Monday, August 31

My Latest Stitch Fix {vol. 5}

It's been a while (seven months!!) since I got a Stitch Fix in the mail, and given how my last couple boxes were, it's not really a surprise. It's not that I was getting bad boxes, but it just wasn't my style. I was asking for things that were boho and/or edgy, and I was getting super classic, preppy things - fine, but not what I was asking for, and not really me.

I decided to give Stitch Fix another try as a present to myself for the start of the new school year. What I really noticed this summer when I was working full time was that I didn't have a lot of work clothes. I really wanted to do a kind of 30x30 challenge this summer with clothes, until I realized I was doing that every single day at work since I only had about 3 pairs of pants, 3 skirts, a dress, and a handful of shirts I could wear!

It made me realize what my work wardrobe was missing: pants, in particular, but also shirts I could layer and still look professional. This made it easy to tell my Stitch Fix stylist what I needed, and I was hoping the clear communication on my part would help him or her really nail it this time. To be honest, if this Fix wasn't what I needed, I don't know if I would have used Stitch Fix again...

Now on to the Fix!

Emer Houndstooth Straight Leg Pant - Large - $98
My stylist really listened to my notes and included three pairs of pants in this Fix. They're all by the same designer, just different patterns. The first thing I noticed was the material: they're almost a legging texture, but thick and super soft! They stretch like nobody's business, but they're also structured enough that I could totally wear them to work at a law firm. 

Because of the material, I was worried that they would be unflattering on me, so I was so excited when they fit well! They're also a straight leg, which I personally think is a flatting style on me. I think I got a pair like these in a prior Fix, except they were a tiny bit cropped and a tiny bit flared, which just looked terrible on me. The straight leg style is so much better!

I also am over the moon about this houndstooth pattern! I know it's hard to see in these pictures because of the lighting, but it's a subtle and yet fun pattern. I don't know why, but I always associate houndstooth with my mom as a young lawyer, so it just seems like this very young, hip lawyer pattern to me, haha. Perfect for what I'm using it for! :)

Verdict: Keep!

Chanel Twisted Knot Knit Tank - Large - $44

To be honest, this was not my favorite item in this Fix, and if I had not wanted the big discount, I probably would not have gotten this top. J seemed to really like it, but it just didn't do much for me. I thought it was a little short on my body, but otherwise just... fine? I do like that it's a little different and that the knot gives it some edge, and I specifically asked for sleeveless tops I could layer under blazers/jackets. This covers everything I asked for, and I really do think I'll wear it!

Verdict: Keep!

Beckett Graphic Print V-Neck Blouse - Large - $48
Emer Jaquard Print Tall Straight Leg Pant - Large - $98

This blouse was exactly the kind of thing I was looking for! It can easily be layered under a blazer or jacket, it's sleeveless, it has a fun pattern, and it's interesting! I really loved the v-neck - although I'm wearing a sports bra underneath in these photos, I had a regular one on early when I tried it on and it looked perfect. It's so hard for me to find tops that don't make me look busty, and even without a cami underneath, it didn't show any cleavage. It also doesn't completely cover me up, so I was really happy about this top. I wasn't completely sold on the shape right away, but it grew on me, especially once I realized I could tuck it in if I really wanted to show off my waist.

I know it's hard to see in these pictures, but the pattern on these pants is also really cute! I didn't know I needed navy/blue pants until I got these, and now I don't know how I managed without them for so long! I have a ton of nice work shirts that are in the blue family and just don't look good with black pants, so these pair have opened up a whole new world for me! I also like that, like the houndstooth pants, the pattern is fun but subtle. The pants don't have to be the star of the show, but they also don't have to be boring!

Verdict: Keep! (Both of them)

Emer Printed Straight Leg Pant - Large - $98

Like the other pants, these were made of the same soft, stretchy material, and I loved them! I was worried that since these are a bolder pattern, they would be unflattering on me, but I actually think they're super cute! I have a bunch of shirts that are plain (like this sweater) that would look great with patterned pants, so I could definitely see myself wearing them all the time!

Verdict: Keep!

All the patterns, up close!
One thing I was worried about with all three of these pants is that I'm starting to work out on the regular and trying to get my eating habits back on track, so I'm not sure how much my body will be changing in the next few months. Right now, I'd say all three pairs fit me nicely, but if anything, are on the "tight" side of things. Given how stretchy they are, I think they'll still look good even if I lose inches. What do you think?

