Saturday, March 28, 2015

Stitch Fix Review #2

I got my second box from Stitch Fix, and I want to keep everything. While my budget this month doesn't allow me to, it's still fun to try everything on and get ideas for items I want to add to my wardrobe.

If you're wondering what Stitch Fix is, I break it down in my last post. In short, it's an awesome way to get clothes delivered to your door every month.

Here's what I got this time.

Pixley Meryl Tulip Print Sleeveless Blouse
This shirt is adorable and totally something I would wear to work. The material is a thick silk, and it feels amazing. My only worry is that it is a little big. It looks fine from the front, but if I wear it without a cardigan on top, the arm holes gape a little.

Pixley Stacey Scallop Hem Cut-Out Detail Skirt
I love this skirt. I had the same stylist this time as last time, and I'm going to request keeping her for good. Not only did she write me a sweet, personalized note, but she seems to get my taste already. This is the one item I'm absolutely sure I'm keeping.
Love the scalloped hem and the pattern!

Kut from the Kloth Catherine Boyfriend Jean
I had requested a pair of boyfriend jeans to try. I've been curious to see if I like the style. These look pretty cute on and fit well. A lot of people have been saying these run big, but to me they fit like I thought a boyfriend jean is supposed to fit - loose. My worry is that they're a little long. The cuffs hit the tops of my feet, when they're supposed to hit a couple inches above my ankles. Right now I'm thinking I'll send these back and maybe try some from Old Navy that are cheaper (especially since I'm still working on losing weight).

Market & Spruce Corinna Striped Heathered Dolman Top
I was surprised how much I liked this shirt. It seems so ordinary, but the fabric is super soft, and it's really comfortable. However, ultimately, I don't think I'll keep it in favor of keeping something else this time.

Street Level Anchorage Diamond Printed Tote
I pinned this tote, and it's just as cute in person as I thought it was on Pinterest. It has three large compartments and several pockets for your phone, wallet, and keys on the inside. I'm tempted to keep it and use it as a diaper bag since our current one is looking a little rough. Still debating...

Scallop Hem skirt and Meryl Tulip Print Blouse - want to keep both.
Please ignore the dissertation paraphernalia in the background. 
Dolman Top and Boyfriend Jeans - on the fence about both

Seem a bit long.

Love the bag!
I have until Monday to make my final decisions and get my returns in the mail. This will be a tough call. I kind of want it all, but I need to take it easy this month. We'll see...

If you'd like to give Stitch Fix a try, click on this link, and I'll get a referral credit. (And then I can keep more items in the future!)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Fashion Impaired [Stitch Fix Review #1]

When I was getting ready to move from LA to Michigan several years ago, we had packed up a trailer with half of my stuff and parked it on the street overnight. The next morning we discovered someone had cut the padlock and stolen several of my boxes. They took all my CDs, most of my dishes, and a bin full of purses. It could've been much worse. As we figured out what they had taken, my sister started laughing and pointing at the back of the trailer where all my clothes were still hanging: "Didn't look like they wanted any of your clothes." This was hilarious to my sister because she seems to think I lack any real fashion sense, while she, in her words, "always looks adorable." I've gotten better in recent years; I've started to take more chances and wear things other than just t-shirts, jeans, and converse, but with a full-time job, 2-year-old to raise, dissertation to write, cross-country move to plan for, and a new job starting this summer, I have little time to think about what to wear. So, Jessica convinced me to give Stitch Fix a try. Pretty much she just wanted to refer someone so she could get the $25 referral credit.

And, well, after one month, I'm hooked. 

Subscription boxes are pretty popular these days. I've tried Birchbox, Julep, Ipsy, and Fabletics. I've stuck with Fabletics (a monthly subscription for work out wear), but the others I've cancelled. While I love makeup, you can only have so many sample size mascaras floating around before things get out of control. Stitch Fix is different. Here's how it works. 

