Whole30-ing

In my blogging absence (again), I did something super crazy: started Whole30. I feel like so much of the internet knows about Whole30 at this point, while everyone I would talk to in person just looked at me as if I had six noses.

In a sentence: Whole30 is a month-long elimination diet to cut out trigger foods. The key, flexible phrase in that description is “trigger foods,” which includes both allergens (dairy, grains, etc.) or an addictive substances (i.e., tobacco, alcohol, and sweeteners, especially refined white sugar). During the thirty days, you transition from withdrawal of your old diet to learning new methods to eat and care for yourself. After the 30 days is up, you reintroduce all of the eliminated foods slowly, deliberately to see which ones were affecting you poorly and in what ways (inflammation, break-outs, bloating, etc.) Pretty much, Whole30 is supposed be a major life overhaul. If you’re interested in reading about the diet much more in depth, feel free to check out the Whole30 site, as I’ve cover a mere fraction of what’s available.

I decided to do this crazy diet because, like so many people, I have a lousy relationship with food which can be summed up as: I only like to eat sugar. Really. In the past few months, I noticed how often I would resort to white sugar on any given day: a donut on my way to work, some cookies on the lunch table, a couple of sodas at the theatre during a shift, some ice cream when I got home — in one day! I’m not joking! My skin was horrible, my sleep restlessness, and my gut pained. So, like any over-analytical dolt, I decided to cut it all out to see what would happen, kind of making myself a science experiment.

Today is Day 27 and I’m feeling so much better! While I still crave a donut (damn you, lady problems), I’m finding that everything that was bothering me has subsided. My skin is better, my sleep is deeper, and I’ve eliminated all stomach issues. And, while weight check-ins are also verboten on Whole30, I’ve probably lost about 8-10 pounds. Not bad for four weeks.

 

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Dress: Stitch Fix from 2014

Cardigan: LOFT

Shoes: TOMS

Necklace: Modcloth

I wore this bright, festive get-up for a weird day — leading a training session in the morning and attending a cool networky event at night hosted by our favorite library. I love this dress, which I scored from Stitch Fix when SF still loved me, and thought it would carry me nicely between the two.

While probably a little more colorful than necessary for my training session in a historic house, this dress fit perfectly into the scope and scene of the evening event. Our fave library asked their Board President to host it at his wonderful loft. Southern New England has a great track record of taking former factories and repurposing them as living and working spaces. While every renovated space is unique and quirky, this dwelling was beyond belief: filled to capacity with wonderful artwork on top of the eclectic design elements, it took me all my might to not hide in a closet and plead for the owners to adopt me. And I wasn’t the only thinking — or saying — that. The abode had been featured in a local magazine a few years back:

Tripp: 1. I built this indoor pergola not long after we bought the loft in 2005. The columns came from a 19th-century house in Richmond, Virginia. They crossed the Mason-Dixon Line in a snowstorm, flagged and projecting four feet from the back of our station wagon. 2. This standing sculpture, an earthenware figure holding 109 graduated porcelain bowls, is Balancing Burden by the Chinese-American artist Eric Kao. Kao’s work explores his identity as the son of immigrants - a theme that particularly resonated with Ed, who emigrated from the Azores with his parents in 1966. 3. This is a former gas streetlamp from Savannah, Georgia. It was rescued by my ex-sister-in-law, a Savannah native who will probably want it back if she ever sees this. 4. Providence artist Kik Williams made Bubble Gum Pink for a Steel Yard show (the hot pink “glaze” is actually metallic auto-body paint). 5. Beyond Williams’ sculpture are works by other Providence artists: Gregory Poulin, Jungil Hong, Dan Wood, Andrew Raftery and C. W. Roelle. We’re lucky to have landed in a city that supports so many talented artists, and that’s preserved so much of its industrial architecture - without one, you’d never have had the other.

See? AWESOME.

While Whole30 was difficult to maintain during the night, as we had to skip a lot of picky things to eat, we managed just fine. Food I wouldn’t be able to resist was, oddly, just fine staying on the table while I chatted! What else was cool about this diet endeavor, though, was being forced to see the other ways I’m growing and changing. While networking stuff is anxiety-inducing for me, to like a panic attack level, it was nice to walk into this and feel moderately at ease. It also helps that there were some lovely folks to see again (hi, Julienne!).

