When Life Hands You Basil, Make Pesto

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When Life Hands You Basil, Make Pesto

Because it has been ruthlessly hot and humid in Ohio this summer my basil plants are hulking out in the garden. With this abundance of basil, I have no other choice than to make pesto.

An Abundance of Basil

Pesto, that green, garlicky paste that makes pasta and bread sing with joy.  I love it, but not that store bought crap, I have no idea how they keep that stuff green because real pesto will turn on you faster than an avocado on a hot day. If your pesto doesn’t turn dark, almost black, green on the top once you open the lid, you need to question your sources.

As you might have guessed, my cooking style is a little more freestyle than some may like, but you can’t argue with my results.  Here is a short tutorial on how we make Pesto, Mayhem style.

First, you have to prep that basil.  Pick the leaves off, put them in a bowl and rinse them off.  Then, give them a ride in the salad spinner and lay them out on a towel.  If necessary, gently roll the towel to get any excess water off.

Basil pesto

Once that little task is complete, it is time to get out the ingredients and equipment.  I find it best to have it all ready up front because once you get started it goes pretty fast, unless of course you have skipped this step and find yourself rummaging around for garlic, or realizing you never toasted the nuts.

Basil Pesto ingredients equipment

For those of you who are not “visual learners” here is a list of the ingredients

Basil- lots of it- about 5-6 cups once the leaves are stripped

Nuts- about 1/4-1/3 cup I used pine nuts here, that’s pretty old school, but almonds and pistachios work too.  Toast them lightly in a pan and let them cool.

Garlic- as much as you can take, I use 5-6 cloves depending on the size of the clove which can range from tiny pebble-to “as big as a human nose”

Parmesan Cheese- grated works best, about a cup

Salt & Pepper- to taste, I use about a teaspoon of salt and a half teaspoon of pepper.

Lemon-  I use half a lemon, unless it’s little or dry, then use the whole thing, or get a better lemon.

Olive oil- quite a bit, have 2 cups ready, you probably won’t need it all, but better safe than sorry.

OK, ready people, let’s get our food processors or blenders out and let the mayhem commence.

basil pesto add lemon

Put your basil, garlic, nuts, lemon juice, salt and pepper in and pulse until the paste begins to form. Then scrape down the sides of the bowl.

basil pesto scrape bowl

After the initial pulse, you can start adding the olive oil, a little at a time until the paste starts to loosen up, then stop and add the cheese.

 

basil pesto add cheese

Lock it all down again and run the food processor again adding more oil until the consistency seems about right.  Then stop. Now this is a crucial, you must test it on a cracker, or at least that’s how it goes down in our kitchen. There are people who will have the audacity to suggest this step is not necessary, these particular people are not your friends, ignore them. Later, you will need to find better friends.

basil pesto cracker test

Once you have enjoyed yourself a cracker, or possibly a sleeve of crackers, adjust your seasonings.  Another squeeze of lemon or a pinch more salt may be in order, it’s totally up to you cause you are the boss here, take orders from no-one.  Once it meets with your approval, jar that green gold up and pop it in the fridge if you plan to use it in the next week or so.  Alternatively, you can freeze it and pull it out on a dreary cold day and remember all the fun we had today making pesto together.

basil pesto jar

Got any pesto tips or stories to share?  I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

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Stitch Fix Review-July 2018

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Stitch Fix Review-July 2018

It’s a great feeling to come home and see your new Stitch Fix box sitting on the porch.  Especially when you forgot it was coming.  Bonus!! This is my fourth installment of five wardrobe items, specifically  chosen just for me and delivered to my door.  Let’s see what I got.

stitch fix box front porch

If you are new to the Mayhem (first of all, welcome) here are some links to my earlier posts about Stitch Fix June Fix Review  and May Fix Review .  My daughter also loves this service, you can read about her experience here Stitch Fix Teen Edition

What’s the deal with this Stitch Fix thing you keep rambling on about?

If you have no idea what I am talking about,  Stitch Fix is a subscription styling service, that, for a reasonable fee, sends you items based on a profile you create.  Purchase an item and the styling fee ($20) is credited towards your balance. You can  get a $25 credit if you use a referral link when you set up your profile.  If you are interested, just follow the link below and fill out your profile.  When you are ready to order your first Fix, you will have a $25 credit waiting for you on your account.

