Friday, April 17, 2015

Stitch Fix Maternity - April 2015

Yay! It's Stitch Fix time!


{about stitch fix}

In case you haven't heard...

Stitch Fix is an online styling/shopping service. For a $20 fee, they send you five clothing or accessory pieces that a personal stylist has chosen just for you, based on your style profile, special notes to your stylist, and even your Pinterest boards. When you receive your box, you can choose to buy as many of the items as you want, and then return what you don't want in your return bag (postage is prepaid!). Your $20 styling fee applies to anything you purchase, and if you love everything, you get a 25% discount on your entire box!

So basically, it's a ton of fun. You can choose to receive just one box (no subscription required!), or you can subscribe to receive boxes every 2-3 weeks, monthly, every other month, or quarterly.

Stitch Fix also offers petite and maternity options now, which works out just perfectly for my preggo self.

{my maternity stitch fix - april 2015}

This is my second maternity Stitch Fix (read about my first here! By the way (spoiler alert), I kept the leggings and the gray striped shirt!). I was so excited to rip into this box! Let's take a look at my treasures from this month...




Loveappella Carlita Multi Chevron Print Maxi Dress ($78)

first impressions: CRAY-CRAY print. Something I would never take a second looks at in a store. Super soft, though. Sleeveless (can be a problem since I wear my LDS garments all the time).

on me:


thoughts: Okay, I don't love the print. It's busy, very colorful (even more so in person), and gives off a hippie vibe that is not a normal part of my style. BUT. But. It is incredibly comfortable. The material is super soft and perfectly flowy and cool. It stretches well over my bump, but it's technically not a maternity dress, so I can wear post baby, too. In fact, the criss-cross opening would make this an ideal nursing dress. The coloring does work with my skin, and I thankfully have a couple cardigans that will work really well to add coverage (though I could see myself using it as a swimsuit cover, too). So basically, UNDECIDED.


RD Style Jennika Open Cardigan ($38)

first impressions: Why was I sent this? In fact, why does this cardigan exist?

on me:


thoughts: Okay, so I get why it exists. It creates a layered look. But it does nothing else. The weave is incredibly open, so it adds no warmth and no coverage. I'm still a little surprised that I even received this, since I specifically requested no layering/outerwear pieces. Once I added it to an outfit, I liked how it looked, but I just can't add it to my wardrobe. RETURN. 


Dahlya Steval Swing Knit Top ($58)

first impressions: Ooh, stripes! (Stripes are my love language, I think). And a nice casual shirt. Awesome!

on me:


thoughts: No. No no no. The bottom of this shirt just doesn't work. The front is so high that if I lift up my arms at all, my belly pops right out. And the difference between the front and the sides is just a little too drastic for my liking. Plus, the whole cut just did zero things for my figure. Super boxy. Sorry, stripes -- you cannot save this shirt. RETURN. 


Laila Jayde Darcie Knot Front Maternity Top ($28)

first impressions: Kind of plain. Looks kind of short. The color is nice.

on me:


thoughts: I could almost pass off as not pregnant from a front view in this shirt, which is incredible. It is short, like I feared, but the knot in front kind of keeps it in place. It's cute, lightweight, and different from anything else I own. I think it'll also work post-baby, which is always a plus. The downsides are that there's not much that is super WOW about it, and it's just barely see-through, so I might be self conscious about it since it looks funny with an undershirt. The price is right, but I'm still UNDECIDED. 


Tart Maternity Delanee Maternity Dress ($118)

first impressions: Holy expensive. Super pretty color and pattern, but unsure how it'll fit. Not sure if I really want it to work, or really don't want it to work. 

on me:


thoughts: Dang, guys. This color looks goooood on me. (Does that sound cocky? Whatev.) And the pattern is so cute! And the top actually works, but is still unique! But alas, I don't think this was meant to be. If it was two inches longer, we'd probably be in business. But remember my aforementioned garments? They are seriously right.there. at the hem. Any sort of lifting, sitting, bending, etc., will show them off. Oh, and the arm holes are actually kind of big, so any lifting of my arms will show off, too. Basically, any scenario other than this photo isn't going to work for this dress. However, dear dress, if you and that maxi above ever want to hook up and create a dress baby in that cut with your print, I'll be all over that. RETURN.