All in all, I was thrilled with this Fix. There was only one shirt that I wasn't super excited about, and I still liked it, so it made sense to buy everything in my Fix and get the discount. I saved over $70 by buying that shirt with everything else! Given how pricey the pants were by themselves, and given how much I liked all three of them, it would have been more expensive to buy all three pairs of pants without the shirts. Funny how Stitch Fix works sometimes, huh?

I'm really glad I gave Stitch Fix another chance, but I'm also glad that I've accepted Stitch Fix for who they are. I think I was bummed for a while that they didn't have clothes like you would find at H&M or Urban Outfitters, but they can't be everything for everyone. What I kept finding was that they sent me more classic clothing items, so I thought they would do a great job with work clothes - and I was right! They really killed it, and I seriously can't wait to go to work today and show off my new clothes!

If you're interested in trying Stitch Fix, I get a $25 credit if you use this link and order your first Fix! :)

Have you ever tried Stitch Fix before? What kinds of clothes do you need in your wardrobe right now? What's your favorite thing out of my Fix?

Friday, August 28

Recipe: City Girl Rickey!

Hey friends! I don't normally post recipes for drinks, mostly because I don't normally drink mixed drinks. I'm more of a wine or cider gal, so there's not much opportunity for a recipe... Hey, look at a picture of me pouring this pino grigio into this wine glass!

After Hannah visited me in Hilton Head, I drove her back to Savannah. On the way back, we stopped at a little bar in Old Town Bluffton called Vineyard 55. I got a drink called a "May River Rickey," which had ginger ale, huckleberry vodka, and lime. It was sooo good! Refreshing, light, fruity, and totally fun! I was telling J about it a few days ago when he got back from New York, and I decided to get the supplies to make my own!

I already had lime juice around the house, so all I had to get was fruity vodka and some ginger ale! I tried to find huckleberry vodka, but the closest I could find was either raspberry or cranberry, so I decided to get the raspberry. Plus, the ginger ale was only $0.69 at Market Basket!

Since I was using raspberry vodka instead of huckleberry, I decided to call this my "City Girl Rickey." Raspberries just seem way more of a "city girl" fruit, am I right?

Making this is ridiculously easy. I used a wine glass because it seemed v college to use a plastic cup, and I'm using a bendy straw to drink it because why wouldn't I???

Here's the recipe:

  • 1 shot of raspberry vodka
  • 2/3 of a shot glass of lime juice
  • ~3-4 oz of ginger ale (basically, just fill the rest of the glass)

See how easy that was to make? And trust me - it's so delicious! J's not super into fruity drinks (he's more of a craft beer guy), but even he loved it. When I made one today, he commented on how refreshing it was, so you know it's true! :)

Try this recipe out and let me know how you like it! If you like it as much as I do, it's going to be a staple for you.

Monday, August 24

My Last First Day of School!

Hey friends! Today was my VERY last first day of school (god willing), and boy was it exhausting! It was also my first day of work at my legal residency this semester, which is basically like an internship I get class credit for. I'm working at this amazing law firm in Concord, where I'll be doing employment law almost entirely on the plaintiff's side.

For my first day, I mostly just got used to my desk and the environment, though I did start on some work. If today's any indication, I'm going to LOVE working at this firm!

After I got off work this afternoon, I had two classes: Administrative Process and then Business Transactions. I finally got home around 5PM, and I can't say how good it felt to put on some sweats, make myself a drink, and watch some cooking shows on Netflix! It was a well-earned relaxation before I start doing Wednesday's homework. :)


I realized this morning that I've taken a "first day of school" picture every year since I started law school, so I took a quick one this morning. I also added the last two years' pictures to this post! 

It's so clear how much I've changed during law school. Not just the hair (though it admittedly looked FABULOUS last year), but looking back, I think I was rebelling really hard against changing my "look" during 1L year. I really wanted everyone to know that I was "different," which I think makes total sense at that point. No one knew me yet, and I didn't want anyone to get the impression that I was some stiff, straight-laced person. Granted, about two weeks later I dyed my hair bright blue, so that took care of any misconceptions. ;)

Point being, I've had a really hard time fitting in to the legal community over the past few years because I was so opposed (and scared) of changing who I was as a person. I like bright colors and I'm kind of strange and weird and I love my nose ring... But I think I've recognized that clothes (even conservative ones) don't define me - I do, and I wear them differently because of who I am! I'm also so much more comfortable with my classmates; none of them are likely to get the wrong impression at this point, haha.

