Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Stitch Fix #12 - (and other life updates

So I'm going to review Stitch Fix #12 (which was awesome, thanks Niccole...) but first, can you believe this little guy just turned 11??? Sigh.  Be still my heart.  He's off at Camp Winshape this week.

And, in other news, I have also quit my job as a public defender.  Yes.  I am taking the leap into private practice (as a SOLO on my own, even!) - We got the new phone hooked up at my new office downtown last week.  The kids were absolutely thrilled with my #lawyermom life... Not.

And, my old office of public defenders and staff, well, they were SO happy to see me succeed and spread my wings & fly - of course they are going to miss me - as evidenced by the message on my going away cake...

This is us dropping Coley off at Winshape on Sunday.  I get him back Friday, and while I miss him, I KNOW he is having a fabulous time up in Cleveland, Georgia.

Now - for the StitchFix review... First, if you haven't heard of stitchfix or you need more info - here's the skinny in some old posts: 

Click here to sign up to get a fix!  It's a $20 styling fee, which is automatically credited to anything you purchase, and free shipping both ways.  Plus, it's fun.

I swear I thought I had done more blog reviews.  I promise to keep doing them in the future.  Sorry I missed # 3-10 - but I have loved the service the whole time and while I've only kept the whole box once (twice?), it keeps getting better and better (and my current stylist Niccole, who I think I've had for 3 fixes now, has really made me happy! (Thanks, Stylist Niccole!)

OK - in this box I got a note from my Stylist, Niccole, style cards, and 5 items.  I cannot for the life of me find my packing slip/invoice or the cards - but when I locate them I'll try to remember to update the blog post.

I got this hi-lo split back blouse (I believer it was $44) and the Melisa Mixed Geo Print Pencil Skirt ($48) I had specifically requested Niccole pick out some bottoms because I have LOVED all my stitch fix tops but with my new business venture, I can't very well pair them with my two favorite pairs of jeans every day!

This photo shows the back of the top.  It was actually really cute with the pencil skirt - HOWEVER, it is a little sheer for my taste (though fabulously cool for Georgia summer...) and the front neckline is very narrow (meaning my bra straps kept popping out on my shoulders - and I didn't love how you can see the lumps and bumps in the back.  *Maybe* if it was a size bigger it would have been ok, but then again, it's a loose flowy top, and while I always think I'm going to love loose and flowy it often makes me look like I'm hiding some extra fluff.

However, I do have a black top, and some black jackets that would look great with this pencil skirt, which I found to be surprisingly flattering.  My mom always told me that a-line skirts were most flattering on "us" because of our curves, but, fuller skirts actually add some bulk to my bottom and I LOVE the print on this skirt.

SO - Verdict - TOP - sent back

OK - This is the Douglas pleated blouse - $44
When I pulled it out of the box I immediately thought - no way - while the cut is cute, it's horizontal stripes AND it's highlighter pink, which is, well, not me at all.

WRONG, JJ, WRONG - this top is my favorite piece in the box. Bonus, it goes with, like, everything - a plain black pencil skirt, grey dress pants, the black cropped pants in this box (below) and jeans.  Plus it's light and cool and very very comfy.
Verdict - KEPT

So (stiull with the top) you can see that I'm also wearing the Sienna Cropped Black Pants: $58
Again, I asked Niccole for versatile bottoms - and these are FABULOUS - and they are by Kut From the Kloth, which I now own 2 pairs of jeans and these black crops.  They fit super well and are totally cute and also versatile for business casual life.  (Plus they look great with my silver sequin flats...)

I forgot to take a photo of the 5th item I got.  It was a pair of pants I had specifically pinned on my Pinterest board, but the truth is that I should just let Niccole do the picking for me because they looked (on ME) like something you would wear to a disco in the late 70s.  This is a stolen photo of them from the internet. They are the Margaret M Emer Geo Print pants (Mine actually had a different print with some little blue flecks.  The print was great.  BUT, they are stretch/slim cut with no zipper - and just generally not the best cut for me. Plus they were $88-$98? I can't remember, but a lot and not at all flattering.  
Stitch Fix Margaret M Emer Printed Cropped Straight Leg Pant - I would really like to try some pants like this that I could wear to the office or on the weekend!

