Thursday, October 31, 2013

Speaking of Treats....

So, I may have a bit of an addiction to beauty boxes. I'm now in love with anything you can order and all sorts of fun products show up on your door step. ESPECIALLY if it means a lot of savings. I just ordered the Hautelook Beauty Bag ( I haven't received it yet, however, I did check out all the products and the fall bag is a $110 value for the low price of $20 plus tax and shipping. The grand total for me wound up being about $27. The sale ENDS Saturday @ 8am pacific time. I wanted to let you guys (if anyone IS indeed out there) about the sale before it ended. I will review the products once they arrive. I have posted the value of the items below if you decide to check out the link and are wondering.

hair spray: $2.96
nail polish mini: $3.50
face serum: $17
body cream: $2.50
kabuki brush: $14.95
dr. brandt microdermabrasion: $8 (I got this in my birchbox and LOVE it)
headband: $18
mascara: $12
full size eye shadow: $23
full size lipstick: $6
perfume: 2.50
Value: $110 not including the bag all these items come in.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happiness Tip #2 Getting in touch with your spiritual side

I feel like I should start with a disclaimer...I am not a mental health professional by any stretch of the imagination. I am just as screwed up in the head as anyone else. All I'm doing is sharing what has helped me. It may not be the answer for everyone. So, you know, don't quit any treatments or anything or get mad at me if you still feel crappy. I acknowledge that what works for me might be garbage for someone else.
When I say spirituality I don't strictly mean religion or God....or not God. I feel like I've been through the proverbial emotional wringer the last 10 years or so, so my beliefs were shaken pretty severely...sooo....I don't judge anyone about their choices in this particular arena. For me spiritual means doing something that makes you feel good about yourself. Something that gives you the warm fuzzies. This could be going for a hike in the woods, volunteering to help children/animals/the elderly/the infirm/anyone less fortunate than you, or praying or whatever. Doesn't matter what it is, but I find making the effort to acknowledge your spirit and trying to meet it's needs can be really uplifting. For me, this means celebrating holidays (even if it's just l'il ol' me) with tasty food. Today is Samhain. Or Halloween to you non-pagans. Samhain marked the first day of winter for the pagans. The fruitful season is over and now the dark part of the year is upon us. It's the celtic new year. Supposedly, the distance between the world of the dead and the world of the living grows very short and those who have passed on can intrude on our world. I don't know about that, but I DO know that I like to take this day to remember those that I've loved that are no longer with me and light a candle for them. Maybe even cook something that they loved to eat when they were alive. This can be difficult. Lots of sad emotions can surface, but I do my best to remember the good things and the things that made me laugh instead of getting mired down in missing them. SO! I'm menu planning. Definitely will be making Colcannon (it's traditional) and butternut squash soup. I'm waffling between Shepherd's Pie (because my Nanny made it all the time) and a more traditional pork roast. My grampy loved anything maple flavored and Nanny also used to make scones all the time, so I'm thinking pumpkin scones with a maple glaze and I can get both their personalities in one food item. I also need to use up the apples we got apple picking. Ugh. So many things I want to cook, so little time. I'll have to drink a lot of coffee and stay really motivated.

What are your traditions? What do you do for spiritual well being?
Have a Happy Halloween and a Swell Samhain.

Stitch Fix #1

I apologize in advance for my shoddy camera skills. I have my phone and nothing else to take photos with.

Oh, Stitch Fix. I have seen your reviews and coveted the things other people received. Like that adorable top with the tiny swans. Oh how I want that top. 4 out of 5 items in my first Fix were a big miss. Well.....2 of the items were a HUGE miss and two others were a small miss. These Pants. They are $88. Kensie floral print skinny jeans. REALLY skinny. The print didn't bug me, but I didn't love it. The waist fit perfectly. These pants were about an inch shorter than I'd wear (I have a 32" inseam) and were TIGHT. Like, couldn't bend my knee all the way tight. I'd also NEVER EVER spend $88 on jeans. I cringe forking over the $60 I fork over at The Gap. $60 is my limit, Stitch Fix. Huge miss #1.

