Thursday, November 14, 2013

Stitch Fix: My first box

It's no secret that I hate shopping for myself. Particularly for clothes. I feel I must look at every item in the store to make sure I don't miss anything. Then I'm wracked with indecision if I sort of like something. And let's face it, it's going to have to be one heck of an awesome piece to even consider taking my pants off to try it on. Half the time I talk myself out of a purchase for that reason alone. These factors combine to make shopping a giant, time-consuming pain.

So when my pal Kaiya recommended this lovely shopping service called Stitch Fix, it seemed tailor-made for me:

a) You fill out a profile with your sizes, style preferences and price ranges.
b) You indicate what you're looking for (in my case work-clothes are out of date and I have a few pieces from high school that probably need to go).
c) You pay $20 for a "stylist fee."
d) They send you a box with five items in it they think you'll like.
e) You try everything on, and buy the ones you like (the 20$ goes toward that). If you don't like anything you send it back and just lose the stylist fee.
f) You tell them what you liked and didn't, and schedule another box to come on a specific date.

I am superlame and worked too much this week, so I didn't have time to properly photograph myself trying everything on for my first "Fix." So you will just have to imagine me wearing these items. I promise to do better next time.

I looked at this and thought "I would never choose this for myself." Jon thought it looked like something I totally would pick out. I put it on and it was great. The sleeves were a more knitty type of material and the pattern was silkier. The drawback was that it's snug around the extra weight I am still trying to get rid of from the baby, so I would always be self-conscious about that. I sent this one back.

This blouse is sheer and has pretty little birdies on it. I really liked it, but it is FREEZING at work and I'd have to wear something over it until next year. Plus I have a top that is very similar. Sent back.

This infinity scarf has an nice triangle pattern and a very tight knit that would have taken forty years to make myself. And it's warm without making me feel like I'm choking. Awesome for the office, and neutral! I kept it.

I really liked this jacket, but it was light and fitted so I would not be able to wear it comfortably over a sweater, so I'd probably just wear it when it was pretty warm because I'm cold regardless. One thing I LOVED was the bound seaming (the seams were covered in a cute floral fabric that was also used for the pocket lining). I wish I had taken a photo of them. Those kinds of details get me every time. Reluctantly sent back.

As a tip to the stylist, on Pinterest I had posted a photo of my fall coat, which has an off-center zipper. I love that it's different. So she sent me this hoodie that I pretty much wore right out of the box. It is also kind of snug in the post-baby area, but I'm hoping the stripes distract from that. This looks better on me than lying on the carpet.

I will definitely be scheduling another box. I tend to binge shop when the mood actually does strike me, so having a box of five things sent to me every once in awhile saves me time and gives me the peace of mind that the thing that I might like isn't off trend/crazylooking, AND I don't have to sort through everything at the store. That saved time can go toward doing something worthwhile to me. You know, like watching Cosby reruns or knitting booties. 

If you're interested in giving Stitch Fix a whirl, here is my referral link.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

the day i lost my magic touch

This is going to sound ridiculously absurd, but the first time that I waited until the last minute and was UNABLE to complete a task was in October 2011, when I was 33.

It's pretty damn impressive if you think about every single math assignment I completed on the bus, five-paragraph essay I wrote during lunch and entire textbook I would read in the 12 hours before the examination. The number of all-nighters is off the charts. Trust me when I say I pushed it to the VERY EDGE. And, pretty much every single time, I pulled it off.

That is, until I needed to complete the quilt I was making for my friend/realtor's baby, who was born the day before our wedding. Jon helped me choose the perfect fabrics and I started piecing it together, taking my sweet time. I made plans to visit the baby and her mom one day after work, so I had the first thing that I always need to know about any project: the deadline.

The night before my visit approached and I hadn't yet quilted the layers together or put on the edging. No big deal, right? I thought, I can conceptualize each remaining step of this process so it shouldn't take me more than a couple of hours (this is a lifelong problem that also translates to me thinking any place I know the route to will take me "about 15 minutes" to get to).

I ran into some issues and had to re-pin several times, and as the birds started chirping, the sun came up and the alarm for work went off it started to dawn on me that I WASN'T going to finish. This was an earth-shattering revelation. I have always believed that if I work hard enough I will accomplish my goal. And I have done that (usually due to lack of pre-planning/inspiration). But not finishing? Not making deadline? WHAT? Had I lost my mojo? Was I going crazy? Am I a failure now? Resounding yes, all around.

I took a little outfit I had bought as a backup to my friend, whose daughter is gorgeous. They actually had sofa throw pillows in a very similar pattern to one of the fabrics I chose for the quilt so it was extra disappointing that I didn't have the handmade gift ready. I mailed it to her a couple of weeks later.

I still think about that morning. It was like an end of an era. The pseudo-invincibility I had cultivated all those years of pushing the limit and coming up with something good from all that pressure sort of deflated like a balloon you let go of before tying the knot. I think of it every time I want to put something off till later.

But then I put it off anyway.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

pie! in the mail!

Hey, do you know my friend Shalini, author of readingandchickens and the new book, "Lost & Found"?


Cranberry Walnut (in the style of a pecan pie) and it is delicious!

