Thursday, October 13, 2016

MM.Lafleur Bento Box Review

So I have tried a Bento Box from MM. Lafleur twice now.  The first box that I received was okay, but just didn't hit the mark and I sent it all back.  They too realized that it just didn't happen for us and they offered to send me another box without the $25.00 fee.

As per the norm, they will charge you a $25 fee for the styling that will be put towards anything you buy from your box. This is a newer charge they have enacted that wasn't charged on my first one.

If you go to the MM.LaFleur website, you will see a nice variety of quality clothes. That was what I really was looking for. As I am trying to pick up my style and look more professional, I really need quality.  I'm posting this little bit from their website about them:

Sarah LaFleur was your typical woman in finance whose closet was packed with blah-feeling pantsuits. Back then, she dreamed of a more inspired wardrobe for herself and all professional women. When she launched MM.LaFleur in 2013, she made it her mission to put the fun (and the ease) back into the ritual of dressing for work—and to rethink the shopping process altogether.
Sarah joined forces with luxury designer Miyako Nakamura, former head designer of Zac Posen, and Narie Foster, former consulting colleague, and set out to fill the void. Together, they help today’s professional woman build a wardrobe full of gorgeous, versatile pieces that reflect both her personal style (sophisticated silhouettes, ingenious design details) and her dynamic lifestyle (machine-washable, travel-friendly).
MM. LaFleur has little pop up shops that if you are lucky enough to live by one, you can go in and they will pull different styles for you to try on.  The clothes are actually shipped to you after that.

For this current Bento I received the Deneuve 3.0, Noho Skirt, Alexandra dress, Masha 2.0 dress, and the Woolf.  Overall, the fabric on all of these is top notch. These items can go from office to a night out and on an airplane without worrying that you will look like a frump.  These items come nicely boxed with a zippered bag. All of the items that you are returning go back into the bag and into the box with a new label provided to you placed on top. There is a little invoice with a spot of you to write down your comments for each one.

After trying everything on, my overall impressions were:

Deneuve:  Really nice fit. I would like a touch longer. The overlap is done so well that I wouldn't have any embarrassing peekaboo moments.

Noho Skirt:  This is a plain knee length skirt. Really nice material, but way too plain for me. I like have a bit of gathering or lace etc. If you are looking for a very basic and classic piece this would be perfect for you.  (It's also almost winter here and short skirts aren't going to be worn.)

Alexandra Dress:  I really liked the Claret color but the cut was just not awesome. As a really large busted girl, that was the only thing my eyes could focus on when I put it on.

Masha: Man, I wanted this dress. So nice in the drape and I loved the way the pockets were. But for the price, if I wasn't 100% on it, wasn't going to get it. So the downfall for me was the neckline. It has a higher round neckline. If it had a v neck, it would stay with me hands down.

Woolf: This is the cardigan jacket with an open design. The shoulder pads are removable. I wasn't very sure about this when I saw it at first. I put it on and it was okay. Overall, I felt the look was a bit "older" than I like. My friends tell me I look about 10 years younger and there is no reason to dispel that myth. I think my mom would really like this jacket.

So overall, I think the Bento Box is great. MM.LaFleur makes quality items for every body. Their team definitely try to understand what you like and what would look good for you. The downside is that this type of thing can be real hit and miss. I wish I could go to a pop up, but unless they get to a place close by like Seattle, that may not happen. I will be trying a Bento Box again, though I may ask for certain styles that I see on their website, and then have them make suggestions for the rest of the items.  This will be postponed until after the holidays as between here and there, I will be traveling a bit.

Monday, October 10, 2016

UPDATED on 1/19/17!! Trunk Club Review

Note:  Update to this review will be at the bottom of the original.

I live in Alaska. I'm not joking when I say that Alaska has been voted the worst dressed state. And it's true. There are of course some exceptions, but overall we are pretty in need of style. I moved up here about 18 years ago from Arizona.  Arizona has style. I was used to dressing up to go out or hang out with my friends. I wouldn't be caught dead without some light make up. Low and behold, after a few years up here.... I can go without makeup and only put on a full face for a serious occasion, I have crocs in my wardrobe (more than three pairs), hiking clothes are everyday wear, xtratuf boots are classics, if it didn't come from rei it looks like it did. Such was my life.

