Stitch Fix Review January 2017


~This post contains affiliaite links. I will earn a small commission if you sign up for Stitch Fix through my blog.

My January Stitch Fix arrived during a cold spell here in Oregon and was just the thing I needed to brighten up my day. In case you don’t know, Stitch Fix is my fashion subscription box obsession. They send 5 clothing pieces and/or accessories that have been curated by your personal stylist according to your style profile and requests. Then you have 3 days to try the clothes on in your house before deciding what to keep and what to send back in the prepaid bag they send you. Shipping is free both ways, you just pay a $20 styling fee that becomes a credit towards anything you purchase. If you keep everything you get 25% off.

I have had the same stylist, Jason, for a year and a half now and I am always impressed by what he sends. You can request to keep your stylist by emailing hello@stitchfix.com. So if you find a stylist that seems to get your style, definitely request to keep them. The longer they style you the better your fixes are. Sometimes it can take a few months of trial and error to find the right stylist for you. Give it time, it is worth it.

This month I asked Jason to send me a fix full of accessories and a blouse option for the amazing red pants he sent me last month. I wanted a budget friendly fix because with the holidays still in the rear view mirror I didn’t need to add any major pieces to my closet. Of course, Jason kept my requests in mind and sent a great fix.

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1. Fun2Fun Walden Split Neck Blouse-Dark Grey, Medium, $44

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The color of this shirt is gorgeous. It is grey, but it has a blue tone to it that I love. I liked the subtle print and the rounded hem. The neckline was also a highlight because it has the cute split detail, but was not too low cut. Jason sent this to wear with my red pants, as requested, and I like the result more than I thought I would. The problem with this shirt is that it is completely sheer. Finding a camisole that was short enough to wear with the shirt without having to tuck it in was a huge problem. As much as I liked this shirt, I just could not spend $44 on a sheer shirt. If you want to request this one, you might want to size up because it does not have any stretch to it and the Medium was a little snug. Sadly, I sent this back.

2. 41Hawthorn Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan-Jewel Tone Purple, M, $48

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Let me just start by saying that this cardigan is the most amazing color. I love it. It is also very soft and light weight. The draped front is slimming and is my favorite cardigan style because it looks good as is, or tied in the front. For me to add a cardigan to my closet it has to pass a test, it must match at least 3 dresses and 3 shirts I already have. I was nervous this cardigan would not pass the test. Surprisingly, it matched so many things! My favorite and most unexpected combo was when I paired it with my bright orange dress. I loved the result of this bold color combo. I’m pretty sure this orange is one of the Pantone colors for spring so it is good to know it looks so great with this jewel tone purple. As much as I loved this cardigan I did not keep it. Like Jason mentioned in his note  have this cardigan in another  color and it did not hold up for as long as I would have liked as it pilled after a few wears. I let Stitch Fix know that the quality was the only reason I did not keep it and told Jason to send me more pieces in this color.

3. Octavia Palermo Stitch Detail Clutch-Teal Green, $38

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I had quite a few clutches pinned on my Pinterest page and was so happy Jason sent one for me to try! I love that the braided detail and fringe. As you can see it also has a crossbody strap that is easily tucked inside. It is also a fairly good size. I love, love, love the look of this clutch. The only problem is, I did not love the color. It was just too dark and dusty looking for me. I think if it had been a brighter color or a neutral I would have kept this in a heartbeat. If this clutch came in the color of that cardigan above I would be in heaven. I am thinking of asking Jason to send this in another color when it is available.

4. Bay to Baubles Kenny Fringe Pendant-Silver, $28

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I love pendant necklaces and have been slowly growing my collection of them. I did not have a silver pendant and have been desperately wanting one. This one was just what I was looking for. I love the fringe look, but without the problem of tangling a lot of fringe necklaces have. The hammered metal look adds a little dimension to the necklace that just put it over the top for me. You will probably be seeing a lot of this in the future because it is easy to wear with a variety of outfits. Obviously I kept this necklace.

5. Bay to Baubles Gracie Geo Stud Set-Grey, $28

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These earrings were very cute and the sheen reminded me of opals. I actually liked the idea of wearing a square on one ear and a triangle on the other. These earrings aren’t too big, so you could wear them with a lot of different outfits. Ultimately, I did not need two pairs off earrings that were so similar so I sent them back.

