The Day We Became We & 11 Years Later

This post is part of the “Love is Everyday” campaign and contest with Personal Creations.

I’m not going to lie. As I’m typing this, I’m watching another sappy Hallmark Channel Valentine’s Day movie. I’m a sucker for a happily-ever-after story and they wrap theirs up quite nicely in two hours.

But I have to laugh because every single one of these movies ends right after the couple finally gets together. And in my experience, the happily-ever-after hasn’t even had a chance to develop at that point.

The Day We Became

I’ve been thinking about the day we became husband and wife over eleven and a half years ago. We were young, we were in love, we were all starry-eyed. It was an absolutely gorgeous day in every way: high in the low seventies, blue sky, perfectly deep pink gerbera daisies, bridesmaids in periwinkle, a sparkling tiara in my up-do, and my handsome man singing to me in his tux. The day we became Mr. and Mrs. was one of the happiest days of my life.

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Except that I think the days just get better and we are more of a WE now then we were on May 31, 2003.

Many marriages dissolve over the years because the couple “drifted apart.” We’ve worked hard to not let any drifting happen, but it wasn’t any sweeping romantic gestures that got us to where we are today.

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Eleven years of holding hands through uncertainty. Experiencing life and death together. Changing sheets and changing diapers. Moving from apartment to house to new city and onward. Watching movies and watching children grow and watching time fly by…together. Eleven years of growing stronger and closer together day by day.

I’ll go ahead with the cheesy line because it’s absolutely true: I love this man of mine more today than the day we got married. I am so thankful for the day he and I became we, but I’m infinitely more grateful for what our love looks like today.

The two-hour love stories we watch for entertainment are light-hearted and fun, but I will always take our eleven years of love unfolding with many more years to follow as my happily-ever-after.

The lovely “The Day We Became &” canvas pictured above is just one of the beautiful personalized gifts available from Personal Creations. I received ours as part of this campaign and we are thrilled with it! Take a look around for a special gift to celebrate you and your honey!

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The Wonder of Evy’s Tree

I received some of these items to review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own.

We had a few warm days this January. Such a tease. But now we’re back in full-blown winter weather and I can’t say I’m totally disappointed because it means I can wear ALL THE HOODIES!

When I say hoodies, I’m not talking about frumpy sweatshirts made famous by Bill Belichick. No girl wants that comparison, am I right?!

I’m talking about my fashion + comfort obsession: Evy’s Tree.

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I basically live in Evy’s Tree these days and I’m ok with that. Just a few of the reasons I adore Evy’s Tree so much…

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I’ve never seen hoodies this cute in a store and every new design Amy launches is even more fabulous than the one before! There is tons of variety – some fitted, some loose, some fancy, some casual – but all are just gorgeous. I always get compliments on my Evy’s Tree pieces and I know it’s because they are so unique!

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You can tell with each piece that the Evy’s Tree team cares deeply about quality. They are described as “luxury hoodies” and they live up to that name in fit and feel. On top of this, the team goes out of their way to answer customer questions to make sure everybody gets the right fit.

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I love to support moms who are getting creative, running their own businesses, and making their dreams happen. Amy is one of those moms and her team is full of more just like her! Buying from mom-owned businesses is something I do whenever possible, so finding a great one like Evy’s Tree was a fun blessing!

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Evy’s Tree hoodies are an investment, but they are well worth it. Because they are comfy AND cute, I wear them all the time – at home on snow days, out with the family, even on dates! I have literally worn one every day this week! You will not regret saving your money to grab one of these amazing pieces!

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One other thing I need you to know about Evy’s Tree: once a new design is released, it will sell FAST. The best way to stay up-to-date on new releases is to follow @evystreeofficial on Instagram! There you will find sneak peeks, release info, styling ideas, and special sales! Hint: a new sneak peek was released today and you can enter to win it on Instagram or Facebook!

Take a look around at the wonder of Evy’s Tree – I know you will fall in love just like I have!

Do you own anything from Evy’s Tree? What are your favorite styles?

I’m linking up with The Pleated Poppy’s What I Wore Wednesday!

