Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Quick Review & Share: Commodity Goods


I don't remember where I first heard about Commodity Goods - I actually think it was a pin I saw on pinterest that got me interested. Commodity Goods recently got their start through kickstarter. They are a small company located in California that makes high end, easy to wear scents for men and women. Right now, they have 10 for men and 10 for women. The names of the perfumes alone hooked me - with scents like "Rain" "Tea" and "Gold" I was definitely curious.

I wish that they had more of their backstory on their actual website so I could learn more about them as a company, their process, etc. What I really loved is the ability to order a Fit Kit - you get all 10 of their samples (you choose male or female) for only $9 plus free shipping. Then, if you decide to order a larger bottle or a trio of 3 small bottles, you get your $9 credited towards your purchase. They also have a cute mascot - Eau de Bear. Here's what my Fit Kit looked like (after I had tried all of them and written all over the packaging):


Each is individually sealed in its own pouch so that the scents don't all blend together. Here's my (sort of) quick rundown on each one, with the top notes listed, in order of favorite to least favorite. The key is to spray them on yourself and wear them around for a little bit. Your own body chemistry makes it smell different than spraying it into the air. Each scent will also smell different on you than it does on your sister, best friend, etcetera. I'm not a scent expert by any means. I hardly actually wear much perfume day to day because I work in close quarters with several other coworkers in a cubicle. The last thing I want to do is upset people's sensitive noses. I was really on the search for something light that I could wear every day. A "signature scent" if you will.



1. Tea - Something about this one reminds me of my honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. And Scott actually agreed! Definitely a keeper. Top Notes: Citrus Accord, Sicilian Lemon, Bergamot.

2. Rain - Very fresh smelling and clean. Easy to wear. Top Notes: Italian Bergamot, Lemon Verbena - ha, guess I have a type.

3. Ivy - Based off the name alone, I was not expecting to like this one, but it's pleasantly floral and sweet without being cloying. Top Notes: Black Currant, Pink Pepper, Lime Blossom, Coconut

4. Magnolia - I actually go back and forth on whether I like this better than Ivy or not. I love our magnolia trees in the spring. They are so beautiful and bloom for just a short period of time here in KC. This one reminds me of that. Top Notes: Water Lily, Dewy Greens, Pink Grapefruit, Eucalyptus

5. Pinot - I actually loved this scent. However, to me it smells exactly like Tom Ford's Black Orchid Voile de Fleur, which I have a large bottle of, and do not need more. It's a heavy scent perfect for winter evenings or special occasions. Definitely too much for daytime usage. Top Notes: Bergamot, White Peach, Orange Flower

6. Mimosa - I wanted this one to be a little sweeter and more citrusy, but I was slightly underwhelmed. I liked it, but not enough. Top Notes: Red Orange, Mandarin, Grapefruit

7. Gold - Wearing this one, Scott actually told me I smelled good. It seems to be one of their more popular fragrances, but it was too much "fake sweet" for me. I told Scott it reminded me of old timey candies...like Necco wafers or something. Top Notes: Bergamot, Juniper Berries, Camphor

8. Dew - Unremarkable to me. I liked the name, but wasn't too impressed with the scent. It was too traditionally perfumey for me. I'm making up words right and left today! Top Notes: Italian Mandarin, Peach Nectar, Melon, Pear

9. Paper - This scent was... interesting. I didn't necessarily like it on me, but it definitely evoked a nostalgic feeling. It reminded me of old antique shops and libraries. This one might be better suited on a man. Top Notes: Iso-E Super

10. Moss - Nope. This one was the only one I put on and immediately knew it didn't work for me. Top Notes: Ozone, Petitigrain, Italian Bergamot, Elemi

I will say I appreciate all the illustration work that went into creating their site. As an illustrator, it's always nice to see other people getting work for a project like that! I am very curious on the men's scents as well. If you're up to it - go ahead and order the fit kit for only $9. I think that the large bottles are a little expensive. There's not a scent that blew me away so much that I would pay $108 for it (less the $9 fit kit). However, you can order a trio of scents for $48 (only $39 after you minus the fit kit price) which I think is pretty reasonable.

*I paid for the fit kit myself and was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Golden Tote March 2014 Review

Image via fashionista.com
Yes, two blog posts in one month?! I'm out of control! In the ongoing effort to improve my 30-year old wardrobe, I decided to try Golden Tote in addition to Stitch Fix. Golden Tote is different than Stitch Fix in that you pick one of two price points: $49 or $149. For $49, you pick one item, and Golden Tote surprises you with 1-2 more items. For the $149 tote, you pick 2 items, and Golden Tote adds 5-6 more (up to a $600 value). And of course the clothes come packaged oh-so-cutely in a reusable Golden Tote Bag (you can never have too many totes floating around).