Each month you pay a $20 styling fee. You begin by filling out a style profile to help your stylist pick out things you'll like. You can also link to your Pinterest to help your stylist get a better sense of your taste. Each month you receive a box of 4-6 items, usually five from what I've seen from other subscribers' blogs. For the most part, people receive four clothing items and one accessory, which may be a piece of jewelry, a purse, or a scarf. You then have three days to decide what you like and want to keep and send the rest back. The $20 styling fee goes toward the cost of anything you keep. Also, if you decide to keep all five items, you get a 25% discount. 

I gave it a try last month, loved it, and now I'm counting down the days until my next fix ships. 

Here's what I got in my first box. 

Market & Spruce Zelda Ikat Print Wrap Dress
I loved this dress. It fit really well, but I sent it back since I had just bought a wrap dress around Christmas that is still hanging in my closet with the tags on. 

Market & Spruce Elissa French Terry Striped Moto Jacket
This was another winner that I sent back. It fit well and I love the style, but I have a similar jacket already, so I couldn't justify keeping it.

Just Black Dean Ankle Zip Skinny Jean
These fit really great. I wish I had taken a photo of them on. They were very flattering, but I ultimately decided to send them back because I have skinny jeans already and I'm still losing weight. I may request another pair of these exact jeans once I lose five more pounds and I'm a size smaller. 

Zad Rhonda Mini Spoon Necklace
This was the one bummer of the box. But since I hadn't pinned a lot of jewelry, my stylist had little to go on regarding my taste in jewelry. This was a bit bulky and weird for me. Spoons? I don't think so. 

41Hawthorn Jace Chevron Print Dress
This was my favorite item, and I happily kept it and wore it this week to church. I had pinned this dress, which proves that the stylists look at your Pinterest boards for ideas. The fit was perfect and the quality of this dress is impressive. 

I have no idea what's going on in the background of this picture, but it pretty much sums up life at my house. The dog is right behind me (constantly), and Mikael and Emmy are doing something silly, in the middle of a messy living room. 
My next box should get here this week, and I'm really looking forward to it. I've been faithfully pinning new ideas for my stylist, so I'm anxious to see what she comes up with. I get to try on new clothes without having to deal with pushy sales people or a fussy toddler in a cramped fitting room. 

If you'd like to give it a try, click on this link, so I can get the referral credit and help fund my new addiction. 

If you try it, let me know what you think!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Crazy Love

Once upon an evening in July,  I peed on a stick, er. . .  three sticks, and our lives were changed forever. We had recently returned from a mission trip to Belize, and we agreed that once the malaria pills were out of my system, we would start trying to get pregnant. And, within one month of going off the malaria pills, I was nervously purchasing an e.p.t. test while on the phone with my sister, foolishly saying, "I'm sure it'll be negative, but just in case..."

What followed was a deluge of emotions, the fun of telling our parents and friends, the stress of taking the biggest test of my life while suffering through nausea, and the tricky balance of trying to teach full-time while being oh-so tired.

When I reached the eight-month mark I was ready to get the whole thing over with. Being that I was born a month early, I was hoping my daughter would be equally anxious to greet the world. When week 37 and then 38 hit, I started googling natural ways to induce labor. I tried bouncing on an exercise ball, eating pineapple and spicy food, and taking long walks, but the stubborn little thing wouldn't budge.

Then, the Saturday morning that marked my 39th week of pregnancy, after sleeping in all morning while Mikael played in a hockey tournament, I lifted my leg to put on my pajama bottoms. A gush of warm liquid ran down my leg, and I ran to the bathroom. I sat there for a while, dumbfounded. It's an odd feeling when the moment you've been waiting for for so long is finally there. When the gushing had seemed to stop, I went to the front door, hoping Mikael would be home soon, to find him getting out of the car. With a huge grin on my face, I opened the front door and yelled, "Wanna have a baby today?!!!" To which he responded an incredulous, "Really???" While he called the doctor, I fed the dog, gathered my stuff together, and stuffed my pants with a towel.

