Saturday, September 26, 2015

Books Read and reviewed - September

I can't believe how many books I've been able to read lately!  My messy house is evidence that I should probably do something else, but housework is just so boring.

Pretty Baby  
by Mary Kubica
Rating 5/5

What a great book. There are a lot of twists and turns that kept me guessing right until the end. There are a few different issues throughout, but the author did a great job of not making it confusing. There was instances of sexual abuse, a teenage runaway, some marital issues, cancer, and loss of a baby. It sounds like maybe a bit too much in one book, but it isn't.

I look forward to reading any future books by this author.

The Space Between Us
by Thrity Umrigar 
Rating 4/5

I enjoyed this book very much. It's very tough to believe that this isn't a historical book - this is still the way many women live. It definitely isn't a 'feel good' lighthearted read. It tells the story of an abused wife, her very underprivileged servant and her servant's granddaughter. The way the servant and her granddaughter live is very bothersome.

Nice eye opener to what's still going on in the world.

I was slightly disappointed in the ending as it left me wondering what happened to the characters.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry 
by Gabrielle Zevin 
Rating 3/5

This was a very quick read for me (started and finished it on a 4 hour flight) that I found quite enjoyable. It's the story of a widowed bookstore owner who undergoes a dramatic change in his life as the result of the influence of some important people in his life. It doesn't have a happy ending, but you were able to see how his life was not an unhappy one.

And Then I Found You
by Patti Callahan Henry
Rating 2/5

The Boat Who Wouldn't Float
by Farley Mowat
Rating 2/5

I really wanted to love this book but I didn't. I read a Farley Mowat book when I was a teenager but can't remember how I felt about it. As a well-known Canadian author, I wanted to try him again. I found I just really couldn't get into the book. From other reviews I thought it was going to be very funny but I found it only slightly amusing. I really think it must be me though since there are some wonderful reviews on it.

The Red Notebookby Antoine Laurain
Rating 4/5

Second Time Around

The story of college friends who get a second chance at their old dreams. A quick read that doesn't have too much depth but sometimes that's okay. I did find that with as many characters as there in this story, it's hard to really get to know each of them sufficiently.

The Lost Recipe for Happiness

Sometimes all I'm interested in is a feel good, fun read and this fit the bill. The main character has enough 'tough-luck' history behind her that you feel for her and hope things turn out this time. She is a tough character who you empathize with immediately. The supporting characters also have issues in their past but not so much that it's unbelievable. The author successfully tells the story from a couple of points of view, and the ending makes you happy.

Rating 2/5

I didn't find the writing in these books very good. I expected them to be light 'chick-lit' books, which I frequently enjoy, but these didn't cut it for me. I don't find the relationships between the sisters very real and found much of the story shallow. The grandmother bribes them to visit her (really??), and they reunite as sister (obviously they don't know each other at all, but become best friends???).

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Relish Clothing review #1

I say #1 because there WILL be more.  I'm in love with almost everything that arrived in my mystery box!  I ordered a Medium sized box - 6 or 7 items - for $149 US plus $30 shipping to Canada.  I can't remember why, but at the time I ordered there was a 10% discount so in total, I paid $164 US or about $215 Can.  For me, that was taking a risk.  I don't tend to spend that much on clothes but I knew my closet needed some TLC.

If you're interested in how Relish works the best thing to do is join the group on Facebook and to place an order visit the website

I am NOT a fashionista - I need all the help I can get to look presentable.  I don't mind shopping, but I really don't know what looks good, what's in style, etc. so all the help I can get is a good thing.

What I need is real clothes and that's exactly what I got.  These are all staple items.

I still need to spend quite a bit of time styling the outfits, but here's what I got:

1.  Esley Blazer
This is a knit blazer that can perfectly dress up a pair of jeans but with the comfort of wearing a sweater or cardigan.  I had asked for this and in this color.  They did size me up to a Medium which was the right thing to do as a small would not have fit.

I did a quick search and found in on sale in a variety of online boutiques for between $60 and $75.

2,  Creative Concepts blouse
Another one that I had pinned as an item I liked from past boxes.  It does run large in size so this size Small is big, but is still fine.

I found many Creative Concepts blouses online (and in Stitch Fix reviews) priced around $60.

3.  Le Lis long sleeve t-shirt
Perfect everyday t-shirt, but the mixed media gives it a little more style.

Similar Le Lis long sleeves are about $40 online.

4.  Paper Moon Cardigan
Wow this is comfy, oversized (so probably not flattering) and something I will live in this fall and winter.  It has pockets and a hood, and covers my butt perfectly.

Similar Paper Moon cardigans are about $40 online.

