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Espionage Cosmetics Nexus – July 2017

Another month of Espionage Cosmetics Nexus is here!  This was July’s shipment, and the theme was, “Pirates.”  I’ll admit that I was expecting something a little more traditional, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they went right to the edges of the theme to create these neat nail wraps!

  • Piracy – A glossy nail wrap with glow in the dark accents, this nail wrap features little skull and crossbones, but they’re not your usual skull and crossbones!  Each one features a different icon related to media piracy, but the product card notes that this nerd manicure was, “legally downloaded from the Nerd Misfit noggins at the Clubhouse of Fandom & Glitter.”
  • Hey, You Guys! – AHHH!!!  This is definitely a nod to the pirates from The Goonies and IT’S PERFECT.  This glossy nail wrap also features a glow in the dark accent that’s right on point.

I’m pretty sure I have to vote for “Hey, You Guys!” this month because, how can you not?!  I mean, “Piracy” is cute and all, but GOONIES!  I’m definitely glad to have them both though, and I’m looking forward to see who wins this month.  If you’re thinking about subscribing and want to give me a little love, click here to sign up via my affiliate link.

Espionage Cosmetics Nexus – June 2017

So, I somehow got off in keeping up with the months, so this is the real June, not that fake June that was actually May last month.  Oops!  Anyway, June’s theme was, “Under the Sea,” so it was a pretty wide open theme and could go SO many different ways, but yet again, the fantastic Espionage Cosmetics team completely surprised me!  Both nail wraps have glow in the dark features, and both are amazing.  So amazing, in fact, that since this post is late, I can tell you that there was a perfect tie in the great nail wrap battle and BOTH are already available for purchase on the regular site!

  • We’re Jellin’ – This glossy nail wrap is full of jelly fish that also glow in the dark.  It’s just perfect and SO fun for summer.  These are definitely going to be worn right away before the end of the summer!
  • Land of Submarines – Another glossy wrap with glow in the dark features, and immediately, I think we can all guess what song this brings to mind.  A certain .. sunny colored submarine perhaps?  I’m so in love with the colors on these and how stinking cute they are.

These two are actually on sale right now on the Espionage Cosmetics website in celebration of EC’s Leaping Bunny certification!  That’s a pretty big deal in the world of cruelty free beauty, so major kudos to them for going through all the steps to become certifiably awesome.  I’m still behind on blogging, so I’m putting up July’s shipment right away, and will hopefully get caught up before August shows up!

Stitch Fix August 2017

This is my sixth Stitch Fix, and it arrived just this week.  Since I’m catching up, I’m posting both July and August on the same day while I’ve got some spare time to do some blogging.  Lana was my stylist again and wrote me a note about her choices.

Hi Melissa!  I can’t wait to see a picture of you in those blue jeans from your last Fix – I am so happy you enjoyed them!  In your last request, you asked for more casual pieces, and since you’ve been loving the skinny pant trend, I thought you might want to try the Level + cargo pants.  They are a nice alternative to jeans and will look fabulous with the Papermoon striped top and some sandals for summer.  Fall is right around the corner, so as it cools down, add the 41 Hawthorn open cardigan and some short booties; you can also wear the outfit now indoors where it’s air-conditioned.  The Skies are Blue tie front top will also look chic with your new pants.  I’ve also chosen the Bay to Baubles fringe pendant which will add length to an outfit.  It looks great with a dress, or a simple top and jeans to add a little something special.  XO Lana

I know fashion “seasons” tend to run a month or two ahead of the actual season, so I’m not surprised to see Fall items even though it’s still in the 80s and humid outside.  I mean, winter is coming eventually, but it sure doesn’t feel like it right now!  So, out of the box, I have to admit, I’m not sure I would’ve actually pulled any of these items off a rack in a store and tried them on, and even opening the box, I was kind of skeptical about how many I’d keep.  Then I tried them on.  I looked in the mirror and thought, “Hey, I could pass for an actual adult, not some college-aged slob,” which was basically the point at which I knew I was keeping everything.  I mean, sure, I’m 37, but not having a traditional office job for the last 10 years means my wardrobe has shifted.  A lot.  And, when I shop for myself, I buy things that are decent enough mostly because they’re on the 70% off clearance rack and not because they’re great pieces that look fantastic on – they’re okay enough for the price.  My stylist, Lana, actually takes the time to pick out pieces that she thinks will look good on and that go together well; something I’m just not great at doing for myself.  Yes, the Stitch Fix prices are higher than I’ll pay for clothes when I shop by myself, but I’m finding more and more that the crappy clearance stuff I buy ends up in the back of the closet while I wear my Stitch Fix stuff right away.  Anyway, on to the box!

