Stitch Fix #2

Alright boys and girls, it's that time again... another Stitch Fix box!
If you've never tried Stitch Fix, check out my first post for details.

Renee C - Melisa Skirt: $48

I've been itching for a good pencil skirt, but I wasn't sure this was the one I wanted. The pattern wasn't really my style, and though it was super stretchy-comfortable, it also hugs my curves a little... too much? Plus, I couldn't figure out what I would wear with it.
While I was debating on all these probably-going-to-return-it decisions, I discovered a salmon-colored shirt in my closet that remarkably matched the skirt exactly. Paired with a wide belt, the skirt suddenly looked adorable.
Ok, Stitch Fix. You win again.

Verdict: Kept

41Hawthorne - McAdams Beaded Neckline Blouse: $58

Oh, I'm sorry Stitch Fix. Did I forget to fill out the part of my style profile that lists me as a pasty, pasty white girl? I must have, otherwise you would not send me a white tank top that does literally nothing for my complexion. Ugh. And I thought wedding dress shopping made me look pale.
Also, who in their right minds wants a see-through $58 white tank top?? Ok sure, the detailing would be cute for layering, but if you're going to layer it and cover it up, just go to Target and buy a cheap tank for $7.
In Stitch Fix's defense, this is the first item I had no trouble saying "hate it!" so they've been doing pretty darn good at nailing my style. Sometimes you gotta hate a shirt or two, because otherwise I'd be broke. True story.

Verdict: Returned

41Hawthorne - Dita Sleeveless Ponte Dress: $68

Confession: I really like this dress. It fit just right and the pinky-purple color is just my style. But somehow, despite liking it, I couldn't convince myself to keep it. Why? Is it because the neckline is boring and the top looks kind of like a sports bra? Is it because I have 10 other dresses in my closet that closely resemble this one? Or is it just because this dress is missing that little bit of "intrigue" that makes it uniquely different and worth $68?
Sorry, cute dress. 

Verdict: Returned

Romolo - Austin Mini Spoon Drops Necklace: $34

When Tanner first saw this, he cried, "they look like spoooooons!"
Good job, hubby. That is, in fact, the name of the necklace!
Also, let's just announce right now that I'm a sucker for any necklace Stitch Fix sends me, apparently. I love me some jewelry and it's always the least expensive thing in the box, so if I keep it I don't lose my $20 styling fee... win win.

Also, here's your chance to see the Dita Sleeveless dress without any accessories. There's just no hiding that boring neckline. Sigh. Sorry, dress.

Verdict: Kept

Market & Spruce - Alan French Terry Asymmetrical Zip Cardigan: $68

The fabric of this cardigan is sooooo soft. Like those jersey knit sheets that feel so nice. And when you pick it up, it weighs like 5 pounds, so it's like a snuggly winter blanket that you just want to wrap around you and take a nap.
Unfortunately, this cardigan was WAY too big. Like, voluminous. The sleeves went past my fingertips, and I have long arms. And there was just too much fabric. I couldn't keep it from looking baggy and frumpy, so back it went. It goes well with the dress though, right?

Verdict: Returned

If you feel like you want to try out Stitch Fix, I encourage you to sign up with my referral, by clicking here. It gives me a little bit of credit to spend on my next fix, and that ensures I don't look like a total hobo in normal life. Thanks, you're swell! :)

Stitch Fix #1

If you feel like you want to try out Stitch Fix, I encourage you to sign up with my referral, by clicking here. It gives me a little bit of money to spend on my next fix and ensure that I don't look like a total hobo in normal life.

Daniel Rainn - Soloman Blouse: $68

I wanted to love this blouse, I really did. I mean, it's super cute, right?
The first time I put it on, it felt so baggy and weirdly fitting that I immediately nixed thoughts of keeping it. But then I kept trying it on, and taking photos, and pairing it with pants and necklaces, and I started to really like it.
Unfortunately, in the end, it had a few key things going wrong with it that sealed my decision:
- It is really volumous in the front. It's hard to tell in the photos, but it felt like a maternity shirt, and as I am not pregnant, that's not really the look I was going for.
- It is quite tight across the shoulders. The fabric has very little give, so I felt like my arm movements were very restricted.
- It looks very similar to a lot of other blouses I own, and I bought those tops for much less money. Sorry, pretty top.

