Stitch Fix Review: June 2015

As some of you may know, my last two Fixes were a total Fail.  However, I was willing to give them another chance, and this is why: their customer service.  It is awesome.  Ladies, if you are having the same issues over and over again (don’t like paisley but every box contains it, said not to send jeans but you get jeans everytime, etc), please please email them.  Stitch Fix has been incredibly responsive, and I truly feel like as a company they care about customer satisfaction.  However, I do wish they would carry a more consistent quality of clothing.  I don’t expect by any stretch to have a perfect Fix every time.  I do expect there to be learning curve with your stylist… meaning it should get better and better over time.  I definitely had been on that trajectory for awhile, and then it petered out leaving me frustrated.  I emailed the company, they responded promptly, and assigned a different stylist (whom if I remember correctly, has styled me before).  And, this Fix definitely reflected their efforts: Only one piece they sent I felt to be low quality, and almost all of the pieces were in my style wheelhouse, so to speak.

For those of you who aren’t sure about how Stitch Fix works and want to learn more, including about referral links, click here.

 

1. RD Style Samsem Spaghetti Strap Blouse $38

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This thankfully was the only piece which wasn’t good quality.  In fact, it came with the closing stitch in front already pulled off – which I didn’t notice at first and left me puzzled for a few minutes as to how this top was supposed to work.  The material was also so transparent that you can see clearly at the top hem where the fabric is folded.

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This is how it is supposed to look, but instead here is how it actually came:

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2. Le Lis Benito Mix Material Knit Tank $44

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The cotton material in this blouse was nice and thick… and very soft.  I like the idea of this – the split back, but this blouse lost me on 2 accounts – the chiffon just didn’t mesh with my style, and the aline + horizontal stripes + open back resulted in a very blousy top which was not flattering at all.  Which is unfortunate, because I do love open backed blouses, but just not this one.

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3. Street Level Klaine Roll-Over Clutch $48

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I immediately loved everything about this – the quality, the design, the style of it…everything but the color.  It was described as a teal green, but actually just seemed more of an “electric blue” color.  Although I initially didn’t see myself using this as an accent color very often, I love this clutch.  Perfect sized to fit a wallet, keys and a phone without being bulky, and the leather is so soft… so I talked myself into keeping it 😉

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4. Liverpool Raphael Denim Jacket $88

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Although I had been pinning and wanting a faded denim jacket – preferably with some distressing and a little bit of stretch mixed in with the cotton, I did like this jacket – and ended up keeping it.  It is darker than what I was looking for, but the material and fit were great – very soft cotton with some stretch, fitted, comfortable, not cropped and not too long.  This is perfect for the summer as a throw on over an outfit – either for an outdoor event at night or for sitting in any and every restaurant which invariably has its thermostat set to 58 degrees.  In regards to the color, it is in fact darker than pictured in the close up photo…

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5. DL1961Celia Distressed Boyfriend Jean $168

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Love, love, love.  This is a great brand, and this pair is exactly what I was looking for and perfect for summer – faded, soft, baggy, perfect length when rolled for that true, but flattering boyfriend look.  Definitely quality and my style.

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So, in conclusion, I am very glad to say that Stitch Fix redeemed themselves from the past 2 fix slump… I kept 3 out of the 5 items, but even more important than that, I think, is that the Style of the fix is more in line with my style than almost any other fix I have received.  This better reassures me that Stitch Fix has the inventory and the stylists for what I like – so much so that I have already signed up for a fix next month… stay tuned to see if they can keep the ball rolling!

 

And, if you would like to try Stitch Fix for yourself, click here!

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Refresh for May Day #14: Wrap yourself in luxury

I got my first bath robe when I headed to college 20+ years ago. Since then, I find it really annoying to not have a bathrobe one while I primp and put myself together after a shower, even if it’s my usual need to get myself to work in 15-min rushed self. I hate it when I travel and the hotel doesn’t have robes. But I have noticed that even when “luxury” hotels have robes, they don’t live up to mine. I stumbled upon my Frette white terry robe on a flash sale site and I can’t say enough about how absorbent, cozy, and bright it is. It’s is the perfect robe. It gets daily use and the price point for such comfort is totally justifiable.

