserve a break”. ¬†At this point, Moe offered to remake my ring from scratch…MY ring…my identical set, offering to do it if I would only write about my experience and share it with you. I was utterly floored and, not gonna lie, I cried like a baby. I immediately called my husband who didn’t believe me, then couldn’t talk for a little while due to shock and a lump in his throat that he’ll deny if ever asked about it.¬†We have never, ever been so lucky or thankful.

I couldn’t get over the amount of work that went into our set! Firstly, they knocked out some of my stones, which came out with just little taps and that just goes to¬†show what a sturdy set I had. They did that in order to take perfect¬†measurements and got to work creating 3D renderings of my new set;

 Custom Jewellery Lessard Coutu

This is the design process that every customer gets to do with Moe, making a unique piece that tells their own story and brings their imagined creation to life. Once I approved the draft, which I was so surprised came as quick as it did, they showed me what my cast would look like;

3D Renderings

I was nervous about those crazy-looking claws, which I was told would be trimmed right down in order to avoid sweater snagging, child clawing and spouse scratching. I’m not sure the last one is actually a benefit.

Anyway, after I saw their computer renderings, the staff set to making my cast in the initial fabrication process. Moe gave me a call and I was actually invited into the belly of the beast, where I got to visit the shop and see first-hand how their amazing creations come to life. I have never seen anything like their Macgyver set up, where common kitchen items are Frankensteined into these perfect, jewellery-making tools that assist in melting wax moulds. To be able to see what I like to call the “hobbit workshop” (as it’s got such a low ceiling) was an incredibly interesting, fun experience and I’m so thrilled to have been able to check out some of the other one-of-a-kind rings they were casting at the time. I was able to talk to¬†Marci Lessard about the jewellery making process for quite some time and she seems just as passionate about the business as her uncle. She let me know about her childhood in the shop, checking things out or coming to visit the store and receiving the little, wax casts as trinkets to wear around. I was both nervous about intruding in such a sacred, secret space and I didn’t want to leave because there was so much to see, learn or say to such a friendly woman. The exclusive, highly personal pieces are all full of stories and painstaking care is put into each one by a close-knit, incredibly endearing staff.

With my ring in particular, numerous changes were made for longevity; My tiny stones used to¬†actually overhang on the original band and, therefore, would pop out regularly. They, of course, fixed that by widening both the engagement ring and my wedding band. Claws were also added so that each stone had its own ones, as well as “share claws”, as Marci said, which would make certain the diamonds stayed in place. The setting of my main stone was changed from a bowl to more of a pedestal, which shows off the diamond nicely but also secured it and enabled them to add height to the engagement ring. This prevents the engagement ring from rubbing against the wedding band so that my stones stay in place and my rings last longer. It came back higher, heavier and incredibly impressive. As my husband said, “It’s like your original ring, on beast mode!”.

These pictures show both rings together, as they will be worn once we’re married, but only seeing it in person can do this set justice;

 Custom Jewellery Casteels

¬† Aren’t they pretty?!

 Custom Jewellery

And this is my incredibly gorgeous Lessard Coutu Custom Jewellers’¬†engagement ring, on its own;

 Custom Jewellery giant ring

It’s unbelievably difficult to photograph jewellery and I had no idea how hard it was until I attempted to undertake the task myself. I decided to leave it to a professional and these are a couple of our engagement photos, done by Smile For Me Photography;

 Custom Jewellery

This was my hunny’s requested shot;

 Custom Jewellery

This was my requested “butt shot” because, well….boy buns;

 Custom Jewellery

 

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I wasn’t in love with the above photo because I’m laughing and I wore the wrong pants BUT I wore the right ring so I’ll show off how thrilled we are. I am sure this is evident by the fact my smile is so gigantic that my eyes are practically forced shut- I am not photogenic but oh well.

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I can not say enough about the staff from Lessard Coutu Custom Jewellers, or the experience that we had with our engagement set and the entire process along the way. I loved having input, being involved and getting regular updates with every step. Moe, Marci and Marianne have taken an experience that, (although it¬†should have been one of the happiest of my life) had become a massive¬†source of upset, stress, sadness and frustration and they completely turned it around. I am still waking up every morning and examining my ring, as I suppose the trauma of losing a stone every time I got to wear it hasn’t exactly gone away yet, but each day this makes me smile. Everything is still there and, on top of seeing my husband’s love for me in that ring, I look down upon a daily reminder¬†that there are truly decent people in this world. There are good, kind business owners that care about what they do, or who they do it for, and Lessard Coutu Custom Jewellers is our go-to shop for life as a result. Please check them out on Facebook here, send them some love and take a look at some of the other custom jewellery creations that they have made other couples happy with. I can assure you though, there’s not a single one out there that’s as thrilled as we are right about now.

