My boyfriend convinced me to participate in Reddit Secret Santa this holiday season. It was a first time experience for both of us. Going into it, we didn’t have high expectations, but were mostly excited about making someone else excited.
I spent a lot of time, effort, and a decent amount of money into the gift package I created for my recipient. I won’t spoil the fun here as to who I got, but some of her interests were in cats, puns, and horror. I looked around for some neat gifts, threw in some surprises too (Google Home Mini) and really hoped she would enjoy them. Looking at her review, looks like things went over well.
Now for my Secret Santa…
There was a deadline given that we needed to send our gifts out by, and mark on the Reddit Gifts site that our gifts had shipped. I did this for my person, but noticed my Secret Santa never did. The deadline came and went, and I was under the impression I had been forgotten. I gave up hope, moved on, and went on with my holiday plans.
Eventually, a random Amazon box came in the mail that we are assuming is from my Secret Santa, but they didn’t mention anything about Reddit, who they were, etc. Here’s what I received:
I was feeling a bit optimistic when I saw the outside of the box said “Harry Potter,” something I mentioned as one of my interests. I should note I gave my Secret Santa a lot of information and things I liked to choose from.
The box says it’s a “fantastic” gift box of Harry Potter goodies.
A lot of the items are off branded, and some things are down right random like the finger puppets in the picture above and the pencil with a creature on it.
It wasn’t the most exciting box, and I’d say the Amazon seller shouldn’t really call this Fantastic or claim it’s very Harry Potter-y, but it might be an ok gift for a young child who really likes Jelly Beans, as that’s most of the box.
Ultimately, the gift was a little bit of a letdown since it feels like it wasn’t super thought out and a bit rushed (order placed at the shipping deadline), but I’m grateful that I was remembered in the end with a surprise in the mail. Getting mail is always fun.
I’m not sure if I’ll do Reddit Secret Santa again next year, because it can be a hit or miss, but it was kind of fun finding gifts for a random person and hoping to make their day. Let’s see what this new year brings.
Disclosure: This post contains Stitch Fix Affiliate links, and I may receive compensation.
I’m obsessed with the British Royal family. Kate Middleton is someone I admire, and I love her style. So, I decided to ask my stylist for a Kate Middleton inspired Fix! I’m so excited about this Fix and it’s perfect for the winter season!
#1 – 41Hawthorn Gilda Polka Dot Pullover
The first item is a super cute polka dot sweater. I’m a fan of comfy, slightly baggy, sweaters for some of those chillier days or casual weekends. This pullover fits the bill. I love how the polka dots give it a feminine touch. Pair this sweater with black jeans and flats and you’ll be ready for those cold winter days in style!
#2 – Liverpool Kennedy Skinny Pants
When I pulled these bad boys out it was love at first sight. I’ve been dying to receive a pair of purple pants ever since I saw an outfit on Pinterest, and these pants do not disappoint! They are fabulous. You can dress them up or down effortlessly. Not only are they an amazing color, but they fit and feel like butter. One thing to note, the pockets on these pants aren’t real, which is the only let down. Kate Middleton would definitely rock a pair of these pants. Kudos to my stylist, Jan! Jan recommends pairing these pants with the above polka dot pullover, and I couldn’t agree more. It might just become my go to outfit for the season. See the pants on me in the next item review below.
#3 – Kut from the Kloth Sinclaire Button Front Blouse
I’ve been big into floral lately, and it seems to be on trend too. The colors on this Kut from the Kloth blouse are beautiful. You’ll notice the top is very transparent, even though it has a busy floral print. If you’re not feeling the see through look, and want to hide your bra or stomach, throw on a camisole, otherwise rock it! I probably wouldn’t have purchased this top for myself from a traditional store, thinking the transparency of the top would be inappropriate or too fashion forward for me, but I kind of dig it. I definitely feel my fashion barriers being shifting a bit, and for the good! Just cut the tag off, something I should have done first 🙂
#4 -Honey Punch Henrie Striped Open Cardigan
This is my first Honey Punch item I’ve received, and I have to say, I like it! Besides my love for Kate Middleton’s fashion sense, I also love nautical/preppy fashion, could be because of my New England upbringing and spending the summers on Cape Cod. This cardigan screams nautical with it’s crisp and clean white and navy stripes. You can’t beat the simplicity of a great cardigan. On top of everything, this cardigan is oh so cozy.