About an hour later we checked in at the hospital. I'm still surprised at how calm we were throughout the whole process. We nervously laughed at our usual jokes and just looked at each other and shook our heads in disbelief that it was all actually happening. When they first checked me (and I'm adding these details because Jessica will want them), I was only 4 cm dilated but 90% effaced. Since my water had broken, they decided to get the ball rolling with some pitocin once I got settled in my room. And, here's the real kicker, they gave me the pitocin and my epidural at the same time. This means I never felt a contraction. Not even a hint of one. Do I feel guilty about this? No. Not a bit. Here's what the face of an epidural looks like.

We spent the afternoon resting and talking. Mikael took a nap, and I dozed a bit and said several earnest prayers for my vagina and the impending trauma it would endure.  I dilated a centimeter per hour, and they had me pushing around 8:00 p.m.

While the epidural worked like a charm, I still felt the pressure as I pushed. I'm not sure what else to
 say about it other than that it's a really odd feeling. Mikael coached me, and he didn't even annoy me once. I pushed for what seemed like forever, and at 10:37, Emilia June finally entered our world. She was quiet at first, which made me worried (thanks, every movie and TV show that shows a screaming infant immediately after birth). Soon she was crying her little head off as the nurses got her cleaned up and assessed. Mikael was totally torn on where to be at that point. I was getting stitched up (ouch), and she was getting cleaned up. I told him to be with her and tell me what was going on. I was so exhausted and a bit concerned about how many stitches my doctor was working on. Through tears and laughs, he relayed what was going on and described her to me. I thought he was totally gonna lose it when she grabbed his finger.

One of the more poignant memories from those first few minutes is feeling a longing, a new feeling I hadn't felt before. After reflecting on it a bit, I realized it was my desire to hold her. Our birth plan had included having her placed on my chest as soon as she came out, but given how long it took her to get out and that they had to use the vacuum, they prioritized getting her checked out under the heat lamp instead.

After what seemed like a million stitches and million tiny baby cries, I was finally holding her, all bundled up and squinty. She nursed almost as soon as she was in my arms, which should've clued us in on what a good eater she would be. Our room on the maternity unit wasn't quite ready, so we sat and talked for about an hour in our delivery room. Since we had some down time, we called my family. I was so tired, I had Mikael make the call, and soon after he told them the specifics, Emmy let out a few cries that let them all know 2,000 miles away that she was there. He smiled and I asked what was going on, and he said they were all crying, so I got on the phone and had a very exhausted cry-fest with my parents and sister.

We spent the next two days in the hospital, and it's all a blur. Mikael got up to change her multiple times that first night, a task he has taken on as much as he is able-even still. We recorded her little cries on a voice recorder, video taped her hiccups, and took hundreds of photos. In short, we were completely enamored with our eight-pound bundle. When our second day was coming to an end, Mikael wanted to see if we could stay another night; he liked having the support and medical staff there just in case, but I was ready to get home to my pets and my own bed.

It's hard to believe that it's already been eight months, but, of course, at the same time, it feels like we've always had her. Right now she's sleeping in her swing, her gangly legs nearly scraping the ground. I didn't know what to expect those nine long months or that short weekend in the hospital, but I now know what it's like to love. Oh, I love a lot of people. I have the best family in the world and love being with them as much as possible, a rare thing, or so I'm told. And, I love Mikael. I mean, I must; I waited eight years for him to propose, and that was totally what I was meant to do. But, I love this little person so much that there's nothing she could do to make it stop. I once read a quote somewhere that having a child is like having your heart walk around outside of your body (or something like that), and I, of course, thought it was cheesy at the time, but it's true. When she crawls her way into a door frame and knocks her head, I feel it. When she cries in the middle of the night because her teeth hurt or she's growing, I feel anxiety because all I want is for her to feel peaceful.

This afternoon, as I was changing over the laundry and she was busy playing on the floor, she realized I wasn't in the room with her and started crying. She cried and crawled toward the open laundry room door, and let a mournful, "Momma!" I quickly poked my head around the corner to see her with her arms up as another "Momma" came out of her mouth. We've had a few almost mommas and dadas here and there, but this one was legit. I quickly swooped her up, and her crying came to a swift stop, and soon a small, tearful smile came across her face as she nuzzled into my neck. I thought my heart my burst right there.

