Posts Tagged ‘reviews’

Review: Resonate Collection Review from Ash Bush


I’m really, really excited about the review that’s coming at you today. Ashley Bush is one of the early students. She’s made an incredible business of freelance calligraphy and pensmithing. It’s so exciting to see when students really run with it and make calligraphy into a career. 

Ashley recently reached out to me to try out her resonate line. I’m really thrilled with how it’s turned out. It’s affordable, instagrammable and most importantly: comfortably functional. At $30 for these gorgeous marbleized pens, you really can’t go wrong. See the pen rest, tilted ink holder and pen holder in action in my YouTube video below. 


But if you’re not the video-watching type… Here are my pros & cons of each item offered in the collection…


PROS: Affordable, smooth/silky finish, easy to clean, made from resin so it won’t split, carrot holder for promoting whole arm movement (also a great holder style for arthritic hands), flange adjusted and pre-fit with a G-nib

CONS: It’s a little short. It feels nicely balanced in the hand, but I personally wish it were a little bit longer. I wouldn’t mind an angled foot, either. But the foot is still small enough for a carrot holder that it fits in most ink jars. 


PROS: Holds 2 holders for easily switching styles, pretty, heavy enough base that it doesn’t topple over.

CONS: has a slightly different finish on it than the pen, it’d be nice if it had the same matte finish. Not a deal breaker by any means. 


PROS: It tilts the jar just enough that you can get that last little bit of your ink out of the jar. It really works with very little ink!

CONS: It doesn’t do well with full jars of ink. I wish there were a second well that was upright for me to hold my ink when the jar was full, and then tilt when the jar was nearing empty. But I really rarely put my full ink jars in an upright inkwell holder anyway, so it might just be superfluous. 

BOTTOM LINE: It’s a no-brainer. Scrounge up $50 and snatch up the entire collection. But at the very least, get the holder. It’s a must. It’s so so good. GET ONE RIGHT HERE.

Glasses USA Review

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Chris & I are both nerdy glasses people. We like to have a range of glasses to wear. Glasses are getting a lot easier to buy online, so I can collect a few pairs without feeling ridiculous for having spent $200+ on eyewear. Maybe one of these days my assortment of glasses will catch up to my assortment of shoes ( I do have a lot of shoes, though). approached me with a gift card & asked if I would be interested in testing out their product/services. I like that they gave me a gift card, because it made the order process more genuine. I was impressed, so I’d like to break down my experience for you.

• O R D E R I N G •

It was tough to choose a pair of eyeglasses. I was able to find plenty of frames (lenses included!) that I liked in the $40-$70 range. I appreciated that the glasses available were completely different that what I found last year when shopping for glasses at Target optical. Since I have some practical glasses already, I thought I’d take a chance & order some slightly off-kilter lenses. I was nervous, but their virtual mirror helped me make the decision. I ordered a pair of wayfarer lenses that they sadly don’t offer any more. This is the closest style. Chris ordered a pair of sunglasses with a grey gradient on them. I sort of wish I had spent the extra $20 to make my own pair into prescription sunglasses, but eh. Maybe next time. Ordering the glasses was very straight forward, and they often have a variety of discounts available on the home page. Some include free shipping while others are a percentage discount. Only one coupon can be used at a time, so choose wisely!

• S H I P P I N G •

Considering that most optical places take 7-10 days to order in new lenses, GlassesUSA was pretty quick.  We waited 7 days, plus one day due to the DHL shipment that couldn’t be left on the doorstep. It was great to have prescription glasses in hand so quickly, but they were not clean or adjusted for my face. They had a lot of dust on them (to be expected for coming through the mail) and the hinges were SOOOOO wide on my face. I was worried that they wouldn’t fit my face properly. It took me a few days to get into an optical center to have them adjusted.

• Q U A L I T Y •

My glasses($50 frames) were cheaper than Chris’s($80 frames) and I can see a small difference in the quality of the plastic. Compared with my RayBan’s the plastic on my pair feels a bit cheaper, too.  Despite these differences you can only tell when comparing them up close. The functionality & style is on par with our name-brand glasses.

