Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stitch Fix #4: Now we're getting there!

If you've been following my time with Stitch Fix, you'll know that I'm sort of middle-ground about it.  The Fixes I've gotten haven't been perfect, but they've been improving.  The choices the stylists are making these days show me that they ARE paying attention to my style and requests.  And if I'm unhappy, their customer service team is FANTASTIC and so far has worked with me on everything.

(Example: In fix #2, they sent me a pair of Kut from The Kloth burgundy pants that I loved.  I've pretty much been living in them, so I asked if they could send the same pants in another color.  They sent me a gray pair...but, despite them being the EXACT same brand, size, cut, and style as the burgundy pants, the gray ones were comically small.  We're talking...I needed 4 extra inches of fabric around the waistband in order to even THINK about getting them buttoned.  But, I emailed Stitch Fix and they send me a size up. Score!)

If you're thinking of trying out Stitch Fix for yourself, please use my referral code! 

Anyway, without further ado, here is my latest fix...


1. Ellison Davis Leopard Print Button-Up Cardigan - $68
Back in the day, I was REALLY into leopard print. I had the whole Ralph Lauren leopard print comforter and sheets, a leopard print cowboy hat I wore a lot, a leopard print purse, and various articles of leopard print clothing.  These days, I'm much -less- into leopard print (and I realize that lots of leopard print can be pretty tacky) but I do have a leopard print dress that I wear sometime, and I'd been searching for the perfect leopard cardigan, and I requested this in my Fix and my stylist, Summer, delivered.

The problem is, I have something very specific in mind...something with much larger spots, sort of like this:

I don't like the look of the small, close-together print.  Verdict? Sent back!

2. Zad Avita Circle Link Collar Necklace - $32
 Meh.  If I didn't already have the end-all-be-all of statement necklaces, I might have liked this one.  Instead, I was underwhelmed.  And it made a funny jangling noise every time I moved, which might have been fun in high school, but now is just annoying.  Verdict? Sent back!

 3. Mavi Kalie Denim Jacket - $98
I was super happy to see this in my fix, since I had been asking for a denim jacket.  I've been looking for one (I think it's the only "wardrobe staple" that I'm lacking) and as much as I really like this one, I don't think this is the one for me.  I couldn't button it, but after polling the internet I realized that wasn't a big deal--no one buttons their denim jackets, anyway.  But, the real deal breaker was the price.  I'll hold out for a cheaper one that fits a little bit better.  Verdict? Sent back!

 4. Gilli Genna 3/4 Sleeve Faux Wrap Dress - $64
I don't think the photos really do this dress justice! I fell in love with it when I saw it on Ashley over at Spoonful of Flavor, so I pinned it to my Pinterest board and noted in the comment that the dress runs small, so I would need a size up.  Well, my stylist apparently didn't see the sizing note, so she sent me my normal size.
Turns out, it fits pretty well. The material is super comfy and although it's a bit clingy around the waist, some Spanx will take care of that if necessary.  I can dress this up with heels and jewelry or dress it down with a cardigan and leggings. Perfect! I debated emailing Stitch Fix and asking for a size up, but I've decided to pick my battles.  This will do just fine. Verdict? Kept!

5. Margaret M Emer High Waisted Tall Trouser - $98

You'll notice there's no picture of me in these...and for good reason! These weird pants had no buttons, no zippers, and no stretch.  I gave it a try, but I just couldn't get them on!
It's probably just as well: the material reminded me of a windbreaker...super loud, super warm, and not comfortable at all.  My stylist sent these to me because I keep requesting cigarette pants, but...these were not happening.  A good try, though. Verdict? Sent back, obviously.

All in all, my stylist definitely listened to my feedback and looked at my Pinterest board.  The sizing was much better this time around than in my last Fix. Things seem to be looking up!



Saturday, October 11, 2014

Hi!

I have so many things to write about, but I'm super busy with school right now so everything else has been taking a backseat.

I do want to take a minute to share a poem my writing group pal Michael Ireland wrote for me.  Enjoy!

I know not what they say about 
living in the clouds 
I don't prefer the ups to the downs 
when blind men see the roses 
they really smell the sound 
and i prefer the downs, prefer the downs 
in sentimental spinning 
like clocks and drunken clowns 
when the grave yards have their ups 
i'll have my downs.... 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stitch Fix #3: A big let down!

Ugh!  Just when I thought Stitch Fix was on the right track, I get another bummer of a Fix.

