Bargain Shopping is Fun Too!

I have spent a tremendous amount of money on clothes lately.  Well, at least, tremendous for me.   I have been trying to do away with my bargain/discount shopping ways and finding some pieces I really love with Stitch Fix but all told, for 2 dresses, 1 pair of jean capris, 1 pair of jean shorts, 2 necklaces and 3 tops and a maxi skirt, I have spent $481.23.  Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot and when you break it down my item, it averages about $48 each.  Not horrible, I completely understand but for me, A LOT of money to spend on clothes in 4 month’s time.

However, I can’t see to get myself to stop!  It has been so long since I just let myself go wild, getting things I actually love and need, that I keep thinking of more and more things I would like.  This weekend, I am returning those black jeans to Old Navy and looking for another pair that fit.  And can I just talk about the difference between the Stitch Fix jeans and the Old Navy ones I bought for a minute.  There is a VAST difference in material – the Stitch Fix jeans are much softer and are a much better fit than the Old Navy ones.  They are kind of scratchy and I have to keep pulling them up because the stretch in them doesn’t stretch quite right and they keep falling down!  But, that’s for another post.

I also got a chance to visit New Buffalo, Michigan yesterday which is a total tourist town, a destination for Chicago folks looking to get their boats out on the lake and stop for the day for a little shopping and food.  A friend told me about an upscale cosignment shop called, Posh and highly recommended we check it out.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know much about it and assumed since they offered brands like Prada and Gucci, they would be a little out of my league but I could not have been more wrong!  Here is a link to their Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Posh-New-Buffalo/139922922700620?fref=ts

It was amazing! Not only did they have higher end items from Burburry, Prada and the like but also normal name brands like Coach, Dooney and Burke, Lauren, Guess and so much more!  We could have spend hours in this store – purses, dresses, shoes, sunglasses, jewelry, so many beautiful things to look at and unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you want to look at it, I only had a chance to try on a handful of items and walked away with these 2 amazing deals:

Max Studio

If you have been following my Stitch Fix posts, I will admit this dress is VERY similiar to one I received from them in my first successful Fix.  However, I couldn’t pass it up.  Max Studio, super comfy and I am a sucker for kelly green.  The material makes it look super casual and this was an XS for only $12!

This second dress is MUCH fancier but fit like a glove and I think would be perfect for some holiday parties paired with tights and some high heeled low black booties – it’s off the shoulder and sexy, sexy.  The name brand is Laundry by Shelli Segal, which I know absolutely nothing about but upon Googling the name, it looks like their dresses sell at Nordstrom’s and Lord and Taylor for around $200 on average.  This one is a size 2 and I got it for only $58!

Laundry

So, one more shopping trip planned with my aunt and mom tomorrow and then I think I have to think about reining it in.  I have my next Fix scheduled for the last Saturday in September and between now and then, I really need to take stock of what items I need for fall.  If I get a chance, I may look for them myself in local stores before I turn to Stitch Fix to send them to me.  Stitch Fix is fun, don’t get me wrong but I definitely cannot afford to keep buying my entire box every time they send it.

If you would like to try Stitch Fix for yourself, please use my link below and I will get a $25 credit on your first shipment!  Happy shopping, all and thanks for reading!

https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/5229780

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Stitch Fix #5 – August 2015, Take TWO!

The long awaited package has arrived!  I guess the good thing about the sneak peeks you can make on your Fix after they are shipped, it doesn’t give away the color so that is always a surprise…and I got some GOOD ones!

What is Stitch Fix?  If you are reading this blog, you are trying to learn more about it, right?  Long story short, it is a styling website where you fill out a detailed style profile on yourself and then at the frequency of your choosing, a personal stylist will mail you 5 pieces of clothing or accessories and you can keep them and pay for them, or send them back, for free.  The styling fee is $20 and if you buy just one item, it gets credited towards the purchase price.  If you buy all 5 items, you get a 25% discount.