I noticed that when I travel, I try to pick up my style a bit so I didn't totally stand out. Especially going to Europe, but year after year, it appeared harder and harder. My wardrobe just didn't have what it took. And that's when I said it was enough. I didn't want to live this fashion disaster anymore, any day of the week. I did a thorough closet cleanse. Out went all of the crocs except for my camp shoes for backpacking trips. I also went to scout out some of the new fashion boxes that you can get sent directly to your house.

So far I signed up for Stitch Fix, MM Lafleur, and Trunk Club. This post will deal with Trunk Club, mostly because this will be the shortest.

I saw the Trunk Club when I was on the Nordstrom shopping page down on the bottom. I needed to make a cc payment, and was like hmmmm what's this? Turns out it's  now a subsidiary of Nordstrom. It used to tailor to men, but now also works with women. You get a stylist assigned to you and through a list of questions, and if you can a phone call whenever you need it. There is a $25.00 home try on fee that's credited towards your purchase. That's pretty common with most subscriptions.

I was assigned Jillian who overall seemed quite pleasant. Mostly the back and forth conversation was timely. She offered for me to call her, but as I was in and out of meeting during that week, I kept to the messaging. There is a message board through their website that you use and it will show all of your communication.  I already had a pinterest set up for the type of fashion that I like, so I sent her that link so she could have a better idea of my personal style.

Later I received a message to fill in the billing information so she can put together a box. As a Nordstrom subsidiary, I would have appreciated being able to use my Nordstrom credit card.  Especially because that was where the clothes were coming from. This also means that you don't get any of the points that you normally would in store. Jillian put together a box of items and sent my the pictures to take a look and see if there was anything that I wanted removed right off the bat. I removed one item and gave it the go ahead. Overall, the items looked okay. There were two pairs of shoes, a few bottoms, some tops, and a jacket.

I received a note from Jillian shortly after that stating that because I was in Alaska I would be charged $50.00 but $25.00 of that would be refunded if I kept ALL of the box. I'm just going to point out that we have a Nordstrom here, we have USPS, Fed ex, and UPS. I know we are a distance away, but we are still Americans. So at this point, I said thanks, but no thanks. I can just as easily go into Nordstroms after setting up an appointment with a stylist in house. I'm going to Seattle next week and might just do that, as they have a larger selection there than we have up here.

So it was a nice thought. I was looking forward to having items sent to me with someone that can help me take my outfits up a handful of notches, but to be overcharged wasn't awesome. Perhaps if you live in the lower 48, you may find the Trunk Club a little more to your liking. For now, Trunk Club is a thumbs down for me.


So here we are. It's been a short while, but when checking my email I noticed a new addition to the Trunk Club subscription. Yes, you can finally start using your Nordstrom card and earn points. The email message said:

We're excited to announce that Nordstrom cardholders can now earn points 
toward Nordstrom Notes at Trunk Club.†

Trunk Club pairs you with a dedicated stylist who'll get to know your style, 
tastes and preferences. Your stylist will then send you a trunk filled with 
picked-just-for-you pieces from the best brands to try out at home. Keep and 
pay for what you love, send back what you don't—all while earning points at 
Trunk Club when you pay with your Nordstrom credit or debit card.†

The $25 home try-on fee will be waived for all trunks purchased with a 
Nordstrom credit or debit card. Earning rewards has never looked so 
good—or been so easy.

 I went back online to the Trunk Club website, entered my Nordstrom card info, and got in contact. I was given a new stylist, and before we got too into it, I asked her to verify that I now didn't have the fee involved as I was using my Nordstrom card.  Low and behold, still because I am in Alaska, they want to charge me $50 to get a trunk club box. Not really wanting to sell me stuff are you? The stylist was nice, but I declined to get a box.  I will be sending Nordstrom a complaint on this. If I can get free shipping from Nordstrom to Alaska, why do I have to pay $50 for Trunk Club to send me a box? Still a no for me!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Walden Farms Review - Too Good to be True?

