Monday, July 11, 2016

StitchFix #twooooooooooo!

I got my second StitchFix box this weekend!  (I get them once a month.)  I asked this month for my box to focus on colorful shirts because my casual everyday closet is basically full of navy, gray, black, and white right now.  I have some fun ones for Sunday, but I prefer more t-shirty tops during the week.  


From what I've heard, they typically send four items of clothing and one accessory, but I got five shirts in my box!  Whaaaaaat!  Going through each piece before trying them on, I was a little nervous because four of the five were clinger knits than are typically good for me, but also really impressed with what my stylist sent after listening to my feedback / needs.  Here's what I got!

I forgot to take a picture of this one before returning it, so here's a teeny picture from the app. :)
Loved the color, loved the lace inserts in the sleeves.  The lace was see-through, so I'd have had to sew in a lining or wear an undershirt with it, and it was just too expensive for a shirt I'd have to alter.  
Verdict: Returned


I forgot to take a picture of this one and then couldn't find it anywhere online!  But this top is similar.  I liked it, it fit well, and I loved that it had a v-neck that wasn't low enough to need a tank top.  However, it just wasn't special enough to warrant the price.
Verdict: Returned


I've been afraid of horizontal stripes and told my StitchFix stylist so.  But, she sent this one, I tried it on, and loved it!  It's so comfy, needs no adjusting or undershirt, and I love how it looks!  If it didn't have the brighter neckband, I would've sent it back, but I like the balance.  Love how the sleeves are different than the middle, too.  When I showed Joel, he said, "That looks like you.  Like, it reminds me of you."  
Verdict: Kept!


Like the color and lace detail on the back.  I typically like a little more detail on the front of what I wear, but I still liked this one a lot and Joel loved it.
Verdict: Kept!

And #5:

This shirt was a little hard to photograph without it looking bland or super boxy, but this is basically it. :)  Love!  This is probably my favorite one from the box.  As soon as I put it on, I knew I wanted to keep it.  Love the fit, style, and that it's a woven instead of a knit.
Verdict: Kept!

There you have it!  Box #2!  I don't intend to fill my whole closet with StitchFix items because they are pretty expensive.  I'll probably only get a couple more boxes.  When I tell people I'm using StitchFix, I always make sure to tell them this is a fun thing that I saved my allowance money to try.  It's definitely not for someone who's looking for a deal, but it's great for someone who's looking for help in figuring out clothes.  AKA, me. Haha :)  But for how I've used it, I really love it!  If you want to try it out, please use my referral link!


All her life, Sophie had been taught that books are precious.  Each one holds people and worlds.  Each one is a piece of someone's heart and mind that they chose to share.  They were shared dreams.
The Girl Who Could Not Dream

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Happy Birthday, America!

Red, white, and blue jello.
Chicago dogs.
Grilled corn-on-the-cob.
French fries.
Card games.
Video games.
Star-spangled anthems.
Picnic blankets.
Staying up late.
Lighting up the sky.

As American as apple pie.


You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart.
Their daring, nerve and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart...
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Thursday, June 30, 2016

my first Stitch Fix box!

I decided last month to try a service called Stitch Fix.  For those of you who haven't heard of it, it's a subscription box for clothing.  First you take a clothing profile quiz in which you rank styles, give your clothing sizes, tell your style struggles, etc.  A stylist reads what you wrote and puts together a box with five items of clothing in it - usually 3-4 clothes and 1-2 accessories.  A week or so after you take the quiz, the box shows up on your porch!  You try on everything they send, keep what you want, and send back (in an included prepaid envelope) what you don't want.  Then you "checkout" online - tell them what you're sending back and why, and pay for what you kept.  There's a styling fee of $20 that's deducted from your total if you keep any items.  

I'd been hearing about Stitch Fix all over the place online and was intrigued, but the clothes are from more expensive brands, and that kept me away for a long time.  I'm pretty cheap.  But lately, every day when I get dressed, I look at my clothes and wonder what in the world I'm going to wear.  I've cleaned out my closet several times lately and have been rotating through the few favorites that are left.  It literally feels like I wear the same thing every day.  So.  I knew I needed to go shopping, but I'm just not confident in my ability to shop for myself right now.  I can't count the number of times I've thought, "Too bad I'm not friends with Stacey and Clinton..." :)  And that's why I decided to finally give Stitch Fix a try.  Having a stylist know my frustrations and struggles and desires, and then choose clothing specifically for me, sounded really appealing!  I practically counted down the days until my first box. 

