Monday, March 30, 2015

Stitch Fix Take 2

So, second stitch fix time! I loved the dress I kept in my first fix, but was so so about everything else, especially the prices. For this fix, I requested Jessica, because us bloggers help each other out, right? 

Just a reminder, the link I am using in this post is a referral link - if you sign up for stitch fix, I get a $25 credit! Which is like free money, and who doesn't like free money. Nobody, that's who.

When I got the notification that my fix had shipped, I hopped on over to get a sneak peak on what was being sent, and I was so disappointed. I googled / pinterested to see if I could see the items I was getting and nothing really screamed out to me, or made me that excited. Not to mention, the total for this one was more than my last one.

Then I opened the box. Oh holy moly was I in trouble. This stitch fix was the one I almost kept everything.

This time I took the photos in the bathroom at work. Classy like. The mirror is better. You're welcome.

Skies are blue #5138-621 Yona Printed Dress - $68 - Returned

So I saw a very similar dress (here) and pinned it, and I assume that is why Jessica sent me this one. Spot on - seriously love this one even more than the one I pinned. Blue is way more 'me' and I really love this dress. Trouble is, it was too big up top, and you can't even really see it, but I can. I really wanted to keep this dress, I really really loved it - but for the price, it needed to fit perfectly. 


Market & Spruce #5519-855 Corinna Striped Heathered Dolman Top - $48- Kept

Considering this is the one I asked for originally, I was really excited to receive it. When I saw what I was getting, I thought this would be the only item I would like (haha). I don't know why I didn't like the first dolman top I received in my first fix, but I don't care because I knew this little pretty and I would be best friends. 


41Hawthorn #4625-584 Trip Longsleeve Colorblock Sweater - $58 - Returned


Oh my gosh you guys, this just might be the softest sweater I have ever beheld. It is so pretty, and lovely, and I wanted to love it. Purple is my favourite colour, but not on clothes. I had seen and pinned this sweater (here) and I liked the colour I pinned, I just didn't love the colour I received. I knew I would never reach for it, so back it went. It was so soft though, and I would definitely have kept it if it was the other colours.


Street Level #5709-917 Jacey Striped Reversible Tote - $62 - Returned

When I saw that I was receiving a $62 tote, I was not impressed. Then.. I opened the box. Oh my gosh. I am in love with this tote. It's reversible, and huge. It has this super cute wristlet (not reversible) which can be used on it's own or connected to the bag for things you don't want to lose. Jessica said she sent it to me because I mentioned I was going to Europe and it would be great for travelling.

That being said, I'm not big on totes, and I am still using that JustFab bag I got for $20 back in August. I don't switch out my handbag often, and I have never used a tote for travelling before. I might be inclined to try it, but not for Europe. Especially because some of the flights we are taking in Europe are very particular about the 'one item' and my purse needs to fit in my carry on suitcase for those flights. The bag had a magnetic closure which I'm not a fan of, I like to be able to zip my bag shut.

Something else - and I truly did not set out to find this out - there was nothing on the bag about if it was real leather or not. I can't tell, I'm not good with stuff like that, but I won't buy real leather. So I googled the brand and the tote, found a bunch of sites selling this brand but not this exact bag - Nordstrom, Target, GoJane, even Amazon. All their bags were vegan leather so I assumed this one was as well.. They were also all cheaper than stitch fixThat bothered me slightly. If I had kept everything and gotten the discount, the bag would have worked out to be cheaper than the other stores pricing. Now, I didn't find the striped version anywhere, and I love the stripes the most, and they were the main reason I almost kept it. Not even kidding. Stripes erryday.

In the end, I returned it because it wasn't perfect and I just didn't love it. But, the bag seemed to be great quality and if it had been a bit cheaper, it might have stayed with me.



Gilli #5643-801 Kadence Cowl Drape Front Dress - $64 - Kept!

I was so disappointed when I saw this online. I asked for cute casual dresses for Europe, and this looked too fancy for me. This is what I meant by casual. 

