Stitch Fix Review – September 2016

Pumpkin spice everything, boots and booties, harvest and halloween decor are all showing up on store shelves and all over the Internet, heralding the arrival of fall. While the season we love so dearly for colorful leaves, festive holidays and college football is officially just a few weeks away, many of us would will it to begin today if we could. I know I would welcome the chance to bring out my fall clothes, although I’m afraid that may not happen for a few more months here in sunny Florida. But a girl can dream, and a girl can ask Stitch Fix for clothing and accessories to help transition her closet into the upcoming season.

My latest Fix was the first I’ve received in a few months. I took a break from the clothing subscription service over the summer, so I was excited when the Stitch Fix box arrived on my doorstep this week. Here’s a look at what I received:

Urban Expressions Zella Satchel

UE Zella

The first item out of the box was this purse. It’s a rich burgundy color, and it comes with an additional strap that can be attached if you want to carry the purse as a shoulder bag. There’s a lot of room inside, which I love. What I didn’t love about it is the vegan leather it’s made of – and the $64 price tag at that. That’s a little steep for pleather. I’m not opposed to eco-conscious materials. I just prefer real leather in a purse. If I changed purses often, I might consider this one. But I don’t, and if I’m going to invest $64, I’d rather splurge and put that toward the real deal when it comes to a handbag.

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Note to self: Update style profile to indicate no pleather.

Verdict: Return

Daniel Rainn Shrewsberry Split Back Blouse

DR Shrewsberry

Next up was a Daniel Rainn top that I’d swear the Stitch Fix algorithm suggested for me due to a string of blue items I’ve purchased from past Fixes. I should write a post just dedicated to all the blue duds I’ve amassed from Stitch Fix. Has anyone else seen this sort of trend in their Fixes?

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Daniel_Rainn_Shrewsberry_detail

I really like the details of this top – the lattice and lace. And I guess I am a sucker for blue after all.

Verdict: Kept

Daniel Rainn Hitchon V Neck Blouse

DR Hitchon

I do like Daniel Rainn tops. This one has a good looking print and a generous fit, but it was completely sheer. It did come with a black cami to go underneath, but I just didn’t love it for me. I’ve written in past notes to my Stitch Fix stylist that I do not want any more sheer tops. Stitch Fix seems to have that market cornered, don’t they? Or maybe it’s just me. Somehow I keep receiving them, so I guess I need to add “I don’t want sheer tops” to my permanent profile note because whenever I forget to mention it in the monthly request, I always get one. Ugh!

material_flaw

Had I wanted to keep this top, I would have had to contact Customer Service to request an exchange because of a flaw I spotted in the material (shown above). Fortunately, my experiences with Stitch Fix Customer Service have always been positive, and I expect they’d send a new top to me if I’d wanted.

Verdict: Return

Loveapella Jorsana Textured Knit Top

Jorsana

In my note to my stylist, I requested casual knit tops that I can wear when working in my home office or volunteering at my children’s school. I pictured something looser and lighter weight than this top, and I had pinned some examples to my Pinterest board. This doesn’t fit tightly, but it has a more body conscious style, which goes against the preferences I’d noted in my Stitch Fix style profile and my comments in the request to my stylist. Go figure.

Loveapella_Jorsana

 

The double layered material also seemed like it would be hot and could easily get snagged by my jewelry or whatever object my youngest daughter happens to be carrying as she runs by me in the house. The sleeves were semi-sheer, too, which is not my favorite look. It’s a shame because the turquoise color is lovely. It could be a great top for someone.

Verdict: Returned

Collective Concepts Ryleigh Pintuck Detail Silk Blouse

cc ryleigh

My stylist did include one item in my Fix that I had pinned on Pinterest. It was this classic, black blouse, which would go with so many things. I’d mentioned to the stylist that I had ordered some red jeans and needed coordinating tops, and she suggested this one in her note. I did appreciate that, but what I did not know when I pinned the blouse is that it is 100 percent silk. I was hoping for a more casual fabric for everyday wear – and one that would not require dry cleaning.

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The pintuck details make this an attractive top though, and it would be a nice addition to a traditional office wardrobe.

Verdict: Returned

If you are keeping a tally, I kept one out of the five items in this month’s Fix. The Daniel Rain Shrewsberry top was the winner. Because I’d already paid the $20 styling fee, it was applied to my purchase, bringing this transaction to $44. One day I hope to get a 5/5 fix so I can qualify for the 25 percent discount you get when you keep everything in the box. When I shop for myself, I rarely pay full price. That’s unfortunately the trade-off you make if you only keep a portion of your Fix, but I value this service for its convenience. I definitely think it has upped my style game – if there is such a thing when you are a busy mom!

