Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Stitch Fix Review: 6th Fix

Disclosure:  I paid for my own Stitch Fix; all opinions are my own.  If you're interested in trying Stitch Fix, I'd love for you to use my referral link so I can get $25 towards my next Fix!

It's been a minute since my last Stitch Fix, but I'm back...  Here's what I got in my Fix, and my thoughts on each item.

This top wasn't love at first sight, but once I put it on I realized that with a cami, I kind of liked it for a contrasting weekend look.  I'm really into tops that have mixed patterns and "media" for visual interest, so I asked (and received) with this Fix.  I was on the fence about keeping this one, overall, and I thought it looked okay, and the price is a little high for a sleeveless knit top.

I wasn't in love with this top from the get-go either, but the fabric was so soft!  I really liked it once I put it on, and I wore it first out of all the items in the box.  It was great for a casual Friday at work.  I would have kept this top no matter what!  It was comfortable too for a road trip home that we took too.

You can't see the details on this scallop top very well, and I was on the fence because it felt a little dressy.  Then I realized that I liked having a dressier top that I could mix with a blazer for work and still have a little detail.  I was not a fan of the open back, until I realized that I could still wear a regular bra and have coverage.

This top was one of my favorites from the time the box opened!  It's like wearing pajamas, but with some visual interest like it's a layered piece.  I would buy this in all the colors because it suits my lifestyle pretty perfectly.  It wouldn't work that well in a more formal office, but it works for mine.  It is nice and loose too, but not in a sack-like way.  Looks better than the photos.

I found this jacket to be a little disappointing.  I wanted a blue denim jacket and loved the white one from a previous fix, so I requested blue.  This one isn't my favorite color denim wash, and the buttons are black instead of gold or silver toned.  Hrm.  It felt a little old lady to me at first with the lighter wash, but I love the fabric and fit so I think I need to lay it out with some outfits to see what works.

Why?  Because when I did the math, everything in this fix added up to $296, and when you factored in the styling fee and 25% discount for keeping everything, the total came to $202.  That means that sending back the jacket (and possibly the other top) wouldn't save me that much in my mind, and I got more value by keeping the items since I liked them all even if it wasn't immediate love.  If I don't wear the scallop top or jacket, I'll probably resell on Poshmark.  But for now I'm going to see how I can incorporate these into my outfits.  If I can't, they'll go.

My next Fix is coming in November, so stay tuned!  Did any of you get a Fix this month?

Disclosure:  I paid for my own Stitch Fix; all opinions are my own.  If you're interested in trying Stitch Fix, I'd love for you to use my referral link so I can get $25 towards my next Fix!

Monday, August 31, 2015

London (retrospective)

As I was going through some photos the other day, I spotted a bunch of shots from the London trip I took with friends back in 2005... a decade ago!  I am one of those Royal Family/Royal Baby internet followers (and I watched the Royal Wedding live back before William/Kate had two kiddos) and I love BBC shows...  so there's definitely a few things I'd love to do if I could ever get back to that great city.  But first...  here's a flashback to my trip in 2005.

My semester abroad buddies DL and EL were down for a multi-day trip to London, so we hopped a bus in Paris and rode it overnight to the city.  The bus drove onto a ferry, then debarked at Dover and continued its drive.  It was much cheaper at the time than getting there by train!  I remember being proud of how frugal we were... We each packed a small backpack, slept on the floor/tiny sofas at EL's friend's flat, and I wore the same jeans pretty much every day.

My favorite place during that trip was the Tower of London.  The tour was a must, as I've always been fascinated by the Tudors.  I also walked by the Crown Jewels at least a half dozen times.

Tower of London

We also took advantage of free museum entry to see the British Museum.  My favorites were the Egyptian exhibits, and it was exciting for me to see the Rosetta Stone. (It was smaller than I'd imagined.)  We also explored the Tate Modern and walked by Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and explored my favorite paid museum, the Victoria & Albert.  I loved the focus on design there, especially "everyday" objects over history.

The British Museum
Another interesting thing that we did was watch the House of Commons in action at Parliament.  We were nerdy college kids, so of course we wanted to see these raucous politicians in action!  They were entertaining for sure, and I came away thinking they were much cooler than American politicians.  Maybe I thought the accents made it better?  Not to mention Big Ben is right there.

We also splurge on tickets to do the London Eye ferris wheel, accidentally but perfectly timed to catch sunset over London.  Incredible!!!

Big Ben & The London Eye

Skinny College Aubrey... riding the London Eye!

