Let’s Talk About Bras (Baby)

Barbed wire bra image courtesy of Zephyrbunny on Flickr

Image courtesy of zephyrbunny on Flickr

Right.

Those of you who know me well know that I’m what you might call a bit of a tomboy. Always have been, always will be. As a kid, I liked to climb trees and pick berries and plants and play in the dirt. I liked to play with everything — including my food (and look where that got me). I didn’t exclusively like pink — and later, grew to actively hate it as a teenager. I like cars and motorcycles and mechanical things and forensics and was always asking questions about how things worked. I love to knit, but will take (and have taken) the time to figure out how to double-knit a design based on a MotoGP rider’s helmet (subject of a future post, don’t worry). I am a quirk-filled PITA at times, but allegedly that’s all part of my charm.

All of those things I love to do would be really difficult (if not downright painful) without the help of nice, properly fitted bras. Seriously. I may not be a marathon runner, but you just try standing on your feet and running around a commercial kitchen all day without proper support for your boobs and see how you feel. (Hint: not good. Not good at all.) They’re also a good idea for driving cars quickly (and well), as well as riding motorcycles. Seriously, there’s no time that a good, supportive bra isn’t a good idea. If you have boobs, you need to have some. Period.

Lately, I’ve run into more and more women who have the same problem: bras sold by Victoria’s Secret and the like just aren’t doing what they want them to do. This becomes a major problem if you don’t fit into the narrow size range to which VS and most department stores cater. Sure, you can find bigger bras (either by band, cup size, or both) at specialty stores — if you’re lucky enough to have a specialty store nearby that you can peruse. But a lot of times, they’re the kind of stuff your grandma might have worn. While you may love your grandma, that doesn’t necessarily mean your style is her style, you know? And if you have a small band size but a large cup size, you’re basically SOL.

Several years ago, I was complaining about this very thing with some friends online. One of them, a London resident, helpfully pointed me in the direction of Bravissimo, which had at the time just started to sell stuff internationally via their web store.

I couldn’t believe it. Great fitment advice, for a start — whenever I went to VS and got fitted, they of course tried to fit me into what they sold, but if I didn’t end up with quadraboob, I ended up with underwires that came loose and stabbed me with their sharp ends. It’s a little scary at first, buying a bra online — but if you take the time and follow their fitment advice, as well as read the reviews of other customers for each individual bra before you buy, you can definitely end up with something that makes you happier than you may have previously thought possible.

Here’s the problem: most standard purveyors of bras here only go up to DD cups. They’ll go up to larger band sizes with no problem, but larger cups? You need a specialty store for that. My mother thought she was a C cup when I was little. Neither she nor I knew any better then — nor when I first started wearing bras. With hindsight, as well as genetics, I think it’s likely that she probably was a larger cup size — but like a lot of women, instead compensated by buying a larger band size and fitting herself into cups that were too small.

The problem with that approach is that your chest isn’t properly supported. That’s hell on your back, your feet, your posture — your life, basically. No matter what you like to do, you need proper support. A well-fitted bra should support your boobs from the band — NOT the straps. If your straps are cutting into your shoulders, that’s a sign that your bra doesn’t fit properly. Underwires can help with larger boobs, but there are also soft cup options if you don’t like the wires. The key is really finding the right band/cup size combination. This leads to good support and nice shaping.

Also, really, NOTHING feels like a properly fitted bra. Nothing. Also, if you’ve been wearing an ill-fitting bra for a long time (or worse yet, cramming your boobs into a sports compression bra because you can’t find a regular bra that fits well), you’ll look like you’ve lost a significant amount of weight. (Yes, I speak from experience. Boobs: your best friend and your worst enemy.)

I’ve been a happy Bravissimo customer for several years now, and I’ll never go back. I wish they had stores here, because I’d happily shop in them. (Nudge nudge — we can get Zara and Topshop and H&M, but no Bravissimo? C’mon, guys — I know I’m not alone.) They have sales frequently, which helps take some of the sting out of the exchange rate between the dollar and the pound. If you wash your bras by hand (which you really should), they’ll last for a long time. I’ve had some wear out after a long time, but I have NEVER had any quality control issues like I used to have with other bras. No wires escaping to stab me, or broken straps, or poorly sewn anything. If you shop the sales, they’re in line with what you’re going to pay at VS or somewhere similar for a bra that won’t make you happy. Bravissimo isn’t paying me to say this; I’m just that happy with the experiences I’ve had there, and have since talked them up to any ladies I know who have had trouble finding bras that make them happy. Their customer service also can’t be beat — even with the time difference from across the pond.