Styling

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I took a nod from the styling card my Stitch Fix stylist provided and paired the Daniel Rainn Shrewsberry Split Back Blouse with jeans and an olive colored jacket (similar). I pined away for a jacket like this from Stitch Fix last fall, so I was delighted to find the one pictured below on clearance at TJ Maxx this spring. This was a great find! The jeans are NYDJ Barbara Bootcut Jeans from Nordstrom.

Daniel_Rainn_Shrewsberry_styled

I paired this outfit with my Sole Society ‘Jillian’ d’Orsay Wedges, but you could also opt for a more casual bootie like the TOMS ‘Desert’ Wedge Bootie. I own a similar pair. Did I mention I am ready for fall?

Here’s hoping you get what you want in your fall Fixes!

Want to try Stitch Fix?

I have not been compensated by Stitch Fix for this review. I purchase my own Fixes and all opinions are my own. If you sign up to try the subscription styling service using my referral link, I will receive a small credit toward a future purchase. (Thank you!) If you’ve thought about trying Stitch Fix, don’t let the term ‘subscription’ scare you away, you can order one Fix with no commitment to order more, or receive Fixes as often as you’d like. If this is all brand new to you, I provide more info. about what Stitch Fix is in a previous review post.

And don’t just take my word for it, see what other bloggers have to say about their most recent Fixes from Stitch Fix. We’ve all shared our reviews over on the blog Crazy Together.

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Stitch Fix Review – January 2016

Stitch Fix - December 2015

Earlier this week I confessed to friends on Facebook that I wanted to purchase at least three articles of clothing I’d seen in the Cracker Barrel Country Store. Cracker Barrel, for those who may be unfamiliar, is a chain of country-style restaurants that cater mostly to Interstate travelers. The restaurant also features a country store filled with candies, toys, audio books, gifts and yes, even clothing. The clothes typically are not what I’d describe as fashion forward. They are more rustic and matronly.

Well, it had been a while since I’d been to a Cracker Barrel. I am older than the last time I visited, but I’m still 30-something for a few more months. I’d venture to guess I’m younger than the average Cracker Barrel clothes buyer, but surprisingly I really liked the cardigans and blanket scarfs I saw there! Seriously, they were cute, and not the tacky lace or appliquéd Christmas sweaters I’d expected to see. Cracker Barrel must have a new “fashion” buyer, or maybe I am just getting older.

At any rate, my friends and I had a good laugh about my budding old lady fashion tendencies, so I am more thankful than ever I have a Stitch Fix subscription to keep me in touch with contemporary styles and trends (as opposed to the meat-and-tres-chic finds, cute as they may be, at Cracker Barrel). Which brings me to my latest Fix…

If you’ve never heard of Stitch Fix, scroll to the end of this post for more info. For the initiated and the die-hards, keep reading.

market & spruce space dye dolman

The Market & Spruce Sawyer Space Dye Dolman Sleeve Knit Top (above) was an item I had pinned on Pinterest. (Stitch Fix stylists will reference a Pinterest board to see items you like if you provide a link in your Stitch Fix style profile.) I really liked this top. It fit generously and was a great length for pairing with jeans and boots. The only reason I did not keep this top is I’d recently bought another shirt and a dress in this color. I probably should have removed it from my Pinterest board, in hindsight.

Pixley Cardigan

I’d requested cardigans in this Fix, and my stylist delivered. The first was the Pixley Potina Plaid Draped Cardigan (above). Some of the draped front cardigans I’ve seen have so much fabric in front that they seem too bulky for my taste, but this one thankfully did not. It is dark grey and the inside is a lighter grey plaid, which provides a nice contrast. I really like that you can see this detail on the sleeves. This is so comfortable and a very practical item I can wear with jeans when working out of my home office or volunteering at my children’s school.

rolled sleeve

cardigan

The Market & Spruce Lauderdale Knit Cardigan (above) also came in this Fix. It is another item I had pinned on my Pinterest board. The teal color was nice, but because I knew I wanted to keep the plaid cardigan and the teal color wasn’t one I particularly needed, I let this go back. I wanted it in a cobalt blue and even emailed Stitch Fix customer service to ask about an exchange, but they only exchange for size/fit issues and suggested I could request a blue one for a future Fix.