When I opened the box, I was surprised but still not convinced. It's soft, like jersey material. Then I tried it on. This is why they tell you to try everything on! It is gorgeous. It fit so freaking well. Seriously. Jessica said it could be dressed up or down, and she was right. I could picture this with flip flops and a denim jacket for sightseeing, heels and a statement necklace for a night out on the town. Heck, I think I can even wear it to work with a blouse underneath (thoughts?). Seriously, I love it. The colour is gorgeous (navy, I tried to show it in the pictures) and did I mention I loved the way it fit? It was fitted up top and loose over my hips and booty. It's also long enough which as any somewhat tall girl knows.. is really freaking hard to find. Plus, it made my boobs look bigger than a 12 year olds, right?

I almost returned it. I am not a fan of cowl necks at all. Do I own any cowl necks? No. I didn't think I would wear it. But it pained me to put it back in the box, so I tried it on again. Sent the picture to my besties. Waited a bit. Tried it on again. Slept on it. Tried it on. Decided I loved it. The fit, length and colour trump any uneasiness about the cowl neck (which might just be me being ridiculous).


So, when I saw what I was getting in my stitch fix, I was disappointed and figured I would send everything back but the striped top and maybe the first dress. But after trying everything on, and  loving the cowl neck dress more, digging the bag and being so so about the first dress and the sweater, I wasn't sure. It was cheaper and better value to keep everything than to only get the 3 things I was considering. The total for everything was $300 - to see that number after 5 items made me want to cry. But, you get the 25% discount, plus I had a $25 credit so it would have been $205. That's just $41 for each item, which is not bad at all. 

I checked 'keep it!' for everything and almost checked out, but I made myself stop. I had until today, there was no need to rush. So I went home, slept on it, tried everything on again. I really love the cowl neck dress and the striped top. The total for both of them was $112, but after the $25 off it was only $87. Which is $43.50 for each item (I know you can do the math, sorry) and not bad at all. If I added the bag, the total would have been $174 and I might as well have paid a bit more to keep everything and get the discount, which, after a night of sleep, didn't make much sense after all. I do like the bag, but for $62 I had to love it and know I would use it, and I know I won't.

So anyway, I'm rambling - I almost kept it all but I'm glad I didn't. I might have kept it all if I hadn't already spent so much this month - a trip to DC, new running shoes, a lot of work tops... but that's a story for another day.

In my opinion, Jessica hit it out of the park. With little adjustments (different colour sweater, zipper for the bag, first dress a bit smaller) everything would have been perfect, which is amazing for the first time that she's styled me. I'm still amazed that the one I thing I 'hated' before I saw it was the one thing I loved the most. Funny that. The prices are still higher than I would like to pay, and after everything I have spent in March, I am on a strict hardcore no spending absolutely no shopping ban until further notice. Which means my next stitch fix won't be for a little while, though I am already excited for it. I am definitely requesting Jessica again though, and if you sign up, I highly recommend her.

Overall, stitch fix is fun to look forward to and it helps me not shop online as much because I am waiting for my fix. Is it for everyone? No. Is that okay? Yes. If you have no problems shopping, you don't need it. If you aren't a good shopper, or you buy way too much and have nothing to show for it (aka me) it might be worth a shot. 

Any thoughts on my items? Have you tried stitch fix?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Sweats Vol 1

I knew it was only a matter of time before I followed in Tracy, Alyssa and Jenn's footsteps. Don't judge me. Also, don't feel like you need to read these (permission to hit red X granted) because these are mainly for me and people who like reading about other people's workouts. It's okay if you aren't one of them!

Monday: 2 mile treadmill run (10:00 p/m) + yoga (15 mins)
Still taking it slow with my new shoes. Yoga for Hangovers when I got home, I didn't have a hangover but I wanted to give it a whirl; plus if one day I do have a hangover, I want to already know the video. If that makes sense. It probably doesn't. But whatever. I cannot imagine doing that video whilst hungover, I could barely do some of the poses as it were. But, the poses were those that I could just feel the improvement a few practices away. Not unattainable, if that makes sense.

Tuesday: lower body strength workout (30 mins) + yoga (15 mins)
It's been awhile since I've done a strength workout, but I worked hard. Squats, pliĆ© squats, deadlifts, lunges. I normally like to stick to the big 3, but I threw some pliĆ© squats in there because I like the inner thigh burn. That sounds odd, I know. Did a bit of yoga / stretching at the gym hoping it would help alleviate the dreaded 'leg day' soreness tomorrow. 

