October/November Love Goodly Review

Love Goodly is a bimonthly subscription box that features cruelty and toxin free products.

A regular subscription is $29.95 per box (for which Love Goodly promises at least $80 worth of products). As I was researching this post, I noticed there is also a VIP box that is $47.95 per box but promises at least one full sized item in each shipment. This is a review of the regular October/November box.

I first read about this subscription on another site, specifically reviewing the August/September box. This box included a full sized bottle of citrus scented KINDri face oil. I love anything citrus-y, and when the review described the scent as smelling exactly like the orange grove scent that is piped in during Disneyland’s Soarin’ ride, I knew I wanted it. I love that ride, and I knew *exactly* the scent they were describing. Since the face oil alone retails for $45, it seemed like a no-brainer to at least give this subscription a one-box trial. My first box included some hits (the face oil, a neutral but shimmery eye shadow) and some misses (an all natural cream deodorant that went straight into the trash and an unpalatable protein bar that quickly joined it).

I was happy to see my second box on the doorstep when I arrived home tonight.

IMG_2314

The box contained a product information card that included a recipe for vegan corn chowder on the back. The print on the recipe is tiny but honestly, it looks pretty tasty so I might keep this around if I ever get inspired to make soup. There was also a card with information about breast cancer screening and detection, being that October is breast cancer awareness month.

On to the products:

This Bella Pierre loose mineral blush is described as a “universally flattering Autumn Glow,” and the info card suggests using it to extend a summer tan. I swatched it below:

IMG_2316

This was extremely sparkly when I first put it on. I was totally offput by that fact and planned to give this to my eight year old daughter for her play makeup kit. To be fair, after about 20 minutes the sparkle seemed to rub off and I was left with something more terra cotta-ish. I still probably won’t use this, and it definitely does not seem worth the listed $35 value.

IMG_2318

I’m showing the packaging for the next item, which is Moondani Mystic Mint Breath Spray. The listed value is $8.50 and it is described as an all natural breath spray that incorporates cardamom, fennel and ginger. The size of this is small (maybe 3-5 ml?), but it is the right size to carry in a handbag. My package seemed to leak a bit, which is a bummer because in theory, I love weird breath fresheners (Aveda’s mint drops, those Listerine breath strips that look like stamps). I tested it out and the flavor I got was mostly peppermint. The flavor seemed a bit off, which may have been from the leak or perhaps I didn’t shake it up enough. I thought this item was ok, but better in theory than reality.

IMG_2319

This was probably my favorite item in the box, Mr. B’s Calm/Sleep aromatherapy roll on, which contains a blend of lavender, orange and spruce essential oils mixed with jojoba and sweet almond. The listed price is $11.95, which I think is fair. I have good intentions of using this, but there is at least a 50/50 chance that I will forget about it and not use it when I am stressed or want to sleep.

IMG_2320

To me, this looks like a travel sized Mindful Skincare Blueberry Mask, which was surprisingly listed as being a $30 value. Careful reading of the information card suggested that this is, in fact, full sized – something I find hard to believe. The color is a fairly unattractive gray, but the scent and texture are pleasant. I haven’t given the mask the full treatment yet, but I will.

IMG_2321

This brush was the last item in the box. It’s from 100% Pure and is listed as a $19 value. The brushes are antibacterial, synthetic fibers. Overall this is a nice brush. I have a lot of spare makeup brushes, so this isn’t something I need but I will probably end up stashing it and using at some point.

IMG_2322

Overall, I found that this box also had hits and misses. I was disappointed that the breath freshener leaked. The aromatherapy roll on was a nice discovery, and I will at least try the blueberry mask and eventually use the brush. The blush? Probably still going to my eight year old daughter.

What do you think of this month’s Love Goodly box?

 

 

A Great Deal at L’Occitane

Yesterday Trixie (8) and I were out running errands, which basically meant I went shopping and took her with me.

I’ve got it in my head that I need a few new things to wear to an upcoming conference, and I wanted to hit up a nearby boutique where I’ve had good luck in the past.

I grabbed a mountain of clothes to take to the dressing room, with Trixie providing a running commentary on my choices, their fit and my overall physical flaws.

I may re-think taking her with me next time.

After a dozen possibilities, I ended up with only two things: a pair of black pants (yawn, I know) and a black dress.