ALAS - I am very very pleased with my box this month because I got 3 things I LOVE and they were all very reasonably priced and I've worn them all already!

If you would like to try stitchfix, PLEASE click here - if you use this link (my specific referral link), I do get a $25 referral credit when your first fix ships.  It's very very low risk and I bet you get something you love.

Friday, May 22, 2015

StitchFix #11 review - May 2015

So, I haven't been blogging about my Fixes. (Or at all, actually.) 

I have a ton of other exciting news (including job stuff and KonMari) but for now, here's my StitchFix #11 review!

I get a $25 credit if you sign up and get a Fix, so if you love this and want to try it (the most you could be out is $20 styling fee if you hate it all and return it) please use my referral link:

First, I LOVE the stylist I have had the last 2 months. Last month I kept everything in the box for the first time ever! And this time I was also pleased as punch with stylist Niccole. I know she is looking at things I have in my closet already from prior Fixes and also at my Pinterest board I linked! 

Here is the note from Niccole:

Item #1:
Bancroft Dante Cut Out Metal Oval Layered Necklace - $32
This is really pretty. I am lacking in a silver necklace of this length, and this one is not heavy on my neck. Gorgeous. But, I am trying to decide if it is bringing me joy.
Verdict: waffling but I kind of love it now that I'm looking at the photo. 
(PS, note cute bicycle shirt from Fix #10 last month.)

Item #2:
41Hawthorn Edwin Scarf Print top

So, Niccole sent this top because I loved the bicycle top and this one was a similar cut with a more eclectic print. I am apparently between SF sizes. I typically wear a M/L in tops, a 10, maybe a 12. I do not have a particularly well-endowed chest area. (This is ok with me ;)) - but the larges were sometimes tight in the sleeves (I do have linebacker arms) so I tried one month to get XL tops. Well, the armpits hung low and you could see my bra from a sleeveless shirt. So I went back to large. I think it's fine. I do LOvE this print and it will pair nicely with my baby and my neutral color suits for work. And it looks great with my KUT from the Kloth skinny jeans.

Verdict: Keeper!!

Item #3:
Brixon Ivy Lex Textured Knit Fit & Flare Dress in yellow 

Before I post photos of this... I knew I wasn't going to keep it when I saw the fabric. I thought the color was awkward, not for my skin tone, and I just didn't think I'd like it. It looked a little green on the style card and was cute enough... Just not "me" - plus, I have had a little trouble with some of the SF dresses being a little short (since I AM well-endowed in my backside area).

But, in my lamenting over whether this dress brought me joy, my fierce yet adorable friend and fellow StitchFix fan, Amy said "well it brings ME joy!" So I tried it on and took some photos and - hell's bells, it's pretty cute and joyful after all. 
(Note cute denim jacket from prior fix.)
So.... It doesn't make me look nearly as frumpy as I thought it might, it's not too short, it's knit so it's way comfy... I'm feeling a good bit of joy out of this one...)
Verdict: Keeper!!!

Item #4:
41Hawthorn Abrianna knit cardigan in navy
So, I've had other of these open front type cardigans sent by stitch fix. I liked them. I sent them all back. They did not bring me joy. However, I think Niccolw might be a mind-reader because I was just thinking while planning my cruise wardrobe for next week's trip that I wish I had a more neutral, non-denim, throw over many outfits cardigan or knit jacket or something. I wear my denim jacket a LOT. But I also have two great pairs of KFTK jeans and I'm not all about the denim suit thing ... So, behold, the perfect cardigan of glory:

Verdict: Keeper!!!