Yes, this is the craziest love I've ever known.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

. . . where was I?

I have been meaning to revisit this space for a while. A lot has happened. And I do mean a lot. So, here are my two (main) excuses/reasons for not making good on my promise to write more often: 

1. My blogging spirit took a hit - After writing the post about my parents' move, I started writing more often. Not here, but my intention was to post some of my thoughts and experiences to this space after letting them simmer a bit. However, I never could pull the trigger because someone who read that post decided to email me and point out a grammatical error I had made. I had tried to share this post with only those I knew would embrace the rawness and imperfectness of it and would appreciate it for what it was, a therapeutic post. Now, I know that was a bit unrealistic being that it. was. on. the. Internet, but I tried. The email was condescending and annoying, and I know it was done mainly because this person has a bit of an inferiority complex, and, well, guess who's about to have a Ph.D... in English no less.

But, here's the thing about blogging, and part of the reason I can't seem to completely let go and delete and give up trying (even if I do only post once a year), blogging, at least the blogging circles I've been a part of over the past seven years, is unpolished and honest. Through blogging, I got to know someone I actually now consider one of my best friends, and I've met people who have moved me with their honesty, and I've enjoyed watching their lives unfold in their own words, even if they aren't perfect. Anyway, I could go on about the power of the vernacular and get all grad schooly about it, but there you have it. My audience sought to filter me, to make me self conscious and guarded, and it made me stop and pause just long enough to keep me from opening up again. (Also, I should note, no one's writing is perfect, and if it is, it's probably not very interesting. I'm not that kind of English teacher, and I hate English teachers who function as grammar police instead of inspiring authenticity, story telling, and thoughtfulness in their students).

2. I had this: 

It was pretty much a year ago exactly that she got started... if you know what I mean. Pregnancy kicked my ass, and while I was in the throes of morning sickness (or afternoon sickness for me) I had to take my comprehensive exams. It was an overwhelmingly crazy time, but I passed, and made it through a school year being pregnant and swollen, and now, well, now my time my life isn't really my own anymore.

However, on the flip-side of feeling a bit overwhelmed is my desire to document this time somehow. I've been jotting little notes on a calendar and writing a few lines here and there about this new experience, when I can find the time, but posting some of it here might help me be a bit more consistent. Not only that, but I've realized lately that I need a creative outlet. Coming up with creative lesson plans isn't gonna cut it. But, I promise, this will not become a mommy blog. Gross.

So, let's see what happens. . . I'm not making any promises of posting regularity or incredible content, but I do promise it will be me.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Testing 1, 2 . . .

Summer is here, and I am buried beneath my books - studying for comps. So, it seems like a perfect time to dust off my blogging skills and get some serious procrastinating done.

More to come. In the meantime, a Belizian sunset.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Goodbye, House

Today my life changes. It’s a well-worn cliché, but nothing will ever be the same again. Today my parents move out of my childhood home. The home I grew up in. The home they’ve lived in for 25 years.

If you would’ve asked me a year ago whether my parents, especially my dad, would ever consider leaving that house, I would’ve laughed at the mere idea of it. My dad has lived in Michigan for at least 50 years of his life. He loves nature, and hockey, and changing seasons. My mom has also lived in Michigan for at least 50 years. She loves the familiar, the Tigers, and the Red Wings (!!!!). But last spring my dad told us he was interviewing for two different jobs on the West Coast. After so many years teaching the same classes at the same university, he was spent. He decided it was time for a change. I’m not sure any of us really took this idea seriously. I mean, this is the man who was once going to contact the township to see if he could actually be buried in the backyard. But, the interviews came and went, and the excitement of a new teaching opportunity overpowered my father’s love of Michigan, our house, and the familiar. And that’s saying a lot.

