Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Stitch Fix #6 & #7

My sixth Stitch Fix (say that three times fast!) came in mid-October. I don't remember all that I had requested/suggested, but I do remember that I wanted something with an animal print on it. Below is what I wore to school that day. I show you this so you can get a sense of what I choose for myself. It's very typical for me to wear denim pants with a pretty top. This one is a linen blend with a pale blue horizontal strip. I believe I wore a long necklace with it, and a pair of high-heeled sandals. My feet were probably killing me by the time I got home. That's why I usually wear flats to school!


The box!


A message from my stylist, Ashlyn:


The fix:



This is the Aniston Floral Print "kimono". The background is a navy blue, and I really liked how it looked on me. I've worn it a couple of times since I received it, and I think it's a nice transitional piece for fall and spring.



This is the Alexzandria Floral Print Knit Top. Although the cut is rather boxy, I loved the print. I have worn this several times since I received it, and I've gotten compliments each time.


These are the Diana Skinny Jeans by Kut from the Kloth. I have never tried on a pair of skinnies that I actually liked, but these are amazing! Lots of stretch = very comfortable. I just wore them again yesterday. In Stitch #7 I received another pair in black, and although I really didn't need another pair of black pants I had to keep them.


Yes, I requested animal print, but I was really hoping for a blouse I'd pinned. Anyway, I like this skirt and I kept it. The thing is, it fits like a glove and if I gain a few pounds, it will not fit. I haven't worn it yet because I need a blouse to go with it.


This is the Catelyn Zip Moto Jacket. I had asked for a lightweight cardigan, and this is what was chosen. Okay... Style-wise it's kinda cute, but it was a wool blend and very itchy. I didn't think I'd have enough opportunity to wear it as I reflected on how many 80*+ days we had last January. I sent it back.

Out of five items, I kept four making this my most successful Fix. I was really pleased at the time.

My next Fix came in mid-November on the day we returned from our trip to the mountains. I didn't have time to photograph all that was in that box as I was so busy unpacking and getting ready to return to work the next day. I already mentioned that I kept the black skinnies. But I sent back a black blazer and a "split back tank". The black blazer reminded me of something I would have worn when I worked in a bank or an office. It was just too business-y for my life in the classroom. The tank had a beautiful print, but I didn't think that I would ever be comfortable with something that had a split back - just too revealing for this middle-aged mom.

Here's what I did keep:


Another kimono! I probably wouldn't have kept it, but it was super affordable at $34. I have worn it a couple of times already, and I like it.


It took me a while to decide on this one. It's the Laguna Abstract Floral Flutter Sleeve Blouse by Creative Commune. I think it looks a little big on me even though it's a medium, but I kept it and I've worn it with the black skinnies.

Honestly, I don't know how much longer I will continue using Stitch Fix. I feel like their prices are too high - I see the brands they sell at Nordstrom Rack, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx for much less. I love a good deal, and that's not something you get with Stitch Fix. What you do get is convenience and the chance to try things you might not try on your own.

I think I have improved my style somewhat since using Stitch Fix. I no longer do one-stop shopping at LOFT. I check out a lot of blogs where the bloggers review their Fixes, and I see how others put things together. If I like something, I attempt to emulate it with the things I have in my closet.

My next fix is scheduled for next week, and I promise to review it before January!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lately...

It's been two months since I last touched this space. Two very busy months.

At the beginning of October I was home with Michaela for three days because she had pneumonia. At first it just seemed to be a case of the sniffles (thank you, preschool), but when her fever spiked over 104* I took her in to see the pediatrician. Thankfully, it was quickly remedied with a round of liquid antibiotics and a couple weeks of Singulair.

Unfortunately, she is just getting through round two of pneumonia this week, and this time Michaela refused to take the liquid antibiotic. She preferred to go in for an injection three days in a row. Ouch! Hurts my pocketbook, too. Three additional office visits will surely cost me much more than the $13 the prescription cost me. It was a learning experience for me. I've learned that you can't reason with a three year old, and that losing my temper with her doesn't get us anywhere either. Sometimes it's hard to find the balance between maintaining a reasonable amount of parental control in the relationship, and allowing her to be three. It's times like that (actually, it's all the time) that I wish Michael were here to step in and help me handle things. His temperament was much different than mine, and it took a lot to get him upset.

Back to October...

We made our annual trip to the pumpkin patch at Irvine Park in mid-October. We met my cousin Stephanie and her little girl out there one afternoon, and the girls had a lot of fun running around. They especially enjoyed the maze!



