“You fundamentally misunderstand the concept.”

Days of Awe Review days of awe book review: back to carolina

Days of Awe is about Isabel Moore, a teacher, mother, and wife. The novel begins with the death of her best friend and fellow teacher, Josie. The novel vacillates between the past and the present. When Iz, as her friends call her, was a child, and her dissolving marriage. The novel explores how Iz juggles so many life changes at once, how her past shaped her present, and most of all how to cope with grief as she feels like she may be responsible for Josie's death. Iz sees how easy it is to second guess everything and go back years and trace events that lead to Josie's death. As a reader, I was engrossed in the story. I was emotionally invested in the characters, who were well developed. My heart broke when Iz's heart broke. I got mad at the other teachers when Iz got mad at the other teachers. I was rooting for her. However, the ending left me disappointed. There was no ending. Not really. Endings to novels definitely don't need to be neat and clean. I don't need them wrapped up in a box with a bow. However, when I think about ambiguous endings that are done correctly - an ending where I don't know what happens to the characters, really - I still feel satisfied. Satisfying ambiguous endings are satisfying because the main character or characters have not only learned something, but they've applied it to their life. Even if they learn not to care about what other people think about them, and they exhibit a glimmer of hope in their eyes or they kick their crappy boyfriend to the curb, but now they have to move back home with their batty family. I don't learn how they rebuild their lives, but I know that they've come out better people and something good is going to come out of the bad situations in the the novel. Days of Awe leaves the reader hanging. I don't know if Iz's empowerment is implied, which if it is, it isn't done well, but honestly when I finished the novel, I wanted to hand it back to the editor and the author with a big fat F in red at the top and write "try again." Or, maybe to borrow a phrase from my least favorite professor on a literary criticism test that I failed as a baby sophomore, who didn't belong in the class, I could write at the top "You fundamentally misunderstand the concept." Ms. Fox and her editors need to try again because they fundamentally misunderstand how to end a story. It's really a shame because I couldn't put down the novel. When I got to the last page, I was stunned that it was the ending. Thank you to NetGalley for providing an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.  
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Categories: Book Review, Reading, Review Tags: , ,
Why You Should Read Pretty Baby: A Book Review

Pretty Baby Book Review Pretty Baby Book Review: Seriously, Sarah?

I was eager to read Pretty Baby, since I had so thoroughly enjoyed Kubica's first novel, The Good Girl. The story begins with a charitable mother of woman, who lives in the heart of Chicago and works at a non-profit. On the public transportation system there, she notices a homeless teenage girl holding a baby. Both the girl and the baby are not properly dressed for the cool, spring weather. The charitable woman, Heidi, runs into the teenager two more times in a short time span. All the while, the reader is privy to the thoughts of Heidi, the homeless teenager, Heidi's husband, and even Heidi's teenage daughter. The narration style lends itself to the slow unfolding of secrets or lets the reader see misunderstandings that the characters don't see. My favorite part, though, is that not all of the storytelling is chronological. There is one character who is occasionally retelling her story to someone else, in the future, when hindsight is 20/20.

Who Should Try Pretty Baby?

People who enjoyed the twists, turns, and unpredictability of Kubica's first thriller, The Good Girl.

If you haven't read The Good Girl, but have liked any of the popular thrillers, Pretty Baby will be a definite winner for you.

If you want to try a thriller that isn't too gory or scary, you can also start here.

Pretty Baby has a little something for everyone who enjoys anything about interesting storytelling or psychological thrillers.

I particularly enjoyed Kubica's examination of the mind. Two characters went through what most people would consider to be an unrecoverable hells, but each reacted in a completely opposite ways, in my opinion. I'm interested to read what other people think! You will be able to pick up a copy on July 28! Don't forget to add it to your Goodreads "Want To Read" List, so you'll get the email notification! Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy of this novel, Pretty Baby, for a book review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Don't forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads, if you have the time!

