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

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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.

 

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.

 

Le Tote: Box 4

Le Tote, easily my favorite of all the clothing subscriptions, is a flat rate monthly rental subscription. Get 3-5 items depending on your subscription, wear them as long as you want and return them when you want something new. If you find you can’t live without one of the items, you can buy it at a discount.

Delivery #4 is my first of the Classic Box subscription with 4 clothing items and no accessories and is the first box I kept longer than a few days. Typically, I’m good to wear everything once and send it back, but this time I got a fabulous dress that hubby assured me would be worth it once I got paid first.

Even though each item came from my closet (all the items Le Tote has available and I’ve clicked the little heart on) only half of them worked out for me this round. Let’s take a look:

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I thoroughly liked the orange Vince Camuto High Low Shirtdress, I ended up wearing it as a tie front shirt since I didn’t have any belts to give it some shape. (This should be rectified in the coming weeks.) It worked really well for casual Friday with my cute black and white capris. Would definitely rent again. Retail: $89 Le Tote: $68

I looked like a freakin’ goddess in the pink paisley London Times High Neck Maxi Dress and felt like one too! I wasn’t too keen on the price tag, but my favorite person said it would be worth the splurge. And it is! Adding a light sweater or a denim jacket will make this dress wearable spring through fall. Who am I kidding, boots and a comfy pull over will make it fantastic for winter too! I don’t know if you noticed, but I love this dress. Retail: $98 Le Tote: $74

I’m going to get better about taking before and after pics when I swap items. I don’t recall what the Lumiere Star Cold Shoulder Top replaced but it did replace something. I know the description says star, but you can hardly tell they are more than polka dots in the photo. In person they were way to aggressive for my liking. Despite the open shoulders the sleeves were too tight to move in. I just couldn’t make it work. Retail: $45 Le Tote: $26

Lastly, the skirt. The crepe paper like fabric of the Le Lis Pleated Pencil Skirt was too small for me to even try on. Seriously, I’ve got shapewear that is easier to get into. The elastic waist band did nothing to help. This sad little article of clothing stayed in the box until I was ready to ship it back. Retail: $45 Le Tote: $36

I was all too happy to pack it up and ship it back yesterday morning, my next box finalized before I had even left the office.

 

Dress of the Month: #1

Unique Vintage offers a fantastic line of new, vintage-style, clothing and accessories. I could take home almost everything that they have to offer. With their classically designed dresses in patterns that range from solids and polka dots to full on city scapes and holiday prints, there is something for every taste and season.

The idea of a Dress of the Month Club was so fascinating for several reasons. One, because picking from the hundreds of options is just daunting. Two, it’s a surprise each month and a great way to try things outside of my comfort zone. Three, your subscription cost is less than the dress value, so it’s a built in discount.

To sign up you really just give them your size and leave the rest to the universe. It’s $50 a month plus $7 for flat rate shipping. If the size is wrong you can exchange it. If the dress is in no way shape or form something you would wear you can return it for credit towards your next month. You take a small gamble, but it can sort itself out.

After signing up for Dress of the Month at the end of May, I decided to order a few things that were on sale. Two pairs of cute strappy shoes, one in black the other in nude. A fantastic black dress with white polka dots, and a long pearlescent necklace because the extra item got me a decent discount and free shipping.

It took what felt like ages for that order to ship. When I got it a week ago, I was bummed to find that the shoes had been shipped separately. (I got the first pair Thursday, still waiting on the second). Even worse, the dress didn’t fit! I ordered the size suggested based off my measurements, but I either shrunk, mis-measured, or a combination of both.

The down side is because it was a final sale item I can’t return or exchange it. On the up side, I’m confident in my seamstress skills enough to possibly successfully take it in. (I just got to find the time.) Customer Service quickly responded to my inquiry for changing the size of my Dress of the Month Club, so I was rather disappointed when I received it last night and it was the same too big size.

image3.jpegMy bum filled out just fine, but I could have stuffed a whole roll of paper towels, still on the roll, down the bust and it wouldn’t have filled the whole thing up. Such a disappointment considering how fabulous that pattern is!! I would have been happy to exchange for a smaller size but hubby vetoed the cut. It’s hard to tell with such a busy fabric but the bust and sleeves do some weird pleating. Retail: $94

I would have liked to try this on in my own size, but the effort to send it back and wait for exchange just doesn’t seem worth it. Next month though my subscription will already be paid for, less shipping cost.

