Stitch Fix Review #4 [September 2014]


And I’m back!  Sorry I’ve been MIA the past couple of weeks…I’ve had some incredibly busy weeks at work (actually, it’s going to be crazy through the first week of October…who am I kidding).  Combine that with some busy weekends trying to catch up on doing things I didn’t get to during the week, entertaining, trying to squeeze in workouts and low and behold, blogging took a back seat.  But sometimes that’s just how it goes!

Anyways, I am back today with my September Stitch Fix review!  This month, I requested items strictly from my Stitch Fix Pinterest board.  Of the five items I received, four of them were items I had pinned.  The other one was very similar to one that I had pinned so I was stoked to see it all in person!

stitch fix review september 2014 style cards
And like I said, I’ve been a little busy so I didn’t have time to take outfit photos this time around, but here is what I got:

Stitch Fix Review September 2014

1)  Pixley Polly Abstract Chevron Tie-Waist Tunic $48
I didn’t pin this item, but I had pinned a couple of tunics.  I think these are so fun to wear with leggings and a pair of boots at the office while still looking put together!  Love the tie waist so I don’t look frumpy, either.

2) 41Hawthorn Colibri Solid Tab Sleeve Blouse $48
So in the style cards, the shirt seems to have a  V cut in the front and back.  But in the photo above, it’s definitely just a V in the front.  Weird!  I pinned this in green and when I tried it on, it was quite long and pretty shapeless on me…so back it went.

3)  Mystree Jackie Striped French Terry Asymmetrical Jacket $78
I LOVE the stripes, the zipper, the cut—all of it!  Problem was the torso was too short and the zipper hit right at my chest- not too flattering. This was a size medium, so I think when I request any kind of jacket, I should size up.

4)  Collective Concepts Lydia Floral Print Key-Hole Blouse $68
I loved the colors on this tank- royal blue, mustard, fuschia, aqua and cream.  It was cute on, but when I was adding up my purchases for this fix, I didn’t think that it was worth the price tag.

5)  Papermoon Waters Diamond Print Maxi Dress $78
I thought this dress came in black, which is what I pinned, but I got the navy version.  Love the pattern and the simple neckline because I can wear a regular bra with it, but it was super short on me!  Like 5 inches too short, and I guess I would consider myself “average” height at 5’5” so I was scratching my head on that one.  Bummer!

So if you haven’t guessed already, I ended up keeping #1 (chevron tie-waist tunic).  The one item that wasn’t from my board.  Just goes to show how things look different in person!

Want to sign up for Stitch Fix?  It’s just $20 for your fix and the $20 will be applied as a credit towards anything you keep.

Sign up for Stitch Fix here <—please note, this is my affiliate link.

Read my other reviews:
Stitch Fix #1
Stitch Fix #2
Stitch Fix #3

What did you think of this fix?  What would you have kept?

Apera Tech Pack Review + Giveaway!


Apera Tech Pack Review

A few weeks ago, Apera was kind enough to send me their Tech Pack to review.  I had heard amazing things about this company and their bags from a variety of Chicago Running Bloggers, so I was very curious to see what it was like for myself.  I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, getting use to it and seeing if it met my needs.

I had been struggling with finding a way to carry all my stuff with me to work every day.  I had been using a duffel bag to hold my workout clothes, shoes, planner, laptop and work papers, among other things.  My bag didn’t have dividers and it was not working out well.  Not to mention the strap was killing my shoulder and the corners of my laptop would be banging into my thigh as I walked into work.  Ow!

But this bag is amazing.  After browsing their site, I knew I wanted to try this one out.  So incredibly versatile!

First off, the color is fantastic.  (It also comes in white and black.)  And although lots of people at work are walking in with either duffel bags for working out at the company gym or rollaway laptop bags, I am secretly using both…but in one bag- which I love!

apera tech pack, antimicrobial protection
There are tons of zippered pockets on this bag.  The top pocket isn’t very deep and is perfect for holding a snack or your cell phone so it doesn’t get buried.  And the entire bag is made with material that has antimicrobial protection to prevent the growth of odors.  Smart!  And if the bag gets dirty, you can just wipe it clean with soap and water.  There are also lots of vented compartments.

apera tech pack review- laptop and business needs covered
On the business side of things, it has a separate, padded section for my laptop and other papers.  I carry my planner with me every day (review here in case you are interested), and they are nice and safe!  This alone was the reason I selected this bag.  Having this compartment (and TONS of space for workout gear on top of that) is so great.  Not only do I use this bag during the typical workweek, I would definitely use it for a business trip.  (And Apera thought of that too- the back side of the bag has a flap where you can thread through your suitcase handle!)

apera tech pack review- back
There are also two side pockets, where I store an umbrella and water bottle.  (There have been lots of times I’ve been stuck walking in heels a half mile to my car in the pouring rain.  No fun.)

