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Places I Want to Visit Again

September 4, 2017
Are there just some places that you could revisit again and again? For me, there are. Most of the places I want to go back to are based on personal reasons and/or because I have ties or sentimental attachments to those places. Still, I feel there is a lot to gain from revisiting somewhere you've been to before. Maybe you'll get to see an old friend again, or maybe you'll have more of a chance to get off the beaten path and do something you haven't done the first time around. Places change and with that change is more opportunity to explore.

Below are a few places I'd really love to return to!

1) Seoul, South Korea



Why I Want to Go Back: I lived in Seoul from 2003-2004 and then again from 2006-2008, so I spent three years living there in my 20's. I have not been back to Seoul since 2008 and now that I'm living in Shanghai, a trip to Seoul can easily be done on a weekend. In fact, many of my co-workers have been over the last two years. Instead, I opted to travel to places within China that I hadn't been to before such as: Yangshuo, Harbin, and Xi'an. Since I have already been to most of the places I wanted to go to in China, now I feel like it's finally time for me to head back to Korea. My friend Lauren worked in Korea, too, and we always talk about the food, culture, and our times teaching over there. She has expressed interest in going back to Seoul again, so I think it would be cool for the two of us to go over there together. One of my friends from China moved there, and I still have some friends living over there from when I was there! I'm curious to see how Seoul has changed over the past 9 years, as I'm sure it has. In fact, I heard that parts of it will be unrecognizable based off what I remember.

What I Want to See/Do: 1) I'd like to go back to a lot of my favorite places in Seoul like Myeong Dong, Insa Dong, and Hongdae. 2) The Hello Kitty Cafe is a must, especially because they closed the one near me in Shanghai before I ever got a chance to go! 3) Visit the Trick Eye Museum because it looks like a fun time with plenty of chances for photo ops. 4) Eat all the Korean food that I can, especially Korean barbecue and tuna kimbap.

2) Newfoundland, Canada




Why I Want to Go Back: The locals were so friendly here and many parts of Newfoundland were pristine and beautiful. The main reason I'd like to return is because three of my dear friends live in Newfoundland and they're all there right now. The first time I visited, I was only able to see one of my friends. Now that all three of them are back, I feel like I want to go soon because we all haven't seen each other in such a long time.

What I Want to See/Do: 1) Get screeched in. I technically did not get screeched in "officially" when I first visited. To get screeched in is a Newfie tradition involving guests to the island. You are supposed to have some Screech (rum with a high alcohol content), kiss a cod, and then learn some local slang. This is done to welcome visitors, and some places even give you a certificate. 2) Go out into the water and see icebergs. 3) Go on a road trip and stop at charming fishing villages such as Dildo. Yes, you read that right.

3) Italy



Why I Want to Go Back: Do I really need to explain this? I think most people WOULD want to go back to Italy. I miss speaking Italian and am completely out of practice. I miss the warmth of the people in Southern Italy and eating freshly prepared Italian food for almost every meal. I also have some ties there and want to see the family I nannied for years ago. Even though I lived in Italy for a year, I feel like I just barely scratched the surface of everything I wanted to see and do there.

What I Want to See/Do: 1) Go to Verona and see "Juliet's" balcony. 2) Revisit Tuscany. I did get to visit Siena, Firenze, and Cortona, but there are so many other towns in Tuscany that I'd love to get to such as: Lucca, San Gimignago, Viterbo, Montepulciano, etc. 3) Go to Cinque Terre for those gorgeous views and coastal villages on the Italian Riveria.

4) Iceland



Why I Want to Go Back: My friend Scott and I were going to go on a road trip through Iceland the summer before last, but I ended up hospitalized, so we had to cancel our whole trip. This is still something I'd very much like to do together! I've traveled a lot with Scott, but I just feel like Iceland would be "his thing."

What I Want to See/Do: 1) Go to the Silfra Fissure to snorkel between two tectonic plates. This has been something I've always regretted not doing. 2) Go to some more hot springs besides the two I visited last time (the Blue Lagoon and Secret Lagoon). 3) Explore the northern part of Iceland since last time our trip focused on the South.

5) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 


Picture via 
Why I Want to Go Back: I grew up in Pittsburgh and have not been back since I was 18 years old. If you're noticing the whole "I used to live here" theme in places I want to go back to, you're right. I've never been to a single bar in Pittsburgh and never got to experience the nightlife. I've barely even driven around it since I moved when I was 15, one year before I got my driver's license. My dad has been back and told me that it has changed for the better. Being back there would be surreal in a sense and would also be very "Sliding Doors" in a way.

What I Want to See/Do: 1) Ride on the incline for views of the city. 2) Eat at Conflict Kitchen. 3) Visit the Andy Warhol museum. 4) Go to a Pirates game. 5) Take a trip to Kennywood, my favorite amusement park from my childhood.

What are some places that you just didn't get your fill of the first time around? Or, what are some places you feel you feel tied to because of your past?

#theadventurousway

August 25, 2017
When my pal Rachael and I went to Iceland a few years back, Rachael said she thought it would be a good idea to start a hashtag to document our trip on Instagram. We also wanted to encourage others to use it to document anything adventurous that they decided to do. The hashtag "the adventurous way" comes from combining the names of both of our blogs: Adventures of a Dream Catcher + The Rachael Way. Rachael thought of it and asked me if it would be okay--I happily agreed, thinking it was pretty clever.

While the hashtag isn't HUGE, I was pumped to see that there were over 1,000 posts, so I wanted to do a little feature of some of my favorite posts that I felt showcased something truly adventurous. I still use the hashtag fairly often myself but have to say that my life hasn't been too adventurous since my spinal fusion. While I'm not able to do any zip lining or adventure sports, adventure to me can just mean trying out a new food or doing something outside of your comfort zone. I hope the pictures below inspire you to live life the adventurous way!

1) I love this photo because it captures adventure in two ways--both the photographer and the child are being adventurous. User didersmith snapped this shot of a child on a reindeer while he was staying with reindeer herders in Mongolia. Read his detailed caption for more exciting information about his trip.

Yes, this kid is riding a reindeer! @radical_buddhist and I spent the past 9 days on an expedition to a very remote region of northern Mongolia to stay with one of the few remaining families of reindeer herders. Called the Dukha people, they've lived in a symbiotic relationship with their reindeer for centuries. Unfortunately, there is only a handful of families remaining today. To get to their village, we had to put together a full support team (as the people are nomadic, it would have been impossible to even find them otherwise), then ride off-road for two days until the terrain became impassable. Then, we ditched the bikes and continued on horseback for another two days, until we finally arrived at the high mountain valley where the people had made their summer home. I'll release more details in the coming days - for now it's time to hit the road again. Staying with these people and their reindeer was an incredible experience I'll never forget. #roundtheworld #exploretheplanet #adventuretourism #adventuretravel #goplaces #itsbetteroutside #madeforadventure #lovetheoutdoors #outdoorsy #gooutsideandplay #adventurous #ontheroadagain #itsamazingoutthere #doyourbest #selfbelief #keepmovingforward #mindsetiseverything #takeaction | #thetimeisnow #youcan #keepmoving #anythingispossible #chaseyourdreams #roadtosuccess #fearnothing #theadventurousway #wearewanderlusters #trueadventure #rtwtrip #rtwtravel
A post shared by Didier Smith, Adventure Rider (@didiersmith) on

2) The next photo was posted by my friend Steven (stevenonthego). It fascinates me because I know I could never do a pose like this! Steven quit his job teaching to pursue his dream of teaching yoga. He trained in India and is now hoping to teach yoga full-time. Check out his account for more yoga poses along with some fabulous travel pictures.

A post shared by Steven Conville (@stevenonthego) on

3) I may be a bit biased in choosing the next picture, but I just LOVE the shot my friend Chris (cjphennessey) took while we were together in Macau. It shows the famous Ruins of St. Paul in the background. There's nothing more adventurous than taking a weekend trip to a new place and going exploring!



4) The next shot has the most gorgeous sunrise that user Upwardhiking posted before a hike in Hawaii. To me, hiking is always an adventure because you never know what you might encounter along the way: fellow travelers, new scenery, animals, etc. I think it's one of the best ways to explore a new place.


