Monday, December 8, 2014

Stitch Fix Number...six? I think?

It's Stitch Fix time again!  This time, I requested some jeans, some Margaret M straight leg jeans in a yellowish color, a peplum top with a bedazzled collar by 41Hawthorne, and the same Market and Spruce top they sent last time, only in green.  They didn't have most of this stuff, but they did have some jeans, so there's that.

Well, here we go...let's take a look at December's Fix!
1. CREATIVE COMMUNE 

Tatiana Keyhole & Lace Detail Blouse: $38




As seems to be a pattern with me, this was yet another Stitch Fix top that I couldn't quite fit over my chest. *Sigh*  The good news is, despite having some interesting details, this top wasn't quite my style anyway, so it wasn't a devastating loss.

Also, upon closer inspection, the stitching was pretty cheap looking.  I feel like this is a top that would have fallen apart pretty quickly. Verdict? Sent back!


2. KUT FROM THE KLOTH

Denna Colored Skinny Jean: $78

I don't understand why Stitch Fix keeps sending "Diana" pants and calling them by different names.  Either way, I requested a green pair of these a few fixes ago (after receiving the burgundy pair) and now they've delivered.  Love 'em, of course.  Verdict? Kept!

3. 41HAWTHORN #3262-012

Teresa Colorblocked Short-Sleeve Blouse: $58


The 41Hawthorne brand DEFINITELY runs on the small side, although this top is not as drastically small as the last one I was sent!  This shirt looks okay in the photo, and it was pretty flattering in person, but again, it's too tight in the chest--and the color blocking just calls attention to that fact by getting pulled all lopsided when I move.  I love the look of this top - a classic cut, but the colors seem super chic to me and remind me a little of Audrey Hepburn - I really would have kept this if it had maybe a centimeter of more fabric.  If they sent me this again in an XL, I would definitely keep it. Verdict? Sent back!


KUT FROM THE KLOTH #2964-456

Denna Skinny Jean: $78


I specifically requested a pair of jeans in my Fix.  I have a handful of pairs at home, but I never wear them--they're either too big, too small, or otherwise ill-fitting and uncomfortable in some way.  I was dying for a pair of jeans that were actually comfortable! These are the exact same brand and cut of the other three pairs of pants I've bought from Stitch Fix, but they're dark denim (which I love) and they're definitely comfy. Verdict? Kept!

EVOLUTION BY CYRUS #3079-282

Deva Cap Sleeve Mini Peplum Pleated Dress: $68

 This one is a tough decision.  The color is great (it looks sort of periwinkle in the photo, but it's actually cobalt blue) and the dress fit perfectly.  The thing is, I had just ordered a peplum dress on Cyber Monday...in the same exact color.  It hasn't arrived yet, which makes me nervous about preemptively sending this dress back.  I'm trying to hold on to this dress until the other one arrives, but I'm not sure if it will work out.  Verdict? Pending!

As always, if you are interested in trying out Stitch Fix for yourself, please consider using my referral link!  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

No Spend November: How's it going?

We're almost halfway through November, and all I have to say is...yikes!

I thought this would be a fairly easy experiment.  It would give me time to plan for Christmas buying,  and it wouldn't be too hard otherwise because I didn't "need" anything.

And them my mom came to visit and we went to Kohl's.  MAN OH MAN.  Talk about trial by fire! I can quite easily blow a ton of money in Kohl's (especially when they give you those great 30% off coupons) but I managed to behave myself.  I -almost- cracked and bought a purse (I'd really like a cross-body one) but I decided it wasn't big enough to fit my necessities and I put it back. Phew!

There have been some other challenges. A friend of mine released her debut novel this month, and even though I'm dying to read it, I'm going to wait until December.  I need to get a new pair of Spanx since my old ones tore.  I saw a really cute coat in an Old Navy commercial. I found a bunch of writing contests that I want to submit to, but they ALL charge submission fees.  It's been a little tough.

I did buy two items from my Stitch Fix, but that was allowed in my original rules.  Other than that, I bought a $1 sheet of to/from labels from Target as a Christmas-prep kinda thing.  So, so far, No Spend November hasn't broken me.  It's been trying, though! I hope I don't go spend crazy in December as a result. :-/

Stitch Fix #5: Pictures taken by Mom :)

Stitch Fix #5 is here!
I was super excited about this Fix, since it happened to get delivered on the same day my mother was visiting.  I was able to rope her in to help take my photos and also get her feedback on some of the pieces, which is great since I'm usually deciding on my own.  Here we go!