Ready to see what I got?  My first August Fix was a disaster and besides a necklace, it all went back.  Check out the pictures in my blog entry to see why.  Well, I admit I had very high expectations on this Fix after numerous E-mails back and forth with master Stitch Fix stylist, Katherine.  We talked about likes and dislikes, my blog, my Pinterest  page and she ensured me she would do her best to pick out items that not only I would like, that would fit.  Here is a note included in my Fix along with a picture of the packaged items in the box:

SF 2

SF 1

My heart sank a little when I read, “Since you prefer to keep your arms covered. . . ” – I don’t recall EVER mentioning this nor do I think any of the items I have pinned reflect this.  So, this was a little out of left field, was she really listening to me all this time or not?

Let’s find out!  First up, this pair of Dear John Lillie Cuffed Shorts in Blue, size 2, regular price of $58.

SF 7

SF 3

SF 11

Sorry, everyone – you are going to start seeing more of my phone and my face in these pictures because it is pretty impossible to take a good picture of yourself, showing off clothes!  I wish I had someone to take the pictures for me but just time for me, myself and I to do it.

I paired these adorable shorts with my Market & Spuce Sam Hi-Lo Short Sleeve Tee and the Zad necklace from my last Fix.  I think you could put any statement necklace with this tee and I have a hot pink one that would be cute too.  The shorts are super comfortable and soft with lots of stretch so I could see wearing these a lot.  I like the darker wash of these compared to the Old Navy ones I picked up last week so think those are going back.  So, as of right now, I plan to KEEP these.

Next, the Pixley Edmond Chevron Print Henley Shirt in Dark Purple, size XS, regular price of $54.

SF 9

SF 5

SF 12

Everyone is right, this shirt is super soft, stretch and really comfortable.  I paired it with a linen pair of Banana Republic shorts but you could wear dress pants, jeans, leggings, really anything with it to dress it up or down.  It fits well, the neck is a little low but I kind of like it like that.  I love the colors so right now, I believe I will KEEP this one too.

Then, we have the 41Hawthorn Filbert 3/4 Sleeve Popover Blouse in Turquoise, size XS, regular price of $58.

SF 8

SF 4

SF 13

First one, it felt too big – but just in length.  Everything else fits well, sleeves, neckline, shoulders so I thought, why not pair it with leggings and boots?  OH, I am so not ready for boots yet but it’s a light weight shirt so would transition well into fall.  I like the little cuff at the bottom – I took a side shot so you can see how flattering the cut is.

SF 14

Concerns?  It is very wrinkly, right out of the box and I am not much of an ironer.  So, that would be a little bit of a challenge.  I think I could wear this a lot, even for work with a pair of straight pants so I am leaning towards KEEPING this but still on the fence.

Last up is a little bit more of a wild card than Katherine said.  A PONCHO?  OK, I admit, last Fall, I did get my first poncho and it’s nice to keep toasty with the chilly air.  So, let’s give it a try.  This is the Skies Are Blue Lazio Poncho Cardigan in Colbolt, size XS, regular price of $48.

SF 15

SF 16

First, I am not wild about this print and this style truly perplexes me.  I had no idea what to wear under it so left it simple with the legging and boots from above and just threw on a simple tank.  I also put on the Zad Griselda Beaded Drape Necklace with it, regular price of $38, as my stylist suggested.  I am just not feeling it.  I love the necklace and actually am going to pair it with a pretty tank I found at a store called Francesca’s when I go out tonight.  So, I am definitely KEEPING the necklace but the poncho?  I don’t think so.

BUT, not so fast – based on how Stitch Fix works, if I kept 4 out of the 5 items I mentioned, it would cost me $188 but if I just keep all 5, it is only $172.  Crazy, right?  What if I didn’t get the long 41Hawthorn shirt?  It would take my total cost down to only $130, sending the poncho back.  Hmmm. . .so I guess I have something to think about, don’t I?  If you have any opinions on anything, I would love hear so please weigh in!

All in all, I am definitely happier with this Fix than my last.  I obviously have more communicating I need to do with my stylist about what I like and don’t like and I am still concerned that they don’t have enough petites or items sized small enough to fit me on a regular basis.  SO, I probably will keep using Stitch Fix but may adjust my shipment dates based on what I need when.  Maybe it will be once a month, maybe it will be every 2, who knows?  One thing I have learned is that in order to build up my wardrobe, I have just got to suck it up every couple of months and get out there in the stores too and see what I can find.  In just one short hour yesterday, I managed to find this tank at Sears on sale for only $12 and this other at Francesca’s for $19.98.  Both in my size and both exactly what I have been hoping Stitch Fix would send me:

Sears

Fran

So, I am definitely not dissing Stitch Fix but again, don’t think I personally can use it for my whole wardrobe – they just don’t have enough options for my size.

