Big Sigh For My Life, October 2015 Edition

A few funny things are going on lately. I mean weird, not ha-ha.

Seriously, what’s in the water?


First of all, I’ve been struggling with a nagging running injury. More on that later this week, but it’s really becoming a drag. I’m rightfully worried about the half marathon I have coming up in a few weeks and the full marathon I’m training for in January.

Work-wise, I owe everybody something. Argh! I agreed to give several talks and am woefully behind on getting the presentations ready. This does not feel good.

Speaking of work, there’s really a yin and yang going on. I don’t like to talk too specifically about my job, but I found out last week that I have an exciting and unexpected trip to a very exotic location on the horizon, which is awesome.









And then I immediately got a brutal rejection for a paper that I submitted to a journal detailing a research project that I’ve been working on for over a year. The rejection email was cringe-worthy. Crying would be a legitimate response.

And my shoes fell apart.

After 8+ years as my trusty OR clogs, my worn Danskos quite literally rotted away. I guess they’d seen one too many liquid spills and splashes of all sorts of nastiness.

This turn of events was unpleasant, but I used my new Amazon Prime membership to score this rainbow pair within a cool 48 hours.


New shoes – love!

Last work-related item: We conveniently have meetings Every Single Day during the time that most people would, say, go out for lunch or procure something lunch-y to eat, so brown-bagging it is pretty necessary lest there be no sustenance at all.

Due to my propensity to rip, spill and otherwise ruin things (see rotten shoes above), I go through a lot of lunch totes, some cooler than others.

I recently purchased one for MGM (8) at the start of the school year, which I thought he would love based on his TV viewing habits.

Instead, he deemed it too baby-ish (although an R2D2 lunchbox apparently is the height of third grade chic), which is why I am a now 42-year-old accomplished physician carrying my sandwich and apple to work in this:


Big sigh for my life.










Stitch Fix #9

Ok, last week I wrote about how I thought Stitch Fix had jumped the shark and I was seriously contemplating a break up.

And then a new box arrived on my doorstep and it was all “Reunited” by Peaches and Herb. 

Reunited and it feels so good
Reunited ’cause we understood
There’s one perfect fit
And, sugar, this one is it
We both are so excited ’cause we’re reunited, hey, hey

Unboxing photo #1:


All I could see was a dark blob…

which turned out to be this jacket:

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This Tart Hala Wrap Jacket is made of supremely soft fleece, and basically it is right up my alley, style-wise.

The fit was like a cozy robe, but in the best possible way. It was also mightily similar in fit to the M.M. LaFleur Morandi sweater I happened to be wearing at the time, and I love that sweater. Good pick, Stitch Fix, good pick.

Next up: this Market & Spruce Fierro Elbow Patch Crew Neck Sweater.


This is a basic black crew neck sweater with gray elbow patches.

I’d been pinning a lot of elbow patch sweaters to my Stitch Fix style board, so this was another good choice from my stylist. It’s minimalist. It’s modern. I loved it.

Item #3 was a pair of Gorjana earrings:


These are described as “Heather Hammered Bar Drop Earrings.” I don’t have anything similar, so I like them. At $34, they’re also not too spendy.

I didn’t know how to feel about the next piece, these jeans:


At first I couldn’t figure out what color these Level 99 Giovanni Straight Leg Jeans were. Green? Gray? Faded black? The stylist’s note said they were gray.

Ok, let’s go with that.

I don’t have any gray jeans and the fit was alright, so I was on the fence.

This shirt was piece #5:

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As soon as I saw this Papermoon Tigard Lace Back Knit Top, I hated it. The tag says this was made for Stitch Fix.

This just looked so cheap. The striped fabric is henley material and the back has an internal lace layer with a shorter back. The colors are faded browns. Blech.

And yet…

I tried it on, and it wasn’t terrible. The stretchy fabric was soft and the muted colors actually looked good with the sweater I was wearing. While I would never pick this out in a store, I am contemplating keeping it for the buy-it-all Stitch Fix discount.


And now for some Stitch Fix math:

  • I like the Tart jacket ($98) and the crew neck sweater ($58) = $156
  • The earrings ($34) are also pretty cool. $156 + $34 = $190
  • The jeans are listed at $98 and the knit top is $58
  • Retail for everything is $346, but the Buy 5 Discount subtracts $86.50 and the Styling Fee credit is $20, so the total to keep it all is $239.50.

I’m not sure I’m feeling Fix #9 to the tune of $239.50, but I am definitely interested in the jacket, sweater and earrings.

And overall, this Fix was the best one in months. A big Note to Self is that I need to keep pinning more things I like to my Pinterest style board, which I think made all the difference.

Are you still into Stitch Fix?









Encircled Chrysalis Cardi

How’s this for the ultimate travel garment?

I’ve had my eye on Encircled’s Chrysalis Cardi for a while, and during a recent Facebook promotion, I scored an Everglade one at a discount.