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April Stitch Fix Review

Short and sweet version of how Stitch Fix works, click here.

So, for full disclosure, I received a shipment over a month ago that was pretty much a disaster.  They had changed out my usual stylist, and well, it didn’t work out so well.  In fact, I don’t even remember all the pieces they sent because it was that bad – either in quality or in the style itself.  However, I wanted to give Stitch Fix another try.  I don’t expect every box to be a 100% hit, but I do want it to be fun!  So, this brings us to this month’s fix.  The set up was right – my original stylist was back, I asked for fun spring and summer items, I even mentioned an upcoming trip to the beach…Alas, my hopes were low upon opening the box, and completely dashed after trying everything on.  Only the second box ever that was a no hitter, a complete miss.  Nothing was even tempting to spend $20 on 😦

Let’s start with the two items that were on my Pinterest page…

Taylor Izara Honeycomb Print Dress $78

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Now, this item is truly well made.  Great fabric, lined, and overall a quality piece, and worth the $78.  Unfortunately, I didn’t like the print in real life, it was too big all over and as you can see below, extremely unflattering – made me look even shorter and stockier than I already am.

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Market & Spruce Sam Hi-Lo Short Sleeve Tee $44

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I had also Pinned this – but sometimes you just shouldn’t give people what they ask for, and this is an example.  Too big and too long.  The material was very soft, but also pretty see-through.

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Gotta love my little photo bomber:)  Now onto the “surprises”…

19 Cooper Sheer Javi Panel Blouse $58

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It seems that Stitch Fix has a plethora of shapeless blouses made of synthetic materials… see my last article of clothing for another example.  Anyways, same story different verse – didn’t like the print, it was boxy, shapeless, and yet again, unflattering.  I’m guessing the “sheer” panels were this blouse’s attempt at being cool and hip?  Fail.  I promise I do own a waist – as yet unproven by a single picture in this blog…

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Eight Sixty Tracie Geo Print Maxi Skirt $78

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The one positive thing I can say about this maxi skirt was that the length was perfect – which is definitely difficult to find since I am so petite.  However – not only did I pretty much abhor the print, and find the 10 inch long “lining” humorous, the material definitely was the cherry on top of this disastrous cake.  I am not sure of anyone who would want to wear this polyester material during any warm weather, much less at the beach.  Oh, and don’t even get me started on the cheap, narrow elastic waistband – the kind that will continuously twist on you…

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This is the “lining” turned inside out so you can get an idea of how pathetic short it was.

Collective Concepts May Chevron Print Knit Back Top $54

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Don’t even really know where to begin with this, oh, wait, this story sounds familiar – I again, don’t like the print, it is super short (which really is an achievement considering I am only 5’2″!) and super boxy.  The back is also virtually sheer, and overall quality isn’t great.  And again, unflattering.

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So, there we are, folks.  Sadly, the only thing this month’s fix provided was an entire page of fashion “don’ts”.  One thing I did note from this fix is that my shipment came from Indiana instead of San Francisco – maybe this played a role in the lack of actually cool and fashionable clothing?  Maybe I should unclick the “mom” box on my style profile?  I have to admit, I’m still not exactly sure why that is on there… Anyways, I am still holding onto a small seed of faith that Jenny L. can get this train back on track, and I will try one more fix.  I have had success in the past with some great pieces, and am hoping for a fun and fashionable fix next time.

Despite this month’s review, check out my previous “wins”, how Stitch Fix works and if you would like to try Stitch Fix out for yourself, click here.

10.1 Travel Tips From a Surgeon on the Go

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I was traveling for work again last week. While I am not the typical business traveler, I do fly about once per month. It’s taken me a while, but over the years I have become a smarter traveler. Here are ten tips on what you need to do prior to take off.

1) Lose the 1-Quart Ziplock bags.

tumi_toiletry_bagI used to hoard Costco size cases of these because I would take several on each trip as the original one inevitably failed. I now travel with a Tumi split toiletry kit (sold as the Laval or the Lima or the Alpha 2 Split travel kit) that has a clear quart size half where I store all of my 3oz or smaller liquids and gels and two smaller clear zip pockets on the opposite side to store my tooth brush, cotton squares, razor, etc. I have been through security over a dozen times with this. No issues.