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Somebody I Used to Know Review

Somebody I Used to Know Somebody I Used to Know

Somebody I Used to Know is a mystery novel by David Bell. The main character, Nick, has been haunted for 20 years by the death of his college girlfriend. Even through his marriage, his wife says that he was still in love with Marissa, the girlfriend who died in a fire. So, as a divorced middle-aged man, Nick keeps busy working for the under-dog and playing basketball with his friends. He lives a life of the status-quo, so to speak, until a young woman who has a strong resemblance to his long-dead girlfriend shows up in the grocery store of his small town. When he approaches her, she drops her groceries and runs. The rest of the novel unfolds as Nick, with the help of another college friend, who kind of disappears halfway through the novel, start to unwind the tangled web of the past. As I read the novel, I thought it was a great start for a first novel. I thought that the author had a really good shot at going somewhere with his writing, if he kept on writing. I was shocked when I reached the end and read at the bottom of his biography that he was the author of several other novels. To be honest, his writing wasn't what I expect from a seasoned author. Characters, like the main character's college friend, come and go with little explanation. There is little to no character development of anyone other than the main character. And finally, while the ending makes sense logically, it doesn't make sense realistically. The motives assigned to the perpetrators were a bit far-fetched in my opinion, which is why I thought the author was new and would tighten his plotlines in the future. While I don't regret reading this novel, I don't recommend rushing out to read it immediately. You can pick up a copy of Somebody I Used to Know when it publishes on July 7, 2015. Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy of Somebody I Used to Know for review. All opinions are entirely my own.

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

 
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Thank You for Not Being Another Subscription

PopBasic Review i tried popbasic

Last week, I received a box from PopBasic's Felicity collection. PopBasic releases a new microcollection of clothes and accessories each month, but they aren't a subscription service! You can order any collection that is in stock at any time. I've tried so many subscription services, and they are either terrible, a pain to cancel by phone, or they're a gamble because if you don't keep anything, you may be stuck paying a $20 styling fee, if you're like me, you buy something that's just okay, in order to not waste the $20. A look back through previous collections shows that most of their micro collections are quite basic. So, on one hand, you can dress them up or down. The collections with shirts would be verstile. However, some of the collections are so basic, like a white t-shirt, striped & lightweight scarf, and basic white clutch that you would probably already own similar items or create the look at half the price from other stores. Yet, other collections contain unique dresses (with pockets!) or very beautiful jewelry. So, some collections are definitely more impressive and look like a better value than others. But, since it is not a subscription, you can pick and chose whatever outfit you want. IMG_4704 IMG_4702 My box contained a long, but not quite maxi-length dress, a necklace, and a bracelet. Normally, I would not buy a thin, clingy, long dress because I like outfits that provide more definition. The necklace was unique, but not very high quality. I'm afraid that a few wears will tangle it beyond repair and that it will tarnish within a year. The bracelet, similarly, wasn't anything to write home about. IMG_4706 IMG_4705 