{verdict}

Well, this box was a tiny bit of a letdown, since there wasn't anything that is a super-clear keep. I'll probably end up keeping the knot-front top, since it's so cheap and I'd hate to lose my styling fee. But I'd also hate to keep something just to keep it, you know?

Was this box bad enough to turn me off from Stitch Fix? Absolutely not! I'd definitely still recommend them to anyone who needs help shopping for one reason or another. (Speaking of my recommendation, the links to Stitch Fix in this post are referral links, so signing up through them gets me a little sumpin-sumpin from Stitch Fix. Just in the interest of full disclosure, you know.)

All right, so what do you think about those undecideds? Help a sista out!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Trying New Things: March 2015

I have something of a weakness for new things. I'm a sucker for a new product to try out (within reason, of course) and if I buy something over and over again, it means that I really, really love it.

I thought I'd try putting this weakness of mine to good use by sharing with you a few of the new things I try every month. They could include food, beauty products, cleaning supplies, kitchen gadgets, apps...you get the idea. They might not all be winners, but hopefully we'll at least enjoy ourselves exploring some new things together!

So let's try this out, shall we?

First up for this month is Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara.



Mascara is my absolute favorite makeup product, and I've been trying out new mascaras for years. I have tried so, so many. In fact, I've tried enough that I've actually settled on two favorites that I'll buy repeatedly (this drugstore mascara and this high end mascara, if you're curious). So I mostly keep it to those two and don't buy many new ones. But a full size of this Rimmel one came in my Walmart Spring Beauty Box, so I tried it out.

I was actually pleasantly surprised!



The mascara gave me good separation and length, though not a ton of volume. It also didn't weigh down the curl, so that's always good. Separation is my number one requirement for a good mascara, so I'd say I'm a fan!

My biggest gripe with this is that it goes on pretty wet, which can make application a little tricky. You can see in my after picture that I even got a little bit on my lash line, even though I was being super careful. It wipes off easily though, even with a dry q-tip...er, cotton swab.

This mascara also claims to help your lashes grow faster. I haven't been using it long enough to say anything one way or the other on that!

Overall, if you're looking for a good, affordable mascara, I'd definitely recommend this one, especially if my beloved LashBlast doesn't work for you (some people hate it!). I'll use this tube, for sure... but I'll probably stick to my LashBlast.


Next, let's take a look at GoPicnic On-the-Go Meals and Snacks 

This was about as "impulse buy" as you can get. I literally just saw these on the shelf at Target, thought they looked interesting, and went home with three different varieties. I'm all about convenience when it comes to lunch nowadays, and all too often, that means either a drive thru or an incredibly lame meal at home. So these convenient little boxes, with everything planned and portioned out, seemed like a great fit for me.



GoPicnic's meals and snacks require no refrigeration, and they boast no trans fats, no artificial flavors/colors, no high fructose corn syrup, and no added MSG. They offer vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, which don't apply to my family, but cool. The calorie count is low, too -- they advertise that everything they make is under 500 calories.



Taste wise, I approve. This salami and cheese variety was my favorite. A cracker with some of the cheese spread and a slice of salami on top? Yum! It also came with a small bag of a fruit/nuts/yogurt mix, and some "chocolate pillows" which were pretty yummy. All pretty small portions, but surprisingly filling. Certainly enough for a small lunch for me, though certainly NOT enough for a small lunch for my husband.

Unfortunately, looking at the nutrition facts, and based on my limited knowledge of nutrition, I'd hardly call these healthy. The variety I liked best was pretty packed of saturated fats and sodium. I guess since it was replacing a whole meal, that could be acceptable, especially if you're not watching what you eat at all (--raises hand--) but anyone wanting an exceptionally healthy lunch might be disappointed. Some of the other options might be better.

I also tried the "turkey slices and cheddar" variety (just okay), and I had my three-year-old try the "peanut butter and crackers" variety. Charly loved the "special lunch in a box" thing, and she liked and ate most of the food, but surprisingly, she absolutely hated the fruit snacks they included. She actually used the word "disgusting." So there's that.