2) On the subject of travel size liquids, ditch your body lotion when traveling.

It’s easy fill said quart with all the liquids and gels a gal like me needs while away. If you aren’t planning to check a bag, this can be a problem. Luckily, while I am unwilling to part with many of my lotions and potions for hair, skin, and hygiene, I have found the perfect solution for moisturizer that saves me 3 ounces of room in my toiletry kit. Basin’s solid moisturizers don’t need to go in a 1-Quart clear bag but still smell amazing and relieve dry skin. Basin_lotion_sticks

3) Bring along dry shampoo.

When I travel, I want to look my best. For short trips (this one was just two nights), I use my full size tools to show my wavy hair who’s boss before leaving (the index blow out). Once I have put in all this effort, I don’t want to just wash it out with the next shampoo so I extend my style with a travel size Batiste dry shampoo. The cherry scent doesn’t give me migraines and I get multiple days of shiny locks without an oily itchy scalp. Plus, I can travel with less shampoo and conditioner (yah, more room in the Tumi!).batiste_dry_shampoo

4) But the blowout will need a little maintenance, so bring a mini flat iron.

Luckily most hotels these days have 1875 watts hair dryers so I don’t need to lug one with
sephoraminiflatironme. Of course, if I am extending my blow out I don’t really need all that power and I don’t want to take up lots of cargo space with my full size barrel brushes, 2 in curling iron, and 1 in flat iron.  But I do have some waves and curls that spring back against the index blow out. To touch up these spots I use my Sephora mini flat iron to control the wayward strands after dry shampooing. The heat resitant bag is awesome for packing up on the last day right after getting ready.

5) Speaking of looking your best, no matter what make-up you choose to pack, you must pack the right make-up brushes.

I typically don’t wear make-up at home, but, like I said, I tend to try harder when I travel. After all, I am not wearing my OR mask or taking overnight call. I’m not rushing for a 6am meeting or rounds. The commute from the hotel room to the conference is so forgiving that I can put a little bit more effort into my appearance. I don’t travel with all my make-up, just a few go to items that allow me to put on my business face (Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, Philosophy Supernatural Airbrush Canvas, Origins Liquid Lip Color, and Clinique Water Resistant Cake Eyeliner) or glam it up for evening events (Nars Eye and Cheek Palette and DiorShow Iconic and Blackout Mascara). Of course none of thesesmashbox_travel_brushessephoratravelbrushes will work if applied with crappy brushes. I have found the perfect set of travel brushes in the Smashbox trio that I have paired with a Sephora travel brush set. They all travel together in the Sephora case.

 

6) Since traveling will wear you out, no matter what make-up you bring and how awesome your brushes are, you must never leave home without a highlighter.

touche-eclat_Alt1YSL Touche Éclat is hands down the best beauty product I have ever known. While I could pair it with multiple other products to give me a slept like a baby look after a red-eye or a long night at the hotel bar apres meeting, what I really love about this product is that it is also a stand alone miracle worker. When my entire morning routine falls apart and don’t have time to hit the make-up bag, I can still almost fake sleep by just dabbing a little under my eyes and on my brow bones, along the sides of my nostrils, and around the upper lip. No other products necessary. Love this product. I wouldn’t both trying the competitors out there. YSL created this genre of beauty product and nothing else compares.

7) Unless it’s tropical on both ends of your trip and over all land masses in between, carry a packable coat with you.

packable_jacketA few years ago, I made the mistake of traveling during winter from the east coast of the US to India without a winter coat. Yup, I just sucked up a slightly chilly ride to the airport leaving my coat at home figuring I didn’t want to lug it around India for a month with temps in the 80-90 degree F range. But I got stuck in London along the way due to a snow storm. No flights in or out for 3 days and I didn’t have a stinking jacket. So now, I have a packable down coat. If it’s cold at home when I am leaving, or if the destination is chilly or if I get stuck in another unexpected storm, it keeps me warm. When I don’t need it, it weighs nothings and takes up nearly zero space in my luggage. Plus, it can also double as a cozy little pillow during layovers or oLandsEndPackableCoatn the plane when compressed. I got my Active Basic Packable Jacket from Bob’s stores for a steal and it continues to serve me well. The pix of the more expensive one from Land’s End below show the packability and pillow effect better though.

