Thursday, February 26, 2015

February 2015 Stitch Fix

Guess what arrived on my doorstep yesterday? My Stitch Fix!

I'm actually kind of shocked that I'm writing this so quickly. I usually find it hard to squeeze in the time to write reviews, but this week is my winter break (which means freeeeedom to write whatever I want!).

If you don't know what Stitch Fix is, check out my intro post. Here's my past fixes (that I've put up on this blog):

December 2014
January 2015
January/February 2015

This month I asked my stylist for jackets and casual dresses.  Here's what Shan sent me:

Roosevelt Moto Jacket:
This was the first jacket I pulled out of the box. I paired it with a scarf I received in my last fix, jeans, and a white T-shirt.

I've always had trouble styling jackets. I moved to New Hampshire from the hot desert of Tucson, Arizona, so currently I'm wearing jackets that are warm but shapeless. Ultimately I'll always choose warmth over style (sorry, it's COLD here!), but I'll be able to expand my outerwear choices when it starts to warm up a little.

I like the style of this. It gives a little edge that makes my basic outfit look more put together than it really is. However, this jacket is too small. I can zip it up, but only if I hold my breath. The sleeves are also squeezing my arms, making it very uncomfortable. For these reasons, I had to send it back.

Verdict: SENT BACK

Rhonda Knit Back Faux Leather Jacket: 

This was the second jacket I pulled out, and its leather! This is actually a grey - rather than black - leather jacket, which makes it a little different from most other leather jackets. It's also soft and pliant. I've been thinking about getting a leather jacket for a while now because it's something everyone should have in their wardrobe.

Also, I've been watching a lot of Supernatural and Gordan Ramsey shows lately, and those shows both rock leather jackets. What can I say? I like to dress like my heroes. :)

I actually really kind of love the look. Like the moto jacket above, it makes my plain outfit look more put together than it really is.

Verdict: KEPT

Christy Layered Bauble Necklace:

I pinned this on my Pinterest board. I'm glad my stylist was able to pick up on this and include it in my box. I love mint green for spring.

Verdict: KEPT

Melinda Textured Dress:

Like the jackets, Stitch Fix sent me two dresses. When I first pulled this out of the box, I thought it looked boring. Like... Really? Grey? Yawn...

But I liked the fabric and the cut of the dress, so I took my stylist's advice and paired it with the mint green statement necklace and a contrasting belt.

And voila, it made a huge difference! Stylists really do know what they're talking about, ha ha! I ended up really liking this dress.

Verdict: KEPT

Petrova Textured Pleat Skirt Dress:

This dress is actually a gorgeous color of green (I adore this color sooooo much - too bad my camera had trouble picking it up). It's also made of a nice fabric with some weight to it.

However, I don't think this style of dress is flattering on my figure. My boyfriend simply looked at me and said "no" when I put this on. Apparently, he says, I look like "someone from the Wizard of Oz." While I wouldn't go as far as Phil, I do think that perhaps the skirt is too full or the top part of the dress doesn't flatter my bust or... I don't know. I think it does make me look short(er).

The skirt is pretty swingy though, which makes it fun. :)

Also, I had a lot of trouble zipping this up. It's not because the dress is too small - the zipper just gets caught easily as I pull it up. I'd need another person to help me into this dress... For these reasons, I had to send it back.

Verdict: SENT BACK


I'm always struck by how well Stitch Fix follows my requests and Pinterest board. I asked for jackets and dresses, and I got two(!) of each. While I'm not entirely sure the dresses are as casual as I would have liked, they're machine washable (which is a HUGE plus) and can be worn as everyday wear in my law classes.

And I'm more than slightly excited to sport the leather. :)

Thanks Shan!

February 2015 Wantable Accessories Box

This month I decided to try the Wantable Accessories subscription service. This box costs $36/month (or $40 for one box) and includes accessories like jewelry, sunglasses, watches, scarves, and hair accessories. While you can't pick the items you'll receive, you are able to customize it somewhat by filling in a questionnaire that specifies what you "love," "like," and "dislike." You'll never receive products in your "dislike" section. 