Fix #27 is in the books and even though I only kept the necklace I was really happy with this fix and my wallet is even happier. If you haven’t tried Stitch Fix I recommend you sing up today! With women’s, men’s, petites, maternity and plus size on the way Stitch Fix will exceed your fashion expectations. Special thanks to my husband for taking these pictures in the 29 degree weather.

Until next time,

I love you more than jewel tone purple and fringey fun,

Whitney

Check out my other Stitch Fix Reviews below:

December 2016

Stitch Fix Year in Review

November 2016

Fixing and Remixing

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

 

ModCloth Winter Clearance Sale

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

If you have been following my blog for awhile now you know I love ModCloth. Over the last year I have been adding ModCloth pieces to my wardrobe and they are among my most worn pieces! If you too have a ModCloth obsession, or you have some Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket (me! me!) you are in luck! Starting today you can get Up to 70% Off Clearance Sale at ModCloth (1/9 through 1/16).

That is right, ModCloth’s kicking off 2017 with their biggest sale of the season! Right now, you can nab 1,000s of the separates, dresses, accessories, decor, and other finds you love for up to 70% off. That’s right, up to 70%! Hurry and shop standout styles before they disappear forever!

Here are some of the fab things you can find:

English Garden Getaway Dress

Isn’t this a showstopper? It makes me want to put on an over-sized hat and have a cozy tea party by a fire while winter is underway outside.


Willamette for the Weekend Scarf in Berry

As a Willamette Valley dweller, a scarf with a name (and colors) like that might just have to make its way into my closet!


Giddy City Top in Polka Dots

Black and white polka dots and a peplum!?!? Sign me up!


City Adventure Velvet Leggings in Black

Surprise! Velvet is back in style. These leggings look comfortable and can easily elevate your outfit. Plus, as an elementary teacher, I know the soft velvet would be kid approved. They love to pet your leg, especially if it has soft fabric on it.


Sleek, Chic, and Totally Unique Blazer in Garnet

I love the cut of this blazer and know it would be super flattering on my short waist and round tummy. I love the idea of throwing it on over navy for a classic color combo that packs a punch. This comes in other colors as well.


Anywhere You Tango T-Strap Heel in Cream

I have been bootie obsessed lately so while browsing the sale section I was looking for something out of my comfort zone. These cuties called to me! They are feminine and would look adorable with tights, a dress and a cardigan (or that blazer above!).


Picturesque Planning 2017 Coloring Calendar

I haven’t been able to keep focused long enough to finish a coloring page from an “adult” coloring book yet, but this calendar looks like many hours of fun!


Beyond the Grove Shower Curtain in Winter Birch

Yes ModCloth carries decor for your home! I have had my eye on this shower curtain for awhile. It is neutral, but packs a punch.

I could seriously keep posting pictures of the pretty things on sale all day long, but I’m going to let you discover the other hidden gems on your own. Just click through any of the links above to be taken to the sale and shop to your hearts content.

Until next time,

I love you more than saddle shoes and  blazer in rouge,

Whitney

On Fresh Starts

So many people look to the beginning of a new year as a way to start anew. We see another chance to eat healthier, to exercise more, to work towards a new promotion or to just be happier. When the clock strikes midnight to ring in the New Year we kiss and celebrate the chance for a fresh start. When the confetti has settled we are ready to vigorously attack the new year.

But then life happens. Hard things get in the way of good intentions. I know quite a few people that have had a rough start to 2017. Families have been torn apart with grief for lost loved ones. Accidents have left families without the income they need to scrape by. Bureaucratic systems put in place to do good, actually hinder the ability of the greatest good to be done. Many people have been left feeling out of control during a time when they expected to be conquering all of their resolutions. To-do lists have been cast aside to gather dust, while they try to just make it through the day. So much for a fresh start.

Each day this week my heart has been broken for someone that has had their faith in the fresh start promises of a new year broken. Each night I have gone to bed with more people to pray for. But each morning I have woken with a new hope. I have hope that as time goes on people will be able to let go of their grief and grip onto happiness. That for every bad thing that happens, there are two smiles that alleviate the sorrow or stress.

