Playlist Thursday: I’m with the band

It’s that time of the week again. Time to link up with Pavement Runner. This is an awesome link up I always try to partake in because I get to see songs that I might not have otherwise heard of and I always end up adding at least one song to my running playlist. Make sure you head over to Pavement Runner to check out everyone else who contributed this week.

Playlist thursday teal

Today’s theme is: artists you’ve seen live

SOMETHING OLD
Artist: Billy Joel

Title: Only the Good Die Young

Side Note: I love Billy Joel and I was finally able to see him in concert in 2007 with my sister and mom. It was amazing. This song will always have a special place in my heart.

Quotable:
You might have heard I run with a dangerous crowd
We ain’t too pretty we ain’t too proud
We might be laughing a bit too loud
Aw But that never hurt no one

SOMETHING CURRENT
Artist: Justin Timberlake ft. Jay Z

IMG 5238

Title: Suit & Tie

Side Note: I know that a ton of people hate this song, but I love it. I have seen JT at least 5 times, the best of course was when my seats got upgraded because the lighting equipment was where my seat was. This was from the last tour as *Nsync.

Quotable:
And as long as I got my suit and tie
I’ma leave it all on the floor tonight
And you got fixed up to the nines
Let me show you a few things
All pressed up in black and white
And you’re dressed in that dress I like
Love is swinging in the air tonight
Let me show you a few things

SOMETHING TO CONSIDER
Artist: Matt Nathanson

IMG 5139

Title: Modern Love

Side Note: I have been a huge fan of Matt’s since 2001. I have only seen him live once in 2004. With my sister obviously, and we got to meet him! He was one of the most down to earth and funniest people I have ever met. It doesn’t hurt that he grew up outside Boston and now resides in my other favorite city, San Francisco. It was hard for me to choose which of his songs to pick, but I went with one of the ones that has a real video, and it is a dang good video.

Quotable:
I’d let em in, I
Oh man, I’d let em win
I’d burn my house down
Just to hear them scream my name
I’ve carried hopes
And heavy daydreams she said
But I’m done with sleeping

Take the phone calls
Take this circus
Take the drama, cause baby it’s worthless

Year of Baking: Joy the Baker’s Perfect Cup of Hot Chocolate

I am pretty sure this weeks recipe doesn’t necessarily qualify as baking, but last week was crazy so I didn’t get a chance to really plan, prep and bake something.

I did however have a perfect reason to make the perfect cup of hot chocolate.

IMG_3255

Last week Nick, B and I headed up to Killington, VT for a mini-ski trip with my sister & her boyfriend and my dad, his girlfriend and her kids.

It’s weird to me to stay in a hotel for a ski trip. I grew up about 45 minutes away from Killington and any time we went skiing it was always a day trip. I didn’t take many photos because we weren’t there for that long Monday – Wednesday morning. I did however take a few. We stayed at the Killington Grand Resort and had dinner there on Monday night.

IMG 5170
I had this amazing seared ahi tuna, I can’t find the menu online, but for VT it was pretty tasty!

Nick, B and I have also been adding extra veggies and fruits in with smoothies, and they are perfect for B when he is sick!

IMG 5200

Tuesday, Dad and I took a little father-daughter time to ski. Nick can’t and my sister doesn’t do well on the slopes so they stayed back to watch the little man.

IMG 5178
Um, even the kids snow pants were to tall for me.

We spent three hours out on the slopes, and I have to say I was terrified, I hadn’t been downhill skiing in almost 20 years. I have cross-country skied but that is most certainly not the same. I will say though, I get my ski legs back pretty quickly.

You know what goes great with an afternoon of skiing? A piping hot mug of homemade hot cocoa. I took my recipe from Joy the Baker‘s cookbook and it was a hit.

