Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Fix #17 From Stitch Fix - June 14, 2016

My quarterly Stitch Fix delivery arrived one day early yesterday! Since I've cut back on my Stitch Fix boxes to once every 3 months, the arrival of a new box is even more exciting. I had been looking forward to maybe getting a pair of pastel pants (all the rage) or a fun colorful top to add to my wardrobe.

If you are new to Stitch Fix, please read up on the service here:

My Very First Stitch Delivery and Stitch Fix Explanation - Fix #1

You can also check out a whole bunch of Stitch Fix reviews below. I've been writing them since May 2014:

Fix #2 - June 2014
Fix #3 - July 2014
Fix #4 - August 2014
Fix #5 - September 2014
Fix #6 - October 1, 2014
Fix #7 - October 29, 2014
Fix #8 - November 2014
Fix #9 - December 2014 
Fix #10 - January 2015
Fix #11 - February 2015
Fix #12 - March 2015 
Fix #13 - June 2015 
Fix #14 - September 2015
Fix #15 - December 2015
Fix #16 - March 2016

Let's open the box and see what I received, shall we?

 I had two bundles inside my box. That's always interesting! Separate bundles usually indicate a bulkier item, like a coat or purse.

Through the paper, I could see color and pattern on the right. Feeling good about this one.
Unwrapped, I was happy to see the variety of color and pattern in the clothes. The purse was a lovely bright pink color, but I'm not really that into purses. So this one was a bit of a shrug for me. I probably could use a good beach bag, but another purse? Probably not.

But instead of focusing on the negatives, let's hang up the clothes, try them on, and see what we have!
1) First, we have the Florence Dress by Pixley for $68.00. I did love the patterned material of this dress. However, the style was not good. Typically, these kinds of gathered waist dresses look best on narrower frames with fewer curves. The gathered waist creates the effect of shape when maybe you don't have a lot of shape (apple body, slim hipped, etc.).

This is kind of the exact opposite of me. However, I didn't want to be a party pooper before I even tried it on. Those who have read my reviews for a long time know my rule: TRY EVERYTHING ON. I never toss something aside by looks alone.

So, I girded my loins for the expected result. My fears were not unwarranted. Behold, the dress on a curvier, more hour-glassy figure:

Yeah, about as expected. Wide shoulders, wide hips, I turn into a big box of a woman. My waist is lost in this dress. And the shapeless, loose top hides the bust area completely. That might have saved such a dress for someone with a body type like mine. Instead, what could've been a fun summer dress, turns into a very unflattering pile of cloth. Not to mention what goes unphotographed, which are the very open arm holes that would make any bra of mine visible to the world.

Big old NO.

2) Next on the list was the Kate Distressed Boyfriend Jean by Kut From The Kloth for $88.00. I thought these had potential. Kut From The Kloth pants have worked for me in the past. I think I have 3 pairs of pants from this designer.

However, the ripped up legs seemed a little young for 40-something mom. Hmm. Not so sure if this will fit into my wardrobe. I did need another pair of jeans, as I have some Levi's on their last legs.

I was a little disappointed I did not get a pair of pastel pants as requested. I mean, I know everyone can use another pair of well-fitting jeans, but I really wanted to see some summery pants in my box. Sigh...

I tried to be positive, hoped for the best and slipped them on. As you can see from the try-on pics they did fit just fine. They were comfortable, although I got my toe caught in one of the ripped up areas when putting them on. I decided to wear them while I tried on the two tops that came in my box to get a feel for the pants over time.

 I mean, they look pretty cute. Don't they? Hmm... I put them in the MAYBE pile as I continued on.

3) The next item was the Auburndale Tie Sleeve Knit Top from Skies Are Blue for $54.00. I have to be honest. When I unwrapped all the clothes and looked at them, I thought this top had deodorant stains on the front from a previous Stitch Fix customer. You cannot see the weird white stains on the picture I took of the front because not only is my picture horridly blurry, it just didn't show up well. However, the picture of the back gives you an idea of what I'm talking about. The back looked like someone had streaked white paint on it. It wasn't consisting streaking, or it would've been okay. It was rather random and looked accidental, like a stain of some kind.
Sorry it's so blurry and the color is off.
Weird random white streaks.

