Friday, March 28, 2014

The Stitch Fix Review Where I Take Awkward Selfies in my Messy Bedroom

It's been a while since I wrote a Stitch Fix Review, but that doesn't mean they haven't been happening!  Right before Evan left on his latest trip to China a box of goodies arrived at my doorstep and I had just enough time to try everything on and get his opinion on them before he hopped on an airplane to the other side of the planet.  I did not, however, have time for him to help me take photos of said items until he flew away so instead I give you......

That's right, friends!  Lest you believe that those of us who get these fancy Stitch Fix boxes are some sort of fancy pants crew, I am armed today with a collection of cringe-worthy selfies snapped in my disheveled bedroom that I didn't even bother to pick up before I started snapping shots.

And this is all ok.  Because Stitch Fix isn't for just the fancy pants people.  It's for real people with unmade beds and intrusive toddlers.  It's for women with hand prints on their mirrors and piles of unfolded clothes.  It's for women like me who like to wear Real Pants on occasion, but don't necessarily want to drag an entourage of toddlers into dressing rooms to make it happen.   

(P.S.  If you're reading this and wondering what the heck this whole Stitch Fix thing is that I'm talking about, I invite you to check out my previous reviews for the more detailed run-down.)

Super Quick Recap of Stitch Fix:
  • Sign up and get on the Waiting List (this usually moves pretty quickly)
  • Fill out your detailed Style Profile
  • Schedule your first "Fix" and work yourself up into a frenzy as your stylist chooses some great clothes for you to try on
  • Pay your $20 styling fee and wait for the goodies to arrive on your doorstep
  • Receive a box full of items hand-picked by a personal stylist, just for you, based on your profile
  • Try everything on, keep what you want, send back what you don't. (The $20 styling fee comes off the price of anything you choose to keep and if you buy all 5 items, you get a 25% discount!)
First Impressions:  Beautiful colors!  The saturated blue top caught my eye right away and I loved the pattern I saw peeking out from the lighter green item.  And pink?  Bright pink?  You have my attention, Margaret.

I loved everything about this top.  It was loose fitting enough to hide my trouble areas, but still body skimming enough to be flattering.  I could see it under a blazer for sure, but I liked how it looked on its own too.  The color is dreamy and the neckline adds a nice touch of interest.

If Evan hadn't been in China over Valentine's Day, I probably would have worn this dress out to dinner.  I think I'll need to put a tank top under it just to make sure the plunging neckline isn't showing off too much of the goods, but a pretty white cami with lace at the top would be lovely under this dress.  I loved the detailing on the sleeves and the the length was super cute.  Please ignore my white knees.  The brutal winter here in Wisconsin has done a real number on my already dry skin.  It's getting ugly up in here.

Scarves are my jam.  This lightweight patterned infinity scarf instantly took my favorite grey t-shirt and took it up a notch.  The teals, oranges, yellows, and blues in this scarf make it so versatile!

I paired the last two items together and I was very pleased with the combination.  The white striped tank top definitely needs a cami underneath because it is very, very see-through, but that really isn't a big deal to me.  It's slightly longer in the back for a little booty coverage (LOVE) and the lightweight navy cardigan was the perfect compliment.  I can see wearing that cardigan with so many other items in my closet!

And do you see how I labelled all the embarrassing items in the photo?  Nice.  Welcome to my world!

Before I reveal what I decided to keep, let me remind you of one of the fabulous features of Stitch Fix.  If you keep all FIVE items in your box, you get a 25% discount right off the top of everything

Think about how the items your stylist sends fit into your existing wardrobe and evaluate how likely you are to wear it.  Look for versatile pieces that can play along nicely with the clothes you already have and love wearing!


There was nothing in this box that I didn't like and couldn't see myself wearing, so this is another instance where I kept the whole box! That 25% discount is such a great perk!


Ready to give Stitch Fix a try?  I have really enjoyed using this styling service as a way to mix things up in the wardrobe department.  It's so fun to see what my stylist has chosen!  My favorite part is that it is NOT a subscription service where you are charged every month.  You can get one Fix and be done or not get another one for several months if you choose. can choose to get a box of goodies every month.  It's your call!  CLICK HERE to get started for free!