Since the time change comes so late in the year now, we enjoyed walking in the neighborhood in the evenings to see the fall/Halloween outdoor decor our neighbors had up. Some things were more "child friendly" than others, of course. Michaela began to tell me that, "It's only pretend, Mama." I'm so glad she told me that, because some of those skeletons were pretty creepy.

While we didn't trick-or-treat, we did have a couple of occasions that we dressed up for prior to Halloween. My teachers' association hosted a party one weekend, and we dressed up like Indian princesses for that. The next day we attended the birthday party of Michaela's cousins, and she went as an Autumn Fairy.



November 4th was a very good day for me, professionally speaking. After campaigning for two school board candidates endorsed by my association, it was very satisfying when they were elected to my school district's governing board that day. My school district has been under the leadership of a board majority that was not cooperative with the teachers (and parents) for too long. It has been seven years since our last pay increase, and I think that board majority would have denied us another seven years had they had the opportunity to do so. There are other issues beyond our contract that need to be addressed, but now we'll have a new board with a new perspective to lead us. I am hopeful we will move forward in a positive way and that moral (and paycheck$) will improve.

The weekend after the election my parents took us up to Big Bear for a long weekend. It was the weekend of my wedding anniversary, and I was very grateful to get away. My mom found a really nice cabin to rent just down the hill from Snow Summit, and although there was no snow it was a lovely weekend. It was cool enough to have a fire in the fireplace every evening, but the days were warm. We visited the local zoo there, and the highlight was seeing their wolf pack. The wolves let everyone know that it was lunch time, and Michaela joined in the howling. Another outing we all enjoyed was a trip to the Alpine Slide. Michaela and I rode down twice. She's still talking about it. We are going to have to go back to Big Bear.



This past week was Thanksgiving Break. I had lots of plans, but we were slowed down by my cold and Michaela's pneumonia. Nevertheless, we did manage to get a Christmas tree, decorate it, and decorate the house for the holidays. We spent Thanksgiving with Michael's family in Santa Monica. His youngest brother has a penthouse apartment with an incredible view of the beach north of Santa Monica. I think we could see all the way to Malibu from there. It was the first Thanksgiving I've spent with that side of the family since 2009 - Michael's last holiday season with us. I'm really glad we were able to be there with them.



So, there you have it. That's what I've spent the last two months doing (when I wasn't working, of course).

My next post will be about my last two Stitch Fixes!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Stitch Fix #5


So back in August I had decided to bump up the frequency of my fixes to about twice a month. I really didn't do any back-to-school shopping - I wanted Stitch Fix to do it for me! But maybe I should have done a little shopping as this was not my favorite fix. I am still waiting for that fix where I just have to have all five items, but sadly this was not it.

Stitch Fix has a lot of features built into it so that you give your stylist feedback in addition to your style profile. After each fix, I complete a survey about each piece and what I liked (or didn't like) about it. There's also a place to write a note to your stylist to communicate about what you'd like to see in your upcoming fix. I always use that feature, and this time I asked for a dress I'd seen on another blogger's Stitch Fix review, a light-weight cardigan in a color other than black, more blouses, and a statement necklace.

Here's the dress I really liked:


Picture from TheBoxQueen dot com

Here is the note I received from my stylist - well, I should say from this month's stylist as that seems to change each time:



Okay, so that lovely dress was no longer in stock - no problem. However, the dress she substituted for it was very different:



This is the Elizabella Paisley Print Sleeveless Wrap Dress by Ark n Co ($34). The print was really pretty.



However, I really didn't care for the length of the dress. It hit me just below my mid-thigh about four inches above the knee. Being that I wear dresses (most often) to school or church, this would not be appropriate at that length. It was also a little small for me. It took me no time at all to decide I would be sending it back.

Next I tried the Collective Concepts Esten Button-Up Sleeveless Blouse in navy ($54) with the Pixley Leighton Metal Bauble Necklace ($34):





I liked the necklace, but I didn't love it. I liked the blouse, but it's nothing special. In the end, I sent the necklace back and kept the blouse. I could see the blouse being a nice basic piece in my wardrobe. I wore it with a pair of khaki colored cropped pants and a different necklace the other day, and I liked the way I felt in it. I would never have chosen it on my own. That's a good thing. I want to end up with some things that I would not have tried otherwise.