Now, on one hand, they really are improving by sending me pieces that are a little more "me."  They're showing me that they're listening, which is GREAT.  When I opened my Stitch Fix today, I was super excited by the color scheme AND the little outfit cards they give you.

Mustard, a really pretty blue, a pair of pants that I requested, AND a statement necklace? Now we're talking!  ...or so I thought.  I started throwing things on...

Fun2Fun Damon Sheer Detail Key-Hole Blouse - $44

"I noticed that you like yellow tones, so I am sending you [this top] in mustard..." says my stylist, Dan-Thy.


Yeah.  This top might have worked if I didn't have boobs and was three inches shorter, but this was unwearable.  I was expecting as much, though, because I had peeked at someone else's September Fix and they had reported this shirt ran way small.  (Another downside was that it was so sheer that you could see my entire bra...no thank you.)

If this had been longer and more loose up top, I would have loved this.  Verdict? Sent back!

Skies are Blue Halli 3/4 Sleeve Lined Blazer - $78


I wasn't at all sure that I needed another blazer, although the blue was pretty, so I gave it a shot.  As soon as I put it on I decided I loved it...and look how great it looks with the mustard top!  The material was so lightweight and it was super comfortable even though it was lined.  It looked great in the front...super flattering and the perfect length, and then I turned around and...
...oh. Cue Chris Farley singing "Fat Guy in a Little Coat" and...well, you get the idea. The blazer was roomy enough about the shoulders, but I had visions of splitting the back of this as I reached for something.  And at the price point of $78, that's an expensive embarrassing moment.  Verdict? Sent back!

Brixton Ivy Heidi Scallop Hem Pencil Skirt - $64


I've never owned anything "scalloped" so I gave this a try.  It had pockets, which I LOVED, and they were big and roomy, which women's pockets never are.  This blue matched the blue of the blazer perfectly.  It would have been a nice work outfit, if I was the kind of girl who wore matching blazers and skirts.  But...I couldn't zip the back zipper all the way.  Womp, womp.  Verdict? Sent back!  (I probably would have sent it back even if it DID zip all the way.)

Pixley Lenora Square Gem Bib Necklace - $42
I've been asking Stitch Fix for a "statement necklace" since day one.  Like, specifically.  I finally gave in bought my own, and took any mention of "statement necklace" out of my letters to my stylist...and what do I get?  Oh.  A statement necklace.  Well.  Better late than never, I guess.

I'm feeling "meh" at best about this necklace.  The colors are a little too muted.  I'm still on the fence about it, but I'm leaning towards no.

Kut From the Kloth Danny 5-Pocket Knit Pant - $68



(Yes, I'm using the same photo like a cheater.)

I'm actually really upset about this, to the point that I think I'm going to send Stitch Fix an email about it.  I fell in love with my burgundy Kut From the Kloth pants from my last Fix, so I specifically requested more.  I would have loved them in a fall color like dark green or mustard,  but all they had was gray so they sent me that, with a note that they could send them in black as well.  This was an EASY sale--I asked for these pants and I got them.  It should have been an easy sale, anyway...


As you can see here, these are BOTH "Jennifer Ultra Skinny Size 12."  (For some reason, Stitch Fix calls them "Danny," but I assure you they are the same exact pants.

What I don't understand is why the burgundy pants fit AWESOME, and the gray pants I can't even button! I'm not even joking, I would have needed probably an extra four inches of material in the waistband in order to button them. Same exact size, same exact cut...what's up with that?  Are they a mislabeled 10, or are the burgundy pants a mislabeled 14?  Either way, I'm disappointed that I can't just say "hey, send me another pair of pants in a different color!" and get a pair of pants that fit.  Logically, they should both fit.

I was going to give Stitch Fix three chances to get things right, but this has been my third fix and I'm still not sure how I feel about them.  This Fix totally struck out fit-wise...there was not a single piece that fit well enough to keep.  Not to mention, someone from Stitch Fix promised me a refund when I returned the earrings with my last Fix, and that's the last I heard of it.  I DID get a credit (which they also promised) but, I didn't get the refund.  I guess it's time to fire off an email...they seemed eager to set things right last time, so I hope they will again.

As usual, if you want to try out Stitch Fix for yourself, feel free to sign up using my referral link




Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Clearing the air about PCOS and Infertility.

The other day, HelloGiggles posted an essay of mine... "What No One Told Me About Taking a Fertility Test."

You may have read it...in fact, that might be the reason you found my blog in the first place. In that case, hello!

