Friday, May 26, 2017

Things We Love: Passive Juice Motel


Hey Friends! It's not a secret that Heather and I both take our graphic tee game very seriously. It's such a great and easy way to let the world know what I'm all about while remaining quiet. We wanted to highlight one of our favorite small businesses that focus on graphic tee designs/sales.  We discovered Passive Juice Motel last summer. They used to do an over all print design as a tee option on certain fandoms and they had a Harry Potter inspired one. It's magnificent, and possibly the best thing I own.  Unfortunately they no longer offer the all over print but the rest of their designs are great. Anyway, we both ordered that shirt and immediately our love for this company bloomed.  I bet Heather and I could both go two weeks just wearing PJM tees. That is how far our obsession has come.  But just because we love something as a whole, doesn't me we can't see the flaws. We thought it would be a fun idea to share what we like and dislike about this small business in particular, like a review of sorts. We both shop a lot of small businesses and therefore are both feel pretty knowledgeable on this subject.


Before I jump into my review portion, I wanted to describe how these pleather joggers make me feel. I'm a big fan of the trend in particular, but these pleather ones make me feel like Julia Stiles from Save the Last Dance. You know the scene--when she is trying out for Julliard and she wears her leathers with her leotard and is absolutely killing it. And then her and her boyfriend make up! Gah! I could watch just that scene over and over. They make me feel strong and powerful.


When we first discovered this company last summer--the love was instant. Their designs are lit. They are fresh as hell and full of pop culture references which is my jam. The quality of the shirts and the prints are some of the best I've received. The ink doesn't fade horribly or crack after a few washes. The tees remain soft and I haven't noticed any pilling.  They offer great sales randomly and most holidays which is great and honestly gets an order out of me every time.  I'm a sucker for a sale.




Ok, so all that sounds great. Now, let's talk about their turnaround time.  They make each item to order. Their production time listed on their website is 10-14 business days.  So roughly 3 weeks. Not too crazy for a sweet ass tee. At least it doesn't seem like a crazy amount of time for me. But, I've learned that time frame is never adhered to.  I've never gotten my order in less than a month.  Typically it's closer to two months, which is fine and all, but I think updating their website to reflect their actual production time would be an easy fix to this. It's very misleading.  I think this would cut down on all the hate mail I know they are receiving.







That brings us to customer service.  I've sent them emails before asking for a status update. Very rarely are those emails returned.  Heather has received some return emails from their customer service assistant. Therefore, I'm going to let her take over and discuss their customer service failings.








Overall, I would say my experience with PJM has been pretty ok. Yea, they are a little on the slow side and their customer service leaves little to be desired but they have always delivered. I've always received the goods I've purchased and they've always been in top notch condition.  I love the uniqueness of their tees and I love that fact that they aren't massed produced.  I only know a couple of people in my area of the world that even know about them so my tee game always feels hip and fresh.  So if waiting a few months to get a purchase isn't an issue for you, I would recommend them.




Now a fun story. As I as preparing for this photo shoot, I was listening to music as I do to get in the right frame of mind. Anyway, I was just listening to Pandora-I believe it was set to the Hillary Duff channel.  Selena Gomez was playing-maybe "Love Song"? Please, judge away. Anyway, my husband had come into our room for some reason and hit me with one of his famous backhanded compliments he uses just to wind me up.  He is a tv nut--like there is no way possible I can compete with him on television so he ends up watching a lot of stuff on his own. Broad City was one of those shows until I happened to walk in on a viewing and Ilana was wearing overalls so I was immediately intrigued. I decided to finish the episode and fell in love with this show. It's great. Anyway, my husband is a HUGE fan. Now back to that backhanded compliment.  He looked at me and you could tell he was struggling. He was all "I have so many mixed feelings about you. There you go, wearing a pretty great shirt from a great show, but you are jamming out and dancing to Selena Gomez and that's just embarrassing". Since this is our normal repertoire, I rolled my eyes, giggled and told him I was a multi-dimensional personal. *shrugging emoji*


Outfit Details
"Best Broads" Tee {Passive Juice Motel} / Joggers {Forever 21) / Jellies {gojane}


So Jen pretty much nailed why we love Passive Juice Motel so much. I'm a huge pop culture junkie and they always deliver on cool tees that reference everything I love. I've even gotten the girls a few of their tees because they are just that good. Most of them have a feminist hint to them too, so you know I'm all in with my feminist tees. Plus it's fun to support a small business who hand designs all the shirts. They are made to order so you know that you are getting something unique.  