Item: Skies are Blue Deliana Tie Front Top
Cost: 
$48
Item: Level + Sybil Cargo Skinny Pant
Cost: $88
Paired With: 
Flats (mine)
Okay, so I’ll admit that when I first pulled the pants out of the box and saw the zip detail at the bottom of the pant legs, I was a little meh.  Cargo pants are awesome, but I wasn’t so sold on the zipper, and since they’re skinny jeans, I can’t see actually using the cargo pockets since they’d bulge out funny if you put anything in them (I know, welcome to The Futility of Pockets on Womens Clothing 101).  I tried them on right away, and was still skeptical since I felt like they were a bit of a slimmer fit and didn’t feel like they looked as flattering.  Two days passed, and as I put on this outfit for the photos, all of a sudden they clicked and looked fabulous.  I don’t even know what was up with my brain, writing them off so quickly, but once I saw how Lana had put these two pieces together and how perfectly matched they were, well, I was sold.  They’re two pieces I never would’ve pulled off the rack in a million years, but LOOK AT HOW CUTE!  It’s got just enough preppy to be adorable, but is still laid-back and fun between the cargo pockets and print on the top.  Which, the top!  The print is awesome, has no pink, and is this fun rustic sort of paisley pattern.  I was worried at first that the cut would just be a big old boxy top, but it actually has just enough of a baseball tee sort of shape (curving in just enough at the waist and back out at the hips) that it’s surprisingly flattering.

Item: Papermoon Croydon Knit Top
Cost: 
$38
Item: 41Hawthorn Ajana Open Cardigan
Cost: $98
Item: Bay to Baubles Kenny Fringe Pendant
Cost: $28
Paired With:
Level + Sybil Cargo Skinny Pant (this month’s Fix) and  flats (mine)
This was the outfit that made me feel like an adult.  It’s just SO well put together and fulfills that goal of still being casual without going out in yoga pants.  The stripe top I specifically took a photo without the cardigan because it has this cute little braided detail up the side seams.  The sleeves are just long enough that it covers enough arm for my comfort, so I could easily wear it without the cardigan, making it a great seasonal transition piece.  The cardigan is a perfect fit, falls just to the end of the top, and is so cozy and perfectly up my style alley.  Plus, I mean, it’s blue, so you basically can’t go wrong there!  It pairs well with the other top too which shows just how well thought-out this entire Fix was.  The necklace, which I neglected to get a close up of, is silver and pretty long, with seven little ‘fringe’ bars that hang down in a triangle shape (I did find a close-up someone else took here).  I don’t think I have a necklace quite as long and I know I have a few tops and dresses this will pair with nicely, so it’s a keeper too.

I know I usually post more photos and try to tie in pieces from my wardrobe, but I almost didn’t have the heart to this time since this was just so perfect as a package deal.  I know I have other tops that will go with the pants, and you know I’m itching to throw a red cardigan over that striped top because it’s just begging for it.  I’ve also got a great pair of boots that will go with the pants, and now that I’m sitting here doing the write-up, I’m mentally sorting through my closet going OH, YEAH, that’ll work too!  The total for the box came to $260.  The buy 5, 25% discount took off $65 which is $1 less than the cost of the necklace and striped top combined, so it really was a no-brainer when it came to whether or not I’d keep everything (which, I loved everything anyway, so the discount is a nice bonus!).  T-Mobile offered a code the other week for $25 off at Stitch Fix, so my $20 styling fee was covered plus an extra $5, so the final cost of the box came to $170 for five pieces.  Next month is September, so we’ll be into full swing with my favorite part of the year, Fall and Winter, so I’m looking forward to see what Lana will pick for me next!  In case you’re thinking about trying Stitch Fix and want to give me a little love, here’s my referral link!