They’re good for swimsuits, too — and clothes that are “designed with your boobs in mind.” It’s a little late for resolutions, but resolve to treat yourself (and your boobs) better in 2014, yeah? Your back, feet, and everything else will thank you for it.

My name is Janni, and I approve this message. ;)

Knitting For Bunnies

Seagrass Roll

 

Hoppy New Year!

OK, OK, the new year started 15 days ago. And I have plenty of other stuff to write about (including my recent forays into the world of gluten-free cooking and baking), but I thought it might be good to start with bunnies.

For those of you who are proud bunny parents who also knit, you may want to give this a try. Bird parents might also want to give it a go.

Here are some things I learned while doing this project:

Wear gloves.

Seriously. Seagrass is not soft and pliable, like yarn. It has give, and you can knit it. But you can’t twine it through your fingers like you might with regular yarn. Your knitting will also go much slower than you may be accustomed to when knitting with actual yarn. But it’s possible, just as much as knitting with wire is possible.

What kind of gloves? I used some nitrile ones we have in the garage for doing mechanic stuff, such as oil changes or anything else particularly dirty. I would imagine latex would work as well. Anything that’s very fitted and will hold up to some abuse. Also, you can’t care whether or not they get ripped up, because they will get ripped up while you knit. You may go through multiple gloves if you make a larger project.

Use metal circular needles.

Don’t use wood, or anything else that might get damaged by knitting with something rough. Also, it doesn’t matter if you’re planning to knit in the round or not. Circulars make it a lot easier to handle the stiffness of the finished project. What length of circular you use will depend on what size project you want to make, of course. Use your best judgment.

Have a vacuum cleaner ready.

Seagrass sheds. A lot. You’ll need to vacuum yourself, your workspace, anything you sit on, and the entire area where you’ve been sitting when you’re done.

It’s rough going.

I can’t speak for anyone else who knits, but you need strong hands to do this for any length of time. For myself, I don’t just knit and type — I also bake bread professionally, and am kneading bread with my hands almost every day. I’m fairly certain that made this project easier for me than it might be if I didn’t knead bread every day. You may need several sessions to make what you want for your pets.

Seagrass Toy

Is it worth it?

I think so. So far, Sabine seems to like her new toy. I need to make another one for Jutta, our other rabbit. She’s very fond of those unpeeled willow balls that a lot of house rabbit toy specialists sell, so hopefully she’ll like it if I make her one of these. I’ll report back once I do.

Winter Fun

Snow-covered scooters by Elsie esq. on Flickr

Snow-covered scooters by Elsie esq. on Flickr

 

We didn’t get an autumn this year. Not really.

There’s already salt and snow on the ground. Early in the morning, there’s ice. Thanksgiving is tomorrow. For the past few years, that hasn’t been the case around here. My SO and I would usually be riding motorcycles late into the season.

I remember one year that I was out riding around a couple of days after the New Year when we had a freak warm front come through. There’s a special kind of satisfaction that suffuses your limbs when you ride at a time when most people wouldn’t.

This year, we’re unfortunately resigned to driving a bit earlier than has usually been the case. But a) bunnies, and b) motorsports on the DVR.

I’m also pretty sure that I’m one of the only people (if not the only person) you know who’s currently knitting a design based on a professional MotoGP racer’s helmet.

Photos will come when it’s complete, but it’s gonna be awesome. I promise.

Until then, happy Thanksgivukkah, everyone! :D

Switcheroo

Sabine with hay

 

Last week, we went to the vet.

Both Sabine and Jutta are completely healthy, but it was time for a checkup. Luckily, our vet confirmed that they’re both completely healthy as well. Good vet visit!

But the car ride was another story.

