Irreverent Reviews: Nadine West June

My Nadine West shipment is quickly becoming my favorite part of the monthly mail. The life of a grad student is dependent on small pleasures. This month’s shipment was not a hit, mostly because of some personal preferences/needs.

As always, Nadine West is a free monthly clothing/accessory subscription. You only pay for what you keep, and returns are free.

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Summertime Glasses- $19.99

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Oh man, I love these shades! They are awesome! And I immediately knew I wouldn’t be keeping them. I generally only wear sunglasses when I’m driving and it is pretty mandatory that I have prescription lenses in when I’m operating a vehicle. Since I don’t fuck with contacts, I’ll stick with my stylish blue prescription sunglasses. I did make a “no sunglasses” note, since they’ll just inevitably be sent back no matter how much I like the frames.

So cute!

So cute!

Blue Enamel Studs- $9.99

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I really liked the color of these earrings, and there’s a fun mod-ness about them. I don’t wear studs though, thanks to a childhood trauma where I pushed my earring backs in too far and my ear tried to assimilate them. Fish hooks or hoops for me!

Static Electricity Top- $22.49

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The top was strange. It felt like it was made of scrub fabric, and wasn’t dissimilar in cut. It didn’t fit well.

This month I kept nothing. The sunglasses and earrings I would have kept if I didn’t need prescription glasses/wore studs. The shirts are getting closer to my style, if this one were a bit nicer in terms of quality I probably would have kept it.

As always I recommend trying out Nadine West since it’s  free! As always, you’re encouraged to use my affiliate link if you want to sign up!

Irreverent Reviews: Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix is one of the many curated subscription boxes on the market, this one dealing with clothes. Each box is $20 and you can chose to have the delivered monthly, every three months, or on an un-automated schedule you decide yourself (the option I selected for the time being). The $20 fee is applied as a credit towards whatever you want to buy from the box and there’s an additional discount if you keep all 5 items. Anything that you don’t want to keep you can send back for free.

Each box comes with an “order” sheet, detailing what was selected and the price, as well as an illustrated styling guide that provides ideas for how to wear each piece.

In my continued quest to build a more professional wardrobe, I decided to give Stitch Fix a go. It’s difficult because I don’t really gravitate towards truly professional clothing. That’s why I need help from stylists.

The items in a Stitch Fix can be rather pricey, even considering the credits and the discounts. I couldn’t afford to keep the entirety of my box (valued at about $300 before credits/discounts) which is ok because I didn’t care for everything in the first place, though there was one clear winner and I felt like my stylist was on track with what I like.

I'm trying to be better about photographing the packaging!

I’m trying to be better about photographing the packaging!

Moda Luxe Palermo Stitch Detail Clutch- $38

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This sturdy grey clutch is nice. It’s one of the designs that can be a clutch (folded over with a magnetic clip), but inside there’s a gold chain that can be attached you can use it as a more traditional purse. I like bags, and I do wish I had a good clutch, but logically I have a hard enough time remembering to transfer my epi-pen from bag to bag. ER doctors like to yell at you when you do that.

Margaret M Emer Jacquard Tall Straight Leg Pant- $98

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These pants were a hard “nope,” and not just because of the price point. I liked the jacquard design, but these were more leggings than pants. They fit over my large calves in a way skinny jeans won’t but still felt more like a “skinny” than my preferred straight leg or boot cut. They were also oddly bunchy in the crotch. No debate needed, they went back.

I did like the design though

I did like the design though

Papermoon Taluca Printed Pencil Skirt- $58

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Oh the pencil skirt. I love them but am just so inept at styling them. This was incredibly comfortable and I did enjoy it. The patterns made it very versatile but I just feared not having an appropriate blouse to style it with. I’m trying to minimize and have enough closet orphans as it is. If I could have assured myself that this would not join their ranks I’d have kept it, but since I  couldn’t it went back and I am a bit sad for it… though I do feel responsible!

