Stitch Fix Box Number 11

Stitch Fix Box Number 11

You win some, you lose some. Last month I raved about box number 10, but this month didn’t have as many keepers. Only 1 item was saved from the return bag. No bigs. I expect this to happen from time to time and it helps your stylist understand what you like or how your preferences might be changing. After 11 fixes, I am still super excited to see that brown and blue box sitting in my lobby. Let’s get down to bizness:

Fate: Gabby Mesh Detail Blouse – $48.00.  Status:  SENT BACK

This was a cute shirt and I loved the detail on the top.  I’m always looking for good layering tops to pair with blazers and sweaters or wear on their own.  I thought this one was just a little bit too sheer and it was also snug across the chest and waist.  I would have preferred it to look more loose and flowy at the bottom.

White Shell 1

Kut From The Kloth: Aberdine Straight Leg Jean – $88.00.  Status:  SENT BACK

I’ll admit that “WTF” was the first thought I had when I pulled these out of the box.  I still thought that when I initially tried them on.  The size was listed as an ankle.  Was it supposed to be like a capri fit or a normal, regular fit?  It was neither.  I didn’t quite like where the length hit.  Also, the color was quite similar to the distressed pair of jeans I kept from my last fix and I really didn’t need another pair of medium rinse jeans.  I’ll also admit that they did sort of grow on me.  They were super comfortable and fit pretty perfectly (unblemished track record, stitch fix!).  The next day I saw a pair almost exactly like them on Anthropologie.  Maybe this length is the new style.

Jeans Blog

Gilli: Kadence Cowl Drape Front Dress – $64.00.  Status:  SENT BACK

This dress made me feel like I was getting ready to go sing in the church choir.  It just looked too conservative and matronly on me.  I did not like where the length hit either. I’d rather have it be above the knee (maybe at the knee) or a midi length.  Right under the knee is not a good look on me, especially since I’m on the shorter side.

Dress 1

Zad: Val Chandelier Earring – $28.00.  Status:  KEPT

These earrings are cute and match my style. I don’t think I would have normally paid $28 for these.  Since I didn’t keep anything else from this fix and the $20 styling fee is credited back if you purchase any items, it made sense for me to keep these.  In my mind, this math made them $8.  I’ve never been good at math, so that may or may not make sense. I later noticed that these looked like the same earrings crazy Kelsey was wearing on the Bachelor: After the Final Rose.  After googling I found that they are different (phew!)

earrings blog

Honey Punch: Renoir Kimono – $44.00.  Status:  SENT BACK

This was a piece I requested specifically in my last note to my stylist.  I saw some really cute ones and pinned them to my style board on Pinterest (which your stylist can refer to).  I should have been more specific because I wanted a multi color, patterned or floral one.  Since I am in black/white/gray 99% of the time, I can see why I was sent this one. I’d rather have one I could wear with black to spice up an outfit.  I wasn’t a big fan of the stark black and white and I’m kind of over chevrons.

Kimono Blog

That’s it for March!  How have your fixes been lately?  I love reading other blogs, so leave links to your most recent reviews in the comments if you have one!

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Needle Nose

I’ve lived with recurring sinus congestion for as long as I can remember.  After some fancy web research, I discovered it is known as chronic sinusitis. I was really hoping that the cure of all my previous ills, the Paleo lifestyle, would take care of it.  But, after two years of Paleo, I’ve found the one thing that a clean diet didn’t fix for me.  Stupid nose.  Anyway, my sinus congestion acts a lot like allergies, but it is a year round problem and most predominant at night.  Basically, either one or both nostrils are totally blocked and it turns me into a mouth breathing, drooling mess.  Sorry Rene.

On nights when it is really bad, I get all claustrophobic and end up sitting until I can nod off from sleep deprivation. An over the counter spray is a quick fix, but I’m nervous about warnings of a “rebound effect”.  If the nasal spray is used for too many treatments in a row, it becomes ineffective at treating the problem and you end up with worse symptoms than when you started.  That scenario makes me sweat just thinking about it.  I found Afrin and Nostrilla to work equally well, but my preference is Nostrilla… strictly for the name.  Unfortunately,  it’s not a natural solution and isn’t a permanent fix.