Overall, if you're looking for something super convenient that is probably a better, cheaper choice than most fast food, I'd say these fit the bill. I can totally see us buying these for our kids (or even for myself) for long car trips or future airplane rides. And I might keep some on hand for lunches on busy/tired days, too.


Aaand finally, let's talk about John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls Curl Perfecting Spray.



Oh, my hair. In its natural, air dried state, it's weirdly flat at the roots, frizzy/poofy in the middle, and just blah at the ends. It has serious curl in some places, gentle wave in others, and is pretty straight in a few random spots. Seriously, guys, it's a gigantic mystery.

So I end up blow drying and either straightening or curling it into sort of submission, which I'm sure causes all kinds of damage. It also takes waaaay too much time to do. So I've been trying to embrace my hair for what it is, to help minimize the damage to my hair and my schedule. I've been on the hunt for products that will allow me to air dry it and then just touch up with the hot stuff, hopefully ending up with some nice waves.

Well, I've tried an awful lot of products, and I'm pretty comfortable saying that this is the best one so far!

It helps a ton with the general frizz that seems to pop up as my hair dries, but it doesn't ruin any of the natural curl. It doesn't dry crispy (a huge plus for a curly hair product!) and doesn't add any weight to my roots. I also love that it's a spray, which makes it easy to distribute evenly through my hair.

I've used this a few times. In fact, I used it this morning, and it pretty much gave me exactly what I wanted. I let my hair air dry and ultimately spent literally three minutes touching it up with my flat iron and curling wand. I am so impressed!


(got to love the weirdly backlit, at-the-office selfie, taken seconds before your husband walks in for a work meeting. #winning)


So there you have it -- three new things I tried in March! Did you try anything new? Anything I should check out?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

20 weeks

20 weeks down, 20 to go!

Just thought I'd give you a little glimpse into what this pregnancy is like for me right now, since I haven't really documented it at all and someone, somewhere might actually want to know (even if it's just future me).




Due date: August 11 (all my measurements have been right on for this, so it hasn't changed!)

Weight gain: Approximately 10 pounds. Possibly 11 since I just ate some In-n-Out for lunch. My belly has definitely perma-popped and my belly button is fighting to stay an innie.

Baby size: According to my tracker app, "Baby is now about the size of a Belgian endive." (And I'm like....riiiiight.)

Sleep: I'm sleeping pretty good. Not proportionately to how tired I am, but whatever. I already get up at least once to pee. On a positive note, I'm finally enough of a grownup that I can pee in the middle of the night without turning on the light! No applause necessary.

Sickness: The continual sickness has ceased --thank goodness-- but every once in a while I get a weird wave of nausea that hits hard and fast, and hangs around for a while. The best way to keep it at bay is to eat pretty consistently throughout the day, but I have to eat just the right amount. And if I start to feel sick, it's over. It's a pretty delicate balance. My body is pretty picky this time around.

Aches/pains: Speaking of my picky body, it's just not really capable of handling much this time around. Everything is apparently much looser and weaker when you're on your fourth pregnancy, which equals everything being much achier, much faster. I can't be on my feet long without feeling pain from the waist down. #everythingisawesome No back pain yet, though, which has been the bane of my existence during my other pregnancies.

Cravings: My two consistent cravings have been: (1) sourdough bread (lightly toasted with butter. YUM) and (2) sour candy (the sour-er the better. Most things aren't sour enough). But it's not like those things taste good all the time, and there are plenty of other things that I want pretty badly, pretty often (helllllo, dark chocolate). My big anti-craving has been pizza. Ugh. No matter where it's from, it's always too greasy and while I can stomach eating it, it makes me feel so gross afterwards. Not cool, since pizza is obviously delicious and convenient.

Random: We just found out last week that we're having a baby GIRL, which the girls are both thrilled about, since, according to them, "We already have a baby boy." Baby girls are so fun in so many ways, so we're excited! She mostly cooperated during her ultrasound, but apparently the tech was unable to get very good angles on her head, so we're having to schedule another ultrasound in 6 weeks to hopefully get a better look. Also, she's a total wiggle worm! I feel her move way more often than I was feeling Parker at this point. That's easily my favorite part of pregnancy, so I'm loving it.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

My first Stitch Fix Maternity box!