Stitch Fix Referral Link for $25 credit

Since my Fixes have been so on point, I requested more of the same.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I was truly in the mood for “the same” when I opened this box.  On first glance, I saw a sweater, some tops and a dress.  My immediate impression was that I  loved the dress, disliked the sweater and was unmoved by the tops.

The first piece was this really comfy knit top. It fit really well, often these kinds of cross-front tops need to be pinned, but this was perfect.  The fabric was light and stretchy, and it was super comfortable.  The price was a little high for what it was, but it’s a great piece.

Stitch Fix Review knit top

Stitch Fix Review aussiedoodle

Not a great photo of the top, but isn’t Odin the cutest?

Next was this striped skirt. Even though I have fairly narrow hips, the white vertical stripe managed to find it’s way to the widest part of my body.  It’s a nice skirt, light weight, fully lined; but, it is the rare body type that can pull off bold horizontal stripes. I know that vertical side stripe is designed to minimize the width, but it is not fooling anyone.

Stitch Fix blue white stripe skirt

Stitch Fix navy blue white skirt

I love sweaters, even in the summer.  The day I opened this box it was 95 degrees out with 10,000% humidity, probably not the best day to judge a sweater.  So this sweater started out in a hole, the color did not help it at all, and it totally gave off a dowdy vibe. Strike Three.

Stitch Fix gray cardigan

Stitch Fix Cardigan and Corgi

The cardigan is not awesome, but Winston the Corgi has awesome on lock down!

The one piece in the box I was sure I would not like turned out to be the one piece I actually loved.  This top looked gigantic when I held it up, but when I put it on I was pleasantly surprised.  The only issue I had with it was the length in the back, it gave it an art smock feel that I did not think would work well in the office.

Stitch Fix white blouse

Stitch Fix white blouse

I saved the dress for last because just coming out of the box this thing made my heart sing.  It’s a gorgeous navy blue, stretchy fabric, v-neckline (my personal fave) and be still my heart, POCKETS!  I was smitten.

Stitch Fix Navy Dress

Stitch Fix Review Navy Blue Dress

Unfortunately that style came at the cost of breathing.  You see this dress hit me in the widest part of my rib cage, and even though it was stretchy, there was not enough give to make comfortable breathing possible.  Also, because it has a full skirt and is high-waisted, if you could see me from the side it has a tenting effect that makes me look like I am trying to hide a pregnancy.  Heartbreaking.

So the big question, how much, right? It’s actually the lowest price Fix yet.  With the buy it all discount, and my Style Pass (more about that in a future post, it is tres exciting) my total would be $122.00

Stitch Fix Review invoice

The Final Verdict….

But alas, I just really wasn’t into any of these items.  I went back and forth trying to convince myself to keep the white blouse and the navy top, but in the end I realized I have a lot of white tops, and this one was not really office appropriate.  The blue top was lovely, but it would have had to get in line because I have several navy blue tops as well.

This is my first time striking out completely, but I’m pretty sure it happens to everyone.  I am actually proud of myself that I resisted the urge to hang on to items I probably wouldn’t have worn much.  Can’t wait to get my Fix on next month.

 

 

 

 

 

STITCH FIX-Teen Edition Take 2

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STITCH FIX-Teen Edition Take 2

Since the inaugural mother-daughter Stitch Fix experiment went so swimmingly, we decided to try it again.  For the second time, Piper’s stylist did a great job.  It was one of those fixes where you start rationalizing keeping it all as soon as you open the box.  But, with a budget of $100 decisions will have to be made.

What’s this Stitch Fix thing you keep rambling on about?

If you have no idea what I am talking about,  Stitch Fix is a subscription styling service, that, for a reasonable fee, sends you items based on a profile you create.  Purchase an item and the styling fee ($20) is credited towards your balance. You can  get a $25 credit if you use a referral link when you set up your profile.  If you are interested, just follow the link below and fill out your profile.  When you are ready to order your first Fix, you will have a $25 credit waiting for you on your account.