This is the dress:

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 2.01.46 PM

I love the gold zipper in the back:Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 2.01.53 PM

Mission accomplished at the boutique, we wandered through the rest of the mall to get to our car.

Until a divine smell emanating from L’Occitane pulled us in.

L’Occitane is a brand that I genuinely like, but to which I never remain loyal.

Their product line is fairly wide but they tend not to introduce new items often. They’ve been selling the same candied fruits candle, lavender sachets and shea butter tins for nearly two decades, but that’s ok with me.

A sign in the shop indicated that there was a pretty posh Gift With Purchase for a $125 spend.

I’d heard about L’Occitane’s advent calendars but this was the first time I got to see them up close. This year there is a Signature version that retails for $69 and a Luxury one for $124.

Here is the Luxury model:

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 1.43.50 PM

Inside are travel sized L’Occitane favorites, 24 total. While I wanted this for myself, I decided to purchase one to give as a gift.

Even with the Luxury calendar, I was still $1 short of the Gift With Purchase, so I opted to add this:

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 1.45.21 PM

This Aromachologie Pillow Mist smells heavenly.

From L’Occitane:

The relaxing pillow mist contains the essential oils of lavender, bergamot, mandarin, sweet orange and geranium.

Since the pillow mist is $24, that put me squarely in Gift With Purchase territory.

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 1.44.22 PM

The gift contains more-than-expected quantities of lotions, potions and elixirs, and the free tote bag that comes with it is also quite cute.

IMG_2312

It’s denim and canvas, very lightweight but still something that will I carry now while I tackle even more endless errands. 

This particular deal from L’Occitane runs through tomorrow, but if you miss out, there will be another.

Pro tip: L’Occitane also has great outlet stores where they will frequently sell past Gifts With Purchase at bargain prices. I will be doing some premium outlet shopping next month and I will be sure to swing by L’Occitane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awesome Smoothie Ingredient

Lately I’ve been back into using my Vitamix to make protein-rich smoothies for breakfast, which I pour into an insulated bottle (this one) and drink when I remember them, which is usually around 11 AM.

My usual recipe: 8 ounces of unsweetened almond milk, a scoop of vanilla protein powder, and frozen fruit.

Even though this process only takes five minutes, I’m always on borrowed time in the morning and I’m all for anything that streamlines my routine.

And confession: I also recently discovered that the estimated portions of frozen fruit that I have been using – measured with the time-tested technique I refer to as “eyeballing” the amount – are roughly double what they should be.

Last weekend I picked up this bag of frozen mango chunks at the grocery store:

IMG_2301

But what I didn’t realize is that inside this bag, there are five pre-portioned bags of mango chunks.

IMG_2302

Each bag is eight ounces, which is the perfect amount for a smoothie. The stats aren’t bad, either, since each bag contains 90 calories and there is no added sugar.

 

 

 

Stitch Fix #21

I was stalking my Stitch Fix order online, so I was excited to rush home last night to check my doorstep.

Bam! Delivered.

IMG_2284

Stitch Fix has an app that lets you preview your box, but I never, ever peek. I love the element of surprise.

However, I *did* observe on the tracking notice that my package only weighed 3 lbs, which meant that there were probably no shoes included.

I’ve received some cute shoes from Stitch Fix before, but I’m ok with skipping them, too.

Here’s a first look:

IMG_2285

Right away I could see fall colors and some floral prints. In the end, I lovingly dubbed this the Fall Floral Overload Fix.

I’m going to start with Floral #1:

This is a mixed fabric top that has sweater-like fabric on the front, whereas the back is a floaty floral print. I like the gold zipper detail on the back.

Stitch Fix describes this as the Apricot “Mindee Mixed Material Raglan Knit Tee,” and full price was listed as $58. This was also the $58 dollar Fix, as 4/5 items were listed at that exact price point. The included styling cards showed this top with jeans, leopard print mules and a bomber jacket for one look, as well as with black leggings, a leather backpack and sneakers as another way to wear it.

I had Pinned this top, so I was excited to see it. The fit was good, so it quickly went into the Keep pile.

