September 2016 Stitch Fix Review


~This post contains affiliates, if you sign up (which you should) I will make a small commission, all opinions are my own.~

Fall is in the air and I could not be happier! Not only does fall bring football, baking and gorgeous foliage, it brings the cutest, coziest clothes. I think fall is my best clothing season. The rich jewel tones look good on my pale skin and the conservative cuts are more flattering on my body type. So you better believe that I was pretty excited for my September Stitch Fix box to arrive.

If you don’t know what Stitch Fix is, head back to my first review and read all about the reasons why I am addicted to this style curating service. Here are the basics: Fill out a style and size profile at stitchfix.com to let your personal stylist know what you like (you even get to send a note to your stylist highlighting what you are looking for), link a Pinterest board with pins that demonstrate your style (here is mine-I update it every month), pay $20 styling fee that will be credited towards any purchase you make and sit back while your stylist sends a box of delightful clothing items and accessories your way. When the box arrives try on the pieces in the comfort of your own home and think about what you’d like to keep for three days! Then send the pieces you don’t want back in the prepaid envelope, or keep it all and get 25% off your purchase! Its simple, fun and addicting.

Check out what I asked Jason, my stylist, for this month:

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As you can see I gave him a lot to work with. I have found I get my best fixes when I keep less that 50 pins on my Pinterest board, only pin clothes I’d love to have and give my stylist options. Jason has been styling me for over a year because I requested to keep him as my permanent stylist by emailing hello@stitchfix.com

Here is what Jason sent:

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Burrito of Beauty

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I was a little bummed at first about not getting a bag or shoes but then these gorgeous leather Sam Edelman boots in grey went on a major sale and I got mine for $51 and I snapped them up (mine are wide calf, regular is available too)! I am still waiting for the perfect fall bag, but the clothes Jason sent were too beau-ti-fall for me to be sad for long. Let’s take a closer look!

Edyson Mayfare Bootcut Jean-Navy, Size 10, $98

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The price on these pants made me want to cry. I have never paid that much for jeans. But, I have never had bootcut jeans that had a long enough inseam and then some. I am 5’7″ but have loooooong legs. In the pictures above I am wearing a 2 inch heel and the pants are too long! In my world that is crazy talk. So yeah, I kind of love these jeans. I wore them with two items from this fix so you will see more pictures of them on later in the post. They make my butt look good and my legs look long. They seem to have the right amount of stretch, but held their shape through the whole photoshoot. I am keeping these very expensive, beautiful, long jeans.

2. Market & Spruce Cotulla Button Back Sweater-Beige, Size Medium, $58

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This is a Stitch Fix Fall favorite. A lot of the ladies on the Stitch Fix Buy, Sell and Trade group I belong to on Facebook go crazy over this. I’m not kidding. I just posted the picture of the folded clothes on the board and someone could ID the sweater when it was FOLDED UP and asked to buy it!  Lucky for me, that is exactly what I wanted to happen. While I am in love with the elbow patches and cute button back, the overall cut  and color were not super flattering on me. I am starting to think that I am just not a sweater gal. Maybe Jason can prove me wrong in a later fix, but this sweater was not for me. It looks cute styled wit the jeans from this fix. If you like sweaters that look like your grandpa wore them (I do!) and they look good on you (not me) then request this puppy. It is super soft and is not solid beige, it has little flecks of black that make even more grandpa-y (yes that’s a thing, and yes it is a look I like).

3. Laju Balla Cargo Vest-Olive, Size Medium, $88

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Well folks, the most adorable, versatile, soft, expensive vest has arrived. My love for vests started last fall and I have been wanting an olive cargo/utility vest since then. Did I want to pay $88 for a vest? No. Did this particular vest make me want to pay $88 for it? Yes. Yes and yes. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the neckline, but looking back on the pictures I think it looks great. I decided to style this more casually with a striped shirt and the bootcut jeans from above. I am wearing 3 inch wedges in these pictures and the pants are the perfect length. I also have on an adorable necklace I won in a Stitch Fix accessories contest and think it adds just the right touch to this casual, cute and comfy outfit. Don’t worry my friends, this vest will make appearances with the last two pieces in this fix as well. Its the vest that won’t quit and I’m keeping it.

4. Le Lis Roanna Knit Dress-Navy, Size Large, $74

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This dress was pinned on my Pinterest board becuase I am super into florals; especially light flowers on a dark background. This navy dress also has tiny cute cutout details at the hem which add a little something extra. It is a pull on dress so it has a little bit of stretch. I love that the sleeves are to my elbows. No visible arm pudge here! I love that it is easy to mix patterns with it by adding leopard print shoes! I love that it looks cute styled more casually with the cargo vest and sneakers. But it was too tight across my stomach for me to keep it. I am wearing spanx in these pictures and know I wouldn’t be comfortable without them, which limits how often I would wear this. You do not want to see the belly pooch pics from the side. Luckily, I found  someone that wanted to try this out and she bought it from me!