Stitch Fix Referral Link for $25 credit

Let’s take a look at what she got this month.  First, out of the box was this adorable outfit. The Ishya Halter Blouse by Collective Concepts and the Cathleen Crochet Short by La Class. This top is fully lined and the neckline is adjustable with a tie in the back. The shorts have a flat, elastic waistband, stretchy fabric and the scallop hem that is so popular this year.

stitch fix teen halter top

Here’s a close up of the shorts, since the previous pic does not do their cuteness justice.

stitch fix teen lace shorts

Next, was this Liverpool Denim Cross Front Frayed Hem Shirt.  Good news, bad news situation here.  Good news, it’s Liverpool so the quality and style are amazing.  Bad news, the price will make you weep.  Piper loved this shirt from the moment she laid eyes on it, so this will make the final decision tough.

stitch fix liverpool denim shirt

Then there was this Paloma Emboidered Trim Skirt by 41 Hawthorn.  Piper told her stylist she wanted to upgrade her clothes to look a little more put together, this skirt certainly fits that bill.  The fabric is amazing, you would not believe how stretchy and wrinkle resistant it is.  While the skirt is fantastic, it’s not really something she has much cause to wear; and it’s pricey so I’m pretty sure it’s not staying.

stitch fix teen skirt

Finally, these little gems.  The Gorjana Power Gemstone Studs.  So cute, but probably are not in the budget so let’s not get attached to them either.

stitch fix teen blue agate earrings

So what’s the damage? Let’s find out.

stitch fix invoiceI gave her a budget of $100, anything over that she is going to have to earn and/or pay for herself.  She loved the denim shirt, lace shorts and printed top.  She liked the skirt and earrings, but choices have to be made.

Without the discount the three items she wanted were $166. With the discount, $124.  Then deduct the styling fee and you are at either $146 or $104.  With the “buy it all” discount she was really close to budget. Time to make a deal with Mom.

Here’s what happened. First, we listed the skirt and earrings on Facebook trying to sell it on the Stitch Fix forum, no luck.  In the meantime, I tried on the skirt and realized it would work in my wardrobe really well.  Ultimately I bought the skirt, and she agreed to work off the $28 for the earrings, everyone was happy and peace was restored to the kingdom.

So, Teen Fix #2 = success.  If you have a teenage daughter (or son, they do have Fixes for guys) I highly recommend giving Stitch Fix a try, it would make a great back to school gift and possibly spare you the agony of standing outside a dressing room for hours on end at your local Target.

Want to try Stitch Fix?  Here’s how to get a $25 credit on your first Fix, seriously $25, no joke.

If you want to try Stitch Fix, PLEASE use a referral code when you set up your profile. (don’t be a chump like me)  You’ll get a $25 credit towards your first Fix.  You don’t have to use my link, but please use someone’s.  However, if you would like to use mine, I would be thrilled.

Here’s the link Stitch Fix Referral Link for $25 credit

You don’t have to order your first Fix right away. You can set up your profile and let them know your preferences and budget.  When you are ready, you’ll schedule your first Fix.  You will also be given your own referral code that you can give to your friends and get a $25 on your account, so please share the love.

stitch fix share the love

The Stitch Fix Adventure Continues- June’s Fix Conclusion

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stitch fix facebook page

So sorry to leave my June Fix unresolved, I know everyone hates a cliffhanger, but thanks for coming back to find out what happened.  If you have no idea what’s going on in this post, you may want to go back and read part one which you can find here Stitch Fix Review- June2018.

We we last met I was trying to decide what to keep from my June Stitch Fix.  To recap, there was a really unique, cute blouse, basic but awesome, overpriced shorts, a great quality, simple sweater, a perfect, except for the straps, black dress; and, Kolten the Liverpool white denim jacket that cost as much as a trip to the grocery store.

stitchfixdenimjacketI had heard rumor of a secret Facebook group where people who bought too much, or conversely couldn’t get enough (or, have a problem) Stitch Fix clothing could buy, sell or trade said items.  So I decided to check it out.  Turns out it’s true, and it’s such a thing that there are actually two groups dedicated to this subject.  I joined both and stalked their pages to get the lay of the land before I jumped in.