5.  12PM by Mon Ami dress/tunic
I think it's a bit long on me for a tunic and it's too darn cold here to wear it as is as a dress.  I'm going to try to style it with boots, caridgan and tights and see how I can pull it off.  It is SUPER soft and comfy!  Even though I'm not that into fashion, even I know that Ombre is 'the' thing right now.

I've seen this exact same dress online priced on average of $50.

6.  Beulah Moto in Teal
These are perfect!  They fit like a glove (I was sized up to Medium which was the right call) and are so flattering.  I can't wait to start styling these.  I had some teal jeggings that I thought were nice until I got these!  My favorite in the box.

These are priced at $50 online.


I'm very happy with the items I got.  I feel the value was definitely there.  For $164, I got about $300 worth of clothes.  I have already ordered another box, this time a $199 large box.  The shipping cost is the same, so decided I may as well as pay $50 more and get 2 or 3 more items.

Looking at these pictures, it's obvious I need to do some styling, but I'll wait for my teenager to help me with that!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Moxie Style - Purchase #1

Purchase #1 because there are quite a few more to come.....

As I mentioned in my last post, I've discovered mystery clothing bags much to the delight of my closet and my daughter, but not so good for the credit card bill.

I know I needed some new items to update my wardrobe.  A lot of the things I owned were just no longer looking good.  I took a lot to the consignment store and only some was taken which is a pretty good clue that my wardrobe was out of date.

I typically wear small clothing with the odd medium thrown in.  My daughter is either XS or small, so I have the 'safety net' if it doesn't fit me, it will likely fit her.  My plan was to order the Mystery Tote bag only but when I went on the site, there was some ridiculously priced sale items so I bought quite a few things.  Here's a recap:

Jackie Lisa is the owner and the company is a full one-woman show.  She opened for business in June and just received her 1,000th order.

What:  Boutique items, Curate Your Own (CYO) mystery totes, or full mystery bags
As this is a new business, she is trying out lots of new things and running new promos frequently.  The only way to keep up is being active on the Facebook page (which is really addictive)

My order:

 Mystery Tote - I don't believe she's offering these right now but I was able to choose the bag (purse or tote) I wanted and the number of surprises in it.  I purchased the most expensive bag with 2 surprise items for a cost of $65 US with free shipping to Canada.  There were other fabric totes that were less expensive.

The tote:

I really like the bag except for the plastic "thingy" hanging on it.  It really cheapens the bag and I will be cutting it off once I find something strong enough to do so.  I do like the bag though.  It's a very generous size and will be perfect for the fall.

Surprise item #1:

Super cozy Gilli cardigan.  It is quite lightweight so a good transition piece for early fall.  I need to figure out how to strike a more flattering pose.  I have worn it a few times and happy with it.

Surprise item #2:

Fits my daughter better than me.  It fit me, but is has open back which is not okay for this 46 year old.  It is Hour Glass Lily brand and very good quality.  I may try to style with black tights, cardigan and boots.  My daughter says the print is too young for me though.

Boutique Sale Items:

1. Varsity cardigan - $6
2.  Sweat it out Heart & Hips pants - $5

Picked this cardi out for dd and she loves it.  Very lightweight so another good transition piece.
The pants I sized up to M thinking they'd fit me and they were very tight on her but she'll likely wear anyway.

3.  Always Ruched Cardigan - $12
4. Hearts & Hips basic tee in plum - $5

Another lightweight cardigan that looks better on her than me as it was tight on me and showed all the lumps and bumps.  It is really cute though with ruching all along the sides.  It's okay unbuttoned but you lose the effect of the ruching that way.
The tee is super soft!!!  Good basic and a nice plum color.

Overall we were very happy with the quality.  I should have sized up on a few things but now I know that for the future.  The total price came to $93 US but at the time she had a 30% discount and free shipping over $75 so my final total came to $63.60 US for a purse and 6 items of clothing - how can you beat that!!!  All of it will be worn by one of us.

I have since placed 3 more orders to pretty good indication we were happy with the quality of items received.  I'll be reviewing those soon.

Clothing and Mystery Boxes

As is obvious to anyone who's read any of my posts, I love getting surprises in the mail.  I'm not so good at using up those surprises though so I had to re-evaluate what I was getting.  A lot of it was just going into my stash and not seeing the light of day again.

So, I cancelled a couple of subscriptions.

Going to the mailbox was back to boring.

I Kon-mari'ed my closet and I got rid of a lot of old clothes.  A LOT of clothes.

I saw a need for new clothes.

I went back online and discovered many mystery style shopping sites.  I knew I was in trouble but I kept going.........