5) I can't think of adventure and not think of zip lining. This photo by Parkerlennon stood out to me because of the person zip lining right between the couple--such a neat shot! Of course being in the rain forest also helps raise up the adventure points.


I hope you consider joining in and using #theadventurousway the next time you explore!

What's your favorite picture with theadventurousway hashtag?

Ohio for the Summer

August 21, 2017
If you follow me on Instagram, you know already that I made it to Ohio this summer. When I flew out from Shanghai, it was only 11 days after my myomectomy surgery, so I was on edge about the trip. I also hadn't been on a long-haul international flight in economy class since the summer of 2015 due to my back surgery. I was still in pain from my recent surgery and sitting for too long (more than a few hours) always gives me back pain now, so I was wondering how I was even going to tolerate the flight. I looked into buying Business class flights so that I could lie down, but they were more than $4,000 round trip, so it was just too pricey for me. I decided that even if I was in pain for 10 hours, that would be better than not getting to see my friends and family. I flew Shanghai-Los Angeles, and that flight was about 12 hours long and the one I was the most worried about. I ended up having some unbelievable luck, though! The whole flight was full, except for the seat next to me. I'm sure that's because I booked so late and was all the way in the back of the plane by the bathrooms, but having that vacant seat next to me was such a blessing. If my back hurt too much, I could just lie down on the seat and while it was not comfortable by any means, it was still getting pressure off of my spine. When I arrived in LA, it was awful because I had to collect my bags. They were only about 20 pounds because I had planned on doing a lot of shopping in the States, but I was on a 10-pound lifting restriction after my surgery, so dealing with my bags was a pain (literally). They ran out of baggage carts, so I had to lug my bags, which was annoying, but hey...somehow I was able to manage. Once I went through security and got my bags re-checked, I felt a lot better and was just loving the simple fact that I had made it back to America! It was so weird being able to understand most people's conversations once again. I'm still not used to it and eavesdrop all the time. Once I boarded my flight from LA to Columbus, I knew I was in the home stretch. After landing in Columbus, my dad met me at Baggage Claim. It had been two years since I had seen him. I know he was relieved to see me in one piece after going through some painful procedures in China. My dad drove us back to my parents' house and had me stay in my sister's old bedroom, which was all ready for me.


For the first few days after coming back to the States, I just decided to stay at home, hang out with my parents, and rest mostly. My dad had read one of my previous blog posts in which I said that I missed Bob Evans restaurants, so he invited my mom and me to join him for a meal there. I got the banana bread I'd been so desperately craving in China. Nothing beats Bob Evan's banana bread! When I told some fellow Ohioans that I'd been missing Bob Evans, they laughed at me and said, "That's almost as embarrassing as Rachael missing Applebee's!" Hey, we like what we like! No shame. It turned out that the Ohio obsession with Bob Evan's worked in my favor, as my sister also suggested we go to one, and there is even one in the Columbus airport (which of course I ate at).

Besides getting my Bob Evan's fix, after a few days of rest, I did a lot of shopping. I may have overdone it, but I was just SO sick of my current wardrobe that it was worth it to me. Just going to Target for the first time in two years was an experience! Of course, I spent more than intended, but now I have some staple pieces that I can wear for a long time.  Besides Target, I ended up making purchases at Ulta, Old Navy, Torrid, Zale's, and Maurices. I even ordered my first Stitch Fix. Come to think of it, it was probably the biggest shopping spree I had ever been on in my life! Why is it so fun spending money?

The first person in Ohio that I wanted to see was my friend Scott who worked with me in China my first year there. I figured he would be a great person to see because he knew exactly what it was like over there, and we just had a lot to catch up on. The last time Scott saw me, I had just gotten out of the hospital and could barely walk, so it was awesome showing him my progress. We met for sushi, got iced coffees, and then spent the afternoon in some beautiful gardens laughing and reminiscing.



