Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

My Modcloth Experience

In the summer, I take stock of my wardrobe to see what needs to be replaced or added. This year, I  thought I’d try something different and take a look at Modcloth. I’ve seen advertisments everywhere, and I seem to hear good things about it. I even know some people who have been happy with their products.

So, I made a list of things I needed and search around on Modcloth to see what they had to offer. They certainly had a large variety, and I ended up ordering 2 pairs of dress pants, three tops, a pair of shoes, and one undergarment.

I ordered on August 20th and I received the package September 8th. Not quick. that’s for sure. So, I wasn’t super happy about that, but I wasn’t too surprised since it was  coming from the USA.

I opened the box and I could immediately tell the fabric of the blouse on the top was cheap before even taking it out of the bag. I hoped for the best while opening it, but when I put it on, not only was fabric thin and flimsy, but the top was WAY too big! The arm holes were huge and you could see my entire bra and more on each side!

Okay…not a great start. That was the shirt I bought on sale for $10. Maybe the rest will be better.

Next up a pair of pants. Again, the fabric was cheap and as I held them up I realized they’d look ridiculous on me. Sure enough, I put them on and it looked like clown pants! They were SUPER wide and long (I’m 5’7″, but there was a good 6″ of extra length). They did fit on the waist okay, but otherwise were a miss.

Next was another pair of pants, and more of the same. Another miss.

I had another two shirts, and both fit similarly to the first one. Way too big under the arms!  Fabrics were also thin and/or they construction was not very flattering. Two more misses.

I tried on a lounging bra that, again, was WAY too big…which is insane, because I’m pretty well-endowed and never have that problem. So, a big no to that one too.

I finally tried on the shoes I ordered – yay! They fit! They’re cute! They’re good quality! A hit this time.

Things to consider:

  1. I ordered all larger sizes than I normally do, but only because I ordered to their sizing charts.
  2. I did read the reviews and take the comments about quality and sizing into account when ordering.
  3. The fabric seemed cheap or the construction was awful.
  4. It took longer than expected to get to me.
  5. I had to pay a ~$60 customs charge to accept the package.
  6. I had to pay ~$30 in shipping to return it.

This was not a very good shopping experience, and I will not be shopping at Modcloth again!

Have you bought clothing from Modcloth? What was your experience like?


6 Months After Buying SUV

Back in October, I was in a traffic accident as I was heading to work in the morning. It was on a minor highway (speed limit 80km/hr). I was going straight and a big F-150, coming the other way, turn left in front of me. I managed to veer out of the way slightly so that only our driver’s front corners hit. But, because the truck was much bigger than my little Toyota Matrix,  my car was deemed undrivable and was written off.

This was an unwelcome surprise, as we were hoping of keeping the Matrix for another 5-10 years. Instead, we had to purchase a vehicle (we are in a situation that we need two vehicles because of our work situations) within just a few days.

We decided since we were being forced into buying that we’d upgrade a bit and get a newer and bigger model. After some research, we test drove a couple small SUVs. We only tested the Honda CRV and the Ford Escape, because we knew the Toyota RAV-4 would be similar to the former (we were also really interested in the Hyundai Santa Fe, but they were either hard to find or out of our price range).

We both liked the Ford Escape better in terms of drivability and bang for the buck (we could get a much newer model with more options for less $$), and ended up buying a 2013 model with about 60K on it. Meet Eddie:

I drive it everyday, mostly highway driving, and I’ve been quite happy with it. It’s a nice, smooth drive, and I feel safe in it. The back seat is also roomy, which is important as the boys get older.

Some things I’m not keen on are a) the available storage is still not as much as the Matrix (the model we had allowed the front passenger seat to fold flat, so that gave a lot more room!), b) the bluetooth system isn’t super reliable, and c) there are things we’ve been finding after purchase that should have been fixed before we drove it off the lot….

…the first issue was right as we were driving off the lot. The salesperson told us they could only find 1 key fob  and they didn’t know the numerical code for the door. We asked him and the manager about covering the expense of both these things (we felt strongly they should have been included in the price of the car, even though we were buying used). It was going to cost us about $800 for both if we did it through the dealership. They refused to budge 😦 So, we found “a guy” to make us a new key fob for $150, and decided to forget about the door code.

Then, during a routine oil change yesterday,  the mechanic found a few things that had clearly NOT been done since the car was “born”. The air cabin filter was completely covered in black mold, the transmission fluid was black, and the fuel system had never been cleaned. So, now we’ll have to do this service in the near future.

Though I like the Ford Escape as a car so far, our experience with Ford sales and customer service was poor. I understand we need to expect certain things when buying a used car, but there should be a minimum level of service we should all get.

