Friday, May 15, 2015

Stitch Fix #5

Number five, number five!

So sadly I've been getting less excited about my stitch fixes lately, maybe just because I'm getting used to them, or maybe because I've been cheating a little bit to look and see what's in my box before I even receive it... Nonetheless, this time I was expecting good things after my pre-delivery snooping online. I saw lots of tanks, color, and cool cut-outs, and that's just what I was looking for!

Since we moved into our house a bit over a year ago, I've been seriously weeding out the junk in my closet and elsewhere. I've sold a few hundred dollars worth of stuff on eBay and used the site Twice, which gives you money for your used clothes that you send in. This is all great, but since I've been trying to really pare down my closet, I've noticed that there are whole sections of my closet that are seriously lacking. Work-appropriate tanks happens to be one of those areas.

Luckily, I saw my sad tank situation coming from a mile away, so I requested them in my fix, as well as a bright pair of shorts. As Kirsten's cute little letter stated, they did not have any bright shorts available at the moment, which was just fine because I had just found a great pair. I have the hardest time finding shorts, but these ones are cute and cheap. Win! So no worries, Kirsten, it's all good.

Anyway, on to the fix! (If you're curious about what Stitch Fix is, check out my first post where I explain it in detail.) I saw bright colors, which are always welcome, and a really great blue patterned item. Even my cat was happy, though probably because she knew she was getting the box to play in afterwards.

So, check this out and let me know what you like or hate. I love hearing feedback!

Item #1: Pixley- McCarthy Cutout Detail Blouse, Coral

I love a good coral, and though I have a few sweaters and a blouse (from my March fix), I have no summer tops in this color. It has these edgy cutouts along the shoulders which I loved. I tried it with the grey jeans I already had on, and again with some dark shorts.

Ultimate decision: This is pretty cute. It's long enough to where I'm well covered in jeans, but also short enough to wear with shorts without looking naked. I could also try this tucked into a skirt and I bet it would look great. Maybe not exactly work appropriate, but I could probably get away with it.

Item #2: Daniel Rainn- Ishara Lace Detail V-Neck Blouse, Blue

I had pinned this top to my Pinterest board when I was on my cobalt kick a few months ago... and just so you know that hasn't ended. I tried it with my white jeans and some bright shoes and again with a denim skirt.

Ultimate decision: I just adore this color, and finally it's a top in this hue that looks good on me! My skirted look is definitely not my favorite, but it's not horrible. I do think the white pants look is downright fantastic, and I'm sure I could find other bottoms to pair it with. 

Item #3: Fun2Fun- Charles Embroidered Trim Blouse, Fuchsia

This top has a beautiful lace/embroidered/cutout area along the bottom that I fell in love with immediately. Though I claim I'm not a pink girl, this color is great. I tried it with a pair of denim shorts for casual wear and a white skirt and wedges for a fancier look.

Ultimate decision: Again, great color. I love it with white and wish I had tried it with my white or grey jeans. Nonetheless, it looks decent with both bottoms and I feel very classy and girly in it. It's kind of swing-like, but not swingy enough so that it feels like a tent.

Item #4: Skies are Blue- Calypso Racerback Blouse, Orange

This is a lightweight almost-sheer-but-not-quite bright orange top with a white pattern. It screams summer! I tried it with my lazy grey jeans, beads, and a mini-ponytail (still getting used to my practically non-existant hair), and again with my white shorts that I still hate but haven't found anything better to replace them yet.

 Ultimate decision: Racerback tops are my favorite for summer. I love the lightness of this top, and I even like that it's somewhat baggy but not enormous. Color and price are wonderful! Need more flattering white shorts, though.

Item #5: Eight Sixty- Coretta Maxi Dress, Blue

And then there's this. This was the crazy blue pattern I saw when I opened the box, and it really is crazy. My stylist Kirsten recommended this for some of the summer festivals that are coming up, and it really seemed perfect! It has blue double straps and a slightly flowy skirt. I tried it alone and again with a denim jacket for those cool summer nights. 

 Ultimate decision: This is just a really cool dress. I love how the patterns of the top and bottom clash and compliment at the same time. It's funky and pretty, and I feel great in it. It shows off a little more than I would normally, but for summer festivals who cares? The only issue is it's about 3 inches too long. This is not new for me :) and I'm very fortunate to have a very talented seamstress for a mom. Maybe she could help me out here?

So, this is the first time that I've really liked every item in my box! My question is: which of these, if any, are worth keeping? Should I keep them all? Whaddya think? This fix has definitely pumped up my excitement for the next box!

As always, if you're interested in trying out Stitch Fix, please sign up under my link as it will get me a referral credit. Thanks!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Bathroom Update!!

So, with as many times as I've said "tile coming soon," I'm pretty sure I owe you something. My last reno post was in March! Sorry. If you are friends with me, see me at work, or just read my stuff on Facebook, you've probably heard about some of our complications, so I will just put it out there: I'm very over this bathroom! Fortunately, we are just about done, so I won't sulk for too long.