{about stitch fix}

You've probably heard of Stitch Fix by now, but in case you haven't...

Stitch Fix is basically an online personal styling/shopping service. For a $20 fee, they send you five clothing or accessory pieces chosen just for you, based off of your style profile, special notes to your stylist, and even Pinterest boards. When you receive your box, you can then choose to buy as many of the items as you want, and return what you don't love in your return bag (prepaid postage provided). AND your $20 styling fee gets applied to anything you buy! So that's cool. And if you happen to get a slam dunk of a box, you get 25% off for buying everything in it.

Pretty cool, right?


{stitch fix and me}

I signed up with Stitch Fix several months ago, but didn't actually commit to having a box shipped to me. I was turned off a bit by the higher prices of the items. Plus, I usually actually enjoy shopping -- so why would I want someone else to do it for me?

So what changed?

Well, a few things.

(1) I got sick of my Birchbox and Ipsy subscriptions. That may seem entirely unrelated, but let me explain. While I decided that the whole sample-sized-beauty-product-with-the-occasional-full-sized-eyeliner-which-I-never-wear thing wasn't for me, I loveloveloved getting my boxes every month. It was so fun to have something special show up just for me -- something that I didn't have to put any effort into finding or choosing. It was such a special treat. So basically, canceling these subscriptions left a $20-for-a-subscription-box sized hole in my heart.

(2) I got pregnant. With my FOURTH baby. FOURTH babies make their presence known. Quickly. They make you too big for your regular clothes. They make you too tired to shop. And the very fact that it's your FOURTH means that you basically have to make any and all buying decisions on the fly in the store, since your existing three children have the patience of your bladder (i.e. zero. Zero patience).

(3) I discovered how many of my old maternity clothes are worn out or have changed shape or whatever since being washed. I've also been trying to adjust my style just a bit -- making it a little more age appropriate and sophisticated, while still keeping it comfortable and casual. Those things, plus the fact that I was desperate to just feel cute instead of bloated, made me much more amenable to the idea of spending a little bit more on my clothes.

(4) Stitch Fix announced that they were now offering maternity-specific styling.

Well, all those things combined made Stitch Fix look pretty darn attractive. So I updated my style profile and scheduled my first fix!


{my maternity stitch fix}

So, finally...my box came yesterday! I probably don't have to tell you that I basically starting ripping the box open before the front door was even shut after I picked it up. And then I started trying things on! Here's what was in my box:

LA Made Maternity Laina Maternity Knit Top ($68)

first impressions: pretty color, super soft fabric

styling suggestions: 


on me: 



thoughts: I love the neutral color of this top, and the fabric is super soft. But...it has a weird tank top layer underneath it (I'm guessing to make it a nursing top also, which is cool) that made the fit weird and created some weird lines on the fabric. That, especially for the higher price, equals RETURN. 


Mur Mur Carlie Hooded Vest ($58)

first impressions: This is something I would never, ever buy for myself, but love the look of when it's styled into a full outfit. Nice that it's something I could wear after the baby, too. A little bit edgy, which is fun and different. 

styling suggestions:



on me:



thoughts: Honestly, I didn't give this vest much of a chance, so I just threw it on over the casual dress I was wearing yesterday. I'm sure it would look better all styled up like on the card. But the truth is...I'd never wear this. My style is a lot simpler than that. Plus, it's already over 90 degrees here, so adding even half of another layer is just out of the question until October. Sorry, vest. You're cool. It's not you...it's me. RETURN. 


Loveappella Maternity Davidi Button Detail Maternity Top ($48)

first impressions: Oh, yeah. This is definitely something I would have picked out for myself. Perfect blend of casual and put together. Oh, and stripes!

styling suggestions:



on me:


(and a close up so you can see the cute buttons on the shoulders):



thoughts: Very comfortable. 3/4 sleeve could get hot, but it doesn't need an undershirt and the fabric is super lightweight, so it should be fine even in the summer. Could be dressed up or down. Room for the bump to grow. Winner winner chicken dinner. KEEP.


