Sparrow Park Goods & Co Review

Disclosure: I was generously given a product to review and keep, but all opinions expressed are completely my own. 

It is hard for me to believe that I have blog readers beyond my family and a few close friends. While my teeny tiny corner of the Internet is just that, small, it means a great deal to me that what I share means something. Therefore, I was shocked and truly appreciative when I received an email from a CU Delta Gamma alum, Jennifer Andersen, who has kept an eye on my blog for the past few years.

Her note was extremely thoughtful about how hard it is to maintain a blog and congratulated me on this feat. Jenn also filled me in on the exciting launch of her own company, Sparrow Park Goods & Co, and extended a very kind offer to test and review a beautiful Roll-Up Blanket

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From the second I clicked through to the Sparrow Park Goods & Co website I was intrigued. I am as girly as they come and love gifts and products that feel extra special, and aren’t mass-produced and owned by a million other people.

Jenn has created an American-made lifestyle company with a passionate focus on supporting other local small businesses. Her products are designed in Oklahoma City and produced by a small manufacturer in Chicago. Bright, fun and chic are three words that summarize what you’ll find on the site now and in the future as Jenn introduces new products soon, such as table runners and linen napkins–all of which will be gorgeous no doubt.

She let me choose the Roll-Up Blanket that best suited our style and I selected Indigo Dot after a lot of back-and-forth because I also loved the Capri and Elephant Parade patterns. As soon as the box arrived I could not wait to enjoy it with Rylan as he absolutely loves being outdoors. Stylish? Beyond! But function is also important given the investment. My favorite features:

  • Large enough for several adults or a family: 72”x57”
  • Water-resistant bottom – I am not a fan of a wet butt after sitting in damp grass at the park or outdoor concerts
  • Machine washable versus several competitors that are dry clean or spot clean (Hello! Have you watched a kid eat before?)
  • Roll-up and buckle design, with built-in straps for carrying, makes it neat and easy to store in the car or a closet

Colorado is experiencing the most beautiful and warm October. Afternoons scream for outdoor play, picnics and long walks to admire the changing colors. Last weekend my mom and dad were in Denver for just a day and we took advantage of our backyard after Rylan’s nap. It was the perfect time to use my blanket!

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Rylan was happy as could be that his afternoon snack was served up picnic style. Kona was thrilled to have his little sidekick in the grass with him and waited patiently next to the blanket for dropped crumbs. The cotton top is extremely soft and you can instantly see and feel that everything about the blanket design is thoughtful and of the utmost quality. The zippered pouch is adorable and when we take this to outdoor concerts next summer it will be the perfect place to stash a phone or even a bit of cash. I also can’t say enough about the fact it is waterproof.

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Jenn is onto something and I am honored that she chose me to help her spread the word about the launch of Sparrow Park Goods & Co. I am also thrilled that she created a 10% off discount code (LexAndLearn) for all of you to use in Step #2 of the checkout process.

As we enter the season of shopping for gifts, the Roll-Up Blanket is perfect for outdoor loving moms and moms-to-be who appreciate when chic style meets function! I would also love to gift a blanket like this for engagements or weddings with a nice bottle of champagne and some outdoor wine glasses.

Supporting small, women-owned businesses with an American-made philosphy like Sparrow Park Goods & Co feels great and it’s important to do so when you can. Jenn, thank you for making Lex & Learn a part of your launch journey. I wish you all the best and can’t wait for the new products to be introduced!

Be sure to follow Sparrow Park Goods & Co. on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Review: Soybu Yoga Wear

Disclosure: I was generously given a Soybu yoga top and pants to test in my everyday fitness classes. All opinions and observations are my own. 

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My body has changed. Despite what people see or what the scale says, my body has changed since having a baby. Most notably, none of my old workout clothes fit quite like I need them to in the chest or stomach areas. I need more support and more “holding in” than before.