Was planning on doing my favourite yoga for runners video but KC decided to do abs and because I'm overjoyed he is doing even a little bit of yoga, I joined him in the day 4 yoga for abs video.

Wednesday: 2 mile treadmill run (10:00 p/m) + yoga (20 mins)
Legs were sore today, but I (cockily) thought I had dodged the worst of it because of the yoga I did at the gym yesterday. Planned on 3 miles this morning but barely got through 2. Legs sore, blister on my heel from the new shoes. Need better socks. Think I need to run outside to get a real feel for the shoes. Hurry up 6am sunrise please, you make life so much easier.

I did about 20 minutes of yoga after my run and a couple stopped to ask me what I was doing as it looked like it hurt (pigeon). I explained, the woman sounded interested, I shared the bad yogi love and she said she'd definitely be checking it out on youtube. Yay!

Thursday: Lazy rest day.
I didn't sleep well so I didn't get up and go to the gym to do my upper body workout. Womp womp.  I meant to do something when I got home, but then.. I didn't. Legs were so sore I could barely walk. Why is the second day always worse? I also got 2 lots of bad news and 1 'that's great but I'm on the other side of the world so it makes me sad that I'm not there' news and I just wanted to wallow in expat self pity for a little while.

Friday: Another lazy rest day.
I didn't get up and go to the gym this morning, most likely because I didn't yesterday. Lazy breeds lazy. Did I mention my legs are still sore from Tuesday's leg work out? Note to self, don't take so much time off again. Also, still wallowing.

Saturday: Yoga at a real live studio with real people 
(75 mins)
I went to a studio. I was so excited and ridiculously nervous. I got there super early after stressing about what to wear and if my mat was okay (I rented one instead) and did the Intro to Yoga class. The class is for beginning beginners, like yoga 101. Super helpful and I really enjoyed it. I came home feeling all yogi like, more confident and excited for the next class. Then I sat on my butt for the rest of the day.

Sunday: Yoga (30 mins)

I was going to run today because I didn't run yesterday, but I have this thing in the back of my knee that has been nagging at me all week, not sure what it is or how I did it, but I figured it would be better to take the day off, stretch some more, and start fresh tomorrow. Also, lazy breeds lazy, remember. Went to TJ Maxx for some new workout clothes, got home and obviously had to test them out. Did hamstring flow and wrists and hands videos. In class yesterday, my wrists were really hurting in down dog. The teacher explained how to avoid that, but explaining and doing are two different things and I couldn't quite get them to stop hurting.

Yoga 5 /  155 minutes
Running 2 / 4 miles
Strength 


Thoughts:

- Such a good feeling to workout in the morning. Really sets me up for the day and the week. I need to keep going throughout the week because one day off breeds more days off.


- I got a great deal on a groupon for that yoga studio that I had been wanting to try for awhile. It's for 10 classes and is valid for like 90 days, after that I would like to get to a point where I do a studio class once a week. One class down and I already feel a bit improved, or at least more confident. Bonus, because the class I went to is normally $5, they let me pay for it and save the groupon for the more expensive classes.

- The papa john's 10 miler is next weekend. I don't feel ready for it all, it's my least favourite race and I have had issues in the past. I'm not going to bail or anything, but I told myself I will not register for the Derby half unless the papa john's race goes well, and I don't think it is going to go well enough for me to sign up for the half. We'll see.

- My yoga mat is pretty embarrassing and almost falling apart. I need a new one that the cool kids at the yoga studio won't make fun of me if I bring it. Just kidding, but really, I need a new one. I tried looking but got overwhelmed with all the choices. Suggestions?

Next week:

Run more, do both strength workouts and don't be lazy.

http://ownkindofbeauty2012.blogspot.com/


Linking up with Holly. Here's to an even better week.

Friday, March 27, 2015

A letter to books

Dear books,

I thought I would write you a letter and post it on my blog as I never talk about books on my blog, so I figured no-one would mind.



First off, I want to say thank you for being the best friend I ever had. You've never let me down, you never left me, and you never held it against me if I didn't want to be your friend for a few months. But really, when I was an awkward kid and couldn't figure out why people didn't like me, why they were mean or why I didn't like the same things.. you never judged me. You held out your arms and welcomed me every time. You made me feel normal.