Donna Morgan dress

I’m convinced that the algorithm that helps Stitch Fix stylists select items for each customer tells my stylist, “Send this woman something blue!” I get something blue in every Fix and many of the items I’ve kept have been blue. The Donna Morgan Masona Shift Dress was the latest blue item I received. I’d kept another Donna Morgan dress from my last Fix, but this time the style didn’t work as well for me. It hangs oddly on the hanger because of the ruching just above the waste.  It’s a nice looking dress, but I didn’t like the drape of the fabric so I sent it back.

fringe necklace

The last item, the Bancroft Elisia Chainmail Fringe Necklace, shown above, is probably not something I would have picked out on my own. In my note to my stylist, I requested a long necklace to wear with tunics, but I was picturing something a little different. After trying it with a couple tops, this one grew on me and I decided to keep it.

So from this Fix, I kept two items and returned three. You can see the Fix in its entirety, along with styling suggestions for each piece, on the Style Card below.

style card Dec 2015

I was pleased with this Fix. The stylist addressed all of my requests and included items I’d pinned on Pinterest, so I consider that a success. Although I didn’t keep every item, I think the stylists have gotten better with each Fix at sending items I like and that fit well.

I’m not compensated for my review of the Stitch Fix service. I’ll get a small credit toward a future Fix if you join and schedule a Fix using one of the links in this post. If you’ve thought about trying it, I hope you will. It’s fun and a convenient way to spruce up your wardrobe. Here’s to a stylish New Year!

What is Stitch Fix? Stitch Fix is a subscription service that assigns you a personal stylist who selects clothing and accessories for you each month (or at whatever interval you prefer) based on a personal profile of your likes, needs and sizes. Each shipment, or Fix, contains five items, and the company says no two Fixes have ever been the same. Much of the fun of Stitch Fix is the element of surprise and discovering styles and items you otherwise may not have tried. The styling fee is $20, which is applied to the purchase of any items you keep. If you keep all five items, you receive a 25 percent discount. A postage-paid, pre-addressed envelope is provided in the box to send back any items you do not want to keep. It is so easy and convenient for busy women! And the variety of styles and inventory can appeal to all ages and tastes, as well. Give it a try!

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Also, I’m participating in a blog link-up with other bloggers so you don’t have to just take my word for it – you can see some of the styles other bloggers have received from Stitch Fix here.

Packing Shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child

operation-christmas-childFor several years now, our family has made it a tradition to pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child—the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind. The annual Samaritan’s Purse project is a favorite of many families, churches and groups who spread joy to millions of children around the world by filling shoeboxes with a “Wow” item—like a doll or soccer ball—other fun toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement.

“Through the simple act of filling a shoebox, someone can make a tangible difference in the life of a child halfway around the world. Anyone can participate and bring joy to a child facing difficult circumstances,” said Randy Riddle, director of Operation Christmas Child in the United States.

We’ve found Operation Christmas Child to be a simple yet concrete way to involve our children in giving and sharing God’s love with others who are in need around the world. We picked up three empty shoeboxes from our church, which participates in the program each year. We fill these together as a family.

occ-clear-plastic-box

Our two oldest daughters also attended a Shoebox Packing Party at church, where they helped to fill additional shoeboxes that will be given on behalf of the church. Our children’s ministry leaders and volunteers made the Packing Party a really fun and festive event. They divided the children into groups and the groups took turns visiting stations scattered throughout the church where they completed a fun activity and added different types of items to their shoeboxes. They also prayed for all the children who will receive gifts as part of Operation Christmas Child this year.

packing-party

When we set out to pack our own shoeboxes at home, our daughters decided they would designate their boxes for girls – one in the 2-4 age group and the other two in the 5-9 age group. We first shopped for some basic hygiene items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs and soap.  We added head bands and ponytail holders, then looked for school supplies and toys. We found crayons, pencils, notepads as well as small toys like puzzles and jump ropes at our local dollar store. All of the items in the cart below were purchased for around $26, or less than $10 per shoebox.

shopping-for-occ

Operation Christmas Child has a Pinterest board filled with ideas for items to pack in your shoebox, and I also found this blog post insightful for packing a shoebox.

