Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer, Finally

Today is the first day of our summer break. I was actually thrilled to do my Trader Joe's shopping late this morning - no crowd! That is a summertime perk for me.

Looking back, I am so relieved to put that school year behind me. I just didn't have that special connection with my class this year that I enjoy most years, and it was really hard every day. I am hopeful that next year's class will be a better fit for me. On top of that, we went an entire school year without a settled contract. I'll spare you the details of that, but suffice it to say that morale was/is low. Such a drag.

Looking ahead, I've got seventy days of slower mornings (no 5 AM alarm!) and fun adventures with Michaela. So, how will we spend our time this summer? Here's the plan:

Swim lessons - last summer, Michaela and I started Mommy & Me lessons, but by the fall she had progressed to semi-private lessons in the "big pool". Grammy and Papa have been taking her to swim lessons all school year, and I almost decided to end them until I saw her in the pool last weekend. She just wasn't putting it all together, and I decided then that she needed to continue. Also, since I haven't been going with her, I didn't know what she's supposed to work on. Now that I'll be there, I will know what we can work on when we go swimming this summer.

VBS - unfortunately our church is not doing a traditional VBS this year, but I was able to register Michaela for VBS at another church in town. It's a church that Michael used to play at frequently on Sundays, and I did visit a time or two back then. Some churches don't include preschoolers in their VBS programs, but this one does. I have fond memories of VBS when I was a kid, and I hope Michaela will have a great time. In the future I will volunteer, but this year I'm going to enjoy having those three hours to myself.

School Skills Class - Michaela has aged out of the leveled classes at Gymboree, but they offer this class for 3-5 year olds. I'm only going to enroll her for one month because of our other plans, and it's just a once a week class. I hope it will be a good transition to preschool because Michaela will start that in September. I like that it's a drop-off class so that I can have some time to myself.

Camping - we are taking a two-week RV trip with my parents. We'll travel all the way to the Columbia River Gorge, then west to the Oregon Coast. We did this when I was a kid, and I'm excited to see beautiful Oregon once again.

San Francisco - we will spend several days in SF with our good friends Teresa, Toby, and Wren. Michaela is looking forward to the kids' museums and fun playgrounds, and Mommy is looking forward to time with friends, good food, and great wine.

Other summertime plans seem to be annual desires/needs like exercising, eating healthy, cooking, getting organized, Bible study, more regular church attendance, and more time with family and friends. Those things really should be part of life all the time, but I just don't seem to be able to do it all when I'm working.

When I was young(er) summer always used to seem so full of promise. Exciting things happened during summer - new friendships and experiences enriched my life. In fact, it was twenty years ago this summer that I fell in love with Michael. I don't have those same kinds of expectations of summer anymore, but it sure is sweet to have fewer responsibilities - if only temporarily.

Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions with one’s clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all’s right with the world. ~Ada Louise Huxtable

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Stitch Fix #2

I'm here to tell you about my second Stitch Fix box. It was waiting for me when I got home today - a day early. Gotta love that!

Just to recap, Stitch Fix is a personal styling service. For a $20 per month subscription/styling fee, I receive a box of five clothing items and/or accessories to try. To get started, I completed a detailed survey about my style preferences and sizing information. I can keep one or more items, and if I do my $20 styling fee goes toward that purchase. If I love the whole box and decide to purchase it, then I receive a 25% discount. If I hate it all, I'm out my $20.

Whatever I don't want, I simply put into the postage paid envelope they provide, and ship it back to Stitch Fix. So long as I do that within three days, I will not be charged for the items I didn't keep. Before I ship anything back, I log in to my Stitch Fix account and give them some feedback as to what I'm keeping and/or sending back and why.

Here's this month's fix:

I really like how the contents of the box are packaged, and I love the styling cards that go with each piece. I only keep the cards that go with the pieces I keep, but I like looking at each one for styling ideas.

The shirt on the top really got my attention. I loved the fuchsia color and the neckline. However, I wasn't so crazy about what it looked like on me.

41 Hawthorn Breyson Split-Neck Tab-Sleeve Knit Top - $48

The fabric was a heavy knit jersey, and I didn't think it was flattering on me. It's the kind of fabric that hugs every curve. No thanks. This one will be returned.

Under Skies Topanga Crochet Detail Flutter Sleeve Blouse - $48

I really like this one! The off-white color makes it wearable with so many things, and the crochet detail and lace at the sleeves and the hem make it special.

^^ This one is a keeper. ^^

Next up is one that I had seen on another blog recently, and I was ambivalent about it. Ultimately I decided that it's just too busy, and that it draws attention to my middle - a part of me that I'm not at peace with. Ha! Into the envelope it goes.

41Hawthorn Franklin Striped Side Gathered Short Sleeve Shirt - $54

And then there was a dress. I love dresses, but I don't wear them often. This one I cannot see wearing. The fabric was too heavy for this time of year, and the waistline didn't hit me in the right place. I have a long torso, and I didn't like the way it hit me.

Pomelo Kathy Striped Fit & Flare Dress = $68

I don't think it's awful, but I can't say I liked it enough to keep it.

The last item in my box was a pair of pants. They were too small to even bother trying them on. To be fair to Stitch Fix, in my style profile I indicated that I usually wear a 6 or an 8. These were not sized like that. Instead they were sized as an M - medium. I guess if I were pulling pants for someone who wears a 6 or 8 pant size, I would probably pull an M, too. They were just the world's smallest M!

Margaret M Emer High Waisted Cropped Trouser - $98

Beautiful blue color, right? But, even if they had fit I wouldn't have kept them at that price point. I walked into the Goodwill on Saturday morning looking for some jeans for our upcoming camping trip, and I found two practically new pairs of CAbi ($108 retail) and Banana Republic ($90 retail) jeans for $7.98 each. Sure I had to wash them three times to get rid of the Goodwill smell (what the heck is that from?!), but I am so pleased with that purchase. I can't say I'd shopped for myself at the Goodwill before, but I don't usually pay more than $40 for a pair of pants or jeans at LOFT. And I'm even happier when they are marked down less than that!

Once again I ended up keeping just one item from this fix, and I'm fine with that. The kinds of things Stitch Fix has sent me so far are not the kinds of clothes I will be bumming around in over the summer. I'm utilizing Stitch Fix to enhance my work wardrobe more than anything, and the pieces they send me are along those lines. I've set up my next fix for August since I'll be traveling quite a bit next month. With the three-day turnaround required by Stitch Fix, I don't want to take a chance that I won't be able to get things back in time.

See you in August, Stitch Fix!

{If you'd like to try Stitch Fix, here's the link to my referral code: Joannah's Stitch Fix Referral Code. When you sign up for your first fix, I will receive a $25 credit for my next Stitch Fix - something you will get as well if your friends and family sign up in the future.}