Reading All the Books

15 Jan

I asked you all for your book recommendations before I went on my cruise in December and you all certainly delivered (you can find the post here) My cruise reading kicked off some fun library trips and I’ve been working my way through an interesting mix of books.

Here’s what I loved… and what I didn’t. I linked to each book on Amazon so you can click through and read the full description if you’d like. However, I always recommend trying your library first, because FREE BOOKS!

Books I loved:

The Real Doctor Will See Your Shortly: A Physicians First Year – Matt McCarthy

Find it here on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2VTQWyI

I’ve never really been a big non-fiction reader, but I’ve found myself branching out a bit lately. This book was funny and touching and all around pretty fantastic. It follows the first year of Doctor Matt McCarthy as he stumbles through trying to be a ‘real’ doctor. McCarthy is immediately likeable and the book almost has the flavor of old-school Scrubs episodes.

Normally, This Would Be Cause for Concern: Tales of Calamity and Unrelenting Awkwardness – Danielle Fishel

Find it here on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Fvy6s8

Here’s another non-fiction book that somehow fell into my book cart. You may remember Danielle Fishel as Topanga on Boy Meets World (and more recently on Girl Meets World). Like most kids, I thought Topanga was pretty awesome, so I was down with reading about her life in Hollywood. Fishel comes off as super relatable – and yes, somewhat awkward – in her memoir and I finished the book convinced that we could easily be friends.

The Storyteller’s Secret: A Novel – Sejal Badani

Find it here on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MdxUiI

This book popped up on my free Kindle Unlimited recommendations, so I figured I’d give it a chance. It was immediately riveting as I followed Jaya through the unraveling of her marriage and concurrently followed her grandmother Amisha’s life in British-occupied India in the 1930’s. I thought the historic portion of the book was riveting and I enjoyed how it tied into Jaya’s modern day story. This one is still free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers, so I highly recommend downloading it!

Books I liked:

The Lilac Bouquet – Carolyn Brown

Find it here on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2RRXQ8u

I enjoy Carolyn Brown books for little happy romances that don’t stress me out. This one was cute and frothy and an enjoyable read. There were no real shockers in the ‘mystery’ of the book, but I walked away at the end feeling overall satisfied with the story. This one was free on Kindle Unlimited too, if you have that subscription.

Small Town Rumors – Carolyn Brown

Find it here on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Fz79nA

Another free Kindle Unlimited Carolyn Brown book that I enjoyed. This one centered around a woman who returns to her small town after a failed marriage. Yeah, we’ve all heard it before. Still, this one has some interesting stuff going on with budding friendships and parent issues. I liked this book and enjoyed some of the small town characters that became a part of Jennie Sue’s new life.

Fromage a Trois: Paris. Love. Cheese. – Victoria Brownlee

Find it here on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2RLV9VZ

I picked this one up at the library for no reason other than I liked the cover and the name of the book. Ella is unceremoniously dumped by her live-in boyfriend who decides he wants to “find himself” and has to move out of their shared apartment. So, she does what any reasonable human would do and decides to move to Paris for a year and eat ALL the cheese.  I like Ella. I like cheese. This book made me hungry.

Books I thought were just okay:

Match Making for Beginners – Maddie Dawson

Find it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2RQi4zy

This was another free one off Amazon Unlimited and it was fine. I mean, it was charming overall… but I had some issues with the plot and how it all wrapped up so quickly. I get that romances are ‘magical’ and in books when you know, you immediately elope and stuff. But, this one was just… okay.

The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee – Sarah Silverman

Find it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2AKVsXr

I like Sarah Silverman. I think she’s spunky and smart and adorable. I really wanted to love her book, but I was just left underwhelmed.

Do you have a book recommendation for me?

Disclosure: Pocketful of Joules is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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Trunk Club Review: Office Style

14 Jan

I wasn’t planning to order a Trunk from Trunk Club. Really, I wasn’t. And then I saw Mary Poppins Returns with my friend and basically drooled over Mary’s outfits the entire movie. Then, the very next day I got an email from Trunk Club asking if I’d like a Mary Poppins Returns inspired Trunk.

Um… YES! TAKE ALL MY MONEY!

The Trunk came a few days later and it was an unfortunate mess of unflattering pieces that highlighted all my wobbly bits and none of my good bits. So, instead of subjecting myself to photographing anything and blogging about it, I just stuck it all back in the box and arranged for a pick up the very next day.

And that was it.

Until a couple weeks later when my new stylist (my previous stylist left the company, so now I have been assigned to a stylist named Amelia), sent over a Trunk preview for me to check out.

