Le Tote: Box 6

It’s an absolutely fabulous feeling when you get a delivery that hits every nail on the head. It fits. It’s comfy. It’s trendy. It makes you reconsider your own style because, damn that looks good! All of that culminates into not feeling like you are wasting your time or money on a subscription service – even when they have the odd bad box.

 

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Look at those beautiful colors and patterns. I may need to request all of these again asap!

The Max Studio Printed Jersey Dress is just the thing for a leisurely walk to the park, or curled up with a good book. I don’t think I can stress the wonders of a dress that is durable, and doesn’t leave me feeling constricted. Retail: $98 Le Tote: $68

I was a bit cautious with the Noir T Strap Poppy Tank. There wasn’t a whole lot of give to the material and that can easily make it something that doesn’t go on at all or come off easily. However, I was delightfully surprised, and had I not been recouping from other purchases I would have kept this for my physical closet and not just my virtual one. It also pared really well with the Smudge Me Not lip color I got in my Wantable Makeup Box. Retail: $58 Le Tote: $48

The Max Studio Inverted Pleat Front Tank wore perfectly under a cardigan with black crop pants. It would make a great addition to any office wardrobe, and it’s lightweight and airy material also make it perfect for an afternoon date at the zoo. It’s hard to go wrong with a multi-functional piece of clothing. Seriously, I’m sure we are all guilty of buying clothing that is for a very specific purpose and hardly sees the light of day because of it. Retail: $88 Le Tote: $68 $33*

Last, but not least, the Catherine Catherine Pleated Peplum Top. To be honest, the pastel pattern wasn’t really doing it for me when I pulled it out of the box. Of course the cut of the material made it worth trying it on. I know there’s is a fashion science behind why peplum style tops look fantastic on the pear shaped, I don’t even care what it is I just love it. It’s simultaneously fitted and loose in all the right spots! Though, the color scheme would have been more appreciated in April versus July. Retail: $48 Le Tote: $42

This was definitely an experience that I was happy to rent. Yes, I liked all the items, but not enough to part with the cash to keep them (except the Poppy Tank.) It was great having new-to-me items that looked fantastic, because a little something new does wonders for my attitude.

If you’re looking for some new looks to freshen the wardrobe or even makeover your style, I highly recommend Le Tote to get yourself started. Click here and get $25 off your first month.

*Sale price at time of writing review. 8.9.17

Stay Tuned

It’s been almost a month since my last post, wow, time sure does fly when you are having fun. Things got crazy in July. If you’ve been following along on Instagram the husband and I had a bit of an adventure visiting family on the East Coast and attending a wedding in Kentucky for some really awesome friends. Even before that there were holiday shenanigans and game night with local pals.

Since then I’ve had oodles of subscriptions delivered that I need to get reviews caught up on. I’ll even be putting together a mega post on all the ones I’ve done so far, including insights on customer service, skipping and/or canceling subscriptions, and which ones are worth the bucks.

After that I’ll be quiet on the subscription front for a while as I take up the reigns as Dungeon Master for a long distance Dungeons and Dragons campaign. This will be my first time leading as DM and I am beyond exciting for the chance to work on my narrative skills and flex the imagination a bit.

Until then, subscribe on my friends!

Le Tote: Box 5

It was bound to happen sooner or later, a Le Tote delivery that just did not float my boat. Now, here’s the thing: every one of the items I got came from my closet. They all looked super trendy and comfy, and the week it came we had a bit of cool streak so the longer sleeves weren’t even unbearable… well, they wouldn’t have been had more than one of the items fit right.

