Oct 20, 2014

Stitch Fix #2 Review

I am really, really overdue on posts!  It's been unusually busy over here.

If you're not familiar with Stitch Fix, head over here to read my first review for a quick Cliff Notes version.

I received this Fix in late August.  My stylist this time was Sherene. I had specifically asked to try out a couple dresses that worked casually and for the office.

I received two tops, two dresses, and a pendant necklace.  I honestly loved everything!

Belser Abstract Print V-Neck Knit Tank

I loved this top as soon as I pulled it out of the box! Great print, great color, and a nice thick silky knit that is really comfortable.  It fit perfectly and was flattering, too!  You can't really tell in the photo but the hem piping runs up both sides. The only downside was the price.  Almost $70 for a sleeveless tank? Still, I somehow justified keeping it.
Verdict: Keep


Wrenn V-Neck Jersey Top
I loved this top: very comfortable, nice cobalt blue color, was a perfect length, and fit like it was custom tailored for me. I didn't like the excess fabric at the neck, though.  This and the fact that I already have cobalt blue in my wardrobe made me re-think keeping it.
Verdict: Return

Andrew Marc
Macie Abstract Print Dress
Awesome dress! Interesting pattern and colors, amazing asymmetrical design at waist, and very flattering.  The problem is that I had nowhere to wear a dress like this!  It was certainly not a dress I could wear casually. Sherene said this would be a perfect dress for work but it's a little too dressy for my office.  I thought it would be perfect for a wedding, reunion, or night function/event but didn't have any such events scheduled in the foreseeable future. I was really sad to return it but couldn't justify keeping it when it might be several months before I would have an opportunity to wear it.
Verdict: Return

Harriet Chevron Print Detail Dress
I loved this dress, too!  I could see wearing this casually and to the office. However, when I tried it on, it was really short.  It looked too short for a 40-something woman.  It was a fantastic price but I knew I would feel self-conscious wearing it so decided to pass.
Verdict: Return

Genevieve Stacked Chevron Pendant Necklace
I loved this necklace!  I am a big necklace person - they are a bit of a trademark for me - and this necklace was unlike anything I already owned. I loved the two-tone metals, the chevron, and the stacked design.  I was happy about the price.  Keeping it was a no-brainer.
Verdict: Keep

I have been wearing the V-neck tank with jeans and white pants and getting lots of compliments. I have been wearing the necklace with just about everything in my wardrobe.  At first I thought I'd want to knot it and wear it shorter, as I'm not used to longer necklaces, but it's been fun to wear a longer length necklace. I am loving both pieces and getting lots of use out of them.

Click on "fashion" link at right to read more of my Stitch Fix reviews.

Jun 27, 2014

Reusable TSA-Compliant Quart Size Pouch

My prayers have been answered!  For airline travel, we had been using TSA-approved Ziploc brand plastic bags for carrying liquids through security check but they get nasty pretty quickly. I recently had to throw away a couple.

Jun 20, 2014

JUS by Julie 3-Day Cleanse Review

My sister found a Zulily deal on a 3 Day JUS Cleanse by JUS by Julie (she purchased the 5 day option).  I was intrigued. Since I had recently fasted for my colonoscopy, I figured an actual cleanse where I was drinking nutrient-rich blended fruits & veggies with fiber instead of sugar-filled soda and pulp-free juices would be walk in the park in comparison.

Jun 15, 2014

Stitch Fix #1 Review

Have you heard of Stitch Fix?  It's a personalized online shopping service.  When you sign up, you answer detailed questions about your style preferences, set your budget, and input any special shopping requests (need work clothes or a dress to wear to a wedding? Just let them know), and then your personal stylist will send you a box containing five hand-picked items.

Jun 11, 2014

Cologne & Arnhem

We kicked off our European tour in Cologne (Köln), Germany on July 21st, 2013. Mars' long-time friend, Bengt, lives there. We thought it would be the perfect starting point for taking it easy and recovering from jet lag.

Bengt picked us up at the train station. By this point, I was delirious from lack of sleep.  I had zero sleep the night prior on the 12 hour flight from San Francisco and, not surprisingly, none on the 1-1/2 hour train ride connection from Frankfurt to Cologne. It was almost 1 pm local time (almost 5 am San Francisco time).

Apr 21, 2014

Our Final European Itinerary

We changed our draft itinerary soon before our trip.  After really thinking through the logistics, we had to eliminate certain cities due to time constraints and also changed destinations after doing more research.   We completely eliminated Nuremberg, Montreaux/Chateau de Chillon, and Windsor Castle and we stayed in mountainside Murren, Switzerland instead of Lauterbrunnen in the valley.  A couple locations were added by our hosts (Arnhem and Aigues Mortes).

Our new and final itinerary looked like this:

Cologne, Germany
Cologne Cathedral and the Hohenzollern Bridge

Arnhem, Netherlands
De Hoge Veluwe National Park
Munich, Germany
Rathaus-Glockenspiel in Marienplatz
Füssen, Germany 
Neuschwanstein Castle
Mürren, Switzerland
My favorite place on Earth
Avignon, France 
Palais des Papes / Popes Palace

Cassis, France
Cassis marina
Aigues Mortes, France
The charming streets of the medieval walled city Aigues Mortes

Paris, France
The City of Lights

London, England
My favorite city in Europe

Bournemouth, England
Moors Valley Country Park
All the juicy details coming soon.  (I know, I know!)

Apr 13, 2014

The Perfect Spring Break Family Vacation in Los Cabos, Mexico

Last week we were in Los Cabos for the kids' spring break.  Our two criteria for a spring break vacation were 1) Warm weather, and 2) Relative close proximity to San Francisco.

Mar 19, 2014

Final European Capsule Wardrobe

3-1/2 weeks
5 countries
1 carry-on

This was no easy feat. Weather and activities would vary considerably.  Obviously, my strategy was to take only what I thought was absolutely necessary. This would require a lot of laundry and a lot of re-wearing.

Jan 3, 2014

Trip Overview

Europe was spectacular.  We saw and did some amazing things on the trip.  In 3-1/2 weeks we visited 5 countries, 7 cities, and 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  We swam in the Mediterranean, hiked in the Alps, went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, among many other things.

Our Travel Route
The kids did amazingly well... most of the time... but had some behavioral issue doozies as well. Traveling with kids is hard.  I think this trip was about a week too long.  Shit started hitting the fan while we were in Paris.  We were all tired of traveling and the kids were saying, "I want to go home."

Europe Trip Epilogue

Watch this space as new links become available if you're not subscribed.  (Links will become active as posts are written and published.)


Planes, Trains, & Automobiles:
SFO to FRA / Cologne
Cologne to Munich
Munich to Füssen roundtrip
Munich to Mürren
Mürren to Avignon
Avignon to Paris
Paris to London
Car Rental from London to Bournemouth roundtrip

Cities & Sights:
Cologne / Arnhem
Neuschwanstein Castle (Füssen)
Southern France
London Part 1
Southern England
London Part 2

Packing & Final Wardrobe
discussion by