T&K’s Spring Break Pacific Northwest Road Trip Adventure 2015: What I’m Packing

Back in September, when we bought our outdoorsy, all-weather Subaru Outback, we decided that we needed to take it on a road trip as soon as humanly possible. Of course, for us, “as soon as humanly possible” meant “seven months from now when we have time off.” So we planned a spring break road trip adventure up the Pacific Northwest, through Oregon and Washington and up into Vancouver.

When we found out we had to move out of our apartment and our stress levels tripled in a matter of seconds, I began counting down the days to our vacation in earnest and making concrete plans. We leave the day after Easter and I can’t wait to share our travels with you, but for now, here’s what I will be packing for eight days in the car and enjoying all the West Best Coast has to offer.

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Tops: peach/beige sweater, white sweater, long-sleeve t-shirt, red sweater, white v-neck t-shirt (x3), yellow cardigan. Bottoms: black skinny jeans, blue skinny jeans, black/white maxi skirt.

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Outerwear, shoes, and scarves. Not pictured: tennis shoes because I forgot to get them out for the picture. Oh well.

More to come about preparing for our trip! Stay tuned!

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Why MAC Makeup Rocks

I didn’t start wearing makeup until the summer before I started college. Insert gasp here.

In high school I was one of those girls who was determined not to care about her appearance, because I thought that made you shallow. I didn’t put a ton of effort into my hair, my clothing choices, or my makeup routine. In fact, I don’t know that I even owned a single beauty product that wasn’t a flat iron until I was officially a high school graduate.

Oh, how the times have changed. T knew me back then and is probably either appalled by how much makeup I own now or thanking God in heaven that I saw the light and figured out how to make myself look publicly presentable. Why he wanted to date me during that phase is, and forever will remain, a mystery to me.

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Me at my high school senior prom. Yikes. Why, why, why did I not wear makeup?

When I took my first reluctant tiptoes into that world, I had no clue where to start. The beauty blogosphere wasn’t really a thing yet, so I didn’t have easy access to guidance about which products were worth the money and which ones weren’t, or what types of products I should be using for my skin type (picture 18-year-old me thinking, “There are different skin types?”). I didn’t even really know how to apply these mysteriously-packaged beauty aides to my skin to create an even somewhat aesthetically pleasing result.

In my travels through the ridiculous number of makeup brands out there, I’ve experimented with only a tiny fraction of the products that are available, but I’ve always had a hard time settling on the foundation that works best for my face. I’ve tried drugstore brands and expensive, upscale products. I’ve tried mineral makeup, which didn’t provide nearly the amount of coverage I wanted for my far-from-perfect skin. Eventually I was able to narrow my choices down to liquid foundation, but I still had trouble finding the right shade for my face or a brand that wouldn’t make my skin look cakey or my pores look huge.

Then I started doing theater, and I learned about a brand called MAC Cosmetics, which was not only a consumer brand, but also had a professional line of stage makeup. I figured since it was designed to last for hours under harsh stage lighting without sweating off, I should try it as an everyday foundation. It turned out to be magical.

MAC products currently in my makeup arsenal.

MAC products currently in my makeup arsenal.

MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid lasts all day on my face without wearing off, and the NC-15 shade matches my face closer than any other foundation I’ve ever tried, especially with a color-correcting primer underneath. It feels smooth when it goes on and doesn’t smell nasty like many other similar foundations out there. I follow that with MAC’s Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder, which is hands-down the best finishing powder of all time because it makes my skin feel incredibly soft to the touch and doesn’t flake at all. I’ve also used their Mineralize Skinfinish bronzer, which comes in multiple shades, including a light one that doesn’t make my skin look too orange. Throughout the day, I carry around a compact of Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation in the same shade as my liquid foundation, for little touch-ups.

Recently I’ve added additional MAC products to my daily regimen. In the fall I started using the Prep + Prime Skin primer, which adds a nice subtle shimmer beneath the surface of my foundation. And every day I finish off my makeup routine with a spritz of the Prep + Prime Fix+, which sets everything and keeps it lasting all day.

Every once in a while I get tired of paying so much for MAC products and I go off in search of something comparable for less, only to find that I’m not as satisfied with those products. It really is the only brand of makeup that works on my skin across the board through all of their different products. I would definitely be open to trying out some of their other types of foundations and finishing solutions, given how much I have loved the ones I’ve used so far. Plus how can I resist their recycling program? If you bring in six empty MAC containers, you can trade them in for a free eyeshadow or a free lip product. It’s a win-win!

