Guilty Pleasures

{ review } Stitch Fix:1

Have you heard about it yet?  Stitch Fix

Fix1 029

It's the online service I've been waiting for all my life because, well, I hate shopping. I don't have time. And I don't like the mall. Or the lighting in dressing rooms. Or masses of people. Or ALL of the choices. I often get overwhelmed and just don't buy a thing.  Or buy something and then never wear it because it matched nothing in my closet. 

And my taste is all over the place. I have style ADD or something. I'll come home with chunky modern bangles, a romantic ruffly top (exactly like the three I already own), and a sequined tank.  

So when Kristen (of DineandDish) instagrammed about receiving boxes of specially selected clothing and accessories from Stitch Fix, I was curious.  

Imagine: A personal shopper that sends you clothes. Trying them on at home with your own accessories (thanks to the outfit idea card included). Paying for your favorites and sending the rest back. Reviewing all the items to give your stylist a better idea of what you like and ... waiting for your next fix.  It's beautiful.

And of course it's not free. But it's close. $20 includes the personalized shopping service and shipping and applies to your order, if you keep anything. Yeah, you read that right. And if you buy all 5 pieces, you get 25% off the whole order. Also very cool. 


So what was in my first Fix?


Item #1:

Fix1 028

This chambray shirt. I loved the fabric. I liked the high-low hems and the detailing.  The thing is, my arms are really short and even this XS was too long for me. And it felt tight across the back, but looked ...baggy from the front? It just looked wrong. It's too bad, because this is one thing I don't have in my closet, and it does seem to be a good fall layering staple. Maybe I need to try another brand.  Returning.


Item #2:

Fix1 031
This darling tunic-y navy blouse. I pulled it out of the box thinking it looks like something my Great Aunt Ruth would have worn. Which is to say, I never would have pulled it off a rack.  I slipped it on and FELL IN LOVE.  The silk.  The modern detailing. The cut. The possibilities! Thank you, Personal Stylist Sarah.  I loved this pick! Keeper.


Items #3 + #4 : cobalt statement necklace and teal twist wrap tee.

Fix1 030
I liked both of these a lot.  Probably because I already have similar items in my closet and jewelry box! Returning both, although I loved the fabric and fit of the top (very similar to an emerald one I bought at anthro last year). 


Item #5: Navy Blue Zipper Detail Dress.

Fix1 027
Sarah knocked this one out of the park. I love it so much. It fits like a glove. I probably wouldn't have ever picked this one out because I rarely go for a solid color dress. However, in my questionnaire I had asked for tops and maybe a dress, something modern and still traditional.. something for a work dinner function and WHAMMO, does this one ever work! The mister liked it, too. Always a plus.

Evidently, I am apparently using WHAMMO now as an adjective.  I'm jaunty like that.

Fix1 032
I included some of the outfit cards because they are fun.  They didn't happen to photograph that well because they are small and aren't really crisp photos for starters, but I think it serves to share the experience a little bit. In the interest of time I edited these together on my phone, but the quality is lacking. For now, you get the gist. 


2 out of 5.  Not bad.  I'm told that as your stylist gets to know you better, the Fixes do, too. Fantastic. Well done, Sarah.  Well done!

For what it's worth, this review is entirely voluntary. I'm not receiving anything in exchange for this testimonial. I just want them to succeed. Because it might be my favorite thing. Ever.  

However, I will get a reward for referring you if you click through from my blog. ;)


miss chris

{ road tested } nail shellac

Have you heard of Shellac for your nails? Nail polish that lasts for 2 weeks?  I'm sure you have and I am just now seeing the light.  If so, sorry.  This post is entirely a waste of your time.  xo

Anyway. Shellac. It's available in some salons and it is not the Gel product of ye olde days.  I promise.  I was never an acrylic girl because it really hurt me, nor was I a regular mani girl -- the paint wears off way too fast for it to be cost effective.  I have really nice, strong nails that lend themselves to an at-home mani rather well.  Typically, if I want my nails done for an evening or whatever, I do them myself. It still wears off though. Bummer.

Then I learned about Nail Shellac (by CDN).  The promise of shiny, no chip-or-wear polish for two weeks. Intriguing. The price was the kicker.  $30-40?  Um, well.  I think I'll just take my little bottle of Revlon and stay home, thankyouverymuch.

However...  A few weeks ago, I heard there was a nail tech apprentice in town who would do Shellac for $10.  ($20, if you want the full mani.)  I was totally in for a $10 try. Who wouldn't be?

I forgot to take pictures of day one.  But you know what?  It looked like a Day One Manicure,'s day 3:

nail shellac, day 3

No chips!  Shiny!

Day 6:

day 6

The only thing annoying me is how fast my nails are growing, thanks to the prenatal vitamins.  Also, don't look at my cuticles.  This is about the polish, people. 