My first experience may have been a let down but I’m holding out that next month will be much better.

 

 

Play by Sephora: Box 1

My Play by Sephora came a whole day early!!! I was not prepared, so I made myself wait to open it until I wrote up and took pictures for my Makeup Bag entry. It wasn’t too hard because the hubby and I spent the night shredding a terrible movie. Live tweeting was involved so the two hour movie took us three and half, and by that time it was well past our bedtime. But I digress.

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Play by Sephora is a monthly subscription that provides you with, as they describe it, five samples and a scent. For everyone that can math, you get six samples for $10. It all comes in a unique bag that ties back to an overall theme for that month. Additionally, you get a Play Pass to receive an extra 50 Beauty Insider Points with your next in store purchase, a handy little fold out giving you tips for the season, info on the samples and how to apply, along with exclusive access to how-to videos online.

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This subscription is ideal for those that want to try before they buy and have no idea where to start. I don’t know how many times I’ve walked by all the open testers at the local Sephora and was simply overwhelmed.

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First thing I tried was the Yves Saint Laurent “Black Opium Eau De Parfum”. Typically I avoid scents as they tend to be overpowering – granted I’m sure that opinion has more to do with the years of working with teenage boys who practically bathed in Axe body spray – but I’m here to expand my horizons. It definitely smells better on me (vanilla with a light floral) than it did in the packaging (baby powder.) I’d say this sample is a winner. Retail: $68 (reg. size)/$25 (travel size)

Next up is the Kat Von D “Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in K-Dud.” Well, that’s a color! Think of Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed. Now, remember the dress she wore to her actual high school prom? That’s what is currently on my mouth in a matt finish. It. Is. Odd. AF. After two and a half hours that included eating dinner & leaving lipstick behind on my water bottle, the color was mostly still there even if a little faded in the middle. I blotted a layer of it off before going out in public, still leaving a trace of color stained on my lips but a lot less bold. Even that itty-bit of color was still on three hours later. Retail: $20

IGK Rich Kid “Coconut Oil Gel” I tried, not in my hair, but hubby’s. It has a pleasant scent, void of the chemically smell found in a lot of drugstore hair gels. I worked it into his dry hair opting for simple twist instead of the typical braid. His hair didn’t look like it had any product in it and it maintained a no effort look to his tied back locks. Who can complain about that? Retail: $15-$27

Benefit Cosmetics “The POREfessional Face Primer.” I was most excited to try this because I wanted to get out and take some pics to celebrate our one year anniversary. Unfortunately, even though the product went on silky smooth it seemed to highlight my pores instead of blurring them as the product description claimed. Further, it left behind almost gritty streaks. Was not impressed and washed it off immediately. Retail: $12-$31

I ended up testing the First Aid Beauty “Hello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer” instead. This was great. It went on weightless and left behind a fresh glow. WIth makeup on yesterday and bare faced today my face feels radiant and moisturized without feeling too oily. And there’s still enough for another day or two. Retail: $14-$28

Last item is the Ouai “Rose Hair & Body Oil. I have yet to find a body oil that claims it is fast absorbing and actually is. I messaged into my elbows, which tend to be trouble spots in the summer, but feeling tacky for several minutes is not how I want to spend any part of my. Sure, my skin felt and looked more hydrated but I get the same results with body lotion that does absorb quickly. Retail: $32

Of all the things I got in my first box I could definitely see myself splurging on Black Opium and replacing the Aveeno for the Hello FAB in my makeup routine. If hubby wasn’t so devoted to Dollar Shave Club I try to convert him to the Coconut Oil Gel. As for the rest, I could do without. I will say that the price paid for the products I got to try was worth it. There’s enough of each sample to try it several times but not so much you feel like you are wasting it if you know it’s not your thing. Already looking forward to July’s Play by Sephora.