Disclosure:  I was not paid by Stitch Fix to write this or any of my other reviews and all opinions are my own.  I do use a referral link so I get a credit to my Stitch Fix account when new folks get their Fix on!  Thank you for supporting this blog (and for helping keep my clothing budget under control)! 

Linking up once again over at The Pleated Poppy for some amazing fashion inspiration!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Catching Up and Catching the Light

First of all, thank you so very much for all the encouraging comments on Monday's post.  It means so much to know that you all don't think I'm completely nuts for giving this a shot!  I promise to keep you updated when I find out anything.  

Today I am editing a ton of photos so I can whip up blog posts about my last two boxes from Stitch Fix before my next box shows up in two weeks.  How did I let myself get so behind?  Probably the same way I let myself get so behind in my Project Life album.  Which reminds me, after I get these Stitch Fix posts done I am bound and determined to dive into the photos from October of 2013 and get back to work on finishing that album!

The best laid plans, right?

In the process of dumping all the photos off my memory card into the computer I came across a few shots I took of the boys on a recent rare day where the sun was actually shining in through our patio door.  Granted, it was probably about 4 degrees outside, but at least the light was nice.

*Gulp*  Am I the only one who thinks this looks like a shot from your senior photos from high school?  I look at this and I can totally see my baby as a 17 year old.  I highly doubt he will be holding his Curious George when he gets those photos taken, but you get the idea.

A couple more of my favorites:

Have mercy, I love that kid. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Never Too Late to Start Over

Nearly three years have passed since I last stood in front of a classroom as a teacher. 

A co-worker was recently bemoaning the upcoming Shakespeare unit in his college English class and I overheard his lack of enthusiasm for having to read Othello and try to understand what the heck was going on.  It was like someone had instantly hooked me up to an IV full of Red Bull because my mouth was suddenly moving a mile a minute and I chattered away about the imagery of light and dark, the use of verse and prose, the role of race, and the way Shakespeare expertly corrupts Othello's language as Iago efficiently poisons his mind.  Words like motif and soliloquy came flying out and before I knew it my hands were flapping all over the place, as they tend to do when I am talking about something I am really really excited about.

Shakespeare does that to me.

Teaching does that to me.

Never mind that this poor guy was staring back at me with his mouth agape like a guppy.  I didn't care.  I felt alive.  Without even giving him a chance to object, I announced I would go home and that very night dig through the Trove of Unknown Objects (otherwise known as my basement) until I found the box containing my teaching binders.  I would find the one containing the materials from when I taught a unit on Othello to a class of AP English Literature students and I would use it to make this guy the unofficial expert of The Moor of Venice in his freshman lit class.

I plopped that binder down on the tray with a thud and he and I started flipping the pages.  One page protector after another held notes, worksheets, quizzes, tests, and answer keys.  In hindsight, I feel kind of bad for this guy because I basically tried to cram a couple week's worth of material into about a two minute lecture being given in the server area of a restaurant.  Sure, the threat of getting ketchup on my overheads was a bit foreboding, but it was exhilarating! 

He took the binder home with the promise to take good care of it and I couldn't help but feel a little like I had just handed over my first born child to be taken care of by a babysitter for the very first time.  While that binder was gone, I dug through the rest of the box and unearthed all the material I had poured my heart into all those years ago. 

Flipping through those pages awoke something in me that had been sleeping.  I smiled as I scanned my marked-up pages of The Crucible, the student discussions about The Great Gatsby, and the study guide I wrote about Oedipus Rex and the Greek theater.  I thought about the hours I spent in rehearsal with my students, running lines, changing blocking, freaking out that the show was going to flop only to have them totally rock it just in time.

Radium Girls - Sauk Prairie High School, 2010

Oh my goodness, friends.  I had almost forgotten how much I loved it.

Theater gets inside you and takes residence.  It grabs a hold of you and refuses to let go.  It's the only way I know of to really walk in another person's shoes and explore what it is really like to be human and to FEEL it all the way in your gut.  I remembered watching my students just crush their opening night performance of the play above and I got shivers up my spine during scenes where their emotions came pouring out of them and the lines weren't just words they memorized, but became a very real and living thing.