Here's what I got!  

I told SF that I wanted clothing that was comfortable and didn't have to be adjusted all day.  I love t-shirts but wanted something a little nicer.  She sent this.  It fit PERFECTLY.  It's a combination of knit and woven, not clingy, super comfortable.  And it looked better on me than on the hanger in these pictures. :) I loved everything about it except the color, which is why I actually sent it back.

This blouse was seriously so pretty.  I LOVED it.  I ended up sending it back, too, though.  Since it's sleeveless, I would've needed a cardigan or undershirt with it, so I wouldn't have worn it until the fall.  I wanted to use the money I'd saved for summer clothes on summer clothes.  I can use fall money during the fall.  Does that make sense?

Loved the earrings! but they were $38, and I'm just too cheap for that.

I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS MAXI SKIRT.  Seriously.  I want to wear it every day.  I kept this. :)

I also LOVE these jeans!  They make me feel my age - young but not a teenager - which is something I've been trying to figure out.  I'm shocked that they fit in the leg without being super stretchy or massive in the waist - my usual jeans issue.  The shape, length, and rise are perfect.  I kept these.

So, there you have it!  My first Stitch Fix!  Seriously so exciting and fun.  I won't use it forever because it is pricy, but because of just this first box, I have a better idea of what to look for when I go shopping by myself.  I can't wait for next month's box!  If you decide to try it out, please use my referral link! (instead of just going to :)


I should be able to do something that benefits a few dozen people every week.
Adam Grant

Monday, June 27, 2016

candy in the morning time, candy in the hot sunshine

I just wanted to remind you all that this song exists.

My kids want candy all the time.
I mean, ALL the time.

They'd ask me for it a hundred times a day!  And the more they asked, the less I knew what to say.  Do I become a "no" machine?  Do I give up and always say yes?  Do I have them quit asking and just eat it whenever?  Should I throw it all away?  Am I being consistent?  Should I make rules about when I'll say what?  

You get the idea.  Candy was driving me crazy.


Here's what I came up with.

Each of my kids has a napkin on the counter.  Every night, they can choose four pieces of candy to put on their napkins.  The next day, they can eat it whenever they want, with four rules:

1. Not during dinner
2. Not after you've brushed your teeth at night
3. When it's gone, it's gone.  
(If you ask for another piece, I'll say no and you'll have one less tomorrow.)
4. If you ask to eat it, I get to eat one of yours. 

And can I just say, life has been amazing.  Little Boy usually eats all his before breakfast and Little Girl spaces hers out a little better, but hey.  Whatever floats your boat.  They're happy because they get candy "whenever they want," and I'm happy because I know how much they're eating but haven't had to answer a candy question in a month. 

The candy they choose from is whatever's been on sale lately.


Two is the beginning of the end.
Peter Pan

Thursday, June 23, 2016

snack bags!

I try to make most of my posts for a general audience, but this one is especially for parents.  We've tried a few things lately with our kids that have worked SO well! so I felt like I needed to share. :)

Problem: It's snack time! and I never know how much food to give my kids.  Whether we're talking crackers, nuts, dried fruit, ... - Too little and they're hungry again in five minutes.  Too much and they won't eat dinner (and I'm feeling guilty about giving them a pound of Chex Mix).  "Little Boy, I'm sorry that my handful came out looking like more on her napkin than yours."  

BUT They never complain about the amount of snack in a pre-packaged bag, I noticed one day.

Solution: Snack bags!

The day I gave them pre-packaged snacks and enjoyed the heavenly sound of no complaining, I went home and got out my snack-sized Ziplock bags, kitchen scale, and our boxes and bags of snacks, and I started separating.  I measured out bags according to the serving size on the nutrition labels (usually around 30 g / 1 oz).  I ended up with around 50 baggies of snacks.  I put all the bags in a designated drawer in the kitchen, along with any granola bars and "official" snack packs we had.  I explained to the kids that some bags look like more full, but that they all had the exact same weight - some foods are just heavier than others.  

what's in our snack drawer right now
Sometimes I surprise them by putting in two baggies of chips or M&Ms, but it's usually crackers, dried fruit, or nuts.