Item #5:
Renee C Alondra Ruched pencil skirt in navy

I thought, "um, no." When I got this out of the box.
as previously mentioned, I like big butts and I cannot lie (mostly because I have one and I own it and it's pretty tight from boot camp and running, but still super curvy...)
However, again I decided to try it on and take some photos to share and when I got the whole look on, dayum if it doesn't look great. 
And this is going to make my Husband happy:
Verdict: waffling...

In the end, the total for everything is $270. After my $20 styling fee is applied, it's $250. But? If I keep everything, I get a whopping 25% discount on the lot and the total is $187.50


so- yay, it all brings me joy and I'm keeping it all and I hope I have Niccole forever and ever as my stylist. 

If you want to try StitchFix (and you should), please use my referral link here!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"I have TWO dads!"

She turned 6 the week before, on the first day of first grade. She was sitting at a table in the elementary school cafeteria with a gaggle of other brand new first grade girls eating Oreos off a napkin. Her hair was in its customary rat's nest and all in her face (and now had the additional adornment of Oreo.)  She was wearing her brother's old baseball jersey with a neon polka dot skirt, and tennis shoes with no socks. She was blissfully unaware of her odd specialness. (This was a different day - but same general air of Carson-ness...)
 She was particularly excited to be at the Daisy girl scout meeting because her brother and hero was a Cub Scout...

I was watching her. Her chattiness, her sudden "real kid-ness" as opposed to tiny preschooler and kindergartener. I remember specifically what I was thinking: Because I'd lived with her for 6 years, I had become blind to her exuberant quirkiness.  Do you ever do that? Look at someone to whom you are SO close and see them through the eyes that strangers see them? I was amused and also worried for her tenderness. I didn't want her spirit broken by mean girls with perfectly matching outfits and shoes and hairbows that wouldn't "get" her and her, well, oddity...But I also knew she wouldn't be convinced to conform...

He was sitting with me.  His barely 7 year old self was irritated at having to stay AFTER after-school program for her and her "meeting." He wanted Oreos, too. At the adjacent table, we could hear the conversation of the giggly girls but we weren't close enough for the girls to be aware of or distracted by us. I didn't think he was listening.  I thought he was pouting because he didn't get Oreos.

What happened:
Pink shirt girl: "My grandma lives with us now because she can't go up and down stairs anymore and our house doesn't have stairs."
Blue Dress girl: "My grandma lives in Tennessee.  She has a pool."
Her: "My Poppa Bill has a pool."
Blue Dress girl: "Is Poppa Bill your grandfather?"
Her: "Uh-huh"
Pink shirt girl: "Do you get to swim all the time? Does he live in Rome?"
Her: "YES! He lives right down the street from us."
Blue Dress girl: "Is he your Mom's dad or your Dad's dad?"
Her: "He's one of my dads' Dad."
Pink shirt AND Blue Dress: "ONE of your Dads???"
Her: (non-plussed) "Yeah... (pause...and after silence from the others...)  I have two dads."
Blue Dress: "You can't have two dads."
HIM (surprising me by jumping in and defending his sister): "We DO have two dads.  Our Daddy lives in Alabama and our Stepdad is Will and he lives with us. Poppa Bill is Will's dad, and our grandfather."
Pink Shirt: "You call him Will? He's not your dad. He's just married to your mom."
Her: (exasperated and very matter-of-factly) "He IS my dad, too.  My daddy will always be my daddy, but Will is my stepdad and he's my dad, too. There are all kinds of families, you know. Love is what makes the family, not being married. And we all love each other."

Out. Of. The. Mouths. Of. Babes. Y'all.

My heart almost busted open from fullness right there, y'all, all over the oreos and the daisy scouts and everything.
I was sitting by ready to intervene and defend, but I didn't have to.  She knew what was up.  She still does. (And he does, too.) The kid knows her own mind, and speaks it intelligently, kindly, but with an incomparable and unbeatable force. My daily prayer is that she never loses that.  But this post is not about her.

It's been 3 years to the day since that meeting.  I had married Will just two weeks prior. My kids were as excited about getting married as Will and I were, because how in the world could you NOT want Will to live with you? He has pretty much every video game system ever made, multiple musical instruments, plays board games, loves 80s movies, and he talks in puppy voice to the dogs. "It will be like a sleepover ALL THE TIME, Momma!" (7 year old boy.) But, this post is not about Will, either.

