And Now For Something Completely Different…My First Wantable Box!

“And now for something completely different…” – John Cleese, Monty Python

This series of blog posts is for posts that don’t really match the rest of my blog (i.e. they aren’t related to writing, reading, steampunk, etc) but that I wanted to post anyway. In this edition, I’ll be reviewing my first Wantable Style Edit box.

Wantable Style Edit is a fashion subscription box, very similar to Stitch Fix. You can read my review of Stitch Fix here! In each box, which comes once a month, you get 7 articles of clothing or accessories (compared to Stitch Fix’s 5 items) that have been picked out just for you by a stylist. When you sign up, you fill out a style quiz that asks for things like your measurements, general style preferences, occasions you’ll be dressing for (casual, work, special event, etc), what types of items you want, etc. Your quiz can be updated any time your preferences might change. Unlike Stitch Fix, Wantable does not provide an option where you can link a Pinterest board or other social media.

For each shipment, you’re charged a $20 Styling Fee.  This fee will be applied toward the item(s) you decide to keep in that box (e.g. if you decide to keep a $40 shirt, you’ve effectively already paid for half of it, and only owe an additional $20). When you receive your box, you have 5 days (compared to Stitch Fix’s 3 days) to decide what you want to keep, and what you want to return. A pre-paid USPS bag is included with your shipment, which makes returns very easy. You only pay for what you decide to keep!

As I noted above, Wantable gives you 2 additional items per box compared to Stitch Fix, and 2 additional days to decide what you want to keep. Another big advantage of Wantable is your “Closet” and “Stream”. Your Closet shows you every item you’ve ever received from Wantable, which is very handy to have for your records. You can also request to receive items again, as long as they’re still in stock! Your Stream shows you items that other subscribers have received that match your style profile. You can get a good idea of how those items look and fit, and if you like an item, you can request it for your next box.

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Item number one is the V Neck Pleat Detail Cami in a mint green. This top was very light and flowy – perfect for summer! At $59 it was a little pricey, but I decided to keep it because I loved how it looked on.

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Next up was this sweater and necklace. I loved the sweater – it was a nice fabric and very cozy. The cost was a very reasonable $48. However, I can’t bring myself to buy a sweater in June! At $39, I wound up not keeping the necklace either.

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I fell in love with this blazer immediately. After regretting not keeping the blue blazer from my Stitch Fix box, I thought Yes, I’ll keep this one! Then I looked at the price: $118. It’s a nice blazer and I like, but I don’t like it THAT much!

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Next was this floral top. I like the pattern, and the fabric was comfortable and breathable – another perfect summer top! It cost $39, and I kept it.

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I also kept this pair of shorts, which cost $69. I thought they were a little pricey, but I literally owned 0 pairs of shorts before I received these. They fit well, and I like the length.

The last item I received was a really pretty black lace scalloped skirt, which was $58. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to zip up the skirt over my hips.

Overall, I really loved my Wantable Style Edit box. I think the fashion styles were better suited for me compared to Stitch Fix (a surprise to me, since Wantable doesn’t look at Pinterest boards). One disadvantage I have found with Wantable is that they don’t seem to have an option to swap an item for a different size, which Stitch Fix does allow you to do. The prices also ranged more widely. That means that while some things were too expensive (like the blazer), other items were cheaper than anything I got in Stitch Fix (like the floral top). So, for me, Wantable Style Edit wins out!

If you’d like to sign up for Wantable, I would really appreciate if you’d use my referral link: https://www.wantable.com/?invite_token=jwID1c3vuy4

And Now For Something Completely Different…My First Stitch Fix!

“And now for something completely different…” – John Cleese, Monty Python

This series of blog posts is for posts that don’t really match the rest of my blog (i.e. they aren’t related to writing, reading, steampunk, etc) but that I wanted to post anyway. In this edition, I’ll be reviewing my first Stitch Fix box.