apera tech pack review- on person
The straps are super squishy and comfortable.  I don’t even feel the weight of all my stuff versus the duffel bag I had.  I ended up removing the clip that goes across your chest in the front (I never use it), but it’s an option if you want it!  My only criticism is that the straps need to be secured…they will loosen up to the ends from my walk to the car to the office.  The set and forget technique where you thread the strap through the buckle doesn’t work because they ends of the straps are reinforced and are too thick to fit in the buckle.  But luckily, my husband worked some magic and found an alternative to keep the straps from loosening.

apera tech pack review- shoes
And where do shoes go, you may ask?!  Well there are two separate zippered compartments for them!  They hold my gym shoes until I need to change into them, and then they hold my heels.  There is also another small zippered compartment in the middle where I store headbands and hair ties for easy access.

apera tech pack review- main compartment
And last but not least, the main compartment literally holds the mother load.  Plenty of room for shower stuff and lots of workout clothes.  I will have no problem including layers and bulkier items once it gets colder outside, too.

I can’t believe that this bag holds all this stuff and doesn’t even look bulky at all. Totally streamlined and super cute.  I’m a huge fan! :-)

What’s even more amazing is that the folks at Apera Bags are letting me giveaway one of their Sprint Packs!  Perfect for a quick trip to the gym, dog park or wherever really. (And the winner will also get a 25% off coupon in case they decide to purchase a bag of their own!)  Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter below.  US only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you want a chance to win yet another bag from Apera, they hold their our own giveaway each month on their website!  Up for grabs this month is a free Apera bag to one winner—your bag of choice, any style and color!  All anyone needs to do is sign up for their email newsletter. Then, at the conclusion of each month, they’ll randomly draw a name from those subscribers in the email newsletter database to select our winner.  So go enter now!

What do you use to carry your workout and work stuff?  Any questions on this Apera Tech Pack review that I can answer for you?

Linking up with Olives n’ Wine.

Disclosure: I received the Apera Tech Pack in exchange for an honest blog review.  All opinions are my own…this bag is legit!

August 2014 Clothing Budget

August 2014 Clothing Budget

August 2014 Clothing Budget
August 2014 Clothing Budget:
1.  Urban Expressions Courtney Clutch/Crossbody via eBay: $23.66
2.  Mikas Pond Lacey Wallet in Pink via Kate Spade: $85 (including shipping)
3.  Carlisle Street Stacy Polka Dot Wallet via Kate Spade Outlet: $45
4.  Navy Bow Earrings via Kate Spade Outlet: $16
5.  Jacquard Dot Popover via J. Crew Factory: $25 (flash sale + free shipping)
6.  J. Crew Linen City Mini Skirt via consignment store: $15.99 [worn here]
7.  Marled Crew Neck Sweater via Old Navy: $14 [worn here]
8.  Doubleweave Cotton Zip Jacket via Loft: $47 (including shipping)
9.  Striped Crossover Cutout Back Dress via Loft:  $18 [worn here]
10.  Sabine Pleated Maxi Skirt via Piperlime: $14.97 on clearance

Not pictured: Pink Climacool Long Sleeve athletic shirt via consignment store: $9.59

-$125 in income earned
=$189.21 for August

So I did a bit of damage this month.  Apparently the theme was accessories and black & white.

The Kate Spade pink wallet was something I had been wanting for a while…and when I saw it on a Kate Spade Surprise sale, I knew it was a good price (see my tips for getting Kate Spade on the cheap!)  Then, I was out shopping with my sister-in-law and we happened to stumble in to the outlet…and this smaller wallet happened to be on clearance.  I wanted a smaller wallet so I could carry it in clutches and small crossbody purses, so that was my justification.  The earrings were just too cute to pass up.  We both got a pair…twinsies!

Otherwise, I tried to be very purposeful with the actual clothing purchases.  I feel like everything is very versatile and will mix and match nicely with items I already have in my closet.

I originally got the Loft blazer in a gray/blue on clearance in the store but it didn’t go with a ton.  So when I saw it in white online at the same price, I grabbed it (but had to pay $8.95 in shipping- darn you Loft and your high shipping prices!)  I included the shipping costs in my budget which brought the $36 blazer to almost $50.  Also grabbed the crossover dress on clearance from Loft and found a gorgeous pleated maxi skirt from Piperlime on clearance from $70 for $14.97 AND free shipping- love it!

Luckily, I had some income earned to help offset the spending, which still put me under my $200 limit.  If I had kept anything from my Stitch Fix this month, I would have been over! (Oh, and I also got a few fun pieces from Kika and jeans from American Eagle via some partnerships, which is always lovely.)

How did you do this month?  What did you like from my purchases?  Do you count shipping costs in your clothing budget?

To view my past clothing budgets, click here.

Linking up with Vodka Infused Lemonade | Mix and Match Fashion | Franish

American Eagle Denim Experience #AEOStyle


american eagle denim
black and white outfit
black denim, heathered sweater, statement necklace
american eagle jeans
I love summer (not so much this crazy humidity we are experiencing right now in Chicagoland), but is it bad that I am excited for fall?!  I can’t wait for boots, chunky scarves and pumpkin flavored everything.  And part of fall is transitioning my outfits for the cooler temps…which includes busting out my denim!