It's about their Daddy.

I have never shared publicly (social media or here) much about divorcing and co-parenting, custody, visitation, child support, etc. And I still won't. (Plus, I got a brand spankin' new washer and dryer and THAT is where my dirty laundry belongs.)  What I am about to share ist an assurance to others going through it that it DOES get... better? nah... easier? not really... though you do learn to deal with it better. It's always hard. But it is always worth it. And the point of our lives is our kids.  One day, he and she will know how much the three of us (me and their two dads) worked really really hard, together, even when we disagreed, to make sure they always know that they are each loved, appreciated, adored, encouraged, and totally worth every bit of everything.

Cole and Carson's Dad and I obviously divorced.  We divorced when the Cs were little, 2 and 3 years old. And it was hard. And ugly. And it hurt. It was hard on both of hurt both of us. Sometimes it still hurts, though now the hurt is more like your bones aching when it's going to rain, and less like a knife in the heart. I worried what I was doing to my children, but I worried what I'd be doing if we stayed together, too. I won't lie. Their dad and I still often don't see eye to eye. Occasionally we even actually argue. (NEVER in front of or in earshot of the children.) Sometimes we text and email to avoid any actual confrontation. And that's ok.

Why? Why, you say? Arguing is ok? You hear stories about other broken marriages where the parties stay best friends and hang out together all the time.  That probably won't happen with us. (Living in different states is part of the issue...but we also just don't always get along...) But it's still ok.

NOW HEAR THIS: It's ok because I know that there is not one other human in the world other than their Daddy that loves those babies like I do.  And he knows that I am their Momma and they need me and I love them like he does. It's ok because every time there is a Scout banquet we all (multiple parents and grandparents) sit together at the same table and look right at Cole and tell him how well he has done and his whole family is focused on and celebrating him.  It's ok because, even if her Daddy and I have just fussed at length about something, when Carson has her first piano recital there is no doubt in my mind we will all be right there together with smiles on our faces telling her how beautifully she played. There will be no residual underlying anger between us during those moments. EVERY time we need to rearrange a weekend visitation so that Carson can cheer with the Lil' Wolves at the Rome High football game or Cole has a Webelos campout, it works itself out.  When I had surgery and couldn't drive, one dad drove the children to visit their other dad.  Three hours round trip.  Both ways. There is never an argument about what is best for the children among the 3 of us. It's ok because, at the end of the day - the children don't know anything different than having 3 parents that all love them immensely.

It's not easy.  No one ever said it would be easy. Marriage is not easy.  It's work.  Divorce and co-parenting is ALSO work. They say marriage is forever, but Divorce is for eternity and a day. But if she knew even at just-barely-6 years old that her family was made of love, and that she had two dads, we're doing alright. They know they are safe.  They are loved.  That we will do would whatever possible for both of them. So, it's ok. And I'm grateful for her two dads.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

StitchFix #2 Review - August 2014

My StitchFix box came!

If you're thinking "Huh? What is StitchFix?" You can click on the link or you can look back at my StitchFix #1 Review post... but the long and short of it is that you go to and answer some questions about your body type and size, and then you do a pretty extensive survey to determine your "Style Profile" - then you can schedule a fix (either just one by one whenever you are ready, or on a regular basis - I get mine once a month...) For a $20 styling fee, StitchFix gives you a personal stylist who picks out 5 items (tops, pants, skirts, dresses, jewelry, accessories...) that she thinks will look great on you and ships these 5 items to you (shipping is free both ways)... You try them on, decide what to keep, your $20 styling fee is applied as a credit to anything you keep, and if you keep all 5 items you get a whopping 25% off the whole kit & caboodle. (Hey 80s girls, remember Caboodles? I loved those for my lip glosses and junky jewelry :)) There is a pre-paid return envelope in the box for you to return the things you don't want to keep.  When you decide what to keep, you log in to stitchfix and check out.  The checkout process includes lots of space for feedback about each item, and automatically credits your styling fee and any referral fees to your balance!