Having said that, their customer service could do with some improvement. When I placed my first order with them last summer, it took 4 weeks to get to me. Which is not a huge deal, but they clearly state on their website that the turn around time is 10-14 business days. I waited like 20 business days before sending an email just asking about the timeframe. The response was pretty terse and borderline rude, saying that because they are custom made it can take longer. Which, again, is fine, but not the policy stated on their website. 




After that, I basically knew it was about a month between placing my order and getting the shirts. So I ignored the website policy and just stuck to my experience, never ordering something I needed ASAP. However, I did run into another customer service issue in the fall. I ordered a really cool Drake coffee mug for my sister at the beginning of October, well within the 4 week timeframe I was used to. Her birthday is beginning of November so it looked like I had plenty of time. But her birthday came and went and still no sign that this mug was shipped. Right before Thanksgiving, I sent an email asking about when I could expect to get this mug delivered. I was assured it would be shipping the next week. Well that week came and went and I waited a full extra week before following up again, this time I got a response that was little more rude than the first. It basically gave me no new info, just said it was shipping the next week. Guys, I got this coffee mug on December 22nd. It was 10 weeks between placing my order and receiving the mug, which I find a little ridiculous. I know the things are made to order but putting it off that long felt super unprofessional. Luckily I was able to gift it to my sister for Christmas, but it was frustrating that the communication with the company was not helpful and sometimes borderline rude. 




My career has been customer service based so I know how important good customer service is to a company and also to a customer. So it's definitely put a damper on my impression of PJM, but the designs are so good and unique I keep coming back. I just live by the rules that it will take at least 4 weeks and the customer service responses are hit or miss. At the beginning of the year they had a big thing with not shipping things for 8+ weeks. Jen and I both ordered from a sale in January and being used to the wait time, I basically forgot about my order until there started to be a big thing on Instagram. Complaints about the turn around time and lack of response from customer support (and some deleted or ignored messages!) lead to the owners sending an email with a discount code and apologizing. That was huge for me, personally, since I gave up on emailing the person who handles their customer service after the whole Drake mug debacle. We didn't end up getting our orders until the end of March, so it was much longer than the norm we are used to of 4 weeks. 



It might seem like I kind of just dumped all over this company, but they are honestly still one of my favorite small businesses. I think it's hard to hustle and have your own business, so I kind of let the customer service thing slide. I think it's also important to be honest. I do think that if you order from the this company you should expect at least 4 weeks between placing an order and it being delivered. My experience with contacting their customer service has ranged from ok to frustrating. It's not great but the designs are enough for me to take the good with the bad. Maybe others have had better luck contacting them to get updates on orders, but mine hasn't been great. I do think this is an amazing company if you love pop culture and graphic tees. If you order something for a gift, give yourself 4-6 weeks to get it or you might be disappointed. 


Outfit Details 
"Carrie On" tee {Passive Juice Motel} / Cardigan {Lularoe} / Jeggings {AE} / Shoes {Target



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

3 Reasons You Should Read The Hate U Give


Hey book lovers! The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was our April book club selection and it was maybe one of the best books I've read this year, maybe even last year. It had a lot of hype before it was released and it was well worth that hype y'all. It was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and it was such a powerful read on the subject. So let's jump in to a few reasons you should add this to your reading list like yesterday. 



1. Powerful commentary on the BLM movement 
Heather Says: 
I like to think of myself as pretty woke, but there are some things you will never understand if you don't go through them. I will never understand the fear a person of color faces when pulled over by the police. I just won't. It's heartbreaking that some people are raised to follow orders from a cop, someone who is supposed to protect you, to a tee otherwise you risk possibly dying. It's a very real thing that's happen too many times, especially lately. This book gives you a glimpse into the world of Starr Carter, who is with her childhood friend Kahlil when he is fatally shot during a traffic stop. It's a very real glimpse into losing someone close to you for no reason, while also dealing with the stereotypes that get focused on in the media. Kahlil was selling drugs, so that's obviously the focus, but he was also a person who was trying to help his mom. It's heartbreaking and causes you to take a hard look at your own privilege at the same time. 