I did appreciate that the outfit came with a style card, so I could picture it with clothes that I already owned. I doubt that I'll ever wear a floppy hat or wear this kind of dress in a season where I could wear sandals, though. IMG_4710 IMG_4734 I was pleased, though, when I tried the outfit on as a whole and styled it with my own cardigan and boots. I couldn't find it (oops, need to clean), but I think my black belt would also help to provide definition, if I wore it under the cardigan. IMG_4713   The dress is a little shapeless and long. Maybe I should have ordered a size down, so it would have been a little shorter. I would rather wear it as a long tunic over leggings with boots, to be honest. IMG_4717 Due to the length on me, I really need heels to make my legs longer. Unfortunately I have this yucky arch problem, so all of my beautiful heels and boots are going to waste right now. I'm hoping that I'll be able to wear them for short periods by next year, but right now, I pretty much wear tennis shoes or moccasins with custom orthotics. It makes dressing up really difficult. But, if I was going to wear the outfit, that's how I would style it! Overall, the packaging was cute and I like the concept, but the quality of this particular box was pretty low. It wasn't even good costume-type jewelry, plus the dress was very thin. I would be interested in trying future boxes - maybe something more my style - but I don't want to drop that kind of cash on something that I'm unsure about, especially quality-wise. If you want an email reminder to check out preview their outfit each month, you can sign up here (with my referral link). Disclaimer: Popbasic provided me with a complimentary box. The decision to review and opinions are all my own.  
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Categories: fashion, Review Tags: , ,
My Dogs Love this Amazing Alternative to Greenies
Do you care about your dog's dental health? I'm always concerned about Rylie and Josie's teeth, because I don't want them to have to have full dental cleanings more often than necessary. Alternatives to Greenies February is National Pet Dental Month, which is near and dear to my heart. My childhood dog, Buddy, only has half of his teeth left! (I still think he's quite a looker, but it makes it difficult for him to eat). Buddy was rescued after being starved in a basement for a prolonged time, so I've always wondered if malnutrition and neglect hurt him down the road. I've tried giving Greenies to my dog Josie before, but she gulps them down way too quickly. I bought her the ones for larger dogs to slow her down, but then I was afraid that would upset her stomach. Even Rylie, who is much smaller and slower at eating, can chow down on a Greenie in just a matter of seconds, which makes me a little nervous. Actually, just last week, I gave Rylie a small Greenie under the covers (so Josie couldn't see) and the two of them circled that area of the bed like vultures for hours. The kind of crazy way they act after they eat Greenies always makes me nervous, too. I was so excited to try these Blue Buffalo Dental Chew because Blue Buffalo has an excellent reputation. I thought it was worth my dogs' dental health to try another brand of dental chew.Alternatives to Greenies The first thing that I noticed was that neither dog acted insane. Josie took it from my hand, but she didn't swallow it. In fact, I tried to run after her with the camera to snap a picture, so she went outside to just sit and hold it in her mouth for a minute. Alternatives to Greenies Alternatives to Greenies This was Rylie's second experience with the alternative to Greenies, Blue Buffalo Dental Chew. I had to coax her to take it, but I would rather that than the way the two of them would climb on the table to get lick and try to turn over a laundry basket that had Greenies in them. IMG_4913  