Verdict: Returned

Market & Spruce - Aleah Heather V-Neck Dolman Top: $48

When I first put this top on, I was like, THERE IS SO MUCH FABRIC WHAT. I had no idea what to do with it. Was it a shirt? A poncho? A Batman cape? What?
But since I had my entire closet at my disposal (a real perk of shopping in the comfort of your own home!) I fussed around with it, paired it with a tank top, necklace and quirky belt, and it ended up as an outfit that I really liked.
Plus, the jersey fabric is SO soft and comfortable; it was definitely the kind of thing I wear on a daily basis. And the price wasn't too astronomical...

Verdict: Kept

RD Style - Vivianna Open-Draped Knit Cardigan: $98

I love cardigans. I don't think I own enough of them, so I was stoked when I received one in my first box (though I shouldn't be surprised... half the photos in my Pinterest board are cardigan outfits...)
Though I loved the pattern, color, and drape of this cardigan, there were a couple of nit-picky details that nagged at me:
- The sleeves are really tight, and I am not someone who wears long sleeves very often. On the rare occasion I do wear long sleeves, I have to be able to roll them up. It bugs me to eat dinner feeling like I'm trailing my shirt in my food. Plus, I'm on the move a lot at my job and get overheated very quickly. But I was almost willing to overlook that, except....
- The back of the cardigan is much higher than the front. Seriously. It looks really weird. It hit right across my butt, which made the whole outfit look awkward and bulky from the back. If only I could stand with my back against the wall all day, this might just be the perfect cardigan. Alas...

Verdict: Returned

Liverpool - Collen Straight Leg Jean: $78

I absolutely hate jean shopping. I have a small waist and wide hips, and it is the WORST trying to find pants that don't gap, fit around my bum and are actually long enough for my long legs. I usually succumb to those $20 jeans at Old Navy because they fit well enough and I don't mind as much when they fall apart in five months.
So when I got a pair of jeans in my box, I had a moment where I self-righteously scoffed, "HA!" that someone who had never seen me could possibly pick out a pair of pants for me.
And lo and behold....
They fit.
Like a glove.
Ah, beautiful, stretchy,  dark-washed jeans. I love you.
And yet....
When filling out my style profile, I checked both "wide leg" and "straight leg" as types of jeans I wear (and did NOT check "skinny jeans." My hips ain't never gonna pull those off.) But after prancing joyfully around the house in these jeans (trying to talk myself into the $78 price tag... good pants are worth it, right?) I suddenly took a look in the mirror and realized I had made a mistake.
I am not a straight leg jean girl.
I have the classic "pear" shaped body, which means I'm small on top and wide through my hips and thighs. Unfortunately, once you get past the thighs, my legs taper down into small ankles, which makes me resemble a spinning top. (Or one of those 1950s cartoon women with the wide middles and tiny, pointed toes.) That being said, skinny jeans and straight leg jeans only serve to accentuate the pitfalls of my hips and ankles. I would have been better with a nice wide-leg jean, which helps balance the shapes of my lower half.
In the end, I decided that if I could receive jeans that I ALMOST really loved, then for sure I would someday receive some wide-leg jeans that I REALLY loved. So for now, I will wait.

Verdict: Returned

31 Bits - Zita Large Beaded Necklace: $38

I thought this necklace was ghastly when I first opened it.
I don't have very many pieces of statement jewelry, but I specifically put it on my style profile because I want more in my collection. I love how statement necklaces look with a really put-together outfit. It can make or break a look. But I'm horrible at finding just the right pieces, so I was hoping for some help.
I thought this one was a bit overkill -- it was super long, super chunky, and not quite my color. But the more I played with it, the more I fell in love with it. It went with EVERYTHING in my closet. And made all my outfits 100% more interesting.
It didn't take long to realize that I was definitely keeping it.

Verdict: Kept

Catching up! Father's day + illustration class

Sorry about my unintentional hiatus. It has been a crazy two weeks for me! Here's the down and dirty version:

1. I quit my job. I have an outdoor education job lined up starting next week and I'm pumped! I traded in my headset, tiny cubicle and steady paycheck for the great outdoors and minimum wage.... and I'm not even a little sorry about it. (This decision was also part of the Happiness 30 in 31 list of mine)

So this week I'm on a break between jobs and I'm loving that I have time to get stuff checked off my to-do list and get my own work done (read: Etsy). Which brings me to my next point...