5. Moon River Ora Faux Suede Skirt-Burnt Orange, Size Large, $64

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This was my “Jason surprise”skirt and I couldn’t be more surprised by how much I love it. At first I was thinking, “Who needs a burnt orange skirt?” But after trying this on and styling it I started thinking, “Everyone needs a burnt orange skirt.” This skirt is so soft, a little stretchy and it was surprisingly easy to style. My first thought was to pair it with blue because orange and blue are complimentary colors and I think they look amazing together! So I threw on my softest Target chambray shirt and fringed shoes from Nordstrom. I topped the look off with more blue with my bag. This gorgeous light blue bag was another accessory I won in the Stitch Fix accessory contest. They really hooked me up; the bracelet I am wearing came from them too! Then I put the button back sweater and cargo vest from this fix back on and paired the resulting outfit with boots from Aerosoles. I think they are both equally adorable. I’d say this skirt runs a little big as it was loose on me. I am trying for a size exchange (you can do it at checkout now!) but will keep it either way. I cannot wait to think of more ways to wear this.

If you are keeping score I decided to keep everything which means I get 25% off the total bill. That brought the total down from $382 to $266.50. Don’t forget your $20 styling fee is credited towards your purchase! I decided to sell 2 items that were not quite right for me and kept the other three items for a total out of my pocket of $167.50 for an average of $55.83 per piece.

I LOVED this fix. My closet is feeling ready for fall now. What are your favorite trends for fall? Do you agree with my choices? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to follow me on instagram @whitksmith for more outfit inspiration!

Until next time,

I love you more than bootcut jeans and olive green,

Whitney

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Tom was ready for his close-up!

Check out more of my Stitch Fix Reviews here:

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

 

Summer Recap

Way back in June I decided to make a Summer To-Do List filled with fun things I could do during my first summer back in Oregon. Today is the last day of my summer, because school starts tomorrow, so I decided to revisit my Summer To-Do List and see how I did! You can read the original post here.

  1. Pick lots of berries-You better believe I did this. Not only did I go to a U-Pick Farm with my sister I also went to a U-pick blueberry farm with my friends who were visiting from Arizona, then went back by myself, and also picked tons of blackberries on my walks near my house. Yes, this summer was bursting with berries, and I loved it.


  1. Make jam-My sister and I used the berried we picked and made Strawberry Rhubarb Jam! For our first time canning we did pretty well, especially since every store we went to was almost our of rhubarb. Next summer we want more rhubarb tartness and less strawberry sweetness. 
  2. Go to the beach at least once per month-I am happy to report that this was a success. In June, I went to Pacific City and Tillamook when my friends from AZ were visiting. I had been to Tillamook plenty of times, but had never been to Pacific City since it is not on highway 101. Let me tell you, the beach there was gorgeous and the beer and food at the Pelican Brewery were delicious. I am excited to go back.

    In July, Anthony and I headed down the coast to my hometown, Brookings, for my ten year high school reunion. Not many people showed up but I had a blast with those who did and the weather was gorgeous. 

    In August we went to Gearhart and Seaside for a few days to stay with Anthony’s family. The first day we were there we got to spend a lot of time with the newest, 6 week old, member of our family and his almost two year old sister. It was very special. We also ate tons of saltwater taffy, played on a swing set at the beach and ate the best sourdough clam chowder bread bowls EVER. 

