Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I'm not usually one to complain...

...but it has been quite a bad few weeks.
  • My workplace is struggling.  A lot.  It's a hard environment right now.
  • My dad is sick.  In the hospital.  Long story.
  • There's a bump on the back of my neck that needs to be cut out and sent to pathology.
  • Star and I both had lice.  We had a lice checker come to the house last night to remove the lice from our heads and put a non-toxic spray thing in our hair.
Bring it on, universe.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Le Tote

Here's my final installment (for now!) on subscription boxes.

When I sized out of (sized down from?) Gwynnie Bee, I was bummed because I didn't know of a service that would be similar for my new smaller size.  Then I remembered LeTote which I had found months earlier, but their sizes were too small for me at the time.  Perfect timing; now I fit into LeTote clothes!  So, I signed up.

LeTote is really similar to Gwynnie Bee.  You pay $49 per month and get a box of 3 garments and 2 pieces of jewelry.  They pick what goes into your box based on what items you "hearted" on their site. 

When you send a box back to them, they send you out a new box.  If they receive the box back with fewer than 5 items, they assume that you wanted to buy the missing piece(s) and they'll happily charge your credit card.

 Here's what I got in my first box. 

Regular Price: $78.00
Member Price: $39.00

Regular Price: $62.00
Member Price: $43.00
Regular Price: $28.00
Member Price: $21.00

Regular Price: $22.00
Member Price: $17.00

Regular Price: $70.00
Member Price: $49.00

The only thing I actually wore was the polka dot shirt.  It fit me oddly.  It kind of made me have a mono boob which isn't a good look, and the shoulders did weird bunch up things.  The short sleeved striped shirt was OK, but a bit to yacht club for me.  The skirt was fine, but I didn't wear it.  The necklace was heinous - way huger than it looks like in the picture.  And, the bracelet looked cute, but you could tell it was really poorly made and had glue parts coming out from behind the stones.

So, after wearing the polka dot top, I sent the whole box back and am now waiting for #2 from them.  

Stitch Fix #2

I updated my post about my first attempt at Stitch Fix so you can see the picture of what they sent me.  I wasn't excited to try them again, but Jenni sounded like she understood me, and she said nice things about my Pinterest board, so I gave them another shot. 

My second box from them was definitely better than the first, but I didn't like anything enough to add any of the pieces to my closet.  Here's what I got.

A black maxi skirt (which is one of the things T+P sent me too!)

A green cardi.  Cute sweater.  I almost kept this, but it was a bit boring and didn't add anything to my existing wardrobe.

A pink(ish) fake leather jacket.  This was kind of awesome, I have to admit.  If I lived a different kind of lifestyle or had a different kind of budget, I would have totally rocked it.  But, I couldn't justify its addition into my life.

A red patterned fake wrap dress.  Again, this was a good try.  But, the slit up the front was so high, I think people could see parts of me which are not work appropriate to show. 

A tribal looking dress.  Cute shape, but I didn't like the tribal pattern.

So, overall, box #2 was way better than box #1, but it still seemed like a waste of time for all of us.  I'm not sure I'll try again. 


Thursday, February 6, 2014

My weight loss journey / Rachel of the Biggest Loser

I'm having success with my weight loss.  I've lost 16 pounds since the middle of October which is about a pound a week.  I think I have about 26 pounds to go; so, if I keep up the pound a week pace, I should be at my healthy weight by Scott's birthday.  

The bad news here is that I've officially become too small to use Gwynnie Bee.  Sad.  (I found a replacement service which I'll talk more about at some point.)

Here's the other bad news.  I hate the fact that I am focusing on my weight right now when I live in a country that is obsessed with weight in an unhealthy way.

As The Biggest Loser likes to say, "obesity is an epidemic in America."  To that, I would add that the opposite of obesity is also an epidemic.

For the past few months, I've been watching Season 15, and have loved seeing the contestants' healthy transformations both with their emotional issues and with their diet and exercise issues.  I was solidly in team Rachel.  She was fit and athletic with a kind heart.  Here's a picture of Rachel when she started on the show at 260 pounds and at makeover week when she weighed 150 pounds.  She's 5'4".  At 150 pounds, I thought she looked beautiful.  I thought that maybe she could lose another 10 pounds or so, but I didn't think that she would be able to win the finale because her competition had so much more weight to lose than she did.

Imagine my surprise when a strikingly gaunt Rachel appeared on stage at the Finale.  She looked unhealthy.  When she weighed in, it was revealed that she weighed 105 pounds.

I am not a nutritionist.  I'm not a doctor.  I'm not a financial planner.  Maybe she did this in a completely healthy way and there's nothing to worry about.  Maybe her methods weren't entirely healthy, but she wanted to win $250,000, so it was worth it to go a bit overboard. 

But, oh my goodness people, what message are we sending?  This does not appear to be healthy.  This should not be viewed as success. 

It seems to me that she traded one disorder for another.  At 260 pounds, she used food for comfort and didn't exercise at all.  Now, at 105, she uses her control over food for comfort, and exercises obsessively.  Her behaviors are still problematic.  They are just differently problematic.  I hope her journey is not yet done.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Winter Camps

Y'all know how passionate I got about arranging Star's 4 weeks off in August.  So, it would make sense that I would get equally passionate about her 2 week winter break.

But, no.  For some reason, I didn't put near the same amount of passion into figuring out her December time off as I did her summer time off.

Week 1 - I had Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off for "the winter holidays", but let's be honest - it was for Christmas.  If they wanted to give me time of for Hanukkah they would have done it a month earlier!  Political/religious rant aside, Star and I had some fun adventures together.  On Wednesday, Scott also took the day off and we had family adventures.  We drove down to Burlingame to check out a playground which came highly recommended that we hadn't been to before.  And, the playground lived up to the hype.  There was a really long slide which both Star and I were too scared to go on, but Scott did it.  There were various climbing things and bouncy things.