Then I tried on the 41Hawthorn Carson Front-Twist Sleeveless Blouse ($58):




I may be smiling in that picture, but it wasn't because I liked this piece. I have something very similar in a deep vibrant pink that I really love, but this mustard color was not a hit with me. I tend to choose cooler colors because I think they compliment my fair skin and dark hair more than earthy tones do. This had to be sent back.

Lastly, I tried on the Market and Spruce Alan Cowl Neck Asymmetrical Cardigan ($58):



It was lightweight, but it was either made from a wool-blend or an acrylic. It made me itch, and I would have only been able to wear it on the coolest of days here in southern California. I did think it was flattering and a unique design. Just not enough to love about it, so I sent it back.

Now I've adjusted my fixes back to once a month, and I've suggested in my note that perhaps it would be beneficial to have the same stylist more than once. At this point, I'm not exactly sure what I'd like to see in next month's box, but I'll be pinning things I like on my Pinterest board. The stylists do seem to use that to help them with their choices, and it's an easy thing to do.

If you'd like to try Stitch Fix, please use my referral link to get started. When you schedule your first fix, I'll receive a $25 credit toward my next fix - as will you when you refer a friend!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Stitch Fix #4




I love coming home to a Stitch Fix box on my doorstep! With school starting tomorrow, I was hoping that this fix would jazz up my work wardrobe a little bit. And it does indeed!

If you are still unfamiliar with Stitch Fix, it's a styling service. For twenty bucks per month, a stylist will select five pieces of clothing (and sometimes an accessory or a handbag) for me to consider. What I receive should reflect the style profile I completed when I signed up. That twenty bucks goes towards my purchase, and if I decide to keep all five items my purchase will be discounted 25%. There's also a sweet referral credit of $25 each time someone signs up using my referral code. I only pay for what I keep, and I have three days to put my returns in the prepaid envelope provided and give it to my letter carrier. Easy breezy!

Because I can leave a note for my stylist prior to receiving my fix, this time I expressly requested knee-length A-line or circle skirts. They are super practical for school. I also requested short-sleeve or three-quarter length sleeve blouses.

Here's what my fix included:


41Hawthorn Callifia Print Wrap Dress $68




I really like wrap dresses, but this one was too small. Way too small! Not all mediums are created equal. Know what I mean? If it had fit better, I would have seriously considered keeping it. Oh, well.


41Hawthorn Filbert 3/4 Sleeve Popover Blouse


Market and Spruce Jay Mini Houndstooth Printed Skirt $58



I actually liked both pieces, but the shirt was just a little too small across the bust. The skirt is a keeper, though. I like the soft knit fabric and the elastic waist. I think it will look cute with my black boots on colder days.


41Hawthorn Wrenn V-Neck Jersey Top $48
Papermoon Kasidy Abstract Print Swing Skirt $58


Once again, I really liked the skirt and I'm keeping it. It's another soft knit, but it's lighter weight than the houndstooth skirt is. I really like the fact that it's lined. However, the top is going back. I did not care for the neckline at all, but I thought the color was lovely. I have other things in my closet that I can wear with this skirt. I plan to wear it tomorrow with a black knit top I bought over the summer.


If the dress and the first blouse had fit, I would have kept four out of the five items. I think I've realized that the 41Hawthorn brand seems to run a little small in general - at least based on these two items of clothing. So that's two keepers out of five pieces for me this time. Because some sweet friend (I think it's you, Kim!) signed up using my referral code, I have a $25 credit that will apply toward my purchase. Yea!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Slow Summer Days

I mentioned in my last post how we have had some really slow days now that summer is winding down. Some days are so slow that I almost want to go back to work. Ha!

I shared this with my teaching partner when we met up for lunch a couple of days ago, and she is experiencing the very same thing. We both said that we'd been so busy at the beginning of the summer, but now not so much; and, uh, maybe it's time to go back to work.

For someone who would love to be a stay-at-home mom, how in the world can I feel this way?

I think it's because when you just have a few weeks at home, it's hard to establish a schedule that fills the days with purpose and the opportunity to connect with others. If I were a stay-at-home mom, we'd have some mornings where we went to a Bible study or church-based women's group, other mornings where we attended classes for Michaela, and other mornings where we went to the gym. But Bible studies and the women's group at church are things that take place during the school year, so participating in them when I have time off is not possible. So my default desire is, "Hey, it must be time to go back to work..."