I also tried a Neti pot for a couple months.  Decent results, but the results were only temporary, sometimes not even lasting the night.  Still there is something fun, and gross, about streaming warm water from one nostril to the other that I really enjoy.  I even upgraded to a super cool looking stainless steel Neti pot.  It’s really a beaut, I just wish it was the problem solver.  I do think the Neti is a good way to clear out those seasonal allergies, so I will keep it in the arsenal.

Next up was the Breathe Right strips.  These things didn’t stand a chance against my sinusitis.  I tried the strips for a few nights and there was really no relief other than the comforting feeling of having a splint plastered across my nose.  Look weird, feel weird, didn’t work.  That got me thinking and researching some more.  What if there was something like a Breathe Right for the inside of your nose?  Lo and behold, there is!  It’s called SleepRight.  These expand your nostrils from the inside and provide better airflow.  They kind of pinch a little in the middle, but they offered some good relief.  Not perfect breathing, but at least these worked a bit.  I did find myself inadvertently picking at them in the middle of the night, just as you might subconsciously pick at any foreign object jammed in your nostrils.  These little gems worked well, but there was still congestion higher up in the sinuses that the SleepRight just couldn’t reach.  I just thought of this, but I may have to try a SleepRight/ BreatheRight combo.  Whoa… mind blown.  I may have to give that a proper test!

Anyway, one evening at yoga,  I overheard a classmate talking about her experience with acupuncture.  She was saying how it released a lot of histamines and helped clear up her allergies.  Hmmm… maybe this could work for my breathing.  I did a few personal tests with acupressure points around my nose and decided to move forward with an acupuncture session.  At my fellow yogi’s referral, I made an appointment to see Dr Nick Leroy from the Illinois Center for Progressive Health (www.drnick.net).  He is a holistic physician and has been practicing acupuncture for over 15 years.  He knows his stuff! Dr Nick asked a lot of good questions during the consult and we decided on a course of five acupuncture treatments.  I just completed the fourth treatment.  The treatments last about 30 minutes with 2 needles in each foot, 2 in each hand, 2 in each ear and 5 on my nose and face.  The ear needles freaking hurt going in, the others you hardly know are there.  At the end of the session, I feel really relaxed and my breathing is very clear. Results from the first couple of treatments only lasted a few days, but now they are lasting longer.  So far, so good.  No waking up in the middle of the night and having fairly free breathing has been a really nice change.  I’m thinking this is a good solution for me, but I’ll update results after another month.

Pricked

It was a perilous selfie to take with the needles sticking out of my hand

 

Stitch Fix Box Number 10

Stitch Fix Box Number 10

I can’t believe this is my 10th Stitch Fix box!  I must say that this has been my favorite box yet.  I loved everything in it, the price points were fairly reasonable and I only sent back two items because they were similar to pieces I already own.  For a recap on Stitch Fix and how it works, check out my first post here. Alright, here’s what I received:

Bay to Baubles: Ramona Arrow Pendant Necklace – $28.00.  Status:  KEPT

I love this necklace.  I had been wanting a longer, plain and versatile pendant.  This one fit the bill.  It is three dimensional which is unique and looks like a feather and an arrow.  It was featured on one of Stitch Fix’s Valentine’s Day outfit blogs.

01

Pink Martini: Cyra Blazer – $94.00.  Status:  SENT BACK

This was a cute blazer, but I have a black one almost exactly like it.  And a gray one and a white one… I liked that this one was a bit more casual and it was pretty comfy.  Alas, back it went.