Rune Porter Maternity Legging ($58)

first impressions: Ooh, these are going to be hard to let go of. I've heard so many people sing the praises of maternity leggings, and a single quality pair would get me through this whole pregnancy, I'm sure, since I don't wear them too often. 

styling suggestions:



on me: (ha, this is the worst picture ever. Don't worry, they're just black leggings.)



thoughts: Wow, so comfortable! They are even full panel (something which I usually hate) and I didn't mind at all. They feel like they're supportive but they don't make my legs look like sausages stuffed into casing. They're just...lovely. BUT, they're also expensive! Could I find similar quality leggings for significantly cheaper? Help me on this one, peeps! UNDECIDED. 


Octavia Chanelle Floral & Lace Infinity Scarf ($34)

first impressions: So pretty! And who doesn't love a great scarf?

styling suggestions:


(um, thanks?)

on me:



thoughts: Ugh, I love this scarf. Easily the prettiest scarf I've ever worn. It has the floral pattern on one side and the cream lace on the other. The colors are lovely and work well with my skin. Two problems: the price (this is way more than I would usually even consider paying for a scarf), and the fact that I wouldn't be able to wear until fall. But honestly, it's cute enough to have me still considering it. UNDECIDED. 


{verdict}

It was so fun getting my first Stitch Fix; fun enough to make up for the fact that there was only one thing that was a no-brainer keeper. I do take some responsibility for that: I failed to tell my stylist about the impending, debilitating heat that is already descending on my city. I think that would have made a difference. 

Also...the prices. I knew that was going to be an issue from the beginning. I think that's really going to be a matter of changing my mindset about clothes. I need to learn to buy nicer things less often, and to use key pieces in various outfits. I mean, if that gray striped shirt I'm keeping, for example, replaces two cheap $14 shirts I might buy elsewhere, then it evens out (with my $20 taken off). And if those leggings keep me from buying an extra pair of jeans that I may or may not ever wear because they only look so-so, then they're worth it, too! I just need to get into that mindset: quality and versatility versus more cheap stuff. 

So, help me out on my undecideds, por favor! And if you want to try this fun service out for yourself, check out Stitch Fix here!

Friday, March 13, 2015

I'm working on it

Wow, you guys. Just wow.

As you may or may not have noticed, the last thing I wrote on this little bloggy blog of mine got passed around, well, quite a bit. It was... new. And freaky. And wonderful. And validating.

And, ultimately... stifling.

Because, quite frankly, I felt pressure. Pressure to write something else that that many people would care to read.

And then you throw in the goings on of everyday life and it's like, "Not only do I have to come up with something great to write about, but I have to find the time to write it?"

And then you struggle coming up with a new routine when your daughter starts a new preschool year.
And then you get slammed with birthday season.
And then you travel a bit.
And then the holidays come.
And then you get pregnant.
And then you throw up (repeat this step often).
And then you start to feel the serious need to do something for yourself, because sanity may not be overrated after all.

And then your mind drifts over to that little blog you love but so often neglect, and you think "Gah, it's been so ridiculously long since I wrote anything. Anything I say is just going to sound lame."

Which quickly becomes "I'm never writing again."

And that makes you sad.

And maybe, if you're lucky, some random Thursday will come when you pick up one of your favorite books and you start rereading it. And you realize that those sadness-inducing voices inside your head just don't have to be there. They're just nasty little gremlins trying to convince you that you're not good enough.

And you'll say, "Gosh dang it, I miss writing on my blog."

And you'll want to write on your blog.

So you do.

And maybe no one will ever visit my blog again, or maybe someday I'll look back at that number of visitors I got on that one day in June and I'll laugh at how big I thought it was.

But it won't really matter either way, because this is for me.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Here's why Kate Kelly was not excommunicated for asking questions

Let me first say -- I feel bad for Kate Kelly. Excommunication from the LDS church is no small matter. Depending on how she handles it, it could have devastating, eternal consequences for her and her family. It's sad, it really is. For any church members to say that they are glad she is gone, or that they are vindicated by this decision...well, it's not a very good attitude to have, friends. We want for Kate what we want for everyone -- eternal life and exaltation.

The doctrine/lack of doctrine behind the issue of ordaining women has been discussed. A lot. That's not what I want to do here.

I have to bring to light, though, a facet of this sad event that is having far-reaching consequences -- most notably, a negative perception of the church that I love.