Stitch Fix is a fashion subscription box. In each box (which can come every 2 weeks, monthly, or every-other-month, your choice) you get 5 articles of clothing or accessories that have been picked out just for you by a stylist. When you sign up, you fill out a style quiz that asks for things like your measurements, general style preferences, occasions you’ll be dressing for (casual, work, date night, special event, etc), what types of items you want, etc. Your quiz can be updated any time your preferences might change.

In addition to answer the style quiz, you can also give your stylist links to your social media pages. Pinterest is the most useful here, as you can make a style board which your stylist can refer to in order to better understand your tastes.

For each shipment, you’re charged a $20 Styling Fee.  This fee will be applied toward the item(s) you decide to keep in that Fix (e.g. if you decide to keep a $40 shirt, you’ve effectively already paid for half of it, and only owe an additional $20). When you receive your Fix, you have 3 days to decide what you want to keep, and what you want to return. A pre-paid USPS bag is included with your shipment, which makes returns very easy. You only pay for what you decide to keep!

I was excited to try Stitch Fix after my mom tried it and liked every item she received. My box arrived June 1st and I was pretty impressed.

As I post this, I’ve realized a glaring criticism I have of Stitch Fix: there is no way for me to see what items I received online. I received a card with the items, brands, and prices in my Stitch Fix box, but no digital version of that card exists. So, unfortunately (since I recycled that card with the box) I don’t have the prices for any of the items except the ones I kept (which I do have a receipt for).

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Item number 1 was a pair of dark skinny jeans, which unfortunately didn’t fit. They did feel like good quality jeans, though. They were also the priciest item in the box (I think $88)(On this note, you can choose price ranges as part of your Style Quiz). For those reasons, I decided not to keep the jeans. (Another note, you do have the option to exchange items if they aren’t the right size. I just chose not to for these jeans)

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Item number 2 was this really cute dark blue blazer. I went back and forth on this, because it is so cute! However, it didn’t make sense for me to buy a (somewhat pricey – $70-something if I remember) blazer when summer is about to kick off. If I received it in, say, September or October, I probably would have kept it. But it didn’t seem worth it to spend that money on something that would sit idly in the closet for months.

The next item is a bit hard to see in these photos. It’s a silver layered necklace. At $34, it was a bit more than I’d usually spend on jewelry. But, I’m pretty cheap when it comes to jewelry! I liked it a lot, so I did decide to keep it.

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Item number 4 was a lovely floral blouse. Now *this* felt appropriate for late spring! It fits nicely and is lined, so I don’t need to worry about wearing a cami underneath it (this is important for people like me, who fall behind on laundry!). I decided to keep this as well. It cost $58, which is about on-par with what I typically spend on nice blouses.

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The final piece was a bit of a disappointment. I love the idea of maxi dresses. They make you look glamorous with about 0 effort. Unfortunately, this was not the maxi dress for me. There was too much excess fabric on the top, which did funky things to my body shape. If it was more fitted on top, I would have loved it! Oh well. I believe this was also around $70ish.

Once you decide what you want to keep or return, you fill out a form on the Stitch Fix site where you indicate what you’re keeping or return, as well as what you liked or disliked about each item. That way, your stylist can more accurately curate your box next time!

Overall, I was satisfied with my Stitch Fix box, and look forward to my next one in July.

If you’re interested in using Stitch Fix, I would really appreciate it if you used my referral link: https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/12357829?sod=w&som=c&str=13803

And Now for Something Completely Different…My Updated Workout Routine

*DISCLAIMER* I am not a professional trainer or athlete or anything of the sort. I’m just a regular person trying to be healthy. If you read anything in the post that is inaccurate/misleading/etc, PLEASE let me know and I will correct it ASAP!

“And now for something completely different…” – John Cleese, Monty Python

This series of blog posts is for posts that don’t really match the rest of my blog (i.e. they aren’t related to writing, reading, steampunk, etc) but that I wanted to post anyway. In this edition, I’ll be discussing my updated workout routine. If you’re interested, you can read about my previous workout routine here.

 

A while back, I joined a gym and developed an effective-yet-time-efficient workout routine. However, as the seasons changed and being outside actually became pleasant, I decided I didn’t want to work out in a dank and smelly gym. I wanted to be outside!

