January

So what else did I do this month, besides trying on clothes and putting cats to sleep?

Well, the month (and year) started out awkwardly, at a really weird New Year’s Eve party at which GG was supposed to perform comedy. It was a “black and white” party, so we had to dress in just black and white (I cheated and wore gray boots). The event promoter who organized it did kind of a terrible job, so while it was a beautiful venue with lots of food, a bar, a band, and comedians at the ready, nobody actually showed up until about 11 PM, when just a few people started trickling in. We thought we’d be done well before midnight, so after waiting around for hours, all of a sudden it was time to hurry up and tell jokes (which did not go well), and then we took the other comedian home, and then it was midnight, and then we went home.

As has become our annual tradition, GG and I took a day off work and went to the Farm Show in Harrisburg with our friends L and S. We hit up the food hall first for an invigorating morning milkshake, then toured around the whole complex (we even found a new spot we hadn’t known about before, which was full of vendors!), then went back to the food hall for lunch before heading out. I think we ended up buying more “stuff” this year than we have in the past – GG got some wine, I bought some cheese, GG has these meat sticks and things he likes and has to pick up every year now, they’re now selling nuts so GG got a big bag of black walnuts, I bought some kind of hair accessory… Oh, and the new hot item of the show this year, the bacon? I was a little disappointed.

I got a bad cold (my first one in over a year, maybe?) just in time for this all-day training thing I had to be in at work. I just chugged tea all day and was miserable. I just couldn’t shake it, but luckily we also had plenty of snow days from work so I could get some extra recovery time at home.

I started going to a yoga class that I really like. It’s like regular yoga, except sometimes we hold hand weights.

American Horror Story ended, meh. I mean, I guess the right people lived and died, so that’s good. But it was barely “horror,” and there was nothing really that shocking. I hear the next series will be about communism in the 1950s, so I’m curious to see how that goes. I also binge watched the first two seasons of Girls one weekend while I was sick, and we have HBO for free until April for some reason, so I’ve been watching season 3 as it’s airing now.

My Second Stitch Fix

If you’ll recall, I tried Stitch Fix for the first time earlier this month, and the results were not so great. However, I know that a lot of people had bad experiences the first time around and their fixes dramatically improved once they’d sent in that first round of feedback. So I was able to squeeze in one more fix before the end of the month.

This time, I asked for a jacket and/or cute tops to wear under a jacket, in preparation for a couple work events I have coming up soon. I also gave them a link to my review of my first fix, hoping it would help them to see the pictures and my full feedback (there’s a character limit when you leave feedback for each item on the site).

I cheated again, and when I got the notification that my items had shipped, I went on the site to see if I could get a peek of what I would be expecting. Looking at the names of the items, I was not thrilled. Mixed metals? High-wasted cropped pants? A pea coat? However, as I started googling the items and looking at pictures, I could sort of put together why they had chosen these pieces, based on my previous feedback. The pants actually looked work-appropriate. The loose top came in colors I loved. The pea coat was still kind of random but I liked the style and the price looked good.

When my box came, I excitedly opened it, thinking all my comments from the previous fix would have been addressed. However, the note from the stylist (a different one this time) didn’t really mention anything from last time, and barely touched on my request for business casual clothes for work events. Here’s what I got:

Tulle “Glenn Front Pocket Pea Coat” – $58
I’m not really a “red pea coat” girl, but I liked the looks of this one (loved the pockets, collar, and cinched waist), so decided to give it a try. When I put it on, I actually laughed out loud. Not only could I not button it, I couldn’t even get the two sides to touch while I had it on. I also could not move my arms. Immediate return.




Margaret M “Emer High Waisted Cropped Trouser” $98
When I was doing my little preview search, I decided these pants didn’t look horrible, and assuming I got them in a color like black or gray, I could totally wear them to work. I was even willing to overlook the high price. Well, the pants I got are Burgundy, and they’re a little more cropped than I would like. They actually fit pretty nicely, but I felt kind of like I was wearing clown pants, and I definitely didn’t want to spend $100 for that experience. Return.