1L year first day of school pic

2L first day of school pic

I hope everyone had a wonderful first day of school! :) Do you ever struggle with people's perception of you? What about your perception of yourself?

Monday, August 17

Bridesmaid Boxes!

Photo Credit: Erica
Hey friends! I've been absolutely loving my time in Hilton Head, and I can't believe it's almost time for me to go home again. While I'm excited to start my legal residency and start my classes (and to see my baby kitties again!!!), I'm also going to miss seeing my family and walking on the beach every day. Concord's going to seem a little lame in comparison to living on the beach. :)

But back to this post! 

J and I settled on having six people each in our wedding party, so I then had the difficult task of choosing six of my best friends to be my bridesmaids. I struggled with choosing only six, because I felt like I was close with a lot of really amazing women, even if I'm not in the same city, state, or even time zone as many of them. After a few weeks, I had decided on who I wanted to ask, but I also didn't want to ask them right away. I had a long engagement ahead of me and there was no rush - one of the things I love the most about long engagements!

After waiting for a few more months, I decided to ask my six tenacious, smart, stunning bridesmaids if they would, well, be my bridesmaids... by sending them bridesmaid boxes! 

I looked up bridesmaid boxes on Pinterest, and I thought the idea was adorable - getting your (potential) bridesmaids little presents and asking them to be in your wedding party in a thoughtful way. To prepare the boxes, I not-so-subtly asked each of them what their favorite alcohol of choice was. Here's what I put in each box:

  • A letter to each of my besties about why I love them and our relationships on the most beautiful cards in the world (see top picture);
  • A bath bomb
  • A spa face mask
  • Paint samples of our wedding palette colors
  • A nipper of their favorite kind of alcohol (except for Liz, because I couldn't find a nipper of beer - so she got a dog bone for her new puppy!)
Each box was actually a little container I found at Target, which, as an organization freak, I thought would be a fun part of the gift!

Ultimately when I sent four of the six boxes across the country, it turns out it's kind of illegal to ship alcohol... so most of the nippers I had so carefully chosen couldn't be sent. :(

Even though shipping four of the boxes was kind of a pain, I was so excited for all of my friends to get their boxes in the mail! It's not like I expected any of my friends to say "no," but I didn't want to presume anything - so getting calls and texts saying they would be by my side was the most exciting and heartwarming! I'm so grateful to have strong, lovely women like them in my life, and I don't know how I could get married to J without my best friends and loved ones there!

It seems like when people talk about bridesmaids and bride(zillas), the stereotype is that the bride is totally mean to her friends and walks all over them before the wedding. I've watched my fair share of "Bridezillas," but I've also read horror stories on The Knot about brides who made their bridesmaids lose weight, or talked down to them, or made them color their hair, or purposefully made them wear ugly dresses. I even read a ton of cards made to ask women to be bridesmaids that said things like, "Be my bitch for a whole day," and things like that. Clearly that's not me and I doubt it's the norm, but the best part of these bridesmaid boxes for me was getting to tell each of these women how much they mean to me and to ask them to be with me during one of the most  important days of my life. I wanted to make it a fun experience for them too, not just me!

What's your view on bridesmaid boxes? Do you think brides are too mean to their bridesmaids? What would you put in a bridesmaid box?

Friday, August 14

12x12: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
by J.K. Rowling

To be completely honest, this has not been my favorite Harry Potter book in the past. It's always been solidly in the middle. However, re-reading it this time around, I was (sorry) spellbound. It was thrilling, sweet, emotionally-vulnerable, perfectly climatic, and just so, so good!