The KUT from the Kloth: Black Print Blouse was the only thing I opted to wear. It was the only one that turned out to be as comfy as it looked. I wore it layered over a simple gray camisole and black pants and felt like I was on point for the office. Retail: $68 Le Tote: $54

I was most excited to try on the BCBGeneration: Collarless High-Low Blazer. Such a great color, and as soft as it looks. What goes a bit unnoticed from the pic is the huge shoulder pads. The compulsion to cut them out was so high, I had to immediately put it in the return shipping bag so I didn’t have to commit to the item. Retail: $118 Le Tote: $43

I’m not sure if there was a construction defect or if the Noir: Zipper Front Shirt is best for a willowy frame but no matter how I styled the sleeves it just laid all wrong. Worse, was the lack of mobility. Great top if your arms are basically going to be at your side all day, but try to reach for something, a pencil that fell on the floor, a strand of hair dangling in your face, or your favorite mug from the cupboard and you are met with resistance and/or zippers digging into your flesh. No thanks! Retail: $66 Le Tote: $33

Last but not least, the London Times: Tie Sleeve Shift Dress. It’s summer and I practically live in dresses, this one however I couldn’t get out of fast enough. Le Tote swears they hand measure every garment so that the items you get are sure to fit, but I think this one got lost in translation. What should have been flowy ended up being uncomfortably tight. Which brings me to possibly my only real complaint about Le Tote, you can’t select a different size to try something in. I’m not sure if you are limited to the sizes specified in your profile, or those Le Tote stylists tag as being measured for you, but there have been several items I would have like to try in larger or smaller size but I couldn’t request the difference. Retail: $58 Le Tote: $46

Now, enough with all the griping. Yes, I had a bad Tote. But I’ve had more good ones before and since (I might be a wee bit behind in the reviews). I’m really looking forward to trying Le Tote: Select, their version of StitchFix, Wantable, Dia & Co. etc. I’ve got another box or two of the competitors coming, and then I switch it up to try something new.

If you want to give clothing rental a try, click here for $25 off your first month.

 

Busy Bee, Bummed Bonnet

Sometimes plans just don’t happen like you planned them.

For the last month I’ve been getting ready for an event that I’ve partaken in the last few years. I had signs designed. New items to show case. I was getting pumped sharing and counting down to the event on facebook, which was a small part in a grand plan to help generate a larger turnout than in years past.

However, when the ducks don’t show, you can’t really line them up.

After weeks of waiting to hear from anybody else working the event and getting nothing but crickets, I had to make some tough calls this morning. Do I forfeit an entire Saturday for an event that has been underwhelming due to lack of turnout, with no promise of better attendance this year, or do I take that Saturday and have a leisurely stroll through the the farmers market with my favorite person and come home and start focusing my efforts on something that could be more advantageous?

Yeah, I picked the latter.

I let the powers-that-be know this morning that they had a vacancy. I hope they have a fantastic year. Unfortunately, with the lack of publicizing the event, it wasn’t a gamble I could convince myself to make a third time.

I spent this morning bummed out. I had been waiting to help promote this event since last year, I even had the foundation set in place months ago. Every morning for the last three weeks, not seeing the correspondence I needed to move forward, chipped at my excitement. It felt like I would be in a foul mood all week, but who has time for that?

Spending the morning sulking was more energy than I care to waste on this, so it’s time to pick myself up from this bout of disappointment, dust myself off, and carry on. Now, there is a lot to do as I prepare to shut down my Jamberry business and start up the Etsy shop once more.

For Jamberry: I’ve got to find a good home for all my Jamberry promo materials and send out thank yous to my best customers. I’ve got loads of digital files to clean out and a Facebook page to delete. Plus, there’s the sponsor to reach out to and commissions to spend.

For Etsy: I’ve got new product that needs to be listed and old product that needs updated inventory and pictures. I’ve got to verify that all the social media platforms are being fully utilized, and that links aren’t outdated. Plus, I’ve got to find more cost effective shipping methods and schedule time to regularly create and offer new items.

It will be such a treat when I’ve worked through all this decluttering and refocusing. Can hardly wait to share what’s to come.

Light Up Room

With all this makeup-ing around I figured it’s high time I get myself some proper lighting. Being renters limits options and planning a ten day road trip at the end of the month narrows them down even more with a small budget. Sure, I could have gotten any of a handful of table-top, plug-in, mirror/lamp combos that run about twenty bucks, but there is a slew of cons.

The mirrors are typically too small. Some made even smaller because of the inclusion of a magnifying mirror; I understand the purpose of them but I will never be ready for that close up. Table top means set height, and I don’t have anything high enough to not have to crouch down, unless I sit at the dining table, and I’d prefer a stationary work space to a portable one. I find it a nuisance to move my craft project to work spaces and back to storage space, why would I want to do that with my makeup?

