Friday, June 28, 2013

Fan of Friday: Week of 6/28/2013

My friend Mary is the only other person I know who's also really into watching Youtube bloggers. We've had great debates about our favorites. The one we've differed on the most has been Fleur deForce, another British beauty blogger, like Tanya, Zoe, and Louise. For some reason, I just hadn't sat down and watched a lot of her stuff. Probably just because I was stubborn.

However, I finally caved and I'm glad I did because I love this girl.

I feel like I relate to her more than the other bloggers. She just purchased a home with her fiance, she takes way too many videos of her pets, she doesn't have any kids. I like to think she's the blonde, British version of me, if I had friends and didn't worry about fitting into my pants so much.

Yes, she does talk a lot of make up and that sort of stuff, but I like her more for her personal vlogs. I'm just a creeper and love to watch videos about people's every day lives. I like watching people cook dinner and drive in their cars and hang out with their friends while grocery shopping. It's like a tiny, little actually interesting reality show.

She also has a wedding channel where she plans her wedding in August. I've watched a couple of those videos, but I'm probably better off not being reminded of all the stress and frustration that can come along with planning a wedding (So glad that's behind me...)

However, I am really looking forward to her Christmas videos at the end of the year and hoping to do something similar come December.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How to Pack for Six Days in a Carry-On

Unless I'm traveling for weeks at a time, I don't use anything larger than a carry-on roller bag anymore. This last trip to Ohio was a little more difficult than my typical three day business trips. With a day at Cedar Point, two days of hanging out with Dan's family, and a wedding, fitting it all in a single bag was a bit of a challenge.

Here's what I ended up bringing:

Ohio Travel

Some things to note:
  • Cardigans for needed warmth on airplanes.
  • Comfortable shoes for the amusement park. Also, shorts with lots of pockets so you don't need a purse.
  • Flats for dressy occasions to take up less room in the suitcase than heels. 
  • Plan for hairstyles without straighteners, curling irons, or hair dryers to minimize the amount of tools you need to pack and the amount of time you hog the bathroom at your relatives' house.  
  • Unless you're really messy, jeans and pants can be worn twice, as well as layers like sweaters.
  • I find that most jewelry isn't worth the hassle of packing. Necklaces, bracelets, and earrings have too high a risk of getting tangled or lost. Functional accessories like belts and sunglasses are much easier.
And a couple of pictures of the outfits in action:

Day 2: Theme Park
Day 5: Wedding
Now, I can't claim to be an expert packer, but with all the traveling I seem to be doing lately, I think I'm getting pretty good at it.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Stitch Fix Review: Judgement Day

Click here to read my first review of Stitch Fix and an overview of how the process works.

Click here to read my second review.

If you read my last review, you will know that I was on the fence. I was completely torn about Stitch Fix. My third box was to be the deciding vote between a decent first box and a frustrating second box.


Stitch Fix is a lie.

A lie, I say.

Let's start out with some of the information that Stitch Fix had about me. 1) I requested a maxi skirt and breathable work clothes, since, you know, it's June and Tucson is the surface of the sun this time of year. 2) I don't like shear shirts, mentioned by me and commented on by my stylist in the last box. 3) Under the materials portion of my style profile, it says I do not want polyester. 4) The only pattern I would like to avoid is paisley, part of the style profile.

OK, remember all those things.

Here's what they sent me!

On the description sheet of the clothes, there was a note from my stylist saying they were currently all out of maxi skirts. I don't really understand that, especially since I made the request for a maxi skirt about a month ago (plenty of time to set one aside for me), but I didn't really hold it against them because they tried to make it up to me with the first dress.

Cyrus Striped Maxi Dress by Fraiche by J, $118. This dress has a lot of pros. It's long like a maxi skirt. The fabric seemed nice and breathable. The cut is very on trend. However, it was $118. Ouch. And it was too clingy. I shouldn't have to break out the spanx for a maxi dress. I want a skirt with more flow to it, like my Walmart maxi dress. Also, I feel like they were trying too hard with the slimming elements of the dress. A little bit of black along the edge is slimming, but this was too much. Back in the box. {Sidenote: let's not talk about my ridiculously long bangs. I've since gotten my hair trimmed up.}

Calafia Jersey Wrap Dress by 41Hawthorn, $58. Another breathable dress, this one with pockets. It was actually really cute and twirly. I'm sure a lot of people could have worn this to their comfortable desk jobs. However, for me and my job, I move around too much to not worry about exposing myself. Because it's a wrap dress, I would have needed a cami under it to insure my boobs wouldn't pop out. And because it's short, leggings would have probably been a requirement. It just wasn't worth the required layering. Also, the quality of the dress was pretty bad. The slot for threading the tie through the dress wasn't hemmed (I don't know the proper term, but the edges were rough) and the fabric felt kind of cheap. Back in the box.