#5 – Leota Aniyah Faux Wrap Knit Dress
I had to save the best for last. There’s nothing more flattering for women than the classic wrap dress. I’m a firm believer every woman should have at least one in her closet. Wrap dresses are effortless and never go out of style, and in my opinion flatter all body types. When my eyes laid upon this beauty I knew it was going to be a keeper right away. Not only is emerald green a beautiful color, but it’s absolutely perfect for the upcoming holiday season, and the perfect red head color! I should note, there’s a very high (sexy) slit on this dress on the side, but it seems to be staying in place fine. I could see Kate Middleton wearing this same dress, so of course I love it. She, like I, can’t stay away from wrap dresses, and you shouldn’t either!
Final Thoughts – Hands down, this is my favorite complete Fix. I absolutely loved every item, and truly felt like Jan was channeling Kate Middleton’s style with each and every piece. Another great thing about this particular fix is how many of the items I could pair with each other, making styling an outfit so easy! I can only hope I get so lucky with my next Fix.
Don’t forget to follow my Pinterest Boards for more Stitch Fix fun!
BREAKING NEWS: Haven’t tried Stitch Fix yet? Well, Stitch Fix is doing something amazing, from now until the end of January they are waiving the styling fee! That’s right, you can finally try Stitch Fix worry free because you won’t have to pay anything to give it a try. Traditionally, you have to pay $20 for each fix (a styling fee) but in spirit of the holidays, they are waiving the fee!
Finally, don’t forget with the holiday season here, that giving the gift of fashion and a personal stylist is a fun and unique gift that your recipient, male or female, is sure to love. Pick up your gift cards today! Stitch Fix Gift Card – All Types
For the past year, I continued on my quest to find a solution for my flats that would make them not only comfortable to wear for long periods of time, but also keep them from getting smelly.
A few months ago I received a targeted ad on Facebook that suggested I try out a new sort of shoe insert that works wonderfully for flats, particularly Tieks. When I saw the mention of Tieks, and an image of the insert being used in them, I wondered to myself if this was the solution I’ve been looking for.
The product is called Gekks. On their website, they advertise Gekks as a “reinvented sock.” When you purchase Gekks, you receive two thin adhesive inserts that you line up to fit the sole of your shoe of choice. Once you’ve got the insert stuck on, you’ll take the “sock” that’s been provided and attach it to the adhesive. The sock attacks to about 80% of the adhesive insert, and to the small adhesive strip that’s provided for the heel, so everything is attached pretty firmly inside. The tip of the sock has a little toe section that I recommend holding to get your toes aligned fully inside, and then you’re good to get walking.
These worked beautifully for a newer pair of Tieks I had. The ones I test walked in were only worn a few times, so they were in great condition, with limited wear and odor. I really liked how they kept my heel comfortable, and didn’t make my feet sweaty.
After a few months of trying out the Gekks in my shoes, I felt it was time to step it up to the next level and see how good this product really was. Could it really survive in my oldest pair of Tieks that had seen better days? Would the Gekks keep the stink away from my feet? These particular Tieks are STINKY, and I mean bad. You can read more about my original review of them here to see what I’m talking about. So, it was time to test them out!
Before putting in the Gekks, we did some prep work, wiping out the inside of the flats with a wet paper towel and letting them sit to dry. Then, it was time to install the Gekks. Below I have the Gekks fully inserted, including the adhesive pieces and the sock.
The next day I took my stinky Tieks out on their first journey with their new Gekks buddies. This involved commuting to the city, wearing them all day in the office, and doing lots of walking. Once I got home it was time to see how my feet survived.