A sizable (bigger than 12×12 inches) pre lit mirror can run from $150 to $400 plus. The lower end could be reasonable if I didn’t have to sacrifice style, but most of the options are boring or ugly. The high end options, are beautiful but way too pricy for the current budget. All of this made it necessary to think outside of the box and put the creative side of the brain to good use.

After some googling I found an 18×18 inch mirror for six bucks that would only require a trip to Target. I found three-bulb bathroom vanity lights on Amazon and picked up three for $52. I got three plugs as well ($7) to make them plug in instead of hardwired.

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The biggest challenge after all that was making sure I had the right bulbs. Ones that cumulatively gave off not only enough light but the right kind of light. The easy answer is find bulbs that say daylight. It took a bit longer than one sentence for me to get there though. A popular blog that popped up when I asked the google machine suggested warm white light. Except they failed to define warm. Warm light is usually associated with soft yellow lighting, but that is arguably the worst type to apply makeup.

In this instance warm refers to the kelvin temperature. Soft lighting ranges between 2500 and 3000 kelvin, bright lighting between 3500 and 4000 kelvin, and daylight between 5000 and 6500 kelvin. Though, to the eye the soft (yellowish) light looks warmer and the daylight (whitish/blueish) looks cooler. It’s easy to get confused unless the right terminology is used.

Eventually I got it all sorted out and found 60 watt equivalent LED bulbs on Amazon that had a brightness of 800 lumens and color temperature of 5000 kelvin. It was a 16 count box and I paid less than $2 a bulb ($16.47 for the bulbs used in the vanity.)

Once I had all the supplies for the lights I skipped on over to Target to get the mirror, and then a second when I didn’t find it at the first. Unfortunately, when I didn’t find it at the second I went to the internet to investigate and found that the simple inexpensive mirror I wanted was not available for delivery or anywhere in my area for pickup. Eventually, I accepted the fact that I would have to put more into a mirror than I initially intended. In the end I found a 22.5×28.5 inch mirror with a clean white frame for $30. Not the shape I had initially planned for or the price point, but sometimes you just have to roll with it.

Now that I had all the supplies, I pulled apart one of the fixtures and had some problem solving to do. Would the 600v wire from the fixture be compatible with the 300v wire of the plug I was attaching it too? Yes! Would I need a separate housing unit to store the spliced together cords? Nope, they fit just fine inside the original fixture. The fixture was only supposed to be hung horizontally lengthwise, could I safely hang two of them vertically? Sure thing! (I got this.) Would I need to compensate for the cord keeping the fixture less than flush against the wall? A 79 cent investment and hot glue was the plan in the event that it was too unstable, but I made it work without attaching “feet” to the fixture.

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About an hour of measuring out and marking up a bedroom wall, and another hour wiring the fixtures and mounting them and I had myself a functional vanity light and space for applying makeup, doing hair, and maintaining the shape of my eyebrows. Though the plugs I attached the fixtures to all had their own switch, I plugged them all into a power strip we had on hand and turn them all on and off with one click at the source instead of needing to do all three every time.

The first time I applied foundation at my new vanity I applied my usual amount and realized quickly it was way too much. I popped into the bathroom to remove the excess and realized how poorly that room was lit for putting a face together, the foundation didn’t look bad at all. For the first few applications I checked everything in the bathroom just to see how different the lighting made it. It was crazy awesome to see how easily one could apply too much color and in all the wrong places.

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All together this little project cost just under $120 and it was well spent. A few notes for you and myself. First, the ribbed wire is the same as white/neutral, the smooth wire is the black/live wire. Second, I should have bought the mirror first then I would have picked out a fixture that ran the whole length of the top. Last, I am not a licensed electrician. Any wiring tips you take away from this read you use at your own risk.

 

 

 

Beauty Box 5: Box 1

After the long wait I finally got my first Beauty Box 5 delivery, and it was a bit of a mixed bag. Beauty Box 5 is a monthly beauty box subscription for $12. They send you 5, mostly full-size but some are deluxe sample sizes, indie brand beauty products. The shipping is free in the U.S. ($3 to Canada), and you can expect at least $35 worth of product.