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The Hope Every Mom Needs

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I’m so excited! It’s like my friends are having a baby today, but instead it’s a book! And this new book is an important one for every mom.

Brooke McGlothlin {my MOB Society cofounder} and Stacey Thacker released Hope for the Weary Mom a few years ago as a self-published ebook, then in paperback. It was a powerful read for myself and for many other mamas. And a publisher took notice.

Today, Hope for the Weary Mom is releasing again, but this time with TONS of new, hope-filled content and coming from Harvest House Publishers! This calls for a happy dance!

Friends, I am the weary mom they wrote this book for {not specifically me, but you know what I mean} and I’m guessing many of you would say the same. It’s ok. Mothering is hard, holy work. Just because you’re weary doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. Brooke and Stacey have written a powerful message to help you and I refocus and find the source of true hope in the middle of motherhood.

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This isn’t one of those motherhood books that tells what you should and shouldn’t be doing. I can’t read those books. This book is like coffee date with two real moms who go through the same things as you. They have found a perspective and lifeline of hope in Jesus and they’re offering it to you with love.

One of my very favorite lines from the whole book is something I need to memorize and internalize…

“Our kids need moms who will get up, dust themselves off, and cast their nets one more time.”

That speaks right to where I am as a mom. Sometimes, after going several rounds with the kiddos, I just want to throw in the towel. But that is not what hope would do. Hope never gives up, just as Jesus never gives up on me.

“When you cling to the end of our rope, we pray you see him. He is your shelter. He will support you. He is the answer. He is Hope for the Weary Mom. ”

Please, dear mom friends, get this book for yourself today. Let the truth of it sink in to your hearts. Go through it with a small group. You are not alone in being weary, but together, we can find and CHOOSE hope!

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For a very limited time, when you purchase your copy of Hope for the Weary Mom anywhere books are sold, you can get three free videos from Stacey and Brooke giving you a behind-the-scenes look at how they personally overcome weariness and choose to live a hope-filled life.

In the videos, they’re allowing you a look into their private lives, sharing specific examples of those weary moments all moms have and how to find hope in the midst of it.

It’s like having two friends walk along-side you as you figure out this motherhood thing…and I couldn’t have picked two better friends for this job!


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I highly recommend these videos, because Brooke and Stacey are full of honest wisdom and lots of grace. They speak from a place of vulnerability and every word has been bathed in prayer.They’re only available during launch week for the Hope for the Weary Mom book, so go grab your copy now, keep your receipt, and then visit this site to claim your free videos. Be sure to tell them I sent you!

Brooke and Stacey, THANK YOU for writing this book and spreading this life-giving, hope-filled message! I love you both dearly and I’m SO proud of you!

Oh, and I’m actually mentioned in the book! When you read the book, let me know when you find it!  A little book hide-and-seek for you!

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February Goals

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

This starting of a new month with purpose and goals is really growing on me! And last month, I found myself coming back to these goals over and over again, not as an obsession, but as motivation. And it really worked to help me press forward when I needed the push. What can I say – accountability works for me, whether it’s checking in with friends or a blog post like this one! So here we go…

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First, here’s how my goals from last month went…

JANUARY GOALS

  • Read 1 book from my Joy Book List – I finished Bossypants by Tina Fey and it made laugh out loud every time I picked it up. There’s more language than some of you might care for, but as a fan of Tina and 30 Rock, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I also started In This House, We Will Giggle by Courtney DeFeo from my Joy Book List. In total, I finished FIVE books in January, including Bossypants, Own Your Life, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, and the last two books of the River of Time series – Bourne & Tributary and Deluge.
  • 2 date nights with my man – We had a great date night going to see Into the Woods and eating way too much popcorn. We didn’t have another date “night,” but we did get to go with one of our best friends to Kansas City for the day for a race! Which leads me to…
  • Run 70+ miles, including a 10K PR – Well over 70 miles – 90.42 to be exact – AND a 10K PR this month! I ran a 56:44 at the Groundhog Run in Kansas City, an underground race like none other I have done! That beat my old PR by almost three minutes!
  • Drink 64oz+ of water each day – This has become a full-blown habit for me and I know I am healthier overall because of it!
  • Set office hours for online work – Much, much better. Still working out the best hours for work during the day, but I’m also more able to compartmentalize than I was before.
  • 1 family game night a week - Beat the Parents is our new favorite, but the boys also love Puppyopoly and Qwirkle!