And... day 14:


It worked. 

I actually wore it until today, which is like day 19.  But I wanted to take it off and to be able to tell you how it goes down.  Here are the details:

  1.  Every stage has a short curing process under a lamp.  Base coat, two color coats, two top coats. It took 15 minutes, total.
  2. It feels like nail polish.  Like if you put that many coats on, but nothing more. 
  3. They are immediately dry.  That part is weird.  I was walking around with 'delicate hands' for  a while, but it's not necessary.
  4. It stayed shiny to the end.
  5. There are no icky ingredients.  It's hypo-allergenic and contains no formaldehyde, toluene or DBP. 
  6. There aren't as many colors as regular polish to choose from yet.
  7. It's been around for a year, in May 2011.
  8. You remove it with acetone.  I soaked my nails for a few minutes in a small dish, and the polish peels off. Here's the most important part for me:  There was no nail damage.
  9. I would do it again.
  10. (Even if I didn't have access to a cheap version.  I'd do it before the holidays or a vacation or something.  Worth feeling 'done to the nails' without the work.)
  11. You could have this done with a clear polish, even... or a french tip, and then not worry about the regrowth as much.  Just a thought.
  12. I'm not getting compensated for this.  Just thought I'd share my experiment with you.  :)

Ok.  That's it.  Also, I turned 39 yesterday and still cannot believe it.  Ack.


It's going to be another great year.  I can feel it.  xo

{ booo! }

If you come here for The Pretty, I will have to apologize for the following post.

It is not pretty.

Magic Kingdom, Halloween Style

It is quite scary.

Florida OCT 2010 222

In a Magic Kingdom Parade kind of way.

Headless Horseman leads the parade

The Headless Horseman led the parade. That was kind of spooky.
The ten year old girl in me got the goosebumps.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Parade

Evil Queen.  Meanie.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Parade

The dancing ghosts were even creepier when I realized that my camera captured them this way.  I went on the Haunted Mansion ride that night with the 14 year old.  She was freaked out of her mind. Scarred for life, she said.  Poor little lamb.

(Check out the decorations in the windows on Main Street. Now I think I need orange bunting.  And I don't even have a front porch.)

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Parade

Grave diggers.  Dig it.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Parade

Pirates pretty much rock. 

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Parade


Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Parade

And so did this band.

We were so lucky to be visiting the park during Halloween celebrations.  It's not often that you get to see Cinderella's Castle like this:

Cinderella's Castle

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Parade

Oops.  Some pretty snuck in anyway.

miss chris

(If you don't mind, I'm going to continue sharing some trip photos over the next several days.  I was lazy and only brought along my little silver auto-camera, so some of the photos are better than others. But you'll forgive me, right?  Thanks.  You're a peach.)

{ more photos } missing seattle

I am still rather obsessing about my little trip to Seattle.  When I am not badgering my husband about how wonderful it would be to up and move there, I am quietly reviewing the odd photos that crept in that weren't of the crafty persuasion.


Like our little meetup at The Hopvine Pub for a taste of local brews before we settled in.  Ridiculously good hummus.  And an artichoke dip?  Both yum yum good.  I might have licked the bowl.   Or maybe that was Jade.  I can't remember.

The moss.  I need more moss on my life.   And cobblestones. 

Jade, Beki and I stayed an extra day so that we could soak up a little of the area before heading back to Texas, Louisiana and Missouri.  We booked a hotel downtown and had another dearie -- Eva -- introduce us to the Fremont District before she drove home to Vancouver. (Eva owns a store called the Barefoot Contessa, and I am very very very sorry that I cannot shop there.  That is all.)


I got to ride shotgun.

It was a bit like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride meets European Vacation (Big Ben! Parliament!)

I'm serious.  See the Space Needle?

We started in the Fremont District and ate a crazy amount of delicious Thai food.

Then we traipsed about, popping into shops here and there. 

in front of a little shop in Fremont.
We shopped at charming boutiques.  One after another. (What is the name of this place???  I cannot remember and I loved every inch of it.  From the gorgeous front door to the shoes.  Oh, the shoes.)

peace + deluxe junk = <3

And this one held a few small packable treasures for us.  Plus, you must stand next to the giant french fry and pose with a stop sign. You must.

We did. 

But some things are better left to your imagaination.

After getting a bit turned around and walking back the right way (...and passing a Chocolate Factory.  For Real.  For a whole block we smelled nothing but chocolate.  That might have been when the Seattle love went over the top for me, I'm not sure) we happened upon a crazy labyrinth of vintage goodies.

And that is where I found my new to me, Frye Campus Boots, size 6. On the cheap.  There will be another post.  All about this particular event.  It is deserving.  I need to hire a choir of angels for sound effects.