Jen Says: 
This is a really tricky subject. Heather 100% nails it on the head. We, collectively, will never understand that fear or even the disjointed relationship between black Americans and the police force. More than likely, we could smart off to a cop and the repercussion would not result in death but that could literally be the precursor to the end for a person of color.  Hell, I've actually had a couple of run ins with the law and while remaining upmost respectful on my part, that is not how I was treated by the officers in return. Innocent until proven guilty some how seems to get lost in translation. Public executions, hosted in the street, should absolutely not be happening-not for any reason.  A big thing I took away from this is LAYERS. I feel like I'm constantly quote Donkey from Shrek, but it's true just as much know as it ever was. People are basically onions made up of a ridiculous amount of layers. One layer does not define you. You have to view all the layers as a whole to make any sort of determination in regards to ones character and maybe to try to see beyond the stereotype.

2. Support diversity in YA 
Heather Says: 
YA has not always been the most diverse genre. Usually it's some unnaturally beautiful white girl who has guys falling all over her (no thank you). Even the books not centered on romance tend to feature a white protagonist. In the past few years, there's been a huge push to get more diverse books into the hands of YA readers. I've tried to make sure I'm reading more books that have a person of color as a main character that's also written by a person of color. The way to make publishers pay attention and see there is a demand for diversity, is to support books like this. It's not only supporting diversity, but also read a really powerful book that's amazing and real and heartbreaking and wonderful. 

Jen Says: 
Man, not to be a traitor to the YA book world, which is one of my favorites, but yea they fail pretty hard at diversity.  I can only think if a handful of books that I've read in the last 5 years that have been even remotely diverse.  Heather's right, it usually seems like unnaturally beautiful white teenage girls. Maybe if you are lucky you'll get a diverse supporting character.  I'm even thinking back to some of the fantasy books I've read too and you get your run of super strong female characters but I've yet to read a strong female character that was also a women of color. We need this. There is a serious cultural division in our country and half the problem is educating yourself to knowing and understanding people that are different from you. Differences aren't the issues, it's the understanding that's the problem.  I absolutely love learning about other people's perspective and plights in life. I think that's half the reason why I can get ridiculously wrapped up in different cult movements throughout our country. I personally would never make the decisions these people do, but I enjoy . Perspectives are powerful.

3. Fully developed, interesting characters 
Heather Says: 
This is a book where each character has a rich backstory, where the relationships are real and relatable. Starr struggles with staying true to her community while attending a mostly white high school an hour away. She's dating a white guy in secret because she's afraid of how her dad will react. She struggles with the medias perception of Kahlil as a thug while the Kahlil she knew was a kind friend. Even the side characters are fully developed. Starr's cop uncle, who struggles with his job and defending the neighborhood he's from. Her dad who is a former gang member, runs a local grocery store, and is passionate about making positive changes in his community. Starr's best friends at school who don't fully know the whole her.  Her boyfriend who is kind and wonderful and always there for her but doesn't fully understand her struggles as a black woman. It's full of these rich characters that you love and root for. 

Jen Says: 
I'll tell you, this book was gripping. I finished it in a couple of days which is pretty impressive with my reading speed lately. Angie Thomas is an author to look out for in the coming years.  Heather is right. The characters, and I mean allllll the characters, are very dimensional. I literally felt like I knew them-like I was Starr's bestie. I also now have more of an understanding of their plight in society.  It's so easy to stick your head in the sand and blame the victim of police violence for their actions without fully understanding the tense relationship between a particular race and said law enforcement. It's very important not to jump to conclusions in matters such as these. This was hands down my favorite read so far this year. It's empowering, heartbreaking and utterly moving.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Crazy Cat Lady

Hey--Jen here!  I'm guessing it comes as no surprise that I'm a bit of a cat lady.  I don't mean to sound ridiculous but they are basically my children. I love them, they love me and these pet relationships are some of the most fulfilling and sometimes frustrating parts of my life. 

I thought it would be fun to formally introduce my kitty family to everyone.

The Herd

It's a very rare thing to get a picture of the entire herd assembled. New kitty windows shelves made this picture possible.