(She doesn't mind looking at the bag!)

Rylie took her time to break up the treat and eat it slowly, which was a relief.

IMG_4907

Josie did the same thing!

IMG_4911

(Kind of creepy...)

Overall, I have been happy that both dogs like the treats, but don't go insane for them. They take the time to chew them, so I don't have to worry about them not getting the effect or choking. Also, they don't pester me for more. They're quite happy with the one.

Also, when I used to give them the occasional Greenie, I had to separate the dogs because they would get crazy territorial. Josie only ran away because I had a camera, and she thought I was going to take her treat back. And, so far so good on tummy issues. Neither dog has especially sensitive stomachs, though. They don't get many t-r-e-a-t-s (we have to spell it at the house because they DO know the word) and no people food.

After they finished the Blue Buffalo Dental Chews- minis - my husband and I had a little fun trying to make it look like they were going to attack the bag by placing a treat behind or beside the bag. So, here are just a few cute pictures!

IMG_4914 IMG_4917 IMG_4919

Thank you to Chewy.com for providing the product in exchange for an honest review! I can honestly say that as long as their stomachs stay ok, I will be ordering more!

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Categories: Pets, Review
How to Achieve the Ultimate Humblebrag

Living Well Spending Less Review

living well spending less review Living Well, Spending Less by Ruth Soukup is essentially twelve tips on how to live "The Good Life." Soukup, who is a blogger turned author, begins be redefining what "The Good Life" is, biblicaly speaking. She shares her own story about how redefining what a good life was transformed her worldview, which she thinks that it can for you, too. I had high hopes for this book. The reviews (not that I read them in detail) have seemed positive, and I like the idea of simplifying life. My husband and I have been donating boxes of "stuff" left and right, plus trying not to accumulate any more possessions that aren't food. Watching my entire family exchange gifts at Christmas was funny because it was all coffee, beer, and candy. I kid you not. Soukup uses the introduction to beat the dead horse of jealousy created by social media. There is plenty of praise on the internet for her transparency in the book, as she admits to falling into the trap of becoming envious of other people who share photos of their fabulous vacations on Instagram. But like we all already know, people only post flattering things. I'm not including a picture of me in my sweatpants typing this review, obviously. All twelve "secrets" appear to be derived from her own experiences and then broken down into practical steps to help you achieve the goals or tips. I say "appear" because I couldn't finish this book. I managed to skim through the first 50% of the book, but I just wasn't interested enough to finish. Soukup relies heavily on scripture and famous quotations to fill the pages. While I appreciate that she has drawn inspiration from the Bible and wise people to create her secrets, I just don't have a fondness for inspirational quotations. It probably goes back to my freshman year of college when my randomly selected roommate plastered doodles of inspirational quotations all over our dorm room, so I put up a poster of Jack Bauer in retaliation. Her secrets are practical, if you share her worldview. As a newly married, chronically ill, 26 year old with no plans to have children or a career anymore, the book is not very applicable to my life situation. Having to leave my job, redefine my own life goals, and having my financial resources already pillaged, it was kind of salt in the wound to read about her dropping out of law school because it didn't make her as happy as she thought it would. She writes about out of control budgets, while making sure to mention that her husband insisted that they paid for their home renovations in cash, so she didn't do into debt. She mentions her two year hospitalization at McLean Psychiatric Hospital, which put her law school dreams on hold. What she doesn't mention is that the hospital, famous for treating Sylvia Plath, James Taylor, and Ray Charles, as well as Susanna Kaysen, whose memoir about her stay was turned into a major film, Girl, Interrupted, costs 51% more per day than the average psychiatric hospital. Soukup writes about the power of creating habits, but when she shares about how her simple habits were broken during a vacation, it isn't just any vacation, it's "a trip of a lifetime." It was a 29 day cross country trip that she had been talking about with her husband for a long time. How many people can take of 29 days of work? Every anecdote in the book is quick lesson for readers in the art of humblebragging. There is nothing average about Soukop, her life, or her circumstances. It is like someone quoting scripture about taking care of widows and orphans at the beginning of a book, but then writing about how to show hospitality through a perfectly decorated house with a picturesque view and serving guests exotic dishes. If you want to talk about your perfect house and the fancy foods that you enjoy cooking, do it. Don't disguise it under the guise of showing the love of Christ. She advises you to find your sweet spot and what inspires you, but I know what those are for me--they are just not physically possible. Again, she writes about setting long term goals with practical steps on achieving them. However, I don't know if I'll be able to get out of bed tomorrow, so... you get the point. I was also annoyed at her drawing on on so many "inspirational" stories about well known and famous people who came from humble beginnings, worked hard, and achieved great things. One, we all already know those stories. They're, well, famous. Two, those stories were just filler to make what could have been a self published eBook into a "real book." Soukup speaks from both sides of her mouth, so to speak, in the book. On one hand, she tells readers to pray for God to change their desires, yet she relies heavily on stories about friends or famous people who are "self-made." They were either inspired by the brevity of life to work hard and pay their way through school, so they could make more money. Or they wrote lists of goals and worked hard to achieve and surpass them. Does Soukup want us to live a more simple life of contentment by praying for a contented heart or buckle up and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps? It is confusing. Maybe this book is aimed at women, specifically mothers, who have it all and don't want to feel guilty about it. She takes the readers on a little guilt trip with a list of all the things we have that most people don't, like water to drink, a place to sleep, and the ability to read. But then her tips are about creating a cleaning schedule for your family, so you can organize all of the stuff that you aren't even supposed to want anymore. The next time I need a big dose of hypocrisy, I will make sure to finish this book. Disclosure: Netgalley provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest Living Well Spending Less review.
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Lizzy and Jane Review

Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay Lizzy and Jane Review #JaneAusten #PrideAndPrejudice #BookRecs #KatherineReay