Lest I say that when I heard about Walden Farm's products I was super curious.  I looked for this stuff everywhere and could only find it at my over priced natural foods market and on amazon.  In general, I would say that most of the products were a bit over $5 each.  They have chocolate and carmel sauce, a variety of salad dressings, PB and Jam, Ketchup, and BBQ.  When you are cutting your diet and these things are no longer permissible, this is like finding the holy grail. (Insert singing angels here.)

I started this quest with a couple of salad dressings.  I bought the honey Dijon, the berry vinaigrette, and the ceasar.  The first one that I've tried was the ceasar. It was flavorful, but still not quite what the original is. When I looked at the ingredients, I saw that it was pretty much made up of spices, flavor, vinegar, and thickening agent.  As this has no calories, sugar, fat, but has a slight amount of sodium I saw this as a free food. I went a little heavy with the dressing mostly because it poured out pretty quickly.  I placed the rest in the fridge and went on to try the berry.

I pause here to say that I ended up making sure that I put my name on the bottle.  I either used a ton due to the not so thick consistency or someone was sampling the goods.  I may be leaning now towards the consistency, especially having used a few of their products now.

The berry was awesome. Made those salads disappear!! Add a little goat cheese and you are all set.  So good. Still a noticeable liquid consistency, so I was a bit disappointed with that bit, as it was not as thick as a normal dressing.

I held off on the honey dijon as I was turning into salad with the amount I was consuming.

Low and behold I later found Walden Farms products at both Walmart and Fred Meyers (Kroger).  The price was still about the same.

I picked up some peanut butter, jam, ketchup, and bbq sauce.  I haven't gotten to the ketchup and bbq sauce as I am waiting for my camping trip to try them out.  I did however take a jab at the PB.

This was probably the worst Walden Farm's product that I've tried.  It is marked as being more of a mousse, which is the consistency. It was almost the same as Jello pudding snacks. And the taste wasn't very prominent. You would really need to be in a bind to go for this product.

The jam was better but still had a bit too much thinness to it.

As I go through the rest of my collection, I will update those items.

Till later

Friday, June 3, 2016

Hawaiian Macaroni Potato Salad Recipe

Macaroni-Potato Salad From Hawaii Magazine
(Serves 8)
½ lb. macaroni
8 hard-cooked eggs
3 red potatoes, cooked and cubed
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vinegar
2 cups mayonnaise
½ tsp.     ground allspice
½ tsp.     pepper
1 package frozen peas, thawed and drained (10 oz.)
Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Separate egg yolks from egg whites. In a small bowl, mash yolks and chill. Chop egg whites; put into a large bowl with macaroni and potatoes. Stir in salt and vinegar; chill overnight.
Add egg yolks and remaining ingredients; gently mix into macaroni mixture. Chill.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Nutrisystem Fast 5 - Day 7!!!! Review

It finally happened. The end of the Fast 5 is done.  I had my moments, but overall it wasn't really as hard as I thought it was going to be.  For cravings, the most difficult was in the evening after I've already had dinner.  There is that large amount of space where you would generally fill it with boredom eating or general snacking.  I know my husband did, which did not help me.  He was, however, really good about not buying me any wine to drink.  If it's in the house, I tend to make some excuse so it was better to remove it.

Water during the weekend was also a large challenge.  I ran out of my favorite flavoring which is the SweetLeaf Water Drops in the peach mango flavor.  It's sweetened with stevia and has no artificial ingredients. I could guzzle a gallon of water no problem.  I went to the store this morning and bought a handful so I wouldn't be caught without.

The meals overall were tasty and the shakes weren't bad either.  They could use a bit of thickness.  I found some meals that were not going to be favorites, and now at least I can change my future order.  Right now I have all of my meals in a box which kind of works now, but not in the long run.  I may have to rearrange some stuff in my kitchen, or gather a weeks at a time to put in my cubbard.  All of my food supply is stored in the garage, an no real kitchen pantry.