  3. Plant something- Well, I planted things, and they grew. But the deer ate all of my sunflowers, morning glories, squash and wildflowers. Stinking deer. We will need to build a fence before we plant a garden next spring. I did manage to get a few blueberries off of my bush in the front yard and grew basil like crazy in my window garden inside!
  4. Get a flag holder and flag mounted on our house- Yessssss! I got this one down times 2 and love seeing our gorgeous flags blowing in the wind. 
  5. Start a good exercising routine again-I started up my Daily Burn account in June and did this pretty regularly through July, but when August hit it was too hot in the house to turn on the electronics or jump around all over the place. I was able to take many walks this summer and even got a tan line from my exercise shirts! I am really going to try to keep it up during the school year. 
  6. Get outside every day-I was pretty good about this as well. I know I left my house every day, but some days it was only for a few minutes and on others I spent the whole day outside. I feel so much happier when I get outside, even in the rain, so I definitely need to keep this one going. 
  7. Have a house warming BBQ-We did this too! We invited our family over for a pulled pork and baked potato party and had a blast! Our house was filled to capacity and we are still eating leftover baked potatoes in everything from egg scrambles to soup, but we had so much fun. We borrowed folding tables from family and I got some chairs from craigslist to make it happen since we don’t have dining room furniture and it worked out perfectly! It really made me want to get a deck built out back so we have more room to entertain.
  8. BBQ three times per week: This we did not do. We cooked on the grill, but not as often as I would have liked. But just because the rainy season is coming, doesn’t mean we have to stop grilling! 
  9. Ride a bike-I didn’t have a chance to do this either. When we visited my parents we loaded my car with so much other stuff that there was not room for my bike! So now, this too, will have to wait until I can get my hands on a bike.
  10. Visit Enchanted Forest-Ok, so we hit the point in the list that I totally failed. We did not visit Enchanted Forrest, but we learned that they have been members of the organization my husband works for for over 30 years! So we definitely have to check it out. 
  11. Attend events/festivals around the Salem area-We went to the Oregon Jamboree, a country music festival that my family has been going to for 10 years now. There was a lot of good music, food and the biggest ice cream I have ever seen. It took three of us to finish it! Hopefully I  will be headed to more festivals this fall! 
  12. Order wedding pictures and hang some of them up-Well I jumped the gun on that one and posted that we got decorations up under number 7. So yes, we did this! It took so excellent communication skills to get the pictures up on the wall just the way I wanted them, but now I love the finished look. The A&W and light up tree are decorations from our wedding and the tree is sitting one some gorgeous books. Here is a closer look. 

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    Decorations up!

  13. Make Homemade ice cream-Nope. I didn’t get around to making ice cream. Towards the end of the summer Anthony and I started counting our calories because our clothes were getting a little too tight. So the last ice cream we had was the HUGE one at the Oregon Jamboree. 
  14. Go camping-We slept in my mom and dad’s travel trailer when we to Brookings in July and we slept in the back of my car on the folded down seats during the Oregon Jamboree, so does that count? We never made it to the wilderness. Maybe next summer. 
  15. Have a picnic-We have taken our food outside a few times this summer and did not have a bug problem whoop-whoop! I am hoping for some Indian summer days ahead so maybe we can get another picnic in before the rain comes. 
  16. Go wine or beer tasting (or both)-We haven’t done an actual wine tastings this summer, though I have tasted a lot of wine, Willamette Valley Vineyards Rose anyone? I did a ton of beer tasting though because I finally like beer! Well, not all of it, but there are some I will drink! Hooray for growing adult taste buds! 

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    Gilgamesh, a local Salem Brewery 

  17. Find a way to get involved and give back in my community-I volunteered at Vacation Bible School at my church which landed me a subbing position in the four year old class on Sundays! I thought it couldn’t get any better but, I asked Anthony if he’d like to help me and he said yes! So now we help in the fours class together and I couldn’t be happier. I never imagined he would actually want to do it! We have been having a blast with the Sunday School kiddos. IMG_8624
  18. Paint my front door-Sadly, my door is still a horrible color. I had a guy come out and do an estimate, picked a color and kept in contact with him. He told me I would be put on the wait-list and I have not heard anything! I am pretty bummed, but know I should just start over with another company. Any recommendations for painters in the Salem, OR area? 
  19. Explore someplace new-YES-my summer was filled with exploration. I went hiking near Multonomah Falls, went to the High Desert Mueseum (I had been there before a long time ago), explored some little towns around Salem, went to a gorgeous house for a fundraiser, hit the beach at Pacific City, visited Gearhart, spent time with family playing in the fountains in Wilsonville, the list could go on and on. This summer was very busy, between work and spending time with family, and I wouldn’t want it any other way! 

    Even though I didn’t check everything off my list I’d say I had a pretty successful summer. Now it is time to go pick out my school clothes for the week and get to thinking about fall.

     

    Until next time,

I love you more than summer days drifting away and uh-oh those summer nights,

Whitney

Book Banter August 2016


Summer is almost over! I cannot believe it. I start school next Tuesday which means my reading time will take a hit. This month I managed to read 7 books! I read some of my favorites of the year this month and cannot wait to share them with you. If you decide you want to read one of the books, click below the picture and it will take you to Amazon and kick a small commission my way as I am now an Amazon affiliate. Do not forget to link your Amazon account to AmazonSmile for Cascade View Christian School (more on that here).

Let’s get to bantering about books.

