Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Women's Western Shirts Brand Guide

 This post is mostly for me to remember when I buy used Western shirts online.

Roper: Classic western look, high quality, excellent fit, no stretch, sturdy buttons, with long torso.

Wrangler Retro: Very high quality with super strong buttons, forming fitting, with a tiny bit of stretch, long torso.  Retro line has more of a flair than the classic Western.

Ariat:  High quality stitch and fabric, with a tiny bit of stretch, but buttons not as strong as Roper.  Their fitted line is quite tight in the shoulders, long torso like Roper and Wrangler. Bit of showy flair, like a Western you would wear to the fair.

Old Navy Perfect Fit: Thinner fabric with good stretch, long torso but not as long as Roper or Ariat.  A great summer western shirt. Strurdy buttons (like Roper) but not as strong as Wrangler.  I love this line.

Lucky: Smaller fit, average length torso, shorter sleeves, weaker buttons, no stretch.  Not my favorite. Consider going up a size.

Panhandle: Fun designs, little bit of stretch, fit is a little tight in the shoulders (but not as tight as Ariat), short torso, like a citified Western. 

Tommy:  A short torso Western shirt fit for the city.  The snap button (strong buttons) I got was flannel and thick (good for fall) and the button up floral was thin cotton (good for summer).

Cumberland Outfitters: Strong construction, no stretch, good fit, long torso, no top button, sturdy buttons.

Izod: Fun designs, thin fabric, weak buttons.  Good for summer but constantly tucking in while working.

Monday, September 11, 2023

the best lavender essential oils of 2023

I use lavender essential oil quite a bit and although it's not my favorite scent or oil, I believe from reading journal articles that lavender is one of the most tested and proven therapeutic essential oils.  It's also a great base for many blends.  When I ran out of my doTERRA lavender oil (I don't purchase from doTERRA anymore for ethical reasons), I became obsessed with finding THE best lavender essential oil.  Oh, how many articles and GCMS reports I poured over!  I don't want to be the only one to benefit from all that research, so this post was born.  Enjoy!

the best lavender essential oils of 2023

I would trust ALL of the following lavender essential oils to be pure, unadulterated, undiluted, and high quality.  Seriously!  I combed through their description and GCMS reports, compared prices, and production dates.  No, I have not tried all of these, but I would be happy to have any of them.

best lavender essential oils budget picks ($1.00 or less per ml as of July 2023)

very best lavender essential oils overall
noteworthy picks

fun lavender sets

Ever wondered how to make sense of those big words on GCMS reports?  Hopefully, the following guide will help you.  I'm not an expert chemist, but I am an expert consumer and I don't click "buy"  on essential oils without feeling good about it.  The following are key things to look for in lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) GCMS compound percentages:
  • Linalool:  Normal range is 25-40%.
  • Linalyl acetate: Normal range is 25-45%.
  • Lavandulyl acetate:  Normal range is 2-4%.   Super low percentages of lavandulyl acetate could be a red flag for adulteration. Super high quality, unique lavenders have higher than 4%, but this is not typical.
  • Terpinen-4-ol:  Normal range is 2-6%.  Terpinen-4-ol supposedly provided immune support.
  • Beta carophyllene: Look for 2% or more to benefit skin
  • Camphor: 1% or less
  • 1,8-Cineole: 1% or less
  • Borneol: 1% or less
Lavender is often adulterated with the cheaper and lower quality lavadin which is usually higher in camphor, or with synthetic linalool or synthetic linalyl acetate.

I would love to hear about your experiences with lavender oil and specific brands!

Friday, September 1, 2023

Best Sock Brands? Ultimate Sock Brand Review


With 11 in our household, our sock pile is impressive.  When our family was smaller, I bought my kids whatever socks were on sale and looked cool...mostly Fruit of the Loom or Hanes.  But as our family size increased, matching and folding socks like this became a real chore!  My solution?  Each child gets a different brand, which also has the requirement of being all the same color.  For example:

  • Papa: white Puma, dark dress socks
  • Child 1: white Hanes
  • Child 2: white Dickies
  • and so forth...

The system works pretty well. Every now and then we try out new brands.  Over the years, we’ve tried many brands over the years.  It’s been pretty interesting to find out which socks wear out the best.  I won’t talk about them all, but I thought I would talk about 12 of them.  I’ve divided them into the following categories; top quality, noteworthy, and just okay.  Within each category is a list of brands arranged alphabetically.

