Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Uptown Funk

Even though I don't know what my plans are for New Year's Eve, I picked these shoes up while I was out "Christmas shopping". You know what I mean.

g by guess, cathy slingback pumps

This color is "graphite sparkle", and they are 4.5 inch heels with 1 inch platforms, They're surprisingly comfortable - -

and definitely say party time!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Stitch Fix November 2014

This past Saturday, in what my husband calls the "worst idea ever", I received my first shipment from Stitch Fix. I am excited to try it out - and with a lot going on for the holidays, I could use a few new pieces in my closet.

As I previously mentioned, this is a mail-order service where a professional stylist picks out 5 pieces of clothing and/or accessories, and ships them to you. On their website, customers fill out a short quiz, which helps your stylist determine what meets your tastes. You can also specifically request items, but fulfillment depends on availability.

And, if you buy all 5 items, you get 25% off your order. Doh!

pandora's box arrives

nice packaging! Suitable for recycling at Christmas :)

I filled out my questionnaire about personal style, and I thought it was kind of fun. You are presented with images of different styles of clothing, and you have to rate them from "I Love It" all the way down to "I Hate It". Also, my stylist checked me out on Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

I included some "Notes to Stylist" -  mentioning that I would like a work-appropriate blue blouse, and a pair of burgundy skinny pants (mine are looking worse for wear). Also that I despise peplum, and that I'm not interested in receiving jewelry.

In my first shipment, I received the following 5 items:

1. Miilla, vest in fatigue ($68).
Made of Tencel, this light vest drapes very nicely, and has tie accents on the sides. It also makes a great top if you wrap it and secure it with a belt. However, it is not very warm, and was a little pricey - so I sent it back.

2. Annabeth, Faux Leather Trim Sweater Tunic ($68).  
I don't own any tunics, for no particular reason - I guess I just prefer dresses. But when I tried on this pretty green tunic, I really loved it. The neckline is very flattering, with a keyhole in the back. The shape was loose without being baggy. Also, it is an angora blend - so it's very soft. Keeper!

btw - it is long enough to wear as a dress with opaque tights.

the material is lightweight, but not see-through
(unless you are taking a photo with a bright flash, I guess)

3. Prescott, Solid Fringe Detail Wrap Scarf ($32).
I pulled this scarf out of the box, and couldn't put it down! It's a basketweave fabric, and it's super soft. Also, its a little bulky without being over-the-top blanket style. It is more expensive that I would normally pay (I usually buy scarves from TJ Maxx or GAP on sale), but it's a high quality scarf, in a color that goes with everything. Keeper!

4. Angela, Quilted Detailed Blouse ($74).
Although slightly more expensive than I prefer, this top is just what I have been searching for - a beautiful blue blouse (not another t-shirt) that is appropriate for work and play. It may not be evident from the photos, but there is a light quilting over the shoulders and down to the top of the bust. This quilting also goes over the shoulders to the back 1/3 of the garment. There is a split neckline, which is interesting without exposing too much skin. The 3/4 sleeves are designed well - they gather nicely at the back of the elbow, which looks so pretty! Well done stylist! It's definitely a keeper.

5. Mavi, Freida Corduroy skinny pants ($98).
These are another item that I specifically requested, and my stylist was able to come through for me! These are super soft corduroy skinny pants, with a medium amount of stretch. Unfortunately for me, they are at least 1 size too small (although I do believe Mavi brand runs slim). Thus, these were returned.

Overall, I was very happy with the items that my stylist picked for me (nothing outrageous!). She was even able to come through on my requests! I was also impressed by the general quality of the items that I received. No items were outside of my general price range, either.

Also note that if you receive something for which you need in another size, send StitchFix an email and they will try their best to find your item in the appropriate size. For instance - on Nordstrom's website, I found that my TrueFit size in Mavi Jeans is one size larger than what I wear in other jeans. So you might want to include such information in your "Notes to Stylist".

Fix on! I can recommend this service.

FYI - I did not receive any compensation from StichFix for this post.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

2 cups to better skin (& slug stopper)

My dogs' cousin enjoys soaking in a fancy tub.

As I don't normally take baths, I was surprised to read about the restorative benefits of soaking with epsom salts. Although technically not a salt - epsom salts are a mixture of magnesium and sulfate. (And, they repel slugs too)
Please stay off my patio.
Regular soakers use epsom salts to:
and so it seems there's something for everyone.

I will give this a try soon and let you know how I feel!

*learn more about Sulfation.

Friday, November 21, 2014


I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner next week, and I started having nightmares like this:

I especially like this one, for black friday

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Farm Box

FYI, right now Groupon is offering a discount for Papa Spud's, a farm box delivery service. With a recent discount code (JOY20 for 20% a local deal), I ordered a farm box filled with an assortment of fruits, vegetables, breads, dairy, and/or meats for $14.40! This price pays for one farm box (usually $24, for 2-4 ppl) and also covers the annual subscription fee of $10.

I'm excited to see what will be included in my first box... as the weather has been COLD, I am expecting a lot of greens. Viva collards!

papa spud's - farm to fork

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Polar Vortex Strikes Back

Holy cow it's cold. It dropped to about 28 F the other night. My poor plants are goners.

curse the polar vortex! 