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As someone who’s looking to change up your makeup game this is a good way to get your hands on some fresh new products without breaking the bank. Let’s take a closer look:

First thing on my Get it Girl list is Jesse’s Girl: Liquid Eyeliner. I cringed a bit, not exactly having had the best luck with applying liquid liner in the past. I took to google for some application tips and was all ready to get my eyeliner game on when I opened it up to find that it was periwinkle! It absolutely did not coordinate with the other eye makeup that came in my box so I took it all off and applied some eyeshadow I already had so it would work together. No. Nope. Just… uhuh. The color did not work for my skin tone, and it was a pain in the bum to apply. Retail: $6.99

Next up was Prestige Cosmetics: My Biggest Lashes Mascara. I loved the super huge brush, even if it was straight instead of curved. It came out perfectly coated, and went on with ease, but it’s kind of hard to mess up black mascara. Retail: $7.50

The one item in my box that I knew would be of no immediate use was the Did Hair: Jeweled Hair Tie Set. My locks are far too short to attempt such bulky hair ties. With their thick bands and cool colors (don’t forget the jeweled bead attached) they won’t look like a hair band on your wrist, and the description claims they won’t cause creases, but it will be some time before I can put that to the test. Retail: $7.50

Lartzy’s: Lip Pencil may be my favorite of all the items. Anything that can keep my Burt’s Bees lip gloss on for more than thirty minutes (I’m approaching 4 hours) is a winner in my book. It goes on smooth and has a rich pigment. Retail: $18.00

Coastal Scents: Revealed 3 Palette was my only sample size product, but it’s a very generous sample being more eye shadow than I typically wear in a year. The dramatic color range claims to be buildable and can easily transition from day to night. This means a whole lot of nothing to me, but good for them. The color palette is similar to what I already wear but the color goes on bolder, and there’s a bit more sparkle. Retail: $19.50

For being a new subscriber I also got a Marsk: Mineral Eyeshadow. The loose powder came in a silver that has amazing glitter powers, and makes me want to try the whole lot. I’ve currently got it shimmering just below my brows and in the crease of my eye, brightening up the dark Coastal Scents shadow across my lids. Retail: $22.00

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For my first box, even though I didn’t love the hair ties or eyeliner, it was most definitely a win. For my twelve bucks I made out with over $80 in product and 4 out of 6 items I love and will use until they are gone or they’ve met their shelf life. The downside is that even though Beauty Box 5 has a shop not all of the items in my box are available. My free Marsk eyeshadow is there, along with the full Coastal Scents Revealed 3 Palette. Did Hair hair ties can be found but not the same style. Everything else, I’d have to scour the internet for. Such a bummer, especially the lip liner.

 

Subscription Withdrawals

It hasn’t even been a full week since I mailed out my last Le Tote box and returned my Dress of The Month, and I’m already finding life just a bit sadder without subscriptions. At this moment I have nothing to open. Nothing to try. Nothing to review.

Now, I’m sure once I get home I will be delightfully surprised to find a new Le Tote, my first Beauty Box 5, or even my first Book of the Month. But the wait is almost as unbearable as waiting for a hot guy to text you back. (That’s right hubby, I’m talking about you here!)

Last week I signed up Book of the Month – I really need to do something about that reading goal of mine. For less than $10 a month I get to pick between 5 new hardcover releases. I can also add additional books and book lovers swag to my delivery at a discount. Considering a new book can cost between $15 and $30 bucks, I’m in!

Also last week, I volunteered as a subscription box reviewer at Find Subscription Boxes, in an attempt to get some free stuff for doing what I already do. Right now it hasn’t panned out to more than a bunch of annoying emails trying to sell me subscriptions, but I can wait. If it weren’t already so cumbersome to manage work, personal, and school emails, I’d probably set up another just for my subscriptions (because damn, do they blow up my inbox!), but I can barely keep up with the few I already have.

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As for now, I wait, very impatiently for the next box to be delivered. Guess I could use this time to read a book or something.