Asking Santa for a Stitch Fix Gift Card

My affinity for Stitch Fix, the personal styling service I often blog about, gets put on the back burner this time of year. My last Fix had some great pieces in rich fall colors, but I only kept one – the mustard yellow top in the stack below – because it’s the season of giving to others (and I am blessed to have many “others” in my life).

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Unless I’m out shopping for gifts and find a deal I cannot pass up, I rarely spend money on myself during the holidays. And I imagine many of us feel this way.

For this reason, gift cards are a really nice gift to receive. When you have a need or you’re just ready to treat yourself again, a gift card makes it so much easier on the wallet! And who couldn’t use that after Santa Clause has come and gone?

So I’ll be a happy girl if I receive gift cards to spend at my favorite stores and retailers, including Stitch Fix, this Christmas. A Stitch Fix gift card is a good gift for loyalists like me who want to order a post-holiday or early spring Fix, or for the person who has thought about trying Stitch Fix but has never placed that first order. You can read more about my experience with Stitch Fix in my most recent Fix reviews from November and September.

Because I’ve gotten connected with a group of bloggers who like to share news of all things Stitch Fix, I often learn about fun things like a $1,000 Stitch Fix Gift Card giveaway going on this month! According to Maria at Crazy Together, it’s sponsored by Stitch Fix, open to US residents 18 and over, and the giveaway will end December 7, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Good luck!

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I am not compensated by Stitch Fix for this post, but Stitch Fix does offer me and all customers the chance to earn a small credit toward a future Fix when someone we refer signs up and orders their first Fix. Give it a try!

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Stitch Fix Review -November 2016

The 2016 presidential election is enough to drive anyone to therapy. I’m providing some — of the retail variety — on this Election Day with my latest Stitch Fix review.

(If Stitch Fix is new to you, I’ll provide more information at the end of this post to explain the personal styling subscription service.) Many of you reading this know the drill, so I’ll jump right into telling you about the first Fix I’ve received when I kept the whole box!

I had a new stylist (new to me, at least) named Jan selecting the items in my Fix this month. Jan wrote a very thoughtful note and even talked about my blog and Pinterest board. I appreciated that personal touch, and the items she selected were just what I was looking for to get my wardrobe ready for fall. I asked for items that I could dress up or down, allowing me to be comfortable in a professional meeting or at my daughters’ many sporting events. And Jan really delivered! Here’s what she sent, my review of the items, and – just for fun – my Election Day take on each piece. Feel free to pin any of the items that you like.

Loveappella Hansil Lace Detail Knit Top

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I love the color of this top! It’s bright red and made of soft knit. I’d asked for comfortable, casual tops, and this fits the bill. The lace detail on the shoulder area really dresses it up, too. It is a little thinner than I would like, so I will wear this with a tank or camisole underneath to give it a little more shape. Election Day take: Whether you live in a Red State or just love the red, white and blue, this easygoing top is a winner!

Yosi Samra Samantha Cap Top Ballet Flats

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I first saw Yosi Samra flats on Pinterest and wanted to try them. They looked comfortable and stylish at the same time. Jan included the cap toe style in my Fix, and she mentioned that they fold up easily for stashing in your purse. These would have been nice to have when I worked in a larger city and had to park and walk a few blocks to my office every day.  They work well for me now because I can look professional for work commitments and easily transition to mom duties in comfort. I’ve found that it helps to wear the no-show socks made specifically for this style of shoe. I picked up a few pairs at Target for about $4 each. Election Day take: Standing in line while waiting to vote? You’ll wish you had these babies.

Pixley Nardian V-Neck Blouse

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This top features a bright, cheerful floral print. The base color is navy blue, and I will wear this underneath a navy blue cardigan I received in a previous Fix. I didn’t really care for this as a stand alone top, but you could certainly wear it that way, too. It’s perfect for fall in Florida because it makes a good layering piece.  Election Day take: Pants Suit Nation, this top is for you! It looks great with a suit.

Pixley Ellie Printed 3/4 Sleeve Blouse

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For me, this top is what those in Stitch Fix circles affectionately refer to as a unicorn. I’d seen it on Pinterest for months and months and wanted to own it. After pinning it a few times on my Pinterest board to no avail, I decided to specifically ask for it this month in my note to my stylist, and what do you know? It’s mine. (Lesson learned: If you really want a specific piece, just ask for it.) The Ellie top does feature an elephant print. It is a classic style, and the black and creamy white pair well with black pants or jeans. This weekend I wore it to church. I added a deep red, beaded statement necklace to add a splash of color. Election Day take: Sorry, Dems, I haven’t seen any tops with donkeys on them, but if you are into the elephant as a G.O.P. symbol, this top is for you.

