My first Stitch Fix!!!! {March 2015}

At last! / My StitchFix has/

come alo-ong/

my-ii nakey days/

are over . . . .

Exaggerating.

Only slightly.

My first Stitch Fix arrived Wednesday morning.  I had committed to working the whole day, and I forbade myself from opening the box until I finished my work.  That was motivation, let me tell you.

Aren’t they lovely?
Aren’t they won-der-fuh-ull?

I’ve been reading a lot about Stitch Fix.  It seems every blogger I follow is trying them.  (They have a good FAQ page describing the system here.  No need for me to rehash it here.}

I was very specific about what I wanted.  SF has you fill out a detailed “style profile,” detailing your size, body type, color preferences (I told them no black or gray), and style preferences.)  Also, they suggest you send them a link to a Pinterest board to give them a sense of your style.  I made one specifically for Stitch Fix, and you can see it here.

SF asks you what you’re looking for in each fix.  I told them I was mostly looking for a dress for Easter and another dressy occasion this Spring.  They delivered!  Five dresses–the stylist mentioned in her notes that it’s unusual for a Fix to have all dresses.  It worked for me, because until now I was down to two dresses and one skirt that fit me.

Y’all, I haven’t felt this good about how clothes look on me in a long time.

So, the keepers:

Carlita Multi Chevron Print Maxi Dress
by Loveappella
size Large $78

Carlita Multi Chevron Print Maxi Dress
by Loveappella size Large

I was pretty sure I’d get a maxi dress since I pinned a bunch of them.  I actually pinned this exact dress when I saw it on Stitch Fix’s blog.  Love.  Love!  And it’s made in the USA!

I’m taking it to a seamstress to have the crossover top tacked down, since Girl 2 tends to pull it open and expose my entire bra.  Also, it shows more skin in the back than I’m accustomed to wear to church,

Eh, maybe it’s not a big deal.  But anyway, this would work for church, as well as for the Fall:

My first Stitch Fix! ThisFelicitousLife.wordpress.com

A white blazer or moto jacket or something would be more fun.  A denim jacket will work also.

Uttam Paddy Bird Print Faux Wrap Dress
UK size 14
$114

My first Stitch Fix!  ThisFelicitousLife.wordpress.com

Uttam Paddy Bird Print Faux Wrap Dress
UK size 14

I mentioned to SF I’d like a wrap dress.  They sent me a faux wrap dress, which is probably better.

This dress makes me feel saucy.

My first Stitch Fix!  ThisFelicitousLife.wordpress.com

The pattern has green and orange birds.  I wouldn’t choose those colors myself, but the overall look is great.

My first Stitch Fix!  ThisFelicitousLife.wordpress.com

More than I’ve ever paid for a dress except my wedding dress, but I did get all my work done . . . so I’m keeping it.

The bottom half is pretty snug.  There’s no way I’m leaving the house in it without Spanx.  But that’s becoming my MO for more and more occasions lately.  {Shrug}

“You know I’d rather walk on my lips than to criticize anybody, but, Janice Van Meter.  . .  . I bet you money she’s paid five hundred dollars for that dress and don’t even bother to wear a girdle.” “Looks like two pigs fighting under a blanket.”

Hailey Geo Print Tie-Waist Dress by Ezra
Size L
$58

My first Stitch Fix!  ThisFelicitousLife.wordpress.com

Hailey Geo Print Tie-Waist Dress by Ezra
Size L

I LOVE this one.  It’s lightweight and comfy.  I was thinking it would make a nice everyday dress (not clingy–I could skip the girdle!), then I saw the tag and

duhn, duhn DUHHHHHNNN

100% RAYON, DRY CLEAN ONLY

I know from sad, sad experience that when something is rayon and says dry clean only, it can shrink even if you hand wash it cold.  I will ask them, for next time, not to include anything that is dry clean only

But I love it and I think it will make a good Easter dress, and Pat likes it too.  Maybe Dryel will work?

My first Stitch Fix!  ThisFelicitousLife.wordpress.com

{Incidentally, he saw all the dresses spread out on the bed and was thrilled to see so much color.  I’ve been in a navy blue, black, and gray rut.}

Here are the dresses I’m sending back:

Harlowe Keyhole Dress
by Donna Morgan
size 12
$138

My first Stitch Fix!  ThisFelicitousLife.wordpress.com

Harlowe Keyhole Dress
by Donna Morgan
size 12

This dress looks okay in this one picture–and it has pockets!–but it’s not flattering from any other angle, or in real life.

