Thursday, June 26, 2014

DIY Craft: Faux Copper Patina Jars


I love the look of copper patina. If I was rich I would have a big ol' hammered copper apron sink in my kitchen complete with copper pots and pans and other French-Country inspired d├ęcor. Alas, I am not rich. But when I saw this idea on pinterest, I knew it was something I could easily recreate.

The only things I used to create these were a pair of glass Ball Mason Jars, Matte Spray Paint, and Copper Acrylic Craft Paint. Luckily I had a great blue-green matte spray paint left over from another project. The brand is Krylon and the color is Catalina Mist. I love that it dries in 10 minutes.

I started out spray painting my jars and letting them sit overnight. I then went over the top with copper acrylic paint, making it thick and covered at the top and randomly brushing down the sides. I tried to "age" the copper with a wet sponge brush throughout, and near the bottom. I'm trying to think what I could do to give it a more natural aged feel. I might try sanding off some of the copper paint, but I'm not sure if the spray paint will come off with it.

In any case, it was a pretty way to add a little faux copper into my life. Now these pretty jars are holding my makeup brushes in my bathroom.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 2014 Golden Tote Review

https://www.goldentote.com/points/invitation/new/from/MTg2MjI,/

I cannot tell you how infatuated I am with Golden Tote. It's the clothing subscription service that lets you pick out 1-2 items at a set price point, and they surprise you with the rest. Their sales launch on the first Monday of the month, and you get a choice between a $49 tote (up to a $250 value) or a $149 tote (up to a $600 value).  And of course, all your items come in a tote bag - I use mine for grocery shopping! If you choose the $49, you get to pick out one item, and they'll send you 1-2 more. This is the option I chose in April, since I just wanted to test out the service. I received a tunic dress, a top, and a bralette.


This time around I wanted to do the $149 option, where I got to pick out 2 items, and Golden Tote would send me 4-5 more based on my style profile. Luckily I sold a few Etsy orders to make this happen. My Etsy shop has been funding my clothing addiction! But, I'm so glad I went with the $149 this time, because out of the 6 items I received, I LOVED 5 of them, and liked one.
Here were my picks. The Resort Maxi in Cobalt Blue ($50 in the boutique):


The Whisked Away Dress in Navy ($70 in the boutique):



So you can see the two items I picked already come in at $120. That means the rest of my 4 items average about $7.50 a piece! Here are the items Golden Tote surprised me with. This Fantastic Fawn Dress (with pockets!):

 

Next were the Puella Printed Slouchy Pants and Black Esley Basic Tank. I wasn't too sure when I saw these pants, but they are THE most comfortable pants I own. It feels like wearing pajamas, and I love that I would never pick them out myself:

Sequence of events: "Judah, don't take your mower in the sand box. Great, now there's sand on my shirt. Oh well, I can't stay mad at that face."
 
And last was this Porridge Swing Tee in a nautical print. It's the only one I'm not in love with. Luckily, there's a Golden Tote Trading Group on Facebook. Since Golden Tote is an all or nothing deal (you can't return/exchange individual pieces), you can go on Facebook and trade with your fellow Golden Tote addicts.


Have you tried Golden Tote or a similar subscription clothing service? I'd love to hear about what you got!

*I bought this tote myself, but this post does contain referral links.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

On The Menu: Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches


Yes, I realize it's been a LONG while since I've posted any recipes. I've tried several and I hope to share the ones we've really liked and have added to our regular rotation. The first is this too-easy recipe for French dip sandwiches. My husband is a notorious crock-pot hater, but I kid you not, his exact words were, "Seriously, I just can't get over... man. This sandwich is tasty. Remember this one." Strong endorsement! Thank you to Leigh Anne over at Your Home Based Mom for this original recipe.
 
 
Here's what you'll need:
Serves: 6
 
• Chuck Roast (1.5 - 2 lbs)
• 1/2 tsp dried thyme
• 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
• 1/2 tsp garlic salt
• Fresh ground black peppercorns and salt
• 2 tsp minced garlic
• 1/4 cup soy sauce
• 2 cups beef broth
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• Cheese of your choice (swiss is traditional, but we used provolone)
• Hoagie buns or French rolls - we got ours from the bakery section of our Hy-Vee
 
Directions:
1. Season your roast on both sides with fresh ground pepper and salt (I LOVE these McCormick Grinders). Brown your roast on both sides in a heavy pan (I used my cast iron skillet) in your olive oil - about a minute and a half per side on medium high heat.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the broth, soy sauce, minced garlic, thyme, rosemary, garlic salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste.
3. Place your browned roast in your slow cooker and cover with your broth mixture. Slow cook on low 8-10 hours (we did 9 hours).
4. Shred your beef and layer on top of toasted buns. Cover with cheese and place under your broiler for about 2 minutes to melt your cheese.
5. Use the au jus from your crock pot for dipping!
 