I also got to visit one of my favorite locally owned restaurants, which serves Greek food. My dad took me to the downtown location, and I have to say that the downtown area of the town my parents live nearest to is looking better and better these days. I remember when it was just a bunch of vacant buildings with a few businesses, but now there is a coffee shop, salons, more restaurants and bars, a (legit looking) tattoo parlor, a children's museum, specialty shops, and some art studios. While there are still some empty buildings, there's no denying that improvements have been made. Walking around downtown now is "a thing" and the overall vibe is much better.

The next people I decided to visit were my friends Amanda and Courtney. We worked at the movie theater together for years, so we had SO many crazy stories to share about our past experiences. Some day I think I should write a tell-all post about some of the insane people I had to deal with in customer service. At least the crazies always give me good stories to tell, even though some of them sound like lies because they are that extreme. The three of us went to Bingo. We all lost the main games but had fun regardless. Then Amanda asked me to go see 47 Meters Down with her. The movie was just okay, but I enjoyed just being in a movie theater again since I had only gone once in two years in China. As for other movies, I was able to see Wonder Woman and Dunkirk. I would have gone to see more movies, but I just didn't have enough time. Three movies in a theater in a month and a half isn't too shabby, though!


I was also able to see a few people that I studied Early Childhood Education with at OSU. Four of us met for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It was great to hear how their lives are now and fun to compare teaching experiences. I don't envy them having to complete RESA though. I heard it is a nightmarish mentoring program that teachers with initial licensure have to pass in order to receive their professional teaching license. If I ever decide to come back to Ohio to teach, I might have to go through that, too. There have already been talks of this program getting replaced, so you never know. I've learned very quickly that when it comes to education and teaching requirements that nothing is set in stone. So many changes have already happened since I graduated in 2013.


I met my buddy Autumn one day at the Olive Garden for dinner, too. We are both fans of the soup, salad, and breadsticks. Although I didn't have a lot of time to see people, I do have to say that I DID get to see everyone that I wanted to see the most! I was also able to make it down to Columbus to meet with my college friends and got to go to Cleveland to see my friends I met in Seoul.


One of the best days I had all summer was with my friends Dre and Gregg! They requested the day off work to hang out with me, and we went to some fun and beautiful places in Ohio. Our first stop was Brandywine Falls, which is part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We also stopped at The Signal Tree, at Gregg's suggestion. Apparently, Native Americans used oddly shaped trees as meeting points, and this was one of them.



Our next stop was to go to the Hard Rock Rocksino where we had a light lunch and decided to try our hand at the slot machines. Dre and I decided that we would spend $20 max and see what happened. First, I tried the Wonka machine but lost. Dre mentioned that she wanted to play the Walking Dead slot machines because last time she won $100. When I played, I ended up winning 25 free spins, which was awesome because I just watched myself keep on earning a few bucks here and there. I also got a chance to pop character's faces to see which prize I would win. At one point, I had popped two mini prizes and two grand prizes. If I popped another grand prize, I would have gotten almost $10,000! Can you believe that? I couldn't imagine leaving a casino $10,000 richer, could you? My heart was pounding, but of course, I popped the mini and got $60. At least I came away with extra money, but I felt I was really close to getting the $10,000, or at least they made it so I would think that! I can see why people become addicted to gambling because it was really hard to make myself cash out while I was still ahead. I haven't been to a casino many times in my life, but this was my third time winning which I think is pretty good.

There is also a race track where you can watch horse racing, but it wasn't going on the day we went. We were able to see a horse outside training, though.


Next, we went to the Fannie May Harry London Chocolate Factory in Canton, Ohio. We got there a little before the tour started, so we browsed the gift shop and were offered some Buckeyes and a selection of various types of chocolates including the Mint Meltaways that I picked. Once the tour started, we watched a video explaining the history of the two companies that are now in business together. Then we went upstairs and saw a huge tank full of chocolate. It gets shipped in from a secret spot and then is used to make all kinds of delicious truffles, chocolate-covered strawberries, butter creams, etc. We got to see the workers producing various kinds of chocolate in the factory. Funnily enough, production had just started on their Christmas chocolates, and we saw them making red and green chocolate-covered pretzels. We learned that there are people who are official taste testers who check for quality control. Any mess ups are bagged up and sold at a cheaper price in the gift shop or else are given to employees. At the end of the tour, we were offered two more chocolates from a tray to try. The salted caramel one was the best! To finish off the tour, we were taken to the gift shop and sampled a small scoop of chocolate ice cream. The tour was free and I got to try so many different kinds of chocolate, which was a great way to spend an afternoon. I would 100% order some chocolates from this company in the future.