Frank
Frank is very much the leader of the pack, the alpha. He is the herder of the cats and the bully of the family. He's a typical first child. He's my side kick. I would say I'm probably his favorite human and he will do the absolute cutest things to get my attention-like turning into a kitty rolly-polly ball or allowing me to rock him like a baby.  Most of his needy behavior can be attributed to the fact I held him like a baby for the first year of his life.


Stewie
Stewie is #2 in the line up and the old man of the bunch. He is very much set in his ways and doesn't like to deal the with nonsense from the younger whipper snappers. I always imagine him as an old man yelling at the kids to get off his lawn. I adopted him to keep Frank company. He likes to burrow under anything he can and is probably the best cuddler of the group.  Lately we spend most of our mornings reading and cuddling together before the day begins. But Josh will forever be his favorite human.

Fun Fact:
When we adopted Frank and Stewie, we initially thought they were both girls and I named them Mabel and Macie (short for Mabelline & Macie Lou-such ridiculous names but I was 21!), names which my husband absolutely hated. He was secretly calling Mabel Frank the entire time. When we took Frank to get fixed, we were met with the surprise that he was a boy and very quickly determined Stewie was also.  Josh thought Frank just made the best cat name. Stewie's name was stolen from family guy, because I always think of him as an evil kitty genius.   Collectively I refer to these two as the "Original Gangstas".
 

Milo 
Oh Milo, can I say middle child syndrome? I don't know how to say this gently but, she is the bitchiest of the group. She is tough as nails and full of hisses. We've nick named her squirrel cat.  She came to us by appearing on our front porch at a super early age and has been known to climb door frames.  She was flea ridden and very sick. We joke that she was probably raised by squirrels during her very early life.  We rescued her, obviously, and have enjoyed her bitchiness ever since. Her name was inspired by Milo and Otis, duh.
Fun Fact:
I have to seriously watch this cat. She is an eater of thread. If I leave my sewing machine threaded, she will unwind the thread and eat as much as she can. I'm very thankful so serious emergencies have happened because of this annoying habit.


Hooch
Gah! Hooch is seriously my favorite. I know you aren't supposed to do that from a parental standpoint, but I don't care. He has the absolute best personality and is hardly ever crabby. He loves everybody. He was a total accidental adoption. I accompanied a friend to the humane society to pick up a dog and BAM there was Hooch in the kitty window pawing for my attention.  He was so FLUFFY and friendly, I just had to have him.  The humane society had nicknamed him Hooch and we absolutely thought the name fit. He is quite the galoot at times, especially with his crazy tail.  It has been known to knock my glasses askew.

Fun Fact:
Hooch is part Maine Coon, which is probably why he has such an amazing temperament. Maine Coons however are plaques with health issues.  We are constantly on the look out for oncoming UTIs.  He also has an autoimmune disease that flares up from time to time.  It attacks his eyes and if left untreated could cause blindness. This cat is no joke.
 
 
Lily
Lastly, there is Lily. Lily is the sweetest out of the kitties. She isn't overly demanding or needy. She makes her presence known when she wants some loving but otherwise, she's a super chill cat who just wants to do her own thing. Like Hooch, she was also a humane society rescue. We chose a black cat because sadly they are the most persecuted of cats due to silly superstitions. We've both vowed to only adopt black cats in our future because of this.  We were binge watching How I Met Your Mother the summer we adopted her so obviously that is how she got her name. My husband argues that her full name is Lilypad but I disagree and think that is a nickname only.

Fun Fact:
We adopted her on Harry Potter's birthday which makes her name even more fitting, if you ask me.
 
 
My husband and I adopted all these cats pretty early on in our relationship, basically as soon as we started to live together we started to collect them and after two years of living together the herd was complete.  They don't all love each other and are constantly battling to see who can receive the most attention.  We had no idea what we wanted out of a pet family or really what our preferences were. I just knew I LOVED ALL THE KITTIES! Now that I've been a pet parent for almost 10 years (what the junk?!) I now know what my perfect pet ratio would be.  It would hands down be a larger sized super lazy dog and a black cat. I will adopt them at the same time and they will grow up together and be best friends and it will be amazing. Until then, I'll enjoy my adorable kitties who are slightly crabby from having to fight for the most attention.

Well, that's my kitty family! Thanks for reading about them! I would love to hear about your pet family too!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Skirts for Spring? Groundbreaking.