Me: “This color is kind of . . .”

Pat: “loud”

Me: ” . . . sexy Grandma.”

Besides fitting poorly, it feels a little too Junior League (apologizes to any Junior Leaguers reading this!).  I just think . . .

The Help movie Junior League

Finally,

Neel V-Neck Dress
by Uttam
Size Large

$114

My first Stitch Fix!  ThisFelicitousLife.wordpress.com

Neel V-Neck Dress
by Uttam
Size Large

It looks okay from this one angle (how’ya like my skinny shoulder pose?), but I’ll spare you the shot of the cool back-zipper and uncool, very visible back fat.  Pass!

. . . .

On the whole, I am hooked! The stylist who picked my fix is Jennifer, and I hope she chooses my next!  Some bloggers I’ve read buy all their clothes this way, and I must say it sounds tempting.

Stitch Fix is in no way sponsoring this post.  But, if you’d like to try them out, please use my affiliate link and I’ll be your best friend . . . also, I’ll get a $25 credit.  :-)

Happy weekend everyone!

thoughts deep and heavy, like the snow . . .

It’s 4:45 on a Friday morning, and I can’t sleep and I’m thinking about . . .

1. This phrase:

Be kind

The tricky thing is when “everyone” includes your husband and his hard battle is living with you.

2. Um, and you with him.

The oatmeal: “why working at home is both awesome and horrible” (rated R)

3. Co-parenting is hard, yo?*  Pat and I recently ‘fessed up to the fact that we each do okay with the kids on our own, and we do okay with each other without the kids, but trying to deal with the kids together drives us up the wall.

4. And in my moods where I tie life the universe and everything together metaphysically while preparing the girls’ fifth snack of the morning, I think . . . marriage and co-parenting are so hard that, no wonder people don’t do it as much, in a society where marriage isn’t required for (a) men to get sex and (b) women to have financial security and children.  At the same time, I mean, I like living at a time when I could support myself and where single mothers aren’t ostracized and marginalized.

Anyway.

5. On a related note, here’s this short article, about the role government played in the crumbling of black families, and how that fits in with the lingering spiritual ramifications of slavery.

Oh yikes, heavy.

6. This article by Dave Barry was funny: The Greatest (Party) Generation.

Dave Barry, “The Greatest (Party) Generation”

I don’t know how accurate it is, but I like his point that

We modern parents. . . rarely pause to celebrate the way our parents did because we’re too busy parenting. We never stop parenting. We are all over our kids’ lives—making sure they get whatever they want, removing obstacles from their path, solving their problems and—above all—worrying about what else will go wrong, so we can fix it for them. . . .

Yes, we’ve gotten really, really good at parenting. This is fortunate, because for some inexplicable reason a lot of our kids seem to have trouble getting a foothold in adult life, which is why so many of them are still living with us at age 37.

They’re lucky they have us around.

7. I dread errands where I have to get the kids bundled up, into the car, then out of the car into a public place with lots of havoc to be wrought, then back in the car again.  Just with two kids, it’s a pain (especially when the process throws my back out), and I love M.T.’s witty post about doing it with four: Dear Navy Federal, Get a Drive-Through.

Click back to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more Quick Takes. Thanks for hosting Kelly!

* I mean in the strictly literal sense, of parenting along with the other parent, not just where the parents are divorced or separated.

Seven Quick Takes 2.27.15

1. The girls and I listened to Kids Songs Jubilee in the van today.  I grew up listening to the Kids Songs tapes by Nancy Cassidy.  Now Girl 1 sits on the couch, reading the songs to herself and singing them.  I love hearing her sing.  And both girls listen to the tape together, singing and dancing around the living room.  Love it.

This is the only clips I can find on YouTube (speaking of which, did you know YouTube has one billion viewers but no profit?):

2. Per Kelly’s prompt, this was my first post.  Random thought off the top of my head.  Nothing much has changed.

3. My most-viewed post is Style & the Stay at Home Mom: A Quest.  By far.

4. My least-viewed post is this (no surprise).  You can read its follow-up here (oooh, exciting!).

5. This post today might end up down at the bottom of the list too, because it’s one of those days . . .

6. where I’m just . . .