41Hawthorn “Mission 3/4 Sleeve V-Neck Blouse” – $48
My first thought upon taking this out of the box was that it was very sheer, but I added a cami underneath and it was ok. The real problem was that it was a tiny bit tight over my chest. And then the v-neck really puts it all out there. And the puffy sleeves. But… as I wore it, it kind of grew on me. I even put together a whole outfit, as suggested on my card. I decided to keep it!



41Hawthorn “Benson 3/4 Ruched Sleeve Blazer” – $78
This is the piece I was most excited about. It’s a jersey material blazer and I’d seen it in other people’s fixes; and as long as I got one in a reasonable (i.e. boring) color, I could use it for work. It came in gray! Now… it is a little tight when I button it, but I can button it. I have another jersey blazer, but it has these peplum ruffle things and sometimes I feel a little silly in it. This one is more of a classic blazer shape… and I don’t have to button it if I don’t want. Keep.



Bay to Baubles “Janet Mixed Link Necklace” – $28
I was a little concerned when I saw the name of this because I thought it meant it was mixed metals, and I really do not do goldtone. I was pleased to see that it was actually a mix of two types of (silver) chain! Turns out I really like it, and the price is right. Keep.



As predicted, my second experience with Stitch Fix was not perfect, but was a definite improvement over the first time. As I said in my feedback to them, they seem not to understand breasts and how things fit over them. I will probably hold off on scheduling another one for now, but the next time I have something coming up, or am just feeling dissatisfied with my closet, I will definitely set one up.

I wrote this review as a customer, nothing was provided to me by Stitch Fix or anyone else. However, the links above do use my referral ID, and if you choose to give the site a try, I’d love if you use my referral link!

Read about my first Stitch Fix experience here!

Katrina

As I mentioned before, Katrina had been sick for a little while. She had stopped eating and was throwing up a lot several months ago, but I got some anti-nausea medicine from the vet and that seemed to take care of the problem. She’d lost weight, wasn’t eating as much, and she just wasn’t herself, but they couldn’t find anything else wrong so we just chalked it up to her getting older and her appetite and attitude changing.

Even though she had gone back to eating mostly normally, she continued to lose weight. I got her some supplements to help her put on weight, fed her extra meals, and asked about it at the vet. They said I could bring her in some day and just put her on the scale to check her weight. So I brought her in one afternoon in mid-December, and asked if maybe while we were there, the doctor could just take a look at her again. This time… the vet noticed something. There was some kind of mass in her abdomen. It wasn’t there when she’d been to the doctor a few months before, but just as a cat’s lifespan is compressed compared to a human’s, things that could take months to develop in a human could develop in weeks in a cat. They referred us to a specialist for an ultrasound to see what it was and figure out next steps.

A couple days later, we took Katrina for her ultrasound. They shaved her entire belly and a good portion of each side. The vet there came back and gave us the news: she had the feline equivalent of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a tumor, her liver and kidneys were enlarged, and she had fluid in her chest. Treatment would be chemotherapy, but the chances for success were not good, and even if the treatment were successful, the cancer would come back. GG and I talked about it, and decided not to pursue this treatment, and instead keep her as comfortable as we could for as long as we could. We spoke to our regular vet later that day and she confirmed that that would be the best thing to do (in fact, she didn’t even mention going forward with any other treatment).

So we tried to enjoy Katrina as much as possible over the holidays. The nice thing was that GG and I were home a lot, so we could be with her and keep an eye on her. She went downhill pretty quickly, though. She’d already not been herself, but it got worse. She slept in random (seemingly uncomfortable) places, she couldn’t jump up onto furniture anymore, she ate less and less (despite drugs to help her appetite), her weight continued to drop (petting her was basically like petting a spine with fur). The vomiting had pretty much stopped at this point, but the amount of bloody diarrhea went way up. So we got other drugs to help with that, and they worked, but she continued to avoid using the litter box. Then I guess the fluids in her chest kicked in and she started sneezing and wheezing. It was all the time, but especially when she ate or drank (maybe leaning her head forward made it worse?).