After the chocolate factory tour, we drove out to Gervasi Vineyard. I have been to many wineries in Ohio but never heard of this one until a few years ago. I have to say that it is the most beautiful vineyard I've ever been to. The grounds are so beautiful so I can see why so many people opt to get married here. Not that I even have a boyfriend, but add me to that list because it's absolutely gorgeous. For dinner, Gregg made a reservation for us at The Bistro. There was a noticeable Italian theme to the place. We were greeted with a "Ciao" when we entered, and all of the wines were named in Italian. Dre and I wanted to try a flight of them. My favorite one was a Riesling called Piove (rain), and I would have tried more but I had to drive home so I couldn't. One day, I'd love to stay in one of their villas! Not only could I try all the wine I wanted, but they look luxurious even from the outside.





This summer, I also became addicted to Whit's Frozen Custard. Omg...Delicious! I gained 10 pounds, and I think 9 of those pounds are from Whit's. Not even upset about the weight gain because I lost some weight before this trip and already figured I would gain some back. When I go back to China, I know I'll be better about watching what I eat. But back to Whit's. What really gets me are the different flavors that they change out every week or so. The next time I go in, I see that the following week has another flavor that I want to try. The best ones I had were the lemon, Key Lime, and peach. It is so good that a friend of mine who is lactose intolerant goes there anyway and deals with the consequences, ha ha.

Once I wasn't in so much pain, I did start to become more active by walking the bike trail and some other local trails. I was just glad to be outside and moving again. Who doesn't like being outside when the weather is nice?


One day I also made it up to Cleveland to go to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I hadn't been since about 2004, so it was like going to a completely new museum. The person I went with hadn't been before and he said, "That was the most non-boring museum I've ever experienced." We both liked that so many parts of the museum were not just visual and they played music on tv or through speakers. You can go into a theater and watch a collection of snippets of some musicians really rocking out. It was intense and one of the highlights of the whole day! There are exhibits that focus on the history of rock and roll, an Elvis Presley exhibit, and one called Cities and Sounds (think Seattle grunge, London punk, etc.). Admiring all of the costumes and artifacts that they've collected is amazing, too.




After the museum, we drove through downtown Cleveland and stopped to take in this marvelous view before driving home.


To be honest, I think I took a risk flying over here with my health problems. It turned out to be the right call, though. Looking back, I don't think I could have worked a third year in China without going home in between at all. Maybe some people can, but I'm not one of them. I'm just so relieved that everything worked out the way it did and that I could recover at home and also see people who are important to me. When I think about it, even though my summer started out lame with me having to recover from a painful surgery, it went uphill from there and just kept getting better and better. This has been a summer full of laughter, new memories, and just plain relief. I feel like I'm finally starting to get back to normal again, but there's no way that could have happened without this trip home. Sometimes there's just no place like it!

August: The Blended Blog Asks

August 8, 2017
I saw this post floating around on several blogs and wanted to join in! The prompts remind me of those e-mail surveys my friends and I used to fill out in college (showing my age here!) and forward to each other. This came at the right time because my last post was kind of heavy, so let's keep this one light and fun.


1) Pool, lake, or ocean? This one is hard! I like all of them for different reasons, but since I hardly ever go to lakes (which is weird because I'm not too far Lake Erie), I've narrowed it down to ocean and pool. I guess for the overall experience, I would choose the ocean. I like lying down on the sand with a book, people-watching, looking for shells, and not being confined to a small area like the pool.  Then there are the sunsets and walks along the beach. Even though the beach is the winner for me, I do like SWIMMING more in a pool just because I get scared of all of the ocean animals that could potentially be around me out there. In a pool I don't have to worry about being stung by a jellyfish.