Kourtney Dot Print Blouse by I. Madeline, $68. So the first two weren't actually that bad. These next two, however, piss me off. It's a long sleeved, shear, polyester, flowy, button-up blouse. Yuck. The only, single redeeming quality of this blouse were the tiny gold buttons, which refused to stay buttoned. Nope, back in the box.

Patsy Paisley Print Button-Up Tank by 19 Cooper, $58. Alright, you ready? It's a paisley, sleeveless, shear, polyester, flowy, button-up blouse. There were two things I like about this top. One, the green was a very pretty color. Two, the detailing in the hemming at the bottom of the blouse. It created a nice, little panel that I kind of enjoyed. That is until I saw it in the mirror. The panel only covers the front half of the blouse. It's got this weird fishtail in the back so you would have to tuck it in. And if you tucked it in, you would hide the cute panel in the front! Back in the box!

Rashida Floral Print Tabsleeve Top by Collective Concepts, $68. First impression of this shirt was not in its favor. It's another kind of shear, polyester, flowy top. However, because of the pattern, you wouldn't really have to layer it to avoid being trashy. Also, no button-up, which I prefer in my flowy tops. And the sleeves and neckline were cute details. For the sake of transparency, I should let you know that I would not have kept this blouse if I didn't have a $25 discount, making the blouse $43, which is still A LOT for a blouse you aren't over the moon about. I did wear it to work and it is growing on me, but I still don't love it like my indigo blazer from the first box or the cherry tank top from the second.

Kind of a shame there were no accessories in the box this time because they've been posting about some cute ones on their blog lately.

So, if you haven't already guessed, I'm done with Stitch Fix. They just don't deliver what they claim.

I may consider trying again in a couple of months if there's evidence that they've somehow gotten better and are now actually trying to pick out pieces their customers would like, but don't hold your breath.

*This post was not sponsored by Stitch Fix. All opinions are my own.*

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fan of Friday: Week of 6/21/13

On our grand Ohio adventure, the one souvenir I got is not really souvenir-ish at all, but that how I roll. Because it was abnormally cold for May in Ohio, my mother-in-law hadn't packed any long pants. In an emergency shopping spree, we went to Walmart.

Let me make something very clear, I avoid Walmart like the plague. You know that website, "People of Walmart"? The people are sooo much scarier in Tucson Walmarts.

However, the one in Ohio wasn't that bad. Yes, the people are still scary, but we had numbers on our side so we all somehow survived.

And I didn't leave empty-handed. I walked out with this awesome $15 maxi dress. My first maxi dress. It's made of a breathable knit that isn't too clingy. It's perfect for all the errands that get put off until the weekend.

Summer Maxi Dress

Match it with big sunglasses so I don't have to do my make-up and my amazing crab sandals and you're good to go.

I still haven't gotten used to the feeling of the dress flapping against my shins when I walk. I awkwardly bunch it up a bit like a girl trying to walk around in a prom dress. I'm classy, ladies and gentlemen.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My First Haul from Lush

Tucson recently opened up its first Lush shop. Aren't we so fancy now? I've been hearing for months now from all the beauty bloggers I follow how great it is and I was itching to find out for myself. After driving all the way across town, I refused to leave empty handed.

In case Lush is new to you, too, its an all organic, handmade beauty store. Which was all news to me when I walked in. As well as the cost! The four items I ended up with were probably four of the cheapest in the store, yet it still cost me $51. Yikes!

Anyway, to the stuff I bought. First is this Karma Kream hand and body cream. It's thick and luxurious and smells of orange and patchouli oil. I can't say I notice a difference in my skin, but the scent does seem to linger on my skin all day.

Then, I bought these shower jellies for my sister and me. The clerk said they're great to freeze on a hot day and rub down with. Mine, the blue one, smells like a yellow gummy bear. My sister's, the purple, smells like grape jelly.

Lastly, for my mom, I bought a bath bomb. I was really looking forward to trying one out myself, but since we only use our bath tub to rinse out paint brushes, it was not to be. However, my mom has a gorgeous tub and can appreciate a good, long soak.

So, overall, good experience. But between the cost and the time and travel, I'm good with my ordinary stuff from Target.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Project House Update: The List - Version 1.0

I mention a lot about how much work there is to do to our house and I feel like we're always behind. While our house is 99.99% livable, we knew when we bought it that there would be quite a few things we needed to update and upgrade.

When you walk around the house, it wouldn't seem like that much, but when you start to budget out your time and money, it adds up reaaaaally fast. In order to fully grasp the situation, I made a list. A list to end all lists.