You stayed with me during the annoying teenage years when I thought I was too good for you. You said 'You'll be back Kristen. This isn't you' and I scoffed. What did you know? My 'friends' didn't like you, neither did I. But you were right. You snuck back in by introducing me to Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and my one true love, Pride & Prejudice. It was then that I realised you knew me, you had my back, and you'd never let me down. I forgive you for showing me Twilight. Just kidding, I love all of you just the way you are.. Exactly how you love me.

Our relationship is the longest I've ever had. But on top of our awesome history, I am thankful you are in my life for a multitude of reasons. Shall I share them with you?

Since I drive to work, I can't read whilst operating a vehicle. I used to, but then I had an accident, so thank goodness for audiobooks! They allow me to keep you around at all times. They allow me to combine things I love, like running and reading, and things I don't necessarily love, like cleaning and reading. So, thanks for that.

You've never judged me, even when I have to google a word within your pages. Especially when I say 'screw it' and I don't google, you don't judge me for just assuming what the word means based on the words around it. Heck, you helped me understand Americans, because I do that exact thing when I don't understand something they say.

I feel like you make me smarter. Is that true? I don't think so, but I feel it, and that's what matters (another lesson learned from you, you multi tasking teacher, you).

Sometimes I need to put the world on a time out, I need to pretend I'm a different person in a different life. Does that mean I don't like my life? Absolutely not - and you understand, and you let me be whoever I want with zero judgement.

You taught me how to feel. I have lost, loved, felt tricked, grown with, hated, laughed with, befriended more fictional characters than people in real life, and I cherish every adventure and every emotion from every relationship. I have never felt alone with you by my side, even when I was.

You taught me that no-one knows everything. Even me. You taught me that it's okay to be different, to think differently, to want something different. You taught me to think for myself. You taught me how to empathise with people, even crazy people. I am able to translate that to real life, and realise that I don't know everyone's story and shouldn't judge so quickly.

A book can change everything. You have changed the way I view a situation I thought I had a firm opinion of, you have opened my eyes to things I would never have considered on my own, you have changed the way I live and the choices I make. You make me look around and be thankful for what I have, you make me more aware of the world, you make me realise the little moments are just as important as the big ones.

Most importantly, with every book I read, you teach me something new. You have showed me things I would never have seen without you. You teach me more about myself than I ever would have learned without you.

Actually, I think most importantly would be that I can wear sweatpants or no pants when I'm with you, and still be doing something productive. So, thank you for that. Please don't ever leave me.


Ps. Training for Tuesday is next week - the 31st.  You should link up with the girls, share how your resolutions are going, or any goals you have, races you ran, if you're training for anything, changes you've made - whatever! I'd love to read them! I'll finally be talking about the RnR half, my 5th half that was by far the worst race I've ever run, but I'm not letting it get me down!

alyssagoesbang

Have a good weekend everyone!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Operation (most of) the States

A few weeks ago, I saw people posting maps of the US with the states that they had been to. So I posted my own, and I knew I had been to 22 states (plus DC) but actually putting it on the map made me feel like I'd not accomplished that much. I mean, I know I have done more than most Americans and certainly more than most Australians, but I feel like I've travelled quite a bit and don't have the stamps on the map to prove it.

kristen has been to 22 US States

I kinda want to get this notebook to document my travelling through the States, but I honestly don't know if I'll ever go to all of them or if I want to.. or rather if my travelling partner will want to or if we can afford it. Lots of ors. I think maybe I want to at least get to where I have been to more than half. Also, technically, I have been to more than 22. Most of my travelling was done in 2009 on my first trip to the US and it was such a whirlwind that I have trouble remembering it all.

Alabama - technically I have been here. When I came to America in 2009 I did this big 3 week tour and we arrived at a campsite somewhere in Alabama, had dinner and hung out, went to sleep and left the next morning. I don't count it because I literally didn't see or do anything outside of the campsite.

Alaska

Arizona -
I went to Arizona in 2009 including the Grand Canyon. Tons o Fun and I would love to go back.

the sun was so bright that it was so hard to keep our eyes open. so.. we covered them.