Lizzy & Jane are sisters who live on opposite sides of the country. Lizzy is a single, self-sufficient chef at a trendy restaurant in New York city, while her older sister, by eight years, is a social media consultant with her own small business and mother battling breast cancer in Seattle. Lizzy took care of her mother, who died of cancer, when Lizzy was 18. Jane, who left home at 18, eight years earlier, was living on the other side of the world while their mother was dying. Lizzy holds a grudge against Jane for never returning home during their mother's illness, yet she does take a break from her restaurant for a short visit to see her father and temporarily take care of her sister, who has the same type of cancer that their mother had. The story unfolds as Lizzy and Jane, who were in fact named after the famous Jane Austen characters, learn more about themselves, each other, and family. I was so excited to do a Lizzy and Jane review because I am a huge Jane Austen fan. I have only recently started reading books that are inspired by her work. My first experience was bad, but I really enjoyed this novel! At first, I kept looking for parallels between Pride & Prejudice, due to the name of the novel. In fact, there was a character that I kept hoping would not turn out to be a Mr. Wickham. The characters' personalities did draw some inspiration from the original Lizzy and Jane, but overall, these character are their own people, so to speak. I became emotionally invested in the characters. By the end of the novel, I couldn't put it down. I stayed up late into the night to finish it. The most interesting aspect of the novel, for me, was the connections between emotions, relationships, and food. Since Lizzy is a chef, the author draws upon many, many food references from Austen's novel, as well as other well known works. I think I learned a lot about cooking and creating flavors through this novel, which was an unexpected surprise! At first, the Austen references felt a little heavy handed, but I definitely preferred the references to other novels that try to mimic Austen novels. I highly, highly recommend this book to all Jane Austen fans. I loved this book so much that I can't wait to go back and read Reay's first novel, Dear Mr. Knightley. Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for providing me with a complimentary copy of Lizzy & Jane to review. While you're here, make our friendship official and add me as a friend on Goodreads, so can figure out what cool people are reading or planning on reading. Think of it as your good deed for the day! This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
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Le Tote: A Very Honest Review
An honest review of a bad experience with Le Tote. Be aware before you subscribe!
  This is entirely my own experience and opinion. You are free to spend your money however you choose.

While I always give an honest review of all products that I receive in exchange for a review, (see my Keurig review with which many people disagreed--even though I was reviewing the 2.0, but they were only familiar with the first version) this review is not in exchange for anything. After reading glowing reviews of Le Tote, I decided to try it out for myself.

So, after finding a 50% off coupon, I decided to give it a whirl. A second reason for doing an independent review of the service is that all of the reviews that I saw only included pictures of one or two pieces mixed with the reviewers' own clothes. No one ever gives a comprehensive review of an entire month's worth of clothing.

Since this is a product that I don't believe in--unless they make a lot of changes for to their business model--there won't be any referral links in this post.

This post is just review of my month of totes, general concept of the business, and the customer service.

If you aren't familiar with Le Tote, they have been described as the Netflix of clothes. When you sign up, you are given the opportunity to "like" any and all of the clothes and accessories that they offer. These items will make up your "closet," and give the stylists an idea of what you like. You get to fill out a short questionnaire about what you like and don't like, but it is not very thorough. And the totes you receive are not guaranteed to include any of the items that you have liked. Additionally, there is no way to exclude items that you would never wear, like dresses.

Overview:

Customer Service: B+ They were thorough, but unable to follow through, but likely due to the business model. They tried their hardest, but I honestly don't want to have to be in contact with a company that much. I also found their email address to be unprofessional. I know it's picky, but every email I got was from hi@letote.com, therefore, the sender would show up as just "hi" in my inbox. It wasn't even capitalized. By the end of my experience, I knew that I was probably going to be texting a rant to my husband everytime "hi" showed up on my phone. And the emails were never ending!

Clothing: D Choices were plentiful, but I found out that the supply was not. The actual clothes were fairly low quality. I could pick up (and keep) two dresses at a discount store for the amount I would pay at full price for a month's worth of totes. And those dresses would be a lot higher in quality. And a savvy shopper can easily pick up the basic tanks that they love to send in January for a fraction of the price.

Shipping: F At first, I thought the shipping was going to be great because they shipped packages with 2 day shipping. The next bag was sent when the current one was scanned by the post office, however, even though I never wore a single piece, I never received more than 1 bag in a week. Sometimes I received them even less frequently. See all the details of the delays below.

Overall Experience: D- They don't get an F because I got a refund after an excessive amount of emailing with customer service. I wasn't always the one who initiated contact, either. They did notice that I rated all of the items very low and tried to find out what I liked. You can read below why I think that email should never have been needed.

First Tote:

first tote I forgot to snap a picture of the EXTREMELY wrinkled maroon sweater dress that was made from a lay flat to dry dress that I was uncomfortable about ironing without ruining.

The first tote took 6 days to arrive. When I contacted customer service, they kindly added a week to my month because that was unusual for shipment to take that long.