For my first experience, I went with the $49 tote, that way I wasn't out too much if I didn't like the other items Golden Tote added for me. The item I picked out was the Retro Chic Jersey Tunic (the one I picked is coral and navy as opposed to the teal version below):

Image via Goldentote.com
You can buy this in their boutique as an add on item for $30, but it retails elsewhere online for $49.99 - basically the price of my entire tote. The two items that were added for me included this pretty Poridge Duck Tee (sold at Anthropologie for $30):

Image via anthropologie.com
 And this lace bralette found at ModCloth for $20 (Mine was a pretty light blue, not the color pictured):

image via modcloth.com
So all totaled, the value of my tote was about $100 - well worth the $49 plus shipping that I paid. The duck tee is super soft and has a plain gray front. I was a little disappointed to see a lace bralette in my tote, but when I tried it on, it was SO pretty and will look very feminine under some of my lower cut tops. Overall I am very happy with the quality and the style of the items from Golden Tote. I would love to do the $149 next time, but will probably have to sell a few more watercolors so I can afford it!

If you want to try Golden Tote, their sales start the first Monday of every month, and you have to hurry because items sell out quickly!

*This post contains referral links. I paid for this Golden Tote myself, and the opinions in this post are entirely my own.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Stitch Fix March 2014 Review

So, I realize my blog has become my own personal junk drawer corner of the internet. I rarely open it, and when I do I find things like old pens and tubes of lipstick and dead batteries. I just haven't had the desire to blog lately, so I really only come here to share things I think are truly noteworthy and good.

I've been in a style rut lately and have decided 2014 is the year of quality over quantity. I purged my closet and am dedicated to only buying pieces that are good quality and will get a lot of mileage (goodbye, Forever21..it's been fun). Especially now that I'm 30, I'm more determined than ever to build a grown up wardrobe. Plus, I find every time I go to buy something, it's gray...or black...or white. I'd love to see what someone ELSE would pick out for me to force me to try something different.

Enter Stitch Fix - a personalized shopping service that sends you five items based on an extensive style profile questionnaire. The service is $20 for the styling fee, and if you purchase an item sent to you, your styling fee goes towards the purchase of your item(s). If you buy nothing, you forfeit the fee. But if you buy all five items, you get 20% off your entire order. I thought it would be super fun to try, since the items are delivered to your door, and you can try them on in the comfort of your own home. You simply return the items you don't want in the provided pre-paid envelope.

Here's what my box looked like after my first open and the clothes inside are folded nicely and wrapped in tissue paper:



My stylist was Jennifer, and I think she did a good job listening to what I wanted. I requested feminine prints and color and wanted to start getting into spring and away from anything dreary-winter related. She also noted that I was a jeans-every-day type of girl, so there were no cocktail dresses in my fix :). My stitch fix order included a note from my stylist, a style sheet with ways to wear each of my pieces, and a price list.



Here are the items I received and my impression of each:

With toddler hand photo bomb. He grabbed these right as I was snapping with my camera.
1. Bay to Baubles Alhambra Embellished Triangle Chain Dangle Earrings ($32) - Pretty, and I don't have a lot of that color in my jewelry collection currently. However, they were a little heavy, and my ears can be sensitive (I didn't put them in). Plus, I wouldn't pay that much for trendy earrings. STATUS: Returned.

Back of tank

Front of Tank
 
2. Ezra Evita Print-Back Mixed Material Top ($44) - I love the print on the back of this tank. It was unfortunately way too big, though, as you can see in the picture below. I went in and adjusted my profile to make the tops I receive a little smaller. The material was also something similar to what I would find at Forever21... which is exactly what I'm trying to get away from. STATUS: returned.


3. Kensie Jeans - Johnny Skinny Ankle Biter Jeans ($88) - Pictured with the tank are a great pair of dark navy skinny jeans. They are a perfect length for flats or heels and they have a lot of stretch. These were definitely husband approved. Plus, you can never have too many pairs of great fitting jeans, which I wear every day. STATUS: Kept. 



4. Pomelo Wrenn V-Neck Jersey Top ($44) - Nope. Nope, nope, nope. There was nothing I liked about this top other than the beautiful K-State Purple. I hated the fit, the cut of the sleeves, and the neckline. Plus it was too big. STATUS: returned.



5. Tulle Teddy Floral Blazer ($68) - I really wanted to like this blazer. I like the IDEA of this, but not the way it actually looked on. I loved the print and think it would look pretty on a pencil skirt. The weight of it was really light and would have been perfect for spring. However, the cut was, once again, huge, and much too boxy on my long torso. It made me look like a Golden Girl (no disrespect, Betty White). STATUS: returned.

I'm glad I found one piece that I really liked. And I can also admit that I'm glad I didn't love everything or I would be broke. Also... every time I wear skinny jeans, I feel like this:

)

So, overall, I can say that my first Stitch Fix experience was definitely FUN, and I will definitely do it again with clearer sizing guidelines. If you want to schedule one for yourself, feel free to use any of the links in this post. I do get a referral credit if you sign up which would go towards a future Stitch Fix. If I do it again, I will probably request the same stylist.