Stitch Fix July 2017

This is my fifth Stitch Fix, and it arrived just before the July 4th holiday long weekend.  My poor little blog has been sorely neglected over the last month as things have gotten crazy busy around here, but I hope to get back on track from now on!  This means a lot of catch-up posts, the first of which is Stitch Fix from last month!  I had my usual stylist, Lana, who wrote me a note as usual.

Hi Melissa!  Happy Summer!  I was thrilled to see you found some pieces that you loved in your last Fix.  I am sorry about the fit of the maxi, I included another style for you to try; it has a similar boho print to one you have on your Pinterest board!  Pair the Gilli maxi with some wedges or sandals and layer with the RWN by Rawan distressed denim jacket.  The arms may run long on you, but the style is meant to be worn cuffed a few times for a more casual look.  Since you liked the last skinny jeans I sent, I thought you might want to try another pair in a fun color, and the Kut From the Kloth skinny jeans will look great paired with the BRIXON IVY cap sleeve blouse, or the Honey Punch embroidered top and your new jacket.  Have fun trying it all on and can’t wait to read your review and get your feedback.  Enjoy, and have a happy 4th!  XO Lana

I did indeed ask for more casual sort of items this time around since I find that I don’t really have too many opportunities to wear super nice things.  I don’t have a traditional office job, so most of the week I’m in yoga pants/capris and snarky or nerdy t-shirts.  When I do leave the house, I don’t want to get all super-perfect, but I want to not look like my primary wardrobe doubles as gym clothes.  Everything in this Fix fit that bill, and since this is going up on a crazy long delay, I can honestly tell you I’ve worn each piece a number of times over the past month already!

Item: Gilli Ryland Knit 2fer Maxi Dress
Cost: 
$78
Item: RWN by Rawan Jess Distressed Denim Jacket
Cost: $98
Paired With:
Sandals and belt (both mine)
Two items at once!  I tried to keep it simple this time around so I could get everything photographed and up fairly quickly.  The whole outfit was definitely inspired by this pin and I think Lana hit it spot on here!  The jacket sleeves did run a little long, and while I forgot to cuff them up for this photo, they’re definitely fine rolled up, and just the tiniest bit too long uncuffed.  The cut of the jacket is a little long too since I have such a short torso (that belt is at my ‘natural’ waist, and the jacket falls to the widest part of my hips), but it’ll be a really nice piece to throw over whatever I’m wearing as the weather turns, probably with a longer cut tunic top too.  I usually buy cropped style cardigans and jackets since a cropped length is actually the right length to hit a few inches below my waist like a normal cardigan/jacket should, instead of falling to my hips like this jacket does.  Still, I think it’ll be a good layering piece once cooler weather starts rolling in.  The distressing is also really lightly done – it’s not so much that it looks like it’s falling to pieces, just a few rips and thin spots so it looks well-loved.  The dress though!  The fabric is a nice weight knit with a wrap style top and SLEEVES!  The sleeves are just an inch or two too short for my comfort, so I still threw a white cardigan over this when I wore it.  I love adding belts to dresses like this to help really define a waist (I’m kind of shaped like a box through the middle, so anything to give me more of an illusion of a shape is a help).  I love that the wrap top is higher cut too.  Usually wrap tops and my short torso mean that I’m pinning them together because they dip way too low (like, below my bra band low), but this one didn’t shift and I didn’t feel like I had to fuss with it or worry about it a wardrobe malfunction.  The length is just right too!

Item: BRIXON IVY Jarred Lace Detail Cap-Sleeve Blouse
Cost: 
$58
Item: Kut From The Kloth Candace Split Hem Skinny Jean
Cost: $78
Paired With: 
Sandals (mine), Kimono Cardigan from the amazing Side Stitch by Ginny
I’ve been looking for more excuses to wear the cute cardigan I bought from a brilliant friend of mine, so this worked out great!  I’ve seen people post about the Kut From The Kloth jeans before and how amazing they are, and they’re not lying.  The jeans are quite possibly the most buttery smooth, stretchy denim I’ve ever worn and are so incredibly comfortable, it’s like wearing pajamas.  I think Lana zeroed in on my love of blue because these are just the prettiest shade of blue and I can tell you the non-standard-jeans color still probably goes with 90% of my wardrobe because admittedly, most of it is blue.  The length is great, and I’m sure they’ll look just as good with boots as they do with sandals.  The top has a really pretty lace detail at the center and on the cap sleeves, but as usual, I’m going to find a way to cover up my arms, so it’s nice to find a compromise with this kimono cardigan since it doesn’t sit quite so high on my shoulders and lets the sleeve detail show.  The lace “V” in the front does go pretty low, so I have to wear a cami underneath, but that’s no problem.  It’s a great top that can dress up or down.

Item: Honey Punch Zanth Embroidered Woven Panel Knit Top
Cost: 
$48
Paired With:
Kut From The Kloth Candace Split Hem Skinny Jean (this month’s Fix), sandals (mine)
This top is a light, breezy knit with embroidery down the front and a chiffon-ish inset on the sides.  There aren’t exactly sleeves, but the width of the top means I can comfortably wear this without a cardigan since it hangs down far enough on my arms.  This will also go well with the black skinny jeans from two months ago and will easily take me into fall with that jacket from this month too.  It’s just such a perfect, casual piece that I can throw on with jeans to run out to the grocery store or farmers market.  I do have to wear a cami underneath since it’s kind of sheer, but that’s absolutely not a problem.

The total for this Fix came to $360 which I think was my most expensive Fix yet.  I was a little hesitant on the jacket since it’s a bit too long of a fit in the body, but the 25% discount for keeping all five was $90 which meant that returning the jacket would only save me $8, so I ended up keeping it because I figured I’d still find ways to wear it (and I have!).  After the discount and taking off the styling fee, the box cost $250 ($270 with the styling fee included) for all five pieces.  I think the jeans have seen the most wear – have I mentioned how comfortable they are?!  I keep throwing them on when I head out of the house because they’re just so ridiculously comfortable, and I feel like they surprisingly make me look slimmer, something I thought skinny jeans weren’t capable of doing!  This was a really fantastic fix, and I’m super pleased with all the items!  I’m also amazed that my stylist, Lana, is getting a feel for what does and doesn’t work on my body type too.  She did mention in her note that the arms of the jacket may run long on me, so posting the review on the blog here is actually helping me get better customization and a better fit since Lana is doing a knockout job on following the details I leave here and on the Stitch Fix website and then applying those to her choices for me every month.  It really doesn’t get much more customized than that for off-the-rack clothing!  And, because I’ve already received August’s fix, that’s going up right after this!  In case you’re thinking about trying Stitch Fix and want to give me a little love, here’s my referral link!

One Local Summer 2017 – Meal 7

This one was actually made on June 12th, but lazy blogger is lazy (there’s a theme around here).  I decided to go wild and make my own pasta when I realized that my basil planters were getting out of control and needed to be thinned out anyway.  I already had mushrooms in the fridge, and went and added sauteed broccoli rabe and roasted beets onto the plate to add a little more vegetable to the carbs.  Pasta is actually pretty easy to make – my go-to recipe involves 1 cup of flour to 1/4th cup of liquid which can be anything from pureed roasted beets to plain old water or an egg.  Having the fancy Kitchen-Aid pasta attachment means there’s no kneading either, just fold, process through, refold, repeat until you get the right springy consistency.  It probably takes me all of 5 or 10 minutes to be honest!  The clean-up can be a little bit more involved since flour goes ev-ery-where (I’m the tazmanian devil in the kitchen, really), but it’s just so much better than the boxed stuff, even if it is more work.  For the pesto sauce, I used basil, a little bit of olive oil, water, garlic scapes, and some clover cheese from the Collective Creamery Cheese CSA delivery, all pureed with the stick blender.  The mushrooms and broccoli were sauteed together in a pan with olive oil, garlic, and a little splash of homemade vinegar.  The beets were roasted with olive oil and salt.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t go back to the tray of beets and polish them off later because it’s really easy to finish three beets when they’ve roasted down to sweet, delicious little bite-sized snacks.

Ingredients:
Flour – Mill at Anselma
Basil – My Garden
Garlic Scapes – Jack’s Farm
Beets – Jack’s Farm
Broccolo Rabe – North Star Orchard
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Garlic – Charlestown Farm
Cheese – Valley Milkhouse
Non Local – homemade vinegar, olive oil, salt