Blazer 1

Skies are Blue: Cassandra Cut Out Detail Sleeveless Blouse- $48.00.  Status:  KEPT

This is a great layering top or it can be worn on it’s own.  It’s business in the front and party in the back with the cute cutout details.  I liked the color and think this will also be great paired with white capris in the summer.  Keeper!

cutout blouse

Eight Sixty: Matteo Sheath Dress – $88.00.  Status:  SENT BACK

This is a really nice sheath dress, but I do have a black one really similar to it.  It’s hard to tell, but the cut around the top of the arms/ shoulders goes in a little bit and I didn’t love that, although it wasn’t really a big deal.  It’s a nice material and has a cute zipper down the back.  I just didn’t need another plain black work dress, so back it went.

black dress

DL1961: Mitzi Distressed Boyfriend Jean – $98.00.  Status:  KEPT

My new favorites!  Every pair of jeans I’ve received from Stitch Fix have fit like a dream. I don’t know how they do it.  These are no exception.  I love the boyfriend style and the fun, distressed look.  It’s something I probably wouldn’t have picked out myself.  What I really loved about them is that the holes don’t go all the way through. There is material sewn behind them so I knew they wouldn’t “tear” further and are they are super comfortable.  These went right into my closet even as Chuck said “you really need another pair of jeans?”  Yes.

Jeans

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Caveman Couture (aka my love of Stitch Fix)

I am always looking for ways to add convenience to my life.  Since I spend more time cleaning, prepping and cooking paleo meals, I have less time to spend on other things.  I use an organic delivery service, a pre-made paleo food service and have found many gadgets that enable efficiency.  So, I thought I’d apply this to one of my favorite past times, retail shopping.

I started using Stitch Fix at the end of May 2014 and I’ve been receiving fixes every month since.  For anyone not familiar, Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that shops for you and sends 5 items of clothing and/ or accessories to your door.  You can choose to have them sent automatically every 2-3 weeks, every month or every other month or you can manage them manually.  You start by filling out a pretty robust style profile on their website so they get an idea of what you like to wear as well as your sizing.  You can update this profile at any time.  You are charged a $20 styling fee each fix which gets credited to the cost of anything you keep in your fix.  If you keep nothing, you are out $20.  If you keep everything, there is an additional 25% discount on the whole order.  Whatever you don’t keep, you send back in their prepaid envelope.  On average, I’ve been keeping about two to three items per fix.

It took a couple fixes for me to warm up to the service, but now I really look forward to receiving that box!  I wouldn’t expect to love everything every time or always expect perfect fits.  However, I usually find a few items in each fix that either nail my style or introduce something I normally wouldn’t have chosen.  You can write personal notes to your stylist if you’re looking for something specific and refer them to pins on your Pinterest boards for examples.  If you find a stylist that you really love, you can request to have them again on future fixes.  I have done that for the past few orders and continue to request her.  She really gets me :-)

I’m going to start documenting my fixes on this blog because I’ve found this service to be really fun and I want to share them!  I’ll take pictures of everything I receive and let you know what I keep or send back.  Since I didn’t capture every item in my fix up until now, I’ll just provide a picture summary of the last 9 months.  Let me know what you think!  If you decide to try it out for yourself, you can use my referral link.  I really appreciate it!

Some items that I have sent back:

StitchFixSentBackCollage2

A few examples of items that I have not kept

Some items that I have kept:

StitchFixKeptCollage

A few examples of items that I loved

Stay tuned for Fix #10 that just arrived this week (it might be my favorite one thus far!)

Happy Shopping!

RPM Steak – Paleo Date Night Review

I’ve mentioned previously that we don’t go out to eat all that often anymore.  It’s difficult to find restaurants with gluten free, paleo options that we trust.  This weekend, though, we had an amazing dining experience at RPM Steak right here in Chicago.  Winner, winner, grass fed meat dinner!

RPM Steak has been quite the hot spot since it opened last year.  Co owners Bill and Guiliana Rancic have created a beautiful dining venue in the heart of River North that is attracting foodies, celebrities and even President Obama who dined there last October.  If you want to get a table on a weekend, you can expect to wait months for a reservation.  On a whim, I searched on open table Saturday afternoon. An 8:30pm table for 2 popped up  – WHAT?!  Before I knew it, we were dressed in our finest impromptu date night attire and an uber taxi was whisking us up Dearborn.