The vet hadn’t told us how long we might expect Katrina to live, but I don’t think she was too optimistic. She gave us medicine about a week’s worth at a time. Finally, on Friday, 1/3, I made an appointment to take her to the vet the following Monday. I figured we’d let them check her out one more time; if there was something that could be done to improve her situation, of course we’d do it. But most likely, we’d be saying goodbye. She was barely eating, and I don’t know if she was drinking. I was worried we’d come home one day and find her dead. And most importantly, I know she was not comfortable. She was all bones, and she couldn’t even do her favorite thing: eat.

On Monday, 1/6, I ended up working from home so I wouldn’t have to rush home from work to get her to the doctor. So I got to spend one more day with her. GG met us at the vet’s office, where she was examined. The vet said she was dehydrated, which confirmed my theory that she wasn’t even drinking anymore. We could all just tell it was time. I’d been planning to stay there while they gave her the shot, but by that point I was crying and GG said he couldn’t be in the room and I didn’t want to just be there crying by myself, so we left her with the vet staff. Everyone who works there is so nice, I didn’t feel bad about it or like we were abandoning her. I just wanted my last memory of her to be a good one.

Everyone immediately asked if we were going to get another cat, like we need to maintain a level of three cats at all times. I think we will just enjoy being a two-cat family for a while. I’m pretty sure Katrina was the reincarnation of my childhood cat, Harry. They were both fat ladies who did their own thing, but when they felt like being snuggly, they were such loves. Harry used to suckle on my pajamas (we think because she was taken from her mom too young as a kitten), and while Katrina never did that, she came so close a number of times, like one little lick. Also, she would have been born around the same time we had to put Harry to sleep. So my theory is, someday, I will meet a cat that was born in January 2014 with that same cat spirit.

As for the boys, I don’t think they really noticed at first that Katrina was gone. She had pretty much checked out in those last few weeks, and they weren’t really spending a lot of time together. For a long time, the saddest thing I could think of was the fact that Ivan and Katrina were so close, and one of them would have to die first and the other would be so lonely. But I don’t think Ivan really realized she was gone until a week or so later. Then he started walking around the house meowing, and he seemed very concerned. I think both he and Sacha are ok now, though.

Katrina, you were my little love and my beautiful girl. You shed more than any cat I’ve ever known. You were the only cat who would willingly let me pick them up and carry them around. You had an attitude, but when you were in the right mood, you were so very sweet. And of course you were a good sister to Ivan. You were kind of the worst cat, but I love you and miss you, my little baby girl >^..^<



My First Stitch Fix

After reading a lot about it, I decided to sign up for a Stitch Fix. At this point, I’m sure everyone and their brother has heard about this service, but just in case you aren’t familiar:

  • You sign up and fill out your personal profile to tell them about your size, budget, lifestyle, and style preferences. Even with this extensive survey, there’s some things that might not be covered, but there’s also a free text box where you can add additional info, and you can even link to a Pinterest board to show them things you like. One thing I wish they’d ask, which they don’t, is for your actual measurements. I felt like just giving my bra size and pants size didn’t allow them to fully appreciate my weird body shape.
  • You schedule a “fix.” There’s a bit of a wait – I signed up on December 3 and didn’t get this delivery until the beginning of January. You can schedule them when you like, or sign up for a monthly subscription. There is a $20 styling fee for each fix (more on this later).
  • An actual human being personal stylist chooses five pieces (clothing and accessories) for you, based on the preferences you gave in your profile, and any additional instructions you gave when scheduling your fix.
  • When your delivery comes, you have three days to try everything on in the comfort of your own home, to see how it all looks with your own clothes. I love the idea of trying things on in a natural environment, and being able to see them with stuff you already have! They also provide styling ideas for each piece if you are outfit-challenged such as myself.
  • If you decide to keep anything from your box, the $20 styling fee you already paid is credited toward your purchase. If you keep all five items, you get a 25% discount on everything (so do the math, because if you wanted four items, sometimes it works out better to keep all of them and just give away the one you didn’t like). Anything that you don’t want, you just send back in the pre-paid envelope they provide.