Thank you again Moe, Marianne and Marci!

WE’RE GETTING MARRIED!!!!!

 

Buyer Beware- Engaged and Enraged

I have been so upset for such a long time that writing this post is, in a sense, therapy for me.

Bear and I are not a family of means, not even remotely, and we raise four children on one small income. As such, we legally share the same last name but have never actually tied the knot and been properly married. I call him my husband but we’ve never been able to make it so.

I waited quite some time for my engagement ring and, when we first found this one, I had thought it nothing more than a pipe dream. We were out¬†shopping and my boys split off with their father in order for me to grab a couple of clothing items with my little girl. When I went to meet them in the food court, our agreed upon spot, they were in the jewellery store across from it- Divine Diamonds (now Infinity in the same place). My boys were all huddled around this one case and, when I walked in, I was summoned over to check out a ring that they had found and all loved. We weren’t in the market for an engagement ring, it wasn’t plausible but this ring was absolutely stunning. Bear and I had looked at dozens of rings previously, with me rejecting all of them, and he just grinned at me this time. “That’s it, that’s the one” he said, while the boys hopped around and took credit for finding it;

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I couldn’t help but agree and, checking the price tag, we quickly dropped the idea…. or so I had thought.
Bear, unbeknownst to me, continued to check up on the ring and one day it disappeared completely. He came home quite upset about it, saying it was gone to Belleville (where their other store is located) and would be moved, as it was higher end inventory up there as far as he had been told. I was sad but, at the same time, I figured we could one day have the same ring custom made when we were better off financially.

Months went by without anything else said and, all of a sudden, Divine Diamonds started liquidating everything in their store. The sales got bigger, the pricing more affordable and, all of a sudden, the ring made an appearance again! Bear took this as “a sign” that we were supposed to buy it. He¬†and I both went into the store and had my finger sized by a staff member, as my sister lost a stone from hers due to it being sized incorrectly. When I told the sales woman this, she agreed that she wasn’t sure I would be able to purchase the ring as it was because sizing it down so tiny (a 4 1/4) would destroy the setting. In that case, I would lose stones. She said that she would have the goldsmith take a look at it and someone would call me. Three days went by and Bryan called in, putting me on the phone once he received an explanation he wasn’t sure about. I was told that, in order to keep the setting perfect, I would have to have the bottom of the ring cut completely straight. Mustafa, the goldsmith, advised the staff member that he could round it out nicely for me so it would be a circle around my finger but a straight line on the bottom. I didn’t care, so long as it meant not ruining the ring. With that being said, Bear started making payments and I started with my case of the butterfly belly, as I called it, waiting anxiously for the day we would be able to purchase it outright.

The proposal was very us; No fuss, simple, sweet and somewhat screwed up.

In order to keep it a surprise, without me knowing he actually bought the ring, he got a loan for the remainder of our balance and let me think that we had to keep paying after the store in Welland closed and pick it up in Belleville, once we paid everything off. I saw a transfer in our account, asked him what was going on and he popped the question… in our pjs, while I was having tea. Poor guy. It was adorable and, needless to say, I was thrilled.

That was, until my ring broke before I even had it sized. I lost a stone out of it and the band cracked on the very first day I had it out of the box, without me doing anything to it or being able to wear it for any length of time (as it was 3 sizes too big)! I was gutted and Bryan was furious. We took it into Divine Diamonds, their Niagara Falls store (which has since closed or changed its name, I’m unsure), as I had a lifetime guarantee against any of those kinds of issues and I needed to have it sized at the same time as being repaired.