• O V E R A L L •

We’re incredibly happy about our new specs. They’re fun, unique, and cost about 1/2 of what we spent last year. Here are some pros and cons of ordering from GlassesUSA. Pros:

  • They’re fast
  • They have a wide range of glasses & are getting new styles every day
  • They’re affordable
  • They’d be perfect to use for ordering for children who may have a tendency to lose or break their glasses
  • They have a virtual mirror that allow you to get a preview of what they’d look like on
  • They also include measurement information just in case you’re not sure of the sizing
  • They have an excellent return policy


  • While they may be fast, you may need to go into an optical center to get them adjusted
  • You must be home in order to receive your order. If you’re out & about a lot you may want to write a note to DHL to deliver to a neighbor or leave on your doorstep
  • You can only use one discount code at a time
  • Despite the virtual mirror, there’s still a chance the glasses will look funny on your face, since you can’t try them on in person

The Pros in this case severely outweigh the cons (especially with their no-questions-asked return policy!). I would definitely use GlassesUSA for my future glasses purchases and will recommend the site to friends & family. The only thing, I’m not sure I would recommend first-time glasses buyers to buy glasses online. I think you need to go to an optical shop for that – because it was a lot easier to use the virtual mirror & find glasses I liked because I’ve purchased glasses before. But I’d say to buy glasses online after that!! Again, we’re really happy with how GlassesUSA worked for us. If you have any questions about their services, glasses or policies, feel free to email or leave your question in the comments below! *P.S. Right now you can get 20% off their already affordable glasses + free US shipping with the discount code: NEW2012.

Sewn Paper Boxes


I always find that I don’t have any boxes when I need them most. I hardly ever keep boxes or buy boxes just because they tend to take up so much space. And I can never seem to keep the right sized gift boxes in stock! It’s especially the pits when I’m looking for some adorable packaging for a gift. It’s such a pain to run those errands with two kids. I’d much rather make do with what I’ve got at home. Since that’s the case, I’ve found two adorable packaging options with items I always have on hand.

My friend just had a baby girl a few weeks ago & I’ve had a few goodies lying around the house waiting to go to her. Since we were going to be visiting her yesterday, I thought it was high time I wrapped up her gift.

Isn’t that cardigan just so sweet?!? I found the sweater, it was hand crocheted (?) I’m assuming and I made the little onesie. I think they’re just adorable together. I needed a little box for it all so I whipped up the above box lickety split. I thought I’d share with you how I did it! This technique is perfect for little treats & gifts! Hope you enjoy the tutorial!

• S U P P L I E S •

  • card stock or heavy paper. I’ve doubled up two sheets of regular paper before with great success, too!
  • ruler
  • bone folder or scorer
  • paper cutter or ruler & X-acto
  • sewing machine

First, you want to figure out the size of your desired box. I usually just wing it when it comes to these measurements. If you want your side wall to be two inches, you’ll want to measure two inches in from each edge. Makes sense? See diagram below for measurements.

Score along each line. Crease each fold, then match up each corner score. You’ll need to box out the bottom & then crease out to the corner. It’s sort of hard to explain, but in the process of matching the two perpendicular score lines, you create a 45º from the score corner to the corner of the page.

Keep those two score lines together & sew down that score line using your widest stitch. Make sure you test out your thread tension beforehand to make sure it’s tight enough, otherwise you’ll have some loosey goosey stitches in the back of each seam. It’s not pretty. Also, I used a zipper foot in order to sew this seam. I just need a straight stitch & I needed the foot to be as small as possible to get a straighter line.

Trim the excess with pinking shears. Another method which I find a bit cleaner, is to sew the flaps to the sidewall with only a few stitches on each side. The measuring for this is a bit trickier. You have to make sure those two flaps are long enough to overlap in order to sew. So you make sure in your measurements that the sidewall is longer than 1/2 of the length (plus 1/4 inch) of one of the bottom measurements. Example: If I want the box to be 4 inches by 5 inches, I need to make sure the wall is at least 2 1/4 inches tall so the flaps can be sewn together. Make sense?

Check out the video ABOVE to see how I did this.