I have no words to describe how much I effing hate this vest. It's boxy, too masculine, drab...I would never ever in a million years pick this out for myself. I just...I can't even. I'm guessing that my 
 stylist did not look at my pinterest board. I reviewed it VERY carefully and there is not one thing on there that would EVER suggest that this awful vest would be something I would like. And it's $58. I wouldn't pay $10. I wouldn't take this if it were free. It's just so ugly. Did you guess that this was the other huge miss? I Bet you did.

Hate the studs. 

Not better open.

So THIS is the Jemdy heathered dolman sleeve top. $48. The knit of the sweater is very loose. And clearly, you can see my bra through it. I don't feel like this is something that you layer underneath, so....yeah. I didn't mind the color which is a black and white heather. I was mostly disappointed that it was such a boring piece. I also didn't feel like the quality of the fabric was good. I couldn't see it holding up through repeated washings.
 The 41 Hawthorn Aleah heathered dolman sleeve top. This one is $58. So, I was disappointed that I got two of these batwing sweaters. I ADORE the color. I desperately want to add some burgundy to my wardrobe. This is not that piece. I said that I prefer clothes that are fitted to my body. This makes me look like I have a spare tire. I wear a 6/8. Also, the neck is HUGE. I don't mind a little cleavage action as long as I feel secure that the top isn't going to accidentally slip and expose one of the girls. That's a definite risk in this top.

And now we arrive at the piece I like. The 41 Hawthorne Colibri Solid color tab sleeve blouse. I'm a terrible photographer. All I have is my phone and it doesn't do the color justice. This is a GORGEOUS royal purple. It fits perfectly. I actually prefer the sleeve un-tabbed. This one is $48. I already paid a $20 styling fee, so this will only cost me another $28. I feel like it's very figure flattering and I love the color for fall. This will also work with pretty much everything in my closet.

The verdict? Everyone I've talked to that has used the service said to order at least 2 fixes to see if they improve with your feedback. I was disappointed in the lack of variety and the price of the items. Especially since I specifically said the lowest price point possible. I scoured other internet reviews and I know there are super cute Stitch Fix pieces out there that are not so expensive. I was also sad that there were no accessories. I was really hoping for one (cute scarf?). I do REALLY like this purple top, however. My next fix arrives on 11/23. I requested something to wear to holiday gatherings. I'm hoping between that and my feedback that I'll get a better box the second time around. If I see improvement, I'll keep it up. What do you think of the pieces? Disagree? Agree? Think I should keep something else?

The Stitch Fix, she is here!!! FINALLY. Of course I already plundered the box (heh heh). I'll post photos today when I'm not wearing a bathrobe with a toothbrush in my mouth.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Recipes I promised yesterday.

Ok, so I lied about posting the recipes yesterday. I hit a snafu with the soul cakes and didn't have time to fix it before the Phish concert. Which was totally amazing, btw. Friggin religious experience. And I had killer seats, so all in all it was the best night I've had in a long time. I've been dancing to Fee playing inside my head all day long. Love those guys.

SO! Gluten free pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes. I adapted the recipe from this recipe I found on Pinterest from this lovely woman, Julie:

I then subbed out regular flour with the Bob's Red Mill GF all purpose cooking flour and added semi-sweet chocolate chips. The pumpkin and the chocolate chips completely masked the beany quality of the Bob's. I also highly recommend (er...insist) on using high quality syrup. Having been born and raised in W. Mass in the middle of sugaring country has spoiled me. Unless it's direct from a sugar house, it's not real maple syrup.

Soul Cakes! They are a traditional pagan confection made and passed out on Samhain. It protected the receivers from curses and they would then pray for the person that gave it to them, thus ensuring that everyone would get into heaven. Bam. So my snafu WAS that I forgot the dang sugar. Ugh. And I used the Bob's red mill, so it was like a chalky bean flavored cookie. Terrible. I got the recipe from Here's the link:

My delightful friend Sarah suggested this GF sub: 
     Try replacing the flour in the original recipe with an equal amount of a mixture that's 5 parts rice flour, 3 parts potato starch, 2 parts sorghum OR oat flour - either will work, and 1 part tapioca starch. And add a teaspoon of xanthan gum.
She's so good.