I received a downright nasty¬†call from their manager, Tina, who accused me of somehow damaging my brand new ring, saying that stones don’t just fall out, or that I must have done something to it, and that they weren’t sizing it or repairing it at no charge. This was all supposed to be covered, as part of the purchase agreement. I was being berated, while highly emotional, and I demanded to speak to the store owner. I didn’t hear anything back and finally had to call the store again myself, at which point I talked to an incredibly nice woman who seemed to have similar issues with the manager. She assured me that she would handle my request appropriately, promising I would hear from the store owner and they would take care of things, and I received a call from Raed¬†later on that day. Admittedly, he was very pleasant in our initial dealings and he apologized profusely for Tina’s actions. He stated that he saw no sign of damage but it was a shank issue where the ring had been soldered together. He let me know that it was a relatively easy fix and it would be done at no cost. He informed me that they typically charge for sizing (even though I was told otherwise prior to purchase, plus they were sizing down quite a lot and keeping the gold) but he would make sure that both rings were taken care of at no cost to make amends for the issues I’ve had thus far and that I could expect my ring back in two weeks. I was very satisfied, until it took nowhere near that to get it back and, when I finally did, my ring had been patched with a glob of white gold and the diamond that fell out wasn’t replaced but filled in.

Long story short, my ring went in repeatedly for repairs because I would lose stones immediately after getting it home, then their “two weeks” would turn into “two months” and longer. I was being ducked by the owner, when calling to check on its’ whereabouts, or being harassed by their manager when I finally had enough and stated that something more needed to be done because I could not set my wedding date without knowing the ring would be in my possession. She had called to let me know that I could wait as long as they took, or there was nothing I could do in court because one store was “Divine Diamonds and Liquidation” and the other was “Divine Diamonds and Jewellery”, as if this had been a carefully considered option for them. My engagement ring ended up being in their possession more than it was in my own, especially as no one would work on it unless Raed was present and he would go “out of the country” for months on end, for family or personal matters, and I would wait.¬†When I did have it,¬†I was constantly checking the band, repeatedly stressed out, in tears on more than one occasion and I feared wearing it anywhere. I only ever got to wear it for a maximum of two weeks before another issue arose.¬†It got to the point where I didn’t even want my ring anymore because I knew, within a day or two of it coming back, a diamond would fall out again.

I began having some serious health issues, which lead to cancer screening and I’m still being monitored now (as we aren’t entirely sure of the reasoning but also haven’t reached a diagnoses), and I was devastated, as our wedding date had come and gone without us being able to tie the knot. If we found out the worst, which I was terrified about and have since been cleared of, we wanted to be married. I called Raed, desperate to have him fix our problem with the engagement set and let him know what was going on with my health. I told him that we simply wanted to be able to get married, that I needed my ring fixed permanently or needed something different because I couldn’t keep bringing it in like this.¬†At this point, the man went so far as to have¬†me call his ex business partner, advising me to tell him that Raed said he was responsible for the issue and to “see what he can do”. Of course, the partner told me that it was not his store and the warranty that I held belonged to Raed’s present one. I reported back and this was met with the option of Raed remaking my ring, for a cost, because he explained that the diamonds overhung on the band and it would continue to break for as long as I owned it! What kind of engagement set is that and what kind of businessman sells such a product?! I’m supposed to wear a set for the next 70 odd years, made in such a way that the diamonds can do nothing but catch and fall out… and someone sold it like this?! So, clearly, my “lifetime guarantee against manufacturer defects” should have covered it, yet I was being told that I would have to pay to have a ring made over again so they could¬†squeeze¬†more money out of us. I was gutted.¬†I stated that I had no means to pay for that and wouldn’t do so on a matter of principle. A piece should not be represented as a quality item, especially one that cost as much as we paid for it (or what it was appraised for), when it can not be worn at all. He told me to bring it in and leave it with him but I refused to do so in case it simply sat in their store for months on end again. I told him that I wanted to set up a meeting to discuss things¬†and he let me know to phone back later in the week after he had some time to figure out a quote to give us (which I wouldn’t have accepted anyway but he seemed insistent upon trying).

I had to drop the issue for a bit due to doctor’s appointments and my husband picking up longer hours to make up for the time he had taken off, then Raed was “out of the country” when I picked the issue back up again.