I have to get my measurements done today and then I will fill them in for you. My weight went down exactly five pounds.  I know that for the rest of the time that I should be exoecting only 1-2 pound weight loss a week, but that's still awesome if you think that I could still lose 12 pounds before I leave for my vacation.  And don't forget that 10 pounds is supposed to equal 1 dress size.  I will be taking my dining book with me to remind me of what I can eat on my vaca as well.

To go over yesterday......

For breakfast I had the harvest nut bar. Small as the other bars, but had a sweet salty thing going for it. Overall I liked it.

For my veggie yesterday, I took a can of low sodium peas and simered them until hot.  A half can for lunch and the other half for dinner.

Lunch was the beans and ham soup.  It was pretty good, and it went with the peas really well.  It filled me up and was overall satisfied until snack time. Snack time I just had some veggies, because I was out and about and it was easy to order.

Dinner was the peas with the chili with beans.  Another excellent combo.  Pretty good for a chili from a container, but I wish it came with a bit of heat to it.  Next time I have this entree, I will add some chilies to it.

For today.... OMG it's my first day put out to sea.  I looked over my box to see what jumped at me. My husband came in and decided to help, bless him.  We both thought the blueberry muffin was a great choice.  I should have taken a picture, but I ended up gobbling it up and then realizing.  I will have to have a muffin tomorrow to show you the size.  They are really on the small side. Very good tasting and had a moist denseness to it.

Because I was running around this weekend, I ended up with extra energi-zing and nutricrush shakes, which I am going to use up.

For lunch I grabbed the three cheese chicken.  It is one of the paper cup ones that you fill with some water and then microwave.  I really wish you could just add boiling water and then wait for three minutes like ramen.  I could make that an experiment.  Sometimes getting in line for the microwave at work isn't appealing.

So I figured out on NuMi that you can actually chart more than the base water they want you to drink, which is awesome.  Also, when you go to add your meal, if you check it in at the beginning of the day or right before you make it, it gives you the option to scan your nutrisystem meal. It is so easy, instead of searching through a seriously long list of foods.

I'm already feeling more confident in myself with just a small weight loss. I'm looking forward to the rest of this journey.

P.S.  No, I'm still not sponsored so all of this is really just me and what I'm doing.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Nutrisystem Fast 5 - Day 6 Review

It's Saturday, and I knew that the weekend was going to be a bit harder.  I reinforced to my husband that he's kind of the only one that knows I'm on this plan, because we were going out to see my parents.

I should rewind and admit that I completely slept in this morning.  We were planning on leaving by 10, which would have given me time to have breakfast, my break shake right before leaving and then lunch with the parents, getting back home for the second shake.  Didn't happen.  I got up late, made sure that I had my breakfast bar, which was the peanut butter granola bar.  It was about the size of the apple strudel and it was so thick.  It was tasty enough, but almost a pain in the tuckas to eat. Not a top pick.

Off we went a little after 10, and I made him stop off to get me a coffee. Is it just me or is Starbucks getting too big for it's britches.  The coffee was a disappointment, but it was what I had.  I took a couple waters with me, but this entire trip, my water consumption was at a major low.

We got to my parents house and they all wanted to talk.  We finally got up to leave to go for lunch.  There were a couple choices, but a lot.  They live up north towards Willow and Talkeetna.  We decided to go too the Twisted Creek restaurant/brewery.  Seriously a great place in Talkeetna.  I did so awesome with the food that I am still very proud of myself. And instead of having a tasty brew I had a cup of tea and a glass of water.  I got the large green salad with grilled shrimp, and asked for red wine or balsamic vinegar, but I guess the guy was trying to do me a favor and offered up their vinaigrette.  I ended up eating the salad dry, but with the shrimp, cucumbers, and tomatoes it was still tasty.  My dad even said he would have ordered that salad.

By the time we got back into town I was hungry and it was almost dinner time.  I should have thrown a couple of extra waters into the truck for the trip, but then you're also dealing with needed to stop off at the non-existent break stops. Maybe it kind of worked out.