 AND they threw in some very good-looking Manchego cheese from Spain. :)

Apparently, the US Postal Service gave her a hard time sending me one of her delicious pies, so she had to send one from a "Bakehouse." I'm imagining it's as good as hers (it's really good).

Thank you, Shalini!!!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

nothing like nature to spoil organic plans

When I lived at my parents'/a high-rise condo/apartment, I didn't have my own yard, so I sort of co-opted my the one at my parents' house. And I had a lot of ideas.

My dad's favorite thing to tell me was, "when you have your OWN house, you can do whatever you want." But they did let us do a lot of stuff.

There was that time Jon and I made a pretty sweet new garden for my mom's vegetables. 

And the time I made composters in my parents' yard with their leaves. I was so excited when I actually got some compost out of it. My dad tolerated it for about two years.

But now we do have our own yard. Because he loves me, before we even closed on the house Jon bought me a fancy spinning composter. And we've spent the last few weekends raking/shredding almost a dozen bags of leaves. I'm getting all the used coffee grounds from work, and throwing kitchen scraps in with handfuls of leaves at a time. The leaves from our house should last awhile, but I doubt they'll make it until next fall.

I had big plans this week to get the rest of the leaves and shred them up for my stash. Then we were going to rototill the backyard to even it out and spread seed for actual grass. 

Unfortunately, Mother Nature put a halt to all that by throwing a bunch of snow all over the place.

Friday, November 08, 2013

at least i have a window

This is where I spend most of my time. Other than hitting the snooze button from the warm cocoon of my bed. This is also what I blame for why my NaBloPoMo is not up to par this year. I'm sorry.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

the marketing department for the city was on vacation

On my way back from Los Angeles, I had a layover.

Approximately 4 feet away from this sign in the airport was a stand of tshirts that said, "I've tried polygamy!"

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

i am so proud of Illinois today

Everyone, everywhere, deserves the opportunity to celebrate love like Jon and I did.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

back when i had style

I queued up this not-very-good Janeane Garofalo movie from Netflix--which has probably been on my list since 2004--and I had to rewind one miniscule scene, where two ladies walked in front of a souvenir shop for 1.5 seconds, about three times.

I owned this EXACT SAME COAT in eighth grade. You know which one I'm talking about. One of these days, I will dig out a photograph.

And I rocked that sh-t.

Monday, November 04, 2013


"I think I've found my new favorite song."

"Please tell me it's by Ke$ha."

"No...It's by Pitbull FEATURING Ke$ha. And it's about square dancing."

"Um, you grew up in California. I'm pretty sure you don't have the first clue about square dancing."

Sunday, November 03, 2013


When we were in San Diego, having a wonderful time watching our nephew take some of his first, wobbly steps, Jon's sister A gave me a little box. It was from all his sisters. My sisters.

 It's emerald green--the birthstone for May. It is perfect. 

I may not be able to wear it every single day, but I will cherish it forever.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

the view

We told everyone we were taking a quick trip to California to see family, hopefully see the Dodgers play in the World Series of baseball (they were eliminated), and to just get away for the weekend before Jon's birthday on the 31st.

But the November 1 due date has been looming large over us since the day we found out we were expecting. And we knew this birthday was going to be excruciating for Jon, who had been looking forward to it for the first time in decades. We had separated the ashes in half, knowing exactly where we'd like to lay one part in California: At the top of a hill in Jon's hometown, overlooking the downtown area and the ocean. It's one of his favorite places in the world, and the first place he brought me to see when I came out to visit him for the first time in 2005. It's become one of my favorite places, too.

When we arrived, Los Angeles was foggy. San Diego was cloudy. His hometown was misty. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, threats of rain. I was having second thoughts about letting her go, but I reminded myself that we had a small portion of the ashes at home. So Tuesday morning--before we had to leave for the airport--we got up very early and drove up to the cross.

After all that gloom, it was an absolutely glorious morning. It felt right.

 We carefully chose a spot with the best view. You can see out for miles.

 And there were other little white piles peeking out from underneath bushes. She will not be alone up there. That made me feel better.

We felt at peace. Still, it was hard to say goodbye.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Today was our baby's due date.

I've been looking so long at these pictures of you
That I almost believe that they're real
I've been living so long with my pictures of you
That I almost believe that the pictures are all I can feel
Remembering you standing quiet in the rain
As I ran to your heart to be near
And we kissed as the sky fell in, holding you close
How I always held close in your fear
Remembering you running soft through the night
You were bigger, brighter and whiter than snow
Screamed at the make believe, screamed at the sky
And you finally found all your courage to let it all go
Remembering you fallen into my arms
Crying for the death of your heart
You were stone white, so delicate lost in the cold
You were always so lost in the dark
Remembering you, how you used to be
Slow drowned you were angels, so much more than everything
Hold for the last time then slip away quietly
Open my eyes but I never see anything
If only I'd thought of the right words
I could have held on to your heart
If only I'd thought of the right words
I wouldn't be breaking apart all my pictures of you
Looking so long at these pictures of you
And never hold on to your heart
Looking so long for the words to be true
And always just breaking apart, my pictures of you
There was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more
Than to feel you deep in my heart
There was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more
Than to never feel the breaking apart, my pictures of you

Oh, and for the eighth year, I'll be doing NaBloPoMo this month.