It arrived in a large envelope with a separate belt:


This picture doesn’t do the Chrysalis justice.

Fortunately, it also comes with a helpful styling card:


Honestly, I can’t see myself turning this piece into a dress or tunic, but I love it as a cocoon cardigan, a wrap or a cape. The fabric is unbelievably  soft and does not wrinkle. This would be absolutely perfect on a chilly plane.

Deciding on just one color took a few days, and as soon as I hit the “Purchase” button with my Everglade selection, I was feeling remorse for not sticking to my beloved Heathered Grey.

When mine arrived, though, I loved it. The color is gorgeous. If Everglade’s not your thing, there are nine other colors to choose. The raspberry is also really pretty, and this could add a pop of color to an otherwise-neutral travel wardrobe.

Check out Encircled! 



Disney’s Castaway Club


One of the best parts of going on a Disney Cruise is the anticipation.

You know you’re going to have fun.

And once you’re there, you’ll probably want to do it all over again.

After your first Disney cruise, you become a member of the Castaway Club, Disney’s loyalty program for veteran cruisers.

Currently there are three levels available:

  • Silver: 1-5 completed cruises
  • Gold: 6-10 completed cruises
  • Platinum: >10 completed cruises

So, what do you get with membership?

One perk is that you can book activities, excursions and specialty restaurant reservations ahead of the crowd. Silver members can book 90 days out, Gold 105 days, and Platinum members 120. [Note: You also get early booking with Concierge status, even on your first cruise].

There’s also a digital magazine you can read and a special phone number to use for assistance with booking or travel arrangements.

A dedicated part of the Disney Cruise Line website for the Castaway Club lets you see your personal status meter.

Here’s a snap of mine:

castaway meter

But what’s probably the thing that guests love the most is the swag.

Castaway Club bonuses start arriving at check-in. You’ll receive a lanyard displaying your status to hold your room key. Here’s a Silver one:


Personally, I carry my card around in my pocket and hate wearing a lanyard, so we don’t usually keep these. That puts us in the minority, though, because other guests seem to love wearing them everywhere.

You also get a welcome aboard gift that’s waiting for you in your cabin. On our recent trip to Alaska, we received a one-shoulder backpack and an umbrella. On prior trips we’ve received a different style of backpack, a tote bag, and a keychain. Twice the backpacks were filled with snacks.

Here’s the Alaska bounty:


Front view


Back view, sling backpack

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We used the backpack once in Alaska and the kids both wanted the umbrella upon our return.

Unfortunately, they immediately weaponized it and attacked each other, umbrella style, so it’s tucked away out of their reach at the moment.

A new thing that started in 2014 is that Castaway Club members also get a 5″ x 7″ drawing mailed to them after the cruise. Here’s the one we received in the mail after Alaska:

line drawing

I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so it’s currently on the fridge. The line drawing is pretty cool, but I’ve already got way too much everything so this probably won’t stay there for long.

Once you cross into a new level, you’ll also receive a magnet for your car. We received a Gold one last year but I’m not the bumper sticker/stick figure/car magnet type, so it’s also on the fridge for now.

One benefit we just experienced for the first time was the onboard party for Gold and Platinum Castaway Club members. This was fun. During our Alaska trip, it was held during the afternoon of one of the sea days and there was free food/drinks and a take-home Mickey crispy rice treat for guests. The captain and several officers were there, and the crew made a point of coming around and meeting people, asking about prior trips. Everyone at the party was really friendly and trust me when I say that the guests could have talked about Cruising with Disney all night if given the chance.

We also discovered a 10% discount on select shipboard merchandise as Gold members, which was unexpected and cool.

Final thought: everybody loves to be a V.I.P., and Disney’s Castaway Club makes you feel like one.




Old Navy Fall Edit

I always forget about Old Navy.

Even though there’s a store only five minutes away from my house, I probably venture there less than once a year, and my kids are the usual recipients of the bounty.

And I have mixed feelings about Old Navy.

Yes, they have amazing deals on basics (tees, flip flops) and fast fashion.

Yes, you can walk out with two overflowing bags for less than $100.

Yes, everything falls apart after about four months.

And I’ve said it before, but when a fleece jacket costs $12, it makes me nervous that someone is being exploited somewhere to make that possible.

Having said that (and pushing my doubts aside and convictions down), if you’re in the market for a few fall wardrobe additions, these pieces caught my eye:

An extra long cardigan in charcoal gray. This is a perfect layer to keep at the office.


A cowl neck poncho in a versatile taupe color. I’m a huge fan of ponchos over slim pants.


A tee with faux leather details.


A colorful scarf that would look great with all the plaid being shown right now.


And speaking of plaid: Red and pink scarves.

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A faux suede crossbody bag that seriously echoes Clare V.


And from their activewear line, these compression crop pants in purple and teal.

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Do you shop at Old Navy? What do you think are their best deals?