7. not inspired.

Oh here’s a thought: how many years off Purgatory should I get for letting my kid “help” me paint?  I’m thinking lots and lots.

IMG_8043 IMG_8042 IMG_8040

Oh, and my new living room arrangement I showed you last week?  These are “before” shots (or a halfway-there shots).  Oh, this house . . . .

IMG_8038 IMG_8039

Click back to This Ain’t the Lyceum for something worthwhile to read.  ;-)  Happy weekend folks!

Splendid Saturdays

Current obsessions, my living room, and style of romance . . .

1. This has been my view for the last half hour

sledding

2. I finally got my living room looking close to the way I want it.

livingroom

3. I’ve been obsessed with mid-century modern design lately.  Obsessed.

4. Being cooped up in my house and my teeny-tiny kitchen for months, my obsessing moved on from home decorating to home renovations.  (But now I think maybe we should move!  So much to think about!!!)

5. Watching Property Brothers continually hasn’t helped.  It’s now Girl 1’s favorite show.  Asked what she likes best about it, she giggled and said,

“Jonathan” [the one on the left].

That’s not scary at all.

6. Last Saturday, Pat entered the living room wearing his tool belt.  Girl 2 exclaimed,

“Daddy!  You look like a MAN!”

Pat didn’t find this *quite* so hilarious as I did.

IMG_8109

7. When your love language is acts of service, the best Valentine’s Day gift ever is a new bathroom ventilation fan.

I’m in love.

Happy weekend everyone.

Click over to Kelly for more Quick Take posts.

 

What’s Saving My Life in this season of cold & the plague

And how a 1990s sitcom prepared me for Lent . . . .

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy has a great link up idea–“what’s saving my life.”  

Even though most of us can easily articulate what’s killing us, few of us pay attention to what’s giving us life.

We’ve had a sickness that just won’t end and has taken a variety of forms: cold for Girl 1, croup –> pneumonia for Girl 2, sinusitis for Pat and me + bronchitis for me.  So we’ve been cooped up and miserable, but these things have made it a bit less miserable:

1. Essential oils diffused in this diffuser.  I don’t know whether they actually do anything, although inhaled lavender oil has been shown to reduce asthma symptoms in mice.  They sure smell nice, though, which makes me feel better.  And they don’t give me a headache like cheap, chemically scented candles.

2. Neti Pot–for when I wake up with a headache and don’t know why.  Whaddya know?  It’s impacted snot.  Nothing like infusing your nostrils with salt water.  Hurts so good.

3. Down comforter–I got the warmest one I could find and “gave it to Pat” for Christmas.  It’s warmer even than the 4 or so mismatched regular comforters we had piled up on the bed.  Pricey, but oh so worth it.  Pat runs cold at night and he sleeps a lot better now.

4. Plush mattress pad–now I sleep better at night with this.  We have an extra firm mattress, which we bought relying on the common wisdom that firm mattresses are good for your back.  Eight years later, I found myself sleeping more comfortably on the couch.  When I slept on the bed, I felt more sore in the morning than in the evening.  Guess what?  Firm mattresses aren’t so good for bad backs.  There’s even a study to prove it.

5. Friends Season One--I get nostalgic watching this show even though I’ve never watched it much before.  And I think it’s more than a lingering fondness for crushed velour, turtlenecks, and the Rachel. Last night it hit me–that first season was filmed in 1994.  That’s over 20 years ago.  Twenty years ago. Last night I watched it and thought about how quickly life passes by and how close we are to death.

And that, my friends, was my segue into Ash Wednesday and Lent.  Never saw that coming.

Remember man, that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.

What’s saving your life this cold cold winter?

I’m linking up with Call Her Happy for Five Favorites, and I’ll link up with Modern Mrs. Darcy when she does the link up again.

Liturgical Correctitude

The perfect valentine1. “Oh I’m so excited that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day!  . . . But then we have to wait a long time until Easter.”

2. “That’s right.  First we have to get through Lent.”

3. ::Blank stare::

4. “Lent is the season of preparation for Easter.”