The only two items in my tote that I asked for were the necklace and earrings. Unfortunately, the necklace turned out to be a choker! A choker! The first and last time I wore one of those was 8th grade.

jeanralphio-damn I didn't select any dresses on the website, yet they sent me two. Neither dress was high quality, either. When I tried them on, I figured that the black dress would be work appropriate and that the maroon dress would work as a party dress, if I put a ton of work into dressing it up because it was very plain. The length made it less of a meet-your-friend-for-coffee dress and more of a dinner date dress. The point of the tote is to mix and match what you already have with the tote, but when the dress would require tons of work, I'm not very interested, unless I have a special occasion. The black dress also turned out to be work inappropriate. It looks nice on the hanger, but even a blazer couldn't add class to it. Le Tote told me that I could let them know if I have a special event coming up, so they could send a party dress then. I did not have a special event coming up. I think that most people would have a hard time incorporating a party dress into their wardrobe on a weekly basis.

I was very disappointed because my "closet" contained only casual tops and cardigans. Considering that the bag was at least supposed to be based on my selections, the two dresses and dressy top were not anything that I would wear.

Personally, I thought that Le Tote would be a great way to spice up my wardrobe, but the only way to get the most for my money would be to receive pieces that I can wear. I would be especially pleased to get pieces that I can wear together, like a blouse and cardigan.

In my frustration, I reviewed the selections again, when hindsight is 20/20. They really only offer clothes in black, gray, and the "color of the year," maroon aka Marsala.

not sure interested Total Items Worn: ZERO

One cool feature, though, that they use to maximize turn around time on returned totes and shipping totes is that as soon as my prepaid envelope from my returned (unworn) clothes was picked up by the mail and scanned was that they immediately shipped out the next bag! That's a lot better than when I used to use Netflix DVDs! Unfortunately, USPS was super, super slow and I didn't get my tote for many days.

Second Tote:

I couldn't even bring myself to take a picture of this horrendous tote. I had higher hopes for this second tote because the first one was so horrible (see: choker).

second tote crop I had to use the screenshot, so that you can see how highly inappropriate that middle bottom dress is. In fact, the dress is even trashier in person. I didn't think I could take a picture that would do it justice. Really, I can't imagine anywhere that I could wear it before 1 AM, and only under extreme intoxication. Again, the only items that they sent from my "closet" were accessories. While the necklace and earrings are cute, I decided to send the tote back immediately, with the hope the the third bag wouldn't be quite so horrendous.

I mean, the two tank tops could have been ok under blazers, but as far as my agenda for the week, a comfortable sweater would be way more appropriate for my activities. Again, I only put those types of clothes in my "closet." I was starting to get the impression that my "closet" is a joke. I hate that I spent a lot of time clicking on things that I liked and not only did I not receive any of those clothes out of two totes, I didn't receive anything remotely close.

want it now Total Items Worn: Zero

Again, Le Tote did show a strength in customer service. I emailed them about the above wrinkled dress, so that's why they provided an extra piece in this bag. They also noticed that I clicked "dislike" on every item that they had sent. So, their email asked what types of items that I did like, so they could pass that on to their stylist. I asked them what the point of clicking "like" on 32 clothing items in my "closet," since I thought that would be consulted by the stylist. Since the closet seems to be not consulted, I did provide them with a brief outline of my days and the fact that I need comfortable and casual clothes (which I clicked on... for that closet thing...). Also, apparently you need to put 50 items in your closet. If you do sign up, send them an email with more details about what you want because their questionnaire is insufficient to provide that kind of information. Or their stylists lack the critical thinking ability to look at what liked and figure out what you want.

Third Tote:

Oh wow. So, instead of just sending me a tote, Le Tote sent me an email with a link to customize my next tote, since I was so displeased with my last two totes. [Everything but the jewelry was rated "disliked.] I got pretty excited because I had "liked" a ton of shirts and cardigans that I would love to wear. Unfortunately, I was extremely disappointed when I went to customize the bag. There was one sweater that I liked and two pieces of jewelry that I liked, but I ended up switching them to a necklace and earrings that matched each other.