I’ve mentioned before in numerous posts (including my recent 20×45 clothing challenge), I love my American Eagle jeans.  Jean shopping is never fun, and when I find a brand I like that fits well, I stick with it!

So when I was ready for another pair, I headed to the American Eagle denim website.  There, you can choose from 14 different fits of jeans, 48 different sizes and 60 washes–all from the comfort of your own home. They have everything from hi-rise jeggings, straight leg, boyfriend style, and much more.

AEO jeans
So I navigated through and found my favorite fit: skinny.  Then I checked out the seven washes that were available in that cut.  Each wash had tons of photos- front and back, side, close-up, you name it.  They include the model’s name along with her height and size.  (In this case, it was 5’8” Courtney in a Size 2.)  Oh, and did I mention that all their denim is $29.99?!  LOVE it!

After looking over all the options, I decided to go with a pair of super stretch black skinny jeans.  The regular length fits me well and even if I find that the sizing may be a little off when I get it in the mail, American Eagle has free shipping AND free return shipping on all purchases.  (Sidenote:  I did order a second pair of skinny jeans but didn’t care for the wash when I saw it in person.  I filled out the exchange form and paid to ship them back, because exchanges aren’t free.  Then come to find out, I get an email saying that the item I wanted to exchange was no longer available and was being sent a refund in the form of a gift card.  So now I’m waiting for the gift card so I can place another order, wait some more, and get my second pair. Grumble grumble.  Too bad they couldn’t contact me when it was out of stock…and could have treated it as a return so I wouldn’t be out the shipping cost.  Whatevs!)

So anyways, I did receive the black skinny jeans in the mail and they were great. Since I already wear this cut, I knew they would fit well and the rise is just right for me.  Seriously, these jeans are so, so comfortable (love that super stretch!) Now if the humidity would subside, I could wear these more often!

Visit American Eagle today and see how quick and easy it is to find your new favorite pair of denim!  And…if you post a photo of yourself in an AE product or any Aerie product with the hashtag #AEOStyle on Instagram or Twitter, your picture will appear on the AE website!

Have you tried AE jeans?  What do you think?  What’s your go-to denim brand?

Disclosure: I received an American Eagle gift card as part of my relationship with the Quality Blue Community.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Sheinside Blazer Review


As part of my clothing budget last month, I ordered a White Boyfriend Ponte Rolled Sleeves Blazer from Sheinside, a China-based company that makes super cute and affordable clothes & accessories.  I was missing a lighter colored blazer in my wardrobe and felt that it would be a nice completer pieces to tons of outfits.  Plus, their blazers were only $29.50 so I had to try it…and they have free shipping on $30+ (I threw in these earrings to get the free shipping.)

I had seen the blazer on Audrey of Putting Me Together (she also has it in pink/coral) and on Lauren from Fizz and Frosting, plus a handful of other bloggers, so I gave it a try, and I promised I would do a Sheinside blazer review since some of you were asking for it.  So here goes…

I will say, since it is coming from China, it took a loooong time to get here.  Maybe 3-4 weeks?  So be prepared.  I ordered a medium since their size chart corresponded to my measurements.  It’s made of polyester and has a nice lining on the inside:

Sheinside Blazer- detail photos
Nice thing is- I can throw it in the washer and not have it dry cleaned (but make sure you keep it out of the dryer!)  However, I definitely have to iron it…the lapels need to be creased down with an iron every time, otherwise, it doesn’t lay flat.

Here is the blazer on me with some different views.  For under $30, it is a nice blazer that is professional enough for the office and casual enough for errands or drinks.

Sheinside blazer front back and side photos
In terms of sizing, I feel that it fits great everywhere except the shoulders.  I have broader shoulders and it is quite tight.  In fact, I’m not sure I could wear sleeves under the blazer.  For that reason, I would say that you should order a size up.

The faux pockets are a nice touch, and the rolled sleeves have a stitch in them to keep them rolled up, along with some nice piping detail at the edge.  The blazer does lay nicely even though it doesn’t have a button or closure but again, you’ll have to iron the lapel to make sure it creases and lays nicely.  Mine doesn’t close over my chest (but I don’t think it’s supposed to.  If it were bigger, it wouldn’t look as fitted but then again I’d get more room in the shoulder area.

Here is a more casual look with the blazer:

sheinside blazer- casual look
sheinside blazer- casual look
And another outfit that’s more “office appropriate”:

sheinside blazer- boyfriend ponte
sheinside blazer- boyfriend ponte 2
sheinside blazer- boyfriend ponte 3
sheinside blazer- boyfriend ponte 4 Shop the look:
Blazer- Sheinside (also comes in coral, light blue and black)
Earrings: Sheinside
Dress: Old Navy (2-3+ years ago?)
Heels: Target

Interested in giving the blazer (or anything else from Sheinside a try?)  Create an account using this link and get 20% off your order…and if five of you sign up, I will get 50% off a future order.  Win win!

Do you have this blazer from Sheinside?  Thoughts?  Where do you shop for blazers?