2. My shop is in full swing with Father's Day quickly approaching! And a little publicity via Buzzfeed didn't hurt, either! The only trouble? Trying to package a million orders all by my lonesome. Tanner was out of town last week and thus his assistant duties were magically unavailable. (This same thing happened during Valentine's Day...) Coincidence? I think not. 

3. I had my last illustration class on Thursday. I'm bummed it's over, but I had a really good time! Our teacher even brought in an agent last week to talk to us about the "biz" and what a book agent really does for a writer/ illustrator. I feel like I came away with some in-depth information and some really great stuff to take forward in the future. Yay for unknown destinies! Wherever my path takes me, I'm excited about really pumping up my portfolio so that I can make a decent website and start writing some books. It's like a kindergarten dream come true. Seriously.

Here are the latest sketches of mine from a short story I wrote about a dinosaur:

And this one is a prompt from a website called Illustration Friday. Every week they come out with a new topic and you have to draw something to fit the bill and link your drawings to the site. (It's a good way to keep the juices flowing!) This week the topic is "Temptation."

And because this particular Father's Day card below is doing so well, I had some fun this week redrawing it in a new style to do a potential 5x7 print of it. What do you think? Do you like the old one or the new one better? Either way, it feels so great to be drawing consistently again. :)

Finding a Workout Routine

I am the worst about workouts. I hate them. I hate making time for them, I hate feeling slow and sluggish during them, and I hate feeling guilty when I don't do them. The only thing I really love about workouts is finishing them and feeling GREAT. But sometimes even that isn't enough motivation to make me want to stick with a routine.

The thing I loved about the PCT was the effortless ease in which I got to workout every day. Wait. Let me rephrase that. The PCT was not "effortless" nor "easy." It was, however, routine. And routines are the hardest part of workouts. On the PCT I never had to think about it. I never had that battle in my head - "am I too tired to workout today? Should I skip it?" Because I didn't have a choice - we walked 15-25 miles every day, without fail. There was no such thing as skipping it. But even that was a magical thing - the key to any successful workout is making it part of your daily routine, so you don't have to fight that inner battle with yourself. You just DO it.

In that respect, the PCT was the best workout ever. I just walked. Easy (or hard) as that. I could eat whatever I liked (in fact, as MUCH as I liked) and still felt amazing. I spent five months in the best shape of my life and never once had to think about working out or counting calories.

The problem was, it did a number on my body. Though I was incredibly fortunate not to suffer any true injuries on trail, I began to suffer intense knee pain once I was off trail. For the first few months back in the real world, I could barely walk without limping. Going up and down stairs was particularly difficult. I'm sure I looked like an old woman clutching Tanner's arm in pain every time I went down a flight. Even attempting a workout routine at that time seemed unfathomable.

One year later, my knees are better, but I can still feel the lingering ache every time I work them too hard. I have grown lapse in my workouts and have had to start the process all over again. I miss feeling strong and fit almost as much as I hate going for a run.

I have tried a few different routines, trying to find one that works for me. I'm terrible at making up my own system, so I tend to gravitate towards DVDs or phone apps to help me along. In the past, the only one I found to be effective was P90X, which I loved and hated all at once. Damn you, Tony Horton. Your workouts hurt. But they also made me feel like I was actually accomplishing something, even on day one.

I have also utilized the app 7 minute workout (which I tend to do three times in a row so it's more like a 21 minute workout) and the app Yoga Studio, which has some great options (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and lengths of classes (15 min, 30 min, 60 min) to let you enjoy yoga in your own home.

At the end of April I finally sucked it up and made myself stick to a routine. As soon as I get home I change into workout clothes so I don't have time to sit down or pour myself a bowl of cereal. I change up my routines, varying between: one of the P90X workouts, running on the trail behind my apartment, going for a swim, doing the 7 (21) minute workout, a bike ride, or a yoga workout.

I'm in week three now and happy to say that I've been managing five workouts a week (I get really lazy on the weekends.) I'm not sure if it's doing any good, but I certainly feel sore each day, so I guess that's a good sign.

At any rate, I'm always on the lookout for new routines to keep me from getting bored.

What kinds of workouts do you enjoy? Do you utilize DVD routines, gyms, or phone apps? Do you have any favorites you'd love to recommend?