Renee C Alby Keyhole Front Blouse

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This blouse was a good choice for me because of the relaxed style. It has a bohemian feel, and the red, blue, yellow, green and black and white in this top go well with jeans. I ended up selling this top in one of the Stitch Fix buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook (There is a whole community of ladies who love Stitch Fix like I do – something I learned after signing up for the service). I didn’t dislike it. It just didn’t fit me as well as the other tops in this Fix. It has a new home with someone who will look fabulous in it, I’m sure.  Election Day take: The pattern of this top reminds me of a patchwork, much like our great nation. Despite our differences, we all have to work together like the colors and patterns in this blouse. So tomorrow, no matter the results of the election, remember the blouse, folks! (Yes, I know how corny I am.)

The Results Are In

Although I didn’t personally keep one of the items, I purchased all five pieces in this Fix. That means I received a 25% discount on the purchase resulting in a savings of $75. With the discount and the $20 credit from my styling fee, I paid just over $200. If all of the items in your Fix work well for you, purchasing all five is definitely the way to get the most value out of the Stitch Fix service.

Jan, you get my vote for stylist-in-chief! Thanks for a great Fix and God Bless America!

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 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. You pay a $20 styling fee when you order a Fix (It is applied to any purchase you make from that Fix). You’ll receive a box of 5 items, handpicked for you, plus photos and suggestions of how to style them with other pieces.  You’ll have three days to try them on and decide what you want to keep or send back. A return envelope is provided with postage included, so returns can easily be placed in any mailbox. The shipping and returns are free and very easy, and you can cancel Stitch Fix at any time.

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! Let me know how it goes.

If you’d like to see another recent Fix I received, here is my Stitch Fix review from September. It includes a few more photos of the clothes. Also, several bloggers have linked up their Stitch Fix review blog posts on the blog Crazy Together. Check them out for even more ideas and inspiration for your future Fixes!

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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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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

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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.

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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 – June 2016

Have you tried Stitch Fix? Would $700 help? This month I’m sharing the results of my latest Fix and letting you know about a big Stitch Fix gift card giveaway.

(If you’ve never heard of Stitch Fix, you might want to read one of my earlier Stitch Fix reviews that explains it in greater detail.)

It’s been a few months since I’ve blogged about the personal styling/clothing delivery service. A few of my friends have tried it, too. Mostly, I’d say we’ve had mixed results. I actually kept 2 of the 5 items in this month’s Fix, which is pretty good for me. I’ve often purchased just one item and sent back the rest, and once I kept nothing. This month I really needed some summer tops for my 40th birthday trip to Arizona. I mentioned my trip in the note to my stylist. I thought it was a little odd that she didn’t mention the trip or wish me a happy birthday in the note included with my Fix. It’s not that I take this service that personally, it just seemed like a missed opportunity for good customer service. I will say the shirts in this Fix reflected a definite Southwestern vibe so maybe she was trying and just didn’t spell it out in the note?! At any rate, let’s take a look!

THML Dejen Embroidered Top

 

THML Dejen Embroidered Top

I’d pinned this shirt to my Stitch Fix board on Pinterest, so I appreciated that the stylist assigned to me had taken a look at items I’d pinned. Unfortunately, when you see an item on Pinterest you cannot always tell much about the material. I thought this shirt would be knit or something other than a see-through imitation linen. I really wanted casual pieces I would not have to iron. I knew right away that I would return this shirt.

Collective Concepts Tobar Keyhole Front Top

collective concepts tobar keyholeTobar Keyhole sleeve detail

I really liked the style of this top when I saw it. It is loose and flowy, and the pattern is interesting. Best of all, it is not see-through! I like the fit and I can dress it up or down depending on the occasion, so this one was a keeper.

Skies are Blue Jonston Braider Neckline Top

skies are blue jonston braider

Part of the fun of Stitch Fix is being surprised by what the stylist picks for you based on the information you’ve given about your tastes in clothing. Occasionally you’ll try something different that you would not have picked for yourself and end up loving it. But many times – like this one – you don’t!