2) Camping, cottage, or hotel? Hmmm...not really sure I ever stayed in a cottage besides this one time I visited my friend in Toronto and she called her place a cottage. I guess I'm going to have to go with hotel just because I like all of the amenities. With my back issues, I don't know how comfortable camping would be for me these days, but I wouldn't rule out glamping!

3) Favorite ice cream flavor? Does frozen custard count? The other day I tried some lemon flavored custard at Whit's and it was up there for me. There were whole cookies in the custard! If we're talking strictly ice cream, then I guess I'd have to go with chocolate peanut butter, but only the kind that actually has real peanut butter chunks in it; not the kinds that are blended together.

4) PJ's, nightgown, t-shirt/shorts, or birthday suit? I usually wear a t-shirt and shorts, but my friend Lauren got me a nightie when I was in the hospital and I'm obsessed with that thing. It's from Marks and Spencer and it's made from the softest material--I cannot stop wearing it!

5) Favorite summer beverage? I love a nice glass of chilled white wine in the summer.

6) Would you rather be hot or cold? I'd rather be hot because all these other people who got spinal fusions wrote in my support group that cold weather really hurts their back. Thank goodness I haven't had to experience a brutal Ohio winter yet and just have enjoyed the mild winters in Shanghai. I don't want to have more pain, so I'll do my best to avoid the very cold temperatures.

7) Sandals with heels or flats? Flats. They are more comfortable and at 6'0" already, I feel more comfortable in them.

8) Shorts or skirts? I just realized I don't think I've worn a skirt in years, so I'm going to have to go with shorts on this one. I tend to just wear shorts or dresses and apparently pass on the skirt option.

9) Sit in the sun or shade? Definitely the shade! I am very pale and it doesn't take much for me to get burned. Also, I do care about skincare and want to avoid prolonged sun exposure and the wrinkles that come along with that.

10) Water, tea, or soda?  Water because it actually quenches my thirst and since I don't want to be dehydrated, I drink it the most often. I will have soda from time to time as a treat, though.

11) Favorite summer fruit or vegetable? Strawberries! Including chocolate covered ones, too. :)

12) Sunrise or sunset? I am not an early morning person, so I've definitely seen and enjoyed more sunsets in my life.

13) Bike ride or walk? Walking! I love walking around in cities that I visit or even cities I live in. I find it is the best way for me to explore. On a bike I feel like I might pass things by.

14) Winery or brewery?  Wineries all the way! I was lucky enough to just try out an excellent wintery in Ohio called Gervasi in Canton, Ohio. I HIGHLY recommend it.

15) Garden or no garden? I don't have a garden and probably never will, but applaud people who do.

16) Big summer concert or music in the park? Music in the park. I'd rather do something chill and concerts aren't as fun for me because I don't like crowds of sweaty people and getting shoved, ha ha...When I was younger, I totally would have said big summer concert.

17) Favorite cookout food? Corn on the cob. I'm showing my Pennsylvania/Ohio roots with this one.

18) Dine indoors or patio? Weather permitting, I prefer the patio. I guess in Shanghai, I'd have to say pollution permitting, too.

19) Favorite summer destination? I'm just going to go with the whole continent of Europe with this one. I'd love to do some more exploring there next summer.

20) Big theme park or local carnival? Hmm...well seeing as how someone just died in Columbus from a fair ride, I'll choose big theme park. I would really like to revisit Shanghai Disney this year!

21) Drinks blended or on the rocks? I like both and don't have a major preference for this one.

22) Popsicle flavor of choice? Cherry

23) Hot dog or hamburger? Hamburger. This just made me want to go to a cookout.

I do love summer, especially being a teacher and getting that time off. What are some of your summer favorites?

My 1st Ever Stitch Fix

I'll assume by now you more or less know what Stitch Fix is, so I'm not going to go into great detail on that. In case you don't know, you fill out a style profile on what type of clothing/accessories you like, are sent about 5 items, and can decide what to keep and send back. It's $20 no matter what. If you buy something, the $20 styling fee can go toward your first item.