I hope that people will remember that when the sun sets, and darkness envelops them, each sunrise has a promise for a fresh start wrapped in it; we just need to remember it is there and grasp it. Fresh starts are not just for a new year, but for every new day as well.

This year will be full of happiness and heartbreak, feast and famine. It will be full of laughter and loss. And while it is hard to remember the sweet when we are surrounded with the bitter we get many new chances to find a kernel of hope in every situation, every new day. As Shauna Niequist says, “When life is sweet say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter say thank you, and grow.”

I plan to live life like this this year. I want to document a moment of happiness every day. I want to remember to start each day with a fresh outlook because the beginning of a new year is not the only time when we can start over. We can choose to do that at ANYTIME. I know there will be days when the weight of the challenges I am facing will  overtake me and happiness will be the last thing on my mind. But that is ok, because the sun will rise again and I will be granted another chance to smile. I want to fill 2017 with so much hope my heart might burst.

Here are some of my happiest moments from a week full of disappointments:

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Go Pack Go!

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Moses holding his staff & the 10 Commandments -as made by a student

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A delightful poem written by a student just because (not an assignment)

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My first read of 2017 and Tom Riddle

In the wise words of Albus Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” In 2017 I hope you remember to turn on the light to a fresh start each and every day.

Until next time,

I love you more than sunsets on bad days and sunrises with fresh rays,

Whitney

Top Ten Reads of 2016

For the last four years I have been keeping track of all of the books I read on goodreads.com. Not only can you create a shelf for the books you want to read and have read, you can also set a reading goal as part of the Goodreads Reading Challenge. I like to have a reading goal to work toward and never cease to surprise myself with how much I read.

In 2016 my goal was to read 74 books and I managed to read 82 for a total of 30, 086 pages. The shortest book I read was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K.Rowling (59 pages). The Longest book I read was Fall of Giants by Ken Follet (985 pages). My average book length was 367 pages. I listened to 9 audiobooks and a 3 of them are in my top ten of the year. I read the most books in December (10). The fewest number of books I read in one month was 5 and I did that in 4 months (February, March, June and November).

I love stats! I also love to look back on what I read an pick my favorites of the year. I read a lot of excellent books this year. I rated 25 books 5/5 stars! From those 25 I picked my top ten to share with you here. These are the books that have stuck with me all year long. They kept me interested and revealed nuggets of truth, beauty and goodness. I will link my original Book Banter post with each book so you can read the fresh takes I had on these books as well. You can also click the book titles to purchase the books to add to your own “To Read 2017” book-list. Just remember, I get a small commission from every purchase to help quench my thirst for reading. Thanks for your continued support of my blog!

Let’s countdown my ten favorite books of 2016!

10. Greenglass House by Kate Milford (originally read December 2016)

Greenglass House (Greenglass House, #1)Even though I just finished this book, I know it will stand the test of time. The combination of a mystery, snow and an endearing main character this book had a lot of charm and a few life lessons. I love how the author weaves adoption into the narrative naturally. I have a few adopted family members and friends and know that it can be a tough topic for some. This book doesn’t disregard that, but allows for it to be discussed. By no means is adoption the main focus, but it was what pushed this book into my favorites pile. I am so glad I read this book!

9. On Hallowed Ground by Robert M. Poole (originally read April 2016)

On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National CemeteryThis book is all about the history of Arlington National Cemetery. I was lucky enough to visit Arlington when I was in 8th grade and after reading this book I definitely want to go back. I loved learning about how Arlington belonged to Robert. E Lee at the start of the Civil War, but was used by the Union Army throughout the Civil War. The story of how the cemetery came to be and the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier makes my American heart swell with pride. If you love U.S. History I recommend this book.

8. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S Lewis (originally read April 2016)

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia, #3)I have read this book many times before, but it remains one of my favorites of the Chronicles on Narnia. There is just something about a nautical adventure that I love. Also, the characters in this book are exemplary. They make mistakes, but learn that being virtuous is what we should all strive for. Plus a valiant mouse named Reepicheep steals the show and teaches so many good lessons along the way. I read this with my students which makes this book even more special.