If you have been following me, you know we have begun what in lovingly refer to as "The Great Purge" in my home over the last 4-5 months. It started with the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge which you can read about in all of the March posts on my blog, and some of the April ones (that first one linked above will take you to the first one, just keep reading...). And then I got a fancy new washer and dryer, and decided that our problem with laundry is that we have way too many clothes, when we basically wear the same 10 things over and over and over. (And my sweet but strange husband has a crazy obsession with socks.  He has more socks at any one moment than the other 3 of us have had cumulatively in our lifetime... But that is another post entirely.) I realized in getting rid of more than half my closet that the things I actually kept were high quality, well made (to withstand lots of wear and lots of washing), stylish but somewhat classic and not super trendy, and generally NOT things I bought for $9.99 at TJMaxx or Target. Plus, my body has changed greatly over the last 8-10 years between having children, gaining and losing, and becoming a runner, so I decided to find my style, to be stylish all the time, and to revamp my wardrobe and StitchFix is helping!

Now - onto the goods. Here is the nice note that my Stylist Amanda sent me:

She checked out my Pinterest August wishboard! She read my feedback about wanting a longer tunic top for my Rizzo pants from the last fix! She also listened to the fact that I work as an attorney and need things that are pulled together for both court and non-court days. Yay, thank you StitchFix for listening! (I also had requested colored skinny jeans and/or "perfect" jeans... But you can't have it all all the time ;)) Here is my review of each individual piece.  Please note that in the interest of full transparency I have included the prices of each item. Last month I had my budget set to the $50-100 option for each category (you can select your budget range for each type of item - tops, pants, dresses, accessories, etc.) - I reduced the budget for most of my items to "the cheaper the better" except for dresses, which I left at $50-100 (because a dress is really a whole outfit on its own and I wear a lot of

#1 - ZAD Toren Layered Beaded Necklace - $38

It's yellow, y'all!!! I snuck a look at what I was being sent when I found out that my fix had shipped. When I googled this necklace I only found one photo (of another StitchFixer) and it was turquoise. It was so cute. (And this blogger is so cute! I hope she doesn't mind me linking her... But isn't she cute?)

I really loved this but then I was also a little torn because, see, I already have a multi strand turquoise beaded necklace from Premier... So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I opened the box to find out it is YELLOW! I love color.  And yes, yellow is my favorite color (as my 9 year old Carson Claire will tell you, Mommy likes it because it is surely the happiest of all the colors... My living room wallls are even painted yellow!) so... This is a keeper. I intend to wear it with my basic sleeveless shift LIttle Black Dress and with plain black or red or any solid or print or anything. I love it. 

Verdict: KEPT!!! Without a doubt. Spot on, Amanda. 
(Here is a no-makeup "I just had surgery" mirror photo of me with my new favorite necklace:

#2 - Mystree Alysia Multi Print Dress - $74
Style Card:

On the hanger:

There is nothing terribly wrong with this dress. I love the shape (fitted tank-sleeve scoop neck top, defined waist, a-line skirt), and the print is kinda fun and Amanda said - would look cute with cropped black blazer and heels, or sandals and denim jacket.... However, in real life? Notsomuch. It fits really well. BUT, it was booty short. I have pretty nice and shapely legs and I do wear above-the-knee dresses, skirts, and shorts (thank you, running), but my 37 year old self can't get away with THIS short. I loved last month's dress pick, but it just wouldn't zip all the way (though I bet it would fit now post-surgery and 10 pounds off...) and it was the same shape/cut but a little longer than this. See? (Sorry I look a little depressed in the second photo but it's because I was not sure when my 9 year old photog was snapping. (In other news, I bought these Bandolino nude peep toe heels at TJMaxx after I saw some nude heels in last month's styling suggestions and I have worn them many many times already! Love them.)

