Jessie G. Women’s Down Parka Coat with Raccoon Fur Trim – BUY

I have a feeling I’ll be reviewing a lot of cold weather items on here. That’s how I roll in IcyTundraLand.

photo from

Overview:  I had never bought anything from Jessie G. before ordering this (in black, but comes in chocolate brown) off Amazon this Christmas.  It was on a super sale – $99.00 (from a supposed 280.00), and even though I think they sometimes completely fabricate the original price, $99.00 is a good price for a new down winter coat.  Overall I really like this coat – it’s cute and warm, and I love its cozy pockets. I love that it’s long (keeps me much warmer) and I like sitting on it at bus stops because it’s like sitting on a down comforter.  However, there are a few minor negatives to consider, which I will discuss below.

Price: As I mentioned above, this coat is a steal at $99.00. The reality is that coats are expensive and if you want a decent one, you’re going to have to fork out a chunk of money. This isn’t the coat I would design if I had a magical design program, but it’s not too far off.

Quality: The Jessie G. Women’s Down Parka Coat is good quality.  Winter in Icytundraland consists of snow and below freezing temperatures.  This coat keeps me extremely warm.  I do wear an undershirt, shirt, and sweater under it, which adds extra insulation, but I think it would be fine without extra layers.  (I wear them for transitioning to chilly indoor temperatures).  One of my pockets recently ripped a little, but only because of a large force.  It’s held up well over the past two months.

Complaints: The hood doesn’t stay up unless you button it up all the way, which can be a pain when you have a scarf (hard to zip up around and button).  And, a personal preference – I’m not crazy about shiny coats.  This isn’t super plasticy shiny, but does have a little more shine than I would like.  Pretty much what you see in the image.  Also, the raccoon fur trim isn’t quite as robust as the image, but it’s still significant and I don’t like to overdo fur anyways – mostly because natives of Icytundraland already think I am pathetic for wearing such a big coat during their “brisk” winters.

Style: Pretty much comes as pictured.  Runs just right for me (I ordered small as I usually do), and I can snugly fit it over a sweater.  Fur not as excessive as in photo.  I like the style in general, though I’m not crazy about how it flows out under the waist.  It’s not too bad, but I would have preferred a straighter cut.  All in all, it looks like the photo, so if you like the picture, you’ll like the coat.  I’m 5’8 and slim, so I’m not sure how it’ll suit bigger frames or different heights.

Buy or Bust: Buy!


L.L.Bean Women’s Insulated Comfort Boots – BUY

Today I discovered a new pet peeve: When stores start a mega sale the day after you purchased something.  And then I discovered a new joy: Emailing customer service and asking if you can get the 15% off anyways because you have very recent orders.  Thank you L.L.Bean!

photo from

Overview: L.L. Bean’s Women’s Insulated Comfort Boots deliver on their promises.  They’re my go-to winter boots. I ordered them in black about a year and a half ago (September 2010).  They aren’t the cutest things in the world, but they are warm, comfortable, and sturdy.  Perfect for cold and snow.  They were only $64.00 when I ordered them, and now they’re $69.00 (cheaper if you hit a sale).

Price: These boots are worth every penny.  $70.00 is a remarkably decent price for a pair of really good winter boots.  Do I wish they were $30.00?  Sure.  But I would have paid $100.00 for these.

Quality: My clothing and shoes usually come from sales at fairly inexpensive stores (think Target, Payless, Forever 21, etc.)  But I’m absolutely terrified of cold weather, and when I moved from sunny L.A. to Icytundraland, I knew I would need good boots if I wanted to stay toasty.  These insulated comfort boots have been awesome – I’ve worn them daily for five months of the year (I told you I live in Icytundra), and they’ve held up like champions.  I’ve worn them in -14C (7F) weather and I’ve never had cold feet.  They are decently water proof, but long exposure to snow/water will cause a bit of dampness.

Complaints: Three minor complaints about these boots.  1) They run a little big.  I’m usually an 8.5-9, and I ordered a 9 for extra sock space.  It gives me just a bit too much extra space.  Also, at the beginning they rubbed my feet the wrong way until I got used to them (pretty typical).  2) When using them in the slushy mud that covers Icytundraland, they tend to track quite badly the minute you go inside.  Like worse than other boots.  I’ve been embarrassed to realize that the dark puddles spread across the store were mine. 3) Not the greatest grip in icy conditions.  I have to be pretty careful.

Style: Comes as pictured.  Obviously not a sleek look, but nice looking.  If you’re going for warmth/comfort over style (which will happen to you when you hit my age), these are highly recommended.  They fit well over skinny jeans/tights, and even work over boot cut jeans (not a great look though).  The zipper is easy to use.

Buy or Bust? Buy!

Kenneth Cole New York ‘No Slouch’ Leather Hobo – BUY

photo from

Welcome to BuyorBust!  Sorry about the cheesy catchphrase title – all of the good ones were taken.  No, seriously, they were.  Please read more about this blog on the About page.  Thanks for stopping by:)

Overview: I’m a huge fan of this purse.  (I’m trying to slowly weed out my overuse of the word “love” towards objects.)  I got it in black – as photoed – but I’ve read good things about the purple color.  I ordered it on sale from Nordstrom for $198.90 in August (six months ago), and since then it’s experienced quite a bit of use.  It’s a great, durable leather, and I love the size and style.

Price: Around $200 at various retailers.  I personally think it’s worth between $100 and $200.  Kenneth Cole is a legit brand, and the quality of construction and material are good.  I have never ever spent $200 on a purse before. Mostly because 1) I was poor and 2) I didn’t care.  I’m still pretty poor, but I now care a little more.  A little.  I’m actually not much of a purse girl, mainly because I’m too scatterbrained to keep track of changing purses with my outfits.  So I generally use one (big) purse for months/years at a time.  Hence my $200 order: I figured I could get a good quality neutral color and use it for years, and mentally recalculate the price.  (Ie. $200 purse over four years equals $50 spent on purse needs per year).

Quality: As mentioned above, I’m very happy with the quality of this purse.  I have used it on average of four days a week for six months, and it still looks great (almost new).  I’m quite hard on my purses – I dump things in them (often heavy) and leave them hanging around on questionable surfaces.  I’ve tried to be more careful with this one, but the truth is it has displayed remarkable endurance thus far.   

Style: It comes as pictured.  No surprises.  It’s very simple (four silver studs at the bottom for structure), and has an inside zip and two pockets (one for a phone.)  It sits comfortably on my shoulder, and the strap is short and hugs near my armpit (but not too close.) It’s pretty roomy (dimensions are at Nordstrom and other sellers), and I’ve been able to fit everything I need in it.  Still, it doesn’t feel/look overwhelmingly big.

Buy or Bust?: Buy!