This plaid shirt was next:

Sigh. My usual photography problems are omnipresent, but this Statement “Athenia Button Back Top” is navy blue with electric blue, red and white mixed plaid. The backside has buttons down the middle, hence the name. I rarely wear plaid shirts; nothing against them but they are not really my style. One thing I like about Stitch Fix is that it can introduce me to new pieces I wouldn’t have gravitated to on my own, and I’d put this squarely in that category. Price, you ask? $58. Stitch Fix’s styling cards were pretty boring with this. It was shown with jeans and booties twice.

Ok, Floral #2:

Another floral mixed media top. Another 41 Hawthorn piece. Another $58 item. This is the 41 Hawthorn “Dido Mixed Print Knit Top.” The front is a silky t-shirt material and the back is the same floaty fabric (polyester, I think) as Floral #1. The front is gray and the floral has a dark green (deep forest) background with a quartz pink print.

Here’s a close up of the print:

IMG_2298

The style cards basically put together the same looks as for Floral Top #1, and they even used the same jeans/bomber combo for one and the same leggings for the other. Well, now I know what to do.

Breaking up the florals, we turn to the final $58 item:

IMG_2299

This is the 41 Hawthorn “Nio Pullover Sweater.” The collar is an oatmeal color, the body and cuffs are gray, and the sleeves are deep navy blue.

IMG_2300

There’s a lot going on, but it works. This is very, very similar to a lot of things I already own, but I own them for a reason – namely I like stuff like this a lot. Winner.

I saved the best for last. Item #5 and Floral #3.

IMG_2288

This is the 41 Hawthorn “Cristen Shirt Dress.” I’d seen this on another blog and absolutely loved it. I Pinned it and hoped there was a chance for it to show up, so I was beyond excited when it did. The price is listed as $78, which I think is extremely fair. The quality is higher than some Stitch Fix pieces I have received.

As for the style, it is a flattering shirtdress that could be worn many ways. The style cards paired this with blush heels and a matching handbag, as well as a light colored trench coat. That combo would look great in April but probably won’t cut it for fall, so I will probably go the tights/booties route.

Here are a few close ups of the fabric:

IMG_2286

I was photobombed at this point.

I liked this Fix a lot, so I kept it all for $212.50.

While I’m probably set for floral pieces for a while, I have very few similar things in my closet so these were great choices from my stylist.

 

 

 

 

 

My Camo Fixation

I’m not sure why this was the year that I became really, really into camouflage prints.

Yes, they’re trendy now, but they’ve been trendy in the past and I’ve never succumbed.

And since I have not magically morphed into someone inclined to participate in activities such as hunting (ok, maybe urban hunting, which is shopping in my vocabulary), this predilection is entirely new.

It started with these pants:

I ordered these pants after spying them in a Nordstrom ad. The muted print is nice and surprisingly neutral. I’ve been wearing them at least twice per week since they arrived. Another blog suggested pairing them with a striped blue and white button down, which I think would look cute. I have two of those exact shirts, but both have idled in my to-be-drycleaned pile for too long to admit, so I’ve mostly been wearing the pants with a light pink or gray tee, sometimes with an oatmeal colored cotton sweater from the Gap. I haven’t paired them yet with the velvet bee mules. but seeing this picture above reminds me to try this soon.

Around the same time that I ordered the pants, I received notice that my next Stitch Fix was being styled, and I quickly added a request for camo bottoms. While there weren’t any available (which, in retrospect was good since I had these pants on order by the time I got the Fix), this jacket arrived instead:

This camo bomber has proven to be incredibly versatile. I’ve worn it a few times already as a light layer over my favorite Target find of the summer, this dress:

The fabric in the jacket is really soft (Tencel?) and I like the cute zippered pocket detail on the arm:

While two pieces of camo in my wardrobe would have sufficed, I also added these sweatpants:

Alas, these are now sold out, but the cute online boutique that sells them has a lot of other comfy lounge pants in stock.

My final two items were from my recent Gap splurge, where I had a bunch of Gap Cash that was burning a hole in my pocket.

 

I promise not to wear this all at once.

Elizabeth & Clarke Fall 2017 Review

If you’re not familiar with it, Elizabeth & Clarke is a shirt subscription service.

Each season they offer a small collection (three items) of shirts, and subscribers can opt for one, two or all three of the designs.

I’ve been a two shirts per season subscriber for a while, and this puts me in good company since Elizabeth & Clarke says that this is the most popular option.