And on to next month…

FEBRUARY GOALS

  • Finish TWO books from my Joy Book List – I mentioned I’ve already started In This House, We Will Giggle, so that is book #1. I plan on FINALLY reading The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle this month as book #2!
  • Try a new restaurant with The Hubby for date night – We received a generous gift card to a super fancy restaurant in town, so we are making it happen this month!
  • Run 80+ miles and start half marathon training – It’s that time of year again! 12 week training plan means getting started February 16th! Anybody else training for a spring race?
  • Focus on home atmosphere – January was a good month, but it also felt hectic and cluttered. As we’re heading into the months of getting ready to move, I want more than ever slow down and simplify with our hearts and our stuff. I read some great stuff in Sally Clarkson’s Own Your Life that has me inspired in this area!

I’m seeing a trend in my goal-setting that lines up well with my strengths…I might have to write a little more about this since I hadn’t noticed it until now! Have you done the StrengthsFinder test yet?

I’m linking up with Hayley at The Tiny Twig for her monthly Goals with Grace post! Check it out to be inspired and share your own goals! And share your own goals here in the comments or link to your post so I can visit!

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What I’m Loving: January 2015

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

It can’t be the end of January already, can it?!

January has been a full month for us – full of activity and family time and fun and…we’re ending the month sick. Boo. This weekend will be spent resting and trying to get healthy as we start a fresh month!

Here’s a little recap of what I’m loving in this first month of 2015:

Parenthood

I’m a late-comer to this fabulous show. I actually started in on Netflix a year ago, but I just didn’t get into it at the time. After I finished The Gilmore Girls, I decided to give it another shot because I adore Lauren Graham. I’m so glad I did. I’m only in season five right now so NO SPOILERS from those of you who watched the finale last night. NO SPOILERS, PEOPLE. I’ve come to understand three things about each episode:

  1. Someone will make a very bad decision.
  2. Something horrible will happen to someone.
  3. I will cry.

Once I discovered this about every episode, I enjoyed it so much more. And I have fallen in love with the Braverman family in all their messy glory. I will have to wait a while to see the finale, but I know it will be worth it!

Basketball mom

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Our oldest started his first year of team basketball – with actual games, he wants you to know – and it has been such a fun experience so far! We are not the tallest people ever (understatement of the year), so I was a little worried about how he would fare in this sport. But I don’t even care if he is any good because he LOVES IT SO MUCH. After their first game, a loss by almost 20 points, his coach asked him what he thought and he said: “I loved it.” He didn’t even get the ball once in that game, but he defended with every ounce of his small frame. And I just beamed the rest of the day because of his joyful attitude. It has also been fun to watch him learn and grow as they practice and play more. We also went to a super exciting Huskers basketball game this month!

Books to better me

Own Your Life Fringe Hours
I received two books to review to start this new year and together they are teaching me so much about the use of my time! Yes, I’m often reading several books at a time. That’s just how I roll. Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson and The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner have been both challenging and filling for me. Because of these books, I’ve been taking the time to evaluate how I spend my days. This has been eye-opening and I’m really thankful. It’s like God knew I needed to read them at the same time or something! Own Your Life has a more spiritual, prayerful approach, while The Fringe Hours is very practical and journal-like. I find myself applying things from both books to my daily life every day!

Inspiration for women leaders

I’ve been a member of the Influence Network for a while now and I can’t recommend it highly enough. This is a group that really cares about growth and influence in the name of Jesus. The classes, the posts, the podcasts, the forums – it is all so encouraging. And I always love a good place to connect and network! I am an ENFP, after all!