A big thanks to American Crafts for sending me their CUTUP trimmer. It’s fantastic! Check out the video above to see all of its bells & whistles.

One Skirt, Three Ways + Giveaway


This post is brought to you by Ruche.

I’m feeling pretty good about my post-partum body even though I’m 15 lbs heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight. Scales are stupid, you know that? Some days I’m really happy with where things are and other days I’m just miserable & prickly. The reason? I don’t always wear clothes that fit. Which leads to the post-partum clothing conundrum. . . Do I buy new clothes or do I wait until my clothes fit?

I always like buying new clothes; but if I’m going to lose the weight eventually, I don’t want to invest in a garment that won’t fit in the future. Then again, if I don’t buy clothes that fit me now, I’d just hide my unbuttoned jeans under an uncomfortably tight shirt and ultimately be unhappy with my body. It’d be great if I could get back to my pre-pregnancy size because I have a lot of clothes that I’d like to wear again. But they’re just clothes. For now, it’s more important that I eat right & like the body that I have right now. Not last year.

Since Felix, I’ve bought a few new things and kept a few pregnancy clothes in the rotation. This method has been pretty good thus far, but perhaps a bit boring with the only two pairs of pants that fit. Ruche offered to send me a little something last month, so when I was browsing their items I immediately gravitated towards their tiered lace skirt. It’s adorable, whimsical & has an elastic waist. It’s the perfect garment that will be able to fit me now and if I end up losing any weight. It’s adorable & super feminine. I’ve worn it a few different ways & thought I would share those with you:


With the spring weather this week, I couldn’t help but wear this skirt with some sandals & a casual top.


I love that this skirt is transitional. I’ve got the summer look at the top, then this above, more wintery look. I wore this to my friend’s wedding reception. I liked wearing the bold, dark tights with such a light & airy skirt. Contrast is fun.

undefined This is what I wore to church a few Sundays ago. It’s a little more romantic. I thought it’d be fun to wear it with all similar tones for a monochromatic look. I think the next time I’ll wear this outfit with coral lipstick and maybe a bright necklace for a little pop.

I’ve loved wearing this skirt. The soft elastic waistband is incredibly comfortable, which makes me feel good about myself. Thanks, Ruche, for sending it my way!


Non-Maternity Maternity


This post is brought to you by Ruche.

I’m nearing the end of this pregnancy & I can proudly say that I have yet to buy any maternity clothes. I didn’t mean to do that at first, but I’ve been increasingly disappointed with what’s out there. Either it’s frumpy & inexpensive or sorta cute & expensive. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on clothes that I know I’ll want to burn after Felix comes.

It’s been pretty easy to avoid maternity clothes with the current trends of jeggings & belted tunic tops. I’ve been able to find most of these items at my favorite shops, which is great! I don’t want to limit my style just because maternity isn’t offered at all of my favorite stores.

Ruche is one of those shops that definitely doesn’t have a maternity line, but with their wide variety of clothing & accessories it’s easy to find something to suit any style/figure. Ruche kindly sent me a tunic dress that I just love. The elastic waist is meant to hit at the true waistline but is easily adjusted over my belly bump. I think it’ll also make for a great transitional top for afterward because of its hourglass structure. This tunic dress is SO comfortable! It’s lined & well made. I’m also impressed that it’s $30 (originally $40, but still!). If you’ve never heard of Ruche, think of it as the affordable Anthropologie.

This is one of the outfits I wore at ALT. Check out the fashion section for all of my Alt outfits. Thanks to Ruche for sending this to me! I LOVE IT!

Ruche has generously offered to give one lucky IS•LY reader a $50 gift certificate to their online shop! Best part? You don’t have to live in the US to enter. Here’s how you can win:

  • Visit Ruche & take a look around
  • Leave a comment on this post telling me  & tell me what item(s) is(are) your fave
  • Comment by 11:59pm (MST) Monday, January 31, 2011
  • This contest is open to everyone!
  • Only one (1) comment per person
  • No purchase necessary
  • One (1) winner will be chosen via & announced Tuesday, February 1, 2011
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