October 24, 2014

Le Tote-Part Un

A dear friend sent me a belated and very fun birthday gift, a two month subscription to Le Tote. You ask, what is Le Tote? Well, for $49 a month it gives you access to unlimited "totes" of clothing that you select for your "closet". 

What happens next? A tote is sent to you with 3 items of clothing and 2 accessories that you have added to your virtual closet. You then have the choice to wear the clothes and send them back for another tote or to keep items and buy them at the "member price". It's a bit like Stitch Fix, but with the option to send the clothing back after you have worn it. 

I was really excited to select the items for my closet and receive my first tote. Without further adieu, here is my "Le Tote" Review. 

I received the following items. 

I didn't even try this shirt on. It would be great for warm weather, but it's cold and rainy here in Portland. I think if they collected more information about style preferences they would be able to send pieces more suited for the recipient. 

This shirt fit well, but was a cheap material and didn't feel any better than a shirt you would find at Old Navy. In fact, I have an Old Navy button down like this that feels higher quality and cost far less than $54.

I didn't wear either the bracelet or the necklace as I decided to send my tote back for other options after just two days.

The only thing I wore from my tote was this sweatshirt. 

I really liked the "quilting" and the elbow patches, but the quality was terrible. It was polyester and rayon and felt cheap. It was itchy and uncomfortable against my skin. I would NEVER spend $54 on something of this quality when I could easily find a similar style in %100 cotton for a similar price.

While I love the idea of this and think it is a super fun gift idea, so far I'm not overly impressed. I have another tote on its way, and I am hoping part deux will be better!

Stay tuned!

October 23, 2014

What I Wore: Tall Black Boots

My trip to Paris could also be called the jackpot Zara trip (remember the statement necklace and vest). I've been slowly rolling out my finds to you (hey, we've got to keep it interesting over here) and have been waiting for the right weather to break out the black stretch leather boots that made their way home with me (also wearing Uniqlo black cashmere sweater, J.Crew pencil skirt, and Zara vest from earlier posts and my new Danielle Nicole bag). 

I spotted these boots in the window walking down the street and knew it was meant to be. I've got a great pair of Cole Haan brown riding boots and have been on the hunt for a black pair. They go up a little over the knee, have great elastic in the back, and are crazy comfortable. 

With my Paris Euro discount, I paid $140, just under the U.S. price of $179. If you're in the market for tall black boots, you might consider a trip to Zara. I dare you to just by one thing. 

October 22, 2014

C & C in the Kitchen: Reboot Recipes

Earlier this month Regan mentioned that I'm doing a 6-week reboot run by a longtime friend, Katie of Dietitian on a Mission. It's too late to sign up, but I'm sure she'll do one again in the future - and we'll make sure to give you a heads up. Here's the Reader's Digest version (minus the awesome recipes, meal plans, and motivational Facebook Group) - week one you're a vegetarian and a vegan (but you can have eggs)(no alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and gluten all 6 weeks), week two add fish, week three and four add poultry, week four and five add red meat/pork and natural/unrefined sugar sources. I'm at the beginning of week three and it's going great so far. I've had 2 or 3 cheats (namely a glass of wine when visiting with friends), but I kept it at one, and that's success in my mind. I haven't succumb to sugar, which is my biggest win - if you know me, I have a killer sweet tooth. Overall I feel really good and it's getting me in the kitchen and meal planning/prepping a lot more. I thought I'd share a few of my favorite re-boot friendly recipes.

This Chickpea Coconut Curry from Oh My Veggies was delicious and Dr. B approved. I added spinach at the end before serving to give an extra dose of veggies. This went on the Pinterest "made and loved"board, and will definitely make repeat appearances.

This is my go-to butternut squash soup (I add apple as well). It's ridiculously good, easy to make, and reboot friendly. A win, win, win. We had it for dinner last night. 

Oh My Veggies freezer-friendly veggie loaded chili was also a huge hit. And just like the recipe says, I've got a bag stored away for one of those nights I don't want to cook. 

And just because you're rebooting doesn't mean you have to deprive yourself of a treat. This date-sweetened banana bread is perfect for fall. And if you're like me and LOVE everything pumpkin, this maple pumpkin custard will do the trick (I substituted dates for the maple syrup, but will definitely be adding it week 5 and 6). 

Happy healthy eating! 