Ingredients
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 heaping tablespoons of white chocolate chips
2 cups of milk (any fat content)
1/2 teaspoon of instant coffee powder (optional)
pinch of salt

Instructions

1. Pour 2 inches of water into a medium saucepan and place over medium heat
2. Place dark and white chocolate in a heatproof bowl
3. When the water has come to a boil, place the bowl of chocolate on top but not touching the simmering water
4. Stir chocolate until melted
5. As you put your water on to boil, heat the milk in a small saucepan until almost boiling
6. Whisk the melted chocolate, coffee powder, and salt into the heating milk and whisk until smooth and incorporated
7. Pour into 2 cups and enjoy with marshmallows or your favorite cookie

IMG 3262

Notes

I don’t like white chocolate so I never have any on hand – I used extra semi-sweet but in the future I might use peanut butter chips or even butterscotch. At the holidays, I will definitely be using mint chips.

I used espresso powder and only a 1/4 teaspoon, that was definitely enough.

We enjoyed ours plain but I know Nick would’ve loved some marshmallows.

The hot chocolate was perfectly creamy, but because of the chocolate I used it was a bit too sweet for me. We also only had whole milk so I would definitely use something different for me in the future.

Link up with Jenn for more tasty treats on WIAW!


HLB Book Club

Did you read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as part of the Healthy Living Blogs book club? I haven’t quite finished my re-read yet!

someecards.com - The wizard of oz is the ultimate chick flick... two women trying to kill each other over shoes.

Do you want skip the book but still want to see the new Oz: The Great and
Powerful movie? Do you live in Boston or the Greater Boston area?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions you’re in luck because I’m the planning member for the Boston movie meet-up! I am tentatively planning for a matinee showing on Saturday, March 16 or Sunday, March 17. Unfortunately, the movie times don’t extend that far in advance so I will update everyone when the times are available.

All are welcome, bloggers, blog readers just don’t make me see this movie alone. That would just be depressing. I am also going to try and arrange a coffee/tea meet-up before or after the movie (depending on the time.

If you’re interested in attending this event or future events, fill out the form below. I will continue to post on the blog but I will also email to everyone interested, and I promise no spam. Also, the information for the March book (Julie & Julia!) is now up, check it out here!

PV.body turned Ellie – Thoughts and a Review.

I apologize in advance since this post will be lengthy, I wanted to wait until I had all the facts pieces before I wrote my review.

A few months ago I became aware of a company called pv.body (no link since the web address redirects to Ellie now). The company sounded awesome, for the price of $39.95 (when I signed up — the price was raised to $49.95 a few days later) you would get two name brand items, they used names like Lululemon, Nike, etc… to pique the general interest and to be honest I definitely fell for it, but one thing had me apprehensive — sizing. I typically wear a 12 in lululemon and other companies vary between M, L and XL. I emailed Jenay and told her my concerns, she emailed me back and told me that most of the products in a L would fit me and that they have a liberal return policy. Okay, I will try it out.

pvbody

I used a 20% off coupon from a fellow blogger and signed up — this was the end of November. My card was charged and shipping status was unavailable, and I will be honest, two weeks later we were moving and in the throes of no internet and not worrying about anything except getting unpacked and settled. A few weeks later I started seeing reviews from other bloggers about their packages and workout gear. I called my mother-in-law (since I used their address) and she had received nothing. I checked my bank account and saw that pv.body had charged me twice. I was pissed, I called and emailed and got zero response, including from my friend Jenay.

pvbody-300x227

When I arrived at my in-laws for New Years Eve I had two packages from pv.body at their house. I tried on all 4 items and only 1 fit which was a bit frustrating. I logged into my account and was told I could only exchange package number 2. I called HQ because that was not going to fly with me, first I wasn’t sure which package was #1 and which was #2 and secondly, I received the first package so late and it wasn’t my fault so I should be able to return all items if I needed. No one answered at HQ it rang 3 times, an automated voice came on and said I was next, rang two more times and put me into a generic voicemail. I left a voicemail, but continued to call repeatedly until I finally got a hold of Riquel, it took at least 30 minutes to get through. Riquel was helpful — she asked what I liked in my workout gears (I prefer normal or high-waisted pants and longer tops that move well) and she emailed me a fed-ex slip, she also said to include a note and I could exchange the three items. I sent the items back to HQ in mid-January.