Just this week, the brand new ministry, Propel Women, launched with the purpose of supporting and encouraging women leaders. As the cofounder of Raising Boys Ministries, I’ve been longing for more guidance and wisdom in doing this leadership thing well while keeping God and my family as priorities. I love what I’ve heard so far and look forward to learning more in this area! You can sign up for their free online magazine here!

Scarves on sale!

I’m a sucker for great scarves and I have TWO great sales to share with you!

fashionABLE has extended their end-of-the-year sale and you don’t want to miss these low prices on scarves that make a difference in the lives of the women who made them! Shop at this link to get an extra 10% off your order! My closet is full of these fabulous scarves – you will love them!

COS Scarf Sale 1-30

Cents of Style has a major one-day sale on scarves today! Buy 1 beautiful, colorful spring scarf for $11.95 and you will be offered a cozy, black, cable knit, infinity scarf for FREE at checkout! Just use coupon code 2FOR1. Plus, Cents of Style always offers FREE SHIPPING! Remember, this sale is today, Friday, January 30th, only!

What did you love this month? What are you reading, watching, wearing, and listening to?

I’m linking up with Leigh for her monthly What I’m Into post!

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My 2015 Verse of the Year (and the story behind it)

I received this canvas to review from Naptime Diaries. I was not compensated in any other way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own.

This summer, The Hubby and I were in the middle of a decision-making season. With the end of residency approaching, we were faced with two job offers and no clear answers. We had scheduled a second visit to one of the clinics, so I texted and emailed a few close friends to ask for prayer.

I was humbled and blessed by their responses and willingness to stand in the gap as we looked to God for the next step in our future. The morning of our trip, I opened up my inbox to find a message from one particular friend who shared the verse she was praying for us…

“They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.” -Isaiah 49:10

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My mouth dropped open. And then I cried. What I hadn’t mentioned to my friend {or to you} is that the town we were visiting and considering for our future home was located on a river.

NTD Verse Water

We wouldn’t make our final decision for another two months after that visit, but I couldn’t get the verse and its connection with the water out of my head.

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Guidance. Leadership. Compassion from the Lord. This is what we were looking for in our time of uncertainty. And this verse from a friend also provided much comfort.

NTD Verse Compassion

Two months later, The Hubby signed a contract in that wonderful small town on the river. Isaiah 49:10 – a word from God spoken through a friend – became a key verse in our life and it’s the guiding verse for us in 2015.

As we prepare for a move – selling a house, buying a house, ending residency and starting at a clinic, transitioning our whole family – it fills my heart with hope and peace to know He cares enough to compassionately guide and lead us.

When my friend Jessi of Naptime Diaries asked if she could design a 2015 verse of the year print for our family, it was obvious what our choice would be.

NTD Verse Mantel

I couldn’t be happier with her design! When I opened our canvas, I had tears in my eyes. Not only is the verse so meaningful to us, but the colors and texture match it so perfectly. It sits atop our mantel now as my constant reminder and inspiration. I am so incredibly grateful.

The whole Verse of the Year collection from Naptime Diaries is just gorgeous and each one has a wonderful story behind it. You really need to check them all out. We have Naptime Diaries pieces all over our home and they are such a blessing!

I’m so excited to say you can buy the Isaiah 49:10 print or anything you want from the whole Naptime Diaries shop – including the fabulous new Lent devotional – for 25% off with the code “homewiththeboys” through the end of February! This is such a gift!

What is your verse for 2015? Which Naptime Diaries print is your favorite?

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My Beautiful One Word Reminder {Giveaway}

I’m needing constant reminders to choose and cling to joy this year. I’ve added the word in various parts of our home decor. I left out a JOY pillow we usually only have out at Christmas time. And my friend Kashoan sent me this beautiful reminder to carry with me everywhere I go…

One Word 2015 Necklace

There really is a difference for me when that word is right there, all the time, reminding what God spoke into my heart when He gave me this word for 2015.

The necklace itself isn’t heavy, but it’s presence is. This necklace has a presence that reminds me of where my joy comes from – my ever-present God who never changes, never leaves me, never stops loving me, and never stops offering His joy for me to choose.