 
Even the two year old liked it! He "shared" my au jus, which gave it a little extra flavoring. Is that dirt I taste? Maybe a hint of roly poly?
 
 
The discerning reviewers.
 
Also... I have to share a picture of this epic hair, just so you can really appreciate what I try to tame on a daily basis. It is futile. This is a boy who had a haircut less than a month ago.
 
 
Happy dining!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Stitch Fix Review #2 - May 2014

So, I signed up for another Stitch Fix and received it on May 12th. There are a bazillion other bloggers who detail exactly how Stitch Fix works, so I'll just summarize it for you. Basically, you pay a $20 styling fee, you get 5 items based on your extensive style profile, you keep what you want and your $20 is credited towards your purchase. If you buy nothing, you forfeit your styling fee, but if you buy all five items you get a 25% discount on your order. Also, if you refer a friend to Stitch Fix (links are referrals) you get a $25 credit. So let's get to it!

I was BEYOND pleased with the items I received in this month's box. Almost every item was definitely "me" and my stylist did an awesome job really researching my style and what I like. You'll have to excuse the lighting in the photos. I had to take them at night after Judah went to sleep. Both tops are paired with my skinny jeans I kept from my last fix in March.

1. Daniel Rainn Floral Tank - $68
I forgot to take a picture of this tank by itself, but I paired it with my vegan leather jacket I got about a month ago from Threadflip. I like the combination of edgy and feminine. However, even though I really loved the top, I just couldn't justify the almost $70 price tag for a seasonal top. If it was something I could wear three seasons out of the year, then I would have jumped at it. STATUS: (Sadly) Returned


2. Baggu Melanie Canvas Bag - $38 (pictured above and with the tank dress)
I was so pleased to see that my stylist looked at my Pinterest board, as I had pinned this exact bag. It's nice and BIG and has a pocket on the inside. I'm now wondering how often I should clean up my pinterest boards. Should I delete an item off the board if I receive it? Not sure...STATUS: Kept.

3. Tart French Terry Tank Maxi Dress - $148
Yeah, you read that price right. It's a great dress, and I could tell it was high quality fabric and well made. It would be easy to dress it up or down and could last a long time due to it's classic style. However, at this price point, I would want something more than a plain navy dress. Some sort of embellishment or print or something. It was also very long. I'm pretty average height at 5'6" and this dragged on the floor.  I would hate to pay that much for a dress and spend more having it hemmed. STATUS: Returned.


4. Kut from the Cloth Cargo Denim Short - $68
This was the only piece I wasn't really into. The light wash was a little too 90's for me and they were a size too big (although, score one for my post-baby body ego!). Also, once again the price was outrageous for a pair of plain denim shorts. STATUS: Returned.


5. Tart Striped 3/4 Sleeve Cotton Blazer - $128
This one made me saddest of all. Sad because I fell in love with this blazer. I love the nautical stripes, the soft cotton fabric, and the awesome fit. It was so comfy I didn't want to take it off. The ONLY thing that held me back was the cost. STATUS: (Sadly) Returned.


Overall, I'm really happy with the Stitch Fix service. I feel like the longer you do it, the more your stylist can get to know you and your style and really get you pieces that work for you and your budget. I was disappointed to receive TWO items over my set price levels. I went into my account and changed all the price levels to be much cheaper. So hopefully my next Fix in July (oh yes, I'm addicted and have already scheduled my next one!) will be right on the money. Now...if anyone has an extra $300 they want to throw my way, I'll keep all the pieces ;).

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Quick Review & Share: Commodity Goods


I don't remember where I first heard about Commodity Goods - I actually think it was a pin I saw on pinterest that got me interested. Commodity Goods recently got their start through kickstarter. They are a small company located in California that makes high end, easy to wear scents for men and women. Right now, they have 10 for men and 10 for women. The names of the perfumes alone hooked me - with scents like "Rain" "Tea" and "Gold" I was definitely curious.

