Bad Luck. Also, Stitch Fix Finds.

When I was a child, I remember my mom telling me that it was bad luck to put your shoes on a table. I don’t necessarily subscribe to superstitions, but this one always stuck with me. I mean, it makes sense: the dirtiest items that we wear shouldn’t go on the place from which we eat. While I do a lot of things inconsistently (call friends, floss, sleep, etc.), I never, ever put shoes — either by themselves or in bags or boxes — on the table.  I just don’t. Until…

I was feeling a little cavalier last week, I put my giant Timbuk2 on a table in my office. I knew that it had a back-up pair of flats in there, but I thought, “eh, it’s just an old wives’ tale — nothing will happen!”

And nothing happened. That day.

Then I get a text from my aunt saying that my grandmother fell and was in the ER.

And then I dropped my iPhone and cracked the screen — when I’ve never damaged a phone in 15 years of having one.

And then I got not one, but two of those automated tickets from a traffic camera.

And then I lost money at work.

Phew. It’s been a long week.

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Dress: Taylor via TJ Maxx

Cardigan: LOFT

Shoes: TOMS

Necklace: ModCloth

Watch: Fossil

These photos are actually from before my bout of bad luck — when I found this dress that Stitch Fix was sending out last year on sale on the TJ Maxx website and when I wore said dress to work and didn’t get a spot of stage blood on it. Amazing feat, right?!

As you know, I love a good deal — which it why I peruse the TJ Maxx website often. And lately, I’ve located a few dresses that were featured in Stitch Fix ads/reviews at great prices. Want some examples?

Obviously, there’s the dress pictured above, which I originally read about on the Crazy Together blog. TJ Maxx has it in both grey and blue right now; originally it was $98, while I found it for $40. (Also: if you’re looking for a similiar, but not exact match, to Maria’s red lacy dress, here’s one at $35 from London Times.)

I also discovered this Donna Morgan beauty too: Stitch Fix featured it on Instagram sometime in February I guess. SF sold it for $118, it’s for sale at $40.

Here’s another Donna Morgan featured on IG for $50.

Or a Taylor dress for $60 on Nordstrom Rack that was featured on IG.

Finally, there’s one size 10 Taylor “Two-fer” on Nordstrom Rack, also featured on IG.

Holy rabbit-hole!

Good luck to any ladies looking for some Stitch Fix dresses on the cheap. And, if you order shoes to go with your new frocks, don’t put the box on a table, lest you want a slew of bad karma.

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Grey Days

Ooph. Winter.

B took these photos of me probably a couple of weeks ago (I know, I know! I’m late!) and I’ve been meaning to put up a post but lost track of time. Then — snow. Ugh. Snow.

I wanted to write about how I’d been doing on my gym-going endeavor, including the fact that I ran three miles before these photos were taken at 10am! I wanted to share the trials of finding the right weight to lift. Or how I was starting to feel pulled together and healthy again. Or how I was trying out some new heels that day at work because I felt spunky. Then — snow. Ugh. Snow.

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Shirt: LOFT

Jeans: Gap

Shoes: TOMS

I look at these photos now — taken on a sunny, fairly mild January morning — and I think about how volatile my moods are in the winter. Once we hit late January/early February, with those first few substantial snowfalls and grey, murky days, and my mindset explodes. I always think of the first line of Tony Hoagland’s “Reasons to Survive November”: “November like a train wreck.” Except November is February, in this case.

I’ve spent the past week or so unable to truly focus — maybe enough to muster reading a couple of pages of a book or folding half my laundry — but I find things of substance so hard to deal with. Answering emails with thoughtful, timely responses? Debilitatingly difficult. Buying and sending birthday and Valentine’s Day cards? Probably not this year. Making a simple phone call to, say, the bank? Maybe I’ll feel better and less worn out tomorrow.