And once I'm back at work, I'll be counting down the days until my next vacation.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Slipping Away

Summer 2014 is nearly a wrap. Faced with ten weeks of vacation in June, it seems like FOREVER. (And it is. I know most people have just two or three weeks of vacation time each year.) However, ten weeks goes by very quickly. Why can't ten weeks of the school year go by as quickly?

The first few weeks were really busy, but the month of August has been less busy. We've had days where we just hang out at home. I always feel a little guilty on days where I don't do much, but I think that they are a needed counterbalance to those days during the school year where I have to do so much more. The to do list I started with in June is only halfway completed. But I am pleased with the things that I was able to check off.

Here are some glimpses into our summer days:

Michaela still prefers a blanket even on hot summer days.


After I got home from getting a pedicure one day, I painted Michaela's toes for the first time. She was delighted!

We found the perfect cat for us. ;) Michaela calls her Mimi.

We spent a few days with our friends in San Francisco.

We've had some good times over at Grammy and Papa's house.

Michaela also attended her first Vacation Bible School this summer. It was a wonderful experience for her, and I enjoyed having a few hours on my own that week. I grew up going to VBS each summer, and Michaela will, too.

Looking forward, I report back to work at the end of next week, and Michaela will start attending preschool (part-time) the following week! We've been talking about it all summer long, and I think she is comfortable with the idea. Michaela is very outgoing and social, so I expect her to enjoy all the things school has to offer - especially new friends!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Stitch Fix #3


With summer vacation winding down, I can't help but thinking just a little bit about fall styles and my work wardrobe. So I was excited to see if this month's fix would be good for school.

For those who may be unfamiliar with Stitch Fix, it's a personal styling service. After you fill out a detailed profile on their website, a stylist will choose five pieces for you for a $20 styling fee. If you purchase one or more of the pieces they send you, your styling fee will go toward that purchase. If you like all five pieces and decide to keep them, you will get a 25% discount off the total purchase price. You can schedule your fixes for once a month, 2-3 times per month, or much less frequently.

Here's what I saw when I opened the box:


Included were one pair of pants, one blouse, two maxi-dresses, and a pair of earrings. I tried on the pants first, but they were too small (this has happened before!). They were marked as a 29 which would have fit me if I was shopping at Ann Taylor Loft, but this particular brand ran smaller. The fabric was a soft stretch denim:

Just Black - Nolan Ankle Skinny Jean $58

Even if they had fit like a glove, I probably wouldn't have kept them because I already have two pairs of white denim pants (that do fit!) in my closet.

The second thing I tried on was the blouse:



Collective Concepts - Clarita Floral Print Flutter Sleeve Blouse $44
I absolutely love the vibrant colors in this! I think they are beautiful for fall. The styling card showed this paired with dark denim jeans or a khaki colored pencil skirt. This one's a keeper for sure!

Next up was one of the maxi dresses:



Under Skies - Clare Woven Maxi Dress $78
First of all, though it was a medium, this dress was huge on me! In the first picture, I am actually reaching behind to hold some of the excess fabric and define the waste. I did think the print was pretty, though.

Loveappella - Carlita Jersey Maxi Dress $78
I really like this dress. I thought the color was gorgeous and the style was flattering. It would have been perfect for a date night if I was still a married lady, but I'm not. I just couldn't foresee anytime in the near future where I'd have a reason to wear this. So I reluctantly returned this. Sad face.

Lastly, my fix included a pair of earrings:

Bay to Baubles - Elaine Gem Stone Statement Studs $32
I really think these are pretty, but I chose not to keep them because I don't like the way stud earrings feel on my ears.

Because my sweet coworker had scheduled a Stitch Fix recently using my referral code, I had a $25 credit on my account. Thank you, Wendy! Therefore, when I checked out I only owed $20 and change for that lovely blouse. Yea!!!

I made sure to give detailed feedback on each piece during my checkout process so that my stylist could use that information for my next fix in September. I also increased the frequency of my Stitch Fixes to 2-3 times per month just for a short while in order to see more items in a shorter period of time. I asked that my stylist focus on blouses and knee-length skirts in the next fix so that I'll have more things for my fall work wardrobe. September and October are really hot months here in southern California, so I don't want sweaters just yet.

If you would like to try Stitch Fix, please use my referral code. When you sign up for your first fix, I'll receive another $25 credit, and you will receive referral links to share on your Facebook page or your blog with your friends and family, too. Makes shopping with Stitch Fix even more fun!