What I Loved:

  • This is a LONG book. We're talking 700-something pages, but it's long enough that you can really get sucked into this world! I've been emotional re-reading the Harry Potter books this year, but this book hit me hard. It felt like I was coming home in a way that I just didn't have the time to experience in the prior books.
  • This particular book is all about international magical cooperation, and J.K. Rowling really throws the reader into it with the Quidditch World Cup! It was the first time I had ever thought about schools in the U.S., and I was even more excited reading it this time to realize Salem, MA isn't that far away from me now! ;)
  • While there is a pretty obvious theme in the other books about prejudice and racism, I think it's especially prevalent in this book. One of the big things the fourth movie leaves out (more on that later) is house elf rights and Hermione's club, S.P.E.W. The entire book, people keep telling Hermione that house elves want to be enslaved and that they like working for wizards... which is true. Dobby is the only house elf who seems to have the slightest interest in freedom or wages, and even those topics have limits for him. The rest of them do seem happier working. For me, it really made me think about how we thought about slavery in America for so long. People generally thought slaves were better off enslaved, and that they even liked it better than having freedom. I think it's interesting that in the wizarding world, house elves certainly don't like being mistreated, they actually do seem to like being enslaved - they want to work without pay. I don't know how to reconcile that, because I, like Hermione, find the concept of slavery to be reprehensible. Hogwarts even "employs" hundreds of house elves, and I suppose you could argue it's better to be enslaved there than somewhere they'll be mistreated... but isn't that still perpetuating a fundamentally unfair and unjust system - even if the house elves want it that way?
  • This book contains a lot of firsts around Harry, Ron, and Hermione's relationship. It's the first book where Ron deals with jealousy about Harry's status and wealth, and it's the first one which makes it obvious that Ron and Hermione have feelings for each other. It's the first one where Ron really shows his sulky nature when he's upset - Ron doesn't talk to Harry from the time his names comes out of the Goblet to until the first task has ended, and Ron explodes on Hermione when she goes with Victor Krum to the ball. Their friendships are all getting more complex and "teenager-y," which I think it perfect given that they're all fourteen!
  • This is also the first book where we're introduced to Neville's history and the Unforgivable Curses. I feel like the Curses are treated so fearfully in this book while they're kind of thrown around willy-nilly in later books, and I'm not sure if that's because we're hearing about them from the perspective of fourteen-year olds who are terrified by them or because it's our own introduction to them. We're told that the use of any one of them is punishable by time in the wizard prison, but, like I said, I feel like some of the "good guys" use them a few times in later books... not a lot, but more than I would like them to. Even though it's really an issue that comes up later, I think it brings up a question of (1) what doing "bad" acts does to otherwise good people, and (2) whether it's worth doing those bad acts even if it's ultimately for a good cause.
  • While I love the movie, it leaves out so much! Granted, it's an almost 800-page book, and if they made it all into a movie, it would probably be give or six hours long. I get it - but leaving out Ludo Bagman, Fred & George's bet with Ludo (and their desire to own a joke shop in this book), Winky, the sphinx in the maze, and S.P.E.W were unfortunate. All of those aspects add so much to the story and to these complex points about international cooperation, racism, prejudice, and how we treat those we consider "lesser" than us.
  • Obviously I can't forget about the big event with Harry and Voldemort in the graveyard. It's such a good, well-written scene, and I love seeing Voldemort interact with all the remaining Death Eaters! It also adds momentum to the similarities and connections between Harry and Voldemort. Although, I did find a mistake in the book: We know that Voldemort killed Lily after she killed James, but when the "echos" start coming out of Voldemort's wand, James comes out before Lily. We're later told that they came out in reverse order, and all the other echos do come out in reverse order... just those two are mixed up.
What I Wasn't Crazy About:
  • Nothing. Go away.
Would I Recommend This Book?
  • Of course! I think I've really underestimated how good this book was - I wasn't dreading reading it or anything, but since The Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince tend to be my favorite books in the series, I was really excited to get this one over with. That was a mistake - this one is amazing on it's own, and it's worth giving respect to!

Which is your favorite Harry Potter book? What makes it your favorite? What are your thoughts on the enslavement of house elves?

Monday, August 10

12x12: A Room of One's Own

A Room of One's Own
by Virginia Woolf

This is actually one of J's books that he read for one of his English classes this past year. Around Christmas of this past year, he gave me a bunch of books that he thought I would love, and when he found out about my 12x12 project this year, he suggested (once again) that I read this. One of the new things about this year was that I didn't have set books already picked out. In a way, it was easier last year because I had them all picked out and then could just choose from the 12 books. This time, after I finished one, I had a huge number of books to choose from, and J didn't stop suggested I read this... so I finally gave in and promised I would!