Would you like to try Stitch Fix for yourself?  If so, please use my referral link below and I will get a $25 credit after your first Fix ships!  Thanks so much for reading!

https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/5229780

Stitch Fix #5 Peek

Oh no, I couldn’t help myself – as soon as I got my shipment notification, I just had to go in and take a peek.  I know a lot of people who use Stitch Fix love the surprise of opening the box but until I start getting more items to get excited about, I prefer to prepare myself before the box actually arrives!

Where to start? Well, I have high hopes for this Fix after Master Stylist, Katherine took me under her wing and said she was going to send me the best Fix possible.  So, what do I think?

Well. . .she definitely filled a few of my suggestions, specifically, like first up, this bib necklace I had pinned on Pinterest.  Love the colors and while I don’t see anything specifically in this Fix that matches it, I think I will be able to find something in my closet:

Bib necklace

And of course, jean shorts and I just posted the other day how I found some on sale at Old Navy. Well, I will try on this pair and see how they compare, then decide which to keep and which to send back:

Jean shorts

Next up, the shirts.  Now, I have to say that I don’t hate either one of them but the issue I have – they both are almost the exact same style.  I know I will gravitate more towards the patterned one than the solid but here are both of them:

Shirt 1

Shirt 2

And to be honest, looking at these pictures, I really question fit.  Both look really blousy and long, which is exactly what WILL NOT fit me.  Again, I will reserve judgment until I see them in person and try them on.

My final item is the SKIES ARE BLUE Lazio Poncho Cardigan, which I cannot find a picture of anywhere on the Internet so guess we will just have to be surprised with that one.   I really love the chevron shirt, the necklace and the jean shorts, so can’t wait for my box to arrive and try things on!

I will keep fingers, toes and everything else crossed until then that some of this not only fits but flatters.  We shall see!  I will post pictures on, as well as prices, sizes and more details on the items when they arrive.  If it shipped today, it should arrive sometime Friday, the 21st.  Can’t wait!

If you would like to try Stitch Fix for yourself, please use my referral link below and I will get a $25 credit on your first shipment!  Thanks for reading!

https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/5229780

Do YOU Shop Old Navy for Jeans?

I haven’t shopped Old Navy in a number of  years.  When I was younger, I admit most of my wardrobe came from this store and heck, they had some cute clothes, once upon a time.  But in the past few years, I haven’t been able to find any tops there that weren’t giant, boxy tents – just incredibly unflattering styles.  I used to buy work pants there too and I don’t think they have had decent office style pants in a long time either.

But, what keeps drawing me back is their jeans.  For the most part, they are usually pretty comfortable and are a decent price and last longer than you would think.  90% of my current jean stock are still Old Navy styles from years’ past but most of them are ready to be retired.  I’ve been incredibly busy lately so no time to get to the store but I get hundreds of sale and discount E-mails and Old Navy’s recent jeans sale caught my eye.  Why not just order the style and my size online, have it shipped to me for free and be done with it?

I see their styles have changed names and that just happens as the years go by, doesn’t it?  I preferred their skinny low rise jean, which I believe was the Diva and now they only have this Rockstar, skinny, skinny, super skinny Rockstar and original skinny, which is what I bought in a blue denim color and also black.  I have been coveting a black pair and a white pair of jeans, to kind of dress up outfits a little.

Old Navy Jeans

I was also thrilled to find a pair of jean shorts, exactly the kind I wanted and believe it or not, were sold out in every other size but mine!  Meant to be, right?  I see they are gone from their website but they look similar to this pair.  They even have a patriotic color pockets hanging down a little from the bottom.  So cute!

