9.28.2012

getting fixed v6.0

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after my last stitchfix box i decided to take a month off from their service. i hadnt been thrilled with the last few boxes they'd sent and i wanted to wait until their fall stock was nice and plump (like me!) to dive back in and give them another try. 

during my break with them, i tried out tog + porter (my code is dukesTP12, if you need it). if you read about that experience here, you know it was very positive. (FYI, i kept the wooden necklace and the scarf...with a standing memo to them that i will buy the chevron top and the red tunic if they ever get them in my size.)

i also took some time to reflect on the pieces that stitch fix had sent me during my first 5 boxes and to really analyze the good, the bad and the ugly. 

my general feeling after taking another look at it all with my hawk-eyed hindsight was that the 25 pieces (total) that they had sent me were really pretty good. i know i made a big deal about how some of them were ridiculous or gross, but the vast majority were cute AND pretty close to my style preferences. 

i think a lot of my frustration came from fit issues with a hearty dose of insecurity on my own part. that's my problem, not the clothes', and certainly not stitch fix's.

so, with a happy new attitude, i requested another box from them last week.

here's what landed on my doorstep (and i didnt have time to try on and photograph until bath time. so feel free to enjoy the background antics of my nakie babies in the tub):


1. Everly Dress : Work Dress Lambie 3/4 Sleeve Tie Back Dress

first impression: i HATED this when i pulled it out of the box. i thought the print was black. when i realized it was actually navy and have a nice defined waist, it went from a red light to a yellow light

2. Jack by BB Dakota Outer Layer : Cardigan Loveland Faux Fur Trim Cardigan

oh man. despite being $100, i just didnt see how i could ever seriously rock an open-weave faux fur-trimmed cardigan and not look like the conquering queen of appalachia. 

3. Olive and Oak Bottom : Pant Hanover Fitted Ponte Knit Pant

my first pants ever with stitchfix. i was intrigued by the fact that they were knit, but knew i probably wouldnt keep them since i already have some royal blue skinnies from american eagle. also: the totally reminded my of those softball coach's shorts from the 80's.

4. Zenzii Jewelry : Bracelet enamel snap bangle

i liked the look of an interesting neutral bangle, but the $35 made me nervous.

5. GLAM Top : Blouse Mission 3/4 Sleeve V-Neck Blouse

loved the color at first sight, but was scared it was sheer. also had concerns that it might be too short. i LOVE long things that hit at the hip and deplore things that sit above by beltline. looking down and seeing a triangle of lovehandle squirting out is never good for my soul.

so let's get me into those clothes (and avoid the insane splashing going on while i was only paying half attention to the aquatic horseplay).

the dress is pretty shapeless if you dont tie it back (there are sewn-in ties) and i was surprised to not see a belted option on their style card. but i really love what they did by adding tights.

i belted the shizz out of it and added some moto boots a little unzipped because, yall, i'm kind of the coolest person ever. nope. it just felt right to pose like a chick who can pull this sort of thing off.


impressions: it's a leeettle short. i could not parent in public with this on bareback (theres way too much bending and lunging after errant offspring involved. and i would like to avoid flashing the world again if at all possible).

but with tights, i could rock this anywhere, and even without them i could definitely see this being a great little date number.

i dont currently own any sleeved dresses and i really enjoy how lightweight this one is while not looking like a summer sundress. 

next up:
oh dear. even the hot n'sexy invisible ladies wearing these styled ensembles look at best like the stereotypical lovable movie hooker and at worst viking wenches.

but i was seriously open to the possibility of being surprised to love it:

mmmm. no. it just wasnt working for me.  

i might not have done my best to de-hooker it by adding knee high boots, a hot pink top, and giant earrings, but still, i feel like the prize that comes with a happy meal at the free clinic STD screening festival. "fur-clad barbie! with real street-walking legs!!"

and because the lighting it terrible in front of the full-length:
 
during this whole trial, bits of the fur also kept drifting around, detached from the main carcass sweater and were tickling my nose.  i just kept thinking: how many faux-squirrels had to die for this?"

i know there are some saucy mamas out there who could rock this sweater to pieces, but i am thinking i am not one of them.


love love LOVE how they styled these. i gotta get me a sleeveless tunic like that and rock a striped longsleeve top with a colorful necklace (see? even if the item isnt an exact winner, a styling service really can have lots of value).


so here they are on:
i was thrilled that they fit (after my shorts experience in fix #1, i was so scared).