It was one of the proudest moments in my teaching career.  And it came while I sat in a dark booth, wearing a headset, and watching my students on stage.

Somehow I just know that jumping right back into the role of public school English teacher isn't right for me anymore.  There have been significant changes in the landscape of teaching since I stepped away to stay home with the kids and the climate is completely different now.  The buzzwords are different.  Heck, I'm not even sure what "Common Core" is....let alone how to teach it.  But more than that, I have had an increasingly stronger feeling over the last year or so that the future of my career might take me back through the public school system, but it's not going to be the destination. 

There's something else out there for me.  Something that will incorporate my education, my experience, my gifts, and my passions. 

Then just a couple weeks ago a friend of mine asked me an incredible question - "What would be your dream job?"  I wasn't surprised to find that "teaching" was not what came out of my mouth, but I was a little surprised when I found myself chatting away about how I would love to work for a professional theater company in the area of education so I could research, write, teach, develop curriculum, and work with students all under the umbrella of theater, where I feel most at home.  If I hadn't been driving at the time, I'm sure I would have started flapping my hands all over the place again.

That conversation kept bugging me, nagging at me in the back of my mind.  What if?  What if a job like that actually exists?

So I found myself on the website for Milwaukee Repertory Theater.  Clicking on "Jobs at the Rep."  Reading the description for the position of "Education Department Intern" and feeling like it was more like a personals ad written just for me.

I have no idea how I would fit it in my schedule or our budget.
I have no idea who would watch the kids.
I have no idea if I'm out of my mind.

But I just sent in my resumé

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Maybe This is Why I Need Therapy

My therapist does a killer Tina Fey impression.

Oh yeah, I'm seeing a therapist now.  Try to focus on what's important in the situation though and stay with me.

What makes it so wonderful is that I'm not entirely sure if she is trying to be Fey-esque on purpose or if it is purely coincidental.  The face, the glasses, the voice - all there.

Source -

It's gets to be challenging to focus and take her seriously when she suddenly starts verbalizing a conversation with "Mr. Anxiety" using all the mannerisms of a woman who plays a German soldier in the next Muppet movie.  Or is it Russian?  Now I have to go Google it.

Her name is Nadya and she is a guard at a Russian prison.  Wow, I was way off.

Anyway, I took one of those ridiculous yet highly addicting (and surprisingly accurate) Buzzfeed quizzes about who would play me in the movie version of my life and I was thrilled to cast Mindy Kaling as myself.  She's hilarious, voluptuous, a talented writer and actress, and she has gorgeous hair.  Really, it's the perfect fit except for the fact that she is Indian and I am about as white as the Kleenex on my therapist's desk.

But apart from that I would say Buzzfeed nailed it.

Source -
It was only after doing the logical thing (sharing my results on Facebook and announcing the national casting call to find the actor to play my husband *ahem* justintimberlake *ahem*) that I realized that the quiz only pertained to actresses and I set out to find the male version so I could try to answer the way my husband would and find out whether Mindy would be swapping "that's what she said" jokes with JT or someone a bit more serious and deep like Ryan Reynolds.  Splitting hairs, really. 

Alas, there was no quiz to be found on Buzzfeed regarding the dudes, so I suppose this can only lead us to assume that only Buzzfeed feels only chicks must feel the need to waste time taking pointless quizzes and sharing them only Facebook only to feel more validated and popular with the new and improved version of ourselves since clearly if we were really a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle we would be Raphael and then......oh yes, then we'd get some respect you betcha!

Before I had time to be offended by this, I was well on my way to learning I am Rex in Toy Story and Hermione in Harry Potter courtesy of another genius quiz site - Zimbio.  Pumping my fist in victory, because let's be honest - I knew all along I was Hermione, I embarked on my quest to discover which character in Mean Girls I was most like and was blind-sighted by my result:  Ms. Norbury who is played by none other than Tina freakin' Fey.

No, no, no....nothing about this makes sense at all!  I hate math!  How could I be a math teacher?  And surely, Zimbio, surely I cannot be both Mindy Kaling AND Tina Fey.  Suddenly I found myself trapped in a Pointless Internet Quiz identity crisis.  Who.  Am.  I?