The other two pieces in the tote were definitely wrong for me. A long skirt that wasn't a maxi skirt, but almost ankle length. You would definitely need high heels for that type of skirt, but with my arch injury, high heels were out of the question. The other piece was a skimpy tank top. So, when I saw that I could pick from any category, my mood lifted a little. Then, I realized that there was only 1 available cardigan, no pants, no jackets, and no sweaters. NO sweaters. It was December 30! But there were an excessive number of tank tops. There was even an available romper. That's cool. I like rompers in January. #not

le tote sucks 1 le tote sucks 2 Again, the available dresses were more appropriate for working as an escort, a tropical vacation, or Vegas. I'm not planning on any of those, so... I tried to pick out an outfit (more time delay), but then I got an email from Le Tote saying that one of the items that I picked was unavailable (SURPRISE!). So, another time delay. When the bag finally shipped, several days after returning my bag, it took a long time to get here. I ended up with this trash: le tote sucks 3 The sweater was ok. The dress was not appropriate for my lifestyle because I can't wear shoes that go with it because of my arch problems. The tank top was not worth the hassle.

At that point, I emailed Le Tote and asked to cancel my account. I could not tolerate another email exchange with them. All of the delays in shipment due to lack of stock, the horrible clothes that I returned immediately, etc, all ended up with me getting 3 totes over a period of around 4 weeks, even though I didn't wear a single piece that they sent me. I had anticipated getting a bag a week, if I wore the clothes. Since each bag was returned immediately, I should have had way more bags. I didn't want to be charged for a second month, so I decided not to bother with getting boxes and returning them. Plus, I just wanted to scream every time I got an email from them.

Fortunately, they offered me a refund due to my dissatisfaction. I do think that was only fair because they couldn't send me anything wearable.

Total Items Worn: ZERO

dunzo

Final Thoughts:

After my partial month's worth of totes, I cannot believe that absolutely every person who has tried it has had a perfect experience. Customer Loyalty tried to tell me that my experience was a fluke. I'm going to call bull shit here. Search "Le Tote Sponsored" and you'll see that the positive reviews come up for pages because Le Tote has been sponsoring posts, so they pop up first. In fact, I would be so surprised if many of them have halfway decent experiences. I guess it's a good experience if they provide you bags for free. So, since I couldn't find a negative review before trying the service, I tried it. I did read non sponsored posts by bloggers that I trust who gave good reviews, but those women actually received clothing that they could wear. Some people who comment on my blog posted good, non-sponsored reviews. Their very first boxes were mixes of casual and dressy. I am disgusted by the fact that my first three totes (all) were complete wastes. That's time of my membership lost by clothes that were cheaply made and non-wearable. If I had been paying full price for just 4 weeks, I would have been livid.

[Please note that I did an EXHAUSTIVE search on Google looking for a negative or even neutral review of Le Tote. I couldn't find one bad word about Le Tote because only bloggers singing the praises of the service came up for page after page. But, after my experience, I reread some of these posts--I noticed that they were only wearing a black tank from Le Tote with their own clothing items, etc. The nice parts of the items were not Le Tote's. You can buy basic clothing items for much less than the cost of a membership.]

I spent more time talking to their customer service than I would have cared to. I wanted to fight for getting the best experience possible, but I took the time to look through all of the clothes, pick the ones that I liked, and took the style quiz. I don't understand why a "stylist" couldn't look at that. Do they hire people with no critical thinking skills or do they only use a computer to send the clothes out? When I let the company know that the clothes weren't what I asked for, they said that they can't always give me what is in my closet. Yet, customer retention wanted to know what styles I liked, so they could pass that on to my stylist. It just boggles my mind that I picked 35 items that were similar and they sent two whole bags of clothes that were trashy and flimsy. Customer retention asked if I wanted work or play clothes. That seems like a question that should have been asked up front! Before I got TWO bags. Maybe they could put it in the initial style questionnaire. My husband joked that if they thought those were work clothes, they needed to reassess what work would look like for most people. He's the one that thought they looked like hooker clothes, actually.

Really, it's just dishonest to take people's money upfront if they don't have inventory to come close to providing the types of clothes that people want. They should probably reinstate the waiting list that they used to have. If they can only send tank tops and short dresses in January, don't talk to me about how your inventory is different than a normal store. I get that, but make sure that you have enough on hand to accommodate your customers. What sending me summer clothes in December says to me is that they want to take my money and give me summer clothes because they already sent out all of the winter clothes.