I was told it would be 2-3 months prior to my ring being fixed or a solution being determined, as the store changed management and she was unaware of how to handle the situation. When Raed¬†was supposed to be back, I called and was repeatedly ignored or given the run around. It¬†got to the point of my calling Belleville and finally catching him in that store-¬†I asked whether or not we could come to a solution or I was forced to take the matter to court. He advised me, “Let’s go to court” and¬†I took the case to the Better Business Bureau so I had further documentation to facilitate that. Initially, the business responded and when it became apparent that I had my paperwork in order, they ceased communication and the case was eventually closed with the notation made that the business was unwilling to solve the issue. It’s not as though I asked for the moon, either; I simply wanted my ring remade at no cost OR an exchanged set of equal value. I didn’t even care that it was the same ring anymore, even though it was the set of my dreams, I just wanted to be able to marry my spouse and be done with the heartache.

I took my ring to have it appraised as it stood so that the original appraisal could also be compared to the present one. During this time, the appraiser also noted that the centre stone did not match up with my original appraisal, both in size and quality. We assume, as a result, it had been switched out on us.

Our wedding was postponed, twice, and I lost two uncles since our engagement so my father now has only one living sibling remaining. Bear and I have been engaged so long (two years) that I have conceived another daughter, given birth and celebrated her first birthday already. My wedding dress sizing has changed significantly and we lost our venue due to all of this. Bear also lost his last living grandparent, who now never got to see us married. It has been complete, utter hell and I would never recommend doing business with Divine Diamonds, regardless of sales or circumstance.
The amazing thing that came out of all of this was connecting with Lessard Coutu Custom Jewellers. Please read how our ring saga ends here.

Muse Clothing Company; Dress Review

¬†Coming across Muse Clothing Company and their exceptionally comfortable, yet elegant, clothing line was like coming home, eyeing up a well-loved chair and perusing the shelves for a favourite book. The entire collection gives that same sense of visual familiarity due to the overall classic look to every dress; They’re ones that would be expected in a wardrobe, yet are not so often found.

Each Muse dress has a look that would appeal to any variety of tastes, as they lend themselves to personalization, while still giving a wardrobe staple for any nearly occasion. They’re about as comfortable as that favourite chair too, believe it or not.

I’m so tired of wearing something that rides up, is scratchy, that requires the good ol’ boob-scoop because of the neckline or where I feel like I’ve stuffed myself into something that will go “scctch scctch” if I swish around in it. This dress was a pleasure to wear, visually and comfort-wise, and I ended up liking the colour much more than I figured I would when it arrived. I’m typically a basic black kinda gal but their moss dresses have appealed to me lately, after I branched out with the purple.

I truly did have one heck of a time deciding what I would enjoy the most but, luckily, the incredibly lovely owner of Muse had a couple of suggestions and I was thrilled to get to try out the Leona dress for this review;

muse clothing company

I will admit that this style may not be the best cut for me, considering my bust size, but Facebook feedback has told me that I looked pretty good nonetheless. I felt outstanding in this dress, as it’s so comfortable that my yoga pants weren’t sported as soon as I walked in the door.

Due to the bamboo fabric, you can wear this in various temperatures and not have to worry too much about sweating- it’s incredibly breathable, was easy to clean and I actually tossed it in the dryer (even though it says to lay it out to dry) without any dire repercussions. Take that, dry clean only dresses!

I found the clingy fabric and the feminine detailing prevented any feeling of being “matronly” while wearing it, even though all of my skin was covered and my hem line came to just above the knee. ¬†I absolutely love the colour, as well as the fantastic surprise that I discovered my dress arrived with- a built in bra! That is always a welcome addition to any outfit.

I quickly appreciated the capped, cute sleeves and the coordinating peplum detailing on the front.¬†It’s a classic, timeless, Kate-esque piece that would suit a variety of ages and it is¬†the perfect combination of sophisticated and sexy.¬†

The outfit looked nice while paired with a simple, tan pump or kicked up a notch by a 6 inch stiletto and some killer accessories. It lends itself to a couple of different looks but, I can pretty much guarantee, you will feel confident in whichever you go with while wearing a Muse number. 
Check out the¬†website and be sure to stop by the Facebook page to view¬†the beautiful collection yourself. You’ll be hooked. I know I am.