That said, my old clothes fit so I have had a really difficult time justifying new activewear purchases. I own quite a bit of Lululemon but following last year’s PR debacle I have not wanted to purchase any more of their products. So, imagine my thrill when a very dear friend joined Soybu as a local PR consultant here in Denver. Before she even began talking to them I had observed what looked like a fantastic Mile High Mamas event at Soybu’s new flagship Denver store and loved all of the photos I saw being posted by local moms I admire on social media. All different body types yet everyone was smiling and posting about how good the clothes fit–how they felt beautiful, strong and supported.

When my friend asked if I’d be interested in trying an outfit I leaped at the offer. I do not do a lot of traditional yoga, so I told her the clothes would be put to the test in kettle bells, sculpt, cycle and more.

On my doorstep, just in time for a Saturday morning kettle bell + barre class, was a pair of the Killer Caboose Crop (um, yes please) and Goddess Tank. At $59 and $44 respectively, both pieces are extremely durable  and versatile investments without breaking the bank. The top has removable pads and is ruched in all the right places, especially for us mamas. I am still nursing and like to add a little extra support for classes with a lot of intense movement. I wore one of my lighter sports bras for added support and it was an extremely comfortable layering fit. The pants lived up to the name and gave my struggling booty a noticeable lift. And finally, for once since having Rylan, I felt like they sat properly on my new waist and stomach–a huge boost of confidence.

But how would they perform?

To be fair, the gym I frequent can be pretty hot in the summer. Add on hundreds of kettle bell swings and plank jack tabatas and it’s a sauna. The top did not breathe quite as much as I needed it to but in other classes that has not been an issue whatsoever. Now I wear wear the top and pants separately depending on the class, saving the tank for classes where I know there is A/C or a slower, yoga-focused pace. The pants are good for just about everything and I have no fears of mistakenly showing off my backside when doing a forward fold or leaning back into race mode on the bike. That’s key!

I love that the company is passionate about making women feel beautiful. Shape and size don’t matter. It’s about feeling strong–strong for you. For me I feel strong in all different ways. I feel strong at the gym, at work and when I am sitting quietly nursing my son. From my brief experiences with Soybu so far, they are a brand that wants to help me embrace all of this.

I am eyeing the Lotus Capri and Kelly Tank next. And the Utopia collection that is being teased as “Coming Soon” on the website currently looks really cute! Are you new to Soybu or have you been wearing it for years? What do you love on the website?

 

Maternity Clothing Favorites

Growing a human requires a wardrobe switch and given my obsession for shopping, I’ve wanted to do a maternity-focused clothing post for months. Tomorrow marks 33 weeks so I figured this post needed to be written before I become a permanent fixture on the couch after 7 p.m.

I clung onto my regular pants until the ghetto rubber band trick literally exploded on me one day in the kitchen of my office. I was about 16 or 17 weeks in at that point. The belly band drove me nuts so I gave in and went for the full gusto of maternity pants with the giant panel. For me, the under belly style just isn’t comfortable.

Since I am lucky enough to be able to wear jeans to work most days, I splurged on designer skinny jeans for my daily uniform of jeans with boots during the colder months (it snowed well into May in Denver this year!). A Pea in the Pod is not cheap but the designer jean options are truly chic and helped me come to terms with the belly expansion. I love the AG and 7 for All Mankind options. Again, these aren’t cheap and if I could not wear them 5+ days a week I would have stuck with GAP and Old Navy styles only. The splurge will also motivate me to fit back into them if we have a Sprout #2 some day!

Enough about jeans, lets move on to every pregnant woman’s go-to fave…legging.

Credit: A Pea in the Pod

A Pea in the Pod has several styles to choose from, but I am terrified of leggings that are too thin and show my butt if I bend over. No one wants to see that, especially now. Another splurge, but the Secret Fit Belly Jersey Knit Maternity Leggings from the store are fabulous. I have gotten more than my money’s worth since about 15 weeks. A close second were the maternity leggings from Boden USA (though they are not available right now so they must be a seasonal offer). At about $30 they are much more affordable, hold their shape and provide plenty of coverage. I am a big fan.