I've received a TON of feedback from readers around the world, and it tends to fall into two categories: people thanking me for starting the conversation about this important (and sometimes taboo) topic, and people who are disappointed that my article didn't represent PCOS and/or infertility correctly.

Here's the thing: This essay was based on my personal experience only. I only wrote about what I had been told by medical professionals, but as it turns out, I had some misinformation.  And perpetuating misinformation, even in a situation such as this, can be damaging.  Because of this, I'd like to take a minute and clear up some key points:


  • Fertility cannot be truly determined based on one blood test.  Many women take hundreds of tests over the course of years.  My experience is not typical of your average woman who is faced with possible infertility. And, just because this one test came back with normal levels, it doesn't mean I won't have issues further down the line. There are probably a million different factors that influence fertility--the AMH test only tests for ovarian reserve. If you notice, I don't use definitive language in my essay: I will "presumably" be able to conceive.
  • But wait, the AMH test can show high levels in someone with PCOS. Yes. But the point isn't that I have a high amount of eggs--the point is I have a normal amount of eggs. This is good news.
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) does not always equal trouble with fertility, as you can read here. I was told by multiple doctors that because I 'most likely' had PCOS and that I would 'most likely' not be able to have children. A friend of mine was told the same thing. I had no idea (until HelloGiggles readers came forward) that this wasn't always true.
  • Why weren't the answers doctors gave me more definitive? I went to a small clinic that will remain unnamed. They specialized in mostly pap smears, STD testing, and birth control. They were not equipped to deal with fertility issues. They told me I could go to a different doctor for a more definitive test, but they said it wouldn't make much of a difference because they would simply put me on birth control for my PCOS--which is what the clinic was already doing. At the time, the AMH test did not exist.
  • Your doctor meant you "wouldn't be able to get pregnant on your own." Stop making your doctor out to be an idiot. If that is what my doctor--my multiple doctors--had meant, that is what they should have said. How am I supposed to infer their meaning? Also, as I mentioned, this was over seven years ago. Maybe less was known about PCOS then, which is why they told me that? I'm not making anyone out to be anything--I'm simply relaying MY experience of what happened to YOU, the reader. If you don't like it, I apologize, but it is sincere.

For more information about PCOS, check out this fact sheet at womenshealth.gov.
For more information about infertility, infertility treatments, and testing, check out this page at MedlinePlus.
For more information about AMH testing, which is the specific test I had done, check out this article over at advancedfertility.com.
And for information on In Vitro Fertilization, check out this page at americanpregnancy.org.

Readers, thank you for challenging me on this important topic and giving me a chance to clear the air.  Other readers have expressed interest in reading more stories like this, and I hope that if you have a story about infertility to share, that you won't hesitate to submit it.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Stitch Fix #2!

After my first Stitch Fix (which was,  if you'll recall, disappointing!) the Stitch Fix team was cool enough to reach out to me, apologize, offer me a credit, and listen to my (extensive!) feedback in an attempt to set things right.

I was really nervous about my second fix. Would they hit the nail on the head? Were they really listening?  When I looked up the names of my pieces (you can snoop a little while the package is en route, but you can't see exact details like fabric type and color) I was even more nervous.  Sure, the word "chevron" was gone, but this time "crochet" was used (twice, again!) in its place.  I held my breath.

When my Fix arrived, I ripped it open so quickly that I wasn't even able to take pictures of the unwrapping process.  Needless to say, the color palette was spot-on this time.  Where last time the colors I got were white, teal, bright blue, and light gray, this time I was sent burgundy, brown, bone, dark gray, and navy and white striped.  All colors I love...much more my style.

It was dark when I took my photos, so unfortunately they came out even worse than last time.  I really need to enlist Shaun's help for these, but I get too impatient!

Here's what was in my Fix:

Under Skies Janae Sleeveless Crochet Front Maxi Dress - $78



The color of this dress was a medium brown, and it was very pretty. The material was also very nice and soft, but ultimately I just didn't like how the elastic waist hit me, which was the same problem I had with the last maxi dress they sent me. It just wasn't flattering.  I actually think it looks much better in this photo than it did it real life.

Verdict: Sent back.

Alternative Apparel Silverman Raglan Striped Cotton Knit Shirt - $34



This was a nice striped shirt that I wanted to like. It was loose in the stomach (which is important since stripes show every imperfection and my stomach is my trouble area) but the problem was, the shirt was just huge overall.  The sleeves hid my hands and the waistband hit below the butt.  It was a size large but definitely fit more like a 2XL would!  I don't mind oversized shirts, but this one was pretty shapeless. 