 Renee C Huebert Space Dye Open Cardigan: $58
This looks pretty good in the photo, but honestly, I think at last count I had something insane like TWENTY-SIX cardigans. I certainly do not need another one, especially not one as unremarkable as this. The only thing that might have swayed me was if it had been nice deep jewel tone.  As it was, it was gray and blah and...nope.  Verdict? Sent back!
Gilli Kamile Jersey Ruched Detail Dress, $64 
I have a confession to make.  I was a "goth girl" for many years, and I'm still struggling a bit to add color into my wardrobe...so at first, I was a little disappointed that Stitch Fix sent a black dress.  But, once I thought about it, I realized that my wardrobe was actually missing a classic little black dress that would work for both casual and dressier occasions.

You can't quite see it clearly here, but this has some pretty ruching around the waist.  Every girl needs a good little black dress, and this one is pretty versatile, really defines my waist, and doesn't show too much cleavage.  Win! Actually, Gilli is the same brand who made the dress I kept last month...I think I like this brand!  Verdict? Kept!

HAHAHAHA. Nice try, Stitch Fix.
41Hawthorne Moni Horseshoe Print Stud Detail Top - $58
Whoever labeled this shirt a size large has certainly not taken boobs into account.  I couldn't pull the shirt down any further than this, and it forced my shoulders into that permanent shrug you see.  Not to mention...I'm not into the busy, patterned fabric at all. You can't really see it, but it's tiny horseshoes. Not at all my style! My stylist wrote a note saying "...here's that shirt you liked!" but this is not even close to what I requested...it's by the same brand, but...yeah, no.  That's where similarities end. Verdict? Sent back!


Market and Spruce Corinna Striped Dolman Top: $48
 YAYYYY.  I had been bugging my stylists for this top for a while, but it was always sold out.  I read in some other Fixes that it was really comfy and oversized, great for just throwing on for a lazy weekend.  Well, I wore it today, and I have to agree! I can see this getting a lot of mileage on those days when I just need to throw something on and go, or just hang around the house doing some writing.  Verdict? Kept!
Kut From The Kloth Jonathan Corduroy Skinny Pant - $68
These red pants were way too similar to the maroon pants they sent me a few Fixes ago.  I think my mom wanted me to keep them, but I knew I wouldn't wear them. The tag said corduroy, but they were really more like velour, and for some reason, touching velour fabric makes me nauseated.  (Weird, right? I know!) Verdict? Sent back!

All in all, I'm pretty happy with this fix.  The cardigan and the shirt were no-nos (I specifically asked for NO cardigans in my second to last fix, but I'm not sure that the notes carry over!) but pants, top, and dress made it clear that they were working from my Pinterest style boards.

As always, if you want to try out Stitch Fix for yourself, please use my referral link!

Monday, November 3, 2014

FINALLY: The 30 by 30 Roundup: How did I do?

As some of you might remember, I had a list of 30 things I wanted to do before I turned 30.
Me on my birthday! With a lovely astral crown made by Sue of Giant Dwarf.

Well, I've been 30 for almost 6 months now, so it's time to see how well I did!

1. Graduate college: Done!
2. Eat in a fondue restaurant: Done!
3. Ride an elephant: Done!
4. Eat at the Cheesecake Factory: Done! (Twice!)

5. Get a pet: Done!
6. Go to a drive-in movie: Done! (Lots of times!)
7. Have tea at The Plaza Hotel: Done!
8. Buy something at Tiffany's: Done!

9. Christmas shop in NYC: Done!
10. Go to "The Real Bedford Falls": Done!
11. See Annie on Broadway: Done!
12. Get a latte with latte art: Done!

13. Publish a book (I've received two offers so far, but I turned them both down. So...almost!)
14. Get in shape (I went to the gym religiously for 6 months but nothing happened. I've been on Atkins for 3 weeks and I've lost 8 pounds...so...I'm getting there!)
15. Eat at a spinning restaurant 
16. Ice skate at Rockefeller Center (tried, but couldn't get in!)
17. Go inside the Statue of Liberty
18. Go to Harry Potter World: Done!
19: Get a tin foil swan "doggie bag" (I went to a place that usually makes them...but, sadly the didn't give me one.
20. Get a kick ass wardrobe
21. Experience "dark dining"
22. Create a minimalistic photobook
23. Purchase a designer handbag: Done! (Twice!)
24: Go fishing & boating: Done!
25. Go to the Moth: Done!
26. See Central Park
27. See Nick Cave in concert: Done! (Twice!)
28. See Leonard Cohen in concert: Done!
29. Go to Raines Law Room: Done!
30*: Swim with dolphins: I decided that I don't really want to do this, after all. Zoos and aquariums etc just make me sad for the creatures there.

----
So, all in all, I made pretty good work of the list, completing 19 out of 29 things, and at least trying four other things. Some of the things on the list I could still knock out easily with a day in NYC! (Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Ice skating at Rockefeller Center, Dark Dining, a spinning restaurant!) 