Linking up with:
Fizz & Frosting | On the Daily Express | More Pieces of Me | Fashionably Employed | Greater than Rubies | rhea, et cetera | Still Being Molly

The Michaela Faves Bag by Kika


Kika is a California-based clothing company that makes eco-friendly clothes in the good ‘ol USA.  Their clothing is eco-friendly and made by women, for women, and is made from super comfortable material.  I’ve collaborated with them before when I showed how you can take this dress from cubicle to cocktails.  But today, I’m reviewing a new feature from Kika: the Kika Faves Bag!

How does it work?  Kika offers two options for their Faves Bags: one priced at $79 and another at $149.  The Faves Bag is a surprise collection of Kika clothing.  You choose the first piece, and they choose the rest (you provide your preferences on fit, style and colors).  The $149 tote comes with 5-6 pieces total, the $79 tote comes with 2-3 pieces total.  I went with the first option and selected the Michaela tunic as my item of choice, along with leggings, a tank, a sweater and a dress—totaling over $350!

Michaela Faves Bag by Kika
I loved the Michaela tunic as soon as I saw it online—it’s even cuter in person! Perfect for fall to wear with leggings and boots.  And adding a belt really helped defined the waist.  I also got the black leggings, which were high quality and not see through like some other leggings out there!

Michaela tunic Kika
Next up was the Janis tank.  It has a draped cowl neckline and is made from that super comfy Tencel material.  I don’t wear a lot of brown so this was a nice addition.

I also got the Gabby cocoon cardigan with ribbed shawl collar and sleeves.  Love the cobalt blue color, but I’m not crazy about the fit…very odd on me.  I think it’s because the sleeves are in the middle of the piece instead of at the top by the shoulders.  But it’s great for wearing around the house or curled up by the fire with a good book!

Rounding out the bag was the Pearl dress.  Kirstyn, my stylist, was right when she said it looked like a potato sack on its own.  But when you add a belt, it’s perfect!  The length is great- I don’t have many dresses that hit past the knee.  And the color is perfect for fall/winter.

The “Michaela Faves Bag” is now available at Kika, so you too can have this tunic plus four to five more pieces picked by the stylists specially for you for only $149! Just add the Michaela Faves Bag to your cart and as you check out, specify in “comment section” about what type of pieces you’re looking for, although I didn’t provide any feedback for my Faves Bag.  So fill out the comments section so your stylist can pick the perfect pieces just for you!

Michaela Faves Bag by Kika

Which look is your favorite?

Disclosure: I received a Kika Faves Bag in exchange for a blog review.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Head and Shoulders Part of Our Family Sweepstakes


Oh, hair. It has taken me several attempts and various products to get it looking acceptable and “styled.”  My hair is super fine and is quite dry at the ends and oily at the roots.  But on bad hair days, my hair reminds me of a horses’ tail with the dry, frizzy ends…and if I don’t wash it every day, it gets really oily and stringy-looking.  And having oily hair and scalp is a factor that can trigger dandruff.

But I have always turned to Head and Shoulders…it clears up dandruff and restores my scalp’s healthy balance.  And now, Head & Shoulders offers a whole line of shampoos and conditioners with amazing scents that do more than just guarantee a flake free scalp. I recently got a chance to try out the Smooth and Silky frizz control duo from their fresh scent technology collection.

head and shoulders smooth & silky
They smell amazing and really keep my hair feeling moisturized and nourished from root to tip.  It was so smooth, I didn’t resort to using my pricey spray-in “instant healthy hair treatment,” which I was stoked about!  After blow drying and using my rotating styling brush, you can see my hair is looking healthy, full of body, and sans frizz or dandruff.  Score!

black and white striped dress, cargo vest
black and white striped dress, cargo vest
close up: black and white striped dress, cargo vest
I might not normally want to talk about dandruff, but it’s an issue for so many people (read: 50% of the population!)  that it seems silly to be embarrassed about, especially since Sophia Vergara has recently partnered with Head and Shoulders and revealed that she and her entire family have been loyal users of the brand for the last 20 years. I think all us ladies dream about having Sophia’s gorgeous locks, and it’s nice to know she doesn’t just wake up with it – she’s got help from Head and Shoulders (and a fabulous stylist, let’s be honest).

sofia vergara family
And better yet- if you would like a chance to meet Sofia Vergara and be #PartOfOurFamily, now is your chance! The Head and Shoulders Part of Our Family Sweepstakes is for a three day trip for you and your bestie to attend a Sofia Vergara Head & Shoulders photo shoot in either LA or NYC. (Get the full details here.)

To enter, simply follow @HeadShoulders on Twitter and post a photo of your gorgeous, flake-free hair, tagging #PartOfOurFamily #sweeps and @HeadShoulders, and be sure to do it by September 1st!  Good luck!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Third Thursday Threads: Little Black Dress

Little Black Dress 2 ways

Everyone knows how versatile a little black dress can be.  In fact, I chose it as one of my items in my 20×45 remix challenge (and much to my surprise, was also featured on!)  But today, in honor of Bri’s Third Thursday Threads, I wore my LBD in a different way.  I also picked up a striped black dress that I adore and wanted to include in today’s post too.  Double whammy!

statement necklace, jean jacket, black dress, leopard heels
Shop the look:  Necklace (JCF) | Jean Jacket (Old Navy) | Dress (BR Outlet): option, option, option, option | Leopard heels (Target): option

I added a jean jacket and leopard pumps along with a statement necklace to wear to the office for my intern’s last day.  There were a reception with dinner/drinks after work and I wanted to be comfortable after work but also put together for during the day.