they were oh so tight. these truly are jeggings: thick, legging-like material tailored to look like a jean (faux pock details on the front, belt loops, and back pockets) but fit like a legging. 

of course, i have no need for these since i already own royal blue skinny jeans, but i was very encouraged that they had selected something for me that i already owned for myself.

it's the bracelet we are judging here. but, dang, i love this outfit.

the shoes are sky high wedges that i got in tennessee on our blissful visit to besties ryan and raechel. they are from shii and were only $20 and they are grey and have a bow (available here). and of course they go with my blousey secret and pink skinnies.

but the bangle. i like it, but it's not a stand out. it's a little thinner than i like in a bracelet, but i do like that it is ivory and gold and would go with everything.

here it is without the distraction of the rest of my fashion:
it's so viserion chic (anyone???)


orangey-red top:
again love the casual/classy styling options they are showing me.


hey, hey. it's not sheer! and its not short!


i think i really like this top. its bright and fun, but also flirty and light. it could go in almost any season, looking great alone or under a jacket and scarf.

you will note the wedges. okay, so the tog + porter selection of the TOMS wedges made me a believer in a casual, everyday wedge. but i didnt love the $70 price tag or the fact that the sporty little TOMS logo on the back kind of made them less chic. 

so i took that style epiphany and applied it to greener pastures (pastures of affordability). i found these on amazon for $30 and i got a 20% off code because i signed up for amazon shoes emails. with free shipping and free returns, it was a smash hit! 

gratuitous baby belly.

so what are your thoughts?  will this be my first ever multiple-keeper box from stitchfix?!?! 

things i use to make up my mind: style, fit and price, obviously. but another part of the equation is uniqueness. one of the benefits of shopping through SF or T&P is that they carry boutique designers making really one-of-a-kind pieces that i cant always go out and find a similar style in a retail store.

so dont call it a comeback, but i feel like stitch fix and i are clicking. 

if you are kind of clueless and overwhelmed by shopping sometimes and you need some fall fashion inspiration, i really think it's worth it to give stitch fix a try.

reunited and it feels so good.

my other fixes:
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9.27.2012

on the fence

layla woke up uncharacteristically early from her nap yesterday. what was even more unusual is that jesse and i were both home to give her some only-child action while judah finished his nap. 

aside: we are still both working a full time job each plus 1 or 2 part time jobs thrown in for fun (re: survival) and the kids are only in school 4 hours per day.  we have no babysitter. so that childcare math is...challenging, and it usually adds up to me and my baby daddy not being home together in the afternoons. but we are beyond thankful that the many jobs we have (pastor, business lady, guitar teacher, etsy shop owner, blogger) are so fulfilling. we've got a lot of balls in the air but we love our balls and we love to juggle them. amen.

we took our little cray-cray lay-lay bay-bay (her most-used nickname) outside. i was spray painting and jesse was drafting an email, but within minutes we both dropped what we were doing as we found ourselves inexorably sucked into the vortex of cuteness and babble.

when she climbed up by the white picket fence and was being the her unreal layla-love self all country cute in her overalls i knew i had to run and get the real camera.

somthing with adorable pudgy fingers. i dont know what exactly, but i love it.

fuzzle head doing ET fingers with daddy

beyond squeezable



playing coy


the mullet is poppin!

singing her abc's (A-B, A-B, A-B, A...in the correct tune though! 2 down, 24 more to go)


she spots the UPS truck pulling in

is this brown truck friend or foe? (she takes homeland security quite seriously)


oh its a fabric delivery! this is favorable, for sure!

kisses to the bringing of all things fibrous!


MWAH!

buh BAI!


9.25.2012

innoveightor?


i snagged this sweet pin from my hong kong-dwelling BFF, marisa.

its a great, easy, accessible blog for fashion and this particular pin linked to a post on re-imagining your current wardrobe; getting new looks out of clothes you already own using free means such as belting, tucking, cuffing, etc.

so this info and these tricks were at the front of my cortex when i received a recent old navy order in the mail on saturday.

i had ordered this top (for $7 using a coupon!) because i love the variable dots print and the scalloped hem.i also [shamefully] love a 100% polyester blouse for its non-shrinking, wrinkle-free goodness. 

here's a confession though: i am a serial returner. my mom tried to have an intervention on me in college because of how much i ordered stuff online and then returned 95% of it. 

she says "addiction." i say "empowered consumer."