8) Along the lines of portability, never travel without ballet flats.

carolineI love my heels for non-scrubs work attire and since I always workout when I travel a also bring a pair of cool kicks with me. For years, I would just throw on the sneakers for rambling through the terminal. Quite frankly, while I am totally embracing the sporty chic look on my weekends at home, I have decided that sneakers with quasi-professional travel attire is not the look I am going for. So now, I travel in my Tory Burch Caroline Flats. I honestly love these shoes so much that the biggest hassle these days is which color of the 5 pairs I own I should take with me. As a bonus, I can toss them in my work bag as a high heel rescue if ever needed in case of emergency during the business meeting.

9) Speaking of quasiprofessional attire, travel in comfortable pants.

athletapantduoI fly coach (I am in academic medicine after all).  While lots of professionals travel clad head to toe in the suits/dresses they are intending to wear on the other end, I just won’t subject myself to that kind of discomfort. But, keeping the blazer or cardigan out of the luggage is a huge space saver. I used to travel in jeans but honestly I am just not in love with that look (though lots of men pull of jeans, button down, and blazer with aplomb and I don’t begrudge that eye candy). I have found that Athleta’s In Fusion pants and herringbone Chaturanga Leggings (both in black) pair exceptionally well with the black blazer or cardigan that I inevitably take on these trips with me worn over any one of my casual or more formal tops.

10) Invest in a layering top that works for work and for play

adea_promoI have already declared my love for Adea layering tops in this forum before. Nothing is more versatile or comfortable. I never travel without a white 3/4 sleeve scoop neck Adea top (but as you can see, there are other colors and I own 20 of them in various shades and shapes) I can wear it under short sleeve or sleeveless dresses and tops. I can wear it as the base layer under a suit. I can wear it as an undershirt under a blouse or button down. I can even work out in it if in a pinch and then hand wash it quickly. It dries in under an hour.adea_colors

10.1) And finally, since you don’t want to risk running out of juice when your trying to follow this blog on the WordPress mobile app, get yourself a portable battery charger.

jockery_chargerI have only had my Jackery portable charger since October and I honestly have no idea why it took me so long to get one. For years if would run out of power on my mobile phone in-flight (out of luck) or mid-meeting (need to hunt the periphery for an electrical outlet). I have even had to seek out post-meeting dinners based on weather or not I would be able to eat while having my phone plugged in. The solution to these battery life problems is simply having a back-up charger that is super portable, reliable, and matches most of my accessories. Bonus, I keep it with me on call too so I also no longer worry about running out of juice at an inopportune time in the midst of a 36 hour stretch at the hospital.

What are some of your travel must haves?

 

 

 

 

First Comes Baby, Then Comes Bling–Custom Bling!

About 12 years ago, shortly after the first of our friends to have a child had said child, I noticed a beautiful new ring on the new mom’s right hand. I had never heard of the concept of “push present” before but apparently, this absolutely gorgeous ring had been presented to the new mom from the new dad as a, well, maybe a thank you, maybe a reward, for having done the brunt of the work in bringing the new child into the world.

I didn’t give it a thought until about two and half years after my first child was born. It was totally unplanned. I wandered into a jewelry store just browsing for nothing in particular and came across a ring that I just could not take my eyes off of. It was just so beautiful. Of course, this was my push present, not a gift as much as a daily reminder of my love for my first born. Indeed it felt like the perfect companion to the engagement ring/wedding band gracing the ring finger of my opposite hand.

My son was born about a year later and in the chaos of two young kids, trauma fellowship, and a cross-country move the thought of ring to commemorate his entry into the world never even occurred to me or my husband. He is in fewer pictures. He never got a year 1 calendar. His arrival into my life was never commemorated with a piece of jewelry.

IMG_3176Meanwhile, some five years after he was born, I decided that I finally needed to get a handle on the “baby weight” I had been lugging around for too long. One day my first born ring went flying across the room as I was making the bed. It was too big. I had lost that much weight. Being a practical person I just moved it over a finger.