My Stitch Fix is due to arrive tomorrow, btw. Pictures soon!


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Happiness Rule #1: You work hard. Treat yourself.

One of the things I've been doing to keep up my happiness quotient is giving myself little treats here and there. I work full time and I'm a part time student, so I frequently feel like I don't get to have any fun and that I'm missing out because I'm always freaking working or studying. I get a birchbox every month and I recently subscribed to Stitch Fix. If you're unfamiliar with either of these things, Birchbox, for $10 a month sends deluxe high end beauty samples that you can tailor to your preferences. They also give you the opportunity to earn money off of items you buy from their site. For instance, I fell in love with an eye cream they sent in one of my boxes. It was $65. Yikes. However I got a 30% off code and then collected enough points to get another $10 off. It cost me $29. SO HAPPY. I FREAKING LOVE BIRCHBOX. Seriously. I highly recommend to anyone who is feeling in a beauty rut or just wants to give themselves a little monthly gift to check it out. Stitch Fix is an online personal stylist/shopper. For $20 a stylist picks out clothing that he/she thinks will suit you based on a seriously thorough questionnaire you fill out on their site. You can specify items you want, colors, patterns, amount of money you want to spend, etc. I'm getting my first box in the mail this week. They include a prepaid envelope so you can return anything you don't buy and you have three days to decide whether or not you're keeping the items. I will post photos as soon as it gets here, so if you're interested you can check it out. I'm a little concerned because since it shipped, I can now see the prices of each of the pieces they selected although I can't see the actual pieces. I had specified the cheaper the better. Yeah. There's some $88 jeans in there. I would NEVER spend that much on jeans. I usually get them @ The Gap and those are around $50. That's about my max price. The $20 styling fee does get applied as a credit to this fix and they DO offer 25% the whole shebang if you buy all the pieces, but still. Zowie. If I bought the whole box I'd be paying another $205 on top of the $20 I already spent. I will be expressing my disappointment over the price in my comments about the fix and giving them another shot. I did some research through other customer reviews, so I KNOW they have pieces that don't cost as much that are still cute. I plan to buy at least one of the pieces because I don't want to lose that $20, but I would have been happier if I could have afforded to keep more of them. Harumph. We'll see. I'm also guessing that I will love the $88 and be super sad about having to return them. Most of the reviewers kept at least one piece. I have yet to see anyone that sent them all back. So they must be doing something right. 

Tonight I'm seeing Phish (SQUEE!!!!) and before then I'm doing some Halloween/Samhain baking. In fact, all I have is GF flour in the house and it's too beany for the cakes I'm making, so I have to pop out and grab some gluten-y flour. I'll post the Soul Cake recipe (and an explanation as to what they are) and the GF pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes recipe I made for breakfast this morning later on today.

Here's My Birchbox referral link if you're interested:

I'll post the Stitch Fix link when I post the photos. :)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fractured Fairytales, well I guess I should explain what I mean by that. I'm a single woman in my early thirties who was raised on the very "Disney" belief that one day, when I grew up I would find my prince charming and live happily ever after. Yeah....not so much. That's okay, though! For awhile I was pretty bothered by the fact that my life doesn't look like I expected it would when I was a little girl. You can get really mired down in that. Thus, my fairytale has fractured. So once you realize that that vision is over and done with, where do you go? That's what I intend this blog to be about. Being in my 30s, being happy, trying to find ways to fulfill myself that don't necessarily rely on the traditional (boring?) things that are "supposed" to make a lady happy. For the record, I don't begrudge anyone their life choices, that's not what this is about. This is about self discovery and maybe helping/inspiring others along the way. Maybe someone else out there is in the same boat as I am. Maybe reading about my experiences makes them feel less alone, helps them somehow, I dunno. What I DO know is that I need an outlet for my self discovery. So here I am. I'm Jillian, by the way. Nice to meet you.