I posted my Liverpool jacket on both boards early one morning and waited to see what would happen, the answer, absolutely nothing.  I kept checking the posting and not a thing, no offers or comments, heck I couldn’t even find my listing in the feed.  Disappointed, but undeterred I decided to delete the listing and try again.

So the next morning I did just that.  Within in 2 minutes, I got a message saying SOLD along with an email.  I sent her an invoice through PayPal and she paid almost as quickly. So Kolten has a lovely new home, with an appreciative realtor in Wisconsin who had been requesting a white denim jacket from her stylist to no avail.  And, I got to keep all four of the remaining items.stitch fix liverpool denim jacket

 

 

The final cost tally on this fix was around $135 or about $34 per item which I find to be completely acceptable.  I love the idea of this new resource, plus the people on the boards seem to be very nice and supportive of each other.  I have actually learned a lot of tricks which I will share here in the future.

If you want to check out these Facebook groups here are links to each one. The first is, Stitch Fix B/T/S and Discussion Group and the second is  Stitch Fix Brand B/S/T Discussion

Want to give Stitch Fix a try?  Here’s how to get a $25 credit on your first Fix, seriously $25, no joke.

As always if you want to try Stitch Fix for yourself, please use a referral code when you set up your profile.  You will get a $25 credit towards your first Fix.  You don’t have to use mine, but please use someone’s.  However, if you would like to use mine, I would be thrilled.  Here’s the link Stitch Fix Referral Link

You do not have to order your first Fix right away. You will set up your profile and let them know what you like and your budget.  When you are ready, you can schedule your first Fix.  You will also be given your own referral code that you can give to your friends and share the love.

stitch fix share the love

Stitch Fix Review- June 2018

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Stitch Fix Review- June 2018

stitch fix logo

 

 

 

 

 

Before I get to my Stitch Fix review for this month, I want to extend a sincere thank you to everyone who has liked, commented or emailed me kind words about these reviews.  I view this website as my digital scrapbook, and the idea that other people enjoy reading it brings me enormous joy.  Alright, enough with the mushiness of emotion, let’s talk about my obsession with Stitch Fix.

For those of you have just stumbled onto my site and have no idea what I am talking about,  Stitch Fix is a subscription styling service, that, for a reasonable fee, sends you items based on a profile you create.  If you choose to purchase an item, the styling fee ($20) is credited towards your balance. You can also get a $25 credit if you use a referral link when you set up your profile.  If you are interested in trying this, just follow the link below and fill out your profile.  When you are ready to order your first Fix, you will have a $25 credit waiting for you on your account.

Stitch Fix Referral Link

So let’s get to it, June’s Fix has some great stuff to share.  This month I had the same stylist, Taylor, and she seems to get that I like classic, versatile pieces. I asked her to be on the lookout for shorts, summer sweaters or jackets, a dress or skirt and NO ROMPERS! For the love of all that is good and holy, NO ROMPERS!!! Let’s take a look at what I got.

First up, is this eye-catching blouse and about the most versatile pair of chino shorts one can imagine.  I love both of these pieces, they are exactly what I ask for, however what I did not like were the prices.

stitch fix shorts blouse

Fidella Contrast Trim Blouse and Finnegan Roll Cuff Shorts

The Fidella Contrast Trim Blouse by CeCe Sportswear was $73, and the Finnegan Roll Cuff Chino Short by Dear John was $58.00. YIKES!!! Unfortunately, I fell in love with the blouse when I took it out of the box, immediately decided it was new best friend and was already imagining all of the adventures we would have before I saw the price.

Having never paid more than $30 for a pair of shorts I was curious as to what $50 shorts felt like.  Well let me tell you, it was enlightening.  First, it has 2 big hook and eye closures and an internal button, fancy, And, the waist band has this stretchy quality I cannot identify, but lays flat and is very comfortable.  Finally, they don’t ride up your backside every time you sit down, so you have to discreetly remove them as you stand.  I’m not sure what kind of witchcraft this is, but I’m smitten.