It saddens me to see that Kate Kelly's excommunication has turned into "Mormons can't ask questions or they'll be excommunicated." Some members of the church claim to feel "silenced" by this action against Sister Kelly. They say that the church is sending a message that if you ask questions, even sincere ones, you will not be permitted membership in the church.

Here's my problem with that: Kate Kelly was NOT asking a question.

I repeat: Kate Kelly was NOT asking a question. Not anymore. She was sharing a teaching, a belief.

From Ordain Women's mission statement: "Ordain Women believes women must be ordained in order for our faith to to reflect the equality and expansiveness of [the fundamental tenets of Mormonism]."

While other language on the website reflects the idea of "asking" Church leaders to prayerfully consider the topic, the fact is that they believe that women should be ordained. Not "We wonder if women should be ordained" or "We are exploring the idea of ordaining women" or "We doubt that God meant for His priesthood to be held exclusively by men." No. Their belief is set. In fact, each member profile on the Ordain Women website ends the same way: "I believe that women should be ordained."

This is not a question. This is a statement of belief. It is a teaching.

This is further supported by Ordain Women's six "discussions" that explain their cause and mission. They are trying to teach people. They are not seeking an answer. Rather, they have found their answer and are unwilling to accept any alternatives. They are demanding their solution. The very name of their organization is a command: Ordain Women.

Kate Kelly is not forbidden from wondering if women should be ordained. She is not forbidden from praying about the subject, or from discussing it with her family and friends and local leaders. She can even believe that women will receive the priesthood someday, when God reveals it. She can believe that, and not be excommunicated.

What she can't do is teach it as though it were established doctrine. Not without permission from the people who are tasked with keeping the doctrine in line with God's will. She taught it anyway. They asked her to stop. She didn't.

Here I must point out -- If any limit is placed on the questions we ask, it is this: that no person can receive revelation for an area outside their jurisdiction (for lack of a better term). Jurisdiction, for most members, means the member and his/her family. For a bishop, it means him, his family, and his ward. For the prophet (and only the prophet) it means the entire church. To sustain a leader of the church (a formal "vote," if you will, to show public support for a leader of the church) is to agree to be led by his/her counsel, and to respect his/her area of jurisdiction.

Kate Kelly was not, is not, never has been, in a position to receive revelation for the entire church. Not only that, but she sustained her bishop and stake president, along with the general leaders of the church -- the prophet and apostles. She agreed to respect them, and to allow their words and insights to help her find answers to her questions. But when they gave her counsel she didn't agree with, she refused to listen. That is not asking. That is demanding to hear an answer that she has already given herself. At some point, Sister Kelly crossed the boundary from honest questioning and well-intentioned doubting to preaching a doctrine contrary to the teachings of the church. She continued to do so after being asked to stop. This teaching needed to be dissociated with the official doctrine of the church. This is why she was excommunicated -- not because she asked a question.

Let me be clear: Mormons are not expected to believe anything. We are not expected to follow blindly. We are encouraged to ask for and seek truth. We are taught to ask with sincere hearts and unwavering faith. We are told that this sincere asking will bring us personal peace and guidance.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not prohibit, hinder, or in any way discourage questions. It just doesn't. And if Ordain Women really had been asking a question, Kate Kelly's story may have ended differently.



UPDATE, 6/30: To read the church's official statement on questions and doctrine, click here. 

UPDATE 2, 6/30: I so appreciate all of you reading and adding your comments. Please know that I'm having some problems with Blogger and comments right now; the latest comments are not being displayed for some reason. The comments ARE showing up in the backend, but are not being shown on the live blog. I'm working to fix this, but in the meantime, please only post your comment one time. Thank you!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

On the chopping block. And family pictures.

We all knew this day would come, right?

I mean, Maddy's been comfortable using scissors for a long time now.

And Charly's hair...well, it was long.

Yes. Was.


We went from this:



to this:



to this:



Yes, I know her little bob is freaking adorable. But, if I'm being perfectly honest... I MISS THOSE LONG CURLS, DANG IT. 

Ah, well. Such is life with two girls, I suppose. 

Also, did you notice how super cute that first picture is? We had family pictures taken and I kind of love them. Here's some of my faves:









I love these people. How blessed am I to be the mother of this family? Answer: very.