One Word 2015 Necklace 2

My joy necklace is even more special because I know it was made with love by a friend. Every piece I have ever received from KraftyKash has been perfection. I love this family business and their dedication to making unique pieces to bless people.

Have you picked your “one word” for 2015? Would you love to wear it around your neck? KraftyKash is having a sale on One Word dictionary necklaces through the end of January – they are just $22! And you can add a charm like the heart on mine for just $3!

Just for fun, let’s give away TWO One Word necklaces today! Just tell me in the comments what your word is to be entered! I will choose two random winners Sunday night, January 25th, at 9PM CST and notify them by email!

Thank you to KraftyKash for this wonderful giveaway and my gorgeous necklace! You are a gift!

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About This Blog Silence…

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I’m still here! And if you’re connected with me on social media, you know I’m still alive, but busy! Every time I think I have a few moments to sit down and write here, life happens and I’ve learned to just go with that flow. But I do miss writing here.

So what have I been up to during this busy season?

Family Stuff

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Big J had his first basketball game. We’ve been watching football and mourning the end of our team’s season. Puzzles and playing outside and cookies and mommy-son dates and homeschool…lots of good family stuff.

Date Night

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Our much needed first date night of 2015 was to see Into the Woods. I loved it. So much. And after having watched it, I would not let my own kids see it until they are quite a bit older. It is a wonderful musical, but the themes are quite mature and I’m not sure they even get most of the movie. But I will probably be buying the movie and watching it on repeat, singing along with every word. Of course, the best part of  seeing the movie was with whom I saw it – he’s my favorite.

Training

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I still can’t believe how much I love running, but I do. This month, I’ve been training to get a new 10K personal record. The Hubby and I are doing a unique 10K race out of town next weekend, so we’ll see then how the training pays off! I love using my Believe Training Journal to plan my workouts and then record how they went. Would you be interested in knowing more about my weekly exercise plan?

Reading

I’m devouring some great books this month and rediscovering just how much reading fills me up. I finished Lisa T. Bergren’s River of Time series – five books, Christian young adult fiction, set in 14th century Italy, exciting and lots of fun. I cried when it was over. Yes, I get a little invested in fiction books.

I’m reading three other fabulous books right now, too – Bossypants by Tina Fey, The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner, and Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson. I’m really enjoying all of them and have a long list to choose from when these are done!

This is life, people. And instead of being upset or anxious when I don’t have time to write, I’m taking it as a hint that I need to breathe, to live NOW and write later. This post from Shauna Niequist has me thinking deeply about how much of life I have missed and how much more I want to notice everything.

I have a bunch of fun things to share with you this week, including two great exclusive discounts for you on some of my FAVORITE things, so don’t go away! I’m still here and I’m thankful you are, too!

What have YOU been up to this first month of 2015?

 

 

 

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Prayer + Motherhood

I’ve been on my knees a lot to start this new year. It seems that when one declares a word for the year, that very thing may be the thing you for which you have to fight the hardest.

I believe that also goes for anything to which we are truly dedicated. Our marriage, our children, our ministry. The enemy doesn’t want us focused on these good things. And so the most important things in our lives are also often the most challenging.

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Motherhood is one of those for me – something I’ve always wanted, something I treasure, something I want to do well. And yet it is also more difficult than I could have ever imagined.

As I’ve tried to proceed in 2015 with JOY, I’ve grasped new glimpses where I didn’t see it before, but I’ve also been met with much discouragement in the form of distraction and arguing and disobedience. I often feel beat down by the end of the day.

I’m not saying this is all my children’s fault. I’ve made plenty of negative choices, particularly in my role as mom, that have left me worn, losing my focus on joy. But I haven’t given up. I can’t ever give up because I’m mothering with an eye on eternity.

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Through it all, prayer has been my saving grace. Early morning prayers for wisdom and love. Midday prayers for a peaceful afternoon. Evening prayers asking for forgiveness and new mercies for the next day. Prayers all day long to find the joy in all of it.