A couple of the pieces showed promise, so I declined all the items I knew I didn’t want to try and made sure to give my stylist feedback on why I removed each one. After reviewing my notes, Amelia added in a few more things to fill out the Trunk and sent it over to me.

So, was it practically perfect in every way… or was it just a bunch of pish-posh? Let’s take a look!

(1) Eileen Fisher Slim Ponte Knit Pants, $208, (2) Madison & Berkeley Midi Dress, $59, (3) Eliza J Fit & Flare Dress, $148, (4) Something Navy Midi Dress, $99, (5) Eliza J Bow Back Sweater, $98, (6) Girl Meets Glam Edith Midi Dress, $178, (7) Boden Winifred Pattern Dress, $140, (8) Vince Camuto Puff Shoulder Dress, $119, (9) Boden Alberta Ruffle Shirt, $70, (10) Vince Camuto Tie Blouse, $99 (no link), (11) 1901 Full Skirt, $89.

If you’re new to my Trunk Club reveals (you can find them all here), I don’t typically photograph every single one of the items. When the Trunk first arrives, I usually go through it and narrow down my choices to a pile of my favorites.

Before we look at my favs, here are my 7 mini reviews of the items I didn’t show you:

(2) Madison & Berkeley Midi Dress – the fit on this one was SO ODD I couldn’t get the shoulders on!

(3) Eliza J Fit & Flare Dress – Too high on my neck and it was strangling me.

(4) Something Navy Midi Dress – Super frumpy and a bunch of NOPE.

(5) Eliza J Bow Back Sweater – Why is this a crop top?! Is this SUPPOSED to be a crop top??

(7) Boden Winifred Pattern Dress – Cute and AMAZING fabric, but highlights my mommy tummy.

 (8) Vince Camuto Puff Shoulder Dress – 1980’s Awful.

(10) Vince Camuto Tie Blouse – The laced shoulders are really wierd.

Moving on…

Outfit 1: Boden Alberta Ruffle Shirt ($70) and Eileen Fisher Slim Ponte Knit Pants ($208)

Initially, I wasn’t sure if I loved this shirt or if I hated it. It’s Boden, so the jersey is wonderfully soft and the fit seems good. I get the cool ruffle down the front, but the ruffles on the cuffs are a bit…um, too ruffle-y? I first tried the blouse with the Eileen Fisher pants. I have a couple pairs of pants form Eileen Fisher and they are wonderful. This pair is a bit of a different material and would need to be hemmed an inch or so if I were keeping them. As it is, they aren’t really wowing me and I already have a pair of black work slacks that I love.

Outfit 2: Boden Alberta Ruffle Shirt ($70) and 1901 Full Skirt ($89)

I switched the pants out with this skirt from 1901 (a new Nordstrom brand of classics with a twist). I think by combining the top with a skirt, it helps keep the ruffles from overwhelming me. However, this skirt in particular is not a winner. The cotton outer layer is rather thin (and wrinkly) and feels cheap. I like the cool crinoline slip detail and the pockets, but the fit is a bit off and it’s making me look dumpy.

Outfit 3: Boden Alberta Ruffle Shirt ($70) and a skirt I own

I felt like we were on the right track by pairing the Boden blouse with a full skirt, so I decided to try it with one that I already own (from Anthropologie a few years ago). I wish I had a solid black one, but this burgundy version with the gold accent embroidery actually looks kind of snazzy with the blouse. I also tugged the sleeves up a bit so that the ruffles weren’t flopping over my hands and it made a world of difference. NOW the blouse is a contender! What do you think, should I buy it or send it back?

Outfit 4: Girl Meets Glam Edith Midi Dress ($178)

When I saw the preview of this Trunk, this dress was the one that I was most excited to try on. I love a good v-neck combined with a fit-and-flare cut. The fabric on this dress is also a bit fancy, so it would be great for a dressy work day with a blazer. The skirt is extra full and swingy and has those all-important pockets. The sleeves are also a great length to hide my tattoos. The only problem is… it’s pink. I’m not really a pink person. Also, the bust is a smidge tight. So, sent a quick message to my stylist and apparently Trunk Club also has it available in navy and additional sizes! I’m thinking navy would look so much better with my hair color and I could add a fun pop of color with my shoes or even a cardigan. What do you think, should I exchange this one for the navy version and try two different sizes?

Trunk Finalists
Okay, so if you’ve been playing along that leaves me with just two favorites from this Trunk: the Girl Meets Glam Edith dress (but in Navy) for $178 and the Boden Alberta Ruffle Shirt for $70.

I posted both items on my Instagram stories over the weekend to get some feedback. For the shirt, the voting was 47% said to buy it and 53% said to pass. For the dress, the split was 53% buy and 47% pass. So, now I’m even more confused… should I just send everything back?