If I'm being truly honest, I could never do as good of a Tina Fey as my therapist and Mindy clearly has the better bosoms, so it turns out that Buzzfeed was right all along.

The screenplay is still in the works, but I am accepting audition videos for roles yet to be cast.  I will be sure to review them in a timely manner as soon as I'm done drawing the name "Flynn Rider" in hearts all over my notebook because he is the Disney prince who is my one true love, despite the fact that's not actually a prince.  Or real.  But it's true love, dammit.  Because Zimbio said so.   

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Deep Fried Parenting for the Win

Note: I wrote this post a couple weeks back while Evan was away in China.  I submitted it to a contest, so I couldn't publish it until after the results were announced.  Alas, I did not emerge victorious.  So now you get to enjoy my losing post!  :)  

As it turns out, taking three small children to Chuck E Cheese on a Saturday night during tax return season is a very bad idea.

Oh, the hoot I had when I came home late from work this weekend to ask my in-laws how the day had gone with the boys.  Never in a million years would I have ever imagined they would be ambitious enough to bring the kids to that epicenter of anarchy on their own, but they are apparently auditioning for the Craziest Grandparents award.  A very prestigious honor in some circles, I've heard.

They survived the police officer directing traffic in and out of the overflowing parking lot, the line rivaling the queue for the twirling teapots ride at Disney World, and even managed to find a place for them all to sit down to wait for their mediocre pizza to arrive.  The boys actually ate their food (a little bit at least), but I'm pretty sure there wasn't much conversation happening since the decibel level of all the squealing children and the hollering parents was likely deafening.  There was game playing and ticket winning and they even managed to keep track of all three kids for the entire time they were there.  That's more than I can say about the time I took the kids to the Children's Museum so they've got me beat.

With armfuls of tickets in tow, they trotted the boys up to the prize counter so they could pick out whatever random crap they would like to take home with them.  Rather than stand there for five hours and count the tickets and endure the agony of trying to barter with their grand-baby about how he can't have the enormous stuffed unicorn because it costs 750,000 tickets and he only has 200, they went the smart route and just had each kid pick something out of a single area and paid cash.  I loved how my father-in-law described the reaction of the tween girls that he gave all the tickets to.  Have you ever seen a grown man impersonate a gaggle of preteen girls?  Priceless.

The kids were understandably exhausted and crabby when I woke them up early for church Sunday morning.  Truth be told, I was in a pretty similar state.  After church, I threw Nutrition Caution to the wind and decided to forget that they had dined on lukewarm pizza dough covered in mystery meat and overly processed cheese the night before and brought them to Culver's after church to dine on gluten-coated chicken parts cooked in piping hot liquid fat with a side of crinkle cut simple starch sticks dunked in tomato flavored sugar.

They act like I've just given them a pony every time I announce around mealtime, "Let's go to Culver's!!!"

While we enjoyed our incredibly nutritious lunch, I chatted with the big boys about what they had learned at church that morning.  I shared about how in "Big Church" we had reflected on how Christ is the cornerstone that every spiritual house is built upon and that each of us is a very unique living stone that he has chosen to use to build that house.  Micah shared how he hid behind a chair and flew in a rocket-ship with his friend and informed me that he did NOT want to color, but wanted to be Batman instead.

Isaiah told me about how they had talked about Peter and how he stepped out of the boat to walk on the water toward Jesus.  He discussed how Peter was walking toward Jesus just fine until he looked away and then he started to sink and then Jesus had to rescue him.  When I asked him what that can teach us he responded, "That we need to trust Jesus!"  Solid, kid.  We spoke for a few more minutes about this particular Bible story.  We discussed how Peter showed great faith by even getting out of the boat in the first place even when it must have been so scary, how we can do what seems impossible when we trust in Christ, and how we stumble and start to drown when we take our eyes off of him and begin to doubt.

There was some serious theology being tossed around over those chicken tenders and fries, friends.

As the kids (ok, and me too) were enjoying their frozen custard dessert - because you CAN'T go to Culver's and not get dessert - something amazing happened.  The family that had been sitting in the booth next to us got up and started to leave the restaurant.  The older woman in the group approached our table and leaned in to say something to me.