Credit: Target

Target tanks have also been a godsend. The Mossimo brand are my favorite and once my pre-pregnancy styles got too short to wear alone I simply went up a size. They have a ton of stretch and in the store come in a wide variety of plain and printed styles. I wear them under sheer-ish tops for extra coverage and solo with a cardigan and chunky necklace for work or weekend.

Other tips:

  • Run, don’t walk, to H&M if you have a store near you. The MAMA maternity line is very small but adorable. I scored several tunics there plus a black cotton dress that I wore weekly until summer arrived. Unfortunately the website maternity section is sorely lacking
  • Try going up a size in GAP or GAP Outlet workout clothes for the last trimester. I really didn’t want to buy anything new but having only two pairs of pre-pregnancy workout pants that can be slung low enough to work creates so much laundry when you’re working out 4+ days a week still
  • If you do like to wear shorts I highly recommend ordering a pair from Destination Maternity. For about $29 you can get a pair that is flattering and comfortable, even if you just opt to wear them around the house
  • Buy tunics. Early on I didn’t like the length of most tunics as I felt – since I am short – like I was being swallowed whole by my outfit. But now I wish I had a few more because they are so forgiving, especially on the days where you can’t get over what’s happening on your front side (and backside, and side-side)

To close, I’ll leave you with a few of my faves as captured by awkward “selfie” iPhone pics… So strange to look back at what I thought was a big bump. Damn, if I only knew then what I am living/carrying around now.

Non-maternity, empire waist maxi dress (don’t be afraid of maxi dresses that aren’t in the maternity section. Just look for high empire waists and try on a size larger!)

H&M MAMA maternity top; Target Mossimo cardigan

Pea in the Pod tank; regular Target cardigan

Old Navy loungewear top/hoodie

A Pea in the Pod lightweight sweater

Mossimo tank from Target and ugly pre-pregnancy fleece PJ pants (evening shot for my mom who lives in California)

Pin of the Week: Fashion

Source: svpply.com via Alexis on Pinterest

 

Since moving to Colorado nearly three years ago, one of my favorite aspects of the changing seasons is the chance to wear boots. Lots of boots. I have two or three more pairs that I “need” to complete my collection for all styles and occasions but I realized this year that I am also sorely behind on a super cute boot trend — tall boot socks!

My friend Ramonna rocks boot socks better than anyone I know and she was kind enough to pass along a few suggestions from Title Nine and Smartwool.

I kind of really “need” a few pairs. I also wouldn’t mind a new pair of Frye’s or Cole Haan boots this year either…Santa??

Pin of the Week: A Bit of Sparkle

Source: kalei.do via Alexis on Pinterest

 

‘Cause every girl needs just a bit of sparkle in her wardrobe…I’m loving this look, head to toe.

Have a fantastic Friday!

J.Crew Sale Score

It has been awhile since I shopped J.Crew. I love their clothes, especially in fall and winter, but I personally think their prices have gotten really out of reach over the last few years. So the other night after nearly walking out over the price of a blouse with tiny hens on it, I kept my cool and walked back to the sale rack.

Hallelujah!

Excuse the iPhone photo and sleeping pup on the floor. As you can gather from me no longer being in the dressing room, I found and purchased this adorable (in my opinion) polka dot blouse that fits like a dream. It is so comfortable and effortless. The blouse regularly went for $128 and I paid $79 plus an additional 30% off. True, it is still expensive, but I’ll get a ton of wear through winter with both pant and skirts + tights.

On Thursday night, when I snapped this iPhone photo, I paired it with simple black pants from Banana Republic and a big black and gold J.Crew inspired necklace that I scored on Accessory Concierge for $30. Are you familiar with Accessory Concierge? If not, please stop reading my blog and go learn about it right now. You’ll thank (and hate) me later.

So the moral of the story is, if you love J.Crew but can’t stomach the prices at full retail, keep checking back on their sales. Maybe this spring I will finally treat myself to a J.Crew coat when they are marked down. I’ve wanted one since college… I mean, look at their outerwear collection. How do you choose just one?