 

7. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot (originally read August 2016)

All Creatures Great and SmallWhen I was younger I fell in love with the stories of James Herriot and even toyed with the idea of becoming a vet(that didn’t last when I realized how sad I’d be to tell people their pets did not make it). I believe I had the picture book made for children and I could have watched a few episodes of the show. I am not really sure. I am sure that this book was fantastic. The stories about the relationships Herriot had with his animal patients and their human owners were engaging and endearing. I am so glad I decided to read the grown-up version of a childhood favorite.

6. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler (originally read December 2016)

Darkness at NoonWell if creep factor was the only thing I considered when picking my 2016 favorites this one would be number one. This look at totalitarianism and how the leaders of a movement can find themselves at the bottom of the barrel was eye opening. It had so many places I wanted to highlight and mark up, but I borrowed it from the library so I decided against  it, even though someone before me has used a pencil to faintly underline some very interesting nuggets. Even though this book frightened me, it is so worth reading, and in my opinion necessary.

5. Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières (originally read October 2016)

Corelli's MandolinI had never heard of this book before I saw it on this book list of 200 superb books everyone should read. This book deserves to be on the list. It is about what happens to a small Greek town, and the people in it, under Italian and Nazi occupation during World War II. It took me awhile to get into this book, but the slow beginning was so worth it. This book was both gut-wrenching and heart-warming. The characters were so well written and I really came to love them. This book probably wins the award for “Most Tears Shed by the Reader” but every tear was well earned by the author. Historical Fiction in one of my favorite genres and this is now high on my list of Historical Fiction favorites.

4. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (originally read March 2016)

A Man Called OveThis is the book I like to compare to Disney Pixar’s Up. The story centers around an elderly gentleman that has lost his wife. His life just doesn’t seem worth living without her. He plans his suicide but it keeps getting interrupted by the people in his neighborhood. Slowly, Ove finds himself in the middle of his neighborhood drama and he doesn’t hate it. I loved how this story focused on living a connected life. It definitely was the runner-up for “Most Tears Shed by the Reader” and I cannot get over how good it was. Grumpy old men for the win.

3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (originally read Sept. 2016)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)That “originally read” date is a little misleading, I originally read this when it came out back in 1999. Since then I have read it probably upwards of 6 times. I think it is pretty impressive that a book I have read so many times can still make it into the #3 spot on my favorites of the year list. It had been a few years since I read this book and I was surprised by how emotional some of the passages made me. If you are not familiar with this story I highly recommend it. It is all about bravery, friendship and love in the face of evil. So. Good.

2. The Green Mile by Stephen King (originally read August 2016)

The Green MileMy mom has been telling me to read this book for years. I had never read anything by Stephen King, nor had I seen the movie based on this book. But after years of hearing about how good this story is I finally bit the bullet and read it. It surpassed my expectations. I was utterly captivated by the story of a few prison guards and their prisoners. There is an element of the supernatural I was not expecting, but the characters remained so human that it fit perfectly with the story. This is a beautiful story that is definitely worth reading.

 

1. Dracula by Bram Stoker (originally read October 2016)

DraculaObsession is the first word that comes to mind when I think of this book. Not only are the characters in the book obsessed (rightly) with getting rid of Dracula, but I am obsessed with this classic. I could not put this down. I never imagined that a very old book about a vampire would be my favorite of the year, let alone one of the best page turners I have ever read. The way Stoker writes his female characters was excellent. I have never read another classic that portrayed traditional femininity in quite the same way. Every time I go into a bookstore I look at their copies of Dracula to find a cover I really like to add to my collection. If you have not read Dracula, do it, it is especially creepy around Halloween (that is when I read it).

Honorable mentions: Anna Kerenina, A Hobbit, A Wardrone and a Great War, The Killer Angels

In 2017 my goal is to read 75 books, which is an average of 6 books per month. Even though I was able to read more books than that this year I have a feeling 2017 might get pretty busy with new ventures on the horizon so I wanted to create a goal that is higher than last year, but low enough to be attainable. I also want to “read my shelves” as much as I can. I have so many books on my shelves that I haven’t read that are calling me (can you say To Kill a Mockingbird?) I also like to participate in this reading challenge from my favorite book blogger.