And sleep? Any days I’ve had off — hell, if I get home early enough from work — I spend upwards of 12 hours sleeping, only to wake up still headachy, tired and sore. And it’s not that I’ve slept too much and it’s a vicious cycle, it’s much more of a pseudo-hibernation state.

But I plow through. I take my vitamins and drink water. I let myself eat an extra cookie or cuddle next to B for an extra 9 minutes in the morning. From going through this for so many years before, I know this won’t last forever. It’ll be spring in eight weeks, then summer and I’ll feel like myself again.

(But still, despite the forced optimism, I really do hate this time of year.)

 

Stitch Fix #11 Review: Birthday Edition

I’ve continually gone back and forth on Stitch Fix. My first few fixes were HORRIBLE! There was one fix in which the stylist (not Alessandra, mind you) pretty much said “here’s some stuff. enjoy…?” and sent me every single thing I mentioned I wanted to avoid. But then I’ve had some great finds, including a number of lovely dresses. Pretty much, once Alessandra stepped in, I’ve have moderate success.

When I requested my “birthday fix” in December, it was totally in the stressed-before-the-holidays spirit — usually when I’m apt to spend a lot of money on “retail therapy.” Then, when we hit 2016 and I resolved to be better about money, I regretted requesting a fix, knowing I’d spend more money on a single item than I would otherwise. I vowed not to keep anything…

Yeah, right.

Item #1: Crescent’s Lurli Grommet Detail Blouse ($54)

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This is the worst piece in the box. I just wanted to throw that fact out there, in case you couldn’t tell by the expression on my face.

The material was super thin and the shape was boxy beyond belief. Also, can we talk about the weird draping that happens because of the pleats at the neckline? I don’t mind pleating — except when it puts extra fabric in the position of falling between breasts and highlighting just how chesty I am. Oh — and the sleeves! There’s no cuff! It’s like their giant red tubes of fabric. Annnnd there are grommets. But the color is nice, I guess… Returned.

Item #2: RD Style’s Adriene Dress ($88)

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When I snuck a peak at what was coming in this fix, I was dismayed at this dress because I had specifically requested no grey.

Then I opened my box and realized, “Alessandra’s too good; it’s not grey, it’s SILVER!” The dress was really pretty and shimmery; I could so easily dress this up or down as needed. But A sent me a large and well, holiday sweets and birthday cake happened before my fix arrived. I took a profile photo to show how clingy the dress was, but decided not to post it because I look pregnant. Oops.

If A had sent the dress one size up, I would have kept it. Returned.

Item #3: 41Hawthorn’s Moni Geo Print and Camisole Blouse ($58)

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Look familiar? It should! I received this same blouse this summer in black!

I guess A knew how much I love my black version, so she sent a fun, patterned version. While I probably wouldn’t have chose this pattern myself, I really, really like it — like, scarily so.

Two small gripes. One: the shirt is ever-so-slightly tight around the shoulders. It wasn’t a big enough deal for me to pass up this blouse, but it’s something I don’t remember from the black version. Two: this is a set with a matching light blue cami. That’s usually a bonus, except when the cami feels and fits like it’s from the little girls’ section. I thankfully have some alternatives to switch it out for. Kept.

Item #4: Renee C’s Raquel Printed Swing Skirt ($58)

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One of intentions for 2016 is to not spend money unnecessarily, which is so sad considering this skirt. I loved it. It’s a lined, A-line navy bottom with a pop of white… Kind of like this skirt that I already own…

Really, I loved this skirt, but I couldn’t justify spending $58 on something that is way too close to a piece I already have.

The fabric was soft and the flow of the material was great, not too clingy like cotton can be. There’s an exposed silver zipper in the back, for some added punchiness. I paired it with the XX top, as Alessandra suggested, and I love that color combination with the brown boots (though I don’t look enthused because of that damn top!).

Alas, alack, I sent it back. Returned.