1. The Green Mile by Stephen King

This was my first Stephen King novel and I had never seen the movie. I know, I know, super weird and practically a reading crime . I have heard my mom rave about the book and the movie for years. Which meant I knew I’d love it, but also that is would make me bawl like a baby, because that is my mom’s book style, ok and mine too. I picked it up on audible right before I put my account on hold because I was wracking up credits faster than I could listen to audiobooks. This book lived up to all the hype. I loved it. The story was intriguing and beautiful. The characters were so well written. My one complaint is that I didn’t love the end. I would have been more satisfied if the last chapter had never happened, but it was so excellent otherwise I forgive Stephen King for that. I cannot stop thinking about this book and I finished it at the very beginning of the month. It has a place on the list of my favorite books of all time, and that is saying something since I love books and read often. I wish I could have read this as the serial it was meant to be when it first came out. But really; get it, read it, love it.

 

2. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley26245850

Warning, do not start this book while on a plane. It opens up with a plane crash. This plane crash is what drives the plot of the book as only two people survive it; one the young son of the man that chartered the plane and the other an artist that is on the plane for reasons many people find mysterious. The story of what caused the plane to go down introduces the reader to a wide range of intriguing characters. I had heard great things about this book so my expectations were high. I thought it was a fun story. I liked the flashbacks that led up to the plane crash and the relationship between the two survivors. I love the title. But this book fell a little short for me. I thought I would be picking up a page turning summer read, but it wasn’t compelling enough for me. I also read it right after The Green Mile so there is that. Overall it was a good quick read, but it wasn’t my favorite of the summer.

3. Wildwood by Colin Meloy

This is my children’s literature pick for August and it is the first book in a three book series. My wonderful friend bought me the hardback set for Christmas last year and they are gorgeous. The author is a fairly well known musician and his wife created the gorgeous illustrations for the books. I would hang prints from the story in my house, that is how much I like them. It also helps that they match my living room color scheme. The author lives in Portland, OR and the story is set in a wood in a neighborhood in Portland. I loved that the story took place so near to me. I would describe it like a modern day Narnia, without as much allegory and with some Portland flavor. There are two main characters; a young boy and girl, that venture into the Wildwood, a place no one in Portland goes. They find themselves there when the girl’s baby brother is kidnapped by crows and taken into the wood. Both humans and talking animals help them navigate the battle between good and evil that is enveloping Wildwood. They discover they have a bigger part to play in the battle than they bargained for. I enjoyed this story a lot. It make me chuckle a few times and I could believe (magic aside) that this could happen in kooky Portland. I think it would be a great read for 4th grade and up (or younger depending on your child’s maturity) boys and girls. Reading it aloud would be fun as well! I am looking forward to the next book.

4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany29056083

I am a Harry Potter fan. I have read all of the books more than 4 times each and watch the movies frequently too. I grew up with Harry. Even though the books were set before my growing up years I was pretty close to the same age as Harry when the first book came out. I love Harry Potter so much I even added nods to the books in my wedding. So when this book/play came out I was not excited. Yes, you read that correctly. I had made peace with the fact that the series was over. I didn’t need to know what happened next. In fact, I hated the epilogue that went with the last book and pretend like I never read it. And this play picks up right where the epilogue left off. There were parts of this I enjoyed; the spirit of adventure, Ron, being back in my favorite enchanted land, Ron, Scorpius Malfoy and did I mention Ron? There were also parts that I didn’t enjoy; Harry, the story line, the stage directions, the parts about Polyjuice, etc. I think I would have enjoyed this much more on the stage. One of the stage directions read, “Draco walks up on stage and stands beside Ginny. This is almost a Spartacus moment. There are gasps.” Really? They had to put that bit in there about Spartacus? I laughed a ton reading the stage directions. So that was good. In my brain this is not connected to the Happy Potter series, but it was a fun read.

5. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh 

This classic has been on my list for awhile and I finally got around to reading it because it is on this book list. I am trying to read through a book from each letter until I have read the whole list! This was my first pick for the letter B. I am not sure what I was expecting with this book but it took me awhile to get into it. It reminded me a bit of The Sun Also Rises, because it featured young people drinking a lot, doing nothing with their lives and talking about how rough their families make it for them. But, I felt like I got more out of the Hemingway novel than I did this one. There were some very excellent sentences like, “I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there’s no room for the present at all.” Another good one was, “His heart; some long word at the heart. He is dying of a long word.” So there were some bright spots and a character of two that I enjoyed. I think I would have liked this better if I had read it for a book club and could discuss it with someone.

6. The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure 

This was my historical fiction fix for the month. The book is set in Paris during the Nazi occupation of WWII. The architect the book is titled after is a modernist Parisian architect who finds himself constructing creative hiding places for the Jewish people who are still stuck in Paris. At first, he is not really sympathetic to the Jews he is hiding, but as he continues his work his feelings change. It doesn’t help that to hide what he is doing, he has to start taking German contracts to design factories for them. There are more personal twists and turns throughout the whole book. This was a great read for me; I couldn’t put it down. I am excited to look into other books by this author.  Content warning: there are racy scenes, bad language and some brutal scenes. Be warned, if you are very sensitive to those types of things this might not be the book for you.

7. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

This book. How have I waited this long to read it? It was so so so so good. I listened to it on audio and found myself going on longer walks, or sitting in the garage so I could listen to it for a bit longer. This book is the semi-autobiographical story of a veterinarian in England in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The stories are based on the author’s real experiences as a vet in the countryside, which means he treats both large and small animals. The stories range from light-hearted to gut wrenching, with a bit of gross in between. But this isn’t just a book about animals; it is about people too. With each story you really get an understanding of the characters and how they are changing and growing because of their experiences.  This is one of my favorites of the year and probably another to add to the list of my favorites of all time. I love books that are about real life, but have been written by an author that has lived an examined life. So good. Content warning: there are medical terms for both male and female body parts and some graphic death and birth scenes.

So that is it for my August reading! These were great picks for me to end the summer with and now I am looking towards some darker reads this fall. What did you read in August? What was your favorite book of the summer? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

I love you more than healing pigs and building site digs,

Whitney

 

ModCloth Stylish Surprise is Back!

ModCloth is having another Stylish Surprise event! Stock up on marvelous mystery items for $20 or less — dresses, shoes, decor, and more…which awesome pieces will you score? No coupon code necessary, simply add a Stylish Surprise item to your bag and wait till you see what what you get!

I have received a Stylish Surprise from ModCloth before and blogged about what I received here.  This time around I am sure the surprises will be full of spring and summer items that are going out of season. Dresses are $20, separates are $15, and shoes and decor are only $10! You won’t know what is coming your way, but that is why it is called a surprise! I have some money credited to my account from making returns from previous ModCloth purchases that I am going to put towards my Stylish Surprise purchases this time around. I took a peek at their sale items and found some great pieces I’d love to get in my surprise. You can buy all of these items now at the sale price, or wait to see if you get anything like them in your Stylish Surprise! Order quickly, because these usually go fast!


Journey to the Center of the Mirth Flat – $24.99

Retail Price: $49.99
You Save: $25.00

 

Carnival You Need Top in Confetti – $27.99

Retail Price: $39.99
You Save: $12.00

 

 


Sending My Fest Wishes Dress – $27.99

Retail Price: $69.99
You Save: $42.00

 

Clambake My Day Dress – $25.99
Retail Price: $64.99
You Save: $39.00

 

 

 

You Know the Espadrille Wedge in Mint – $34.99

Retail Price: $49.99
You Save: $15.00

 

 

Put the Gears in Ocean Travel Bottle – $14.99
Retail Price: $29.99
You Save: $15.00

 

 


Party Setup Squad Dress – $21.99

Retail Price: $54.99
You Save: $33.00

 

 

Deal: Stylish Surprise from ModCloth
Start: 8/29 @ 12pm EST
End: While Supplies Last

Until next time.

I love you more than summer end sales and surprises in the mail,

Whitney

 

Make My Students Smile by Setting up AmazonSmile

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It is almost time to head back to school for teachers in Oregon! In fact, this is my last week of summer and my school has already had our Open House.  I got to meet most of my students and their parents. I am very excited for the new school year to begin! Last year I started my teaching position after the year had already started so I feel much more prepared this time around.  I spent a lot of time working on school wide policies, researching and ordering curriculum over the summer so I am anxious to see everything I have been working on in action! Also, we have doubled our enrollment in grades K-8 from last year!

Since we are a growing low-cost private school we do not have all the funds we need to buy all the books and supplies I’d like the students to have. We are starting a new literature curriculum this year and need to buy class sets of classic books like, Charlotte’s Web, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Island of the Blue DolphinsLittle House in the Big Woods and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. We also need to purchase science equipment like dissecting kits and scientific calculators for our pre-algebra students. Not to mention, we are working on raising money to buy a modular unit for our 6th-8th graders to use next year since we are out of classroom space.

We have a lot of fundraising to do. This is where you come in. My favorite online retailer, amazon.com, has started a fundraising program called AmazonSmile. My school is set up to receive donations from this program and we need you to help us raise some money. It is very easy for you to help, and it doesn’t you any extra when you are making purchases on Amazon. All you need to do is link your Amazon account with AmazonSmile for my school, Cascade View Christian School. Then shop Amazon like you normally would and a bit of every eligible purchase you make will come to our school. This is a private and easy way to help our school stay affordable (we charge $2,000 per year, not per month, for students to get a private Christian education and have provided over $6,000 in scholarships this year) and help us create well-rounded students.