I came across this box late last year. A bunch of Youtubers started posting Wantable Accessories unboxing videos, and although they varied on whether the items were their style, they seemed to consistently applaud the quality of the items. They also seemed inordinately excited about the quality of the black bags the items came in.

All in all, everyone said this was a great deal, because they typically got items worth much more than they paid for the box.

What can I say? I caved in. I love jewelry, and I love the statement jewelry trend.

However, I was apprehensive to get this box for a number of reasons. First, I'm allergic to anything nickel or lead based, which is what cheaper jewelry is typically made of. My skin is very sensitive and will break out in a rash if I wear these metals. Moreover, earrings in those metals can make the pierced holes in my ears bleed. Not cute. Second, I have a high standard for jewelry. While my parents are and have been mainly employed as scientists, they did dabble in the jewelry business for a number of years. I've spent many days manning our jewelry booth at gem and mineral shows, hearing my father cut gems, seeing my mother select strands of real pearls, and I've been to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show (the largest in the world) many, many times. My family also personally knows a lot of talented jewelers.

Now, I know Wantable wouldn't be able to send high end jewelry for only $36. I'm not out of touch with reality. I had been wanting to try the statement trend for a while and was looking to find statement pieces that, although they were costume jewelry, didn't look too cheap/cheesey.

So I signed up for a box and limited my "loves" and "likes" to statement pieces, sunglasses, and scarves. According to Wantable, the retail value of my box was $80. Here's what I got...

Emily Necklace: Retail Value $24

This was my favorite piece out of the box. I like wearing longer necklaces with lightweight sweaters, and this one has some sparkle. It's my style.

However, I don't like the color of the chain. In this picture, the lighting makes the chain look more gold than it really is. In real life, this is more of a brown bronze color and is quite dull. However, while I wouldn't pay $24 for this necklace, the quality is around that price point (I'd pay $10-15 for it). Close enough - I'm happy.

I wore this around for a day and I didn't break out in a rash. So... win!

Sasha Earrings Gold: Retail Value $18

I usually like more classic style earrings, but I was open to these. However, the plastic is a bit duller than I expected for earrings that cost $18. I don't know, these are made of plastic and probably glass or plastic rhinestones, which are pretty cheap and easy to make reflective or shiny. In artificial light (which is all I get in law school), the main plastic "gems" don't reflect any light at all or have any vibrancy of color. So I'd actually pay $5-7 for these.

To make matters worse, there's a plastic backing, which usually signals that I'm going to be allergic to the earrings (because plastic backings usually go on the cheapest of earrings). Sure enough, after I put these in my ear, my ear holes started to itch. I know that feeling. It usually ends in bleeding ears. I took them off right away.

So these, unfortunately, are earrings I cannot wear. :( If I get another box, I'll have to put earrings in the "dislike" section.

Macy Sunglasses Gold: Retail Value $14

 These are just not my style. They're a bit old lady for me. And they dwarf. my. face.

If I did like them, I'd probably pay $5-10 for them.

Gracie Necklace: Retail Value $24

I ordered a Wantable box just to get more statement necklaces. This was the piece I was waiting for...

But, again, it feels so cheap. The plastic is dull, the chain is that dull brown bronze color, and the plastic wasn't even glued carefully. I would never pay $24 for this. Maybe $10 tops.

I don't know... was I expecting too much? I don't understand how everyone and their dog raves about the quality of the jewelry. It's nothing special to me.

Concluding Thoughts:

Except for the sunglasses, this box was my style. Most of the pieces fit within my "loves" section, and I didn't receive anything in my "dislike" section. The customization is very good in that respect.

But was this box worth the price? Yes, I think it is, but you get what you pay for.

I think I was hoping that somehow Wantable, buying items in bulk and not acting so much as a retail store, would be able to pass on their savings to us. But like many things in life, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

And I'm not sure where the Youtubers are coming from. Perhaps they buy their jewelry from Forever 21? The quality definitely beats Forever 21, but that's... not really hard to do. Also, the travel jewelry bags did not live up to the hype (not that I care about them... but I sometimes wonder if Youtubers follow the same script and just repeat what other Youtubers say).

