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Stitch Fix Review – December’s Men’s Box

It’s that time again, time for a Stitch Fix Review.  I received my December box this weekend.  My excitement level wasn’t too high, considering I returned EVERYTHING from November.  I was hoping my response and reviews of that fix would guide my stylist in a better direction. As a reminder, my focus for Stitch Fix is more casual clothes.  My office transitioned to a fully casual environment a few months ago and after years of building up a business and business-casual closet, I needed some help.  I get all of my dress shirts custom made from a tailor in Hong Kong and they are perfect.  My pants are mostly from Banana Republic.

With a much more casual dress code now, I need to revamp my closet.  Enter Stitch Fix.  I’ve been using the service off and on for a few months now, with relative success.  Read more about my previous boxes herehere and here. My fix arrived this week – let’s jump in, shall we?

Stitch Fix Men's Box

Anticipation and excitement. What’s in the box?

In The Box

  • Bixby Nomad – Straight Fit 5 Pocket Pant – $68
    • Liked the style, the fit and the color. Keep
  • Alesbury – Denali Two Pocket Doublecloth Workshirt – $60
    • This was interesting.  Didn’t LOVE it, but I also don’t have anything like this. Undecided
  • Flag and Anthem – Schenectady Dobby Shirt – $49.50
    • Loved the pattern and the fit was almost perfect.  Sleeves were a a perfect fit, but I know they will shrink a bit after the first wash. Keep
  • 01Algo – Heathered Knit Blazer -$128
    • A deconstructed blazer with good weight that actually fits?  Keep
  • Alesbury – Keaton Thermal Henley Hoodie  – $49.00
    • This hoodie looks like long underwear and fits like a glove, perfect for layering.  Keep
Men's Stitch Fix Box

The contents of my December Stitch Fix Box

Initial Impressions

I tore into this box and was pretty impressed.  The burnt orange pants really sang to me.  I ripped them out of the box and tried them on immediately and they were perfect!  The Hoodie looked like something I’d never buy on my own, but thought it was a great layering item for a cold Chicago winter.  When I saw the blazer, I thought it was going to be another blazer from these guys that just fit poorly or fit poorly and was expensive, not at all in this case.

The Decision

This month, I decided to KEEP everything. While I wasn’t COMPLETELY sold on one shirt, I did dig it well enough to keep.  Plus keeping all five items gives you an additional 25% off the items. Basically, if I bought all the items, it was cheaper than buying four of the items.  Kooky, I know.

My results aren’t all that consistent with StichFix, but I’m still digging this whole process.  I was offered free styling for a year for $49.  Without this offer, each month, you must pay $20 styling fee, even if you return everything.

Do you use Stitch Fix?  Give me your Stitch Fix Review. Guys – what other services like this do you use and recommend?  Or do you just prefer to walk into your local Banana Republic and grab stuff off the racks?

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Stitch Fix Review – November’s Men’s Box

It’s that time again, time for a Stitch Fix Review.  I received my November box this week and I was excited to see what new items may enter my wardrobe.  As a reminder, my focus for Stitch Fix is more casual clothes.  My office recently transitioned to a fully casual environment (perish the thought) and after years of building up a business and business-casual closet, I needed some help.  I get all of my dress shirts custom made from a tailor in Hong Kong and they are perfect.  My pants usually come from Banana Republic, but sometimes I’ll get bespoke pants too.

With a much more casual dress code now, I need to revamp my closet.  Enter Stitch Fix.  I’ve been using the service off and on for a few months now, with relative success.  Read more about my previous boxes here and here. My fix arrived this week – let’s jump in, shall we?

Stitch Fix Men's Box

Anticipation and excitement. What’s in the box?

In The Box

  • Fairlane – Ashley Suprima Cotton Dress Shirt – $74
    • Liked the style. Sleeves were too long. Return
  • Fairlane – 24/7 Shirt – $68
    • Again, liked the style, sleeves were perfect, but it was just too form fitting. Return
  • Save the Duck – Giga Hooded Packable Jacket – $148
    • A down alternative puffy coat that actually fit well, and seemed to be a nice late fall jacket. I just bought an equivalent jacket.  Return
  • Ralph Lauren – Washable Merino Wool V-Neck Sweater – $98.50
    • Standard Merino Sweater.  Fit nicely, but the color wasn’t doing it for me. Return
  • Fairlane – Refined Wool Straight Fit Chino – $98.00
    • The lower legs had such a flare, I felt like an extra from a 70s film. Otherwise the fit was perfect.  The fabric wasn’t as fine (it felt very polyester like to me). Return

Initial Impressions

As I opened the paper wrapping, I was excited. The shirts were my style and it’s nice to have a pair of pants that EVERYONE else doesn’t have.  Do you shop at Banana and find that you have the same outfit as your colleagues?  Unfortunately, the fit just wasn’t right on most of these clothes.  If I hadn’t just purchased a new light weight jacket, I’d have kept this one. Timing is everything.