About six months ago, they also raised their prices from (as low as) $20 per shirt (with the three per season plan) to $40 per shirt for the same option. Currently, the two per season price is $50 per shirt, or $100 per quarter.

With the new pricing, the quality has taken an uptick. Many of the shirts feature their Unstainable technology and are winkle-free. Both of these are huge wins in my camp.

For Fall 2017, these were the three choices: a gray sweater (the “Florence”), a sleeveless Burgundy top (“Davis”), and a sleek open black cardigan (“Sloane”).

I chose the gray sweater and the cardigan.

Burgundy is not my jam.

I was excited when the package hit my doorstep last week. Here’s a look:

IMG_2259

Ok, this black cardigan may not look like much, but I swear the cut is almost identical to my beloved M.M. LaFleur Sant Ambroeus Jardigan (which is a jacket + cardigan). Given that the Sant Ambroeus is 4x the cost, this is a potential steal.

From Elizabeth & Clarke:

The Sloane is the best of a sleek black blazer combined with the soft, cozy knit of a cardigan.

My, that sounds familiar.

Regardless, this is a great layer for fall. I’ve already worn this a few times. Two thumbs up. This is one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever received from Elizabeth & Clarke.

Next, the Florence.

From Elizabeth & Clarke:

The Florence is a cozy, yet collected glacier grey jersey knit sweater with high-quality YKK rose gold zippers as a beautiful detail.

I didn’t realize that YKK zippers were a status item.

Actually, on further reflection, I’m not sure that’s a Thing, but I do like the sweater.

IMG_2252

The sweater was kind of hard to photograph. I think it definitely looks better with the zippers open.

And here is that designer zipper up close:

IMG_2256

Overall, I like the Florence. The zippers are a fun detail and I love anything gray, so this will be a fresh addition to what I wear this fall.

One tiny concern is that the knit seems like it will pill quickly. This is yet to be determined but this feels like an inexpensive sweater. I don’t think it’s a classic, but for a subscription box and a seasonal piece, this fits the bill.

 

 

 

 

Hudson and Bleecker Shoe Bag Review

After reading about the existence of Hudson and Bleecker travel shoes bags on another blog, I got on one of my kicks where I *had* to have them for my fantasy trips (these are all in my head), wherein I am perfectly coiffed, always well-appointed and organized to within an inch of my life using oh-so-stylish luggage and other assorted travel gear.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 6.18.17 PM

So, yeah, I was determined to buy these and keep them stashed in my closet, probably forgetting about them when I actually went somewhere.

Problem number one was that they were sold out everywhere, including on the Hudson and Bleecker website.

I kept stalking the bags, narrowly missing them on a flash sale site, until one day, they re-appeared ON SALE at the Hudson and Bleecker site.

Normally $64 each, they were now $34. I ordered two.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 6.09.46 PM

These are from the “Cinque Terre” collection and are linen with yellow trim. I was really excited to get them.

Until.

I received an email from Hudson and Bleecker a few days later saying that the bags were no longer available. They offered to substitute one of their packing cubes and give me an additional 10% off my order.

There were only two styles of packing cubes to select, one chambray and the other with a floral print.

I wasn’t happy but chose the chambray packing cubes. Supposedly it is the same dimensions as the shoe bag, but with a side zipper instead of one in the center.

One other thing: the packing cube retails for $30. By my estimation, since I had spent $34 x 2 = $68 on the shoe bags, I was already due a refund of $8. If I was supposed to get an additional 10% off the order, that would equate to either $6.40 or $6 more (depending on shoe bag cost versus packing cube cost), so I was expecting to get a total refund of $14 or $14.60. Instead, they refunded me the measly $8, which I thought was wrong.

I digress.

The chambray cubes arrived. I was initially underwhelmed.

IMG_2267

The inside has some nice features, including an internal divider (consisting of a slim zippered pocket, which could hold jewelry), as well as another zippered pocket on the other side.

Here are some close up shots of the interior:

I tried them out with some shoes. At first, I used just one pair of heels:

IMG_2268

This seemed like poor space utilization, so I tried a few combinations with two pairs:

IMG_2270

IMG_2269

Two pairs of flats worked the best, but the heels/flats combo was also ok.

I’m going to give these a real life test next month when I take a work trip to a medical conference.