Next, was a soft as a whisper, light gray sweater called the Rockland Essential Pullover.  It’s basic, a bit boring and absolutely what I love to wear and at $38.00 it was reasonably priced as well.

Stitch Fix Rockland Sweater

Rockland Essential Pullover Sweater by Mix 41 Hawthorn

Then there’s this guy, the Kolten Denim Jacket by Liverpool.  I had never heard of Liverpool until Stitch Fix, and I have to say their quality is fantastic.  However, their prices will make you wince.  This jacket was a whopping $98.  YIKES squared!

Kolten Denim Jacket by Liverpool

So here’s the thing about me and white denim anything, we are not good partners.  You see, I’m a spiller by nature, I also bump into and sit in things without realizing it. White denim is persnickety, and does not cotton to such behavior. It will punish you harshly and expose you to public ridicule for such transgressions. Therefore, Kolten the jacket and I are not destined to be soulmates. But, if I were ever able to love a white denim jacket, he would be the one.

Finally, this little beauty.  The Alena Knit Dress by Kaileigh ($48.00).  Generally, I do not like narrow straps on anything, I have really broad shoulders and I think they make me look like a 1980’s East German weightlifter.  But, somehow I don’t feel that way about this dress, the fabric is so soft, and the length is so perfect I am willing to work with the straps.

Alena Knit Dress by Kaileigh

So what’s the damage, I’m afraid to look.

stitch fix invoice

Hmmmmm… So what I’m hearing is if I buy them all I will get $80 off? Interesting. That’s basically getting the dress and the sweater for free.  Let the rationalizing begin.

I have heard tell of a Facebook group where you can buy, sell and trade Stitch Fix clothing so I may check that out.  In a perfect world, I would be able to sell the jacket and then keep all the other items and the discount.  I believe a little research is in order, I still have a couple days to decide, I will keep you posted on what I end up doing.

If after reading this post, you think you might like to have your own Stitch Fix adventure, please be sure to use a referral code, even if it isn’t mine.  Don’t be a fool like me and get so excited you go right to the site and sign up. That $25 credit comes in really handy when you are trying to decide what you can afford to keep.  You can click through the link below and set up your profile, but you don’t have to schedule a fix until you are ready.  Have Fun!

Stitch Fix Referral Link

 

 

Stitch Fix Review- May 2018

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Stitch Fix Review- May 2018

I have been told that like fine wine, your Stitch Fix experience is enhanced by age.  I can confirm this to be true.  This was my third Fix and this time, I actually paid attention to the email they send while they are putting together your Fix soliciting input, and gave the stylist some suggestions as to what I would like to see.  I told her no pants, only skirts or dresses, light weight sweaters or tops, please.  Here is what I got.

Before I get ahead of myself if you don’t know, Stitch Fix is a subscription styling service, that, for a reasonable fee, sends you items based on a profile you create.  If you choose to purchase an item, the styling fee ($20) is credited towards your balance. You can also get a $25 credit if you use someone’s referral link when you first set up your account.  Here is my link if you have any interest in trying this for your daughter or yourself. https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/12153084?sod=w&som=c

To recap, in my first Fix, I kept one of five items, on round two I kept two.  Given the trend, you would think I was on pace to get three new pieces, but alas you would be wrong.  Let’s take a look.

First, the Rampart Lightweight Pullover (Absolutely $38.00).  Loved it, kept it. Versatile color, soft, quality finish.   This guy will get a lot of action.

Next up the Clareese Scallop Detail Knit Skirt (41 Hawthorn $64.00).  This skirt is crazy comfortable, the fabric has lots of give, but it is lined and heavy enough that doesn’t get all wrinkly when you sit.  The best feature, in a word, Pockets!!! The price is a little high, but this is easily a year round piece so it too joined my closet.

Third is this Shula Textured Cardigan (Pink Clover $44.00).  I cannot put into words how soft this sweater is, it feels like I am wrapped in a fluffy cloud.  Lightweight but warm, this became my newest weapon in my ongoing war with the air conditioning in my office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, the Callum Tulip Sleeve Blouse (Fun2Fun $38.00). Love the pin dot print, can be worn tucked or un-tucked, looks great alone or under jackets and cardigans.  Winner.  Could we go 5 for 5????