Out of all of everything here, I highly recommend visiting "The Real Bedford Falls" (if you're as into It's a Wonderful Life as I am!) and Harry Potter World.  Also, seeing Leonard Cohen in concert and having tea at the Plaza hotel were pretty awesome.  And The Moth was a real good time!

I definitely encourage you to make a list of your own.  In fact, I might make a smaller list each year!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

No Spend November Starts Now!

The Rules:

Duh.  Don't spend any money in November.


(This does not count necessities: groceries, cat food and litter, gas, anything medical myself (or my cat!) may need.  I have amended the rules slightly to include that I am allowed to buy things from my monthly StitchFix, if I see fit.  Also, since I'm going on a weekend trip to Florida this month, I'm not including any money I spend there.  I don't intend on really purchasing anything there, though.)

This is just a fun little exercise to see how much money I can actually save by cutting out extra purchases for a month.  I know a lot of ladies also participate in this, so give me a shout if you're doing this, too! Solidarity, am I right? ;)

I'm hoping it will be easy.  I don't think anyone I know has a birthday in November, so no worries there.  (This does, however, prevent me from doing my Christmas shopping early.)  The only thing I can see being expensive is Thanksgiving...but, that counts as groceries!

Any "extra" money I come up with by the end of the month will be put into one of three funds: the "get LASIK on my left eye as well" fund, the "Disney/Bedford Falls" fund, and the "Columbia Publishing Course" fund.

I'll check back December 1st to let you all know how I did!

(image)

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!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Stitch Fix Update: Color me impressed!

After airing my grievances on my blog the other day, I received a really nice email from Stitch Fix this morning.

They must have one KILLER PR team, because they found my blog post and referenced it in the letter!  They were very apologetic and offered to give me a credit on my next styling fee, and they asked me some questions about my style so they could better choose my items in the future.

I copied them the same very specific instructions I had replied to my original fix with, and I pinned some new things to my Pinterest board...so, we'll see! I hope they can really wow me with the second box and keep me around!  I'll definitely keep everyone updated when my next Fix arrives in August.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My First Stitch Fix!

I was super super excited to get my first Stitch Fix.  I had to wait THREE months to get it, and I was freaking out while I waited.  I tried not to buy anything new, as I had specifically asked for a maxi dress and a statement necklace, and I was holding out for those!

My Stitch Fix was delivered today. My curiosity got the better of me and I snuck a peek at the Stitch Fix site while I was at work and realized that I could see the names of the articles I had been sent, but not a photo.

I held my breath when I saw the words "geometric" and the word "chevron."  Hold up...there it is again..."chevron."  Chevron twice?  Really?

The Stitch Fix stylists are supposed to look at your Pinterest boards to get a feel for your personal style, so I tried to push the bad thoughts from my mind.  "They're professionals," I told myself.  "They know what they're doing."

And then I came home...to this:

If you know me at all, you'll notice right away that that specific color palette is NOT my style...not to mention, I don't really care for patterns.  But, okay.  This was put together by a stylist.  Who knows, maybe they know something I don't! Maybe it will look good on me!  So I pull everything out and, trying to stay optimistic, try it all on.

1. Pixley Laural Sleeveless Geometric Printed Maxi Dress

Gah, NOPE. I HAD asked for a maxi dress, and I already have one in black, so I was okay with a color (and pattern) except I was not a fan of this one.  It had a weird elastic waist that caused the back to ride up and wrinkle, the tiny geometric pattern called attention to EVERY imperfection, and the combination of high collar and thick straps made it just look frumpy.  Bigger girls like me need BIG patterns, not small ones, when it comes to maxi dresses. Bad move, Stitch Fix.  And they wanted $78 for this. I'm not above paying that much for a dress, but I'd have to really love it. Nope. Verdict? Sent back.

2. Pomelo Indiana Abstract Chevron Print Mixed-Material Tee


Don't mind the lines underneath this--I threw it on over a dress to see how it would look with a black skirt.  The answer? Bad.  The heather gray reminded me of a gym shirt, and the blue patterned sleeves were just busy and weird.  The worst part?  There was FOOD on the collar.  Gross, gross, gross. I guess that's the hazard that comes with getting previously-tried-on clothes. It WAS made of jersey cotton, which I love (well noted, stylist Cynthia!) but it wasn't enough to make me love the shirt as a whole. Verdict? Sent back!

3 & 4:

Kut from the Kloth Marquis Slub Knit Dolman Sweater 
Gilli Dawn Jersey Chevron Print Maxi Skirt

This COULD have been cute...but it wasn't.  The chevron skirt is just too busy (it makes me dizzy just to look at it! Maybe I should have mentioned to them that I have vertigo?) and the waistband was very strange--it really clung to my stomach and butt and was just not flattering.  Plus, the material was really hot.  I'm always hot as it is, so this wasn't going to fly.  Verdict? Sent back!

