Friday, March 9, 2018

Friday Link List: Raspberry Tea and Other Things

Brewing Trader Joe's tea in a David's Tea perfect mug and infuser, first recommended by Cassie. This mug has about double the capacity of a standard mug.  

Around the holidays, Trader Joe's sells a tea sampler gift set. (They used to put it in glass test tubes, but switched to small tins last year, which is more practical.) Most of the varieties aren't too special, except for the raspberry flavored black tea, which I think is great. It smells delicious, has a strong raspberry scent that doesn't feel artificial, and brews a good mellow black tea with just the right amount of raspberry flavor.

In shopping for a replacement, I scoped out some of the bigger online tea shops. Out of all the ones offering some kind of raspberry black tea, I thought the Adagio raspberry tea sounded like the best fit. I was pleased to find that it was a good, though not exact substitute. The flavor's not quite the same, but it's similar enough to tide me over. 

1. // Somewhat related to my recommendation last week for Netflix's Dirty Money series, which included an episode about Scott Tucker's payday lending empire, one of his brothers was also involved in a related business, hounding people over phantom debts. One enterprising individual fought back. I generally have an easier time identifying with defense attorneys than prosecutors (there's a lot of jumping back and forth in the field, at least in NYC), but when I hear about payday lending practices, it really makes me want to take down bad guys. Our new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the "CFPB", oft-hailed as the agency you want to threaten a report to when one runs into a bank customer service problem) director may not be as gung-ho about consumer protection as I am, though.

2. // Speaking of MM. LaFleur, it came up on Corporette recently, and some of their readers had a similar view, that the materials didn't always feel worth the price and that there are fit issues. That discussion also directed me to a MM. LaFleur buy/sell/trade group on Facebook, where a lot of people share outfit photos. 

Alas, I'm realizing that Corporette is, more often than not, a rather mean place. The person who brought up the Facebook group wanted to make fun of the women there for not fitting some kind of model ideal, or for looking as good as official website photos. Yikes! As someone who has scrolled through a fewposts in the Facebook group, the unpleasant commenter is totally off base. Women of various shapes and sizes pull off MM. LaFleur better than I do.

3. // Some more fun things from around the web. Someone on reddit made some cool-looking fake "Criterion edition" covers for the best picture Oscar nominees. There's a cool daily outfit Instagram by @yellowgelato. Bitches get Riches did a post that tied a favorite classic movie from my childhood, The Little Princess, to a helpful explanation of privilege. I've been slowly exploring more personal finance-oriented blogs. It's a slow process, but recently, I'm enjoying the discussions at Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured). Oh and I recently made Half-Baked Harvest's creamy caprese quinoa bake, which Work From Home Wardrobe recommended, and it was easy and tasty, definitely the kind of thing I could make ahead and eat for a few days.

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4. // I recently shopped online at Brooks Brothers for the first time. It's a natural thing to try, as a woman in a conservative profession who is ready to move up from the Ann Taylor price point. I must say, Brooks Brothers e-commerce really lags behind that of any other "mall brand". Over the years, I've online window-shopped for suits, and they seem unable to keep a range of those in stock online in a full size range. With one item I ordered in a petite size, they only notified me it was out of stock a week later, except that exact size still shows up as available on their site (as one of three petite sizes allegedly in stock). How strange! Shopping in person is not much better, as the one time I went to a brick and mortar store there were barely any women's items, and no suits.

I ordered two dresses, a ponte shift dress (only one size/color remaining) from the more affordable "Red Fleece" line for younger customers, and a cotton jacquard dress (availability may be overstated) from their main line. Sizing runs roomier and taller than J.Crew and Ann Taylor, with longer skirts and wider shoulders. The designs accommodate curves pretty well. The Red Fleece ponte shift dress may have been an outlet item, as it started at $78 and was on sale for $58. I shouldn't have been surprised that it seemed flimsy, with no lining and thin fabric.

Do you have any favorite recipes for making ahead on the weekends to eat for the rest of the week? Are you also a fan of any seasonal Trader Joe's items that you miss during the rest of the year? 

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