Arkansas

California -
I went here in 2011 with my Mum and we met up with KC and his Mom at Disney. We also drove around LA to see the sites, Hollywood and such. I'd love to go back, specifically to San Fran & San Diego.


Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Florida - I have been to Disney World twice. I really want to go back to do the Princess Half Marathon (probably Feb 2016). Of course there is so much more to Florida than Disney, and I'd love to see it.


Georgia

Hawaii - I went to Hawaii with my mum and it was great except KC happened to break up with me and it kinda killed the vibe. I still managed to do lots and have a good time, though I'd love to go back to make some better memories. It is so expensive though.


Idaho

Illinois - The very first city I went to in America was Chicago (not including LAX of course). I saw Rascal Flatts and did some shopping. Other than that, we go to a small town in Illinois at least twice a year because KC has family there.


Indiana - Indy is right across the river so I have been here a couple times. Hubers Winery & Football games mainly.


Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky - I've been here a couple times...


Louisiana - In 2009 we went to New Orleans and a smaller town that I don't remember the name of. A few people went on a swamp tour and we went to a local coffee shop where they were playing the weirdest instruments I've ever seen and made us dance with them. They were the friendliest people I've ever met and wish I could remember the name or had taken photos. We walked from one end of the town to the other in 15 minutes. Small. New Orleans was SOFUN but I would love to go back and be less drunk and remember more.


Maine - Went here recently with the girls. Kind of. In the boat. I count it. Ok, I'm counting it for all the states that I've kinda gone to.


Maryland - We stayed in Maryland the first time I went to DC in 2009. We did stuff, I just barely remember it.

Massachusetts - Boston and Salem, yay!


Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi - I think we drove through here. Not sure.

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada - Vegas! Been to Vegas 3 times, I love it. So much more than gambling and drinking.


New Hampshire - This is where our friend lives that we went to visit recently, so we spent most of our time here.


New Jersey - Technically I have been here. When we went to NYC in 2009, our tour ended here and most people stayed here. We hung out for a few hours, ate at a Burger King then caught the bus to NYC. We spent like 2 hours in NYC then I went to my hotel and crashed.

New Mexico - I don't remember much, except it was really hot and had lots of pretty shops. We went to Santa Fe.


New York - I spent like 14 hours in the city in 2009, 10 of those in my hotel room so.... yeah. We went back in December and it was amazing.



North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio - At the end of my trip in 2009 I went to Columbus on my own to see Rascal Flatts again (don't judge) and do some more shopping. I was so worn out I spent most of my time in the hotel, eating. I have since been back to Cincy (KC's and my 'first date') and just outside Cincy to see Bill Burr with KC.


Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania - When I came to America in 2011 with my mum, her requirements were Vegas, Disney and Toby Keith. He was going to have 2 shows in PA that fit in our dates, so there we went. York and .. somewhere else I don't remember except I wore thongs (flip flops) and it was freaking freezing, something about a mountain. Mum had fun and we had great tickets for Toby both times, but our hotel was the worst I've ever stayed in and we had massive issues with rental cars.

an actual photo my mum took of her Toby
Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee - I have been to Tennessee 4 times, technically. Knoxville (we stopped to eat), Nashville (2010), Nashville (2012), Gatlinburg (2013).


Texas - I loved Texas. The people were so friendly here. I did get ridiculous, embarrassingly, alcohol poisoningly drunk and it was pretty sucky but other than that, a great time. We went to San Antonio.


Utah - I don't remember much except we went horse riding here and I almost got thrown off the horse because a rattlesnake scared the horse and the guy shot the snake. Scary.

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia - I remember the campsite and going white water rafting (SO FUN) and the super hot guy who was our guide. So fun.

Wisconsin - KC and I drove up here for a Green Bay game and it was the coldest I've ever been. It was fun, but I still can't pronounce the state.


Wyoming

DC - I have been to DC three times, I love it!


Phew! Why do you all have so many states?!  When we got back from NYC, KC suggested San Fran for our trip next Christmas.. I about lost my mind. 1) he never suggests travel ever and 2) SAN FRAN!! Not sure if we will actually go, but we'll see. I think I'd rather go to that side of the country in the summer, because it would be nicer weather and we'd have more time.

Where should I go that I haven't been?