The first I tried was Sunshine Crate.  My review of the mystery bag is here.  I'm not sure why I chose to order from there first, but I did.  In retrospect, I think the clothes are geared more to a younger crowd and I wasn't impressed with the quality.  After ordering the mystery bag I ordered another of the regular bags where you chose 1 item and then the rest are surprises.  The entire bag was a miss.  The clothes didn't fit and the quality was poor.  The entire bag went back.  They do offer a full refund so all I lost out was $16 to ship it back.  Not that expensive of a lesson.  I have noticed that  she has been purchasing higher quality items recently so that may help.  I hope she does well as the owner seemed very helpful, but I just don't think it's for me.

The second I tried was Moxie.Style.  I have yet to review the items - update review #1 is done - but let's just say I have made three more orders since receiving the first.........yes I may have a problem.  Moxie has a very active and addictive Facebook account which is where you find out what's going on, and there's a lot going on. She (she being the owner and sole employee, Jackie Lisa) is constantly posting new plans, new specials, new products, new ideas she wants feedback on, etc.  She started the business in June and it seems to have taken off at warped speed.  It is part mystery, part chosen items so a great mix.  The quality seems good and somehow she offers very inexpensive - and sometimes free - shipping to Canada.  She must not be making very much on anything she's sending this way!  I will post what I've received so far very soon.

The third one I've ordered from is Relish Clothing.  Again, this is a very new startup (started this spring) and is taking off very quickly.  This one also uses Facebook to communicate with it's customers.  Relish relies on you sending them a list of your likes and dislikes and links to your pinterest boards so she can get an idea of who you are, and what would be flattering for you.  The more info you give her, the better chances of getting something that works.  There are mystery bags for clothing or accessories.  My first order is on the way and I'm super excited!  They are not quick to ship as she will hold your box if she thinks something she has on order will be great for you.  She's all about quality or quantity but from what I've seen, the boxes look great!  The one big downside is the $35 shipping to Canada.  Of course, the exchange sucks too, but that can't be avoided.  Yesterday, she had a 23% off sale because it was her birthday, and I ordered a second box..........yes I may have a problem.  I asked her to delay filling and shipping for a couple of months though.  Update:  Review of my first package is here.

Finally, after discovering these, I learned of a Canadian option, Magnolia Post Co.  which looks promising.  September was their first month so I'm waiting to see what other's got before considering.  I do think  it's geared more to the professional gal rather than a stay at home mom, though.

With 4 orders on the way, I should be good for clothes until after Christmas for sure!  I don't really enjoy shopping for clothes, never know what to get, and not really liking the limited selection of items here.  If this works well, it may become my only way to purchase clothing.

Jules wellness box. September

Once again I was impressed with this box.  I initially was ordering month to month but just signed up for a six month subscription.  I don't think there was a savings but this way I won't forget to order.

Who: Jules Wellness is an online Wellness boutique.  They sell a variety of Health conscious items including the subscription box.  If you like what you receive you can purchase more and even subscribe to a particular item and they will ship it to you on a regular basis.

What:  monthly box of goodies for health conscious females.  These are not samples, they are full sized items from the boutique. I noticed they are planning a Mom and Baby box soon.

When:  arrives at the beginning of each month.

How much:  $34.32 month including shipping within Canada

This month's goodies:

Washbeautyco Konjac bamboo charcoal sponge. $14

This is the item I was most excited about as I've been wanting to try for quite awhile. I have super sensitive skin so was a bit nervous but I've used it a few times now and have really like it.

Consonant Organic Face Wash. $18

Another product I was really happy to see!  I haven't tried it yet but it sounds great.  With my sensitive skin, I'm always on the look out for something 100% natural.  Quoted as being a 3-in-1 product - cleanser, makeup remover and toner.

The Honest Leaf - Serene Tea $13

I'm a huge tea drinker, but almost only black.  I will try this one though since it should make me a   little serene.  Made with peppermint, chamomile and other organic stuff.  Great when the teenagers are getting under my skin.

Hemp Heart Bites - 10g (large) package - $7

I love most products from the Manitoba Harvest Hemp company, but I can't say I loved these.   Maybe dipped in chocolate????

K's NRG Whole Food Energy Bar  - $3

My teenager's soccer, volleyball and basketball seasons will be starting up soon, so this bar will go straight into one of her bags as she's always needing snacks in between games or practices.

Consonant DHE face mask sample

This was the only sample included and should be good for one use.  The full size product is $45 and claims to do it all: Detox, Hydrate and exfoliate.  100% natural product made from Manicouagan clay extracted from the site of a 215 million year old asteroid crash in Central Quebec - how cool does that sound!!!

This month's box had a value of approximately $55, not including the sample.  I'm very happy with that!  It has introduced me to a couple of products I'm really excited about trying.  I love that it's Canadian and includes mostly made in Canada full sized products.  I look forward to next month's.