Both Sabine and Jutta have enjoyed car rides at different points in time while they’ve been living with us. The past few times, Sabine hasn’t enjoyed it very much, but J avidly remembers how much she seemed to enjoy riding home with him from the rescue. Maybe it’s a vicious cycle. We don’t really go on car rides with Sabine very often, except when we’re going to the vet. So we considered the possibility that we may have conditioned her to dread car rides.

Jutta, on the other hand, loved car rides. Back when she was constantly grumpy due to what we later found out was a chronic stomach problem (that was happily remedied by dietary changes), going for a nice, long car ride was one of the few things she really seemed to enjoy. We’d pack her up in her tote bag, with her blanket, and J would drive while I held her and petted her and we drove around. She loved it. She got so relaxed, and was doing happy tooth clicks…seriously, this was the happiest we’d ever see her in those days.

Now, though? Now, she doesn’t like her usual bag o’ snuggling. Sabine doesn’t like her carrier. Both girls were not very happy when we got to the vet the other day. They’d been fine with their conveyances before, but apparently that has changed.

 

relaxy_bear

 

So we switched them for the ride home.

At first, we were worried. Sabine had seemed angry when we arrived at the vet, but not really scared. Jutta, on the other hand, had seemed very scared. What would riding in a carrier, without me petting and soothing her the whole way, end up doing?

A lot, as it turns out.

Both girls were completely happy when they came home. Sabine was poking her head out of the bag, doing her little kangaroo pose and looking around while we were driving home. She loved the attention she was getting, and didn’t seem at all upset. When the sun went down, and she couldn’t see very well anymore, she just started to relax in the blanket and enjoy her ear rubs and nose scratches.

Jutta was perfectly calm as well. She didn’t even thump when we let her out of the carrier in the living room. Usually, she’ll thump anytime she’s returned to the floor after having been picked up — be it for brushing, nail clipping, a vet visit, or a car ride.

What’s my point? My point is, listen to your pets. You may not think they’re speaking your language, but they tell you a lot if you pay attention. Just like humans, their feelings and opinions can change. They’ll let you know what they need.

This goes for people, too. Some people aren’t always the greatest at communication, and it’s up to you to do what you can to decipher what they actually need. There is no simple  set of one-size-fits-all rules for communication.

The Snuggle Alarm

Snuggle Alarm

 

 

As a rule, I’ve always hated alarm clocks.

Of course I’ve had several. It’s not so much the waking up that’s the problem; it’s the feeling that I’ve been interrupted. I always feel like I haven’t gotten enough sleep if it’s an alarm that wakes me up. The time of day when I’m waking up doesn’t matter, either — nor how many hours I’ve actually slept. It’s really just the simple, horrible fact of being jolted away from my dreams with a terrible noise. Ugh.

Waking up on my own usually works a lot better. I feel more rested, more ready to start taking on the day.

The snuggle alarm works well, too.

Sabine is our most recent contestant in the snuggle alarm sweepstakes (which is, in our household, always a house-rabbit-only contest).

How does the snuggle alarm work? It’s quite simple. Your rabbit (or cat, or dog, or other companion animal who has the run of your house — or, at least, your bedroom) leaps up onto the bed and snuggles you awake. This may involve kisses, your fur-kids snuggling you, urgent demands that you snuggle them, carefully launching themselves so they land directly on your bladder and make you have to get out of bed immediately, urgent kneading of the covers/your arm, and/or backing their furry little butts into your face.

Lest you think that the snuggle alarm is simply cute, I can assure you that it’s saved us from oversleeping on a number of occasions as well.

Most of the time, the snuggle alarm goes off around the time our normal alarm clocks go off. House rabbits like routine, so this isn’t surprising.

What’s hilarious is when the snuggle alarm goes off in the complete absence of a normal alarm clock — either due to malfunction, or operator error. Hilariously awesome, that is. There have been days when either myself or my SO would have been completely late to work or another appointment if it wasn’t for the snuggle alarm. I’m not exaggerating.

What I’m telling you is that I should really just get rid of my alarm clock entirely. Look at that face. Clearly the Sabine snuggle alarm is the best alarm.

Do you have any snuggle alarm experiences that you’d like to share?

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