October 21, 2014

An Ode to Oscar

Oscar de la Renta passed away yesterday at 82 years old after a long battle with cancer. I have been a big fan of Oscar de la Renta for many, many years. I first posted on his designs in May of 2009 (post here) referring to him as "Oscar the Great".

Here are just a few of his incredible designs that have graced the "pages" of this blog over the past years.

And finally..my two most favorite Oscar de la Renta gowns of ALL TIME!

Rest in peace Oscar. Your legacy will live on forever.

October 20, 2014

I Need Some Courage

We don't watch much TV. I used to have a more than a handful of recordings in my DVR but now it seems like there are only a few shows that I record and watch with any regularity. 

One of the shows that my husband and I watch together is The Profit. In each episode, Marcus Lemonis goes into struggling businesses to try and save them. He makes an offer that's impossible to refuse; his cash for a piece of the business and a percentage of the profits. I highly recommend watching it. 

In last week's episode Marcus invested money in a business called COURAGE B. Besides an online store, they have 6 retail locations: New York, NY, Greenwich, CT, Bethesda, MD, Palm Beach, FL, and Aspen, CO. He totally whipped them into shape, and I have no doubt their business is thriving and that tons of people like me rushed to their online site. 

I'm obsessed with their signature handbag, the COURAGE Bag. It comes in 7 colors and is water and stain resistant. Sounds like just the bag for my lifestyle. It's going on my Christmas wish list (is it too early to be making my list?). 

October 17, 2014

What I Wore: A Little Lux

Layering is my favorite part about fall. Vests, sweaters, scarves, jewelry, you name it. The added bonus, you get to layer without wearing tights. Every outfit needs a little luxury, whether that's a necklace or a cashmere sweater. For me in this case, it's both! 

In Paris I stopped into Uniqlo during a crazy sale! If you aren't familiar with the brand, they're a Japanese casual wear designer and they've got amazing basics. Like this crewneck cashmere sweater, which I got (in grey, navy, and black) for 49 euros. The quality is incredible for the price. Every girl should have a good cashmere sweater in her closet (I bought a medium if you're curious about sizing). If you're in NY, NJ, CA, CT, or PA, you can stop in to shop in person - otherwise, get thee to the interwebs. 

But the sweater wasn't enough to give this outfit that little extra je ne sais quoi - it needed a statement necklace. Also a Paris Zara purchase, this is going to be a go-to for work and play. I've already worn it twice since I returned. I can't seem to find it online (you might try in store), but did find several other pieces that give the same effect. Along with the earrings that match the necklace.

Looking at all these other options makes me think I need another Zara necklace - or maybe the earrings to match! Which is your favorite?

October 16, 2014

C & C on the Move: Sunny Santa Barbara

Let's all have a pity party for the horrible work travel I've had lately...Paris...now, Santa Barbara. And not just Santa Barbara proper, Montecito...which is even better! There's just something about it...I think it's probably one of my favorite places in the country, mostly because it feels like Sun Valley's beach side cousin. And did I mention my meeting was at the Four Seasons? If you haven't been to this hotel, it truly is one of the most beautiful resort properties. 

Before I resigned to meeting rooms for two days, my first stop getting into town was Alchemy for lunch with an old family friend...i.e. she has known me my entire life. One of the best parts about travel is catching up with people you don't usually get to see. And when you've known someone this long, you pick right up where you left off. Thankfully we had some incredible reboot friendly food (I owe you a post on the 6-week reboot I'm doing) to enjoy while we chatted away. I had some ridiculously delicious sweet potato quinoa cakes with a drool-worthy sauce and CH had the most beautiful kale salad...with perfectly massaged kale (you know what I'm talking about). 

And when the work was over, the play began. I have pipe dreams of opening a really good breakfast place in D.C. (in my humble opinion, we don't have one) and Jeannine's in Santa Barbara is exactly the kind of place I'd open. I finagled stops for breakfast and lunch during my trip. DO NOT miss their scones. I don't know what's in them, but they are unparalleled. 

And the real reason to stay for an extra day was to see one of my dearest college friends and to meet her baby. Little L and I became fast friends and I had the best time with her, and her mom and dad.

We took a great hike in the mountains - with a beautiful view of the city...

Followed by acai bowls (a first for me) at Backyard Bowls (I might have to open one of these too!)...

And the most perfect October day at the beach. 

Thanks for an awesome visit E and D! Every time I visit, I heart Santa Barbara even more.