I slowly peeled my feet out of the flats and raised my foot to my nose, fearful of what the outcome would be. I was shocked. My feet didn’t stink! Now remember, these are my really stinky, seen better days pair of flats, so the fact that the Gekks were able to protect my feet and contain the previous odor from spreading was amazing. Now I’m sure with continued use they will get a bit stinky again, just because these Tieks were pretty bad in the first place, but the Gekss are machine washable! All you have to do is unstick them, which is very easy to do, and throw them in the wash. I haven’t washed any of my pairs yet, but I imagine they’ll wash fine. You could even throw them in a little washing bag if you were worried about them.
So far, I’m really pleased with the product. They’ve saved my Tieks, and I automatically place a pair in each pair of flats I get. The only downside is their site has super slow shipping. My last order was super late and took forever, but it looks like you can find them from a reseller on Amazon. Note, a lot of the reviews on Amazon aren’t great, but I haven’t experienced any issues with mine.
If you’re looking for something to keep your flats comfortable, in good condition and odor free, you need to try these out. From one girl to another, it’s worth it!
Today I did something completely out of my comfort zone, I took a fitness class. This was my very first time taking a class at a studio.
I’ve been thinking about taking a group fitness class for a while now, but I was just never brave enough. For the most part, I’ve been content enough following along to Pop Pilates and beginner yoga videos on Youtube.
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve casually been searching online for options near my town to take either a yoga, pilates, or barre class. While I do spend most of my waking hours in New York City, I didn’t feel like joining a class in the city would be very beginner friendly. Everyone I know who is a member of an NYC gym seems like a gym/class expert, something I’m not. I eventually found a cute studio in New Jersey, Studio 108, that seemed to offer everything I was looking for.
Earlier this week, I decided to sign up online for a class on a whim. My class of choice? BootyBarre. What’s that you ask? It’s a full body workout that takes elements from Pilates, Yoga, and Ballet. Last night I went out and bought a new pair of “yoga” pants and barre socks from Athleta to get myself excited and decked out for adventure.
Today was the big day! I was nervous and unsure of myself, but also a bit excited to finally take a leap and get myself out there and try something new. I’m not usually brave enough to try a brand new experience alone, and like to have a friend or my boyfriend tag along, but I decided to give it a go.
The studio was cute and welcoming. Everyone I met was super friendly, and seemed excited to have a new face come through the door. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would everyone be a barre wizard, and know how to do all the moves elegantly and effortlessly? Would I fail miserably and embarrass myself? Well, I’m happy to report I wasn’t the only new person and that everyone else found the workout to be challenging. While it was challenging and tiring, it was a lot of fun! I really appreciated how the class was judgement free, and that we were all able to learn something new together.
I’d definitely recommend buying no-slip socks. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to buy them for my first class, but I’m so glad I did. The socks definitely help keep your steady and from slipping around when doing leg lifts and a variety of moves that will get your legs shaking like crazy!
My only regret after taking the class today is that I won’t be able to make next week’s session due to traveling for the holidays. However, I’m definitely going to be hitting up Studio 108 again soon, and will hit the studio floor in 2 weeks. I might even sign up for a yoga class too!
Lesson learned today: Take risks, and try something new. You might just find something you love.
Growing up, I dreaded having to go shopping for clothes with my parents. Today, I still dislike going to the mall or a clothing store and trying on clothes. Who likes dressing room lighting? Not me! I’m all for services that make shopping for clothes easy, convenient, and comfortable. That’s why I decided to try out a new clothing service by a company called MM.LaFleur.
I’ve seen a number of advertisements for MM.LaFleur, from subway advertisements in the cars themselves, to ads in my Gmail Promotions tab. It was only a matter of time before I signed up and took a chance.
Sign Up Process
Signing up is pretty easy. You aren’t asked a lot of questions so you’re left wondering how well the stylist/company is going to know you and your style. When you sign up, you’re requesting what they call a “Bento Box.” It’s a box of 4-6 items from clothing to accessories.
Some of the questions you’ll receive are based around cost, what you do for a living, and if you’re more into business formal style, casual, or something in between.
These items are not cheap! Prices start around $110 for a top, to $325 for a dress. I feel like the company uses keywords like elevated, work, and business to help justify the higher costs, hoping you’re willing to splurge a little more on something that’s dressier and more professional. What I appreciate the most about this service is that there is no styling or requestor fee. You pay nothing to receive a Bento Box, and if you hated everything, you could just return everything, no risk, no cost.