Last, is this guy, the Skylee Knit Dress (Nine Britton $34.00).  I love everything about this dress, color, feel, style, sleeves, my only issue is that it is really short on me.  So short in fact that it makes me a bit self-conscious, but since my discount for purchasing all 5 is $54.50, it would actually cost me $20 if I don’t keep it, so I did.

I think I am going to check out the Facebook group where you can buy, sell and trade Stitch Fix items and see if I can sell or trade this dress for something a little less showy, if you know what I mean 🙂

So here’s the damage. The total bill was $218, but with the buy it all discount and credits for my styling fee and a referral, it ended up being $138.50, or about $27.00 per item.  Not too bad at all.

Another Stitch Fix Convert. Fix #1 and #2.

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Another Stitch Fix Convert.  Fix #1 and #2.

Yes, it’s true I have become a Stitch Fix evangelical. I realized a few months back that I have no idea how to update my wardrobe anymore, and frankly at this point, I am just not motivated enough to learn. So after hearing from everyone that I should check out Stitch Fix, I gave it a try. The following is my experience.

If you don’t know, Stitch Fix is a subscription styling service, that, for a reasonable fee, sends you items based on a profile you create.  If you choose to purchase an item, the styling fee ($20) is credited towards your balance. You can also get a $25 credit if you use someone’s referral link when you create your profile.  Here is my link if you have any interest in trying this service   https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/12153084?sod=w&som=c

Just click through the link and set up  your profile.  Whenever you are ready, you can schedule your first Fix. Don’t be a fool like me and just sign up without a referral and pay full price, you are literally passing up $25 in savings. Yes, I did that.

With my first Fix, I only kept one of the 5 pieces.  I actually liked 4 items, however, I already have lots of black pants, and even though the ones they sent were amazing, I can’t justify spending $88.00 on another pair. They also sent a jacket and a blouse that were cute, but pricey, and I could not see myself wearing them enough to warrant spending that kind of cash.  We will not speak of the sweater, it was so wrong for me that I have chosen to block it from my memory.

I kept this Mollee knit dress by Kut from the Kloth ($88.00), and sent the rest packing. This dress is so soft and comfortable.  It’s lined so it keeps it’s shape and the blue and white print looks great under a jacket or sweater.  I see this dress and I doing great things together in the future.

Realizing a lot of my resistance was to the prices not the clothes I adjusted my budget to the “cheaper the better” option.  I think they should rename this option, because it makes you feel a little bad about yourself, which is why I initially went with a higher budget. Crazy right? Why should I care if some stylist I don’t know thinks I’m cheap.

Fix number two was a little better.  Again, I really liked 4 of the items and the 5th wasn’t bad, I am just not inclined to spend $55 on a striped knit shirt that I could find at TJ Maxx for $19.99.  This time I kept a super comfortable unstructured blazer and a really nice quality chambray shirt.

The jacket is called the Asa knit blazer by Skies are Blue ($64.00) and it is like wearing a hug.  The sleeves are pre-rolled and sewn into place, so no adjusting them all day.  It has a really nice weight even though it is unlined, and the color blends nicely with other blue items which is not always the case when it come to blue.

stitch fixt7

stitch fix t2.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Betty” shirt is by Liverpool ($64.00) and it is simply perfect.  You have to know for me to pay that kind of price for a shirt, something has to be up.  All I can say is if you could put this shirt on and feel how nice the fabric is, you would be smitten too.  I have already worn this shirt at least 8 times.

There was also a white blouse (Clearwater Mixed Material by 41 Hawthorn $58.00) that I loved the looks of in the box, but once I got it on, it just did not fit me well.  Probably because I am short-waisted, and it hung really weird on me.  The pants fit me great, but they were a cropped style and that is just not my jam. I can never find shoes that look right with cropped pants so I just steer clear.

Once again, I thought the prices in this Fix were too high (that $25 discount would have been nice) but I was satisfied with the items.  I sent a note to my stylist again asking for them to please be more mindful of the prices next time, so we will see what happens. I will keep you posted.