If you use MAC makeup, how do you like it? If not, would you ever consider using it?

Note: This is not a sponsored post.

Stitch Fix, Round Two

A few months ago I hopped onto the Stitch Fix bandwagon. In case you need a refresher, Stitch Fix is a subscription box that allows you to decide when you want to get your next one. You fill out an extensive style profile, link up your Pinterest board for inspiration, and a stylist compiles a box of five items for you based on your size and style preferences.

I received my second Fix in the mail today. Admittedly, I am probably too low on funds right now to have justified it, and T is probably going to give me a disapproving look and shake his head at me when he sees this post. But I think in a way I dodged a bullet, because this Fix wasn’t nearly as exciting or spot on as my first one.

Opening up the box is always exciting, like having a mini-Christmas.

Opening up the box is always exciting, like having a mini-Christmas.

I received a pair of black skinny jeans, a dress, two tops, and a knit jacket in this Fix.

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I wish these hadn’t been too small. I love stretchy skinny jeans, and I would love to add a pair of black ones to my closet. Bummer.

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It seems like the “in” style right now is loose and drapey, which is great if you have a tiny chest, but if you’re more like me, drapey tops just make you look huge, especially when combined with an elastic waist. Plus the neckline was too low and I didn’t love the pleated skirt.

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I had a similar issue with this top as with the dress. It was too loose-fitting to be flattering on me. Ah well. It does fit in with my taste for clothes that are feminine and romantic, so my stylist didn’t get it totally wrong.

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I actually almost ended up keeping this top, despite the looseness. In the end though, I decided it was kind of plain. If it had had some kind of embellishment on it, maybe sequins or a rosette on one of the shoulders or something, I would probably have loved it and kept it.

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This knit jacket ended up being the only winner from this Fix. It fits me the way I like, it has a fun asymmetrical zipper and big wide collar, and it’s warm enough for my freezing cold office while still being lightweight enough for our mild Bay Area winters. Plus it replaces a jacket of similar style that I’ve had for several years but is now too big for me. Hello Poshmark!

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Note: This is not a sponsored post. However, if I have convinced you to give Stitch Fix a try, please use my link so that I can get a credit towards my next Fix!

Month of Dresses: Day 26-31

We’re finishing out the Month of Dresses today, and I’m happy to report that it was a success! I made it the entire month wearing a dress every single day and never repeating any. (This may be a sign that I have a problem. Please do not seek help for me.)

Day 26: gorgeous forest green bejeweled gown from Macy's, for opening night of "The Prince of Pilsen"!

Day 26: gorgeous forest green bejeweled gown from Macy’s, for opening night of “The Prince of Pilsen”!

Day 27: purple empire-waist dress from MaxStudio. Please excuse my post-show hair.

Day 27: purple empire-waist dress from MaxStudio. Please excuse my post-show hair.

Day 28: navy blue rosette dress from Macy's. At least I think it's from Macy's... I bought it over three years ago for our rehearsal dinner!

Day 28: navy blue rosette dress from Macy’s. At least I think it’s from Macy’s… I bought it over three years ago for our rehearsal dinner!

Day 29: little black dress 2 of 2 from Macy's.

Day 29: little black dress 2 of 2 from Macy’s.

Day 30: sailor dress from some boutique in Vancouver, the name of which I can't remember for the life of me. But I love this dress!

Day 30: sailor dress from some boutique in Vancouver, the name of which I can’t remember for the life of me. But I love this dress!

Day 31: brown polka-dot dress from White House Black Market.

Day 31: brown polka-dot dress from White House Black Market.

So there you have it: Month of Dresses, completed! Were you inspired to wear dresses more, like some of my real-life friends and coworkers have told me they are? Could you ever pull off a solid month of dresses?

Month of Dresses: Days 21-25

We’re almost there! Only six more days to go… think I can do it??

Day 21: navy blue lace overlay from MaxStudio.

Day 21: navy blue lace overlay from MaxStudio.

Day 22: red side-gathered dress from Maggy Boutique, via ideeli. Another one of my favorite audition dresses, but it's great for work too!

Day 22: red side-gathered dress from Maggy Boutique, via ideeli. Another one of my favorite audition dresses, but it’s great for work too!