I guess, the point of all of this: if there’s something scary and daunting and just beyond where you’re comfortable, either examining your relationship with food or trying to understand why something freaks you out to the point of tears — just face it, as debilitating as that may seem. You can do it cold turkey style, like Whole30, or in graduated steps, like anxiety, but in all of my experience, the journey is always rewarding.

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Stitch Fix #13 Review: Breaking Up?

Hi, lovelies!

It’s spring! It’s SPRING! While it’s been a crazy few weeks for the weather in New England (ie, mid-70s in early March, but then 4 inches of snow on April 5th!), I think the warmer weather is here to stay.

With that in mind, I scheduled a Stitch Fix for early April and requested spring-y attire, specifically asking for and pinning a green dress, a white blazer and black lace skirt (for colder, tight-wearing days). Despite pulling images directly from SF’s Pinterest page that they’d just put up themselves, I received the items below. For the most part, they’re springy, warm weather pieces, but not what I wanted. Le sigh. 

Items 1, 2 and 3: Renee C Roseanne Faux Saude Swing Skirt ($64), Market & Spruce Lauderdale Knit Cardigan ($48), and Pixley Yelvert Lace Detail Blouse ($48)

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I liked all of the pieces, but none of them were right…

The blouse has a lace yolk AND buttons down the back (both features I love; no photos because, well, back fat), but was thin, scratchy and boxy. It pulled at my bust AND hips, but was way too loose at the waist. The only way I could wear it would be as shown — tucked in and covered up: lame.

The cardigan was all right: nice weight for spring, but I had just purchased a blazer in the same shade, so I couldn’t justify a sweater too.

And the skirt: this was the only thing I considered keeping. Because of the a-line faux suede, it was soft and flowy. Plus — look how tan my pale legs look against it! But it was $64 and I really couldn’t justify that for a skirt that was nice, but nice swoon-worthy.

All returned.

Item 4: Loveappella Celso Mesh Detail Knit Top ($54)

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“HA!” That was my first reaction when I pulled this out. I wanted spring, so I instead received a 90s-era black floral top? Curious.

The size was all right, as it had sufficient elasticity. And I realized as I was packing it up that the shoulder seams actually have mesh insets, which was supposed to be… edgy? I dunno. Inevitably, there was no way to sell me on this one. Returned.

Item 5: Skies are Blue Capaldi Surplice Cross Front Fitted Knit Top ($54)

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This hot mess. Oh. Boy.

The photo doesn’t truly show how this blouse had no idea what it meant to do. It was super fitted, but also had some rucheing to hide the chub that it highlighted? And the neckline twisted around for added drama, but then needed to be sewn down at the bust, which meant that pulled awkwardly. Pretty much, this was made for ladies who do not have breasts — which is so not me.

There are a number of photos of me pulling and tugging, but I really couldn’t put all of them on the internet. (I mean, I have a professional life to preserve, right?) And if I can’t put images of on the internet, how can I wear this to work? Returned. 

Final verdict: 0/5.

I’m debating if this is the last Stitch Fix I receive. While I’ve received some GREAT pieces over the past couple of years, I also have a number of things I’ve kept but don’t love so my $20 fee isn’t wasted. I’ve really taken to scouring TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack sites for pieces because I can generally find items that (1) I love (2) are in my size and (3) are on sale. While it’s not as exciting and takes A LOT more effort, I’m not as disappointed consistently, nor am I breaking the bank on stuff that I only like.

What do y’all think? Should I give up Stitch Fix one more shot? Are you breaking up with subscription boxes?

 

 

Quick Survey

Happy April, friends!

With the warmer weather (hopefully!) comes some spring cleaning! Would y’all answer a quick question for me?

I’ve been looking at my closet full of clothes and really not feeling them. Maybe it’s springtime and I’m pining — or maybe it’s time to cut the pieces I’ve had for a while. Either way, I’d love to send them off to good homes and make a little extra too. If there’s some interest, I’ll definitely pursue it!

Thanks!

 

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.

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!