I actually took a washcloth to the front thinking I could scrub it away. That's when it became clear that no, this was no deodorant, it was intentional. Huh. Okay.

The fabric was also pretty thin and somewhat see through. Not sure I like that. But let's try that puppy on and see what we think!

Okay, when I put it on it was pretty flattering. And I did love the color. This is a good color for my skin tone. But, not only was the v-neck a little low for casual summer wearing, which is what this top would be, it had these ties at the shoulder as you can see in the 2nd picture below.

 I wasn't 100% sure this style was for me. As I said, I'm a mom in my 40s. Is this too 'young'? Possibly. But what really turned me off to the style was where it rested on my shoulder. I have had this problem before...the shoulder sat slightly back off my shoulders. It just didn't look right, and the ties were more visible from the back, which really wasn't the intent of the design.

In the end, it was the shoulder plus the weird white streaks (that aren't visible in the pics) on the front that looked like deodorant stains that put this sucker in the NO pile.

4) This fix was not going well for me. Yes, I was still considering the pants, but I only had 1 item of clothing left! The next item was the Bowie Solid Dolman Sleeve Top by Laila Jayde for $58. I had actually found this top on someone's Pinterest board, loved it and added it to my own Stitch Fix board to let my stylist know. I am a big fan of Dolman sleeve tops...usually because I have wide shoulders and Dolman sleeves always work for me. But also, the shape is flattering on my figure. I was pleased, too, that it was a fun color that was not something I had in my wardrobe.

 I really thought this would be a keeper. Everything about it seemed good. I tried it on:
Now, I have to say, this pic makes it look very cute and flattering. But it really wasn't that great. The material was thin and did not hang correctly, in my opinion. It sort of sagged on the sides. I just thought I could do better for my $58.

At this point, I also started to reassess the pants. They fit, but they had a very low waist. Bending over and kneeling down, there was an 'exposure' problem in the back that I did not like. I have another pair of boyfriend jeans from Stitch Fix that have a higher rise, which I like better.  In addition, the ripped up legs did seem a bit 'teeanger.'

So at this point I gave a thumbs down to both the top and the pants. NO.

 5) After trying on all the clothes and coming up empty handed, I was left with a purse I didn't need--the Lynden Satchel by Urban Expressions for $68.00. But I hung it up anyway:

It was a nice, large bag with a deep interior and both a single side zipped pocket and  double zipped pockets on the other side. It also came with a shoulder strap attachment. The reason I did not reject it from the very beginning is that, in the past, I had ended up with a basically free purse in one of my other fixes because I'd kept everything else in the box. My hope had been when I opened this fix that the same might be true here. I mean, I would've added another purse to my collection if it would be free.

And, looking at the receipt, it would've been!

Sadly, the purse was also a NO, since I was keeping nothing else from this box. I haven't had a complete failure in a LONG time with Stitch Fix. It was much more disappointing this time around because I am only getting a fix once a quarter.

So, I logged into my Stitch Fix account and switched it back to once a month deliveries, so that I could get another box next month. Hopefully, that box would be a better one, and I wouldn't end up with nothing new for summer.

The best part was, for some reason, when I switched to once a month deliveries, they scheduled me for a June 28th fix!  So I am getting another box of clothes in 2 weeks! Thank goodness.

Let's hope that box is a better one.

If you have yet to try Stitch Fix, consider using my referral link below. I will get a $25 credit when you make your first order, just to give full transparency. Even though I've been doing these reviews for over 2 years, I haven't gotten much in the way of credit (not a complaint, just honesty...I write these reviews for the fun of it...not for the $$).


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your comments on what I kept and what I sent back.

Also, if you are a reader, I just published a small collection of science fiction short stories on Amazon called SKYFALL. Check it out!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

New Release: SKYFALL

Yesterday, I decided to put together a small collection of sci-fi flash fiction. If you are into science fiction or just looking for a quick, fun read, please check it out. Only 99 cents.

Skyfall. A miner confronts a devastating future.

Time Travel. A failed engineer tinkers with a matter-energy transporter, which he plans to step into for the first time

Torch. A man attempts to escape from a futuristic prison.

Available at the Amazon Kindle store.