Day 23: little black dress 1 of 2 (the other one to come on a future day), from guess where... Loft!

Day 23: little black dress 1 of 2 (the other one to come on a future day), from guess where… Loft!

Day 24: this dress from Loft that my mom thinks looks like skulls. What do you think?

Day 24: this dress from Loft that my mom thinks looks like skulls. What do you think?

Day 25: strapless ruffled layers from Old Navy. Sometimes it's just simply too hot for straps.

Day 25: strapless ruffled layers from Old Navy. Sometimes it’s just simply too hot for straps.

Tell me which dress is your favorite so far! I love feedback!

Month of Dresses: Days 16-20

I’m three weeks into the Month of Dresses and going strong! Here are days 16-20.

Day 16: "Lipinski" dress (yes, that's really what it's called!) from Aritzia.

Day 16: “Lipinski” dress (yes, that’s really what it’s called!) from Aritzia.

Day 17: navy blue maxi dress from Loft. Who's surprised? This is one of my favorite travel outfits because it's both comfy and long enough to keep my legs warm on planes!

Day 17: navy blue maxi dress from Loft. Who’s surprised? This is one of my favorite travel outfits because it’s both comfy and long enough to keep my legs warm on overly air-conditioned planes!

Day 18: purple strapless dress from Old Navy, for my Friday off.

Day 18: purple strapless dress from Old Navy, for my Friday off.

Day 19: turquoise pleated dress from Calvin Klein, via Crossroads Trading Company. Ready to audition!

Day 19: turquoise pleated dress from Calvin Klein, via Crossroads Trading Company. Ready to audition!

Day 20: teal sundress from Loft. This is the same style as the yellow one from day 9.

Day 20: teal sundress from Loft. This is the same style as the yellow one from day 9.

I’d love your feedback! Which dress is your favorite?

My First Stitch Fix

I’m probably the last person in the blog world to get on the subscription box train. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of them, but I’ve never really been excited to fork over a flat rate every month with the chance that I wouldn’t like what I got.

When I heard about Stitch Fix, though, it sounded like a good option. The flat rate is $20 per box (or “Fix”), and you don’t have to get one every month. In fact, you get to decide when to get one, which automatically made it more appealing to me. Plus it’s clothing and accessories, which are pretty much guaranteed to cost more than $20 in a store anyway, and that $20 is applied towards the cost of any of the items you decide to keep. After you get your Fix, you have three days to decide what you want, go online and complete the transaction by paying your balance, and send back any items you don’t want in the prepaid postage bag that they include in the box.

During the sign-up process, you fill out a long style profile, where you can enter all the sizes you wear of every type of clothing imaginable, your body type, your style preferences, and more. Then you select the date that you want to receive your first Fix. I filled out the profile, entered my credit card information, and received my first Fix in the mail today, much to my soprano squealing excitement.

The box, so full of mystery and potential!

The box, so full of mystery and potential!

When I opened the box after it had been thoroughly sniffed by Nigel cat, I found several different packages and cards inside. It felt like Christmas.

The inside of the box.

The inside of the box.

I opened the packages to find a pair of skinny jeans, a polka dot dress, a black slouchy cardigan, a ruffled blouse, and a pair of earrings, all of which were absolutely adorable.

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And now, the verdict!

Jeans: Perfect fit, including the length (which is a miracle, considering I’m only 5’2″). I loved the indigo wash, and I’ve never been able to find a pair of skinny jeans I’m happy with. Plus I’m down to two pairs of jeans total at the moment because all of my Express jeans have ripped in the exact same spot. I’ll be keeping the jeans.

Dress: So cute, and totally my style, but it was pretty tight in the waist and bust. I’ll be returning the dress.

Cardigan: It fits great in the arms and shoulders. Normally I look for cardigans that hit at my waist, because I try to avoid making my butt look any bigger than it is or drawing attention to it. I like this sweater, but I’m not sure I love it enough to spend the money, so I’m going to wait and see what T’s opinion is when he gets home this evening.

Top: Cute style and color, but it doesn’t look great on me. When your chest is as big as mine, anything that’s not at least somewhat form-fitting makes you look huge. Maybe a smaller size would look better, but regardless, I’ll be returning the top.

Earrings: Love. They are romantic and sparkly, two of my favorite style adjectives. I’ll definitely be keeping them.

Have you ever tried Stitch Fix? If not, would you ever want to try it?

Note: This is not a sponsored post.