I must have indicated that I’d be willing to try a floral print on my style profile, but this one was terrible for me. The material was soft but that’s about the only good thing I can say about it. The style card that  comes in each Fix to show you styling suggestions showed this top paired with a black leather mini skirt. I cannot fathom any occasion for which I’ll be wearing a black leather miniskirt. It didn’t look good with my jeans either, so it went right into the return envelope.

Papermoon Wayland Racerback Top

papermoon wayland racerbacksheer back racerback tank

This top was attractive. It fit well and the print was nice. It would look great on some women I know, but I am pretty conservative. Between the thin straps, large arm holes and the sheer racerback, this was all kinds of wrong for me. I tried it with a regular tank top underneath, too, but that didn’t really help either. I recently bought a sleeveless top for the first time in years if this tells you anything about my tastes. I’m not ready to take the plunge into slinky, sheer racerback tanks! Return.

Bay to Baubles Maeve Feather Drop Earrings

bay to baubles leaf earrings

I’d originally decided to keep just these earrings so I wouldn’t lose the $20 I’d paid for the Stitch Fix styling fee (it gets credited to your purchase). But then I decided to keep the Collective Concepts top above so I probably could have parted with these. I liked them though so I kept both.

Overall, this Fix was okay for me. Two pieces were great. The other three were big misses. I wish all five pieces had worked out so I could have earned the 25 percent discount – the total for the whole box would have been around $160, but no such luck.

So I’ve had mixed results, but I still like Stitch Fix. I have cut back on the frequency of shipments I receive, and I like that it offers that flexibility. It is still fun and great for times when I am busy but could use a boost to my wardrobe. I’ve been very happy with the pieces I’ve kept.

So why do I blog about Stitch Fix? Sharing reviews of my Fixes through this blog has introduced me to several other bloggers who review their experiences with the service. It’s also brought new readers to my blog and hopefully they’re enjoying the other content they find here on Sand in my Minivan, too. And, heck, I’m just a girly girl who likes to talk about clothes!

To make it even more fun, this month fellow bloggers and I are bringing you a $700 Stitch Fix gift card giveaway. You can enter the giveaway and see what other bloggers received in their recent Fixes over on Crazy Together blog. The giveaway will end at 11:59pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. Good luck!

Stitch Fix 700 Summer giveaway

I hope you’ll try Stitch Fix, too. I am not compensated by Stitch Fix for writing this review, but they do offer me and all customers the chance to earn a small credit toward a future Fix when someone we refer signs up and orders their first Fix. Give it a try!

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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.

9 Ways to Give Experiences (Not Things) This Christmas

For a young child, there’s nothing like waking up on Christmas morning to discover your most coveted toy under the Christmas tree. I have fond memories of the Christmases when I received a bike, a Cabbage Patch Kid and so many other treasured items from Santa through the years.

So with that as a seemingly contradictory preface, I have to say I’m coming around to the idea of gifting experiences rather than things. Make no mistake, I’ll still put gifts under the tree for my children. Always. But as a mom who has observed enough Christmases and the fate of so many “I’ve-gotta-have-it-Mom” toys, I have to question the lasting value of some of these gifts.

my-little-pony-toy

An abandoned My Little Pony toy. You do not want to step on this!

Media and our consumeristic society often make it seem that our kids need every branded product that is offered in their particular area/character/movie/cartoon/whatever of interest. These toys du jour hold their attention for a short time, sure, but within a few weeks the kids move on and may never pick up these items again. It seems like a shame and a waste, not to mention the additional clutter it adds to our home. If it were just my husband and I buying for our children at the holidays, this may not be an issue, but there are grandparents and aunts and uncles and extended family members, too. All are appreciated and well-meaning in their gifting, of course, and there are many quality toys out there, but the sum total can be overwhelming.

Last Christmas, my husband and I decided our big gift to our daughters would be a trip to Disney World. We weren’t putting them in the car that day to go see the mouse (like I’ve known some families to do), so I knew this gift wouldn’t provide immediate gratification like a big toy might, but I still wanted to create some excitement as this represented such a big part of their Christmas. I wrapped up a handmade Countdown to Disney chalkboard sign that I purchased on Etsy and a character autograph book that the girls could take with them to the parks. Written in chalk on the sign was the number of days until our trip – about 21 or so as we visited on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. The girls had fun updating the sign each day and looked forward to the trip. It was a great vacation! For my youngest daughter, it was her first time at Disney World. We have many good memories and photos from the trip that we’ll cherish for years to come.