What were your favorite books of the year? What are your reading goals for 2017? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

I love you more than vampire creeps and book induced weeps,

Whitney

December 2016 Book Banter: Part 2

Curling up with a good book by the fire has been one of my favorite pastimes this month. in December I managed to read 10 books while eating countless cookies and drinking my new favorite tea. Since I read a lot of great books I had to split my Book Banter post into two parts. Read Part 1 here and see the first five books I read this month.

Without further ado here is Part 2:

6. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick 

The Curious Charms of Arthur PepperThis book was recommended on one of my favorite Podcasts, What Should I Read Next , for people who loved A Man Called Ove (and love that book I did). Before I tell you about the story can we just appreciate the title for a minute? So good. Ok back to the book, this book is about Arthur Pepper whose wife has been dead for a year. He gets up every morning and does the same things day in and day out. He is sad and lonely. When cleaning out his wife’s closet he comes across a charm bracelet he has never seen. On one of the charms he finds a phone number and that is where his adventure starts. Arthur goes on a journey to discover some of his wife’s secrets, but along the way he learns a lot about himself. This was a delightful read. It is not as emotionally riveting as A Man Called Ove, but it does have a lot of humanity to it. I really enjoyed this and read it rather quickly. Hooray for books about old men being a thing!

7. The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
The Magnolia StoryWell for those of you who are not HGTV fans the names Chip and Joanna Gaines will mean very little to you. For Fixer Upper binge watchers you know and probably love these two. Anthony bought me this book for our anniversary because not only do I like the show Fixer Upper, but I like what Chip and Joanna stand for. Their faith is strong and guides how they live their lives. They are not ashamed of it and do not try to hide it for the TV cameras. In a world full of social media and very different opinions, putting your beliefs out there for everyone to criticize is scary, but they do it with such grace. This book tells the story of how their businesses came to be. It talks about the good times, and the bad times, and how they never gave up. It talks about their marriage and how in different seasons, they fill different roles for each other. I book darted (if you don’t know what it means click the link, you will thank me) so many passages in this book. It was full of wisdom and things I want to revisit. I loved reading this book, it felt like reading about a friend. It made me feel like anything is possible.

8. The One- in-a Million Boy by Monica Wood 

The One-in-a-Million BoyFirst of all, you need to buy this book because the cover is so pretty, especially if you ROYGBIV your bookshelves. It will make your shelves look happier with its cheery red color. Then once you have purchased it, you should read it. It is good. This is the story of how a man becomes a father after his only son has died. Really. It is also the story of finding friendship in the most unexpected places. It is about World Records and trying to break them. It is about love and loss and lost love. I had heard a ton of hype about this being “The best book of 2016” so I think my expectations were a little high, but I really did enjoy it. The characters are vibrant and fun. Even with the loss of a child as the backdrop for the story, it remains uplifting and is not a total downer. I didn’t even cry until the very end! While this is not my favorite book of 2016 I could see why so many people claim it as their favorite.

9. Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis  

Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy, #1)This is the first book in the Space Trilogy series written by Lewis. I bought the series for my husband for our anniversary and after he finished the first book he asked me to read it too. This story follows Ransom, an Englishman that is kidnapped and taken to Malacandra, or as we know it Mars. While this is not nearly as exciting as Lewis’ Narnia series (in my opinion) the way Lewis writes dialogue and descriptions of landscapes are some of the best I have read. Ransom’s time on Malacandra is not full of adventure (there is some) but is full of observation and learning. This book is slow to start and given that it isn’t long at all, I was well over halfway through the book before I decided I liked it. There is a lot of philosophy packed in at the end so I found myself really savoring it. Usually I rush through the end of a book to discover what happens, so this was new for me. I think Anthony liked it more than I did, but I still enjoyed it.

10. Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Greenglass House (Greenglass House, #1)I picked this book up on a whim when I read it is set in an Inn during the holiday season. This book it written for pre-teen audiences and I have no doubt they will enjoy it, but I LOVED it too. The main character is a boy named Milo who lives in the Greenglass House, an inn frequented by smugglers, with his (adoptive) parents. He is just getting ready to settle down for a great Christmas vacation, a time when the inn is usually vacant, when all of the sudden a guest appears. But not only one person has come to stay, the cast of characters keeps getting larger and things start being taken from the guests’ rooms. Everything that is taken is in some way linked to the mysterious history of the inn. Of course, Milo and his new friend Meddy set out to find out who is snooping around the house and why. This is a fun mystery, it is not scary and no little description I can give this book will do it justice. The author works Milo’s musings about his birth family in a really unique and interesting way. There is a lot of love and fun in this book and I am already looking forward to the day I can read this with my own kids.

I read a lot of great books this month. I mean when your library holds come in all at once, you know it is going to be a good stretch of reading time. Have you read any of these? What did you read this month?

Until next time,

I love you more than old man adventures and middle grade mysteries,

Whitney

December 2016 Book Banter: Part 1

How is it already time for my last Book Banter post of 2016?! This month (and my Christmas vacation) certainly flew by. It may have felt faster than normal because my nose was apparently stuck in a book for much of the month. I blame it on the snow, but I am still surprised I read 10 books this month! Since I read so many titles I will be posting in two parts. So get ready for a lot of book talk, because I still need to countdown my favorites of the year too! As always, the books appear in the order I read them. Each title will be linked for your buying pleasure, just note I may receive a small commission from any purchase you make!

1. A Wardrobe, A Hobbit and a Great War by Joseph Loconte 
A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18This book was excellent. I mean, who doesn’t want to read about how the Great War influenced some of the best writers of the twentieth century?  Ok, probably not everyone, but I certainly do. If you know me, you know I am a bit obsessed with WWI. I took every class I could about it college and continue to read about it often. In fact, I have actually read a few of the books cited as sources for this one. Can anyone say #nerdalert?  With WWI as the backdrop for this nonfiction read, I knew I would enjoy it. Add in C.S. Lewis (who I read more of later this month) and J.R.R Tolkein (who wrote my beloved The Hobbit-still have not read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, awful I know) and this book was practically written for me. I loved it. I could not put it down and even made my husband wait in the car with me, before going in to a party, so I could finish my chapter. This thing is so full of my highlights and notes, I am excited to go back and read them again.

2. The Tresspasser by Tana French

The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad, #6)I was on a veeerrrry long holds list to get my hands on the much anticipated sixth book in French’s Dublin Murder Squad series. I have read my way through the series in the past two years and enjoy the level of detail and character development these books have. Warning: these books contain graphic scenes and bad language, sensitive readers beware. This book follows a female detective with a chip on her shoulder, Detective Conway. Detective Conway is beginning to feel like it is time to move on from the murder squad and reckons that the straightforward lovers quarrel gone wrong she is handed will be her last case. But when the evidence doesn’t point in the right direction Conway decides this case is way more complicated than it appears. While I liked the plot twists and turns in this book I did not like Detective Conway. At times her character development felt forced, which I have not seen in many of French’s other books. I still enjoyed this book it dragged for me a bit and was one of my least favorites of the series.

3. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler 

Darkness at NoonI had never heard of this book and would have probably never picked it up if it had not been featured as part of a book list for a course on Totalitarianism being offered at Hillsdale College. I decided to read through the book list and follow along as Dr. Arnn and Hugh Hewitt discuss the books. You can listen here.  This book is about what happens when the regime you helped bring to power has no more use of you. In this book, Rubashov, who is fictional character who is based on real people in the socialist Soviet movement, finds himself arrested by the government he helped create. What follows is his interrogation and an internal struggle. Rubashov must determine if the ends justify the means. There is so much in this haunting novel that sheds light on what totalitarian regimes are capable of. It not only illuminates the horrors of the past, but allows the reader to see how the present suffers from the same ailments. There was a particularly disturbing scene in which Rubashov and a prisoner on the other side of the wall from his cell have a conversation by knocking back and forth about their definition of honor and the stark differences were horrifying to me. I highly recommend this book.