Boys Reading BW blog

I don’t tend to write out my prayers, but the focus on the Tommy Nelson blog this month is on prayer and God just spilled these words out of me as I wrote my heart for moms of boys – and for me. I’m not writing + praying as a mom who has figured out this boy-raising thing, but as a mom who desperately wants God to show me what these boys – MY BOYS – need from their mother. I need His wisdom. I need His strength. I need His grace. And so do my boys.

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I used to think God was calling me to be a mother because I would be good at it. {insert my laughter here} Now I know motherhood is my calling because it is always refining me and keeping me dependent on my God. Motherhood draws me close to Him + prayer is our best form of communication.

Moms – join me in prayer this week, this month, this year? Whether you are a mom of boys, a single parent {or sometimes single}, a woman who longs to be a mom, or any mother – someone is praying the same prayer you are. And there are more motherhood prayers yet to come on Tommy Nelson this month, so stay tuned!

If you have a specific prayer request related to motherhood, share it in the comments or feel free to email it to me. It would be my joy to pray for you today!

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Stitch Fix #3

This post includes referral links. 

I gave myself a little early Christmas present with some Stitch Fix referral credits and had my next fix shipped right before the holidays. I’ve had good and not-so-good experiences with Stitch Fix in the past, but I love how committed they are to getting a fix right for you! And I did have credits, so I gave it another shot!

I’m so glad I did! I only kept one item, but I could tell they were trying to give me what I requested with the other items as well.

If you don’t know about Stitch Fix, it’s a styling service that comes right to your house! You fill out an extensive online survey that includes your sizes, style preferences, budget and more. You are also able to leave notes for your stylist to further explain what you’re hoping to get in your fix – or you can let them completely surprise you! Stitch Fix also asks for a link to a Pinterest board that you’ve compiled with styles you love. They DO actually look at the board for inspiration!

Then you schedule your fix and a box shows up at your house with five items selected by a stylist, along with cards featuring styling ideas for each piece! You are charged a $20 styling fee when the box ships, but that $20 is also applied to your bill should you choose to keep any items. If you decide to buy all five items in your box, you get 25% off the entire purchase! If you don’t keep anything, they keep the $20 styling fee. It’s a gamble, but it is kind of fun AND from the experience of many others, each fix usually gets better as your stylist learns what you like and don’t like.

This time around I was looking for two things: fun, bright colored tops and a great pair of skinny jeans. And this is what I got…

Stitch Fix 3 Collage

Yeah, the lighting isn’t great, but all I can say is TOO COLD for outside and I had a young photographer ;)

Let’s start with the tops: fun patterns, bright colors for the most part, but just not quite right for me. I liked the cut of the first shirt, the pattern on the second, and the colors of the third. If I could have combined what I liked about all three shirts into one shirt, it would have been a winner, but alas, I didn’t keep any of them. The price was actually not too bad either {less than $40}, but I’m learning to only buy things I REALLY love so I don’t end up with a closet full of rarely-worn clothes. Verdict on the shirts: all sent back.

About the skinny jeans: How in the world is it that I can go to a store and try on a billion pairs of jeans, never finding the ones that fit “just right,” but Stitch Fix can send me a pair in a box that fits magically and is exactly what I want?! Yep, I love the jeans. I’ve been wearing them for a month and I still love them. They are skinny, but not restricting. I love the dark wash. I love where the waistline hits me. Yes, they were $78. I’ve never paid that much for a pair of pants before, but the referral credits softened the blow a little and they are totally worth the money. Verdict on the jeans: BIG FAT KEEP.

Stitch Fix 3 Necklace

I also received a gold + silver bauble necklace in my fix, but I was not in need of any jewelry, so I sent that back with the shirts. Verdict on the necklace: sent back.

I only kept one item, but I consider this box a huge success for two reasons:

  1. THE JEANS
  2. My stylist tried to stretch me a bit with the shirts, and while I didn’t keep any, it was fun to try them!

Stitch Fix is great for those who hate shopping, those who can’t shop because of kids/work schedule/etc., and those who enjoy having someone else pick out clothes for them! I still love to shop, so I consider Stitch Fix to a be a once or twice a year treat for me and I will definitely be back!

Have you tried Stitch Fix yet? Have any questions before you give it a try?

 

 

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