We met Sarah (who lives in AZ, but was also visiting) on a bus and hopped over to Wallingford, which is adorable. And we saw firsthand the eye candy that is Fabric Crush, located in the old Kindergarten classroom of an old school building. Yes, very cool.



Pretty.  And this silly camera photo doesn't do it justice. 

We also stopped for nourishment at at Trophy Cupcakes.  Fidget was thrilled that I kept my little ballerina and brought her home with me.

cupcake treat

Eventually we did make it back to downtown.  We saw no fish thrown.  However, we did venture out later that night and for some local fare.


And on Tuesday, when we said our teary goodbyes at the airport, we finally each had Starbucks.


We almost forgot to do that.  So busy having fun.

{ thrifted } Supplies for the Dottie Weekend

Thank you so much for the sweet comments left about Rory's baby quilt.  It was a joy to make and design, but a girl still has self doubt.  I do. I don't often blog about blogging... it's a bit to meta for me, but I do think about it all the time.  The tiny impact that little comments and encouragement leave on a person. Or negativity for that matter. It's so much more than virtual.  I know you know what I'm talking about, so I'll get on with things.  In short, thanks.  It means a lot.  xo

Jade called me out (on FB) when she said the Rory quilt was Dottie Angel-ish.  I do have her aesthetic on the brain, as we are getting ready for our weekend retreat on the 24th. (With Beki too!  Look out, Seattle.  You have no idea what havoc awaits.)

Amassing the supplies has been terribly fun. So far they have all been found thrifting.  This is my stash of trims and binding and hem tape. 

supplies! for dottie angel wkshp

There is talk about refashioning a slip and making all sorts of lovely things from a variety of scraps and grannyish doohickies we were told to bring along.  I'm quite sure everyone in my day to day life who has heard me rambling on about this is hoping they don't end up with some stranger's upcycled undergarments for Christmas this year.

supplies! for dottie angel wkshp

I have had very good luck finding the doilies and trimmings. Pillowcases and whatnots.

supplies! for dottie angel wkshp

The stool, not so much.  I thought I could fashion one myself.  One with removable legs that I could fit into a suitcase.  There is still time.  It will involve power tools.  Hubs doesn't like it so much when that happens.  I'm clumsy.  I don't have to bring one, but I love a challenge. 

There still are two weeks, after all.

supplies! for dottie angel wkshp

Until then, I have some crochet videos to watch. Apparently the needles have not yet seen the last of my lame attempts at blanket-making. Need I remind you what happened last time? The giant ruffle that would. not. stop. Miss Dottie Angel has her work cut out for her.

miss chris

{ trending in my head } knee socks

Now that school is around the corner, I have become obsessed with knee high socks.

As seen

I come by it honest.  With double t-straps, even!  Here I am at 5 yrs, in a dress that my mom had made me (ric-rac!), toe-head white hair, and knee socks. 

By the way, that table-lamp combo piece resides in *my* living room now.


This was right before we moved to Louisiana.  I know this because my mother had just cut off my hair, insisting that it would be too hot and all the Little Girls Of the South would have short hair. 

Our new neighbors mistook me for a boy.

Clearly, she had no idea how popular long luscious girly locks were in the Bayou.

I wouldn't cut my hair again for 5 years.

It was growing out here:


(Age 6 or 7)

Can I ask, what more does a 6 year old girl want than a stage in her living room?  My father decided to build a fireplace in our Baton Rouge home back in 1978, and it started with a solid wood hearth foundation that extended the length of the room for months.  I was sad to see that fireplace actually installed.  If we had one of those in our house now we would totally use it when we played Rock Band.

And let's talk about the paneling.  Or the TV.  Or the awesome chunky table that TV with rabbit ears was sitting upon.  Or the fabulous painting.  Or not.  We can simply adore this snapshot of the late seventies for being just that.  Wow.

Anyway, this is about the socks.  (And that dress.  It was a fave.) And the socks and strappy shoes combo.

I am smitten.

Is it okay for a grown woman to wear them?  Is it possible to wear them and not look too coquettish or like you are trying to look 20 years younger?   Because I really, really love this.

And I know Fidget can and will get away with this look.

Oh, she will.

Do they make knee socks for toddlers, too?  Because Wonderbaby might need a pair.

We can be one giant knee sock loving family.


(PS: You might want to ignore this entire post.  I am pretty heavily medicated as a result of a nasty sinus infection. I'm not making good choices.  Seriously.  I spooned out a quarter cup of mayo thinking it was yogurt.  Ew.)

{ good good stuff } the Craft Hope Book

Craft-Hope-cover Perhaps you have already heard all about this Craft Hope excitement...