As we’ve all anticipated this day, I’m sure he has second guessed this decision several times. I know he’ll miss fall, and visiting the U.P., and playing hockey five days a week. But I know, more than anything – he’s going to miss our house. My dad has spent the past quarter of a century working on this house and making it into our own family haven. He built a two-story garage, a tree house and a playhouse for my sister and me to play in when we were little, a sauna to remind him of his childhood days in the U.P., a library with a fireplace that he built himself, each stone with a story and taken from some place special (Just to name a few of his many projects). He has buried many a family pet on top of the hill behind the house. And he recently mentioned that one of the things he’ll miss the most is playing with Maddy in the yard.

To a lot of people moving away from a house is no big deal. Mikael, for one, has never really had a place he considered home. At least not home in the sense of what I have in this house. So, for him as well, this house is home. So many memories took place there that it’s hard to imagine what it will be like to not have that place to return to. It’s been one of the constants in my life as waves of changes have come over the years.

I know that letting go of this house doesn’t necessarily mean letting go of my memories, but it changes them somehow, makes them just a bit fuzzier when I think about them. I remember as an eight-year-old, sitting on the couch, listening to my grandma on the phone with my dad as he told her my baby brother had died. I remember watching my sister traipse around the yard with a kitten tucked under her arm. Or watching her get a new bike for her sixth birthday and subsequently throwing a fit because it was too big for her liking, a memory that has become one of our family favorites. I remember playing in the yard with my childhood friends every afternoon, imagining we were the Dukes of Hazzard or making “houses” out of raked leaves. I remember hiding myself in the linen closet with a book and a flashlight for the pure delight of having no one know where I was. I remember sledding down our hill with Joni, Lucy, and my mom, laughing until we were all in tears. I remember boyfriends and breakups, first kisses in the driveway, fights with my dad about curfews. I remember my mom rubbing my back as I cried over broken hearts and broken friendships. I remember sleeping on a mattress on the floor in the kitchen with Maddy when she was a puppy and waking up every hour to take her out, resulting in a quickly potty trained pup. I remember laying on the couch in the library with Mikael and kissing him first ‘cause I just couldn’t help myself. I remember crying in the driveway after Mikael and I broke up and he drove out of town, and then I remember meeting him several months later in that same spot as we started to reconsider that decision. I remember coming home from California to live with my parents at 29 years old, defeated from giving it a go in the real world, but grateful to have home and family ready to welcome me back and help me lick my wounds. I remember

coming home from Muncie or Ypsilanti with Maddy on the weekends, and as soon as I opened the front door, she would run as fast as she could to find my mom and dad, squealing with excitement to be home. I remember coming home from a trip to the beach one April afternoon with a sparkly ring on my finger. I remember sitting on the back porch with various family members, talking as we watched Maddy explore the yard and fetch her toy. I remember reading my vows to my sister in the attic the night before my wedding, both of us crying at the vows and the knowledge that our lives were about to change forever.

I always thought this would be the house I would bring my kids to someday. That I would show them the place where I busted a taillight trying to back out of the driveway or where home base used to be for our softball games or where my many pet hamsters are buried. That Christmas would mean going to grandpa and grandma’s on snowy Snow Road. That somehow they would understand who I am because who I am has been shaped by this place. But, I guess that’s the lesson in all of this. I mean, isn’t there always a lesson in something that makes you cry by yourself on the bathroom floor? The sense of belonging and place that I have because of this house has helped me become who I am. Knowing that I had home to return to – always- helped me be brave, take risks, made me stronger. And, I guess that’s what I’ll have to try to do for my own family. Someday I’ll give them all a place that is comfortable, familiar, warm, and full of memories. Someday.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Extended Absence Over

I have been gone too long. Yes.

Life has changed quite a bit since my last post. We live in a new house, in a new state; I have a new job and new students and an office of my very own.

I have every intention of getting back on here regularly. I have a house to decorate and document. I have a new city to explore, with plenty of great restaurants, parks, and other inspiring things to blog about. I have life changing events on the horizon to make me reflect and need to write.

Yes, I shall return shortly.

Until then. . .

Welcome to our new home.