When you check out on the website, you don’t actually find out how much you owe until a few days later when the company receives your returns back. I should note returns are free, and you get a UPS bag to send whatever you don’t want to keep back. Yes, you could do the math if you were price conscious, but I would have liked it to have been displayed when I checked out. If you were click happy you could end up spending an awful lot without realizing it.
At Home Process
When you get your items, you have a total of 4 days to try everything on and decide what you want to keep. You’ll get a neatly packaged bag of goodies in your box, tied with a pretty bow. I appreciated the effort that went into the packaging of the clothing items in my Bento Box. I felt they took the extra step to make me feel like I was experiencing an “elevated” clothing experience, which you should expect when you’re willing to dish out a lot of cash for clothes someone else picked out for you.
You do get a print out with a note from a stylist, which is pretty lengthy, explaining the items they chose for you, along with a list of all the items and their prices.
I’m not sure if this happens for every first time Bento Box requester, but I also received a free tote bag that was mine to keep no matter what.
Trying on the Clothes
#1 – The Etsuko
The first item I pulled out was The Etsuko Dress in black. The dress comes with a built in belt to emphasize your natural waist, and give the dress a little umph. There’s a lot of good tailoring lines going on here, from the chest area to your hips. What I didn’t totally love, was that the dress was a little funeraly. I have several little black dresses in my closet that I have yet to wear, so I couldn’t justify adding another black dress to my collection at this time.
#2 – The Foster Pant
Everyone could use a well fitted pair of black dress pants. If you’re looking for a great pair of dress pants, look no further. One neat feature you’ll want to check out is how you can transform these pants from regular length to crop, with use of a button within the inside of the lower pant leg, making them pretty versatile for year round wear. These pants are extremely slimming and look great on, however I opted not to keep them due to sizing. The zipper and buttons are right on the hip, which I found caused some difficulty for me. While I could get myself zipped and buttoned up, it wasn’t easy. These pants were my usual size, but I did notice later on the website they recommend sizing up. If the pants were a larger size I probably would have kept them, but alas back they went. You’ll see a picture of me wearing them in the following item review below since I pair them with another item.
# 3 – The Didion 3.0 Top
Another black item! We’re now up to a total of 3 black pieces in my Bento Box. Now I know black is a popular color for all sorts of reasons, but I’m not the biggest fan. I like to add color to my wardrobe, and as a pale redhead I worry wearing all black will make me look washed out.
The Didion Top is pretty comfortable, but I did have some trouble getting into it at first. There’s an interesting lining inside, that can cause finding the openings for your head and arms to be a challenge. Eventually I made it through and popped out. I wasn’t overly excited by this top, but it did look nice. They call this the work place friendly t-shirt, but it doesn’t feel like a t-shirt. I ultimately passed on this top because I had a very similarly cut black top that I had gotten from Forever 21. You may laugh, but why spend over $100 on something that I have almost an exact copy of that I got for a tenth of the price! You can see I paired this top with the Foster Pant for an all black work friendly look.
#4 – The Panel Scarf
I can’t say I expected a scarf in my Bento Box, but lo and behold, I received one. I’m not a fan of using styling services on accessories, especially ones I can only use one time of the year. I like my scarfs nice and cozy. The Panel Scarf, while it looked ok and was a nice professional color, wasn’t as soft as I would have liked. It felt a bit scratchy, and there’s nothing worse than a scratchy scarf in the winter.