Brixon NY Jarred Lace Detail Cap Sleeve Blouse- $68

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It’s a darker blue in real life (“cobalt”), but this shirt gave me an “oh yes” moment like I had with the necklace from my first Nadine West package. This top is total perfection, it’s my favorite color, it’s versatile and I can feel good wearing it to work or out, but it also has personality. It should be worn with a strapless bra, which is a bit of a con, but if I wear it to work my arms and shoulders will spend all day covered by a jacket anyways. I kept this piece, it was too good to pass up (and really made my wallet glad that the whole box wasn’t this on point!)

41Hawthorn Teegan Draped Blazer- $78

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This roomy blazer was actually more comfortable than my more conventional blazer! Still there were some issues that made it a no-go. I wish it had full long sleeves, they roll and snap up, but unrolled they are still rather short. The draped style was comfortable but I prefer a blazer that will zip or button in the front for more security/warmth. I also liked the inner details (polka dots, bright blue piping) better than the outside, and no one but me would get to see the inside! It was nice and not a full miss, but there was enough to make me feel comfortable sending this one back.

I think this particular type of digital curation (that’s a library school joke) is a little fraught. My stylist has my notes and my pinterest board to go off of, and my pinterest board is less practical workwear and more “If I were a vengeful fairy queen with an excuse to wear capes all the time.” As a picky person, especially one trying to fulfill specific wardrobe needs, I’m really pleased when things are in the right field- I don’t expect perfection. While I haven’t scheduled my next Stitch Fix yet, I know that I will. And I’m very excited to see what else is in store because even though this box was not 100% wins it was still great and I did feel like my stylist overall “got” me.

If you’re interested in trying Stitch Fix feel free to use my referral link. I think it’s definitely worth checking out, especially since you don’t need to commit to a recurring shipment, and you’re able to apply your styling fee to your purchase.

Blogging for Books: The Gracekeepers

It’s not a contest, but so far this book has been the best of the ones I’ve received from the Blogging for Books program.

From the Penguin/Random House official description: “For readers of The Night Circus and Station Eleven, a lyrical and absorbing debut set in a world covered by water

As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, laying the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean. Alone on her island, she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long-ago mistake that still haunts her. Meanwhile, North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next, entertaining in exchange for sustenance.

In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland (“landlockers”) and those who float on the sea (“damplings”), loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish, until a sudden storm offshore brings change to both their lives–offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future.

Inspired in part by Scottish myths and fairytales, The Gracekeepers tells a modern story of an irreparably changed world: one that harbors the same isolation and sadness, but also joys and marvels of our own age.”

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My Take: The Gracekeepers is an exquisite debut novel from Scottish writer Kirsty Logan. Logan imagines a world where the land is scarce and valuable. “Landlockers,” are those who are allowed to live on the land and the “Damplings” live on boats and travel from archipelago to archipelago. The story is told in a variety of different voices but the two main characters are Callanish and North. Callanish is a Landlocker who has left her home island to tend a Graceyard- an at sea graveyard. Callanish performs a ritual for passing boats with deceased and tends to the graces- birds bred to be weak and shortlived to mark the passage of grief. North is a Dampling circus performer on the circus boat Excalibur. North is a bear dancer, which is a big draw for the circus as not many bears are left in the world.

Logan’s world-building is near perfect. There’s not a lot of “telling” but through details about distance traveled, descriptions of the achipelagos, and discussion of the revival ships and the other types of boats you gain a complete picture of the world inhabited by our characters.

North and Callanish are brought together by death but they bond through something much deeper. While I’m not typically a “shipper” I was definitely hoping for a Korrasami-esque ending for these two. Did I get it? I’m not telling, you’ll have to read and find out!

Even the most “bit” players are fleshed out into full characters with motivations and feelings. I must admit ignorance to much of Scottish folklore, so I’m sure I missed a lot of references, but it didn’t take away from the magical feel of the entire book.

“‘Some  islands don’t even let damplings come above the blackshore. If they want to perform, they can do it in the daytime with waves lapping at their ankles like they’re meant. Those people belong in the water. They’re dirtying the land.’ But Callanish knew that would never work. The circus would not look good in the bland, bright day: its colors would dage against the clouds, spitty rain would threaten the fire-breather, the acrobats’ sodden feet would make them shiver so much they missed their catches. What would be the point of an imperfect circus?” [pg 3].