When we got back home I immediately steamed up some brussel sprouts and then heated up the beef stew and added it all together.  Maybe I'm weird, but I actually like brussel sprouts.  The beef stew however I was not all that fond of.  It reminded me of that cheap hormel stuff in the can.  Later I will go on to my next shipment and make sure it's removed.  It wasn't horrible, and I finished my meal, but why torture myself? I'm still overall impressed with the good flavors of the foods.  The beginning was going to be some trial and error when it came to my personal taste, and I did want to try some different flavors to not limit myself in the first place.

I'm starting to wind down for the night and enjoying my chamomile tea, so I will try to make sure that I get the photos in, but it might not be till Monday.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Nutrisystem Fast 5 - Day 5 Review

Somewhere along the way things got messed up with the meals. Perhaps it's where I changed teh bar for an entree, or it could be when I realized that I looked at the wrong page in the guide for half the day. Anyways, it's a great thing that all of these meals are interchangeable.  When I weighed myself it as flipping between what I was and the pound lower.  I'm not going to take the liberty to claim that pound, so we will just say that we stayed the same.  Also of note, is that I'm not going to the bathroom for #2 as much.  Peeing? Heck yes, every 5 minutes it seems, but not the rest. I know, TMI, but it's part of the deal. I might try to go a bit more leafy green on my veggies.

Today's meals minus dinner:

I woke up this morning and got myself to the gym.  I've been pretty good about my workouts, and when I couldn't get to the gym, I did something at home.  I work out harder at the gym, and I have the bonus of the trainer.  I got my gym membership when the gym was still new eons ago, so when I started going again my rate hadn't changed from $15/month.  I work for the state which also gives a discount (already applied).  The rate for my trainer is actually quite reasonable.  I signed a year contract and have 1/2 hour sessions.  Those sessions roll over for 90 days.  Training costs me about $230/month and I normally schedule my training 2X/week.

I received my Nutrisystem shipment yesterday. (I didn't take pics, but I will try to remember to take one later.) I was super excited to go through it and look at all of the flavors I had.  Some of which I did not remember requesting. Though I heard that they change things out without letting you know if it's in short supply.  My first shipment also came with another Fast 5. Along with being in short supply, my invoice stated that the eating guide to my plan wasn't available so they substituted it.  Seriously!?

I told myself to contact the support system at Nutrisystem.  I have the Core plan so it's included and I had a bunch of questions that I was unsure of. I was going to call, but ended up on the website and used the chat feature.  It also gives you an option to have a transcript of the conversation emailed to you, which I think is awesome to help you remember.  I got GabrielC, who was great. The response was super prompt and they answered all of my questions.  Like with my shipment, I received the fruit and the vanilla shakes to try out, how do you incorporate that? It doesn't really come with instructions. When I told them about the eating plan I got, they let me know that the replacement that they sent me was actually just like the one I was on and I could follow it. They sent it to me because it was the closest plan.  Yay.  They helped me clearly understand everything I needed to know.  Use them if you have the option!!! Why question for endless time when you can just ask?

This morning I had the apple strudel bar.  It was seriously small.  I went for it and it actually tastes pretty good.  It was a bit on the sweet side for me, so it might not be one of my top favorites for that, but I would easily stash this in my purse for some on the run ability.

I had the Energi-Zing shake during break.  It really does pep you up, but there is a noticeable lag later in the day.  After my shake, I ended up cleaning my desk. One of those projects I kept putting off but suddenly I had all this get up and go.

Lunch, I went downstairs and got a green salad (big today) which I used a mixture of balsamic and red wine vinegar as my dressing.  I like vinaigrette, and the loss of the EVOO is not a game changer for me.  This is of course during the Fast 5 faze because I saw in the food planner that fat free dressing was allowed.

I'm not sure what dinner is going to be today with the meals all messed up, but I was thinking chili. Last night I had the turkey sausage and bacon rigatoni with some broiled mushrooms.  Not one of my favorites. I went online last night and switched my future order not to contain it.  It would be livable if that was one of a few choices, but I would rather have something else.  I quartered and dry roasted 3/4 of one of those large cartons of white mushrooms.  I gave a small amount to my husband for his steak. I love mushrooms. Hopefully tonight's meal is tasty.