We also have a snack box in the fridge that has string cheese and baggies of carrots, apples, other produce.  Sometimes I let them have one from both the drawer and the fridge - crackers and cheese or apples and peanut butter, for example.  The kids are allowed to eat produce basically anytime so it's handy to have that cut up (especially if it's something like cucumbers or broccoli).

We fancy.
We have snack time at about 3:00 every day.  When that time comes, I no longer have to think of an answer to the question of what snack will be.  I don't dread the whine that comes when I give an answer someone doesn't like.  I just tell them to grab a snack bag!  And everyone's happy.  They're excited to choose their own, and I'm excited that I don't have to choose anyone's but mine.  We literally have never had a complaint about portion size, either.  When it's gone, it's gone and snack time's over.  If you're still hungry, good!  That means you'll be ready when it's dinnertime. :)

This has also worked great for when we're going to be away from home at snack time.  Sometimes I have baggies in the car, but usually I just tell everyone to grab one before we leave.  So much more convenient than passing around a whole box!  Even when we went on a car trip recently, we just brought a bunch of baggies.  

The adults in our family follow the same portions, by the way.  It's been great for helping us not eat a TON mindlessly.  I wondered if we'd fizzle out after a week, but we still love them as much as we did on Day 1!  This is definitely a trick we'll be sticking with.

Part 2: CANDY


Life isn’t to be found in holding on and looking back, but in letting go and looking forward.
Life Goes On
Philip Gulley

Monday, June 20, 2016

PSA: Life Lesson #4

I haven't written the other Life Lessons, by the way.  I just didn't think this one was quite important enough to have the title "Life Lesson #1."  So, without further ado, Life Lesson #4!

When you've gotten up and started getting ready for the day,
don't go back to bed.

It just never ends well.  You think it will when you're settling in and your bed is sooooo comfy.  But when you wake up two hours later with a weird headache; your child is still waiting patiently for breakfast, bless her heart; and somehow you feel way more tired than when you laid down and wonder if your eyelids have weights on them or are just glued down... - Well, let's just say, it's a good time to learn a Life Lesson.  Now get out of bed and go make yourself some lunch.


We didn’t have to consciously focus on how grateful we were to be here, to be alive, because nature announced its marvels, and we felt it deep in our bodies and souls. 
The Gratitude Diaries

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Why We Bought A Rainbow Umbrella

It's good to ask your kids questions about what they like instead of just assuming.  Probably spouse, friends, and other family, too, for that matter.  

Example #1: Little Boy participated in a reading program this year.  His teacher invited us to observe a lesson.  Before it started, I read a description of his reading strengths, weaknesses, and habits, including this sentence: "[Little Boy] is particularly drawn to nonfiction texts."  That was news to me, although it made sense with the kinds of shows he likes to watch.  I observed the lesson, during which he read a fictional story and a nonfiction book about foxes.  His attention level between the two was fascinating.  He was clearly more drawn to the factual book.  After the lesson, I told him what the teacher had said and asked if it was true.  He nonchalantly replied, "Yep.  I like the books about facts better."  Later, I realized that of course I hadn't known that about books!  I'm drawn to fiction, so fiction is mainly what's available in our home.  LB has had very little opportunity to showcase his interest in nonfiction because I didn't particularly want to read nonfiction books to him.

Example #2: Little Girl and I went to the store so she could buy the umbrella she'd been saving for.  We stood in front of the display so she could see her choices and pick the one she wanted.  I thought she'd immediately choose the pink one because she's been so into pink, but she was drawn to a striped rainbow one.  I checked with her that she didn't want pink, and she responded with a glazed-over love for the rainbow umbrella.  If I had chosen for her, I wouldn't have learned that her preferences may be evolving.

It's like trying on clothes.  We all know our kids won't wear the same size forever, but we don't always notice them growing until they've outgrown a shirt or we measure them.  It's worth measuring them once in a while to know what size pants to buy them, right?  While you're at it, pay attention to how their minds, personalities, and likes / dislikes are growing and changing, too. :)


All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.