I’d love to know what you think! Leave me a comment below!

If you want to have Amelia style a Trunk for you I have her linked to my referral code here:  https://www.trunkclub.com/invite/QZFJ33 (Please note: if you use my referral link it will cost you nothing extra and it earns me a small amount to go towards items in my next Trunk).

1/15/19 Update – The People Have Spoken. Thank you all for your comments! I sent back the whole Trunk without buying anything. Once it gets to them, Amelia will send me the Girl Meets Glam Edith dress in Navy (in two sizes). I’ll keep you posted!

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored by Trunk Club, I pay for any clothing I purchase with my own hard-earned money. If you enjoyed my review and decide to try Trunk Club for yourself, the biggest compliment you can give me is by using my referral link. Thank you to anyone who chooses to click through and support my shopping addiction! This post contains ShopStyle affiliate links. This means that clicking on a link may help me earn a small commission at no cost to you.

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Clothing Purge Report: 2018 Totals

10 Jan

I put together my very first Clothing Purge Report at the beginning of April as part of a Selling Clothes: Where, How and What post. I thought it would be interesting to do the opposite of a ‘haul’ post and show you all how items leave my house. I liked it so much that I decided to do a bimonthly Clothing Purge Report and kept that up for the rest of the year.

In case you want to revisit any of the posts, you can find each of them here with a breakdown of what I sold and for how much:

Since I didn’t do a specific December sales post, here is that information:

Sold on Poshmark in December:

  • FitBit Alta and Wristbands: $65
  • Tribe Alive Clutch: $17
  • Dr Martin Floral Boots: $60
  • Lucky Brand Booties: $40

I decided to switch to an Apple iWatch in September, so my FitBit Alta was just sitting there waiting for some love. I ended up selling it on Poshmark to a woman who bought it for her daughter’s Christmas gift. The Tribe Alive clutch was in a FabFitFun box and after months I hadn’t used it, so I listed it and sold it. I thrifted the Dr Martin boots for $20 in the spring and never reached for them, so they got listed and sold too. Same goes for the Lucky booties… liked them, but didn’t love them. I do love getting $40 for them though!

Total Poshmark sales for December: $182 before Poshmark fees (20%)

Sold on Facebook Sale Groups in December:

  • Anthropologie Hemant & Nandita Dress: $45
  • Anthropologie Meadow Rue Polka Dot Blouse: $28

I’ve had both of these items for a few years and wore them a few times. I no longer considered them favorites, so I listed them and sold them in an Anthropologie purge.

Total Facebook sales for December: $73

Now that 2018 has passed, I wanted to make a cumulative Purge Report that includes all my purging activities from April – December.

Poshmark Sales Totals:

  • April and May: $129
  • June and July: $207
  • August and September: $174
  • October and November: $250
  • December: $182

Total sales: $942 (- $189 for 20% Poshmark fees) = $753.

FB Sales Group/Instagram Totals

  • April and May: $515
  • June and July: $413
  • August and September: $331
  • October and November: $67
  • December: $73

Total Sales: #1,399

{Items to subtract out of this total are: postage costs, mailing envelope costs, and PayPal fees.}

Final Total of Sales for April – December 2018: $2,152!

Now, keep in mind… I’m not a reseller. These are items that I have accumulated over the years, wore a bit and then decided to resell. The majority of the time when I am thrifting, it is for me and my own personal use… not to flip for a profit. However, very occasionally I will purchase an item specifically to resell. Usually, it’s not worth it to me to do so because it takes a lot of time and effort for what is typically a pretty small profit. (Also, in addition to my sales, I donated a bunch of stuff to various thrift stores).

So, why do I share my sales with you? Because it’s a great way to hold myself accountable. Also, I’m sure that many of you have items in your closet that you no longer like, or don’t fit, or don’t fit your current lifestyle. I want to show you that there are ways to pass them along to people who would enjoy them while also giving you some spending money.

As you can see, most of the items I sell are not super pricy. Typically each item goes for between $15 – $45 with some going for as low as $10!

By continuously going through my closet and listing items I no longer love, I accumulated over $2,000. That is a pretty nice chunk of change right there! My 2019 numbers will probably not be that high, but knowing that I can easily sell unwanted items makes it easier for me to take some styling chances. If I end up not loving something, it hits the chopping block and goes to someone else who will hopefully love it more.

If you have been wanting to try Poshmark for your own closet purging needs, I just realized that they gave me a special referral code to share. If you sign up and use “PocketfulofJoul” as your invite code, you will get $5 to spend and I will also get $5 in my account. Enjoy!