if they have free shipping and free returns, why would i not order everything possible and try it all on in the comfort of my own home? and i have yet to be blacklisted by any retailers due to my frequent send-backs. i am the boss of the free market.

but anyway, this "pull the trigger now and return it later if it doesnt work out" mentality has led to some impulse-buys, so when my old navy package arrived, i honestly couldnt have told you one single item that i had ordered. maybe the online shopping experience is becoming a little too second nature.

but i pulled out the dotted navy blouse, tried it on and loved it. i penciled it in for my church outfit the next day.

well, when i was getting dressed sunday i felt itchy on my neck. i looked down my shirt and realized that my shirt was on backwards. not accidentally, but in a "i really thought this was how the shirt went" kind of way.

so i flipped it around the correct way and, bum of all bums, i HATED it. 

it was Captain Horatio Sadsack.


granny neckline, but with crazy low cleavage keyhole that would give any of my keen-eyed fellow congregants quite a glimpse of the goods. A: if i want to be a saucy lady for a hot date with jesse, i want it to go all the way and not  just through teeny peephole like i'm viewing an eclipse through a shoebox in the 3rd grade. and B: i dont want to be doing the old keyhole tease routine at church for sure.

realizing the shirt wouldnt work after all = sad moments of the sabbath.

but then--high on reading that blog AND delirious from getting 10 hours of sleep (my parents had the kids overnight)--i decided, "why the hell cant i wear the shirt backwards?" 

i mean, i thought it looked better that way and couldnt tell it was wrong without the tag as evidence, so maybe no one else could.

i cut the tag out, spun that baby right round (like a record baby), added a sassy necklace and belted that bee-yatch:

i dont know if i pulled this off, but just looking at this before/after makes me feel like there's no contest. 

about 17 times throughout the service i did think, "what makes you think you can make up style rules on a whim, oh she of the collection of 14 target v-neck tees?"  despite my misgivings, i felt great wearing my $7 shirt this way.

i did sort of negate it by immediately spilling the beans to every person i talked to because i'm not great at secrets. they'd be all, "jesse did great today, you must be so proud!" and then i'd be all, "oh hey, guess what? this shirt is on backwards, SEE? *flips neck inside out to show where the tag was*." 

subterfuge: i hasnt it.

so while "wear your shirt backwards" might not appear on your standard list of ways to mix up a look, i think it was a good choice in this special situation. and bonus, i got to feel like 4% of a fashion innovator for about 2 hours with my ballsy and effective maneuver!

9.20.2012

no quickies

it's always funny when the grandparents ask for "just" one "quick" picture with the grandkids. 

yeah, good luck with that.




these were far and away the 3 best...out of about 50. 

portrait models, they are not. i guess we'll be doing candids until they're 20

9.18.2012

tog + porter: box #1

most of you have been with me through the emotional rollercoaster (fun, self-hate, confusion, delight, revulsion, inspiration) of my first 5 stitch fix experiences.

well, even though stitch fix was the first i had heard of this sort of thing, i have since discovered that these "box" services are quite popular. there's one for razors, one for beauty stuff, even one for adult toys. shazam!

so while stitch fix is still in beta mode (which may be why it takes a while to get off the wait list after you sign up), and since i had had some bad luck on my last fix, i decided to give another of these "we style it for you,  fashion-in-a-box services a try before i get another fix.

enter: tog + porter!


the basic premise is the same: a professional stylist picks out clothes based on your style/sizes and sends you a box of goodies. keep and pay for what you like, return what you dont. try everything one in the comfort of your home and with all of your existing closet to style the new pieces with.

i made a little breakdown chart of how the services match up in the nitty gritty  details as i know them (did i leave anything out? let me know!). 

update: the referral program actually is $25 each on T&P too, according to their website and the email i got when i first signed up...so i think i need to talk to someone about that!


you may need to click the picture to view it full-sized because excel is not playing nicely with blogger


ok so after my initial skype style session with emily, she took a few days to get my box together and then i got a shipping confirmation and receipt that my card had been charged with the total of the box. 

on wednesday, the box was here!

my favorite moment. (it totally reminds me of the priceless kate hudson in how to lose a guy in 10 days, "what will it be? little, big, little, big? i dont know, we will see!") 



a glimpse of goodness. LOVING the gray, green and baby chevrons.


classay


oh it's handwritten...i licked it just to be sure.

 and here are the contents:


1. sheath maxi dress. long sleeve. floor length. with metallic buttons on the cuffs. my first thought was that this looks like a costume from a movie based on a Dr. Seuss book about a charming turd who sheds its skin and becomes a beautiful lorax...or something.