Have a lovely Saturday!

Pin of the Week: A Splurge

 

I really want a leather jacket this fall/winter. A high-quality leather jacket isn’t in the cards right now but Pinterest lets me play “make believe” with finds like this All Saints beauty. Maybe next year…

If you could splurge on ONE item for your wardrobe this season, what would it be?

Hello Lover: Ella Moss Booties

Today (Saturday) has been blissful. It started with an 8:30am yoga class. No crazy weights or sprints, just stretching, breathing and balancing. I’ve been having a hard time making time for traditional yoga versus kettle belle/sculpt/spin classes, so it felt fantastic. I need to remember that you do not always have to be dripping in sweat and walking gingerly to mark a solid workout.

After yoga I treated myself to coffee and a mani + pedi. The nail salon is on the same block as a few adorable Highlands Square stores so I meandered in and out while doing my best to keep my wallet tucked carefully in my purse.

My wallet did indeed stay put, but I left a piece of my shoe-loving heart with these Ella Moss booties at an adorable shoe store called Strut. I saw them in brown but I’d be a proud owner of either color. “Hello lover…” a la Carrie Bradshaw for sure.

Credit: Ella Moss

Credit: Ella Moss

Her name is Eliza. Eliza Bootie. Pretty cute, huh? I adore the wedge heel as a wedge makes any tall shoe infinitely more wearable. The leather detail adds a bit of edge for weekend wear but these beauties can definitely be made office appropriate as well. At $278 they are out of my current price range…but in my Vogue reading, designer shoe label coveting opinion, the price is not obscene for fall/winter boots.

I’ve spent the better part of the afternoon trying to justify going back for Eliza, but seeing that I treated myself to a few items at J Crew on Thursday evening my shopping budget for October is tapped. More on those purchases soon.

Happy Saturday fellow shoe lovers!

Autumn Wardrobe Staples

I have a few more items to purchase to make this year’s autumn/winter wardrobe transition complete. Most are in the shoe category as last year I finally threw away two pairs of disgusting black and brown pumps to force myself to get new ones.

But a spin around Banana Republic a few weeks ago (inspired by this post) helped me add a few staples that I know will get a ton of wear at work and on the weekends.

#1 – Soft Wash Denim Shirt (perfect for black and/or dark colored skinny jeans)

Credit: Banana Republic

#2 – Printed Silk Blouse (I prefer this untucked with skinny jeans or black/navy work slacks)

Credit: Banana Republic

#3 – Bright Cardigan (goes with almost anything, but beware of shedding)

Credit: Banana Republic

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I love fall fashion! Banana Republic put out a really nice line this year and unlike Nordstrom, which I adore, you can get a few pieces instead of just one item. Important when you are sticking to a budget.

Please note that all of these opinions are 100% my own. Banana Republic has never contacted me about reviews or provided me with any samples or discounts, unfortunately.

Pin of the Week: Fall Sweaters

For just a moment this week in Denver, you could feel fall. And it felt oh-so-fabulous. On Wednesday we did not climb out of the 60′s and it rained for a good portion of the day. A little slice of heaven for those of us who “survived” a miserably hot summer without AC.

Fall clothing is probably my absolute favorite season to shop for since moving to Colorado. Outfits aren’t covered up by puffy coats yet sweaters, blazers and jeans look effortlessly chic when combined with killer accessories — a great scarf, soft leather handbag and gold jewelry. Adore! Speaking of shopping, and sweaters, I wouldn’t mind if this beauty was hanging in my closet!

Source: rstyle.me via Alexis on Pinterest

 

I just got skinny black jeans and really love this look. I am a huge fan of long sweaters…they are forgiving and look appropriate at the office, running errands or out for a Saturday night dinner (and drinks). The best news? I was terrified to click through on Pinterest and find out that this sweater cost $200 or $300. It is only $69 at Urban Outfitters! Hoping to check it out in person when I am at the mall this weekend.

What fall looks are you loving this year?

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