Monday, June 6, 2016

My Fairy Garden

About a year or so ago, I found pictures online of these fantastic little fairy gardens that people had built. I loved them. I wanted to make one myself, but didn't really know where to begin or how to find the materials. I enjoyed finding the pictures, but didn't do anything with my own desires to have a such a garden.
Example of a Fairy Garden

Then, last December, I visited my father-in-law. He lives in a tourist-destination town, so there is always fun shopping to do in the gift shops on main street. I wandered into an eclectic store that had a variety of fun things, including gardening items - mostly decorations for your yard. Then I noticed a whole section of the store had been dedicated to fairy gardening!

Tiny plants in little pots, itsy bitsy gravel, fine sand, little pots, tons of mini items in all variations of scale (will explain later).

I thought I died and went to heaven. I wanted to buy up everything!  But, once again, I didn't know how to get started and was overwhelmed with choice. I am not one to waste money when I'm interested in something new. I tend to sit back, research, and figure out exactly what I want to do...or at least get a better idea of what I want to do.

Nothing is worse to me than spending money on something I have no intention of completing.

Skip ahead to Christmas. My husband realized this was something I might be interested in doing, and he bought me a book about creating fairy gardens. I loved it!
Available on Amazon!

Inside the author instructs how to create a fairy garden by describing the plants, the designs, the additional details, and even scale considerations.

What is Scale?

I was aware of scale, more or less. When you are trying to recreate something life-sized in miniature, you must use a ratio in order to create the correct sizing. Some of you may have had dollhouses when you were kids. Your furniture for your house had to fit the size of your dolls...and so did everything else--the silverware, the clothes, the dog or cat, etc.

If the scale was off, the sense of realism disappears.

The same is true with fairy gardens. On the book cover, you can see that the chair and the wheelbarrow exist in the same 'world' because their dimensions match. The same sized fairy person could use the wheelbarrow and the chair. If the wheelbarrow were larger than the chair, you just destroyed the idea of the garden being truly 'miniature.'

In the book, the author describes the 3 most common 'scale' sizes: 1 inch, 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch. A one-inch scale item means that every inch equals 1 foot in real life.

So, you choose your plants and your decorations to be the same scale, and you will achieve a feeling of 'miniature.'

My First Attempt at Fairy Gardening

After reading the book, I felt more knowledgeable about how to create a successful garden. I set aside an afternoon to shop for plants and, hopefully, find at least one mini decoration item that I could use. I didn't know if I could find anything in my small town, but was hopeful. Worst case scenario, I would order my decoration items online.

I had to visit 5 different places that sold plants to get everything I wanted. It really is not that easy to find dwarf plants in tiny pots. Most places don't sell anything smaller than a 4-inch pot. The hardest thing to find was a dwarf evergreen. In the book, the author explains that mixing your plant types gives it that 'real' feel. And adding an evergreen can be very important.

My First Fairy Garden!
I finally found a dwarf spruce at Walmart of all places. I had all my plants, I had some fine sand and decorative stones, however, I had had a hard time finding mini decoration items. No one seemed to have any. My last stop of the day was a local garden center...and they had what I needed! A cute set of Adirondack chairs in 1-inch scale with a matching fire pit! SOLD!

 I had so much fun putting my little fairy world together. My goal is to order some more decoration items in the same scale. Not too many. Maybe 3 more little things. I don't want to overdo it. The examples that I prefer are the ones that are simpler.

Close Up. (the fire pit actually lights up!)
I'm looking forward to seeing the plants fill in the dirt spots. The tufts in front of the tree should have little tiny white flowers at some point. I likely will have to trim the tree to keep it small for the summer and the grass behind the chair. But it will be fun to tend to my little garden all summer long and see what happens.

I had so much fun with my first one, that I am planning on making some smaller ones. They would be easier to complete and only need maybe a single decoration item to bring them to life. Since it is so hard to find the plants in mini sizes, I might try ordering those online as well. Not sure yet!

I think what I find most fun is that I will have to create a new fairy garden every year. Mine won't last past the first freeze in October. The tree can be transplanted elsewhere in my yard at any point, so that is a plus.

Would love to hear about anyone's fairy gardens! Thanks for stopping by.