The restaurant itself is beautiful.  It’s has an open concept, but the darker colors and wood tones keep it comfortable, yet swanky.  If you’ve been to RPM Italian, it’s almost the inverse of their bright white, but just as sleek.  They were running slightly behind, so we headed to the four-sided open bar. There are booths that flank three sides and people sitting and standing about 2 rows deep all around the bar.  It was crowded, but does that matter when you’re there to be IN the scene?  I didn’t think so.  We ordered a glass each of the Sonoma County, CA Complicated Chardonnay to start.  The bar area started to thin out a tiny bit when our table was ready around 9pm.

Find the Hidden Red Shoe - It's Good Luck!

Find the Hidden Red Shoe – It’s Good Luck!

We sat down and were presented with the gluten free menus (which I requested in the reservation). There is really not that much difference with the regular menu as their gluten free menu is huge and impressive.  We were then greeted by our AMAZING server, Chrissy (or Krissy?  sorry!) who told us she is Celiac and we can rest assured that they take gluten free seriously.  Chrissy then sent over one of their five sommeliers to help us navigate the extremely extensive wine list.  Once that order of business was complete, we turned our attention back to the dinner menu.  We decided on:

Appetizers

  • Oysters:  Sourced from the west coast – you get 6 for $18.  These were some of the best oysters I’ve had.  They come topped with a very light sort of ceviche relish that included jalapeno, cucumber, lemon and lime juice.  I would go back and just order these with a glass of champs!
  • Thick cut bacon:  Chrissy told us this dish is life changing and she was right.  It had a nice sweet maple glaze and in a way, it reminded me of french toast – it was that thick!
RPM Thick Cut Maple Bacon

Apps from Heaven

 

Main Course

  • 20 oz. Grass Fed Bone in Ribeye (sourced from Slagel Farms):  Even though there is a bone in it, this steak is HUGE!  I thought Chuck would definitely be bringing some home, but he powered through and ate the whole thing.  I had a bite and it was seasoned perfectly and very juicy.  He also ordered the butter and bone marrow sauce to complement it.
  • 8 oz. Grass Fed Bison Filet (sourced from High Plains):  I expect bison to be leaner than other meats and it was, but was still full of flavor and tender.  This was a generous, thick cut portion and as much as I wanted to finish it, I did have to give Chuck my last few bites (which he ate on top of his 20 oz. without a problem :-) )

Sides

  • Hen of the Woods Mushrooms:  You don’t often see these on a menu and they are Chuck’s favorite mushroom, so we had to get them.  They had a delicious woody flavor, as you’d expect, and were just divine.  The serving dish didn’t move far from Chuck’s setting and I had to strategically grab some while he was busy chewing.
  • Roasted Cauliflower:  Sounds boring, but it’s one of our staple, cruciferous vegetables.  This was like no cauli I’ve had before.  The roasted florets were very soft and came in a very light tomato type of sauce with lime.  Sounds odd, but it worked really well.

RPM Steak hit it out of the park for us on all counts:  food (with bonafide paleo options), service and ambience.  It is also a bonus that it is part of the Lettuce Entertain You group of restaurants.  We had some gift cards that we were able to use which softens the blow when the check comes.  It is spendy, but it is worth checking out.  Don’t forget to request Chrissy as your server – she is the best! Thank you RPM Steak for an awesome date night!

Holiday Wrap Up

Despite contrary sentiments I noticed on Facebook, I was quite sad to see the end of 2014.  For us it was a great year – one of strength, stability, growth and success.  Perhaps most importantly, we felt healthy and strong, committed and comfortable with our paleo lifestyle.  On the flip side, we’re looking forward to carrying this into 2015 and making this year just as great.

The holidays were the perfect time for us to unwind, relax and hang out with family and friends.  There’s not much that can compete with sleeping in, mom’s (paleo) cookies and dad’s fresh squeezed oj :-)  Did we keep it paleo through all the parties and travel? Duh, totes. Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite things and what we ate.