I considered keeping the top at first, but at $48 I didn't feel it was worth the price.  It looked too casual--like something you'd throw over a bathing suit while you're at the beach--and I knew I wouldn't wear it enough to justify that price.  If I wanted something like this, I could probably find it at Target for $15...plus, I hardly EVER wear white.  I'm okay with stepping out of my comfort zone, but this sweater isn't the piece of clothing that will get me to do that. Verdict? Sent back!

#5:
Gorjana Finn Open Teardrop Stud Earrings

It seems like they usually include one accessory in each Fix, and I was bummed to get these as mine. I was counting on a great statement necklace.  But, here's the thing: Stitch Fix charges you a $20 "styling" fee no matter what, BUT, if you buy something that they send you, you get to apply that $20 to that purchase.  Basically, if you don't use it, you lose it.
These earrings, at $40, were the cheapest item in the fix.  I'd have preferred something a little more fancy (maybe a chandelier earring) but they're okay. Verdict? Kept!

All in all, I was REALLY disappointed by my first Stitch Fix. You'd think they'd try to pull out all the stops to get you the greatest Fix so that you'd stick around, but nope. It seems that a lot of people have a terrible first Fix and they have to work with their stylist in order to improve them.  I wrote my stylist a LONG letter about what I'm looking for and what works for me, so hopefully my next Fix will be a lot better.  Like Birchbox and ipsy GlamBag, I'll give these guys three tries to get it right!  (And hopefully I won't wind up with three pairs of earrings that are "just okay.")

I'll be sure to blog about my next Fix!


If you like the sound of Stitch Fix and want to give it a try for yourself, please use my referral link!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pinterest Attempt: Honey Lime Taquitos with Cilantro Lime Cream

In addition to having a shit ton [this is an actual unit of measurement] of cucumbers coming out of our garden, we also have more cilantro than we know what to do with.

I don't know why I picked cilantro, honestly.  I've never been eating something and thought "you know what would taste great in this? Cilantro!"  It just sounded good at the time.

So now I've been pinning recipes that call for cilantro like crazy.  Here was the first attempt:

Honey Lime Taquitos with Cilantro Lime Cream

I grabbed this recipe from over at Julie's LovelyLittleKitchen blog, and I followed it pretty closely, except that when she shredded up some rotisserie chicken, I poached some chicken breasts instead.

(I'd never poached chicken before, so that was a little exciting.)

Also, her recipe called for green taco sauce and apparently our supermarket only stocks the red kind.

Her dinner came out a little prettier than mine:



The rolling of the taquitos was hilarious.  I really recommend using toothpicks to hold these suckers together after you roll them! I kept rolling them shut and they kept coming apart and spitting chicken onto the floor.  

You can find Julie's recipe here.  It came out really good, and I would make it again...although I'd use less honey and more lime juice next time, and maybe some cayenne pepper in addition to the chili powder.  It was just a touch too sweet as-is, and I couldn't taste the lime which is a problem because I LOVE lime.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Our Jungle Garden

When Shaun and I first moved in, we were excited that we had a HUGE garden plot in the backyard.  We'd both dabbled very briefly in gardening (I grew some herbs on my windowsill, he grew tomatoes, jalapeños and eggplant in pots) and we couldn't wait to do things on a larger scale.

We stepped up to the challenge of this new garden the best way we knew how:  We divided it in half, tilled it, mixed in some fertilizer, and started planting!
Here's Shaun tilling the garden in preparation for planting!

We pretty much picked up anything that sounded good to us at the store.  There was no rhyme or reason: we didn't check which plants needed full sun, which needed shade, or when their harvesting times were.  We just went a little nuts.

Tomatoes, jalapeños, cucumber, squash, eggplant, zucchini, strawberries, green beans, corn, basil, spinach, cilantro, rosemary...we planted pretty much anything we could think of.

Fast forward a few weeks, and the garden is looking awesome.  We've harvested some cherry tomatoes, a few cucumber...I've done some pickling.  It's been fun.


Fast forward a WEEK later, and all of a sudden...it's a literal jungle out there.

Has anyone seen Shaun? He said he was going to look at the garden, but I can't find him...

Needless to say, next year we'll keep up with weeding and mulching, and get some stakes for the climbing plants to climb up. (I had no idea that cucumbers and squash were climbers!)  We can't even walk around some of the plants!

We've had some nice harvest so far, though. I can't wait to see what else we get! Not bad for a first try.  I've been pinning recipes on Pinterest for days!  I'll share some here. :)