About Jade, who had this Crazy Idea that people who like to make things might enjoy using that talent to help others. And about how it all started with 27 pillowcase dresses for an orphanage in Mexico. 

About how the publishers at Lark Crafts stumbled upon her efforts and approached her about writing a book.  And how it features 32 projects that have been paired up with deserving charities from around the world.

About how it has hit stores in the last couple weeks and is FLYING off the shelves.  (Even though today is the official release day!)

CYL_hope If you haven't, or you are interested in knowing just a little bit more about the Craft Hope Book and organization, head over to the the Lark Crafts website, where they are hosting a Month of Hope.  Right now it features an interview with sweet and funny and inspired Jade.  I dare you not to love her after reading it. :)  


Okay, here's the hard part. It just seems like shameless self-promotion, but I have to share because I am honored to be included in an amazing list of crafters and bloggers featured in this book.  Really, if you had told me a year ago that some simple pillowcase project of mine would be included in a book with these talented people I would have two words for you: Shut Up.

But it is in there, all the same.  As soon as I heard it had hit Barnes and Noble I had to see for myself. It was on the shelf already.

Photo 1 

And there I was, not two seconds later, posing with my first published book submission ever, accompanied by several confused onlookers, my girlfriend, daughter, and her best friend -- who was the only reason we have a photo at all because she had her iPhone handy.


I bought one and sent it to my mom, who introduced me to the whole sewing thing over 30 years ago. 

The kind people at Lark have donated a book for a blog giveaway this August. I've never done one before, so I'll save that for another post when I have my act together.  Stay tuned.

Anyway, Happy Craft Hope Book Release Day!  And Congratulations to my dear friend, Jade.  You Rock!

miss chris

{ glam } Miss America Watch Party 2010

Well, here we are. In all our glory.  And makeup.

miss america party night

And hairspray.


And, ahem, foundation garments.  Because, let's face it, thangs aren't exactly in the same place that they were Back In the Day.

But let me tell you my friends, the sequins IS. Heavens. 

Remember that full body skin-tight cast of sequins from 1988?  The kind that isn't forgiving when you have to, say, close your car door or pick up something (oof!) or just sit?  That, my friends, was pre-spandex.  And that is what I wore Saturday night.  For a couple hours. I sorta felt like Joan Cusack with the neck brace in Sixteen Candles.   There was a costume change, but so far no photos have surfaced of that hot pink number.  Darn.  

I'm pretty mad at myself for not getting photos of the amazing food (crab/mushroom pinwheels, sushi, dips dips, cupcakes, creme puffs, strawberries, mmmm.  What else?  I ate a lot...) nor did I score photos of the beverage counter, where the fou-fou drinks reigned supreme.  grumble grumble.  I was clearly too busy stuffing my face.


Many thanks to Miss Laeroport (her photo, above) for crossing state lines to join us for our little fiesta.  We were the best dressed people in the Hyvee Grocery (picking up libations) and the Japanese Steakhouse (picking up the sushi) for sure.  I will not forget those looks for quite some time.  It was a hoot, my friend!



Miss America 2009

Ok, so you all know the deal, right?

A handful of housewives get together in evening dresses and watch The Pageant.  Thriftstore dresses.  Too much makeup.  Over the top jewels.  Heels.  Lots and lots of hairspray.  Fancy food and drinks.  Tons of laughter.

You can't say I didn't warn you.

Also, I am STILL waiting (AHEM) on photos from others from that night, but I wanted to keep this blog post timely, so you'll have to do with the 13 decent shots that ended up on my camera:

the judges took issue with my, ahem, condition.

I am, what, 18 weeks? here, drinking bubbly cider and finally filling out the top portion of a dress.   The goal is to be tacky and over the top, and this year I didn't get There, because I was challenged in the fitting department, what with the growing belly and all.  I figured being with child at a pageant was tacky enough.  (Dress, $4.50.)  The big Ol' golden necklace gave it some flair though.

Now, for my sister.

little bo peep meets scarlett o'hara

This was the 3rd dress she tried on and we could go no further.  It was so awful and perfect at the same time.  It's a Gunne Sax, probably circa 1980, and it has bows everywhere.  She isn't wearing the HUGE sash at the waist in this photo, which is a shame.  It is about 5 inches wide and flounces over her rear.  To know Kim is to also know that this is SO NOT her, which was even better.  (Is it anyone?)  And we made ringlets.  We couldn't decide whether it was more Scarlett O'hara or Little Bo Peep.  Or a really bad Footloose prom dress.  Anyway, it was golden.   (Dress, $3.50)  She also isn't wearing her pageant sash yet, because this is pre-party.  She was Miss Cellaneous.

For the rest of the party pics, here is a link to the private photos on flickr.  I will expire the link in a few days, but not before you all get your fill.  Enjoy.