Old Navy shorts

I was happy to come home from work last night and find my clothes already here.  Only 2 business days, 4 days total with free shipping – not bad at all.  Unfortunately, as soon as I got the clothing out of the package, I quickly discovered one reason I stopped shopping Old Navy in the first place.  The blue denim pair of jeans?  Fit perfectly – love the wash, exactly what I wanted.  The black pair?  Now, remember, they are the EXACT same style, size, everything as the first pair and they were so freaking tight in every, single place – legs, thighs, hips, waist that I could feel my legs start to throb from cutting off my circulation!  So, despite my best efforts, I will have to return this pair to the store and try and exchange for a black pair that actually fits.

I see today, they are offering up to 50% off their jeans now and free shipping on only $35 but why would I take a chance on ordering another pair, only to have it arrive and see it doesn’t fit again?  Luckily, I am going to be taking some vacation time here very soon so will have more time to hit the stores than I normally do.

On a final note, I heard from my Stitch Fix stylist, Katherine yesterday, confirming she was working on my Fix and wondering if I could be a little flexible on my arrival date. She is doing her best to send me everything I have asked for and wanted a little more time to track it all down.  So, not sure if it will get here by Saturday, August 22nd as expected or sometime next week.  Either way, I am very curious to see what they turn up for me!

I finally started pinning fall clothes and outfits on my Pinterest page (check the link below and follow me for ideas) as I do realize my next Fix will be well into September, if I continue the service.  I am still just not ready to think about specific pieces I need but more just pinning general looks I like.  Something about a bright colored pant or sweater with matching shoes – is just so darn cute!

How I Won my Second Fitbit Step Challenge

Step Challenge

Doesn’t seem like big a deal, does it?  Well, I participate in a new step challenge practically every week for MONTHS and this is only the second one I have won.  I wonder – what do these people do all day that they can move THAT much?  Unfortunately, I find myself sitting at my office job for 8 to 9 hours at a time and yes, I try and get up every hour, move around, stretch, etc but let’s face it – that ain’t gonna put you on top of other steppers out there, clocking 15,000 steps every day!

My modest step goal is 10,000 a day and I figure, if I can average over 70,000 in a week, I am doing pretty darn good.  I do have to make a point of setting aside certain days to move more, to make up for the days when I know I either won’t work out or will be stuck working longer than I would like.

So, I got to thinking, why exactly did I win this step challenge and failed at all the others?  Let’s let look at my week this past Monday through Friday, because this was a Workweek Hustle Challenge:

Monday:  8,930 steps, my worst day. I was just coming off feeling sick over the weekend so rather than a full on workout after work that night, I went out in the garden and cleaned up a little bit.  Cut down and bagged some dead plants, weeded and threw away some old annual baskets.  Carted a few bags from the back to the front but other than that, pretty leisurely stuff.

Tuesday:  16,699 steps, I believe, my best day.  Tuesdays are set aside to go walking with my aunt around a local park, which clocks in around 4.5 miles.  We aren’t setting any land speed records, it usually takes us about an hour and 15 minutes to hoof it around but we use that time to catch up, make plans for future family events and basically complain about various things.  Always feels good to get things off your chest and workouts are so much more fun with a buddy so time well spent!

Wednesday:  12,822 steps.  An odd day because I got over 10,000 steps and did NOT workout.  How?  Well, we have this lovely little local event called the Wednesday Wine Walk.  Participating downtown restaurants offer wine and food tastings for a certain price and you just walk from place to place to get your tastes.  It was a stunning night so we walked a little farther than we normally would.  Not sure those are quality steps when you are doing it while drinking but I was grateful to get out and stretch my legs, nonetheless.

Thursday:  12,635 steps.  Again, a little bit of a fluke because once again, I did not work out Thursday either.  Our office summer picnic was in the afternoon so I unchained myself from the desk for about 4 hours to hang out with co-workers on a nice summer day.  Then, after work, I had a hair appointment and did some speed shopping to start building up my sad and pathetic wardrobe, since i haven’t been able to get any Stitch Fix clothes I like.  Check out my previous blog post to see what items I picked up.