I felt a sudden, immediate ache to dress the now naked finger with the token of my love for my second born. Thus began the quest to find a ring that spoke to me as firmly and decisively as the first ring had when I first laid eyes on it. After years of occasional browsing I finally found it. Totally unexpectedly I stumbled across a Bony Levy trunk show in the Chicago Nordstrom during a recent race weekend.

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After trying on multiple styles I decided on the design. But it wasn’t quite right. There were diamond set in white gold (shown), diamonds set in yellow gold, rubies set in yellow gold, and sapphires set in white gold. But I always wear yellow gold and I wanted a blue stone since my son’s name translates to blue. So, after consultation with the designer himself we ordered a custom ring for me. He assured me that “cooler” sapphires with “warmer” yellow gold would still work though he does not make them that way routinely. I trusted him.

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Who wouldn’t trust a face like that?

 

 

 

About 4 weeks later it arrived. I was everything that I hoped for. I was immediately reminded about my love for my second born. My right hand now feels as complete as my
left hand has since the day I married. My family fully represented. 
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September 2014 Stitch Fix Review

 

I’m a little late posting this one, but this is my review for my September Stitch Fix box.  If you are not sure how Stitch Fix works, click here and read my first review. Jenny L was my stylist again, and did an awesome job… again 🙂  It was another perfect mix of requested pieces and surprises and everything fit well.

 

On to the fix…

 

 

1. Pixley June Polka dot skirt $58

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I’m starting with the only “miss” in the fix.  The fit was great, and the material was a thicker cotton with stretch.  However, the polka dots and navy and white color scheme were screaming spring and summer to me, instead of heading into fall, and overall the look is a little too preppy for me.

 

2. Pomelo Alan French Terry Asymmetrical Zip Cardigan $68

 

This was a requested piece, and I wanted to love it.  The material was amazingly soft and comfortable, but unfortunately much thinner than I had anticipated – so you can see every wrinkle from the overlapping fabric and every line from the jeans I wore with it.  This was a return.

 

3.  Amour Vert Alessandro Abstract Print BUtton Up Blouse $118

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Is it or is it not a 3/4 sleeve?  That is the question.  Well, let’s start with the positives – this is a very high quality piece – well made, seriously luxurious fabric (100% good quality silk)- and I believe worth the price tag.  I am usually not huge on prints, but I loved this one and the colors.  However, as you can see by the picture, it is waaay too long.  If you changed the material to a white cotton, it could be a nightgown.  Also, because I’m so petite, the sleeve length was not quite 3/4 and also not quite full length.  Unwillingly, this went back into the bag.

 

4. Kensie Shannon Lace Back Short Sleeve Blouse $68

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This was one of my surprises, and Jenny L. really hit the nail on the head with this one.  I loved it.  The lace detail on the sleeve and the back was beautiful.  I tried so hard to convince myself to keep this one, but it just wasn’t flattering.  I don’t necessarily mind a boxy cut, but the darts at the bust hit me below the bust and overall was just a little too big.  The sleeves although beautifully done, hit my arm at an awkward place also.  This is the piece that I tried on at least 4 times, and most reluctantly put back in the bag.  I am feeling a case of “Stitch Fix regret” coming on, I loved the style of this so much, but it just wasn’t flattering, dang it.

 

5. Margeret M Emer High Waisted Cropped Trouser $98

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So I received the blue version of these a few fixes ago and although I liked the fit, I wasn’t crazy about the blue color.  I asked to try these again in black, and so glad I received them!  The inseam is perfect, the pants fit perfectly for both work and play – fitted, but not tight – and they are comfortable!  I have already worn these twice since receiving (on a plane and for work) – perfect for traveling!

 

Overall, I am still so happy Jenny L. is my stylist and think she did a great job.  I loved all the pieces she sent except for the polka dot skirt.  This fix was again a perfect mix of requested pieces and some “surprises” that were awesome.  Ugh, there I go again thinking about the black lace shirt….

 

I am still enjoying Stitch Fix, and if you would like a “fix” yourself, here is my referral link to get started!