Santa knows us pretty well.  These are a few of the awesome gifts we think you should know about:

  • Mala Beads: These are beautiful, handcrafted pieces.  I got the Strengthening Agate Mala for its ability to ground and balance emotion as well as its healing properties
  • Mascara: This is my go to mascara that is gluten free
  • Salad Spinner: This has saved me loads of time in the lettuce washing department
  • Cast Iron Skillet: We’ve literally used this every day since we got it
  • Smart Wool Socks: Amazing, comfortable and feet don’t get sweaty or cold.  We also love the Defeet brand.

As for food, we don’t travel light.  We ordered groceries ahead of time from www.doortodoororganics.com and www.freshpicks.com.  We packed the car with the food, a box of our spices and even a crockpot.  Here’s what we feasted on:

  • Christmas Eve: Paleo Chili from Against All Grain cookbook.
  • Christmas Day: Eggs*, Bacon, Avocado and Fed and Fit’s Blueberry Scones.*  Grass Fed Pot Roast, Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies and Paleo Pumpkin Pie.  For the pie, I used this crust and this filling.
  • The next 2 days were spent in Peoria, where we ate leftover scones, more avocados, salads and veggies. We also had a new pot of Chili and some Grass Fed Italian Beef (Thanks Dave!)  We went out to eat one night where we ordered burgers with no buns and a side salad.  Chuck also finished off the rest of our cookies on the drive down when I fell asleep!  We had some backup larabars, renola and almond butter if we needed it.

*I have a sensitivity to eggs so I don’t eat them.  My accommodating mom made the scones by substituting one banana for the egg and they turned out amazing!

We hope you had a wonderful holiday as well.  Happy New Year!!

New Years Day

New Years Day Selfie at the University Club of Chicago

 

Surprise! Chef Josh “Live” – Kitchfix in our Kitch

Before we were Paleo, we’d eat out or order food at least 5 nights of the week. These days it is a big deal if we go out once or twice a month. There is so much involved in going out now like researching menus ahead of time, worrying about cross contamination and hoping the wait staff truly knows what dietary restrictions mean. Now that we cook so often, we’ve really honed our skills. Because we use high quality ingredients, we often find that we prefer our own food to a restaurant. In spite of all of this, Chuck said we were going out to dinner on my birthday last month. He wouldn’t give me any details, but assured me it was completely Paleo compliant. We are very strict with diet so I was really curious and excited.

I came home after work and patiently waited for him to finish a real estate showing in our building so we could head out. I was sitting at our kitchen island drinking a cup of bone broth when he got back. Then, I noticed that Chef Josh Katt was walking in behind him. I recognized him as the chef behind Kitchfix, a service that delivers pre-made food including Paleo friendly options. We order from them every single week and had met Josh before. “Weird” I thought, “was his showing with Josh Katt?!” That’s when Josh said “Hey! I’m going to be cooking for you tonight!” Shut the front door! This was totally a dream come true. You cavemen and women know that preparing Paleo meals day after day can get tedious and laborious. I’ve always wanted someone to just come over and cook me dinner without having to worry about any part of it. Chuck hit this one out of the park! After freaking out, I swapped my dress for comfy clothes and my bone broth for red wine. Although Josh said we could sit at the table and he’d serve us, we opted to remain at the island. That way we could all talk together and watch him create a 3 course masterpiece. He pulled out tons of ingredients that he brought and started cooking. It was amazing. Our menu consisted of:

First Course – Seared scallops with chorizo and bacon crumbles

CJK First Course

Second Course – Lamb chops, brussel sprouts, micro-greens and a perfectly spicy sauce

CJK Main Course

Third Course – Pumpkin crème brulee in a pumpkin garnished with strawberries, pomegranate, diced apple and bacon.

CJK Pumpkin Creme Brulee_

Chef Josh also left us with a box of their Kitchfix cookies (delicious!) and gave us some of their Kitchfix Paleo granola (which you can find at many Mariano’s grocery stores around the city!) Thank you, Chuck, for making my birthday so special and for always knowing just what I want (or need). Thank you, Chef Josh, for taking the time to cook for us. Your food is amazing and we had the best night!

For those of you who live in the Chicago area and want to try Kitchfix yourself, here is our referral link.

We’d love to know what you think!