Here we go, I thought.  She's going to tell me she had three boys too and she knows how crazy it can be.  Or maybe Isaiah's constant turning around and standing up in the booth had bothered her and now she is going to let me have it.  Maybe I have a booger hanging out of my nose and she just doesn't have the heart to let me go on sitting there in public without letting me know.  

"My dear," she began, "I heard you discussing with your sons what they learned in church today and I just wanted to commend you.  So often nowadays we just go to church and go home without giving it a second thought and many never discuss these things in public.  But we need to be bold and speak up more often.  Thank you for encouraging your children to learn about their Savior and for showing them that we should never be afraid to praise Him no matter where we are."

Then she gave my shoulder a little squeeze, smiled at my children, and went on her way.

I had tears in my eyes as I turned my gaze back to the boys and registered that Micah was sucking the last bit of his root beer out of his cup like an infant with his bottle, Isaiah was using his tongue like an iguana to scrape out every drop of chocolate custard from his dish, and Thomas had melted custard and strawberries running all the way down his arm and he was using it to finger paint on the table.

But I didn't care.

I was doing something RIGHT with these kids. As I sit here and type these words, I am debating between serving them chocolate cake or cereal for dinner and the middle boy is sitting on his big brother's head and attempting to muster up a fart, but that encounter reminded me that when it comes to the truly important things, the eternal things....I'm on the right track.  I certainly don't get it right every single time and I think claiming "most of the time" might even be a stretch.  I lose my temper, let my patience wear thin all too quickly, and often rush through bedtime prayers because Downton Abbey will be on in precisely two minutes.

In spite of my imperfection and struggles, I am a good mom. And my kids are starting to really get it.  Praise God for coming up so big where I fall so painfully short.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go give Micah a Time Out for biting his brother's hand in an attempt to steal the neon green Angry Birds slap bracelet Isaiah got from Chuck E Cheese.  While I'm up I should probably preheat the oven for the frozen pizza I'm making for dinner.  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sick Days and The Last Supper

This crazy thing happened.  I went away to a women's retreat for a couple days and worked my tail off and had a blast.  I came home and sat on the couch.

I didn't get up for about 3 days.

Once I had recovered enough from my illness to shower, dress myself, and go to work I had a lot of catching up to do from being off the grid for so long and before I even realized it, I hadn't blogged in over a week.

So sorry about that.

I'm not really sure there was some sort of bug hanging out in my system that was just waiting for me to stop moving to take its opportunity to strike or what, but I swear to you that it was the very second I arrived home last Sunday that I was immediately hit with whatever hateful thing this was that left me exhausted, nauseous, dizzy, rocking a fever, experiencing some delightful bathroom excursions, and rendering me completely useless to everyone around me.

It was so bad on Monday that just getting up off the couch to move over a load of laundry exhausted me so much that I crashed out for another hour.  My kids watched a LOT of TV that day, let me tell ya.

We basically pushed the "Repeat" button on Tuesday too.  (P.S.  That book you see there in my lap was awesome.  A really good mystery that fed right into my love of fiction involving the English aristocracy at the turn of the century.)

So I really have a lot to tell you about.  I need to write all about the Breakaway retreat - what I did there, what the event was like, what went really well and what went wrong, and all that jazz.  The short version is that it was an incredible weekend of worship, learning, laughing, and working hard.

We also drank wine in the hallway and reenacted Bible stories using Joanna's hair as a beard.

So there's that.

Yup, lots to tell you about.  For now we are getting ready to attend the baptism of my husband's goddaughter after we cut the boys' hair, clean up the five superhero and Star Wars puzzles that are all over the kitchen table, and brew another pot of coffee because Mama is TIRED!

We'll chat soon.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


After surviving one of the most difficult weeks with Evan away in China I can remember, I am off on a well-deserved little getaway. 

I'm hanging out with about 700 of my closest lady friends at a resort and spa, flitting about and tweeting and posting to Instagram like crazy about the platform speakers, breakout sessions, Glow Run, and other such activities. 

But there is also going to be an hour where I sneak away for a massage, a whole lot of late night snacks, and probably more than a glass for two of wine while laughing until my stomach hurts with my roommates.

Follow along if you'd like to see a little glimpse into how hundreds of Christian women like to party.

See you next week! 

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