Icebreaker Review; Hot Clothing from Chilly Company;

I had never heard of Icebreaker before and couldn’t believe it when I found them while looking for an eco-friendly, organic clothing company. To stumble upon their line, then discover that they’ve been around since the ’90s made me feel like I have lived under a rock for at least a decade. I should have been more socially conscious. The brand is sold in over 3000 stores all over the globe and offers some really fantastic options for daily apparel, all while running a sustainable company that has strong values in respect to animal welfare, the environment, as well as social and manufacturing ethics. More than just that, this is a clothing line designed for the athletes of the world who are concerned with temperature, durability and performance of their garments.
I was sent their Tech T Lite Short Sleeve to review, as well as pair of Multisport Ultra Lite Micro socks.

Everything is made from Merino wool, which I thought would be itchy. We have all experienced that horror story of the sweater you had to wear when you were a kid, with the prickly neckline and the body reminiscent of mini nettles. I know right? Not the case in the slightest! In fact, I’ve never owned something of this texture before and it’s hard to describe; the fabric offers the stretch of a spandex blend, the lightness of polyester, is more breathable than cotton and it’s a natural material! What I found really neat about Merino wool is that it will keep you cool when required but the same garment will offer thermal protection, similar to the actual animal’s coat; If it didn’t cool in the summer, they would die from overheating and it’s imperative to be kept warm in the winter time. The sleeve caps on the shirt are completely undetectable on the skin and, honestly, this popped into my head numerous times while I was trying it out;

(Image not my own, sourced from site in top, left corner of picture)

The shirt itself was not very clingy and I do believe it would be better suited to the gym than to lunch with friends, as there was nothing that screamed to be worn and shown off. Very similar to the Bench Active Top, which is in a similar price-range, only you’re wearing a polyester and spandex blend there and Icebreaker does not use synthetics. Their garments are biodegradable. The company does have an excellent array of designs, as well as some very sexy tank tops and matching underwear that I am going to have to request from the hubby, but I was sent the basic black, loose-fitting one.

Tech T Lite Short Sleeve
photo from www.icebreaker.com

{I took a picture of myself in the shirt, then realized upon uploading that the lense was filmy and I have had to delete it from this space. Thank you, oh toddler of mine, with the sticky fingers and the need to touch everything! As such, this is a stock photo, but the woman is easier on the eyes anyway. ;)}

I am quite happy with it, as the Icebreaker line is full of athletic attire and I wanted to see how I would feel in it post-workout. After nearly killing myself with Billy Blanks’ Boot Camp and vowing to eat better (I won’t), rather than need to do that torturous routine, I was relieved to note that I wasn’t clammy, sweaty or gross. The shirt wicks sweat but also dries incredibly fast, which I did not expect from something made of wool. I also didn’t feel as warm as I normally do, which is probably caused by my yoga wear holding body heat in.

I washed the shirt as per label instructions, which means you get to throw this into the laundry like you would anything else. However, do not use fabric softener (which you shouldn’t be anyway, that stuff is horrible!) and its best to line dry. My hubby changed the loads over and ended up throwing my shirt in the dryer on medium heat, which caused me to panic and nearly have a stroke. Luckily (for him), it didn’t shrink, pile or lose it’s shape. Of course, always check the tag for how you should care for yours.
Which brings me to my next topic- the tag! When you purchase from the company, they have invested in a “baacode” system, which actually allows you to trace your garment back to where it came from. You can see the farmers and check out the living conditions of the animals so don’t rip the price tag off until you check into that, if you’re curious. Very cool.

These are the socks;

There is not a heck of a lot you can say about a pair of socks, only that I was thrilled to receive ones that actually fit my little feet. I wear anything from a 4 1/2 sometimes, up to a 6 and these sat properly on my foot. Like with the shirt, there was no stifling warmth or itching and I’m quite fond of them. They’re thinner than they look in the picture.
I am completely in awe of the steps taken by this company to ensure that quality is not sacrificed, while maintaining complete dedication to the environment, the livestock from which the clothing is derived and the workers involved in all processes. The factory that cleans the fibre will then clean it’s own water, recycle it and sell the lanolin produced as part of the process to the beauty industry in order to eliminate waste. The other factories do things like reuse heat, conserve energy by way of large volume dyeing and all growers have long-term price security so they have certain futures. For all of the animal lovers out there, the company also protects each sheep from a form of mutilation called mulesing in their contracts. The Icebreaker website is loaded with information about every step along the way or how their company worries about “a sustainable business model that doesn’t put profits ahead of the environment”, which I find worth paying for.
How sad that this is so rare and utterly refreshing?