Give me a good animation any day:

 the weather channel

Today, in my battle to defeat the evil forces of the polar vortex, I am drinking lots of coffee and wearing one of my warmest sweaters -

vince, abstract wool blend sweater

a boxy-ish, wool and cashmere blend. It is super soft; I've been wearing it all day, and no itchiness has ensued. I really like the boatneck, and the knit is very fine. I have average length arms, and the sleeves fit me well, and hit the top of my thumb joint - whereas the sleeves in the stock photo look too long (for my taste). I bought the size M, and am very pleased with it. Check it out here or here (it's on sale, 60% off!). It comes in light gray (shown), or dark gray. If you're a tunic person - there is also an abstract tunic in navy blue.

FYI, my favorite lipstick makes me feel a little more colorful in the cold darkness of 5 pm. 


pearls before swine, by steven pastis

Monday, November 17, 2014

DIY coat closet

This weekend our dirty old coat closet got a makeover. It's medium sized, located under our stairway.

Firstly, it got a good scrub, some spackle, and new paint on the walls and moldings.

We used what paint we had on-hand, which was apple green.

btw, this is the door to the air handler

The bare light bulb got replaced by a new flush-mounted fixture, and a fancy new switch-plate.

there are worse things on which I could spend $5.97...

My fantastic life mate cut some new (level) shelves, held up by some decorative brackets from Lowe's.

Wearing my high fashion sweatshirt and sweatpants, I painted the shelves ivory colored to match our trim. Go hornets!

Looks good so far!

We put up 2 key hooks, and storage items on the shelves.

And we added a mail basket, with hooks for the dog leashes.

Lastly, we put in the railing to hang the coats, a storage unit with cubby holes (for hats and mittens), and a shoe rack.

Can you spot the KISS Christmas ornaments that I just purchased?
My tree is going to ROCK!

Maybe our newly organized coat closet will lead to a more organized life!

Declared Unfit

Reader Beware - the following content is suitable only for those who wear brassieres. Or want to wear brassieres. Or are proponents of visual inspection of well-fitted brassieres. I think that covers a large swath of the average reader, yes?

Notably: Are you wearing the right size?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hereghty Patisserie & Cafe

Because I am an adult and can eat cake for dinner.

chocolate raspberry cake

butterscotch cake (top), chocolate cheesecake (right),
chocolate raspberry cake (bottom), chocolate mouse pie (left)
and lots of coffee

Silent Night Panther Stout

I had plenty of free time a couple of weekends ago, and so I pulled out all of my beer brewing materiel. After a Sunday's afternoon of steeping and boiling (but mostly waiting), I have 5 gallons of beer fermenting in my laundry room. I expect this batch to be drinkable by Christmas time.

Fermenting in my laundry room. Looks kind of gross right now. It's normal!

Steeping my grain

As an avid beer enjoyer and cooking enthusiast, I think it's fun to brew my own beer. It is also very simple!

Atlantic Brew Supply is nearby, and where I buy most of these items. However, it seems that many home and garden stores also carry beer brewing and wine-making items.

My brewing gear includes (but is not limited to):

1. 6-7 gallon turkey fryer kit (includes large pot, thermometer, and propane burner)
2. A propane tank
2.5. A barbecue lighter (or matches)
2.7. 1 beer brewing kit (includes grain, malt liquid extract, hops, yeast). I prefer buying these kits for ease of use - a shoe box full of all of the ingredients that you need to create a fabulous beer.
3. A large wooden spoon for stirring your hot boiling beer (called wort).
4.4. Irish moss* (added to wort for clarity)
5. A 6 gallon glass carboy, or other container where the beer will be left to ferment. It should be sealed, but with a vent to let gas (a product of fermentation) escape.
6. A rubber stopper (a "bung") to seal your carboy
6.9. An airlock** or venting hose. 
6.96. Bleach (always handy)
7. Star San, or other no-rinse sanitizer. This is the best way to sanitize your beer bottles, airlock, and tubing.
8. A siphon, for moving the wort into the carboy
9. About 60, 12 ounce beer bottles and caps

*Irish moss is a protein coagulant added at the last stages of boiling the wort. It clumps a lot of the larger particulates in your beer, so they fall to the bottom. This makes it easier to leave them behind when you pour the wort into the carboy. Less particulate matter = clearer beer.

** When fermenting your beer, place an airlock and rubber stopper into the top of your carboy. The airlock lets excess gas escape your carboy, but prevents outside air and bacteria from getting into your beer.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Outer Space

I want this hairspray just because it looks awesome.

To infinity, and Beyond! outer space hairspray

I might also recommend:

This stuff magically repels dirt and cuts down on the time to blow dry your hair. If you don't mind the $$ this styling cream is truly epic.

Living proof, no frizz styling cream

It's hard to go wrong with a great formula that gives texture and keeps my shorter hair out of my face.

L'oreal, Elnett hairspray

This is the best dry shampoo I have tried, mostly because it's not terribly expensive, applies evenly, and doesn't have an awful smell.

Not your mother's, dry shampoo

And finally, a treatment that gives me great hair days for the next few. It has the consistency of thick mayonnaise (so it stays put on your hair), a pleasant smell, and works wonders especially during the winter months when my hair gets uber dry.

Biolage by Matrix, conditioning balm

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