Fortunately, I recently moved into a more quiet suburb, with lots of trees and sidewalks that are in good shape. So, I started to jog outside instead of on the treadmill. I currently walk/jog about a 1 mile loop in the neighborhood. I’m measuring my progress, and once I get comfortable with that loop I’ll start to extend it to a longer one.

After I’m done with my jog, I do a workout at home. I’ve found a useful app called Home Workouts which has a database of exercises that only require your own body weight or hand weights. You can search by muscle groups and build your own routine. With the help of this app, I’m able to work on building muscles at home, too!

Then, as I did in my old workout routine, I stretch. The total workout time is about the same as my gym routine was (about 45 minutes).

Do you see something in my gym routine that could be improved? I’m open to suggestions! I would love to hear your gym (or other workout) routines, and any tips and tricks you have to offer!

And Now for Something Completely Different…My Workout Routine

*DISCLAIMER* I am not a professional trainer or athlete or anything of the sort. I’m just a regular person trying to be healthy. If you read anything in the post that is inaccurate/misleading/etc, PLEASE let me know and I will correct it ASAP!

“And now for something completely different…” – John Cleese, Monty Python

This series of blog posts is for posts that don’t really match the rest of my blog (i.e. they aren’t related to writing, reading, steampunk, etc) but that I wanted to post anyway. In this edition, I’ll be discussing my current workout routine.

I’m an engineer by day and a writer by night. That translates to a lot of time sitting. I used to attend at least 2 dance classes each week, which would get some movement in my schedule, but more recently it’s become only 1 class per week. So, a few months ago, I decided to join a gym.

The gym I joined is nothing fancy. It’s one of those no-contract, $10 per month gyms. But, it has all the exercise equipment I need, and even during the booming month of January I’ve been able to get on *most* of the machines I want whenever I go.

I keep my routine pretty concise, since most days I don’t have a lot of free time. But I figure a short workout is better than no workout at all!

I start out on the treadmill for fifteen minutes. I walk for 5 minutes, jog for 5 minutes, and walk again for 5 minutes. I’m hoping to gradually work myself up to running instead of jogging. The fact that I can even jog for 5 minutes straight is already an improvement over where I started, though.

After the treadmill, I move on to strength training on machines. I generally like to do one ab machine, one arm/upper body machine, and one leg/lower body machine. Because of my busy schedule, it’s rare that I get to the gym 2 days in a row, so I don’t usually have to worry about building in a “rest” day. However, if I do get to the gym 2 days in a row, I’ll usually just use the treadmill one of those days.

After using the machines, I hop back on the treadmill. Typically I’ll just walk for 10 minutes. However, I do wear a FitBit, and if I can get myself to 10,000 steps without spending *too* much extra time on the treadmill, I’ll make that my goal instead.

Then I stretch. It’s actually way more beneficial to stretch *after* you work out, rather than before. That’s because after you work out, your muscles and nice and warmed-up. If you stretch cold, you risk injuring yourself. I do pretty simple stretches, usually focusing a lot on my legs (my hamstrings are super tight because of dance!).

And that’s it! If I follow this typical routine, I’ll be at the gym for about 45 minutes. Even with my busy schedule, I can usually work in that 45 minutes several times a week.

Do you see something in my gym routine that could be improved? I’m open to suggestions! I would love to hear your gym (or other workout) routines, and any tips and tricks you have to offer!

General Update 11/11/2016

A lot has happened in the past week.

Now, I’m not going to go into specific politics here. I’m sure if you spend any time at all on the internet, you’ve seen more than you can stomach, regardless of your political beliefs. I know I have.

I couldn’t muster the focus this week to pick a cohesive topic to blog about. So, this will just be a general update.

As many of you know, I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), the annual challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Right now, I’m on track, and by the end of today should have at least 18,333 words written. Those words are split between two projects. The primary project is Serafima’s Stone – Book 2 of the Gaslight Frontier Series, the sequel to Grigory’s Gadget. The secondary project is my Chapter 1 submission for the Collaborative Writing Challenge Steampunk Project.