4. Colleen Coble Christmas Collection by Colleen Coble  

A Colleen Coble Christmas Collection: Silent Night, Holy Night, All Is Calm, All Is BrightI love a good romance around Christmas time and had been wanting to read something like Christmas in Good Hope which I read last year and really enjoyed. When I saw this on sale for kindle I grabbed it up. It contained four short stories all set around Christmas time, each with an element of mystery. Had I known they were suspenseful Christmas stories I probably wouldn’t have purchased them. I was wanting a fluffy, snowy romance, complete with a bakery owner who can’t seem to find the right guy. A couple of these short stories had just enough of that and I enjoyed them. I did not particularly like the one set in Hawaii because it was not Christmasy enough, but overall they satisfied my romance fix. I also enjoyed reading short stories and want to read more in the future.

 

5. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett 

CommonwealthThis is another book that I had to wait on the library holds list for quite awhile to get my hands on. I am making my way through Patchett’s work after reading Truth and Beauty falling in love with Bel Canto. This book is the story of two families that become one. It is one of those books that is really about nothing more than people. It reminded me of The Interestings and City on Fire, only I liked it better. There was just something about the characters that made this more compelling than the other stories I have read that are like it. They weren’t all likable, but they seemed real. The story is told from different points of view and an episode from the childhoods of the main characters drives the narrative. There were some very beautiful scenes that had me tearing up. If you like stories about the messiness of being human, that don’t have a ton of action or plot, but are full of characters you may relate to, this would be a good book to put on your “to read” list.

Those were the first five books I read in the month of December. Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments! Click here for December Book Banter: Part 2!

Until next time,

I love you more than books about the Great War and December books galore,

Whitney

Stitch Fix Review December 2016


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Merry Christmas! I am writing this blog post from the winter wonderland of Sunriver, OR. What a blessing it was to have my husband’s mom and step-dad and my parents here for our white Christmas. Last year Anthony and I got married right before Christmas because we love how magical the snow makes everything look. This year, to celebrate our first anniversary we each ordered a Stitch Fix box. We brought the boxes to the snow with us to have a fun snow-to shoot.

What is Stitch Fix you ask? According to stitchfix.com, “Stitch Fix is the first fashion retailer to blend expert styling, proprietary technology and unique product to deliver a shopping experience that is truly personalized for you. Simply fill out the Stitch Fix Style Profile and our personal stylists will handpick a selection of five clothing items and accessories unique to your taste, budget and lifestyle. You can buy what you like and return the rest (shipping is free both ways).”

I am completely obsessed with Stitch Fix, thanks to my stylist Jason, who always seems to hit it out of the park. Anthony has only had two fixes and his have been a little off the mark. So if that happens to you don’t worry, I have some tips and tricks to help you get your best fix!

1) Keep your style profile up to date. Stitch Fix is always adding new questions to the style profile. Be sure to look through your profile every few months to answer any new style questions. If you don’t want them to send you a certain color or type of clothing make sure to un-check it in your profile.

2) Write a note to your stylist each time you schedule a Fix. Do you have an event coming up? Let your stylist know about it so they can find you something special.

3) Leave feedback when you checkout. The more detail the better. If the armholes on that shirt were cut too small, or if you weren’t crazy about the pattern but loved the fit, put it in the feedback.

4) Link to a Pinterest style board and keep it updated! This is the absolute best way to really let your stylist know what looks you want to emulate.

5) If you get a stylist you like email hello@stitchfix.com and ask to keep them! The more fixes your stylist has to get to know you the better they will understand your style.

6) If you have questions, ask! Reach out to your favorite Stitch Fix bloggers or the customer service email above and ask! There are so many people out there that would love to talk about Stitch Fix!

I haven’t received a Fix since September so I was more than ready for my box to arrive. I asked for an outfit to wear on our anniversary date and a long puffer coat. Anthony asked for sport coats, socks, and casual shirts. Here are our notes from our stylists:

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Note: the necklace that was supposed to come was missing from my fix so I emailed Stitch Fix to let them know and they took it off of my bill, gave me a $20 credit for my next styling fee and said I could still get the “keep it all” discount if I purchased the other 4 items. I’m not kidding, their customer service is excellent.