And the second LBD look features a striped crossover cutout back dress that I picked up from the Loft on clearance for under $20 bucks!  Such a fun summer dress…and I can always layer over it if I don’t want to show as much skin and transition the dress to spring or fall.  (Tara of Mix and Match Fashion also picked up this dress and styled it here.)  FYI- the dress does run large.  The medium was really large and the back was drooping, so I went with a small.

loft striped crossover cutout dress
back of loft striped crossover cutout dress
Shop the look: Dress (Loft) | Heels (Target)

So there you have it!  Two great LBDs to take me through all the seasons!

Little Black Dress 2 Ways
And for easy reference, here is the graphic on the ways I styled my LBD from the 20×45 remix!

how to style a LBD Follow me!
FacebookTwitter  |  Pinterest  |  Instagram  |  Bloglovin’

Linking up with Vodka Infused Lemonade | Mix and Match Fashion | Work Clothes, I Suppose

Bra Facts 101 by Aerie #AerieReal

Aerie Bra Facts 101 #aeriereal

Let’s face it– bras are the most functional part of a woman’s wardrobe.  Forget the cute leopard print blouse, the gingham button up, your favorite cotton tee or that strapless LBD—without a good bra, none of these pieces would be complete without the proper bra.

I recently discovered Aerie when I blogged about their “Real You is Sexy” campaign.  I also blogged about their bra fitting guide after testing out several styles.  I own several bras from Aerie now and love their fit, colors and styles…plus their prices are amazing!   And now, Aerie is at it again for the ladies with a series of helpful infographics, including Bra Facts 101  below.

Aerie Bra Facts 101
Anything surprise you in this Bra Facts 101 infographic?  I personally didn’t realize that the lifespan of a bra is only 6-9 months.  WOW.  Admittedly, I have some bras in my possession that are considered to be “antiques” by that timeframe!  I think I hang onto them because they are comfortable (meaning the band and straps are stretched after years of wear.)  Definitely some helpful tips to consider when it comes time to go bra shopping again!

I love that Aerie has produced this helpful resource for all the ladies. They are a brand that is not only offering a great product, but also tools (like their Bra Fitting Guide) and ideologies (The Real You is Sexy campaign) that are helping to redefine what it means to be sexy and find bras that are functional and fit properly.

Check out the full infographic of tips of Aerie’s tips here on Aerie’s blog, including 9 Bras Every Girl Needs and Troubleshooting Your Bra Fit.  Such great resources!

Did any of these facts surprise you?  Which infographic did you like best?

And remember—if you post a photo of yourself in an Aerie product (or just a product) with the hashtag #aeriereal on Instagram or Twitter, your picture will appear on the Aerie website!  Get to shootin’!

Disclosure: The is a sponsored post brought to you by Aerie via Quality Blue.  I received an Aerie gift card as part of my relationship with the Quality Blue Community.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Q&A with Rachel Cahayla-Wynne, Pure Barre Studio Manager


Ever wonder what it takes to be a Pure Barre studio manager?  This month, I interviewed Rachel Cahayla-Wynne, the Pure Barre studio manager in Deerfield, IL.  She has been my instructor in several classes and her bubbly personality and eagle eye for great Pure Barre form is the best and makes for a wonderful class!

Learn more about Rachel, her dancing background and her daily routine below…

Pure Barre- Q&A with studio manager Rachel Cahayla-Wynne
What was your background prior to becoming a Pure Barre Studio Manager?

Prior to becoming the manager of Pure Barre Deerfield I danced professionally for over 10 years, most recently with the Louisville Ballet.

rachel ballet
When did you discover Pure Barre and what did you think of it?

I first discovered Pure Barre when I was moving to Chicago and was looking for teaching positions.  I came across an ad for Pure Barre teachers and then discovered that there was a studio in Louisville where I was still living.  I went the next morning to try class.  I thought because I was a professional ballet dancer the class would be a breeze, I was wrong! I loved how challenging it was and how I felt the next day!

How would you describe your workout style/routine?

My workout routine is a big combination of cross training at the gym (elliptical, swimming, core strengthening), ballet classes, some running, and of course Pure Barre!

How did you become a Pure Barre studio manager in Deerfield?

Susanna Johnson owns 7 Pure Barre studios in the area including the Evanston location where I first started to teach.  Deerfield was the last to open and when they started looking for managers for the studio I interviewed and luckily received the position!  [Getting the studio up and running] was a lot of work but a great experience!

pure barre deerfield grand opening
Describe a typical day in the life of Rachel, a Pure Barre Studio Manager!

