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!

Receive your own box by signing up here.  Happy Shopping!

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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

Receive your own box by signing up here.  Happy Shopping!

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

 

Do Celebrities Eat Gluten?

Those of you that know me know I’m a sucker for celebrity gossip.  To Chuck’s dismay, I love shows like The Real Housewives and The Bachelor. I like to catch up on my Hollywood friends by perusing entertainment sites online during my daily train commutes.  Today, I came across an article from Harley Pasternak: Is It Good to Go Gluten Free?  http://greatideas.people.com/2014/05/28/gluten-free-diet-harley-pasternak/

I’ve got to say that this article totally pissed me off.  Now, I get it…it’s a short blurb of an article and it’s probably not meant to elicit thought-provoking, intellectual scientific discussion.  I’m sure they’ve got to keep things fairly superficial for our small, entertainment focused minds.  There’s my problem.  You don’t introduce a topic that is both controversial and important like this one, fill it with mis-information and then end it with a flimsy sentence saying:  “But before we throw money after potentially unnecessary gluten-free alternatives, let’s let the scientific community investigate further!”

I want my fellow celebrity stalkers to know this is not good advice!! Don’t wait for that – there is a ton of information out there already.  There are so many things I disagree with in this short, shallow article.  But, I’ll just cut to the chase.  One sentence in the article said: “Researchers found that the subjects reported worsening of their symptoms with all of the diets, including the gluten-free diets.”  You can’t eat gluten one day and then not eat it the next day expecting symptoms to go away.  You also have to address other items that can be working against you (toxins, sleep patterns and a host of others that are topics for another blog). The best way to test for gluten (or any other food sensitivity) is through an elimination diet.  You have to eliminate the food from your diet COMPLETELY for at least 30 days (many people do longer) and then re-introduce it again to see if it causes any symptoms.   I would highly recommend cutting out gluten and never re-introducing it, though, as I believe it is the worst.  Why?  Keep reading for my references…..I just have a few more quick thoughts to get off my chest first!

I’m not a doctor or the world’s most prominent gluten expert, but Harley isn’t either.  I don’t have a famous television show to carry my message, but I do have this blog and I do have first-hand experience. I think it would be awesome if everyone gave up gluten (and a host of other terrible foods) and went Paleo.  The results for me have been nothing short of exceptional.  Yes, I had a compelling reason to try it out.  But, many others (some of whom we’ve featured on this blog) have done it and haven’t looked back because the change in the way you feel is so great!  Do I expect that everyone will live this way – no.  Do I hate my friends that eat gluten – of course not.  Do I want you to stop reading People magazine?  Don’t be silly.  Do I hope you try it out and get educated on the topic from some place other than entertainment mags?  Totes Magotes!! 

Here are some of my celebrities that I follow specifically addressing the topic of Gluten:
http://www.thepaleomom.com/2011/11/why-grains-are-bad.html  (by the way, she IS a scientist!)
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-grains-are-unhealthy/#axzz33VFwT2Ak
http://robbwolf.com/2014/05/16/gluten-intolerance-exist/

Of course, check out anything having to do with my personal hero, Dr. Terry Wahls:
http://terrywahls.com/

Happy Anniversary

It is our ONE year anniversary of going Paleo!!  When I stop to actually think about it, it’s so hard to comprehend how many changes we’ve made.  What a difference a year truly makes:

Jan 5 2013:  I heard the doctor say: “Based on all the tests we’ve run, the results are indicative of MS.”  I heard it, but didn’t comprehend it.  I just wanted so badly to get out of the hospital after being there for 3 days.  I wanted to be alone to figure this out for myself.  Unfortunately, I had 3 more days to go.

Jan 26 2013:  I figured it out.  Rather, I had a game plan.  I was going Paleo and not starting MS drugs.  I poured over information from Dr. Wahl’s and others and knew this was the path for me.  Chuck agreed and we become gluten, grain, dairy, soy, processed food free.

Feb 1 2013:  Paleo flu hits me HARD.  Google it.  I’m in the bathroom at work unable to move because I feel so sick.  Chuck has to drive to the burbs to pick me up and take me home.  I spend the rest of the weekend in bed with zero energy, feeling sick to my stomach.  I’m questioning my chosen path.  I recover a few days later, but am still on quite the adjustment period.  This lasts for a good month.

Mar 2013:  I start to adjust and get the hang of Paleo living.  I am still experiencing MS symptoms in my legs, feet and back but, they are finally subsiding.  I’ve been going to work this whole time, but am now comfortable enough to go out socially.  I went back to yoga at the end of the month which meant the world to me.

May 2013:  I’m working with my chiropractor/ wellness doctor.  I’m eating good, taking the right supplements and feeling great.  I’m feeling normal again.  We start doing all kinds of weird stuff like skin brushing, making bone broth, eliminating toxins from our household and eating grass fed gelatin.

Aug 2013:  Trip to Napa.  Feeling awesome.  We drink some wine.  Chuck proudly parades around in his first speedo.

Sep 2013:  I do a 6 week ‘cleanse’.  It’s basically an even stricter version of Paleo.  I’ve reduced alcohol greatly and when I do drink, it’s red wine only.  But, I’m completely alcohol free during this time.  Chuck wanted this cleanse to be over as much as I did.  Maybe I was moody?

Dec 2013:  First MRI since diagnosis.  I absolutely dreaded it.  Ok, I had a glass of champagne to celebrate when it was over.  Chuck starts doing yoga and loves it!  He also starts doing more weird stuff like oil pulling (google it).

Jan 2014:  Doctor calls with results of MRI.  No new lesions and existing ones have diminished.  I have proof and validation that I’m doing the right thing for me.  Paleo has truly changed my life.

TODAY (January 31 2014):  Feeling incredible.  Yes, sometimes there are still minor symptoms.  For the most part though, I feel better than ever.  We are both full of energy, we sleep soundly and we eat amazing Paleo food.  Chuck has lost 35 lbs and his blood pressure is the lowest it’s ever been.  It was a process, but a worthwhile one.  For anyone starting out, know that it doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen.  From my perspective, it’s absolutely worth it.  Ok, we might have a glass of wine tonight.

Cheers – Happy Anniversary!