Fortunately, The Gracekeepers is a perfect circus.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review

The Blue Piano

I’m on “summer vacation” until the 22nd, and then summer classes begin! I’ve taken this opportunity to develop a life-impairing case of exhaustion and recognize that I need to put my insurance to good use and find a doctor and go to them. Admitting is half the battle, right?

In the meantime though, I hope I can get caught up on some of the stuff I want to talk about- it’s mostly reviews because this past term friend my brain completely.

The Blue Piano is a shop I connected with through this blog (!) and outside of our commenting and following I was also exposed to her work in the inaugural Indie Craft Sampler (review here).

It has been an embarrassingly long time since I made and received my purchase (back before my birthday in April), but it arrived quickly in an adorable package!

The Blue Piano sells an assortment of jewelry, crocheted goods, and things that I guess could be categorized as knick-knacks. There’s a whimsical, textile-based approach to most (if not all) the pieces. I hate to use the word ‘twee’ because I feel like it has such negative connotations, but there’s some good-twee here. It’s fun and fashionably without being overly adult or too childish.

I have a variation of the “woodland cuff” made with the little “geo pines” fox (but don’t quote me on that). It’s adorable! It’s snug on my wrist and doesn’t jostle around a lot, it’s solidly made and also adorable. It came with a bonus pair of matching earrings (which I re-purposed as a birthday gift to a friend, since I have a stud-back aversion) and a business card magnet.

Business card magnets are seriously the best thing ever. I just recycle plain paper business cards because I have no place to put it! Stick your info on a magnet and I’ll think of you every time my internet bill is late (often).

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Irreverent Reviews: Nadine West, May

Nadine West is a free clothing/accessory subscription service. For no monthly fee you get a shipment of about three pieces at various price points. You’re only charged for what you keep and you can return anything you don’t want for no fee. It’s my favorite thing.

I’ve received two other Nadine West packages, the first wowed me with one of the most beautiful statement necklaces, the second struck out all around. They set the bar incredibly high with the first month, I’m not sure they’ll ever be able to top it!

Let’s see how they did this May:

The List

The List

The “Firecrack Tank” was a miss, but I’m really glad they sent it to me! If you’ll remember, I had “meh, I don’t know.” feelings about the previous two tops I received. Nadine West encourages you to write notes about what you did/didn’t like so they can improve your packages. This top was sheer and while some people are masters of layering- I’m not. Knowing exactly what I didn’t like about this top meant I could leave an annotation and know that I was giving constructive feedback, getting closer to them sending me the perfect item that I’ll snap right up!

As it is, if the tank were solid I might have kept it because the colors are so fun! And if it had arrived just a few days earlier, I would have gifted it to a friend for her birthday.

Red, white, blue... and purple!

Red, white, blue… and purple!

The “Take me to the Tower” pendant was also a miss. I’ve been to Paris, I like Paris, but Paris doesn’t stand out to me as an overly romanticized city. If I were going to wear a landmark as a pendant, I’d be more likely to pick Christ the Redeemer (Brazil) or Angkor Wat (Cambodia). Something a little less cliche. I’m not crazy about the long leather strap, it’s a little more “festival” than I tend to wear.

Maybe my next apartment will have adequate lighting?

Maybe my next apartment will have adequate lighting?

The “Lolli Loops” are so fun! I kept these awesome hoop earrings. They scream “summer fun” to me, and I can think of a ton of different outfits I can wear them with- from a tank and shorts, to my awesome black sundress, to a more formal and work appropriate look.

It looks very pink here, but very red in person

It looks very pink here, but very red in person

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They’re not too big to be bulky but large enough to make a statement. They have the kind of back I like and they’re gold- a metal I don’t have a lot of, so I’m always excited when I get a gold piece I can add to my collection (even though silver is my favorite). Earrings are a “rarely” item for me, because I’m so picky about the backs. This was a great pair to get.

I highly recommend Nadine West! Even if you keep everything you get it still works out to be the same or cheaper than a lot of other fashion subs and even the things I haven’t kept I’ve been pleased with in terms of quality. If you’d like to check them out you can always use my Affiliate Link!