Le Tote is for you if...

You frequently need a cocktail dress.
You don't own any basic clothing items. They really only have black, grey, and maroon--so, if you want color, you have to supply it.
You love to wear high heels. All of the dresses and skirts require fancy shoes. It would be difficult to dress the dresses down.

Le Tote is not for you if... You want to receive items you like.
You want to try items that are trendy, but you don't want buy. They won't have it in stock.
You already own basic black shirts.


So, Tom Haverford, if you ever open up Rent-a-Swag, give me a call. You'd do a better job! rent a swag 2 rent a swag If you want to complain that my experience was different than the current service, please read the entire review. In fact, I given the option to pick my own bag. My complaint is that they knowingly took my money when the inventory was too sparse to justify another customer.



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Categories: fashion, Review Tags: ,
Mr. Kiss and Tell: Calling ALL Veronica Mars Fans

mr kiss and tell

Rating: *****************************

Really, I would rate this 5+. If you are a huge Veronica Mars fan, Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell helps to continue to fill the void left by the prematurely cancelled series and the movie. Just like the first book that was released after the movie, this book is a great continuation of the storyline. I love that I can hear the characters' voices in my heads as I read. Also, another bonus of the printed word, as opposed to network TV, the characters can use the more colorful language that actually fits with what feels more natural than the censored language used on TV. The witty quips and banter feels very natural.

kristen-bell-veronica-mars-gifs-12

This novel continues to follow the corruption in the Neptune Sheriff's Department, of course. Veronica comes a little bit more into her own during this novel, when she is asked to investigate, instead of her father. I loved the character development of this novel because Veronica is a lot more introspective about her relationships, decision to become a PI, and her motives in investigating. In fact, you get a peak into Logan's inner life at one point--something that has always been a little bit of a mystery.

Furthermore, the novel continues to reference the movie and episodes from the TV series. Since some of use have slightly rusty memories, the author is kind enough to remind the reader a little bit about how Veronica knows people. I love this incorporation!

The novel does not shy away from hard topics--there are prostitutes who are assaulted, Veronica's own rape, life for military families, and strained relationships. So, while the novel is quick and engrossing read, it is not fluffy. Normally, I would assume that a novel that is an extension of a TV series would just be a try to capitalize on the popularity of the series and make money. This novel is not that, at all. It fills the void left by the ending of the story, plus the novel has substance, intrigue, and you'll probably be really sad when it's over because you will want a third book to move onto next! So, Mr. Thomas, please write us a third novel!

Don't forget to pick up your copy on January 20!

If you haven't read the first novel in the series, The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, you can go on and read that. You have time 🙂

veronica mars smile

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an early copy of this novel for review. (Honestly, it was killing me to wait until January 20th!).

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Categories: Reading, Review Tags: ,
The Rosie Effect Review
I was provided a copy of this novel by Netgalley for an honest review. the rosie effect

Rating: *****

I read The Rosie Project earlier in December. I kicked myself for not reading it sooner. I absolutely loved it. When I had the chance to read the sequel, The Rosie Effect, I was so excited. I knew that if it was anything like The Rosie Project, I would probably love it.

The Rosie Effect did not disappoint--a completely five star book! It was short and fun, and completely intelligent. It is hard to find an easy, humorous book that is also smart and witty. In typical Don Tillman fashion, the novel follows Don through his extremely well intentioned and researched choices that lead to humorous, but occasionally disastrous miscommunications.

The novel follows Don and Rosie to New York, where they are working and studying at Columbia as a newly married couple. And, as you can imagine, life with Don gets a little crazy. I loved the change in location for the novel because Don's analysis of fitting in with American culture is hysterical. The new location also provided new characters, plus a few old favorites .

If you haven't read The Rosie Project, you'll definitely want to read it first, so that you will understand the context of The Rosie Effect. Throughout the two books, it is nice to see how the Rosie and Don, who are almost diametrically opposed to one another, become a unit and work together. Don, especially, is interested in his own personal development, which looks a little different than most people's personal development, but that's the beauty of his character.

highly recommend this book! It will be available in the US on December 30. Pick it up as soon as possible!

It was such a pleasure to write The Rosie Project Review because I loved this series so much!

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Categories: Reading, Review