There is really no typical day! The best I can describe is waking up at 3:45 am (I used to have to leave at 4:30 to teach in Evanston and just never broke the habit!). I then do a bit of work (my staff is used to getting early emails from me!) and take my dog Laila out for a walk.  After I head either to the studio to teach the 6 am class or go to the gym first. Once at the studio I spend most of my day teaching, educating people on Pure Barre, working on how to get the studio more involved in the community, meeting and greeting our amazing clients, taking class myself and lastly all other daily tasks that go into running the studio!  I do sneak out during the day to take ballet class a few times a week as well (sssh!) and then I usually try to be home by 7 so I have some time with my husband before I call it a night!

rachel- deerfield family days
What are some of your current specials/rates going on now (or in the future?)

We have many different packages and promotions that target a lot of different people such as our Baby Bounce Back and Bride to Be Special- both 3 months unlimited for $375, Student and Teacher Discounts which include 10 classes for $100 and of course our New Client Special- 30 days unlimited for $100.  For those who do not fit into any of those categories, we also offer some month to month contracts, the best one being our 12 month contract that is just $175 a month for unlimited classes!

What do you love most about Pure Barre?

First off, I love the workout, but besides that I love the community that we have! I think it is very unique for a fitness studio to have such a family feel.  I love getting to know each and every person that walks through our door and then witness them fall in love with Pure Barre and become a part of our family!

reachel teaching 100th class for a student
What would you say to those considering a class, especially those unfamiliar with Pure Barre?

We get a lot of people who are nervous to try their first class and I always emphasize to them that our classes are made for all ages and all different fitness levels.  Our instructors are trained to modify each exercise to either make it more challenging or less depending on the specific circumstances of each client (injury, pregnancy, etc.).   I want all new clients to know that our class is verbally-driven, so they should really listen to the cues from their instructor. If they have any questions or feel lost during class they should definitely call their instructor over or speak with them after class.  Pure Barre is a completely different workout then what most are used to so of course there is going to be a slight learning curve.  Typically after 3 classes you should really start to understand the technique but we emphasize that you be open with us and ask us questions.  We are here to help and guide you and want you to get the most out of our class that you can!

Thank you so much Rachel for your answers!

Learn more about Pure Barre Deerfield and check out the latest happenings on their Facebook page!

Check out my other Pure Barre posts:
5 Tips for Pure Barre Newbies
5 Ways Pure Barre Helps Runners
What to Wear to Pure Barre Class

Disclosure: Pure Barre Deerfield provides me with classes in exchange for blog promotion.  All opinions are my own.  I write about it because I love this workout, my local studio and the instructors!  All photos courtesy of Rachel and/or Pure Barre Deerfield.

Stitch Fix Review #3 [August 2014]

stitch fix review- august 2014- what to keep

It’s time for another Stitch Fix review!  This time around, I was a bit more specific with my requests for my Stitch Fix stylist.  I pinned several Stitch Fix items on my board, and also requested plain, bright color tops, a pair of classic skinny jeans and a more neutral maxi skirt than the one in my second fix.

stitch fix review- my fix
The note from my stylist said that not everything was available (meaning, none of the items on my Pinterest board- total bummer), but she did deliver on the neutral maxi skirt, skinny jeans and a couple bright color plain tops.

So let’s jump into and see exactly what I got for this fix!

Stitch Fix Review 3- August 2014
First up:
Breyson Split-Neck Tab-Sleeve Knit Top by 41 Hawthorn ($48)

I do love the color of this top and the fact that you can wear the sleeves long or roll them up and secure them to make 3/4 sleeves, but the material is very clingy and shows everything—you can see what I mean with the shot of the back of it.

Breyson Split-Neck Tab-Sleeve Knit Top by 41 Hawthorn
back- Breyson Split-Neck Tab-Sleeve Knit Top by 41 Hawthorn

close up Breyson Split-Neck Tab-Sleeve Knit Top by 41 Hawthorn, stitch fix

Next up:
Bowie Solid Dolman Sleeve Top by Laila Jayde ($58)

This is a great fall color but I’m just not a fan of dolman sleeve tops.  I already have broad shoulders and don’t want to emphasize them!  Plus, the top was a little too sheer for me (especially for a sweater) and not worth the $58 price tag—even if I applied my $20 styling fee as the credit towards it.

stitch fix Bowie Solid Dolman Sleeve Top by Laila Jayde

stitch fix Bowie Solid Dolman Sleeve Top by Laila Jayde  close up

Also in the photos above is the third item:
Adorra Ankle Length Skinny Jean by Just Black ($88)

These jeans were very nice- had a bit of stretch to them and were classic with no embellishments, which I like.  The wash was a tad dark for my liking but I did consider keeping these, despite the price tag (finding jeans is a tough task!)
stitch fix Adorra Ankle Length Skinny Jean by Just Black

stitch fix Adorra Ankle Length Skinny Jean by Just Black, close up

And also featured in these photos is the one accessory in my fix:
Lynx Layered Beaded Necklace by 31 Bits ($48)

This necklace was included by my stylist because it was similar to this one on my Pinterest board.  Very pretty and the colors worked well with the two tops in my fix but there is no way I’m going to pay $48 for a necklace!  (However, if I was going to keep everything in my fix and get 20% off, then I would consider it!)  Although I think it was pricier because it was made by or proceeds went to help women in Africa so at least there is a social cause behind the high price tag!