We haven’t added a “Wow” item yet and our girls want to write notes to the children who will receive their shoeboxes. So we’re still adding to the boxes, but here is a look at what we’ve packed so far.

shoebox-contents

Box 1 contents

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Box 2 contents

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Box 3 contents

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Our mostly assembled shoeboxes

During National Collection Week, Nov. 16 – 23, anyone can drop off a gift-filled shoebox to send to a child overseas. Residents around the country hope to contribute 8.6 million gift-filled shoeboxes to the 2015 global goal of reaching 11 million children in need. Collection locations can be found using the Zip Code locator at samaritanspurse.org/occ.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to more than 124 million children in more than 150 countries and territories. For many of these children, a gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received.

shoebox-delivery

100 millionth shoebox delivery in Dominican Republic. (Photo courtesy of OCC/Samaritan’s Purse)

Anyone can participate in Operation Christmas Child. You can even pack a personalized Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift on the Samaritan’s Purse website. Go to samaritanspurse.org/occ to select toys and gift items, write a note of encouragement and “pack” them in a shoebox. These gifts of hope will go to children in some of the hardest-to-reach countries.

Using special tracking technology, participants can follow their box to discover where in the world their gift is delivered by using the donation form found at samaritanspurse.org/occ.

Happy shoebox packing everyone!

Do you pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child? What items do you pack in your shoebox? Leave a comment to tell us!

Stitch Fix Review – November 2015

sand-in-my-minivan-stitch-fix-november-2015-review

I’ve been using StitchFix, the personal styling service that sends clothing to your door each month, since July. It’s a wonderful solution for busy women who don’t have a lot of time to shop for clothes. If you read my October Stitch Fix review, you’d know that I’ve had mixed results with the Fixes I’ve received. I was on the brink of canceling the service because I just wasn’t having a lot of luck with the items I’d gotten. Well, it turns out my latest shipment is my best one yet!

stitch-fix-november-2015

I don’t know if it’s the stylist who selected the clothes for me this month (Kudos to Colby!), or if the notes and feedback I’ve given on past Fixes have finally made enough of an impression to prompt better selections for me, but this was a great Fix!

The personalized note I received from Colby addressed some of the feedback I’d given after my last Fix and she referenced my Pinterest board, where I’ve pinned items and styles that I like. One item she sent was selected specifically because I’d pinned it, and another was very similar to things I’d pinned. While part of the fun of Stitch Fix is the element of surprise, it is nice when they can throw in a few pieces that you’ve expressed an interest in.

November-2015--fix

The first item I tried on out of the box was the Donna Morgan Tila Dress (shown below). I liked the navy blue and white, nautical print material right away. The belted waist is something I wasn’t sure I’d like but I think it works well. The gold buttons are an interesting detail, too. I received this Fix on a Saturday, took the tags off this dress and wore it to church on Sunday. I received several compliments on it, too. What I’m not sure about is what color tights and shoes to pair with this dress as the weather gets cooler. If you have a suggestion, please leave a comment on this post!

donna-morgan-tila-dress

Strangely, almost every item I’ve bought from Stitch Fix has been blue. Almost every dress they have sent me has been navy blue. I’m not sure why this is. On the Style Profile you complete when you join Stitch Fix, you can choose to not receive certain colors if you want, but I’ve never limited it.

Another blue item in this Fix was the Daniel Rainn Philco Cold Shoulder Blouse (below). I’d seen similar cold shoulder blouses other bloggers had posted and I fully expected to hate this top! I’m a pretty conservative dresser, but surprisingly this top doesn’t bare as much skin as I feared it would. I really like it. It’s definitely a special occasion piece for me, as I couldn’t wear this in a professional setting and I’d look way out of place if I wore it to my daughters’ Brownie troop meeting. I hope I will wear it when those special occasions arise so I can get my money’s worth (Time for a date night, honey!). This top was pricier than I would have liked at $68. It also needs a strapless camisole underneath as it is somewhat sheer. I know it’s difficult to visualize what this looks like on, as it is shown on the hanger, but I’m not ready for Internet modeling. There are plenty of bloggers out there who do a great job of it though, and more power to them.

daniel-rainn-philco-cold-shoulder-blouse

In case I got too cool in the cold shoulder top, Colby also gave me a sweater. The Olive & Oak Baba Airy Knit Sweater (below) was a nice oversized sweater in an ivory/winter white color. It is a sweater you would need to wear another layer underneath. This piece was fine, but nothing exceptional for me. At $78, it had to go back. I can find a neutral sweater for less if I need one.

olive-oak-baba-airy-knit-sweater

Remember I mentioned that Colby had addressed some of the items on my Pinterest board? One was my request for a vest that other pinners had received from Stitch Fix. The vest is olive green or army green, and can be worn over most any type of top. I’d still like to have that vest, but Colby mentioned it was not available and instead sent the Fate Eliza Surplus Jacket (below).

fate-eliza-surplus-jacketThe body of the jacket looks similar to the vests I’d pinned, so I can appreciate her sending it for me to try. Unfortunately, although the knit, aztec print sleeves made this an interesting piece, I really hated the colors together and the overall look. It was just too drab for me and I really don’t need another jacket. It’s still 80 degrees and muggy in Florida. This was a return.