I wish that they had more of their backstory on their actual website so I could learn more about them as a company, their process, etc. What I really loved is the ability to order a Fit Kit - you get all 10 of their samples (you choose male or female) for only $9 plus free shipping. Then, if you decide to order a larger bottle or a trio of 3 small bottles, you get your $9 credited towards your purchase. They also have a cute mascot - Eau de Bear. Here's what my Fit Kit looked like (after I had tried all of them and written all over the packaging):


Each is individually sealed in its own pouch so that the scents don't all blend together. Here's my (sort of) quick rundown on each one, with the top notes listed, in order of favorite to least favorite. The key is to spray them on yourself and wear them around for a little bit. Your own body chemistry makes it smell different than spraying it into the air. Each scent will also smell different on you than it does on your sister, best friend, etcetera. I'm not a scent expert by any means. I hardly actually wear much perfume day to day because I work in close quarters with several other coworkers in a cubicle. The last thing I want to do is upset people's sensitive noses. I was really on the search for something light that I could wear every day. A "signature scent" if you will.



1. Tea - Something about this one reminds me of my honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. And Scott actually agreed! Definitely a keeper. Top Notes: Citrus Accord, Sicilian Lemon, Bergamot.

2. Rain - Very fresh smelling and clean. Easy to wear. Top Notes: Italian Bergamot, Lemon Verbena - ha, guess I have a type.

3. Ivy - Based off the name alone, I was not expecting to like this one, but it's pleasantly floral and sweet without being cloying. Top Notes: Black Currant, Pink Pepper, Lime Blossom, Coconut

4. Magnolia - I actually go back and forth on whether I like this better than Ivy or not. I love our magnolia trees in the spring. They are so beautiful and bloom for just a short period of time here in KC. This one reminds me of that. Top Notes: Water Lily, Dewy Greens, Pink Grapefruit, Eucalyptus

5. Pinot - I actually loved this scent. However, to me it smells exactly like Tom Ford's Black Orchid Voile de Fleur, which I have a large bottle of, and do not need more. It's a heavy scent perfect for winter evenings or special occasions. Definitely too much for daytime usage. Top Notes: Bergamot, White Peach, Orange Flower

6. Mimosa - I wanted this one to be a little sweeter and more citrusy, but I was slightly underwhelmed. I liked it, but not enough. Top Notes: Red Orange, Mandarin, Grapefruit

7. Gold - Wearing this one, Scott actually told me I smelled good. It seems to be one of their more popular fragrances, but it was too much "fake sweet" for me. I told Scott it reminded me of old timey candies...like Necco wafers or something. Top Notes: Bergamot, Juniper Berries, Camphor

8. Dew - Unremarkable to me. I liked the name, but wasn't too impressed with the scent. It was too traditionally perfumey for me. I'm making up words right and left today! Top Notes: Italian Mandarin, Peach Nectar, Melon, Pear

9. Paper - This scent was... interesting. I didn't necessarily like it on me, but it definitely evoked a nostalgic feeling. It reminded me of old antique shops and libraries. This one might be better suited on a man. Top Notes: Iso-E Super

10. Moss - Nope. This one was the only one I put on and immediately knew it didn't work for me. Top Notes: Ozone, Petitigrain, Italian Bergamot, Elemi

I will say I appreciate all the illustration work that went into creating their site. As an illustrator, it's always nice to see other people getting work for a project like that! I am very curious on the men's scents as well. If you're up to it - go ahead and order the fit kit for only $9. I think that the large bottles are a little expensive. There's not a scent that blew me away so much that I would pay $108 for it (less the $9 fit kit). However, you can order a trio of scents for $48 (only $39 after you minus the fit kit price) which I think is pretty reasonable.

*I paid for the fit kit myself and was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Golden Tote March 2014 Review

Image via fashionista.com
Yes, two blog posts in one month?! I'm out of control! In the ongoing effort to improve my 30-year old wardrobe, I decided to try Golden Tote in addition to Stitch Fix. Golden Tote is different than Stitch Fix in that you pick one of two price points: $49 or $149. For $49, you pick one item, and Golden Tote surprises you with 1-2 more items. For the $149 tote, you pick 2 items, and Golden Tote adds 5-6 more (up to a $600 value). And of course the clothes come packaged oh-so-cutely in a reusable Golden Tote Bag (you can never have too many totes floating around).

For my first experience, I went with the $49 tote, that way I wasn't out too much if I didn't like the other items Golden Tote added for me. The item I picked out was the Retro Chic Jersey Tunic (the one I picked is coral and navy as opposed to the teal version below):

Image via Goldentote.com
You can buy this in their boutique as an add on item for $30, but it retails elsewhere online for $49.99 - basically the price of my entire tote. The two items that were added for me included this pretty Poridge Duck Tee (sold at Anthropologie for $30):

Image via anthropologie.com
 And this lace bralette found at ModCloth for $20 (Mine was a pretty light blue, not the color pictured):

image via modcloth.com
So all totaled, the value of my tote was about $100 - well worth the $49 plus shipping that I paid. The duck tee is super soft and has a plain gray front. I was a little disappointed to see a lace bralette in my tote, but when I tried it on, it was SO pretty and will look very feminine under some of my lower cut tops. Overall I am very happy with the quality and the style of the items from Golden Tote. I would love to do the $149 next time, but will probably have to sell a few more watercolors so I can afford it!