Lynx Layered Beaded Necklace by 31 Bits, stitch fix
Lynx Layered Beaded Necklace by 31 Bits, stitch fix

And rounding out the fix:
Mallory Mixed Stripe Maxi Skirt by Gilli ($68)

I had asked for more neutral colors in a maxi skirt, and my stylist delivered.  However, I just wasn’t a fan of the stripes going in every direction and the front panel.  As my husband said, “it looks like they ran out of fabric in the middle and sewed in that piece!”  Needless to say, I’m not keeping this one—I was hoping for a neutral black & white maxi skirt with subtle stripes like this one, but oh well!

stitch fix Mallory Mixed Stripe Maxi Skirt by Gilli
So there you have it!  In full transparency, I don’t think I will be keeping anything from this fix but I’m hoping the next fix will be a home run!  I pinned several more items and have really asked for just items I’ve pinned so I’ll be sure I love them!

What do you think of this fix?  Anything I should have kept?

Stitch Fix Review August 2014- what to keep
And if you want to sign up for try out Stitch Fix, I would recommend trying it out for at least one fix!  It’s just $20 for your fix and the $20 will be applied as a credit towards anything you keep.

Sign up here <—please note, this is my affiliate link.

Read my other reviews:
Stitch Fix #1
Stitch Fix #2

Linking up with: Style Elixir | Lauren Elizabeth | Midwest Style Bloggers

What I Ate Wednesday: Zucchini Edition


Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a zucchini kick.  I blame it on my parents, who have a huge garden and have been giving us tons of fresh vegetables- including zucchini.  That said, I wanted to share a few recipes I’ve whipped up lately featuring it!

1- Zucchini Pizza Bites
My Mom made these as an appetizer and they were SO good!  Totally guilt free and satisfies your craving for pizza!

zucchini-pizza-bites by skinnytaste Source: Skinnytaste (how they are supposed to look)

Zucchini Pizza Bites, adapted from Skinnytaste
4 slices large zucchini 1/4″ thick
-olive oil spray
-salt and pepper (or to reduce sodium and keep the flavor, use Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning)
-2 tbsp marinara sauce
-1/4 cup shredded part skim mozzarella (The bags of shredded cheese work best because they melt faster than the fresh stuff, so you won’t overcook the zucchini while you wait for the cheese to melt!)

Cut zucchini about 1/4 inch thick. Spray both sides lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper (or Mrs. Dash). Broil or grill the zucchini for about 2 minute on each side. For additional flavor, stir in Mrs. Dash into your marinara sauce. Top zucchinis with sauce and cheese andbroilfor an additional minute or two. (Be careful not to burn cheese!)

How mine turned out.  (It’s not about how they look, it’s about how they taste, right?!)  SO delicious!

Zucchini Pizza Bites

2- Kung Pao Chicken with Zucchini Noodles
These noodles in the dish cut down the calories but still taste like noodles.  The bowl is filled with flavor- salty, sweet, sour and spicy!
Kung-Pao-Chicken-Zoodles by skinnytaste Source: Skinnytaste

The recipe can be found here.  NOTE: Besides the ingredients, you will need a spiralizer to cut the zucchini.  (Rookie mistake-  I only read the ingredient list and not the recipe beforehand- whoops.)  In any case, know that CVS/Walgreens carries those “As Seen on TV” Veggetti tools which did the trick for me :-)

This dish was incredibly delicious.  I also brought it for lunch the next day…you know it’s good then!

Kung Pao Chicken with Zoodles

3- Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

This recipe from the Food Network looks so good.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I intend to! My boss mentioned that she tried this and it turned out great.  Can’t beat crispy chips without the carbs!

Zucchini-Parmesan-Crisps by food network
What summer fruits/vegetables have you been eating a lot of lately?

Any other recipes featuring zucchini that you swear by?

Chambray and Linen City Mini Skirt


chambray and linen city mini skirt, j crew
closet up: chambray and linen city mini skirt, j crew
j crew chambray and linen city mini skirt Shop the look:
Skirt: J. Crew Linen City Mini skirt via consignment store (other colors on sale, factory version)
Shoes: Target
Chambray: J. Crew Factory (polka dot version, dark wash, light wash)

Happy Tuesday!  I’m still catching up from the whirlwind wedding weekend, but I can tell you that it was a blast!  (Click here to see a sneak peek of the photos from the photographer’s blog- she did a great job…and the Milwaukee lakefront was the perfect backdrop!)

In other news, here is an outfit I wore recently with a chambray shirt and “linen city mini skirt”—a bit on the casual side, but still put together.  I got this skirt at a local consignment store (where I sell all the clothes/accessories I no longer want) and stumbled upon this J.Crew skirt.  AND…it still had the tags on it!  It was originally priced at $79.50 I think, but I got it for just under $16 after a 20% off sale at the consignment store (oh, and I may have gotten a super cute moisture-wicking hot pink long sleeve top with thumb holes…like I said before, I can’t resist fun workout clothes!)