To find out more about how to set up AmazonSmile check out this How To link from Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/aw/ch/about

I know all of the faculty at my school and I really would appreciate the support! We want to make the education a student receives at Cascade View Christian School one that will provide a lifetime of love for learning and a foundation for them to build a successful, faith-filled life on.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I would love to acknowledge your support if you choose to set up AmazonSmile for Cascade View Christian School, so let me know in the comments!

Until Next Time,

I love you more than a new school year and dissecting things without fear,

Whitney

Stitch Fix Review August 2016

~This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link on my blog and purchase something from that site I will be compensated.~

I have been slacking with my blog this month because I have actually been outside, enjoying summer. I even have a tan line on my back.Yep, just one, but it is there! Since I have been neglecting my blog I was excited to find my favorite cardboard box on my front porch to motivate me to get blogging! My August Stitch Fix had arrived! This month I asked my stylist, Jason, to send me his summer and fall favorites and a larger, tote sized bag. He sent some great stuff but it was a lot more fall and a lot less summer. I guess I need to get my head out of the clouds and realize summer is almost over. Nothing like a Stitch Fix reality check to help a girl out.

If you have read this far and are asking yourself, “What in the heck is Stitch Fix?!” check out my July 2015 post to read all about this amazing styling service that I am a wee bit crazy about.

Without further ado let’s look inside this beautiful burrito and see what Jason sent!

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Jason always writes such detailed notes!

  1. 41Hawthorn Kassidy Faux Wrap Dress-Purple, Size Large, $68.00

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I am starting with this little beaut because I pinned it not knowing it had a belt. I pulled it out and loved the color, but was convinced it would not be flattering on me, as most dresses with belts never hit me in the right spot, #shorttorsoproblems . Then I tried it on and never wanted to take it off because it is AWESOME. Not to mention it is super flattering. Ladies, I am not wearing any shapewear under it and I am close to my heaviest weight right now.This is the dress Stitch Fix dreams are made of. It is a fun, bright color and can be worn in the summer without a cardigan or blazer but looks super cute with all kinds of outwear over it too.   I mean did you see how many pieces of outerwear I had in my closet that looked good with it? Scroll back up and check it out. The print is light grey so that made it easy for me to match it with a jean jacket, light blue blazer from my March Stitch Fix, black blazer and my light grey grandpa sweater (I think it is technically a boyfriend sweater, but it reminds me more of a grandpa so just go with it.) It also looks good with flats, sandals, wedges, heels or boots! You better believe I’m going to be wearing this on the first day of school this year and requesting more dresses like this in the future. Keeper for sure.

2. Laila Jayde Busby Cowl Neck Zipper Detail Knit Top-Dark Purple, Size Large, $58

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This is where my Fix gets tricky. This shirt is a gorgeous color. It is called “Dark Purple” but I’d say its more burgundy with purple undertones. It has an interesting zipper detail and fun seaming on the front. It is long enough to wear with leggings. It is extremely soft and comfortable. And it is made in the U.S.A. But I feel like I might look like a sausage in it. It is tighter than I usually like, and I have never really been a fan of cowl necks. All that loose fabric… I am also worried I would only wear this with leggings to lounge around the house. So I challenged myself to style it for work. I tried it with a pencil skirt like the style card suggests and with the comfiest pants ever, Pixie Pants from Old Navy (the ones I am wearing are on sale right now). I think both outfits are cute and something I would wear to work. My only problem is, the fabric on the sweater is thin enough that the button and belts loops on the pants show through. I really do not like that. So, I’d need some pull on pants that aren’t leggings to wear with this to make it work appropriate. Ultimately, there were too many questions about this one so I sold it to someone else that will probably get more use out of it than I will.

3. Le Lis Thurman One Pocket Top-Black, Size Large, $58

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This shirt is a toss up for me too. I am so glad Jason sized up in this because it is the teeny tiniest bit snug in the shoulders. This is most often the case with button ups. I have to get them big to fit my shoulders, but then they are too loose or boxy everywhere else. I thought this was going to be the case with this one when I tried it on. But it is 100% cotton and as I wore it to take these pictures it started to feel more comfortable until I finally didn’t notice the shoulders pulling at all! As for the boxy silhouette, I think the two prints hit me at just the right spot to pull me in at the waist a bit. In these pictures it looks super flattering! I kept imagining this with a cargo vest and boots at the pumpkin patch (insert heart eyes emojis here). I don’t have a cargo vest so I settled for the skinnies sent in this fix (more on those next!) I decided to keep this shirt as I can wear it to work, fall outings and Oregon State football games.