If you want to try Golden Tote, their sales start the first Monday of every month, and you have to hurry because items sell out quickly!

*This post contains referral links. I paid for this Golden Tote myself, and the opinions in this post are entirely my own.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Stitch Fix March 2014 Review

So, I realize my blog has become my own personal junk drawer corner of the internet. I rarely open it, and when I do I find things like old pens and tubes of lipstick and dead batteries. I just haven't had the desire to blog lately, so I really only come here to share things I think are truly noteworthy and good.

I've been in a style rut lately and have decided 2014 is the year of quality over quantity. I purged my closet and am dedicated to only buying pieces that are good quality and will get a lot of mileage (goodbye, Forever21..it's been fun). Especially now that I'm 30, I'm more determined than ever to build a grown up wardrobe. Plus, I find every time I go to buy something, it's gray...or black...or white. I'd love to see what someone ELSE would pick out for me to force me to try something different.

Enter Stitch Fix - a personalized shopping service that sends you five items based on an extensive style profile questionnaire. The service is $20 for the styling fee, and if you purchase an item sent to you, your styling fee goes towards the purchase of your item(s). If you buy nothing, you forfeit the fee. But if you buy all five items, you get 20% off your entire order. I thought it would be super fun to try, since the items are delivered to your door, and you can try them on in the comfort of your own home. You simply return the items you don't want in the provided pre-paid envelope.

Here's what my box looked like after my first open and the clothes inside are folded nicely and wrapped in tissue paper:



My stylist was Jennifer, and I think she did a good job listening to what I wanted. I requested feminine prints and color and wanted to start getting into spring and away from anything dreary-winter related. She also noted that I was a jeans-every-day type of girl, so there were no cocktail dresses in my fix :). My stitch fix order included a note from my stylist, a style sheet with ways to wear each of my pieces, and a price list.



Here are the items I received and my impression of each:

With toddler hand photo bomb. He grabbed these right as I was snapping with my camera.
1. Bay to Baubles Alhambra Embellished Triangle Chain Dangle Earrings ($32) - Pretty, and I don't have a lot of that color in my jewelry collection currently. However, they were a little heavy, and my ears can be sensitive (I didn't put them in). Plus, I wouldn't pay that much for trendy earrings. STATUS: Returned.

Back of tank

Front of Tank
 
2. Ezra Evita Print-Back Mixed Material Top ($44) - I love the print on the back of this tank. It was unfortunately way too big, though, as you can see in the picture below. I went in and adjusted my profile to make the tops I receive a little smaller. The material was also something similar to what I would find at Forever21... which is exactly what I'm trying to get away from. STATUS: returned.


3. Kensie Jeans - Johnny Skinny Ankle Biter Jeans ($88) - Pictured with the tank are a great pair of dark navy skinny jeans. They are a perfect length for flats or heels and they have a lot of stretch. These were definitely husband approved. Plus, you can never have too many pairs of great fitting jeans, which I wear every day. STATUS: Kept. 



4. Pomelo Wrenn V-Neck Jersey Top ($44) - Nope. Nope, nope, nope. There was nothing I liked about this top other than the beautiful K-State Purple. I hated the fit, the cut of the sleeves, and the neckline. Plus it was too big. STATUS: returned.



5. Tulle Teddy Floral Blazer ($68) - I really wanted to like this blazer. I like the IDEA of this, but not the way it actually looked on. I loved the print and think it would look pretty on a pencil skirt. The weight of it was really light and would have been perfect for spring. However, the cut was, once again, huge, and much too boxy on my long torso. It made me look like a Golden Girl (no disrespect, Betty White). STATUS: returned.

I'm glad I found one piece that I really liked. And I can also admit that I'm glad I didn't love everything or I would be broke. Also... every time I wear skinny jeans, I feel like this:

)

So, overall, I can say that my first Stitch Fix experience was definitely FUN, and I will definitely do it again with clearer sizing guidelines. If you want to schedule one for yourself, feel free to use any of the links in this post. I do get a referral credit if you sign up which would go towards a future Stitch Fix. If I do it again, I will probably request the same stylist.

Have you done Stitch Fix before? What was your experience like? Next up, I'm doing Golden Tote, which lets you pick one item and they pick the others. Stay tuned towards the end of the month for that review!