2. TOMS wedges in black. nervous but wanting to love them

3. graphic red tunic. lots of cool details on the cut and print. loving.

4. green military jacket with tab sleeve option and a super cool lining print. loving.

5. grey infinity scarf. loving it a million (even before i spotted the $0 typo)

6. chevron print top. so loving.

7. metallic necklace. like and intrigued

8. wooden necklace. liking but nervous it will look crafty like my SF wooden geo necklace did.

so just looking at this stuff on the hanger, i am really encouraged. a lot of things that i dont feel like i could find at old navy or LOFT, not disgusting prices, great colors and styles that i might not normally gravitate towards.

let's get naked! and then immediately dressed again.

first up: the shoes and scarf:


the sweater is old navy and current though out of that color combo online

i had previously believed wedges were just for special occasions. at least on me. i am new to the heel-game, after all, and therefore if i'm 4 inches above sea level, it must be because it's someone's birthday or this is a HOT date.

however, the fact that these are TOMS sort of default them into a kind of casual feel, and i gotta say, these made me a believer in a daily wedge (give us this day our daily wedge).

and the scarf is just the softest, happiest, greyest little number you could ever dream of. i'm smitten by it. and jesse will be smote by its hotness.


if you believe the starks, winter is coming. so here's the same outfit with boots and the jacket


i love this jacket. i love that it is outwear in a vibrant color. that it can be warm with the sleeves rolled down, or rolled up to show the contrast lining in balmier weather.

the tunic:
i had some issues with my boobs not allowing it to lay like it should. the bust was just to small to fit correctly around my buxom chestal zone. i made a note to ask emily for a size up because i still really liked the look (and price)

and, oh my gosh, i must love yall deep and wide, because to even put this dress on in the PRESENCE of a recording device, much less take a picture with it and post it on the internet is just beyond anything i should be comfortable with. enjoy:

oh my gosh. i felt like i had to cover my reproductive parts. just so much showings of shapes and such.


i am 90% certain my mom as a nightgown from 1993 that looks just like this. my absence of siblings born in that era testifies to the fact that this is not a hot look.



and brass buttons to spruce it up! let's just not even mention that this ever happened. 



chevron tunic:

oh man, i want to love this madly, but again, the boobs had other plans. just beyond tight on my ladies. i actually got trapped in the shirt when i first tried it on and had to get jesse to extract me (like my last stitch fix).

but i wasnt photographing the clothes that day so i tried everything on again a few days later when jesse was out so i could take pics for this post. well, i dont know if i thought i had lost some boob weight in the meantime, but i ended up stuck, AGAIN, with no exit strategy and no husband to get me out. 

it would have required dis-locatable shoulders to get me out of here. i was like a chilean miner up in there. i started to panic. jesse was at band practice and would be home for hours. 

so i had to get judah to help me. god bless him, he may be scarred for life, but i coached my 3 year old son into undressing me from a top that fit me this tightly: he thought it was hilarious and hopefully will come to love boobs again in time.


that's not a bustline we want 


so i added this to the "see if they have a bigger size" list. (normally this would cause a downward spiral of loathing, but since it was boobs, i was fine with being too big for my top-britches)

the necklaces:


i like it! (and wanted to stop trying to make sweet normal lady faces)


i like this one too, but was confused with what to do it with. what do i wear this with?


i hopped on skype that evening for a quick debrief with emily of all my pieces. yet again, girlfriend is sweet and easy to work with and just gorgeous. and she even got them to honor the $0 price on the scarf even though it was a typo. love that.

so far i love T+P. my favorite thing (after my initial discomfort) is having my own stylist who has spoken to me live. that really goes a long way in getting the feel of what a person is about and it showed in the clothes i was sent. i also love that i set a budget for the whole box and can have a varying number of items (i had 8 this time) whereas stitchfix is always 5.

the things i missed about stitchfix: the offer of 25% off the whole box if you buy everything and the user interface in my account on the website. T+P doesnt have user account access set up now and that was something that was amazing about stitch fix.

if you want to get started with tog + porter go you can do so right here. they are really great about getting in touch and started ASAP. my referral code is dukesTP12

so we have one CLEAR strike and 7 solid (!) hits. what do yall think i should keep?


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9.13.2012

it's a boy!

a dirt-covered, ground-wallowing, eternally pantsless, green-eyed little wiggle-monster of a boy



and i'm beyond smitten by him