(If you’re planning a visit to Disney World during the holidays, check out these festive WDW events and attractions to celebrate the season, as shared by the blog Kids on a Plane.)

electric light parade

The nightly Electric Light Parade is one of our family’s favorite things to see at Walt Disney World.

1. Family travel – whether it’s for a vacation, theme park visit, or even a mission trip – is a wonderful way to share an experience with your children, but there are other less expensive options, too. You can make an educational day trip out of visiting a museum or aquarium. Many, like the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla., offer free admission.

2. During a visit to Orlando this summer, my mom and I treated my daughters to lunch at the American Girl store at The Florida Mall. Like American Girl stores in other cities, the Orlando store includes a restaurant.

AG cafe

My oldest two girls have American Girl dolls that they brought along with us, and my youngest daughter was offered one to play with when we arrived for our lunch reservation. Each doll had her own seat at the table, along with a doll sized cup and saucer.

Dining with AG doll

I expected to be underwhelmed by the menu and food because it is American Girl and a t-shirt for a doll costs $10, for heaven’s sake. The selection and food were not bad though, and we received excellent service. The American Girl dining experience was fun. You could certainly host your own tea party at home for less, but we all enjoyed this special treat. American Girl has stores in Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville and other major U.S. cities, too.

AG ice cream

3. The Orlando mall we visited is also home to the newest Crayola Experience. Opened in July, this family attraction boasts over 70,000 square feet of colorful and creative activity space. There are 25 attractions inside including making your own coloring page, personalizing your own crayon wrapper and much more. The Crayola Experience was still a few weeks away from opening when we visited The Florida Mall, so we were not able to check it out. I hope we can do this on a future visit. According to the website, admission is $17.99 per person if purchased online, or an Annual Pass for unlimited visits within a year is $34.99. Purchased at the door, admission rates are slightly higher.

crayola experience

We were able to pay a visit to the adjacent Crayola Store, which was open. You can find every possible Crayola crayon and Crayola products you never knew existed here. Many of the prices were pretty steep, we thought. Some of the same items are sold at WalMart or Target for less, but it’s certainly the most complete offering of Crayola items I’ve ever seen.

crayons in every color

4. Camping is another good option for making memories. Who doesn’t love campfires and s’mores? You may need to purchase a few camping supplies of course if you don’t already own them, but these can be a good investment. Plus, this gives you something to wrap up and put under the Christmas tree. I’m definitely more comfortable with the glamping style of camping than any rugged wilderness excursion. A bathroom and electrical outlets nearby are non-negotiable for me. After one sleepless night on the cold, hard ground at my daughters’ Girl Scout camp out last fall, I learned that an air mattress inside the tent will be essential the next time I camp, too. (Go ahead and roll your eyes, hardcore campers. I can’t see you.)

camping tents

Other experiential gifts you might consider giving this holiday season:

5. Movie tickets – The Peanuts Movie is adorable, by the way. My kids loved it and it has a nice message.

6. Restaurant gift cards – Take your pick of local favorites or chains, most eateries offer gift cards these days. I don’t know a busy family who wouldn’t love to receive a night off from cooking dinner!

7. Classes – My kids would like to take art, cooking and sewing lessons. We have experience with one local art instructor and my daughter loved her classes for kids. Research providers in your area to find the right class for you or your child!

8. Personal stylist – So this is not for kids, but moms and other special ladies need a treat, too. You may already know I am a fan of StitchFix, the personal styling service that hand picks clothing and accessories and ships them to your door. Did you know that Stitch Fix offers gift cards? These are a great gift idea and can provide a fun treat for the lady who is looking for something different this Christmas. Of course, a spa day is a nice pampering gift, too!

9. Personal shopping – I don’t think this is offered in Northwest Florida yet, but in many larger cities grocery delivery services are becoming more common. What new mom wouldn’t love having someone do the shopping for you and bring the bread, milk and whatever else you need to your door?! Where was this when I had twin babies at home?! This could definitely be a special treat for some folks on Santa’s list.

However you decide to give to the special people in your life this year, remember that it is the thought that counts. Shared experiences and time together can be the most meaningful expressions of love you can give, and these don’t have to cost a fortune. In 20 years, your kids will remember and appreciate your outings to see Christmas lights together as a family more than the 14th toy they circled in the Black Friday circular.