Here's my other thing about this dress, other than the Kelly Kapowski shortness... It's super thin. Like thinner than my thinnest light summer cotton tees. And it's not lined, obviously. While I kinda like the idea of this dress, it's a standing up only dress AND it did not feel very quality... Especially for $74. But I wouldn't call it a fail. I didn't hate it. I just didn't love it enough to keep it. plus, even the hubs who loves   my legs thought it was too short.


#3 - Renee C Huebert Space Dye Open Cardigan - $58
Style Card:

on the hanger:

On me:

(See, yellow - happiest of all the colors - from idk when but I have had it a while and it's a happy shirt. Also note skinny black Rizzo pants from last month's Fix! Also, my hair is big. I have a lot of it. One thing about neck surgery is it's hard to wash hair in the shower to get all the soap out (though I manage) but it is also super difficult to blow dry long hair or straighten. So meet my lioness look...I am a Leo after all.)

Ok - about the cardigan - it's super soft and cuddly. It feels lovely on. It has those kinds of sleeves that are probably 2 inches too long, but I love a little bit of an extra long sleeves in cases like this. Will loved this (he is partial to the skinny pants, too) - and I liked it.

BUT - I have one almost exactly like this. It's not quite as buttery soft and flowy, not quite as long, and it's a darker grey, but very very very similar. Plus, it feels a little frumpy. I know it's not and seeing the photo assures me it does not look frumpy, but it feels a little frumpalicious. So, for $58, I could not justify keeping something so similar to another thing I have. But, if my stylist is basically picking things that I already have in my closet that's pretty spot on, too! Good pick, Amanda - just can't keep it!


#4 - Fun2Fun Sonoma Stiped Sleeveless Top - $38

Style Card:

On the hanger:

On me:

When I pulled this out of the box, I was thrilled. Not only did I generally like the style. But it is Auburn Tiger colors!!! Can I get a "War Eagle!" Down here, it's still 80-90 degrees for the first 2-3 months of football season and THIS could be my new Saturday Down South shirt, y'all. And then I tried it on. It was not what I expected. It has that hi-lo cut where the back is longer than the front. I am between a medium and a large in tops (decidedly large on bottom)... And right at the hips, this was narrower than I expected it to be. I almost cried and pitched a little hissy. I wanted this to be perfect. Well, the next day (the day these photos were taken) I slipped it on again and, well, somehow it *was* perfect. I think I just expected it to be looser and longer since it is a large... But styled like this, with my denim and sandals, it looks pretty cute, eh? It's my new Saturday game day shirt!!! War eagle, y'all!

Verdict: KEPT

#5 - Market & Spruce Trina Crochet Detail Tab-Sleeve Shirt - $54

style Card:

on the hanger:

On me:

Um, yeah. This is adorable. We were walking out the door and this is what I was actually wearing and we forgot to take a photo in the session with the other stuff (because I was actually already wearing this...) I have it in with some turned up dark wash jeans, gold jewelry, a brown camisole tank underneath (it is sheer, and the Henley-style peeks open at my bra area but it looks cute with the tank under and I don't have to worry about exposure.) This shirt is also a wee bit more narrow than one would expect a size large "breezy tunic" style top to be. However, it's not tight...and I love the navy and the versatility and the crochet detail and I can totally see this with leggings and tall brown boots in the fall/winter. Love. Love love love. 

Verdict: KEPT

So: Because 3 of you friend signed up last month by using my referral link and had a stitch fix sent, I had $75 of credit - from which StitchFix deducted the $20 styling fee credit when it shipped, but I get that re-credited when I purchase anything from the box - (you can get free StitchFix credit, too - go schedule your first fix now and get your own referral link... $25 per person who signs up!)

I kept:
Yellow necklace - $38
Striped top - $38
Navy tunic - $54
Total: $130
Credit: - $75
Total paid for two awesome tops and a killer fab necklace:

Pretty cool, eh? What do you think? Did I keep the right things? 
What are you waiting for - go sign up for your first Fix!