Friday:  16,450 steps.  Pretty darn close to the day I walked over 4.5 miles!  I did get a quick lunch time workout in on the treadmill but only for 30 minutes.  The rest of these steps were accomplished by cleaning my house after work.  My parents are coming to stay for 2 and a half weeks and while I don’t live in squalor, there are plenty of detailed cleaning I put off . . .and put off.  And put off some more but when parents come, you know they see these things.  I swear, my house is NEVER as clean as when they stay for their annual visit.  I probably cleaned, jamming out to some Pandora for a good 2 hours.

So, total steps for this 5 day period:  67,520 steps, which Fitbit confirms is a new personal record for me.  I doubt I would be able to recreate this, since not too often I have a whole afternoon off from work nor a need to clean my house so much on other occasions but it definitely gives me something to strive for now.  I’ve had my Fitbit since June of 2014 and I believe this is the biggest all around week I have had too.  From last Sunday through yesterday, I had 90,854 steps.  Besides my loving cup picture at the top, doesn’t that deserve a badge or something?  Anything to keep ya motivated!

Some Styles Just Aren’t For You!

I just wanted to do a little follow up on my Stitch Fix experience from my last shipment – my last communication with Katherine, the master stylist who has taken me under her wing, indicated she has thouroughly reviewed my Pinterest page and Style Profile on Stitch Fix and feels she has a good understanding of what I’m looking for.  My next Fix is scheduled for a week from today and she is hoping to get me a great box of stuff. Unfortunately, I think we both have accepted my size might be a problem to using the service.

Stitch Fix FAQ states they style sizes 0/XS through 14/XL but Katherine admitted, they are very limited on the number of styles for 0/XS.  They also offer petites but same thing, it’s a relatively new offering for Stitch Fix so the styles they do have tend to go rather quickly.  Just for kicks, I decided to finally suck it up and visit a few of my favorite stores here in town, that offer styles similar to what I’ve been requesting from Stitch Fix.  First up, Charming Charlie’s – they have great prices, super colorful clothing and endless accessories to style your outfit.  Some may argue their merchandise is a little cheap and poor quality and while you do have to keep an eye out for that, I have had just as much luck with their pieces as some higher priced items and brands.

I was thrilled to find the store jam packed with pretty summer tops and tanks in exactly the styles I wanted.  I grabbed no less than a dozen tops, including these few pictured below, to try them on and see if I could find something that worked:

CC3

CC2

I tried to pick ones that looked a little shorter, a little more tapered and not quite so billowy and I am here to tell you – every, single, solitary one was too big.  And I don’t just mean too long, I mean proportioned all wrong.  The arm holes of each shirt fell just below the bottom of my bra.  Of course, Charming Charlie’s only sizes down to a Small and does not offer Extra Smalls right now but I can wear many other style of shirts they offer and pretty much any dress in a Small and it’s fine.  I was so disappointed to hand back every shirt that I tried on there.  I was able to buy these long sleeved shirts, which again, fit me just fine and will help transition me from late summer, into fall:

CC4

CC5

Both super cute, but just not what I was looking for.  So, I tried a local boutique store to see if I had the same problem and I DID.  No matter what style of tank or pretty summer short sleeved/sleeveless shirt I tried, all were too big.  I ended up a pretty camp shirt in pink, gray and green, which again, I can wear with shorts or jean capris in late summer then jeans in the fall.

So, I think I officially give up.  I would be utterly and completely shocked if the shirts I get next week from Stitch Fix fit because I think the styles for 2015 just aren’t made for a 5 foot tall, 110 pound woman with a short torso.  I know women with long torsos or legs have the exact opposite all the time too so I think sometimes we just have to accept, some styles just aren’t for us.  My dilemma – when I go out for fun nights with friends or hubby in the summer time, if I don’t want to wear a sundress, what do I wear?  All of my summer tops from previous years are old and worn and I want something fun you can style with a pretty necklace and earrings and wear casual with skinny jeans or nice shorts.  That’s all I have ever been looking for – just not sure what other options are out there that aren’t fuddy duddy, old people styles.  I have spent so much time researching outfits, styling, etc on Pinterest over the past 3 months, I am totally burnt out on it.  I just would love to walk into a store, try something out and walk out with something I am happy with and confident I look nice in.  Don’t we all??

Stitch Fix Customer Service Continues to AMAZE!

I feel like a broken record but while my Fixes haven’t all been winners, I am constantly astonished by the response of customer services to come to my aid and make it better.

