stuff I like

{ review } Stitch Fix:1

Have you heard about it yet?  Stitch Fix

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

I love Kansas City.

Last Thursday I took my eldest out of school early for a mother-daughter day at the plaza for lunch and a matinee.  I had surprised her with Wicked tickets for her birthday last month.  (I saw it on Broadway a couple years back with the original cast {WOW}.  Really couldn't wait to see it again.)

So we started the day off at the Cheesecake Factory on the Plaza for lunch. (Chinese Chicken Salad, YUM)



How I love the Plaza. It was the nation's first suburban shopping district.  And it's just gorgeous.  It is, without a doubt, one of my favorite things about Kansas City.  At Christmas there are millions of lights tracing every nook and cranny of the spectacular architecture.  Like out of a fairy tale.  Not bad for a town that most people associate with corn fields, tornados and ruby slippers. 


Oh yes, the ruby slippers.  How was Wicked?  Magical.  :)  The music always gets me.  When the Glinda and Elpheba sing 'Because I Knew You' at the end, I cry.  It's really that good. 

I snuck the photo of the theatre and got scolded.  But I got it.  Ha.


It's a dark story, but the musical adaptation is much lighter than the book.  Laced with political and social allegory, Wicked is a sharp commentary that most children won't understand, but the musical numbers are nonstop and delightful.  My daughter is 12 and we talked a bit about it afterward.  I don't know how much of 'it' she 'got', but she definitely 'got' some parts. When we saw it in New York, my husband really didn't expect to enjoy a musical.  And he was blown away by the show.  I could go on and on about the brilliant writing... lines so carefully and artfully crafted... Ack.  Love it.  So yes, see it if you can!

(FWIW: The tour's Glinda, Katie Rose Clarke, is totally different than Kristen Chenoweth's Broadway character.  This one is more like a cross between SNL's Mary Katherine Gallagher skit played by Amy Poehler.  Strange.  Funny, but strange.  KC wasn't nearly as spastic.  If you're curious about the characters, there is an interesting video on the official website.  Choose 'characters' -- the interviews are not from the touring group, but you definitely get a feel for who the characters are.)

Also, I got my Vintage Apron Swap package from Julie yesterday.  Sweet Cracker Sandwiches!  That girl knows how to make a girl feel special.  Photos forthcoming.  Fidget wanted to wear my new-to-me pretty PINK (geez, hon, how'd ya know?) vintage apron as a dress last night.  So it was tricky to get a decent shot. 

Happy Thursday!  :)

Making me happy

My slipcover project is coming along, slowly but surely.  I really am very close to being done and am quite pleased with how it is turning out... the trick has been leaving it in stages where there aren't too many pins sticking out so Fidget doesn't run in and poke herself.  So far, so good.

However, instead of working on it last night, I ate the last piece of cake and curled up with the second half of Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility on PBS.  And then I checked my DVR and -- BONUS! -- we had recorded Emma as well and so, why not?   


So it was Ferrars and Brandon vs Knightley last night.  I think Knightley wins, don't you?  Brandon (S&S) is romantic and steady, indeed.Kightley2 Ferrars (also S&S) came off as some Austen-esque Hugh Grant to me and, while I do enjoy me some Hugh, I couldn't see past that for every scene he was in...

All the same, S&S had the most beautiful location shots which took my breath away.  Emma was just ok for me.  I loved the book, but the movie isn't one of my faves.

(For the record, Darcy wins, every time.  But he wasn't playing last night, so I let the other three duke it out.) 

I just read this bit and if you don't read Austen, I'm sorry, for it makes no sense at all.  I haven't even mentioned the gorgeous moody bad-boys (Oh, Willoughby!) just the heroes, if you will. But you should.  Read Austen, I mean.  I envy someone sitting down with her novels for the first time.  *sigh*

(*photos recklessly stolen, cropped and modified, from the PBS website)

Other, more practical, things I like?

  • Kerastase Oleo Relax Hair Serum.  It's pricey, but the bottle is HUGE and lasts for a couple months.  I have ridiculously thick, coarse, wavy hair and this makes it feel like silk without being too greasy.  For a lot of people, it would be way to much.  I can use two or three squirts, no problem.  I have also tried Chi (dries my hair) and biosilk (leaves a heavy film) and some others, in case you are wondering.  The only one that compares to the Kerastase product is the Phyto hair Serum, which is also wonderful, but way too expensive to be at all practical.  And the bottle is tiny, so it would only last me like 3 weeks. 
  • Downy Lavender and Vanilla Liquid fabric softener.  It just smells delicious.  And see this post for how to make your own antibacterial sheet spray with it and a little vodka. 
  • Dove bar soap
  • Oil of Olay 7 Daily Effects moisturizer
  • Coppertone 2-in-one self tanner/ instant bronzer -- in light to medium.  It shows where it goes and doesn't streak.  This is a great last minute fix to lily white legs.
  • New pens
  • Mrs. Meyer's Lemon Verbena All Purpose Cleaner  I use it on my floors and mix up kitchen spray.  It smells wonderful and it's family and earth friendly.  I like buying the big bottle so I reduce packaging waste.  ;)
  • For that matter, I also like the Method line of products, especially their grapefruit wipes (biodegradable).  The kids like to help clean up and I am happy to let them use these to pitch in.  I do wish they made the wipes in a bigger container, because I worry about waste with these, although they can be recycled.
  • My Mek jeans.  They are pricier than I ever thought I'd be willing to spend on denim, but worth every penny and I will buy more.  They fit great, wash well, and I wear them all the time.  My other jeans kind of hate my Meks, as they have been relegated to the back of my closet.  Poor dears.  I may have to turn them into capris or something useful.

There's more.  So much more, but I'll have to share another installment on another rainy day.  There was also a very hefty thrifting haul this morning, but I've got to get to work.  (Anyone have a 'tried and true' method for cleaning afghans and such?  I don't want to ruin them, but I do prefer a sterilization process before I introduce them into the house... )

Have a happy Thursday!