Have you done Stitch Fix before? What was your experience like? Next up, I'm doing Golden Tote, which lets you pick one item and they pick the others. Stay tuned towards the end of the month for that review!

Monday, November 25, 2013

DIY Craft: Personalized Santa Bag


I saw a really cute customized "Santa Bag" on Pinterest a while back and looked into buying one. The one I found ran between $50 - $100, which was a little too pricey for me. So I looked into Etsy, and there are some cute ones on there as well for around $30 - $50. Which now, after completing this project, doesn't seem so unreasonable. The ones you can buy are normally screen-printed, but I completed this project with the new Sharpie Stained fabric markers. They have a fine tip which was perfect for the small details.

Here's what I used:
• 1 large canvas drawstring laundry bag I got on Amazon for $11
• 3 Sharpie Stained Markers (about $2 each - 2 red and 1 black)
Artist's graphite transfer paper (I already had this, but a pack of 20 sheets is around $9)


Steps:
1. Print out your design you would like to use. I designed mine in Adobe Illustrator and printed it out on several sheets of paper (since the overall bag is 24" x 36") and taped them together to recreate my large design. If you're feeling bold, you can freehand your design or use stencils.

2. Use your transfer paper underneath your design (the graphite side goes down onto your fabric - practice if you've never used this before), and trace your design using a ball point pen so the design will transfer onto the fabric. When you're done, you will have a pencil outline on your fabric. You can find out more information about using transfer paper HERE.

3. Simply fill in the outline with the sharpie fabric markers. It's just like a coloring book :).



Tips:
* You may want to wash and iron your laundry bag before use - just in case it shrinks. There were also several wrinkles in my fabric I didn't think about before I started and had to work around them when I was using my fabric pens. Next time I will iron first!
* When using the fabric markers, use a piece of cardboard inside the laundry bag to make sure your ink doesn't bleed through to the other side.

I'd love to see finished products if you do this project!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Happy Friday

Just a couple of quick announcements.

1. I've finally joined the ranks and started promoting my Etsy shop on Facebook. Feel free to go ahead and "like" me: https://www.facebook.com/homemadeheartland

If I get to 100 likes, I'll offer a promo code for the holidays!

2. People, I have been crafting again. I've got some good ones coming up, but they're all holiday appropriate, and since Thanksgiving isn't even here yet, I'll save them for a couple of weeks.

Until then, I'll leave you with this video, and a "Happy Friday!"

video

Friday, November 1, 2013

Obligatory Halloween Post

We had a great October! We had something going on every weekend with our families, so it will be a nice change of pace to just relax at home this coming weekend. This year, Judah went as legendary KSU coach Bill Snyder:


We used mousse and baby powder for the gray hair and hot glued some felt to a headset so it wouldn't hurt his head. He didn't really want to carry the clipboard (his "playbook"). This is the only picture I could get where he wasn't crying while holding it. He also was having no part of glasses or me drawing any sort of wrinkles on his face.

He's still too young for traditional trick-or-treating so we headed over to my Grandparent's house for a little one-house trick or treat.



You can see from the photos that the "gray hair" wasn't the most long-lasting solution and was only on the top of his head. At least he smelled good ;)

I think he could get used to the whole "treat" aspect of Halloween:


I hope everyone had a treat and chocolate-filled Halloween and that no one got tricked with eggs or TP! I'm looking forward to next year when Judah can really get into the spirit of the Holiday and do some real door-to-door celebrating.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

On The Menu: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup



I'm sorry I'm such a terrible blogger. It's been what? Two months? It just that life seems to pass by so quickly with a toddler. What on earth did Scott and I spend so much time doing before? I suspect there was a lot of TV and movie watching involved. Now our weekends are filled with things like air shows:


...and food truck wars:
 
 

...and zoos:
 
 
...and College Football Games:


So, you'll have to forgive me if blogging is spotty at best. And with all these things going on, I find I'm more and more likely to need a quick and easy recipe. I've been scouring the web and pinterest for REALLY good crock pot and slow cooker recipes. The slow cooker and I have a love-hate relationship. I've managed to burn chicken in a crock pot before. Plus, it's hard to find recipes that can truly cook all day and not turn to mush during my 8-5 workday.

The most forgiving recipes seem to be soups and chillis. I've seen several slow cooker tortilla soups, and this is my own amalgamation of several of them.

INGREDIENTS / DIRECTIONS:
• 2 - 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, slightly thawed, whole
• 5 cups chicken stock
• 1 small white onion, chopped
• 1 can mild Rotel (or other brand diced tomatoes and green chilis), drained
• 1 15oz. can whole kernel corn, drained
• 1 packet reduced sodium taco seasoning

Combine the above in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. When the time is up, remove the chicken and shred and add back into the crock pot. Then add:

• 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
• Juice of 1/2 Lime

Cook on low another half hour or so (optional). Garnish with:

• Shredded cheese (we used Colby jack)
• Tortilla chips
• Avocado chunks