Photo taken from the London Eye
We did a number of other things on the trip:

  • Walked by Buckingham Palace
  • Rode in one of those cool black taxis (expensive)
  • Rode the Tube (subway)
  • Saw two West End musicals, CHICAGO and The Woman in White (the latter was a terrible Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, no longer exists)
  • Watched the latest Harry Potter movie (Goblet of Fire, it had just been premiered and released the night before!)
  • Ate in Chinatown
  • Shopped at Harrods (I bought a tiny coin purse)
  • Took photos in a red phone booth, snapped a photo of a double-decker red bus
  • Bought a Union Jack sweatshirt

Buckingham Palace
All in all, I'm impressed in retrospect how much we did with so little planning ahead.  I think we were there for 4-5 days in total before we caught the bus back to Paris.  We had a little map book and we just made our own itinerary as we went.  We were scrappy and resourceful, and I don't remember us blowing our budgets by any means to make it happen... even though that year the Pound was kicking butt against the Dollar and Euro!

My favorite photo from the whole trip.

Things I'd Like to Do Next Time I'm in England:

  • Highclere Castle (Downtown Abbey) and Chatsworth House (Pride & Prejudice, The Duchess)
  • Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter
  • Tower of London, again, because it's awesome
  • Stonehenge (mixed feelings on this one, some people have said it's underwhelming?)
  • Eat Indian food, because I wasn't acquainted with the cuisine last time and didn't try any
  • Track down something for a photo op that reminds me of Doctor Who or Sherlock

Friday, August 28, 2015

Budgeting Bloggers: August 2015

With August being a month of weather transitions, I wanted to make sure that I was prepared for cooler weather (and an air-conditioned, chilly office).  This month, I replaced some broken sunglasses, got a couple of pieces of jewelry, replaced some jeans that I donated with ones that fit, and found a few steals at Ross and TJ Maxx.

  1. Charming Charlie Glossy Cateye and Spots Sunglasses ($9 each, paid 2 for $15):  There was a sunglasses sale at Charming Charlie, so I indulged in two pairs!  I always buy cheap sunglasses, then wear them until they fall apart.  I don't see the point in paying for more pricy ones, considering I lose and break them frequently.
  2. Charming Charlie Sparkle Crossing Midi Ring ($8, similar splurge):  This little midi ring makes me feel hip and with it... LOL.  It's just adorable and it feels unexpected on someone like me.  My wedding ring finger is pretty blinged out, so I like balancing with something else on the right hand.
  3. Charming Charlie Dainty Doilies Earrings ($6):  These ended up being my wedding earrings, during a last-minute trip to the store to find something that worked.  I needed something that wouldn't clash with the metallic elements of my dress, but still add a little shine.
  4. Old Navy Curvy Straight Jeans in Rinse & Lakeshore ($30 each, paid $20 each on sale):  These used to be called the Sweetheart jeans.  As part of my closet cleanout, I got rid of jeans that didn't fit and replaced them with a couple pairs that do!  It's more important for me right now to wear what fits, and if I change sizes I'll purchase items accordingly.  Definitely wearing these on the regular.
  5. En Focus Studio Chevron Dress via Ross ($15, similar, similar red):  I was at Ross during tax-free weekend and picked up a work-appropriate dress for just $15.  I consider that a good deal!  I'll belt the dress at the waist when I wear it. (see outfit below!)
  6. Cable & Gauge Blue Knit Blouse via TJ Maxx ($17, similarsimilar splurge):  My coworker dragged my to TJ Maxx and I left with two more work-appropriate blouses.  I've been a bargain shopper lately, and I like what I'm getting!  The cobalt blue was so soft and good.  I wore it the day after I bought it!
  7. Zac & Rachel White Grid Blouse via TJ Maxx ($20, similar print):  This top felt like another work-friendly blouse to play up with my jeans.  I need the sleeves to stay warm in the frigid air conditioning, and it can go from summer to fall.

$121 spent - $18 sold = $103 total spent
??? savings

Total 2015 YTD Spending: H1 $970 + July $28 + August $103= $1101

I definitely felt tempted to shop more, but I watched the documentary The True Cost on Netflix about the impact of fast fashion on the world in general, and it made me feel kind of terrible for always looking for cheap clothes.  But the reality is, when I started looking at fair trade pieces and other American-made clothing, it was hard to find items that I considered affordable or splurge-worthy.  Blergh!  So that movie moved me to delete a few online shopping carts of cheap goodies.  Will I stay that way, probably not... the holiday sales are coming, and I've purged a ton from my closet.  I love to shop, and I like to look cute and express myself a little with my outfits.  We'll see how it lands.

I have a Stitch Fix box coming for September, so I'll recap that and let you know what I keep.  I feel pretty good on pants for now, though I'd really like to try these stretch pants from Macy's and I'm lusting after this Eliza J special occasion dress.  If I wear it to two fall weddings, it's worth it, right?  Tell me I'm right.

Don't forget to check out the rest of Fran's budgeting bloggers link-up here!

Also, as a peek into how I style my items, here are a couple of outfits I wore in August with pieces ranging from 2012 to this month...
Blazer from December 2014
Tassel Necklace from November 2014
Top from July 2015
Jeans from August 2015 (this month!)
TOMS wedges circa 2012  

Dress from August 2015 (this month!)
Sandals from May 2015
Don't forget to shop my closet at Poshmark!

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