Top Quality

Gold Toe vs Adidas vs Dickies socks

  • Adidas:  The cushioned ones with arch support are the best.  We ordered these over three years ago for my daughter before switching over to white Dickies.  She has continued to wear the Adidas alongside the white Dickies, and the old Adidas just started getting holes.  Three years before getting holes is super impressive!!!
  • Dickies:  My favorite series is their Dritech Advanced and I got them in black.  My daughter started borrowing them from me and we decided to get her a white set to replace the aging Adidas.  Our local store sells Dickies and so it was an easy switch.  Dickies have arch support and are sturdy, cushioned, reinforced, and even have a "reciprocated heel and toe for superior fit".  I've had mine for almost three years and just spied my very first hole.  My daughter's had hers two years and counting with no holes!
  • Gold Toe:  Seek out their hard-to-find athletic Ultra Tec ones which are super soft and super sturdy.  What tickles me about this brand is that it ages really well.  The little bits of gold lines on it (indicating its size) are still clear and the whiteness of the rest of the sock is still pretty bright.  I actually can't think of a different brand that compares to how well these socks age.  They are over a year old and look to be just a couple months old.  I plan to stick with this brand for my son, but it is becoming increasingly hard for me to find the specific series and/or size and/or color.


Carhartt vs Hanes vs Jefferies vs Puma vs REI socks

  • Carhartt:  I got the cozy low-cut socks to wear when it is so cold that I wear thermals under my jeans.  There are excellent deals for Carhartt socks on Amazon.
  • Hanes:  This company is best-selling for a reason.  Seek out cushioned, tough, premium ones.  My oldest son loves the Max Cushion Crew series.  I’d say they last about 6-9 months before starting to get holes.  Pretty good for such an inexpensive brand.
  • Jefferies:  A leader for baby, toddler, kids, and dress socks.  Over a year ago, I bought the School Uniform Seamless Half Cushion Quarter Sport Socks in pink for my toddler girl.  Although the pink color has faded away, there are no holes.  They are more pricey than your average brand.
  • Puma:  Their Repreve series is good…save money and buy in bulk from Costco.  Puma is the brand of choice for my husband and second son.
  • REI:  Longlasting!  I was given a hand-me-down pair for my son and it is still going strong.  It doesn't have any holes and it retains its shape well.  I think this current style is comparable.

Just Okay

And1 vs Champion vs Children's Place vs Fruit of the Loom socks

Children's Place Socks Review
Wear-Out Pattern of Children's Place Socks

  • And1:  The lightweight summer sport ones get holes fast.  If I wanted to give the brand another try, I would get their Arch Compression Cushion Comfort series.
  • Champion:  I’ve given up on their C9 series because although they are cushioned with arch support, they don’t last and get holes fast.  You'll be replacing these about twice a year.  They have a wear-out pattern very similar to Children's Place crew socks.
  • Children’s Place:  Their toddler crew socks are better than their regular crew socks but I’ve almost given up on them.  They don't age well.  They become almost crispy.  And when they do decide to get a hole, it transforms into huge holes faster than other brands.  For the price, I'd look elsewhere.  I keep buying because the black and gray ones are easy for my toddler son to find and I’m too lazy to train him to find other ones right now. But I'm working up to a brand switch!
  • Fruit of the Loom:  They have been making socks for years and they feel great but they also don’t last long.  They are also cheap enough that if you don’t mind replacing them a couple times a year, they would be a good brand.  Look for cushioned, reinforced ones.

I hope that this short and blunt Ultimate Sock Review has given you an idea of how to organize that beastly sock pile to make it more manageable.  I also hope that I have given you some ideas of what brands to pursue.

Got a favorite sock brand or series?  Please comment below!

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

What companies honor their warranties?

When I am considering a purchase, I often look at the product's warranty.  Product warranties indicate that a company is willing to stand by its product.  Which companies actually honor their warranties?

Below is a list of companies that I have personal experience with getting product warranties honored.

Alligator of Sweden
Good Cook
Microfiber Wholesale
Probiotic Maker
Saferest Mattress Protectors
Shape Mags
Wahl Clippers

What about you?  What companies have you had a good experience with regarding product warranties or guarantees?

Monday, June 5, 2023

doTERRA hacks; 5 Tips to Make Your Life and Wallet Happier

5 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Attending a doTERRA Party
  1. doTERRA parties are business kick-offs for the host.
  2. doTERRA is complicated.
  3. Your first doTERRA order doesn't earn you any points.
  4. doTERRA isn't THE best choice.
  5. doTERRA is way overpriced.