What were you up to this weekend?  Any good consignment store finds lately?

Geometric Print and Statement Necklace

black and white geometric print, statement necklace

black and white geometric print, statement necklace
black and white geometric print, statement necklace
black and white geometric print, statement necklace
black and white geometric print, statement necklaceGeometric print black & white top: Target (no longer available–found on clearance)
Statement necklace: J.Crew Factory
Pants: The Limited
Shoes: Target

Random thoughts:

1- I am still waiting for my SheInside blazer to arrive from my July budget.  Hurry up already!

2-  Today is my intern’s last day for the summer.  It’s going to be weird without her there (and subsequently more work for me to do once she leaves- booo!)  PS- I officially feel old- she never watched Saved by the Bell.  What?!

3- I plan to go to Pure Barre tonight and I’m so excited to get in a class this week.  It’s been busy!

4- My 20×45 summer remix went fantastically well for me.  And as icing on the cake, one of the pieces I included was my LBD.  Much to my surprise, it was picked up on!

How to wear an LBD-
5- I decided to skip my Fabletics order for this month.  There were a few things that caught my eye but I am trying to be mindful of spending, knowing that my StitchFix is coming next week and I gave some really specific feedback, so I may end up keeping items from the fix.  But then I hear news that Jillian Michaels is launching a line of workout clothing at K-Mart…and Wantable (which I love) will soon be following suit.  This may be a budget buster for a gal that has a fitness clothing obsession…

6-  I am a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding in Milwaukee, and my husband is officiating!  (He got ordained online.)  Looking forward to celebrating and all the fun festivities!  (Which reminds me- I have an awful racerback tan…I’ll have to resort to sunless tanner in just that area…this could be bad..)

What’s on your mind?  Any workout apparel junkies out there?  Plans this weekend?

Linking up with Vodka Infused Lemonade | Mix and Match Fashion

REM Fit Total Sleep Recovery System Review

REM-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System Review

REM-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System Review

A gal needs her beauty rest, am I right?!  But a gal who is active also needs rejuvenating, restorative sleep.  You know, that awesome sleep where you barely move and the covers stay perfectly on top of you…when you wake up and say “Wow, I feel completely rested and ready to tackle the day!”  Yeah, THAT kind of sleep.  It’s hard to come by!  But to help you get more of those days, there’s the REM-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System by Protect-A-Bed.

The REM Fit Total Sleep Recovery System is designed to help those who embrace an active, healthy lifestyle by providing a rejuvenating sleep environment. REM-Fit is a lifestyle, which stands for Rest, Energize and Motivate.

What are they all about?  Well, they are firm believers that exercise and rest are necessary for mental and physical balance, and are key components of a healthy lifestyle. And in order to help energize the body for the physical requirements of today’s active lifestyle, sleep is essential.  They know that a restful night’s sleep helps the body recover and motivates athletes to push their physical limits the next day.

So they created the REM-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System, which consists of pillows, bedding and pillow protection products.  I got the chance to try out the Adjustable Pillow, Smooth Mattress Protector and Smooth Pillow Protectors.

R.E.M.-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System
Their pillow protection products include Tencel, which aids in thermo-regulation, wicks away moisture, is hypoallergenic, has antibacterial properties and provides a soft, silky-smooth sleep zone for those with sensitive skin.  It has a long list of benefits…
R.E.M.-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System
The pillow is super squishy, but also pretty firm and heavy- which is how I like my pillows.  After a few days of sleep on it, I noticed that the stuffing would move a bit around my head, but overall, it still offered pretty nice support.

R.E.M.-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System- Pillow Covers
The pillow cover was great and helped regulate my body temperature and wick away moisture, which was great for nights when I took a shower before bed and had some wet hair which makes it hard to get asleep right away!

R.E.M.-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System- Pillow Covers

The mattress cover was probably my favorite item in the bunch.  It has a “Miracle Membrane,” which sounds kind of odd, but it maintains mattress hygiene for more restful sleep.  It stops bacteria from growing, wicks away moisture and keeps you cool and comfortable when you sleep.  Sometimes I get really hot when I sleep so this thermo-regulating feature was amazing!

R.E.M.-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System, Protect A Bed
You can see the shiny/waterproof material on the underside of the mattress cover, but the top of the cover is silky to the touch (even though we are just covering it up with a fitted sheet!)

R.E.M.-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System- Mattress Pad
We put it over our mattress, which also has an added memory foam topper, and the cover fit perfectly.

R.E.M.-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System- Mattress Pad
All in all, I was pretty impressed with the REM Fit Total Sleep Recovery System.  I hope to have many more super restorative nights of sleep in my future so I’m ready to tackle the day!

How often do you get those “awesome” nights of sleep?


Disclosure: I received the R.E.M. Fit Rest Adjustable Pillow, REM-Fit Energize Smooth Mattress Protector and Smooth Pillow Protector to review via Fitfluential.  All opinions are my own.

Linking up with  Olives n’ Wine.