So without further ado, here's a room-by-room guide to what we've done so far and what still needs to be done!

*means something Dan wants to do and I am trying to talk him out of.
#means something I want and Dan is ignoring and hoping I'll forget/change my mind.


Done: Painted, installed new light fixture, set up corner table, hung some art
To Do: New flooring, new baseboards, maybe repaint a more neutral, subtle color#, new light*, coat rack or console table.

Dining Room:

Done: Painted, hung curtains
To Do: Hang some art, new flooring, new baseboards, new light fixture, new chairs, redo dresser into china cabinet, maybe repaint a more subtle yellow#.

Formal Living Room:

Done: Hung curtain rod and curtains, hung ceiling fan, painted
To Do: Redo fireplace, new floors, new molding, build built-in bookcases, new light fixtures*, get fireplace working, hang art.

Kitchen/Breakfast Nook:

Done: Painted, new ceiling fan in breakfast nook, removed awkward ceiling fan in kitchen, installed new microwave, purchased refrigerator
To Do: New floors, new cabinets, new range instead of built-in oven and cook top, new counter tops, additional lighting under cabinets, pendant lighting over the sink, new bar stools, finish painting chairs for breakfast nook, new windowsills in nook*, new sink.

Great Room:

Done: Painted, purchased entertainment center, routed cables through the wall, hung art, hung TV, new coffee table.
To Do: New floors, new molding, maybe repaint a more subtle color#, widen doorway to entryway, new ceiling fan*, add more seating, add sofa table.

Master Bedroom:

Done: Painted, installed new ceiling fan, purchased dressers, new blind blades
To Do: New floors, redo fireplace, window treatments to hide ugly vertical blinds, install crown molding, new door (instead of stupid sliding pocket door)#, purchase bed frame, find side table for Dan, more lighting.

Master Bathroom/Closet:

Done: -
To Do: Paint, new floors, new vanities, remove overhead dry wall pocket*, frame mirrors, new window treatment, french doors into closet, pimp the closet (This one's ALL me!), new shower*

Guest Room/Guest Bath/Guest Closet:

Done: Painted bookcase and end table, bought bedding, painted room, installed new ceiling fan, window treatments, magazine shelves
To Do: New floors, modify bed frame, new cabinets and countertop, new toilet, new shower doors, paint bathroom and closet.

Hall Bathroom:

Done: -
To do: penny floors!, paint, frame mirror, new toilet, update tub, new lighting, hang some art, new cabinets and countertop*


Done: Hung art
To Do: Stain shelving, remove desk and install cabinets, new window treatment, paint, new floors, new lighting, new window, new ceiling fan, new desk(s).

Workout Room:

Done: wiring for ceiling fan
To Do: paint, new floors, ceiling fan, new windows, new window treatments, new lighting

Laundry Room:

Done: Purchased washer and dryer, electrical work on lighting.
To Do: Paint, new floors, move sink into garage, build platform for washer/dryer, purchase deep freezer, straighten out crooked pantry, install some shelving, find bench and storage for shoes, new lighting.


Done: Build Turtle's habitat, removed pokey bush
To Do: Remove gravel, plant some trees, fire pit, build housing to hide pool pipes, convert exterior shower into a shed, replace outdoor lights


Done: Removed fountain, planted one tree, removed a ton of dead cactus
To Do: redo driveway, paint garage door, new driveway lights

Other things we've done: new roof.

Other things to do: build Dan's external shop.

See? A LOT of stuff left to do. Ugh...

Friday, June 14, 2013


After being with my company for 2+ years, I've lived to tell the tale about my first round of layoffs.

You know how some people sometimes say that layoffs are a good thing? A way to finally cut the fat that needed to be cut long ago? This isn't that. My company cut the fat a long time ago. They've been cutting into the meat for a while.

This was more than meat. This was to the bone. This was taking the limb clean off. This was cutting off your nose to spite your face.

I missed the magnitude of the first shockwave because I was working from home the past couple of days due to my flu. I called into a department meeting, expecting to be told yet again that there would be no raises this year. I guess I should have seen the writing on the wall. Over the phone, you could tell that my manager was trying to avoid eye contact when he said the word "layoff".

It was quite a tense half hour between the end of that call and the beginning of the next one when my manager fortunately told me I was safe. However, because I was at home, it was basically a cone of silence all day. No whispered gossip of who had already heard they were safe. No one wants to be the person to put it into text.

Now everyone seems to quietly walk the halls like zombies. We're all kind of lost. Schedules and deadlines are a mess. No one is really sure of who remains and what their job is anymore. On the project I've been working on for the past two months, the person who I was supposed to hand it off to is now gone. Along with his entire department. Yet, I chug along.

My dad, who had worked for this same company for 30+ years and fortunately survived too, said he's never seen it this bad. It is bad.