I received my new items a month later, but in the meantime I saw this post from Sarah – I immediately put a hold on my pv.body account and contacted someone higher up at pv.body to address my concerns.

Silver & Black American Apparel leggings and Unknown Top in Navy. The orange top is from Old Navy.

Silver & Black American Apparel leggings and Unknown Top in Navy. The orange top is from Old Navy.

The one item that fit in my first package was the American Apparel leggings. In my exchange I received another pair of the same leggings, a Nux top (similar to the one I returned) and a top that I can’t find the name for. While I do love the leggings and the nameless top, I wasn’t that impressed and I would be PISSED if I paid the $49.95 price tag, because the American Apparel pants were valued at $48 and the Nux top was valued at $45 — not exactly the promise $150 value.

So this is when Ellie comes in. As Sarah, Katy, Heather, Janine, & Becki had posted pv.body had essentially bought a ton of name (and not so name) brand items and shipped them off for a few months, but since most of these brands do not sell their items whole sale those at pv.body knew they had to do something else. They lured everyone in with the promise of Lulu and Nike and then swapped in their own brand Ellie a few months later. Not impressed.

There have also been plenty of people with great experiences like Linz, Danielle, & Heather.

I was contacted by Hope at Puravit who addressed my concerns and offered to send me a February package for review. I received it on Friday afternoon so I haven’t had the chance to work out in it. I will say however, I was given the February look book and picked two pieces that I felt fit what I needed from workout gear. I didn’t receive either of those pieces.

Ellie Bottoms

Ellie Bottoms

According to Hope, the quality of the Little Black Legging was not up to par for them, that’s fine I get it, I was told that I would receive the Love Struck Legging as it was their most popular item. I am not sure who it was popular with considering February was their unveiling and theoretically our packages would be sent out at the same time as everyone else’s, maybe it was the most popular among the staff? Also, the LBL is available for March packages – and I don’t work in any capacity for product development, but unless it is a small issue I don’t understand how February’s LBL wasn’t ready for shipping but March’s is. Regardless, I ended up receiving the Kiss Me Capri. I tried them on and they fit well and are high enough for my liking, as I said I haven’t worked out in them, but so far they fit well.

Ellie Tops

Ellie Tops

For the top, I do not know what happened, I requested the Truth or Dare tank and received the Peek-A-Boo top. This is a top I absolutely would not work out in. Frankly, I don’t know that I would even have the confidence to wear this out in public. Maybe with a cami underneath? It did fit well, the sizing is accurate and the material was comfortable. I just wish it was a top that I could and would wear.

So now that all is said and done what do I think?

I loved the idea of pv.body — it was a great way to try new brands at a cheaper rate. I am very picky with my workout clothes and it seemed to be a cheap way to find new brands before you spent a ton of money and time finding new gear. Since a lot of brands do not sell wholesale (really this should have been a huge red flag for me) this was a concept they could not keep up.

I think the bait and switch technique that they used was extremely shady, a lot of bloggers have called them out (please read the linked posts above) and they reached out to too many bloggers to review and push product. This caused them to get overwhelmed and get behind which is why I got my packages later than expected and they did not have enough staff to handle the influx of returns and exchanges.

So far I do like what I see of Ellie, but I am not sure I will keep a membership, the fact that I received two random items sort of leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I have addressed it with Hope and will update when I get a response.

I do want to address that just because I am a blogger I do not get special treatment, I have seen this posted from commenters on other posts and the pv.body/Ellie facebook page. My packages have been delayed, my items have been wrong, etc…

If you would like to try out Ellie – click on the link. I am interested in your experiences so let me know in the comments, did you like what you got, hate it?