Verdict: Sent back.

Kensie Spacey Mixed Material Short Sleeve Top - $58


I liked the front part of this top (a nice dark grey jersey cotton) but the back part was both a strange fabric (polyester maybe?) and see-through.  This is the second "mixed material" shirt I've been sent, and so far I'm not a fan. I did like that it had a high-low hem, though.

Verdict: Sent back.

Honey Punch Wakeman Crochet Open Cardigan - $54


I liked the color of this one, but I couldn't see myself wearing an all-over crochet pattern.  It felt too hippie and old lady all in one.  Not my thing.

Verdict: Sent back.

Kut From The Kloth Danny 5-Pocket Knit Pants - $68

I don't think these are listed correctly, as I'm pretty sure they had a girls name on the tag (Jennifer, maybe? Not Danny.) but still...these are perfect.  Sure, they look exactly like another pair of pants I have, but they're better because they actually have some stretch to them and are comfortable! These babies look like nice work pants but feel like yoga pants. I'm in love!

Verdict: Happily kept.

So, all in all, I'm not in LOVE with Stitch Fix yet, but this Fix was much more my style and proved they actually looked at my boards and read my notes. I feel like we're on the right track, and hopefully we can get to a point where I'm smitten over a whole fix.  I've left the stylist some additional notes and suggestions...we'll see!  I do believe that it's probably a lot easier to style for me in the fall because my favorite colors are all fall-like (burgundy, mustard/goldenrod, emerald, etc) and my favorite styles seem to be fall styles, too.

Anyway, as usual, if you'd like to try out Stitch Fix for yourself, please use my referral link to sign up! 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pinterest Attempt: Vegan Ice Cream & Ice Cream in a bag

Since I don't own an ice cream maker, this Pinterest Attempt was actually a combination of two different Pins:



and
Vegan Ice Cream from Handle the Heat
(pictures belong to the respective blog owners--mine didn't turn out pretty enough for photos!)

For ingredients, I used another recipe I had found (and lost after taking a screenshot!) for mint chocolate chip ice cream.  I added peppermint extract, maple syrup for sweetener, and vegan dark chocolate chips.

All in all, this was a fail.  I think it might have worked better if I had used a food processor and sugar instead of maple syrup...as it was, it took forever for the ice cream to harden (much longer than the 5 minutes of shaking the Pin called for) and I got frustrated and stuck the whole thing in the freezer.

Besides that, the taste just wasn't quite what I was looking for.  I'm well aware that vegan ice cream probably won't be as tasty as regular ice cream, but I think the combination of coconut milk and mint was a bad choice.  It all tasted a bit like toothpaste.

Verdict: Another Pinterest fail!  This hasn't been a good month for Pinterest attempts...have you had any luck with yours?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pinterest Attempt: Banana Bread

Yikes.

For some reason, maybe it's the weather, but our bananas have been going "bad" (read: too ripe) before we can consume them lately.

No biggie, I found a recipe for banana bread and decided I'd whip up a batch and bring it to work to share.

Well, this was a comedy of errors before it even got started.  First, I pulled out all the ingredients and started getting everything ready, only to realize the recipe called for baking SODA and all I had in the house was baking powder.

*sigh*

So I put everything away, and the next day I picked up some baking soda on the way home and pulled everything out again.

But when I poured out the flour, I quickly realized that this wasn't going to work.  There was a little weevil in the flour!  I guess that happens with wheat-based items that have been sitting around for a little while.  (Lesson learned: I'm going to buy a sealable jar for my flour!)

So...everything got put away again and the next day I picked up some new flour on my way home.

FINALLY, yesterday, I pulled everything out and got to work.  I used this recipe that I found on Pinterest, which called for applesauce and honey instead of oil and sugar, which I thought was perfect since I'm always watching my fat intake and I'll take all the help I can get!

This is what the bread looked like in the Pinterest recipe:

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this recipe.  The banana bread baked up all pretty (I wish I had taken a picture of it, it baked up TALL with a nice round top) but the inside NEVER cooked, and the top eventually caved in.

Honestly, the recipe said to cook the batter for "60 to 65 minutes" and I must have kept that damn thing in the oven for 120 minutes.  Sure, the outside cooked, but the inside?  Nope.  Damn.

Pinterest fail!