4. Pistola Audrey Moto Detail Skinny Pant-Olive, Size 10, $88

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I have had pants just like this pinned on my Pinterest board since I started with Stitch Fix. When I pulled these out of the box I may have squealed with glee. When I put them on I began to wonder if they were too short. Pants that are too short are the story of my life. I have spent years buying dresses and skirts just to avoid the dreaded “high-water” look. But people, these pants are gorgeous. The moto detail makes them super fun and like nothing I have ever owned and the color is perfect for fall. They fit me great too, no muffin top here! I styled them with the Le Lis top from above and this bright orange split back top from Old Navy since the style card showed them with orange. I loved both looks. But the length; I am still agonizing over it. I posted a picture in the Stitch Fix Buy, Sell, Trade group on Facebook and asked for feedback. It was split down the middle on whether the pants were too short, or supposed to look like that. I googled olive skinnies to see if I could find anything else out there like these. The closest I got was some leggings on the Nordstrom website. I tried them with sandals and booties to see which looked better. I was torn about these pants. I knew they’d be adorable with tall boots, but wanted them to be more versatile than that. Ultimately I decided to keep them because they were too cute to send back. Having a $50 gift card helped in making this decision.

Side note: The jewelry I am wearing above is from Rocksbox, a jewelry rental subscription service. Use my code whitneybff162 at checkout to get your first month free! You won’t regret getting pretty jewels to wear for as long as you like and then being able to return them to get a new set of three pieces for only $19 bucks a month.

5. Street Level Sabine Suede Zip Top Crossbody-Burgundy 

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Along time ago, at the top of this post, I said I mentioned to my stylist that I needed a tote size bag for the fall. I had this purse on my Pinterest board because I saw the Stitch Fix App picture above and thought it looked large enough for me needs (kindle, phone, wallet, gum, lipgloss, ibuprofen, etc.) Turns out it is smaller than I need. But it is very cute! The front is suede and the back is faux leather, so it is like you are getting two purses for the price of one! Plus the skinny double straps make it comfortable to wear. See it pictured above with the moto skinnies and the Le Lis top. I sold this to another Fixer so now I can keep all of the other items and get the discount. Plus, I won a $50 gift card from Stitch Fix for taking photos of my summer adventures. You can check them out on my instagram @whitksmith. The winning photo includes my sister’s sweet little dog.

So this fix was a tough one for me. I kept everything, but sold two pieces to get the discount on the three items I really wanted. I am already planning my note for my next fix! Thanks for reading and please share your thoughts about the clothes in the comments!
Until Next Time,

I love you more than the summer’s end and fall fashion trends,

Whitney

Check out some my other Stitch Fix Reviews too!

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

 

July 2016 Book Banter

My summer reading is in full swing and this month I tackled some big books! During the summer I usually have more time for reading so I follow some self imposed guidelines to make sure I read a variety of books. I like to read at least one nonfiction book or one memoir, one classic and one children’s literature book per month during the summer. I tend to go overboard on the historical fiction so this helps keep me balanced.

So let’s see what I read this month!

1. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg 

3980 (1)This was a favorite of mine when I first read it in fourth grade. I haven’t revisited it in over 15 years so I was excited to see if it was as I remembered it. The story revolves around a young brother and sister who run away from home and live in the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. As a 9 year old that sounded like the coolest thing you could do! As an adult the premise was still fun and appealing. The story itself is not my favorite, as I tend to like my children’s literature to give me an emotional reaction. But, I would still recommend this to kids today because it will get them thinking about how much money is costs to buy the things people need in order to survive and it will remind them of all the things their parents provide them. And did I mention the characters get to live inside a museum? Pretty awesome. I was glad I reread this as it was a fun read that took me back to my childhood.

2. The Residence: Inside the Private World of White House by Kate Andersen Brower

This was my nonfiction pick this month. I am a lover of history and firmly believe that it is often the people behind the scenes that 22693222 (1)help make good stories great and the people that tell the story in this case do just that. This book highlights the stories of the people that keep the White House running and their view into our country’s history gives readers a glimpse into a world unknown by most Americans. Many of these chefs, butlers and maids have worked through multiple administrations and are privy to very private details of the most powerful family in the world. Their stories are funny, shocking, heart-wrenching and heart-warming. The amount of history these individuals have witnessed is astounding. At times it felt like I was reading the script for a prime-time political drama and getting to feel like an insider was exciting. I  recommend this to anyone that enjoys learning about how the lives of normal, every day people collide with the powerful. Or pick it up if you think you might like getting the inside scoop on our former (and current) president. I enjoyed this book immensely.