Men's Stitch Fix Box

POW! My fixes for November…hmmmm

The Decision

This month, I decided to return everything.  It’s a fine line between fit and style and I don’t want to compromise on either.  You shouldn’t have to.  That’s the beauty of Stitch Fix, if you don’t like the stuff, you just toss all the clothes into the USPS bag (that already has postage) and give it to your mail carrier. Easy Breezy.  You only bay the $20 styling charge (and there is a way around that too – I’ll tell you the secret next week).

While I didn’t have the greatest results this month, I’m still happy with the service and we’ll see what comes up in December.  If December turns out to be like November, I’ll probably put the service on hold until spring.

Do you use Stitch Fix?  Give me your Stitch Fix Review. Guys – what other services like this do you use and recommend?  Or do you just prefer to walk into your local Banana Republic and grab stuff off the racks?

Flu Shot?

Do you get a flu shot?  No, I’m going to get into the benefits of the flu shot or venture down the anti-vax rabbit hole, either.  When I was younger, I would never get a flu shot.  It wasn’t because I liked the flu, or that I thought vaccines were bad.  I was young and healthy and never really caught the flu. Plus, I don’t like the idea of medication unless absolutely necessary.

That all changed in 2010.  We were planning our trip to Africa and needed quite a few shots before we left.  I visited, as I always do before exotic travel, the Northwestern Travel Clinic.  I was talking with the nurse about all the vaccines and medications I must get: Typhoid, Yellow Fever and a Tetnus Booster.  We also talked about the vaccines I could get: Malaria (not a vaccine, but you get the point) and Rabies.  The doctor didn’t recommend the rabies vaccine as it wouldn’t prevent rabies, but just give you an additional 24 hours to find medical help.  I decided to get the rabies vaccine as we’d be in rural Zimbabwe with very limited hospital and flight options.  Easy enough.

Simple Question – No Answer

She then asked me about the annual flu vaccine.  I told her I wasn’t interested in it at all.  Struggling not to roll her eyes at me, she asked why.  I explained that I’m not a fan of medication and the flu doesn’t really impact me.  She then started spouting off stats on Americans getting rabies in Africa vs the flu at home or while traveling.  She made a good point that I could not refute.  If I’m afraid of a 1-in-300,000,000 chance of rabies vs a 1-in-5 chance of getting the flu.  Logically it made sense to me.

Flu Shot Vaccine Good or Bad

Flu Shot: Annual Tradition or Waste of Time?

It was from that moment on that I would get the flu shot each year.  I have had no ill effects and have only caught the flu once in the past 8 years.  With all the travel we do, anything that can keep the germs on airplanes, hotels and crowded spaces at bay is good in my book.

What are your thoughts on getting the flu shot?  Do you think I was crazy for getting the rabies vaccines too?

My Language Study Plan: September 2018

I really enjoy studying languages and I do think they come a bit easier to me than they do to others.  I’ve studied Spanish in High School for three years, German in College for two years and have been studying French as an adult for a few years now.  I’m not fluent in any of these languages, but when I find myself surrounded by these languages, it starts to click again.  I get re-energized on language study after spending a couple days surrounded by another language.

Part of my language study plan - reading a newspaper

Grabbing Le Monde at the airport is a solid part of my language study plan.

I’ve taken a few months off from my official French Language Study, and I’ve decided to start it up again.  I’m going to take a basic French Literature class in September.  We’ll be reading and discussing Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince.  I’m going to make September my French Language month.

In addition to this class, I’ve got these additional items on my list to push my French brain:

  • Read the entire Le Monde, that I picked up while in Singapore
  • Watch 7 Jour Sur La Planete (a 30 minute world news show in French with French subtitles) each week
  • Use Duolingo four times a week

My goal for September, obviously isn’t to be fluent in the month, but just get back into the swing of things.

Do you set language goals for yourself?  What recommendations do you have for me to make it through September and beyond?

Rosemary Salt – Preserving Fresh Herbs

It is that time of year – our gardens are roaring into full production.  We’ve just started getting our tomatoes, but our peppers have been coming in for a couple of weeks and our eggplant will be ready for harvest by the end of the week.  We’ve had a great crop of fresh herbs for almost two months now.  We can’t use all the fresh herbs that we’ve grown, so we’re doing everything we can to preserve them.  I’ve been making and freezing fresh basil pesto every week now, I’ve also started making flavored salts too.  I made a half cup of rosemary salt this weekend and thought I’d share my simple recipe that is so easily scalable – make a half teaspoon or a cup, it’s the same process.

Here’s what you need to make a tablespoon of rosemary salt:

Rosemary Salt

Another way to preserve fresh herbs

1 Sprigs rosemary, stemmed and roughed chopped
1 tablespoons sea salt

  1. Place the chopped rosemary and salt in a mortar and pestle (I didn’t use the M&P, I just used a knife to chop the salt and rosemary into a finer powder

Finished product – Rosemary Salt

You can use the rosemary salt on anything and everything that could use a little pop of rosemary!  Try it as you roast some vegetables, on steaks or chicken before they hit the grill, or to finish off a salad.  Personally, we love it on pork chops.

Prepped and ready for the grill

Do you make flavored herb salts?  Do you have an easier process?  What are your favorite flavor combinations and how do you use them?