What I Bought: Express shorts

I was in Mall of America one night, having dinner with a couple coworkers. On my way out, I passed the store window at Express. I haven’t purchased anything at Express for awhile, mostly because my nearly 30-year-old-behind doesn’t look as good in their unsupportive jeans as it maybe did when I was in my early 20s. But my eyes were drawn to bright, poppy orange shorts on a store mannequin. It was love at first sight. The shorts instantly made me feel happy.

I went into the store, found the shorts and grabbed two sizes that I thought might work. I had several pairs of similar Express shorts that I’d purchased a few years ago. I liked the way those fit, so I stuck with that size, plus I grabbed one size lower (just in case my workouts had really made a difference). The treadmill hasn’t made a difference – the larger size was a better fit. I liked that they were a little longer – they felt like they’d work for all occasions rather than being so short I’d feel uncomfortable around family and neighbors.

I bought several pairs…when I find clothing items that I like, I typically buy multiples of them. Usually this is OK, but sometimes I buy four of something and then realize a month later – after removing all the tags and washing them – they I actually hate them. Luckily this hasn’t been the case with the shorts. I bought five pairs: poppy/orange, black and white ikat, dark denim, white, and aqua blue with a Hawaiian floral pattern (see my leg modeling them below). I love them! The quality was decent, in my opinion, but I’m not sure my standards are as high as yours. Like I said, I have several pairs of shorts from Express that I bought maybe 7 years ago and they are still in great shape.

hawaiian-floral

They look great with basic tees and with slightly dressier button-down shirts. My chambray two-pocket top looks awesome with all of the shorts (except maybe the Hawaiian print…). I have absolutely no buyer’s remorse.

What I bought: 4 ½ inch belted cotton sateen shorts

What I paid: About $30 per pair (they were 40% off) — they’re on sale now!

I read several of the user reviews, just to get an idea of some people’s outfit ideas (everyone loves the portofino shirts from some reason; I tried one on and hated it). Since I was able to try the shorts on, I didn’t need help finding a size. But if you’re ordering online, some reviews with the buyer’s measurements can be super helpful.

What I Bought: Apple iPad (4th Generation)

I’ve wanted a tablet for quite some time, but was never ready to make the purchase. Since Black Friday was approaching, I decided it was time! I’ve always been very anti-Apple — I won’t get into it. So even though I still have an initial knee-jerk, puke-in-my-mouth reaction, it really doesn’t apply anymore, and it just makes me a hypocrite for judging people based on the electronics they use since that’s what made those people so annoying to me in the first place.

Anyway.

Criteria:

– I was looking for something that could be a laptop alternative for the nights I sit at home and browse my favorite magazines, fashion websites and YouTube videos.

– I didn’t need something really lightweight/portable because I wasn’t going to carry it around in my pocket (are there people who carry tablets around in their pockets? Who are you?). I don’t plan to sit in a coffee shop with my tablet and type up a blog.

– I wanted something that starts up in less than five minutes (unlike my old laptop). I also wanted something with a battery that lasted longer than 14 seconds without being plugged in (unlike my old laptop).

– I wanted something that would load my favorite websites crazy fast, and I wanted a screen that was uber-crisp.

– I wanted to be able to put my music, magazines, podcasts and anything else all in one place, but I didn’t need something with space for an entire multimedia center.

– I also wanted the option to shoot videos for YouTube (in case I ever go down that route).

– As shallow and stupid as this sounds, I also wanted something that I could put in a cute case J Go ahead, judge me, I don’t care.

The iPad was a contender in my tablet hunt, as was the Kindle Fire HD. I decided not to even look at anything else, namely because one of the reasons I wanted the tablet was to be able to read my magazines on it, and two of the magazines I subscribe to — Glamour and Lucky — only had digital subscriptions for the iPad, the Kindle and the Nook. I didn’t even consider the Nook — sorry if you’re a Nook fan.

So it was between the iPad and Kindle Fire HD. If I was going to get a Fire, I wanted to get the newest one with the 8.9-inch screen. I read reviews, I watched YouTube reviews, I went to several Best Buy stores to try them out and hold them in my hands. Both seemed easy to use, but the Fire kept freezing up on me. You might say, “Well, Lindsey, it was a display model — who knows how many people had played with it?” That’s true, but it had just started selling in Best Buy stores that day, so it’s not like it had been on display for weeks.

No one had anything bad to say about the Kindle Fire, but it seemed like more people had more good things to say about the iPad. That’s probably partially because of the brand. Is it a higher price? Yes. But I knew I wasn’t sacrificing anything by getting it (other than money). In the past, I’ve cut corners on electronic purchases and while sometimes it’s worked out, oftentimes I’ve regretted not spending just a little extra cash for something I knew I’d love. So that’s how I decided to purchase the iPad.

What I bought: The 4th gen iPad in white, 16G. I have no intentions of downloading a lot of stuff, so I didn’t need any extra storage. I also don’t need to access the internet from everywhere, so I chose the WiFi only version.

I love it. It’s so easy to use. I’d never had an iTunes account, so I finally created one of those and bought all my favorite songs from the late 90s. It’s funny because when I’m listening to my music, I find myself repeatedly saying, “Geez, Lindsey, you have A-mazing taste in music.” Some mornings I’ll bring the iPad with me to work and I’ll listen to music on the bus. I’ve found that it’s next to impossible not to tap my foot with the music or do a little swaying motion when certain songs come on.

You might remember that one of the criteria list items was the availability of cute cases and accessories. Luckily the iPad has nearly endless options to choose from, so I was able to find a couple that I really loved. They’re perfect for packing the iPad into my backpack for my commute to and from work.

If I had the chance to do it all over again, I might have chosen something else. I’m not really taking full advantage of all the features the iPad has to offer, and I probably wouldn’t have taken full advantage of features any other tablet has, so I could have gone with something cheaper that would do what I wanted: browse the web and play music. One reason I went with the iPad was because I could download my favorite magazines onto it. I did that for a few issues, but then realized the iPad is almost too heavy to comfortably read the magazines on. Plus, the layout of the magazine felt so weird to me. I was annoyed and just wanted my paper magazine again.

If you’re considering buying a tablet, the right one for you totally depends on what you’ll use it for and what kind of accounts you already have. If you have several Apple products, you’ll probably get an iPad. If you are a Prime member on Amazon, the Fire might be the best bet for you because you get all sorts of sweet deals with it. If certain apps are really important to you, then you’d want to check if they have an app that’s available for whichever tablet you’re considering. Unfortunately I did ZERO research on any of the other tablets…so I can’t give you any information on those. I’m sure they’re all somewhat good. Ha, that’s convincing. What I mean is that they all have their pros and cons. It’s just a matter of determining what you plan to use yours for.

Reviews I found helpful

CNET

PC Magazine

Because technology is always changing and I was doing my research in November 2012, there are plenty of new reviews and products out there now. YouTube can be a helpful place as well – you’ll find product demos and side-by-side comparisons.