Happy gifting!

 

The fine print: Some of my ideas are admittedly retail in nature, but I do not receive any compensation or consideration from American Girl or Crayola, or Walt Disney World or Peanuts for that matter. I just think they offer unique experiences that many families may not have considered as holiday gift options. I do include a link to Stitch Fix that could allow me to earn a small referral credit toward future purchases if someone uses it to order a Fix, but the company does not pay me for my reviews. 

 

Stitch Fix Review – November 2015

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

Stitch Fix Review – October 2015

Earlier this summer I decided to try Stitch Fix, a subscription service that provides personal styling and delivers clothing to your door once a month. It’s incredibly convenient if you don’t have a lot of time to shop, and I have to admit I have looked forward to the arrival of my Stitch Fix boxes each month!

I wrote about my first Fix (the term the company uses for each shipment it sends) on this blog, if you want to see what I received and my thoughts on each item. I also explain how Stitch Fix works in more detail there if you are not familiar with it.

I’ve received three Fixes since that first one – the fourth one arrived this past week. I’m going to review those items here. You can get a glimpse of all the items from my fourth Fix on the style card sent by my stylist. It’s helpful for giving you different ideas of how to wear each piece and how to style the clothes with accessories.

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I have an event coming up that I need a dress for so I specifically requested dresses in this Fix. The stylist sent three dresses:

loveapella-paige-maxi-dress

The Loveapella Paige Maxi Dress (above) came in a deep eggplant color. It was very soft and would be good for an elegant evening out, but the material was terrible for me. It is very thin and not at all forgiving. I tried it on for about 10 seconds and knew it was going back.

41Hawthorn Tillie Dress

The 41Hawthorn Tillie Dress in navy blue and white is a nice, classic look, but once again the material was all wrong for me. This material was not thin like the first dress, but it was clingy in all the wrong places and also too short for my taste. On the hanger it looks like an A-line style, but on my curvy frame not so much!

Papermoon Fabiana Dress

The Papermoon Fabiana Dress was the most interesting of the three in my opinion. I liked the floral print and the material was more in line with my conservative style. Unfortunately this dress did not fit. At all.

I’m a little bummed that only one of the three dresses is one I would have considered, and then to have it not work out was disappointing. One point of having a StitchFix stylist is to try things you may not pick up in a store on your own, but sometimes you wouldn’t pick them up because you know what will work for you and what won’t!

The two tops in this fix were definitely my style. I had asked for more color in this Fix as the last two I’d received had mostly neutral colors. I appreciate that the stylist honored my request.

41Hawthorn Colibri Tab Sleeve Blouse

The 41Hawthorn Colibri Solid Tab Sleeve Blouse was a beautiful aqua color. The stylist noted that she had seen it or a similar top on my Pinterest board (this is another way Stitch Fix gathers input on your personal fashion tastes – by looking at a Pinterest board you create, if you choose to make one. I love Pinterest so this is a no brainer for me). The top looked great on, except the buttons gaped open a little as it was too snug through the chest. This was the same issue I had with the Papermoon dress above. StitchFix knows your bra size if you choose to include it on the Style Profile that you fill out when you join, so I wish they were a little more effective at  sending you items that will work with your measurements. I guess it’s not always a perfect science with different cuts and materials.

Parkhurst Jeffrey Waffle Knit Sweater

The last item, the Parkhurst Jeffrey Waffle Knit Color Block Sweater, is the only item I considered keeping. The fit was great and it was oversized, which I prefer for pairing with jeans and boots in the fall. For a sweater, this was actually a pretty lightweight knit so it could have worked in Florida. I was on the fence about keeping this one, but I didn’t love it and the $84 price tag was more than I was willing to pay for a sweater I only kind of liked.

So, if you’ve done the math, I kept zero out of five items in this month’s Fix. I did feel that the stylist had listened to my requests but unfortunately these items just didn’t work out. (Although I didn’t blog about my second and third Fixes, I kept 1 maxi dress from those two shipments.)

I’m not sure how this Fix compares with others’ experience with receiving items you like and that fit well from Stitch Fix. I’ve made sure to log in and update my Style profile and I also provide detailed feedback on each item I have returned. Hopefully this will help make the next Fix more successful. I’m going to give it one more month but I don’t know that I will continue my subscription beyond that if it’s like this one. I just can’t see spending the $20 styling fee if I’m not able to apply it to a purchase.