NaNoWriMo has been going very well so far this year. I’ve connected with some great local writers by attending “write-ins” at a local Escape Room (seriously, one of the coolest places I could imagine writing in!).

I want to leave you all with something positive and optimistic this week, so I’ve compiled a list of books (and some movies or shows) that emphasize the goodness of humanity and that look to a bright future (or that are simply fluffy and funny).

Books

  • The Harry Potter series
  • The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer
  • Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • Wings of Renewal: A Solarpunk Dragon Anthology by Claudie Arseneault and Brenda J. Pierson
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Movies/Shows

  • Basically any Hayao Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli movie
  • The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)
  • Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
  • Life in a Day (2011)
  • The Mindy Project
  • How I Met Your Mother (series finale not encouraged 😉 )
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Parks and Recreation

And Now For Something Completely Different…ColourPop Ultra Glossy Lips Review

“And now for something completely different…” – John Cleese, Monty Python

This series of blog posts is for posts that don’t really match the rest of my blog (i.e. they aren’t related to writing, reading, steampunk, etc) but that I wanted to post anyway. In this edition, I’ll be reviewing the new ColourPop Ultra Glossy Lips (to be fair, this post will relate back to steampunk a bit; read below to see!)

I was excited when I saw ColourPop was coming out with lip glosses. ColourPop, a company based in California in the US which is cruelty-free and mostly vegan, is one of my favorite cosmetics companies. I was specifically excited about the lip gloss because it’s a welcome break from the super-matte trend that’s been happening lately (nothing against matte lips, they just aren’t for me and my dry-and-angry lips).

The Ultra Glossy Lips, according to ColourPop’s website:

Our Ultra Glossy Lip provides extreme shine with a cushion-like comfortable feel. Absolutely NO stickiness or tackiness! This lip gloss smoothes and conditions the lips with emollient ingredients leaving your lips looking fuller, healthier, and super kissable.

I would agree that the formula is very comfortable, though I wouldn’t say there’s NO stickiness or tackiness. There isn’t much, though.

I ordered 3 colors in 3 different finishes: Finder’s Keepers (créme), Dropout (sheer), and Cheat Code (metallic). Here’s what they look like on the website:

Upon opening my package, I was immediately saddened to discover I wasn’t sent what I ordered! I got Finder’s Keepers and Cheat Code, but not Dropout. In its place I had Master Plan (another créme).

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As you can see, it’s very similar to Finder’s Keepers. I reached out to ColourPop to correct my order, but in the meantime, I’ll review what I have. I’ll probably come back and edit this post once I receive Dropout so that I can review that one too.

First up: Finder’s Keepers. This color is one I gravitate toward for everyday-wear. It’s subtle but still adds color to my lips so I don’t look washed-out or dead (a common problem when my lips are dry and sad during the winter or during allergy season (which you may note covers the majority of the year…)). This lip gloss has a good amount of pigment, and overall looks pretty nice!

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Next is Master Plan. Just as I suspected by looking at the tube, it’s very similar to Finder’s Keepers. It’s just a tad darker and a tad more purple. It’s definitely still a color I would gravitate toward, so I’ll probably wear it in the fall (it’s not quite dark enough to qualify as “vampy” but it’s as close as I’ll get on a workday!).

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And finally, the element of Steampunk I promised:

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See? I told you there’d be Steampunk! This is Cheat Code, and it is awesome. It’s very pigmented and very metallic. I’ll be wearing this to the Enchanted City III: A Brave New World next month (where I’ll also be having a book signing for Grigory’s Gadget at Market Block Books!)

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Overall I really like these lip glosses. I’ll forgive the order mistake, since this was a brand new line that just launched and I know ColourPop gets inundated with orders when they come out with new stuff!

We’ll be back to our regularly-scheduled programming next week, when I’ll probably explain how I failed at Camp NaNoWriMo again…

UPDATE

Huzzah! My inaccurate order has been corrected. I’ve received not one, but TWO lip glosses in the color Dropout!

This is a deep dark shade in a sheer finish. I built up the color a bit below, but it can easily be applied to be sheerer.

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