I've placed my March box on hold. I may give Wantable another chance, but I'm trying another jewelry service for around the same price. It'll be interesting to compare the two boxes.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Hot Chocolate

Today is a snow day in New England!

I still get unreasonably excited about snow days. I think it's because I come from the southwest, where snow is rare.

But the best thing about snow is that it's an excuse to drink hot chocolate and cuddle under some blankets. Stay warm everyone!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

January/February 2015 Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix #12... I've been with this company for a year now, and I can't imagine cancelling my subscription anytime soon!

If you don't know what Stitch Fix is, check out my intro post. Here's my past fixes (that I've put up on this blog):

December 2014
January 2015

In case you're wondering why my title is between two months, it's because I received this Stitch Fix a couple days ago. I have a monthly subscription, but they like my shipments to arrive on Thursdays, which means they come in just under a month.

I guess that just makes this month extra special. :)

So, for my end of the month Stitch Fix, I received:

Queensland Dolman Jersey Top:
Ahhhh... Stitch Fix dolman tops are so comfortable! This one is no exception. I feel like I'm in my PJs when I wear these, but I think they dress things up nicely.

Also, I love wearing darker colors in winter. I know a lot of people like to "brighten" their mood by wearing brighter colors, but me... I'm all about seasons. I love winter. Even though it's frigid outside and New England was hit by major snowstorms recently, I think winter is one of the most beautiful seasons. Unlike the frenetic energy of reproducing and growing in the spring and summer, winter is when the world outside slows down to sleep. Winter is when the world becomes peaceful... all wrapped in a sparkling layer of ice. It may be a cruel beauty, but I can enjoy it inside, cuddled under a blanket and sipping hot cocoa.

So yes, I like celebrating winter and its darker colors. Winter is, imho, one of the most under appreciated seasons.

Verdict: KEPT

Farrow Lace Panel Top:
This is actually my favorite piece in this box. I love cream/white tops and I love lace. This combines them all.

However, fellow Stitch Fixers, this is not a sweater. It's a thin fabric, and you'll have to wear something underneath. I don't mind this, since New England reacts to cold weather by cranking up the heating way too much. In fact, I asked Stitch Fix for help in dealing with the temperature extremes between the cold outside air and overly heated building interiors. This is a really nice base layer for that purpose.

And the details are just gorgeous...
Criss cross back
Side lace detail. Excuse the cat food bag. :)
Verdict: KEPT

Moni Stud Detailed 3/4 Sleeve Blouse:
I think this top looks more flattering in person. It's a top that I've seen a lot of other Stitch Fixers get, but I hadn't received one until now. I'm so happy I did, because it's a cute top. I've been obsessed with pleating for some reason recently, and the front of this top has pleating. I also asked for 3/4 sleeve tops, so thanks for listening to me Stitch Fix!

You can also make this work for work.

Verdict: KEPT

Maureen Twisted Seam Elbow Patch Sweater:
This is also a sweater that I think looks better in person. I'm not entirely sure it flatters me, but my boyfriend said I looked fine in it, so it's probably ok. It's totally my style - my boyfriend is not a fan of elbow patches, but I like them for some reason. I also love the fabric on this sweater, and it's, most importantly, very soft and comfortable.

This was the only piece in my box that I was unsure of, but I ended up keeping this to get the 25% discount. Don't worry though. It'll get worn!

Verdict: KEPT

Tina Checkered Infinity Scarf:
This scarf is oh. so. soft. It's also warm. And soft! Did I mention it's soft?!

I love the plaid, I love the colors, and I love infinity scarves. This one was mine as soon as I took it out of the box.

Verdict: KEPT

Wow Stitch Fix! Once again, I'm keeping the whole box. My stylist seems to know my style, even though I'm not sure I had a style before I started Stitch Fix. After a year of providing feedback and pinning things on my Pinterest board, Stitch Fix has helped me find my personal image as well as some great pieces. And that's a gift I can take shopping with me!