What I Loved:

  • The best parts of the book were when the narrator was making observations about women and men, which were completely on point. I had really struggled to get through the first twenty pages or so, but then I hit this part in the book where she's reading all these books by male authors on women. All these authors are saying stuff like, "Yeah, women are just so dumb, it's a shame," and "Yep, their brains are just so small," and to the narrator, all these men sound so angry. She starts talking about why men would be angry about their opinions - because really, a logical opinion doesn't require you to get pissy about it (unless someone is illogically arguing against it, and in that case, get angry). So she delves into why men would be angry about women, and without giving it all away, she makes some very, very good points about percieved superiority versus inferiority.
  • The narrator also talks a lot about privilege in ways that are spot on. For example, she laments how there aren't any women "Shakespeare's", but how even if there had been, there's no way that women in that time could have had the same kind of life, upbringing, education, freedom, or reception that Shakespeare did - and it's true. There have undoubtedly been thousands, if not millions, of brilliant women who had the potential to be poets, writers, scientists, etc., but who never had the kind of privileges to be able to even be on the same level educationally as men, let alone have their opinions, thoughts, and works listened to - unless they went under a male name, of course.
  • One of the narrator's biggest points was that even the women who did have relative freedom, education, and support weren't on the same page as men doing similar things - because something was holding them back. That something, she suggests, was the fact that they had to be trailblazers and worry about equality and respect, while men in their same time and place would never dream of having to overcome gender biases, or overlooked or dismissed because they were men. The subject matters open to men were so much wider (you know, like, they could leave the house alone), while even the women who could write sometimes had hints of bitterness in their writing because of what they were still denied.
What I Wasn't Crazy About:
  • Personally, I'm not a philosopher or much of a theologian (if at all). I had a hard time reading some of this book. It was dense in places, it was diffcult to read and understand, and sometimes I just didn't get why parts of the book were even there except for a tiny bit of social commentary about her current position in life. To be fair though, it picked up really well after the first twenty or so pages.
Would I Recommend This Book?
  • Ultimately, although it was difficult for me to get through, there were some absolutely brilliant points about gender, sexism, and privilege that I think everyone really needs to acknowledge and think about. It's not long - only about 80 pages altogether, and it's a classic, so there's no excuse for not reading it! Even though I am and have always been about the equality of the sexes, this book brought up ideas for me that I had never considered, and I was really excited about that prospect! I hope you are too. :)

Have you ever read this book? Did you find it difficult to read at times?

Friday, August 7

Exploring Maine

Neither J nor I had ever been to Maine, so when we had a spare Saturday, we decided to take a trip up to Portland! We stopped by Kennebunkport so I could chow down on a lobster roll (J got a hamburger, haha), then kept heading North to Portland!

Funny enough, I hardly got any pictures of Portland while we were there! J and I stopped in a coffee shop to use the restroom, have a little coffee, and drink some water, which we needed really badly. To be honest, the coffee shop was exactly what I had pictured when I thought of Portland, Maine.

After the coffee shop, J and I walked over to Old Port to do some window shopping, but had to trek back again to move our car. We drove around Old Port for about fifteen minutes before finally finding a parking spot, then we walked around, looked at shops, and tried to enjoy ourselves despite the heat!

Eventually, we walked back towards the coffee shop and waited for a table at Duck Fat for an early dinner! By this time, both of us were incredibly thirsty - especially me! I bought this giant thing of water at a nearby natural foods store, and I didn't regret that $2.00 for a second. By the time our buzzer went off, I think we had finished about half of it!

I never even got pictures of the beautiful food at Duck Fat - I think J and I were just so hungry at that point, and the food was SO good neither of us wanted to wait. Just ask my parents - you know I'm excited about the food when I don't take the two seconds to take a picture of it! I got their Belgian fries with truffle ketchup and a bacon, tomato, and goat cheese panini, while J got their poutine. J said it was probably the best poutine he'd ever had (he's slightly obsessed with poutine, btw), and honestly, those fries with the ketchup were the best I'd ever eaten. WOW. It would be worth driving back up to Portland and waiting for another 45 minutes just to eat another 30-minute meal at Duck Fat.

J and I both really enjoyed Portland, Maine, but I do wish we had gone with someone who had lived there before or really knew the city well. We both kind of felt like we were stuck in a tourist area, and we wanted to see more of the actual city. It's definitely worth going back, but we'd like to see more of where real Portlanders (?) hang out!

Have you ever been to Portland, Maine before? Have you ever eaten at Duck Fat?