Last but certainly not least, Colby included a clutch purse I’d pinned on Pinterest. The Street Level Mina Suede Tassel Clutch (below) is a beautiful burgundy color. I’ll call it crimson as a personal preference (wink wink, Bama fans!). This is my favorite color, it’s real suede, and overall just a classic piece I will use for years, so I kept it.

street-level-mina-suede-tassel-clutchIf you’re keeping score at home, this Fix was a 3 out of 5 for me. That’s great for my wardrobe, but it all adds up! Thankfully, you can apply the $20 Stitch Fix styling fee to any purchases you make. If I’d kept all 5 items, I would have received an additional 25 percent off. You also control how frequently you receive shipments from Stitch Fix, so I may wait a while before I indulge in this blissful retail therapy again.

The Styling Cards that Stitch Fix includes in each Fix are really helpful for visualizing different ways to wear the items you receive.

stitch-fix-styling-card

I will say my eyes have been opened to some new styles, and even though it’s taken a few months I think they finally understand the kinds of pieces that will work for me. I’ve asked to keep Colby as my stylist and hopefully that request will be honored.

Have you tried Stitch Fix? What has your experience been? Leave me a comment or a link to your blog. If you haven’t tried Stitch Fix yet, I would recommend visiting the website or downloading the new Stitch Fix iPhone app and completing the Style Profile. It’s fun to see how the process works, whether you order a Fix right away or not. There is no fee to join, shipping and returns are free and very easy, and you can cancel Stitch Fix at any time.

And in case you are wondering, Stitch Fix does not compensate me for reviewing their service. Like all Stitch Fix customers, I can receive a referral credit if someone joins using a link that I provide. If you do join Stitch Fix by following a link in this blog, thank you and I hope you enjoy your first Fix! Thank you for visiting my blog.

stitch-fix-link-upIf you would like to see more Fixes from Stitch Fix, you can check out the blog Crazy Together, where blogger Maria reviews her 30th Fix (yes, I said 30th!?! I want to see her closet!) and several other bloggers (including yours truly) have linked up their own Stitch Fix posts, as well. It’s nice to see the variety of styles everyone receives.

Beach Baking

Confession: I have a slight obsession with pinning recipes on Pinterest. I usually try most of them, believe it or not. When you are feeding a family of five you have to keep things interesting. Most of the recipes I try are dinner recipes, but yesterday after working on several work projects and battling the car pool line at my daughters’  school, which incidentally seems to lose all manner of civility and sense when it’s raining, it was time to bake.

This is not a mood that strikes me often (maybe there is a full moon?), but the kids sure seemed to appreciate it. We went right to Pinterest and found a recipe I’d pinned for Flourless Chewy Cinnamon Sugar Peanut Butter Cookies (originally shared on the blog Foodie Crush). We had all of the ingredients on hand and it sounded delicious, so it was an easy choice. The girls helped me add the ingredients to the bowl of the stand mixer.

mixing-bowl

After a quick blend, the dough went into the refrigerator for an hour. Keeping the kids busy and focused on doing homework during this hour was the hardest thing about this recipe. After an hour, we rolled the dough into balls, coated them with a cinnamon and sugar mix and popped them into the oven for the 8-9 minutes indicated in the recipe. We let them cool for a few minutes afterward, then wah-la, delicious snack!

peanut-butter-cookies

These cookies were good and a hit with all the girls, but they are definitely sweet. It is a sugar-intensive recipe, so that was to be expected. The original pinner noted that the recipe is vegetarian and gluten free, so it may appeal to those with special diets.

This was my second attempt at flourless cookies. The first, some sort of oatmeal and mashed banana concoction, was a disaster. I’m sure there are better variations I’d know if I baked this way often, but I don’t. In fact, baking yesterday’s yummy flour-less peanut butter cookies reminded me of a vegan birthday cake our family ordered for my brother-in-law’s birthday last summer.

We purchased the cake from La Loba’s Bakery in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, where we were spending the week for an extended family vacation. I don’t think I would have ordered a vegan cake had we not had a vegan in the family, but it was better than I expected. For vegans or anyone seeking out organic food in the South Walton County area, I’m sure this place is a boon. 

Do you like to bake? Would you bake on vacation?