I've always joked that I didn't see my company surviving the next five years. There's just so much mismanagement by the high up bureaucrats that it's always felt like they are working against us. It was just a joke I made, but I'm really afraid that it's coming true now.

This was a watershed week. It has yet to be seen if this is a beginning of a new chapter or the beginning of the end.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Boo Boo Kitty

I had a big, long post planned for today, but apparently I am coming down with something that makes me want to bash my head against anything hard any time I move.

Instead, here are some pictures of my cats taking care of me. My apologies, but this is what you're going to get.

Here is Rusty, sitting on my feet, drooling and scratching at my toes.

And here is Sam, perched on my knee, angry that I'm not petting him.

Good thing they're cute!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Oh hi! Ohio! The wedding

In this week's series about our trip to Ohio, I'll wrap it up with a description of the event we actually traveled out there for: Dan's cousin's wedding.

(Sidenote: I was really hoping the bride would have already posted some of the professional pictures of the wedding to borrow from, but you're just stuck with my photos for now.)

It was a beautiful wedding. Every last detail was given attention. I guess that's what happens when the bride is an event manager for a brand new hotel in the heart of downtown Columbus.

Speaking of the hotel, staying in the hotel was probably my favorite part of the experience. Dan only likes to stay in Best Westerns and this hotel was lightyears better than a Best Western.

The ceremony overlooked the river and was well timed between two trains going over the bridge in the background. I swear she must have looked up the train schedule and planned around it.

There was a fun little moment at the reception where Dan put out a fire on the guest book table. Our table was right next to the guest book table and my seat was facing it. There were some candles on it, along with a bunch of programs and the guest book. The day was pretty windy and all the windows in the glass building were open. After starring at the candles for a couple seconds, I asked Dan, "Is that a candle?" The flame looked too big to be one of the tealights. Dan quickly hopped up and stomped out the stack of programs that had blown into one of the candles. Fortunately, the book didn't catch fire. The smell of burning lingered for a while and the bridal table slowly looked concerned, but disaster had already been averted.

I had hoped to do more dancing, but the dance floor was covered with small children. It wouldn't have been fair to accidentally take one out in the name of shaking my groove thang.

It was a great way to wrap up our trip.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Oh Hi! Ohio! Touring the Farms

The first part of our Ohio trip was the amusement park portion. The second part of trip was touring all the farms, homes, and small towns that my father-in-law grew up in.

It's a random hodge-podge of photos, but it was a random hodge-podge couple of days.

Grabbing lunch at a Dairy Queen in Attica. Hoping to get our food before it really started to rain. We already knew we were going to have to eat in the car. Good thing it was a rental.

Three things you don't see that often in the AZ: storm clouds, houses with pitched roofs and siding, and grass. A lot of grass...

Inside the historical society of Marion. This part of the museum? The popcorn portion. It felt like an old school circus tent inside.

Looking back, I should have taken a lot more pictures. Especially of the people. There was just so much going on and I was in the moment. Hopefully, some begging to my mother-in-law will get her to send me a copy of her pictures.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Oh Hi! Ohio! Cedar Point

The week before Memorial Day, Dan and I travelled up to Ohio for his cousin's wedding. While it may have made more sense to travel the week of Memorial Day, we went up the week before for one single reason: so Cedar Point wouldn't be as busy.

Dan has always wanted to go to Cedar Point. He loves roller coasters and Cedar Point is supposedly the best park for insane coasters.

While Dan loves them, I can only stand the standard kinds of coasters. I gladly sat in the shade when he went on some of the bigger ones I don't have the inner ear for. More importantly, enjoying one of these while I waited.

If any place other than amusement parks sold these frozen lemonades, I would easily be fifty pounds heavier.

It was incredibly rainy, mainly from the remnants of the storm that destroyed Oklahoma. Dan got to go on most the coasters he wanted to, but at lunch time, it rained for about ten minutes and a couple of the big rides he yet had to go on closed down for the rest of the day.

During the ten minutes of storm, we did two very important things. First, we had lunch, splitting a basket of chicken fingers and fries (chicken for Dan, fries for me).

Secondly, we spent the extra five dollars and explored the dinosaur portion of the park. If you thought I'd be able to keep away from life-size animatronic dinosaurs, clearly you don't know me at all.

Dan's spirit animal: The Irritator. Get it? Hahahahah...
Fortunately, after a little bit, some of the rides started to reopen.

We finished up the day with some cut-outs and funnel cake fries.

Bitter Betty Brat and Soy Boy Dog

All in all, it was a pretty good day. Minus the severe sunburn I got from my sunscreen being expired. If we're ever back in Ohio, I'm pretty sure Dan will want to give it another go...