What have your experiences been when buying vehicles (new or used)? 

The Over-The-Top Pout

Sometimes, when E starts a new class/activity we enrol him in, he complete shuts down, starts pouting, refused to take part, stands by a wall/on the sidelines, and just shakes his head while repeating “no” anytime someone tries to get him to participate.

Notice how I say sometimes. He does not do this with outdoor soccer, and not when he knows someone else (so we try to do that when we can). He usually does not start out this way. Instead, usually a game of tag or something will send him into this state.

Both DH and I are at the end of our ropes with this behaviour. When it happened when he was 2 or 3, we just assumed he’d grow out of it. But, he keeps doing it as he gets older, and it gets more annoying every time (and embarrassing too!).

We’ve tried positive strategies (talking it up before hand, getting him to choose  the activities, being super encouraging, offering rewards, etc.), neutral strategies (ignoring behaviour), and negative strategies (time outs, lecturing, taking away privileges).

Sometimes he’ll eventually and reluctantly start participating, but with an over-the-top-pout, continually looking at us (to make sure we know he’s not happy?), faking like he’s hurt, etc.. NOTHING seems to have the desired affect of getting him to participate in a positive way.

Any thoughts or tips?? HELP!!!

Back on the Needles

One thing I let go when I started teaching in September was knitting, which has been an important piece of self-care I’ve been investing in since my grad school days (can’t find the post where I first write about it, but here’s one in which I write about knitting as therapy).

So, when I started my medical leave about a month ago due to extreme stress, panic, and anxiety, I knew I had to pick up the needles again.

I picked up where I left of, with this flowered headband:


Flowered Headband

This was a relatively easy and quick knit from 60 Quick Knits from America’s Yarn Shops.

Part way through the headband, I realized I was using 5mm needles (size 8), not size 5 (3.75mm) needles as the pattern called for. But, instead of frogging it and starting over, I plugged along,  just doing fewer repeats of the pseudo-lace patterned bands in the centre. It also turned out a little wider because of this, but more coverage in our winters is not a bad thing!

Nice to be back to this fine hobby, and now to one of the best things about it: picking my next project!

The Martian

Wow. What a ride!

I just finished reading The Martian by Andy Weir, and it was flat-out amazing.

For those not aware of the book, it tell the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut left behind by his crew on Mars and his struggle to stay alive.

I was a bit wary of reading the book because 1) I  had heard that it was rather technical, and 2) sci-fi can be hit or (really big) miss. But, from the first line, I was hooked and I never wanted to put the book down.

My background in astronomy really allowed me to appreciate the scientific nuances in the book (and some of the jokes were particularly funny to people who know math and science – especially on Mars – well). But, everything else was done so well: the character development, the roller-coast plot, and the back-on-Earth story being woven in.

It was so exciting that I regularly literally laughed, gasped, and cried – VERY rare while reading!

I knew this book was a great one when I start being sad that it was going to end when I wasn’t even half-way through.

After a long time of “meh” books, it was so refreshing to read such an amazing story.

I give this book a 5/5!

The Learning Brain

2015 felt slow for reading books. I probably had time to read more, but between finishing my BEd, then teaching at a private school in the Fall, I didn’t have much time in the evenings.

I ended the year reading The Learning Brain, which is a review of neuroscience research behind how we learn.

It was an interesting read, with parts about how we learn to speak, write, and do math. There were also parts about how the brain develops throughout childhood, into adolescents, and up to adulthood, and how our capacity to learn changes. There were also parts about more specific neurological topics like ADHD, Autism, neuroplasticity, amoung others.

Though the content of the book was interesting in an academic sense, the book itself wasn’t all that entertaining to read. I had seen several reviews that it was accessible for any level. Though followable, there were a few parts that felt needlessly loaded with jargon (especially given its apparent broad target audience). If it wasn’t for my stroke experience and DH being in the brain-science world, I would not have been able to understand as much as I did.

One thing that I was disappointed with was there were very few concrete suggestions for pedagogical strategies to use to accommodate for the issues they were reviewing. In reading the summary of the book beforehand, I was expecting more of a connection in this regard.

Overall, the subject is interesting, and the writing was decent enough. Anyone wanting to know more about the neuroscience behind learning, it’s a good place to start.

I give this book a 3/5.

Hopes for 2016

As you read in my last post, 2015 was pretty meh. So, I’m hoping things will change in 2016. Here are my hopes:

  • I  would like to make progress toward a more stable work situation
  • I would like to get back to spending more time doing (and enjoying) things I love like knitting, reading, and cooking
  • I would like to move more and feel more energized
  • I would like to enjoy the time with my family more
  • I would like to either make our home more livable or move to a house that suits us better

What are your hopes for 2016?

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: