Local Meads

A local meadery, Haymaker Meadery, decided to run a fun competition among local beekeepers across three counties.  The idea was that beekeepers from Philadelphia, Chester, and Montgomery counties in Pennsylvania would bring in honey from their beehives which would then be turned into three separate meads using only honey from each individual county.  They collected the honey in August 2017 and in February 2018, the meads were finished, bottled, and ready to be tasted and judged.

Since I make mead at home as well, I was pretty psyched to be a part of this and rustled up two jars of honey to participate.  Each 2.5 lbs of honey is returned to the beekeeper in the form of a bottle of mead which is a pretty great trade!  Plus, participants also received a discount on purchases during the judging day.

The honey in the photo above is late Summer honey from my hives, so it’s darker than its earlier Spring counterpart.  As part of Chester County’s mead, the final product was indeed the darker of the three meads, so I have to imagine I wasn’t the only one bringing in fresh, late summer honey that was probably mostly clover-based.  After judging, the winner was declared to be Montgomery County’s mead, a lighter mead reminiscent of a Riesling with a touch of lemon and floral notes.  I’ll hand it to Montgomery County bees and beeks – they really put together some lovely honey to create a great mead.  I mean, they’re all good, and I was hard-pressed to pick a favorite since they all have their merits, but it was neat to see that even a matter of 10 or 20 miles could create honeys so different and as a result, meads that were so different.  Haymaker Meadery is looking to start another round of county-specific meads this year on Mead Day in August of 2018, so beekeepers, be sure to set aside some honey to participate this year!  It’s exciting to see your honey made into a professional mead, and getting to chat with other area beekeepers while sipping on delicious meads at judging day is a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  There may still be bottles of these three available at Haymaker, so I’d definitely suggest visiting the shop and trying some truly local flavor!

Sepia Saturday 410

I kind of lost steam on these and miss nearly a year’s worth of Sepia Saturdays.  Things have been pretty upside down here, but I’d like to get back at these since I still have SO many photos from the family collections to share.  This week’s theme image showed a police officer escorting a group of children.  I don’t have a police officer, but I do have a woman escorting two children.  The woman is Hilje (Dijkema) Jaarsma and this was likely taken in Uithiuzen, Netherlands in about 1945 or 1946.  She only has two children with her, so the youngest child, my husband’s father, is probably out of the photo (likely in the arms of the person taking the photo).  I haven’t been able to figure out the exact street where this was taken, but I’m pretty sure it was somewhere in Uithuizen since that’s where the kids were born and where Hilje and her husband lived before coming to the USA.  Anyway, a short and sweet one for this week to get back into the habit!

Dia & Co – March 2018

Well, I decided to give Dia & Co a try after Stitch Fix left me hanging yet again.  I won’t be posting that Stitch Fix delivery to the blog, but I did put it up on Instagram if you want to take a look.  It was a complete miss and I sent everything back, so it was a waste of $20 and I was incredibly disappointed.  Anyway!  Going through the process signing up for Dia & Co, I noticed that they asked a bunch more questions about fit and color/print preferences, so I’m hopeful that this will go better!  They also cater exclusively to plus sizes, so I have to imagine that they have a better sense of how plus size clothes work.  Simply adding a set number of inches to a straight size doesn’t make clothes fit a plus sized gal the right way, and I know Dia has a few brands on their list that I already love, so I feel like I might trust them more to get fit right.  First boxes tend to be a little bit of a gamble while the stylists get a feel for your personal style and fit, but the great thing about Dia & Co is that they let you upload pictures to show off how things from your box fit.  This is BRILLIANT for getting a better customization as time goes on.  My stylist, Rachael, sent along a note:

Welcome to the Dia & Co family!  We’re really excited to start this journey with you and build a wardrobe you’ll love to wear every day.  These Celebrity Pink skinny jeans have a three button closure which will bring a bit of retro style into all of your looks!  You can wear them out to dinner with the gorgeous Marybelle blouse and a pair of ankle boots for a fun and fabulous look.  As it starts to warm up, the Kut From The Kloth shorts will be a great piece to incorporate into your wardrobe, so wear them with the East Adeline tee and a pair of canvas shoes.  The City Chic dress will look stunning paired with t-strap heels and statement earrings.  Don’t forget to send us your feedback – we want to know what you like, what you don’t and and what styles you’re willing to try.  And most importantly, we want you to have fun with this!  xo, Rachael

Item: City Chic Lyra Dress
Cost: 
$89
Paired With: Shoes and Shrug (mine)
City Chic is a brand I REALLY love and their clothes always tend to fit me well.  I think I made a slight judgement error when putting in my sizes online since I kind of run between two sizes depending on the manufacturer, so this came in a size too big.  City Chic also tends to be a bit generous with sizing, so usually I go a size down with them.  The color is GOREGOUS and the material is a Polyester/Elastane blend, so it has a little bit of stretch.  As Rachael suggested, I grabbed my favorite pair of t-strap heels, but I don’t really have statement earrings since I have all those curls that end up getting tangled around dangly earrings.  I was SO torn over this dress because it really is lovely and in the right size it would be a dream (Dia & Co offers free size exchanges), but I just don’t have enough occasion to wear really nice dresses like this.  I think if it had been done in a more casual cotton blend, I might have kept it.  I noticed there was a polka dot version available as well, and that might have been a better match.

Item: Celebrity Pink Vanderbilt Skinny Three Button High Rise Jeans
Cost: 
$65
Paired With: Top (this box), boots (mine)
Item: Marybelle Bella Woven Blouse
Cost: 
$69
Paired With: Jeans (this box), boots (mine)
Let’s start with the jeans!  They were the right length, but the high rise just didn’t work with my short torso.  They came within about 4 inches of my bra band line and since I carry most of my weight around my bottom, they kind of looked like mom jeans.  I’m not quite brave enough to post the photo of them with a shirt tucked into the jeans, so let’s just say it wasn’t flattering.  But, the length was spot on!
The top.  Oh man, I adore the star print – it’s so cute and unique and exactly what I want to see.  Unfortunately, bell sleeves?  Ehhhhh.  I did love the crochet detail at the sleeves and near the hem, but ruffly/frilly sort of things just aren’t very me.  If the same print was on a more plain t-shirt or v-neck top?  DEFINITELY would’ve kept it.  I also find that I push up sleeves a lot if I’m too warm, so sleeves I can’t push up are probably not going to be a winner with me.  Rachael suggested ankle boots, but my favorite pair of black boots worked well enough.  I don’t even own a pair of ankle boots really?  Or at least, I couldn’t think of another boot pair of shoes I own that would work here.. I tend to go for calf-height boots usually.

Item: Kut From The Kloth Mason Walking Short
Cost: 
$69
Paired With: Navy top and shoes on left (mine) and top on right (this box)
Item: East Adeline Malia Short Sleeve Ruffle Peplum Tee
Cost: 
$55
Paired With: Shorts (this box), shoes (mine)
In the photo on the left, the red shorts are from Kut From The Kloth, a brand I already know and love.  At first my mind went, Shorts?!  It’s going to blizzard the snot out of us tomorrow, are you daft?  But then I put them on and between the inseam length, the soft denim, the color, and relaxed fit, I had to keep them.  Granted, I may not be able to actually wear them until May or June, but it’s a staple sort of piece that doesn’t go out of style.  Plus, as you can see by the top I picked from my own closet, I have lots and lots of navy colored tops I can pair with it this summer.  We also have a trip to the boat in the Netherlands coming up in June, so these will DEFINITELY be coming along.  Rachael suggested canvas shoes, and I have these super cute pair of sailor themed mary janes that were kind of begging to be included here.  Just don’t mind my blindingly pale legs – it’s been winter for a long time, dude.
For the right photo, I paired the two pieces from the box as suggested by the stylist, and eeekk that top.  Again with the ruffles not being my style, but also that the ruffles add so much width and bulk to my shape, and putting a ruffle at the biggest point of my body (hiii my hips) is probably not a great idea.  Peplums and I just don’t get along.

So, final thoughts.  I did only keep one piece, the shorts, but hopefully the feedback on the returns will be taken into consideration for next time.  I ended up going back into my profile and changing my size one lower on tops and dresses to help get a better fit right out of the box.  I am kind of between the two sizes depending on how tops fit – if the fit is more fitted close to the body, I go to the higher size, but if the fit is looser/free, I end up going with the lower size.  I’m not sure if ruffles and frilly bits are just a thing for fashion this year, but I’m not into it at all, so getting two tops with ruffles was a miss.  My profile is set to edgy/casual/retro and both tops felt more Bohemian I think?  But again, first boxes with clothing boxes are a chance for the stylist to get a feel for the client’s preferences, so they don’t always wow right off the bat.  Dia & Co also does some neat collaborations with big name designers, so I’m excited to see who they work with in the future!  Anyway, I’m looking forward to my next box and hope that they review the feedback and really nail it next time.  In case you’re thinking about signing up and want to use my referral link, here it is!

Espionage Cosmetics Nexus January 2018

The first Espionage Cosmetics Nexus shipments of the year have arrived!  The theme was, “Court of Fairies” and up above is the regular Nexus shipment.  Espionage Cosmetics recently launched a new Literary Nexus shipment, so you know I signed up for both because BOOKS.  But first, Standard Nexus!

  • Faerie Lace – On the top, with the tagline, “Woven with Magic,” these wraps are indeed woven with glow in the dark magic!  They’re a black lace design with little faeries in the corners, and they’re clear so you can use a colored nail polish underneath.  They’re so pretty and subtly nerdy, I just love them!
  • Neverland Fairies – I think it’s pretty obvious this means Tinkerbell!  And it’s absolutely precisely Tinkerbell.  I mean, how can you have a theme about Fairies and not include Tinkerbell, right?!  And, all that glitter, just as I’d expect from both EC and a nail wrap featuring that famous gal.

So, this is the Nexus Literary shipment also from January with the same theme.  Rightfully so, they include a bookmark that goes with the theme.

  • Wedded to Hippolyta – On the top with a quote by Puck from A Midsummer Nights Dream, these Literary wraps are perrrrfect!  The text glows in the dark and I love how they mix in the text and artwork to create a full set of nail wraps.  Also, Shakespeare!  And a badass woman.  I wasn’t able to figure out what painting the non-text wraps came from, but it works with the text.
  • Peter and Wendy – “Made of Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust,” in another nod to Peter Pan, these wraps feature a silver foil accent with silver glittery stars.  I just love the color palette on these with the dark blues and silver.  Pure magic!

So, that wraps up January’s theme!  I absolutely love all four nail wraps between the regular Nexus and the Literary Nexus.  I’m pretty sure my next manicure is going to be Neverland Fairies because it feels more and more like spring and that huge dose of glitter content is just the happiness I need in my life right now.  In case you’re thinking about subscribing, check out the link below!