Ann Taylor Reviews, Cheesecake, + Black Friday Deals!

My package from Ann Taylor has arrived! I didn't have high expectations for the five items I purchased (the Petite Gallery Topper, Petite Tweed Peplum Jacket, Petite Pleated Back Hem Sweater, Petite Chain Trim Cardigan Jacket, and Petite Faux Leather Trim Jersey Top), but I was pleasantly surprised by three of them. The first is the Petite Gallery Topper, which fit very well in the shoulders as you can see here (please excuse my post-gym hair).

Jacket: Ann Taylor Petite Gallery Topper, Top: A/X Armani Exchange (old), Pants: LOFT Ponte Pants (old and tailored), Shoes: Christian Louboutin Simple 100 Patent Pumps
Although it fits nicely in the shoulders and hits at a good length mid-thigh, I have decided not to keep it since I have so many black jackets and I don't love it enough. I don't like how the faux leather sleeves are a bit wrinkly and are an awkward length but I do really like the faux leather trim on the side slit pockets, which can't be seen here. If you're looking for a nice lightweight jacket that is trendy and chic, I would recommend this.

The second and third items I thought are worth mentioning are the only two items I have decided to keep from my purchase. The Petite Chain Trim Cardigan Jacket is the item I least expected to keep but it is surprisingly much cuter in person. I was worried it would be too mature for my taste but the fit and color is actually very nice and I like the edgy chain trim juxtaposed with the delicate chiffon detail along the front. I wouldn't consider this piece a jacket since the knit is lightweight. It might be considered a jacket since there is a small hook at the very top and no other closure, which I don't mind because I prefer to wear it open.

Left: Petite Chain Trim Cardigan Jacket, A/X tank (old), LOFT ponte pants (old), Christian Louboutin Simple 100 Patent Pumps
Right: Petite Pleated Back Hem Sweater, Seita Bella velvet legging pants (tailored shorter), Aldo booties

In the photo above, both tops look like they could be the same shirt but the photo on the right is actually the third piece I decided to keep, which is the Petite Pleated Back Hem Sweater. It's almost exactly the same color as the cardigan but I've decided to keep it because it fits nicely, is lightweight and comfortable yet warm, and has a cute pleated hem detail at the bottom back. I didn't take a photo of the front but it's a basic v-neck with ribbing along the neckline. I do wish it was available in Putty, which is only left in size LP.

Now that Thanksgiving is here, I thought it would be fitting to share one of my non-healthy recipes - cheesecake! I try to make it no more than once a year since I can't help but eat it whenever I make it. I find it's really easy to make and always consistently delicious! Enjoy!

1-1/2 cups Honey Maid Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/3 cup butter melted
1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
3 egg yokes
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 ten inch springform pan

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix crumbs, butter and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Press firmly onto bottom and 2-1/2 inches up side of pan; set aside.
2. Beat cream cheese, remaining 1 cup sugar, lemon juice and vanilla with electric mixer on high speed until well blended. Add eggs and egg yokes, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Blend in sour cream and heavy cream. Pour into crust.
3. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes or until center is almost set. Turn off oven. Leaving door slightly ajar, leave cheesecake in oven 1 hour. Remove from oven; cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is practically synonymous with Thanksgiving now and stores are opening earlier than ever this year on Thanksgiving day for consumers to start their shopping even earlier with Pre-Black Friday sales. The details of some sales worth checking out are below:

What: 30% off outerwear, Free shipping on orders of $75 or more until 12/31
When: Now - 12/31/2013

What: 50% off select items and deals as low as $3.00!
When: now - 11/29

What: Extra 30% to 40% off women’s and men’s apparel, 30% off handbags and jewelry.
When: Now - 11/25 and online until 11/26 8 am EST
What: Take an additional 50% off
When: 11/27 - 12/1

What:30% to 75% off items
When: 11/28 8PM EST - 11/30/2013

What:40% off select contemporary dresses and more
When: 11/29 - 11/30

What: 40% off designer items, Free shipping with code “HOLIDAY” at checkout.
When: Now - 12/29 6 pm EST

What: Spend $250, save 15%; Spend $500, save 20%; Spend $1,000, save 25%.
When: 11/26 - 12/2
What: Doorbusters such as $5 scarves
When: 11/24 - 11/27
What: $20 off orders $100 or more, Free Shipping on Orders of $50 or more,  20%-65% off all featured women's apparel sale.
When: 11/29

Happy shopping!

Leaving you with the fortune cookie quote of the day: "Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams."


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