January 2015 Birchbox

Let's do this, Birchbox!

This month I decided to try a new subscription service. There's plenty of beauty subscription boxes out there, but I chose Birchbox because of all the boxes I know of, this one is reasonably priced and focuses on skincare. I'm just not someone who uses a lot of makeup, so something like Wantable, Ipsy, or Boxycharm is, sadly, probably not for me.

For those of you who don't know, Birchbox sends about 5 samples of beauty related products to try for $10/month. 

You fill out a questionnaire detailing your skin type and what you're looking for in skin care products. For me, I have oily skin and still deal with acne.  However, I'm in my mid-20's, so I'm starting to shop around for products that will slow down the inevitable aging process like exfoliants, vitamin C products, peptide products, and good sunscreens.

These types of products can be expensive, however, so trying them through Birchbox without having to buy the full product seems like a fun way to "shop" around.

I'm also lazy. So not having to put on pants and drive to a store? WIN. 

 This month, I received:

Vasanti Cosmetics Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator:
This is supposed to mimic the effect of microdermabrasian. I'm not sure what microdermabrasian is, but if it's supposed to be a physical exfoliant, it does the job well.

Sensitive skin types might not like this product. The beads in this are large enough to potentially irritate the skin. But on my skin it feels quite nice.

I don't have sensitive skin (although I would hesitate to use this every day myself), so I like a physical exfoliant in addition to my chemical exfoliants to slough off dead skin. I like to use this in the morning after an overnight application of tretinoin (the generic version of Retin-A).

Overall, I think this is a nice product.

Harvey Prince Sincerely Perfume:
I feel a bit apprehensive about reviewing a scent. Scent is such a personal thing. It triggers memories unique to each person, and scents smell differently from person to person because we all have different body chemistries. Therefore, I'm not sure perfume reviews are all that helpful.

On me, this scent faded rapidly (a problem I have with perfume in general), and I felt this was just a little too sweet and flowery for my taste. 

But this scent is different from most of the generic flowery scents out there, so I could see someone really liking this one.

Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm:
I've never tried a BB cream before. It's been all the rage for the past couple of years, and I think the market now has... like... what, CC creams now? DD creams? ZZ creams? BB creams tend to make fantastic claims, but I've always viewed those claims with skepticism.

I still think most BB claims are crap, but I love this one. This Korean BB cream has 45+ SPF and has a nice, neutral beige-y tint. I naturally have a yellowish tint to my skin since I'm part Japanese, so I was surprised to find a tint that didn't make me look sick. Also, while the cream has a slight tint, it doesn't have the full coverage a foundation does. For some people, this is a negative. But for me, I personally hate the feel of foundation. This is the closest to a "foundation" that I'm willing to use on my face.

So, between the high SPF and slight beige coverage, I'm a convert! I've already bought the full size of this product.

Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner in Jaipur Gold:
This is a nice creamy eyeliner. Very, very creamy. The feel is wonderful.

It mostly stays on well all day. But sometimes it tends to bleed from my lower lash line. While it's not my favorite color (it's kind of like a cross between bronze and olive green), it's overall a good quality eyeliner. I may consider buying it in black later on, although I really don't like eyeliners that bleed into those little lines around my lower eyes. It makes me look like a drug addict, and I haven't figured out how to stop that from happening.

Whish Three Wishes Body Butter in Lavender:
This lotion is pleasant and non-greasy. The scent is also a true lavender scent (as in, it doesn't smell unnatural). I've been using it, although, to be honest, I'm not a lotion person. I have oily skin naturally, so I've spent most of my life minimizing the moisture content of my skin.

It's nice though, and a lotion needs to be non-greasy for me to use it. I'll keep this in the back of my mind should I ever need to use lotion in the future.

So, that was the entirety of my Birchbox. I thought it was fun to try new brands, and I've found a product that I've already added to my everyday routine. Will I keep this subscription? Absolutely.

Check Birchbox out!