# 5 – The Emily Dress
I was happy to finally pull out another dress from the Bento Box, and to see some color! I love blue, especially dark blues on skintones like mine so I was optimistic this could work. The cut of the dress reminds me of something a First Lady might wear, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but could look a little silly on someone my age who is still in their 20s. But, they say you can’t judge an item of clothing until you try it on. After I tried it on a couple of times, I felt this dress was fairly cute, very stylish, and made me look more mature. I could see pulling on this dress for a conference or presentation, and it doesn’t hurt to have some more professional pieces lying around so I bit the bullet and kept this one. Oh, and there are little baby pockets in this dress! Perfect for clipping on work badges 🙂
#6 – The Woolf 2.0 Jardigan
Next up is a cardigan that they call the Jardigan. The fabric is kind of funky, but I like it. It’s the lightest colored piece that I received in my box, and while it’s not exactly an exciting color, we all need neutrals in our wardrobe. This neutral is called “Taupe Pearl.” I like this piece because it’s very lightweight, while still being a more upscale feeling fabric, and it works with some of the dresses in the Bento Box that I received. I’m a fan of cardigans, especially for the office because I like to continue to wear some of my sleeveless tops throughout the year, and you can do that by throwing on a cute cardigan. This piece looks dressy and is a bit classier than a thin cotton cardigan that let’s be honest, get’s pretty wrinkly. I’ll definitely be using this piece in the upcoming months.
#7 – The Aditi 2.0 Dress
We round out my first Bento Box with a sleeveless dress in Dark Pine. As a redhead, one of my favorite colors to wear is green, so I was excited to see a green option, although still once again another dark color. I actually received two Dark Pine Aditi dresses in my box, each a different size. My stylist wanted to provide two sizes in this option to see what my preferred fit was. I ultimately decided to get the smaller size, my usual size, but was torn between the two. If you go for your regular size, the dress will be more fitted and tighter, but not skin tight! I was originally going to go with the larger size because I, like a lot of women (no matter what size we are!), can be self conscious about tight things around my stomach area, but my boyfriend convinced me that I could pull off my usual size in this dress. I really enjoyed the structured elements of this dress and I feel a lot more mature and professional in it as well. I’m sure some people will be a little confused when I walk into the office dressed in it, since it’s fancier than my day to day style, but I look forward to wearing it to work, and maybe even date night!
Checking Out After you’ve performed your own fashion show at home and decided what pieces, if any, that you’d like to keep, you have to head over to the MM.LaFleur website. The website provides small pictures of the items you tried on, and asks for you whether you’re keeping or returning an item. Each choice is accompanied by some further buttons for you to click to provide a bit of feedback on why you chose to keep or return an item. For the items you don’t like, there are further drop downs so you can get even more specific on what was wrong or why you weren’t in love.
After that, you mail back your items in the prepaid UPS bag provided in your box, and you’ll receive a confirmation of your order and ultimate cost once MM.LaFleur receives your box.
I wished my first box was more colorful. I felt the colors were all on the dark and drab side. Nothing stood out as being overly exciting, and I think that could have been improved upon had there been more light colors or a pattern thrown into the mix.
The overall styles and cuts I were given were definitely more formal and business like than I’m used to wearing. I do work at a tech company after all, where fashion isn’t something that’s on everyone’s minds. However, I did like the ability to give more professional office friendly styles a try, exploring new cuts and silhouettes that I wouldn’t typically pick up in store or consider for myself.
One observation about the clothing from MM.LaFleur is how heavy the fabrics are. The items, for the most part, aren’t lightweight, but they are built and constructed well. You can tell they care about tailoring and showing off the best parts of your body. I’m not sure how comfortable some of the items would be in warmer weather, but I might see what they have to offer come Spring when I hope the fabrics are lighter and more breezy.
This is definitely a great service for those who work in high fashion or typical office jobs where the dress code is stricter and you’re expected to wear a certain type of wardrobe. If you don’t work in an environment like that, I still think it’s worth a try. You can always use a few dressier pieces in your wardrobe, but you have to be ready to invest a bit if you want do so.
My stylist also just emailed me, referencing some of my feedback, and suggesting when I should request another Bento Box. It’s a nice touch to hear back from your stylist after you’ve checked out and left feedback. I have a feeling when they reach out they are more likely to get repeat customers. It might just work on me.
Would I try another Bento Box? The ruling is still up in the air. I might give it another go in the Winter or come Spring time. I did notice you can buy clothes directly off their website, so I might try that instead so I can try more interesting colors and patterns when I’m ready for another wardrobe upgrade.
How does MM.LaFleur’s Bento Box service compare to Stitch Fix? I’ll be unwrapping both services for you in the upcoming weeks, sharing my observations and suggestions.