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On Whitney: Kut From the Kloth Elyse Straight Leg Pant-Red, $68

On Anthony: Tailor Vintage Decca Stretch Waffle Henley-Light Grey, $69
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Theodore the elf decided to join us for these pictures. He definitely steals the show! In my note Jason references Lila Ryan skinny jeans and as you can tell, I did not receive those pants in my box. But I was actually really excited about the mistake.These pants are made of the softest material and are more dressy than skinny jeans so I can wear them to dinners for Anthony’s job as well as dressed down with a scarf and vest like I have them here. Anthony’s grey Henley was made of a soft, thick material but it was the most expensive item in his box! There is no way he would pay that much for a casual lounge around the house type shirt. Plus, the single tiny pocket bothered us both.

Verdict: I kept the pants, Anthony sent the shirt back

On Anthony: Stance Reedley Classic Crew 2-Pack Socks-Black, $24 and

                           Flag & Anthem Portland Chino-Navy, $59.50

On Whitney: TOMS Desert Wedge Booties-Black, $69

Anthony is all about this brand of socks. He got another set of them in his first Stitch Fix box and was excited to see more. He loves the feel of the fabric and said these crew socks were thick but not too warm. I was overjoyed to see these TOMS in my box. I have had these pinned on my Pinterest board  for about six months. They are so comfortable and make my feet look tiny. Now I want these shoes in every color. Anthony’s stylist mentioned these pants were supposed to be cut more generously than the pants in his last fix but they were even tighter around his calves. These pants were very soft, but were definitely not Anthony’s style.

Verdict: Anthony kept the socks  and I kept the shoes! The pants went back.

On Whitney: Skies are Blue Medea Cut Out Sleeve Pullover Sweater-Black, $68 

On Anthony: Fairline Refined Dress Shirt-Red, $68

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I was so happy to see this sweater in my fix! I like my sweaters to have unique details and the cutouts on this one definitely make it stand out. I thought it was the perfect sweater to wear on our anniversary date. It showed just the right amount of skin. The sweater is soft and fit me well. My stylist ordered me a size larger than I normally wear because it runs small (I have a short torso and it fits me just right). As you can see it looks good with the red pants Stitch Fix sent me as well as jeans.  Anthony was drawn to the red and navy in this shirt. It fit him very well and the fabric was silky smooth. He likes his button up shirts to be wrinkle free and a more substantial fabric and these were a little thin.

Verdict: I kept the sweater and Anthony sent the shirt back (Nordstrom was having a sale that includes his favorite shirts so he got those instead).

On Whitney: Andrew Marc Teanen Puffer Coat-Burgundy, $118

On Anthony: Fairline Refined Dress Shirt-Teal Green, $68

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If you are scrolling up to see if Anthony is wearing the same shirt, just a different color, scroll no more. This shirt is exactly the same print as the one before but is a mix of a gorgeous teal and orange color. I loved the colors on him, but could tell he preferred the classic red and navy combo. The puffer coat they sent me is gorgeous. It is not too poofy and it very soft and cozy. The pockets and hood are even fleece lined! I love that the hood does not have fur, because when faux fur gets wet it is not comfortable. The burgundy color was rich and shiny (it is more like the stock photo at the top of the post, the sun made it hard to capture the true color). This coat is worth the price because it has been tested to keep you warm down to -18 degrees!

Verdict: Anthony sent the shirt back and I kept the coat, but sent it back for a color exchange. I really wanted a more neutral jacket and got a charcoal grey instead. Isn’t it awesome that Stitch Fix offers size and color exchanges for no extra cost?

So that is it! I kept all 4 items in my box and Anthony sent everything except the socks back. If you are interested in Stitch Fix I would appreciate it if you could sign up using my referral link to Stitch Fix and if you know someone who would love to try having their own personal stylist getting them a Stitch Fix Gift Card is easy! Stitch Fix offers styling for men, petites and maternity. They will be launching their plus size styling in the new year!

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What is your favorite piece from our fixes? Have you tried Stitch Fix yet? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

I love you more than snow-to shoots and Stitch Fix loot,

Whitney

Check out my older Stitch Fix Reviews here:

Stitch Fix Year in Review

November 2016

Fixing and Remixing

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016