After the playground, we played bocce and Star rode her bike around.  A park ranger was driving around, hopefully getting paid extra for working instead of being with her own family.  She called out to us, "Merry Christmas!"  "You too!!", my husband and I called back enthusiastically.  Then, she said to Star, "Did Santa bring you good stuff?"  Star looked at her like she was crazy.  In that situation, I'm never sure what to do.  I don't want to make the person asking feel bad, she was only trying to be nice.  But, I also don't want to be dishonest.  So, as nicely as I could, I said, "Santa doesn't come to our house."  She then made a friendly comment about the weather and drove off.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Star was with my parents, and Scott and I worked.  Saturday afternoon, I picked her up, and then we actually had a babysitter come over so Scott and I could go to a housewarming party.  We hadn't been to a party together without Star in a while!

Sunday and Monday, cousins visited.  They have a daughter who is 6 months younger than Star.  Star and she get along wonderfully well and look similar!  We visited them in LA a while back.  We went to the Steam Trains and had a nice time together.  

Week 2 - This was the week that could have been a disaster but turned out not to be.  I had planned for Star to be with one of her classmates at a nanny share.  But, I misunderstood the whole plan, and Star was going to be taking the place of her classmate's younger brother in the nanny share while the family went out of town.  So, Star was stuck there with a super young kid for 1 day.  It was awful for her.  I left work early to pick her up.

She was supposed to be with the nanny share for 2 more days, but Scott and I weren't going to put her through that.  So, we signed her up for Camp Gan Izzy at the last minute and Star loved it.  It's run through our local Chabad and they definitely have some motives about exposing kids to Orthodox Judaism, but that's fine with us!  They went on super fun adventures (Marine Mammal Museum, Jelly Belly Factory).  At the end, they presented the kids with a framed photograph of their whole group together.  This was for a 3 day camp.  It was really amazing.  Star loved it. 

Tog and Porter #1

At the same time I was trying Stitch Fix and Gwynnie Bee, I also signed up with Tog and Porter (T&P).  T&P is similar to Stitch Fix with 2 main differences: (1) you don't have to pay them any money unless you keep something they send you, and (2) in addition to filling out an online style profile, you also have a skype conversation with your personal style fairy.

I found the skype convo to be quite awkward.  My stylist looked all cute and professional sitting at her desk where I looked shlumpy and exhausted on my bed.  It didn't feel like I was chatting with a long lost friend.  It felt like I was wasting time.  I'm not sure I told her anything by skype that I couldn't have said by email or in some other online way.

Anyway, I again described my style as Boho.  She asked if that was a style that I wanted to keep.  When I said yes, she sounded somewhat disappointed.  I then told her that I love all colors - orange, pink, greens...  She squealed with excitement and said, "oh, this is going to be fun!" 

While my T&P style fairy was picking clothes for me, Stitch Fix box #1 came and was horrible, so I wrote an email to my T&P style fairy with comments about the pieces I got in the hopes that my comments would help her put together a better box.  She said that my comments were super helpful and she expressed excitement that she was going to be the one to turn this around for me!

I felt hopeful.

My T&P box came and it was horrible.  I was supposed to get 5 or more items, and I only got 4.  Strike #1.  I got:
  • Khaki pants.  Boring color.  Not boho.  
  • A grey t-shirt dress.  Boring.  Not work appropriate.  Not playground appropriate.  I don't have any other occasions.
  • A black maxi skirt.  Boring.  And, I really don't need another black skirt in my closet.
  • A blue sweater which looked like a bathrobe on me and which shed sneeze producing angora.  
I sent an email to my T&P style fairy which felt like a break up letter.  After a few days of not hearing from her, I followed up with another email because I didn't want to keep these clothes too long or I would be charged for them!  She said that we should have another skype convo where I could try on all the items in front of her and we could discuss each of them.  I told her that I wasn't interested in that.  She wanted to stay true to the integrity of the process and have a skype convo.  I again said no.

In the end, we didn't have a skype convo, I sent everything back, and I told her that I may try T&P again down the road.

Meanwhile, back in my closet, I really need some new clothes!  I resorted to my tried and true consignment stores around the bay area. 

Stitch Fix #1

Stitch Fix is a different kind of service than Gwynnie Bee.  You fill out a style profile where you tell them your height, weight, sizes; you see pictures of clothes and you tell them if you like them or not; you can link to your social networks; and you can write up a brief narrative.

I basically told them that I love the boho style and colors (not tan, black...)

Then you schedule a "fix" (which costs $20) and some style fairy goes out into the world and collects things for you.

My first fix from them totally sucked.  I hated every piece. I didn't take pictures of me in the pieces because it really wasn't worth it.  I got:
  • A preppy swingy skirt in navy polka dots.  I love polka dots, but it was a preppy nautical style which isn't my thing.  And, the huge skirt was not at all flattering.  Note to self: get straight or slight a-line skirts. 
  • A dress which buttoned all the way down.  I specifically told them that things that button all the way down are not flattering on me, and unfortunately, this dress proved me right.
  • 3 tops all in boring neutrals.  2 with super wide dolman sleeves which made me feel like flapping my wings.
Horrible horrible horrible.  I sent everything back with detailed comments about why each piece didn't work for me.

I didn't hear anything back.

So, I followed up with an email, and then I received a nice response from Jenni (one of the style fairies) who offered to credit my $20 towards my next fix and she would be my next stylist.  I took her up on her offer. 

Stay tuned for Stitch Fix #2...