I had been wanting to try Stitch Fix for ages, but I was in China for the last two years and couldn't. Since I was able to come back this summer, one of the first things I did was to sign up and order myself a box. I thought maybe that a stylist would send me items I wouldn't think to try for myself.

So, let's see how it worked out for me! I do want to mention that in the notes section, I wrote that I had a banquet coming up for my school and needed a dress to wear, but that it didn't have to look "teacher-y" because no students would be present. Here's what my stylist sent for my first piece...

Piece 1: Honey Punch Daniella Faux Wrap Maxi Dress $78.00

This was the dress that my stylist suggested I wear to my school's banquet with wedges or heels.  I put in my style profile that I never wore wedges or heels, so that comment made me think she didn't read my profile that well. Honestly, the dress is just not something I would wear for a night out. While I'm not going to be wearing it to the banquet, I think it's a pretty cute casual dress and wouldn't mind wearing it for a day out in Shanghai or even to teach in. I've never owned a wrap dress that you tie before, so this was a new style for me to try. I have to say, I liked that the wrap dress seemed to cover up my problem areas. Sometimes I have trouble finding flattering dressses, but this one seemed to work! It made me wish I had tried wrap dresses like this sooner.

I do love floral prints and the color red, so for me this one is a winner.


Pieces 2 and 3: French Grey Hortense Cutout Detail Knit Top $38.00
Kut From the Kloth Dayna Skinny Jean $88.00

Okay, so for the top, wow...It's so soft and comfy and I do love the cut out element. It is a bit heavy, which means I probably wouldn't be able to wear it until about October in Shanghai just because I feel like it would be too hot. I want to love this top, but I guess the bigger issue is that I'm broad shouldered and I feel like it makes my shoulders look bigger than they actually are. My pose in the picture doesn't make them look too bad, but just imagine that both of my arms are down...I'm not sure the shirt does me any favors.

The jeans are great, and the color and cut are my style. They fit almost perfectly. They could be maybe 1 inch longer on the bottom, but I know I have a ridiculously long inseam, so I don't care that they are a teeny bit shorter than I would like. I don't usually spend $88.00 on jeans, but since I wear jeans ALL the time (even to work!), I'm going to give this pair a try.



Pieces 4 and 5: Romolo Kiri Stone Lariat $28.00
Collective Concepts Bailin Crochet Detail Blouse $48.00

The necklace that they sent is adorable, but I asked to not really be sent jewelry. I am pretty good at buying jewelry, but not so good at actually remembering to wear it. Plus, I don't know if the necklace is really worth the $28.00 price tag. Still, it's cute and I have trouble saying no to jewelry which is why I put down that I didn't want jewelry, ha ha.... But apparently I DO want it because I'm going to keep it. I could never do Rocksbox (jewelry subscripton service). I would keep everything and be bankrupt.

Onto the blouse. As I said, I love floral prints and think this one is gorgeous. What I do not like is that it doesn't have sleeves because my upper arms are a problem area. I wore cap sleeves once in China and two people commented on how fat my arms were, so in my style profile I put down that I wanted to keep my upper arms covered. Again, that made me question whether or not my stylist read my profile, although she must have looked at my Instagram account that I linked for her because on that I said I loved florals.





The Verdict: What I want to do is keep the jeans, dress, and necklace because I do really love those pieces. The sleeveless shirt is pretty, but I wish it had sleeves, so I wanted to send it back. The gray top made me look too big up top, so I wanted to return that, too. When I did the math though, it didn't seem worth it to return the two shirts. If you keep all 5 pieces, Stitch Fix rewards you with 25% off. Twenty-five percent off of all of my items is $70.00. The total price of the two shirts is $86.00, so to return those two shirts, I'd only be getting $16.00 back. Would I rather keep the two shirts for the price of $16? They're not perfect, but for $8.00 each? Well, I think that I would. Stitch Fix really got me there.

I won't be getting Stitch Fixes anytime soon because I have to go back to China, but this was a fun way to treat myself. If I come home next summer, I'd like to try it out again. I don't think I could stay subscribed to a clothing subscription box like this long-term because I would probably want to keep almost everything all the time!

What do you think of my first Stich Fix? Which pieces are the best and which ones are flops?