5. ::Blank stare::

6. “Just like Advent is the season of preparation for Christmas.”

7. “Oh!  And like October is the season of preparation for Halloween!”

 

Yes, just like that, Girl 1.  Just like that.

{{Linking up with Kelly for Seven Quick Takes}}

 

Easter 2014

On Writing Well and Why I Blog

I recently finished On Writing Well by William Zinsser.  I enjoyed it because it reminded me why I blog.  Some people craft, not because the world needs another afghan or cross-stitch sampler, but because it’s rewarding to make something yourself and do it well.  I’m not much for making things with my hands, but I like to turn a phrase.  And doing so well is a challenge–a fun challenge.  Too many things in life are challenging but not fun, or fun but not challenging.  Writing well is both.

The book is full of writing wisdom, a lot of which I’ve heard before in legal writing class–be brief, use short words and sentences, choose strong verbs and nouns over adjectives and adverbs, don’t lose your reader’s attention.  Write about what interests you.  (Okay, that last part wasn’t in legal writing class.)  A challenge is doing this while developing a distinctive voice.  (I should add that Zinsser takes what could be a dry manual and makes it a book that is fun to read on its own.   The chapters on sports writing and science reporting, however, I skipped.)

Blogging is a low-risk, relatively high-reward way to practice writing well.  For me, it’s fun to look at a paragraph and think, “How many sentences could I chop here?” or to look at a phrase and think, “how could I replace all these words with a single word?”  Until it gets to be midnight, then I stop and hit publish.  And 99.999% of the population will never read it; the rest (Hi Mom!) don’t care that it’s not perfect.

Zinsser, in a book written before blogging existed, is harsh on blogging.  He says to stay warm and personal while avoiding chattiness and clichés.  I wonder how the chattiness prohibition applies to blogging  Grace‘s blog, for example, epitomizes chattiness, but she’s a great writer in her own distinctive way.  Meanwhile, a lot of blogs or articles that use the same style fall flat.  I think the distinction is that Grace writes exactly the way she talks (so I’ve been told on good authority), whereas others (myself included!) sometimes try too hard.

So, lots of food for thought here.  At another stage of my life, I might have gotten discouraged by this book.  At this stage, I find it a fun challenge.

(I’m linking up with Jessica for her monthly What We’re Reading link-up.  I’m a week late but here I am!)

Should I Stay [in this house] or Should I Go?

and other thoughts at the beginning of the week . . . .

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
An’ if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know.

Should I stay or should I go?

Pat and I frequently find ourselves discussing whether we will ever move.  Our mortgage payment is low; so is our house; so is our kitchen.  Fed up with tripping over my family and our belongings, I recently searched for acceptable nearby homes that wouldn’t require a higher mortgage.

Nothing.

So now we daydream about how to make our little starter home more of a forever home.  I watched episode after episode of Property Brothers recently.  Our biggest dilemma is what to do with our poorly-placed staircase.  Could we move it to the back bedroom? Is that wall to the side of it load-bearing?  Or maybe we could extend the kitchen back–merely a matter of, oh, digging new basement stairs.  Child’s play.

We talk as if money is no object.  Of course it is.  But I figure we should dream big and then figure out how to work toward it.  I don’t want to make cheap, little fixes we’ll regret later.

In the mean time, my little one shows signs of pneumonia.  I’m taking her to the doctor first thing in the morning.  I’ve been reading up on natural remedies for asthma and croup and pneumonia and wishing I had tried them earlier.  I did give the girls several grams of Vitamin C a day over the past week.  Maybe it helped Girl 1, but it hasn’t been the miracle for Girl 2 I hoped.

I’ve had soggy-lunged little girls for six years now and I still feel like I’m groping blindly for ways to avoid the thrice-yearly regimen of amoxicillin and oral steroids.  On the bright side, Girl 1 is outgrowing it, so I’m hopeful Girl 2 will also.

But my newly-decorated living room wall makes me happy.

Child's artwork displayed in 8.5 x 11' frames from Target

Child’s artwork displayed in 8.5 x 11′ frames from Target

Put a bird on it

I put a bird on it

So does my mantle, despite the roll of duct tape and miscellaneous loitering on it.

Have a lovely week y’all.