3. The Master Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg 

23485372 (1)This is the third book in the Paper Magician series I first came across as a free kindle download. The series follows a magician named Ceony as she learns to become a paper magician (she used paper for all of her spells). In this book Ceony is preparing to take the exam to become a certified magician. She is also dealing with some unfinished business from book 2. I have had this book downloaded on my kindle since it came out, but hadn’t brought myself to read it until now because I often don’t like the way a series ends. This book was entertaining and a very quick read, but was not as good as the first two books. It was lacking exciting adventures and was a little scattered for my taste. It felt more like a super fluffy happy ending to a unique and interesting story than a stand alone book. But, as I mentioned earlier, this is how I usually feel after reading the end of a series so I wasn’t surprised. I would still recommend this series to people who love stories with magic in them. Just don’t be surprised when the ending is not as great as the beginning.

4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 

This book is a well known classic but has never been high on my to-read list. I really have 93050no idea how that is possible since I have been a little obsessed with late 19th and early 20th century Russia since I was little. I decided to pick this up after a friend shared this book list. I have only read about 41 of the books on the list and hadn’t even heard of some of them! I have decided I will read a book from each letter of the alphabet until the list is read. I estimate it could take me 40 years to finish it haha. So for my “a” pick I chose Anna Karenina. For the most part this book was excellent. It was written about different people that run in the same circles. I did not like reading the parts that were written about Anna. When I had finished the book I felt like that was an ok way to feel about her. Her character is unsettling and she was obviously mentally ill. Tolstoy’s insight into the politics of the time are amazing and his intimate knowledge with things like childbirth and breast feeding were surprising. I wrote down so many quotes and felt like the conversations in the book were echoes of conversations I am having today, especially the conversations on education. In my opinion, this book is about living a fulfilled life, the intellectual struggles that should come along with that and how faith and belief play a huge part in your success in being fulfilled. It was a beautiful book.

5. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

13508607People have been recommending this author to me for quite a while now. I decided to start with this book because I had heard the most positive feedback about it. This book is told in the present day and through flashbacks, and I am a sucker for books where past events inform the present happenings. In this story a woman realizes that her mother is dying and that she (the mother) has held a secret for her whole life. Before her mother passes away the main character wants to unravel the secrets of her family’s past. I must admit the main characters were not very likable at times, but the people around them were so endearing I wanted to keep reading. The events set in the past happen during WWII, which made the book feel a little glamorous. The ending was actually surprising to me and explained why I could not reconcile some things about one of the characters while reading about her past and present stories. This book was entertaining, but it will not stick with me.

6. Blowing on Dandelions by Miralee Ferrell

This book was one of the kindle first picks I get for free for being an Amazon Prime 18039343member. The reason I picked it was it was listed under historical fiction and it is set in Oregon. I would say this book it waaaaaaay more romance than it is historical fiction. It is set in a boarding house, which was the most interesting part. It makes it possible for very different and interesting personalities to be under one roof. I felt like this was not explored to its fullest potential and it left me wanting more. I liked the characters and there were some good lessons learned. I know this is the first book in a series, but I felt like the cliff-hangers were too big to make me feel satisfied when I finished reading. I like all of my books to stand alone, even if they are part of a series. I feel like the author has some great ideas, they just need to be more flushed out. I probably won’t read another book in the series unless further down the road the stories become more substantial and the writing improves. This is a pretty typical reaction for me with first novels. Writing, like most professions, often gets easier and better over time.

7. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett 

7315573Here is the winner of my favorite historical fiction book this month. This is the first book in the Follett “Century Trilogy” and the century it is referring to is my favorite, the twentieth century. This book starts with my favorite conflict of the twentieth century, WWI. It follows the stories of characters spread out across Russia, Germany, The British empire and the United States. The characters also span all ranges of the spectrum of wealth; from miners to the landed elite, Russian gangsters to presidential advisers and so on. They also have a wide range of political beliefs representative of the times. I listened to this on audible and highly recommend you do this. Not only is this book almost 1000 pages which makes for a great reason to get in on audible, the characters come from various parts of the world and the reader does amazing accents! Follett’s books are always well researched and the characters he uses that are real historical figures are always written in a very true way. The characters he creates are so interesting and realistic. Being able to get a look at WWI through the eyes of people from all different walks of life had me wanting to keep reading (listening) as often as I could. Reading it as a companion to Anna Karenina furthered my interest. Disclaimer: there is a lot of adult content in this book. If I had been reading a physical copy of this book I probably would have skipped over some of the racier scenes. But other than that, I would highly recommend this book. It is not as good as my favorite Follett book, Pillars of the Earth, but it is engaging, you can learn a lot and you find yourself endeared towards characters that you may never identify with in real life. I am so excited it is part of a trilogy. Bring on another 1000 pages!

I was very happy with the reading I got done during the month of July. I have some great books slated for August and I am going to try finish out my summer reading with more strong picks, but also a few lighter “beach reads.”

What have you been reading this summer? Do any of these strike your fancy? Have you read them before?

Until next time,

I love you more than Russian history and family mysteries,

Whitney