Last time we talked, I had done some done some spackling work to the walls and gave you a rough budget of what would go into this super small "practice" bathroom. I had a $400 budget that we have since definitely broken, but it turns out Adam had a higher budget that I didn't know about. As much as it hurts to relive the horrors, in the spirit of honesty I will start with the good, move to the bad and ugly, but then come back to good again. :)

So we began doing demo in mid-March thinking that we could have it all ripped out in a day or two, could re-lay tile, and could have things all set and done in about 2 weeks. Oh, how I wish it were so! Here are our fun reno pics. It's really enjoyable to break things on purpose!

We pulled out the old toilet, vanity, medicine cabinet, and ugly light. When we ripped up the tile, we were left with a horrible concrete mess. The slab underneath was uneven and the mortar from the previous tile job would not come up. So, we got to chiseling it off with some power tools. Even though the tile removal took about 2 hours, the mortar removal was way more complicated. It took about 3 weeks of loud noises and floor drilling, an air compressor repair, some new saw bits, and some likely-to-be-angry neighbors, but we were finally left with a lumpy, bare-ish floor. Yay.


We then set to pour new concrete. I had read about self-leveling compound, which seemed TERRIFYING. There seemed to be a high probability of screwing up and having to jackhammer it all out again. I watched videos, chatted with friends doing their own renos (thanks Matt!), and read a load of reviews in preparation. Finally, I felt brave enough to go for it and bought the stuff from Home Depot for about $20 + primer. Basically, you clean your crappy floors really well, prime them and let them dry. Make sure to block off the doorway and toilet hole so it doesn't flow everywhere once you pour it. To lay it, you mix water and this powder to make a wet concrete, pour it in, squish it around, and pray that it gets level. Easy, right?

Freshly poured concrete. Beautiful.

Yes, until our water valve breaks and spews water all over this lovely, wet concrete floor about 40 seconds after pouring it. *sob* So much for our proud DIYer moment.

See concrete splatter on walls and in shower.

So, we used the wait-and-see approach since there was nothing else we could do. Even though we couldn't shower that day, it actually turned out just fine with only some mini un-level areas. This sort of thing can be compensated for with a thicker layer of tile mortar, so we were ok with it. We ended up laying tile the next day.

 I actually really enjoy laying tile, it's like a huge puzzle. Adam felt bad that it appeared he was just watching me tetris tile while he had a beer, so he made sure we all knew that he was the one cutting it and making sure all the lovely pieces fit. We make a good team :) Our trick here was to dry-fit everything with spacers first to make sure we had all the right pieces in the right spot, since we knew our walls were not straight and perfectly angled. It was super time consuming, but it made the perfectionist in me very pleased. Once we made all accommodations for that, we were ready to "glue." 

Bad angle, but tile is being glued.

Gluing calls for another powder mix, which we fortunately had left over from doing our kitchen backsplash. We had to work fast because the stuff dries pretty quickly. Of course, we ran out with 4 tiles left to glue in, so that was a pain. But we got it done the next morning and let things set.

The next day, I painted the walls while the mortar was drying. The pricey Benjamin Moore paint, called Mineral Ice, covered all the weird spackled spots pretty well. We chose a light grey that brightens everything up, while still having a little color. It's bluish in some lights, slightly greenish in others. My cat was so happy with the result that she rolled around on the new tile for a while, and then looked at me like I was the crazy one.

With fresh paint and dry tile mortar, we were ready to grout! We chose Oyster Grey from Home Depot, thinking that a light grey would be easier to keep clean. It always looks much darker when wet, but lightens up nicely after 24 hours. Zoe approved!

Hubs spent his day off cutting and nailing in pretty, new, tall baseboards. We had planned to reuse the old ones, but it would've been such a pain to pry out all the nails, sand them down, repaint them, and nail them back in, so we decided to splurge and get new ones. I snapped a pic of Hubs painting them as proof of his hard work, since he admits painting is his least favorite thing to do.


Our last steps are putting in the new toilet, the pedestal sink, a new mirror, and a new light. Turns out while trying to move quickly, I accidentally installed said light to match the location of the old cabinet... so we need to move it about 3 inches to the right. Nothing is ever easy. 

My original budget was $400, Adam's was $500. Clearly we can see who's the stingier of the family unit. But anyway, before going on, let's check the situation to see if I need to start freaking out:
  • Wall paint: estimated at ~$30 at Benjamin Moore. Actually $50. Yowza that stuff is expensive!
  • Self-leveling concrete: not included in estimate. Actually $25 + $9 for primer. Both LevelQuik.
  • Tile floor: estimated at ~$60 at Home Depot. Actually $35 for Marazzi tile and $15 for grout.
  • Baseboards: not included in estimate. Actually $20 at HD for MDF.
  • Pedestal sink: estimated at ~$60. Actually $54 for Glacier Bay pedestal.
  • Lighting: estimated at ~$30. Actually $50 at HD for a really great lookin Hampton Bay piece.
  • Toilet: estimated at ~$100 at Home Depot. Actual price TBD
  • Faucet: estimated at ~$30. Actual price TBD
  • Mirror: estimated at ~$30 at Lowes. Actual price, dunno. Turns out the back-up mirror was broken, so that plan won't work. Boo.
  • TP holder: estimated at ~$20. Actual price TBD
  • Towel bar: estimated at ~$20. Still undecided about towel storage, might just go with some over-the-door hooks that we already have. TBD
Estimated reno (so far): $180           
Actual reno (so far): $258             
Outlook: not so great, minor freak out. We are hoping to cut corners elsewhere, so we'll see!