Item #5: Adrianna Papell’s Kalla Dress ($118)

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When I saw that I getting this dress (and then I saw the price!), I promised myself up and down I wouldn’t fall in love and keep it. Then it arrived and that promise faltered a bit. And then I put it on, looked in the mirror, and said, “damn it!” B’s reaction when he saw me in it sealed the deal: it needed to live in my wardrobe.

The material is thick and wears really well. As you can see in the photo, the color is gorgeous: it shimmers in the light in just the right way. And that lovely notched V into the neckline can be either modest or revealing! There’s some substantial ruching at the tummy; I read other reviews that said it added extra weight to their figure, but I’ll actually say that it really didn’t added more to me than was already there. I wasn’t displeased by the cut (although I’ve already mentioned I gobbled a lot of sweets this holiday and birthday season).

Needless to say — I kept it and wore it to my fancy-shmancy birthday dinner. Kept.

Hit or miss: 4/5 pieces were ones that I loved! Admittedly, I spent more money than I had intended but that Adrianna Papell dress was stunning. Minus some wardrobe duplication and size issues, I probably would have kept more from this birthday fix. Huzzah!

Winter (White) Solstice

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Sweater: TJ Maxx

Cords: LOFT

Boots: Naturalizer

Scarf: Fabric from Joann Fabrics

Happy winter, northern-hemisphere-dwellers!

I bet some of you are thinking, “Hm, white pants? Risky move for a curvy lady. And in December to boot!” My thought: “Not if you do it right!”

A few things I’ve learned about donning white pants:

  1. Wear nude colored undergarments. Don’t think those bright cobalt undies can’t been seen, ladies! And certainly don’t go commando! (I had a friend who realized on vacation in Hawaii that there was still a, erm, “shadow effect” when she went sans underwear under white linen pants.) Invest in some nude undies if you haven’t already and make sure you triple check that there’s no color showing through in a full-length mirror. (Romantic partners get distracted, I find, so don’t ask them to help you check!)
  2. If you’re concerned about looking “bigger,” create balance in your outfit. I think white pants really pop and make a statement, so I paired them with a big, boldly printed scarf and some knee-high boots. Not only do the boots reduce how much white shows (so a third of my body, as opposed to half), they also provide their own statement. But, also…
  3. Go for a lighter palette overall. “Winter whites” are a thing for a reason; the long line created by wearing a monochromatic outfit is visually pleasing. Wearing white pants with a black/dark top is a harsh color conflict and breaks the body in half; suddenly your torso is reduced in appearance and your hips/thighs are blown up. While you don’t have to wear all white, sticking with lighter colors keeps the different regions of your body in size-relation to itself.
  4. Expect to get them dirty all day long and be careful. The only reason why I wouldn’t wear white pants is because they’re so unforgiving when it comes to staining throughout the day. While looking at photos from this series, I noticed a blue spot on my hip. (I obviously didn’t choose that one for the blog.) Who knows where it came from, but that wouldn’t have been as egregious if I’d been wearing jeans or dark slacks.
  5. Last but not least: just do it. You don’t have to be a size 2 to look good wearing white pants. If you feel good in them, then screw convention. You do you.

Unending Autumn

Talk about global warming!?

I live in New England — there’s supposed to be snow and sleet everywhere by now — but we’re in the middle of December and, until recently, it has been GORGEOUS outside! As in, flats and mid-weight jacket gorgeous!

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Jeans: LOFT Outlet (on sale nonetheless!)

Tee: Loft

Sweater: H&M

Shoes: TOMS

(This is really a weird source of neurosis: it’s so beautiful outside in New England that I’m actually weirded out by how true global warming must be for this to be our new reality. But I save those rants for B. You’re welcome.)

This has been one of my favorite outfits this fall/winter. I just love the rusty orange jeans ( that I scored for $20!) against a black, lacy top and neutral cardigan and flats. For tail-end-of-autumn, it looks seasonally appropriate without being, like, a loud jack-o-lantern sweater. (No offense, jack-o-lantern sweater lovers. I just can’t handle that.)