My goal for stitch Fix was to tell them exactly what I like, and have them pick other things that I would like but may not have chosen for myself in a store. In addition to the survey, I gave them links to a Pinterest board and my outfit blog, and I got really specific in the comments about the colors I wear or don’t wear and more about my body type. In particular, I asked for tops that would not look like a tent on me! In the message when I ordered my fix, I asked specifically for skinny pants and maybe some tunics or something. So what did they send me?



Personal note from my stylist!

Styling ideas for my pieces.

Could be promising…

Sweet Rain “Beckham Short Sleeve Hi-Lo Blouse” – $28
Way too tight across my chest. Also, having been checking out other people’s boxes, Stitch Fix seems to send a lot of tab-sleeved tops, which I’m not super crazy about (they get lumpy under cardigans). Also, there was some tent action going on (probably would have been tentier if it were sized up to fit me). Return.

Fun2Fun “Ballenger Printed Sleeveless Henley Blouse” – $48
This was not only blousy and tent-like in the front, but somehow also in the back! And the pattern was kind of horrendous. There were 3-4 buttons at the neck, but the neckline overall came up way too high. Return.

Tart “Egan Layered Cross-Front Short Sleeve Top” – $68
$70 is a little expensive for a shirt I couldn’t even figure out how to put on the first time. I liked the pattern (even though I wish the tan dots were any other color, since I’ve pretty much cut tan and brown out of my wardrobe). The look was unique, but if the last one was a tent, this is a drawstring trash bag. And I just realized you can see my bra through the arm hole. Return.

Angie “Vivienne Printed Tie-Neck Tunic” – $38
I will make a confession: I saw my list of items before I received it. I went on the Stitch Fix site to update my credit card information, and didn’t realize that once your order had shipped, that would be the first thing you saw when you visited the site. So I tried to look up some of the pieces in advance, with limited success. This shirt, however, seems to be mentioned a lot in Stitch Fix reviews and is pretty well hated, so maybe they should take it out of their repertoire? The pattern kind of hurts my eyes, it comes down to my knees (I understand that it’s a tunic, but that’s kind of redonk), the tie neck is pretty horrible, and once again, it looks like I’m wearing a tent. Return.

Just Black “Adora Skinny Jean” – $88
When I asked for this Fix to contain “skinny pants,” I guess what I really should have said was “black pants that are skinny but appropriate enough that I could potentially wear to work with boots.” These were an Army green color, so I already knew I wasn’t going to keep them, but I tried them on anyway. They fit perfectly, except they were several inches too long. (Weirdly, as pants are almost never too long for me, but are sometimes too short.) Too bad! If they were black or gray, I might have dealt with the length, but that was just too many strikes against them. Return.

(Please excuse my disheveled appearance in the above pictures – I’d just gotten home from a very long day out.) It was a good effort, but not quite there from Stitch Fix. However, I know that the first box is often disappointing, and if you leave good feedback and give them another try, the stylists will improve their selections for you. So I’m hoping that’s the case, and I plan to give them another shot. All the clothes were really good quality, and the one thing that fit (the pants) fit very well (except the length). Again, I wish they would have asked for a little more specific information as far as actual body size, as I think this could have solved some of the fit issues. I may update my profile on the site with my actual measurements, though I’m not sure they have those details on the clothes they’re selecting, either.

The return process was really easy, by the way: I just went on the site, told them what I was (or in my case, wasn’t) keeping, and provided feedback on each piece. Since I want them to get better, I tried to be as detailed as I could about what I did and didn’t like. Then you just check out. If you were keeping anything, you’d be charged at this time and receive a receipt via e-mail. Everything I’m sending back goes in the provided, postage-paid bag, and I can drop it in the mailbox.

I wrote this review as a customer, nothing was provided to me by Stitch Fix or anyone else. However, the links above do use my referral ID, and if you choose to give the site a try, I’d love if you use my referral link!

Read about my second Stitch Fix experience here!