Have you enjoyed my Clothing Purge Reports? Are you surprised that my 2018 total ended up so high?   

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Reviewing Causebox: The Winter 2018 Box Reveal

8 Jan

I’ve been looking forward to the Winter Causebox ever since I saw the very first spoiler, so I was so excited to open the box the moment it was delivered to my door! Unlike my feelings about FabFitFun (that the boxes are getting worse and worse…), I have been more and more impressed with my quarterly subscription to Causebox. In fact, in a FabFitFun vs. Causebox death match I think Causebox would be the clear winner!

About CAUSEBOX:
Every season, members receive a limited edition curation of products from the leading socially conscious brands. Some of them are designed exclusively for CAUSEBOX. Each box is designed and filled with love. From the original artwork on the outside of the box, to the lovingly handmade products that fill it up, there is love in every detail. The cost is $49.95 per quarter if you subscribe annually, or $54.95 per quarter if you subscribe by the quarter. I don’t have a referral code to give you, but if you click on their website you might see a pop-up with a promo code on it: www.causebox.com

Let’s check out what I received:

SiiZU Winter Poncho Wrap, $115 retail value

I was soooo excited about this poncho and it certainly did not disappoint! Annual subscribers were able to pick from three colors and I let my Instagram friends decide for me with this Cranberry option. SiiZU is committed to sustainability and this poncho wrap was made with a textile called LENZING Viscose, which is made out of sustainably harvested tree fibers. I’ve already worn this a few times and basically jump in front of people to make them feel my poncho and then ask them what they think it’s made out of… before yelling “TREES! Can you believe it’s made out of TREES?!”

Anyways, I love, love, love this poncho and it basically makes the entire box worth it for me.

LUNA Nectar Jade Roller, $25 retail value

I’ve been hearing a lot about the benefits of jade rolling, so I was happy to receive one in this season’s box. Basically the jade roller is a tool to address circulation, puffiness, lymphatic drainage, and facial tension. It stays naturally cool, so it feels really good when you roll it over your face. I’ve started using this after I apply my face serum in the morning.

LSTN Sound Co Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, $99.99 retail value

These Bluetooth ear buds have a marbleized finish, inline controls and a built in microphone. Proceeds from LSTN Sound Co provide hearing aids to someone in need through the Starkey Hearing Foundation. I actually don’t currently need a pair of headphones (I have a couple pairs in rotation already), but these will be good to keep around for when one of my old pairs breaks.

Matr Boomie handmade necklace, $33 retail value

As an annual subscriber I was able to choose between a necklace or earrings. I basically never change my earrings from my little diamond studs, so I went with the necklace. This piece was made in Jaipur, India, and their partnership with the Winter Causebox helped put 45 artisans to work for four months. I love the mixed metal of the necklace and also the length of the chain. It is also incredibly lightweight, so it doesn’t weigh your neck down at all. I already wore this for Christmas Eve dinner at my parent’s house and will certainly be wearing it many more times.

Idlewood Co 2019 Planner, $32 retail value

Idlewood Co is a Florida-based company whose co-friendly paper goods are hand-drawn by their founder. UGH. I really love this planner. It’s just so pretty! Unfortunately, I already have a planner that goes from August 2018 – December 2019… so I don’t have a use for this one. It’s sooo pretty though that I totally want to hoard it anyways…

KLEI Detox Facial Steam, $22 retail value

Every Klei ingredient is both food grade and biodegradable, so there are no crazy chemicals that could harm sensitive skin. This detox facial steam is made to be put in a hot bowl of water while you tent a towel over your head and breath it in. It is supposed to be relaxing and also work on pushing toxins out of your pores. This looks like a nice, relaxing thing to do this winter… so I plan to build it into my next Monday Mask Day.

Claire Ritchie Wrapping Paper & Art Print, $22 total retail value

The Winter box was designed by Australian artist and designer, Claire Ritchie. It’s super pretty and I’ll probably use it to store stuff around my house (they work great for storing off season bathing suits!). As a little bonus, there is a set of wrapping paper sheets inside the box. My box came too late for me to use it for Christmas gifts, but the designs are a bit more seasonal than holiday, so I will be able to use them year-round.

Overall Thoughts
I’m very happy with the Winter box and it is probably my favorite box of the entire year! I absolutely love the poncho, the necklace, and the jade roller. I also think the planner is gorgeous, but I already have one in use. The facial steam is something cool that I would have never bought myself and I also enjoy the pretty wrapping paper and back-up set of Bluetooth ear buds. All in all, the whole box was a winner for me! The retail value of everything in my box came to $348 which is much higher than both the Fall and Summer boxes retail values.

What is your favorite item from the Winter CAUSEBOX?

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post.

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