First, I was reimbursed for the ONE shirt I kept, that I loved and fit, that shrunk slightly in the wash.  I sent it back the week of July 27th and had my credit by Fri, August 7th so not bad at all.

Then, after this last horrendous Fix last week, I finally received this kind and detailed response from their customer service, which you can reach anytime at hello@stitchfix.com:

Katherine (Stitch Fix)

Aug 10, 10:28 AM

Hi Cara,

Thank you for following up with us. We are just as disappointed to hear this Fix wasn’t a hit as well. I’m a veteran stylist and would be happy to work with you to turn your experience around.

We sincerely apologize for not clarifying some of the limitations of carrying an assortment of petites, and I’d like to address that for you now. I want you to know that our stylists spend a lot of time trying on items to determine how they will fit a wide range of body types. While the items aren’t always marked as petite, there is a lot of thought put into the selections we make for a petite frame.

As we begin our launch into petite-specific styling, we are working closely with vendors to build the best collection of true petite sizes over time. In the beginning stages, if we can’t find a true petite size of an item you’re looking for, we’ll always try to find an alternative that we know to be ideally suited for a petite frame.

In looking through your feedback, it looks like a few of our XSP items have been too big. I want to be upfront and honest with you that at this time, the smallest size we carry is 0(XS) or 0P(XSP). We are actively working with our brands to improve our offering, but as a young, growing company, we are not able to invest in all of the opportunities facing us all at once.

I also saw your request for bright summer colors, shorts, and white jeans and I can certainly understand your disappointment in opening a box full of fall pieces. As with traditional retailers, our inventory changes somewhat ahead of the seasons so clients can prepare for different weather. Much of our summer inventory is moving out of rotation as fall pieces start to come in. That being said, I’d really like to help turn your experience around so would be more than happy to take you under my wing and style you on your next Fix. While we may not have shorts or white jeans available, I can focus on brighter colors and pieces that you can wear now and transition into fall as the weather cools.

I hope this is helpful and I look forward to hearing from you!

Regards,

Katherine

Stitch Fix Client Support

Your Partner in Personal Style

Below is my response to her:

“Thank you so much for your honesty and information,  Katherine!  It is very helpful to understanding the process and styling of the clothes.  I do know how tough it can be to find summer pieces this time of year so if that’s not possible,  I understand.  You can’t find them in the stores either!

But, I also greatly appreciate your attention to my taste and preference for brighter colored clothing, whether they be summer or fall pieces.  I think many of your tops I see on Pinterest can be transitioned into fall with a cardigan,  jeans and boots, as you focused recently on a Facebook post.

I am concerned about the sizing of the tops you mentioned,  given my short stature and wonder if that’s something we can’t overcome?   I have a very short torso and arms but bigger upper arms and shoulders that aren’t very forgiving on tight upper sleeves.  A few of your tops have actually been a little short for me, in my opinion, like the flowered tank from my first Fix and the rose detailed shirt in the one.  I think I would just be more comfortable in closer fitting styles, if that makes sense at all.  Not skin tight,  unless the material had some stretch to it but definitely more structured and tapered.

I appreciate all the time your customer service has spent with me, trying to give me a great experience but know I, more than anyone,  realize the limitations of my size.   That’s why I turned to you in the first place! 🙂

So, I am very eager to see what you can find for me and if we discover it’s best for me to stick with dresses and pants with you,  rather than tops, I still think you have a lot to offer.  I love that you carry petite pants and after this next Fix, I definitely am going to need some jeans and dress pants for work.   It seems your price point for pants seem to be $98?  If most cost that much,  sadly,  I may not be able to afford a whole box full.

Thanks again for your time,  note and assistance. If you have any further questions,  please do not hesitate to ask.”

We shall see what they come up with for my next box and who knows?  Maybe they just don’t have enough pieces to make it worth while for someone of my size.  It sure sounds like they are trying to do everything they can though, to find things I will like and will fit me.  My next Fix comes August 22nd so wish me luck!

If you would like to try Stitch Fix for yourself, please use my referral link below and I will get a $25 credit on your first shipment.  Thanks so much for reading!

https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/5229780