Hey friends! I know we talk about the weather here in Missouri all the time, but man, it's always a complete mess. Whomever is the controller of the weather is extremely moody around these parts. I think spring is finally here but I have a feeling we are going to nose dive straight into summer.  The day we took these is was super spring like-but today it's supposed to reach into the 90s. Two weeks ago it rained for like a week straight and half the state was dealing with historic flooding. Major highways shut down. Getting into St. Louis became a real challenge. It's the 2nd largest flood to occur within a 16th month period. So much for the 100 year flood-or hellllllo climate change?! Either way-weather has been whack!

Even though the spring season seems to be fleeting, we still wanting to squeeze in a couple of outfits to share for this season.  For this outfit edition theme, we chose skirts.  The maxi skirt trend is still all the rage in our area so I wasn't too surprised when we both showed up wearing a pair each.  Maxi skirts really are the perfect spring look. They are cute as hell but provide you with a little extra warmth for those chilly mornings. Plus, they look great with flats or sandals so pretty freaking versatile, right?!



This is one of my favorite looks this spring, especially for a day at the office which honestly feels like where I spend most of my time lately.  It's very put together and a super functional outfit.  It gives me Practical Magic vibes and makes me feel like a serious adult when I wear it. Some outfits I wear, especially my overalls, can garner some judging looks from people in regards to my age or professionalism and I hate that. Just because I love wearing overalls doesn't mean I don't know my shit, yah know?




Introducing my new BLUSH glasses.  Blush seems to be THE color right now and since the "Jennifer" style also came in blush I decided to grab them also.  It's probably a tie between these and my clear ones for my top favorite.


This is also how I would wear the outfit in a more casual manner. For some reason my employers seem to frown at bare midriffs. Bare midriffs is a problem that has been plaguing me since high school {insert eye roll emoji here}.  But for reals, the denim shirt is my favorite go to light jacket to wear for basic warmth around the office.  Why are offices always so cold, ya'll?





And yea, this pose is here to say. Sorry friends!



Outfit Details
Denim Shirt {AE} / crop top {Forever 21} / maxi skirt {Forever 21} / Slides {Forever 21}


Jen is not lying, the weather here in Missouri has been bananas. It's humid one day, then windy and rainy the next. I'm glad to be home lately because trying to make it in to work with all the flooding we had recently would have been a nightmare!

Recently, I bought skirt hangers and took my skirts from a drawer to my closet, right in the center. I actually take up two closets in my house but my main closet is the one with all the skirts and dresses. Skirts are my go to outfit this Spring it seems like. Every time I get out of the house, I'm throwing on a skirt 90% of the time. I still have a love affair with dresses, but there's something about a good skirt I just love. 






Besides skirts being my go to, this outfit is a variation on basically what I'm wearing at all times. Graphic tee and skirt with sandals. It's easy and cute, can be dressed up or down. I love the way the tee shirt adds some casualness to this skirt, which is kind of fancy and has heavier fabric. Also I own 4 different mustard skirts now and I'm not even mad about it. Mustard is my spirit color, I can never have enough. 

Also how dope is this shirt?! My blogger friend Valery started her own tee shirt business, Everyday Unicorns,  and as soon as she posted this shirt I knew I had to have it! It's a weekly wear for me. The saying is feminist af and the shirt is soft as hell. It makes me feel like a powerful badass every time I put it on. She recently released a summer line that I'm drooling over (especially this tee!) so if feminist tees are also your jam, get you some! 



If I can be honest for a second, the day we took these photos I was not really feeling myself. I felt bloated from my period and I've been eating like crazy lately and gained a few pounds that I feel like are very obvious. Jarrett and Jen and my sister assure me they aren't but we are always more critical of our bodies than others, a bad habit I'm trying to break. 

But when I came back a few days after editing the photos to write my part of this post, I loved the way I looked. I don't mind those extra few pounds and I feel confident that this outfit represents who I am. I wore it the next day actually for celebratory engagement drinks with Jarrett (yeah we will totes talk about that engagement soon y'all!). I don't know if there was a point to this besides bodies are weird and the way we feel about them changes daily (or at least my feelings on my body do!). 






Outfit Details 
Shirt {Everyday Unicorns by Valery Brennan} / Skirt {Lularoe} / Sandals {Forever 21