After I received this Fix and knew I wasn’t going to keep anything, I did go shopping on my own and found several great items at Belk and Old Navy. It was nice to treat myself to a few new things, even if the Fix wasn’t quite right.

I definitely recommend trying Stitch Fix, as it is fun to fill out your style profile, receive the shipments and try some clothes you may not otherwise select for yourself. The convenience is unrivaled with the return envelope already included in the box when it arrives. You just log in to Stitch Fix and tell them what you’re keeping or returning, drop off the return package at your local post office and you’re all done.  Of the items I’ve kept from previous Fixes, I really do like and enjoy wearing them.

Stitch Fix does not pay me to review their service, but I do receive a small credit if anyone uses the links in this post to sign up. If you do decide to give it a try and use my link, thank you!

I’m also participating in a link up this month with other bloggers who review their Stitch Fix experience. See what fun pieces they received here.

stitch-fix-link-up

Giving Stitch Fix A Try

I’m often splurging on my children and sharing our stories on this site, but rarely do I splurge for myself. Most of my wardrobe consists of items I picked up at Old Navy or Target when I was there shopping for the kids. I will shop online occasionally, but I don’t remember the last time I walked into a store with the sole purpose of trying on clothes – stylish, quality clothing – for myself. It wasn’t always this way. I used to love clothes and dressing up, but now I am a wife and mom of three who works. I have scarce time for much else. Enter Stitch Fix!

first-stitch-fixAfter seeing endless Stitch Fix ads and posts from friends circulating in social media, my curiosity got the best of me. I decided to learn more about the service that sends clothing and accessories to your door each month – or at whatever interval of time you specify.

Each shipment (or Fix, as they call it) is filled with five items picked for you by a personal stylist based on the preferences, sizes and budget you indicate when you sign up for the service. You have three days to try on the items and decide whether to keep or return them. There is a $20 styling fee per box, which gets credited to your account for the purchase of any items you decide to keep from the shipment. If you keep all five, you also receive 25 percent off. Shipping is free and so are the returns if you use the pre-paid return envelope enclosed in each box. As inspiration, the stylists also provide photos of different ways to wear the items.

I had my doubts about whether Stitch Fix would have clothing I liked or that fit me, but I was intrigued and signed up anyway. Any measures I can take to prevent Stacy London from showing up on my doorstep to rescue me from a fashion emergency would be a step in the right direction at this point, I told myself.

When I received my first Fix a few weeks later, I was pleasantly surprised. I liked all five items on some level, and I thought they reflected preferences and information I provided when I signed up (Thank you, stylist Kelly!). You can see them on the styling card below.

stitch-fix-styling-cardI tried on all the items quickly, as I was in a hurry the day they arrived. I thought I’d made a decision to keep the Market & Spruce Jamie Button Down Cotton Shirt and the necklace.

Thankfully, I waited a couple of days and tried everything on again when I had more time. I made sure to try on the tops with different pants and skirts I might put them with. Isn’t that the spirit of Stitch Fix, after all? I was glad I did this. My opinion of the white shirt changed completely – the material is thin and a camisole is required. When I put it all together, it just wasn’t the most flattering piece on me.

I loved the Pixley Florence Colorblocked Dress. It was my daughters’ favorite on me (Yes, I made them judge my impromptu fashion show. Fun times.) It was incredibly comfortable and I loved the navy blue color. In the end though, it was too short on me. I knew if I kept it, I would either wear it and be self-conscious about the short length or it would sit in my closet. So I couldn’t justify the expense.

The Renee C Naya Knit Top was something I never would have picked up in a store. The fabric reminded me of something my late grandmother would have worn. With no disrespect to her, I’m 39 not 89! But — and here’s the beauty of Stitch Fix — I tried it on and I really liked the fit and feel of this top. I returned it simply because the pattern was awkward, with a row of Xs hitting right across the bust line (Not a look I’m going for). Because you can give feedback on each item in your shipment, I’ve asked whether this top is available in any other colors or patterns. According to Stitch Fix, the stylists use your feedback to help choose items for the next fix. Fingers crossed.

The one item I initially thought was plain and boring, the Market & Spruce Corinna Striped Dolman Top, turned out to be my favorite the second time around. Right now I’d prefer a more lightweight fabric for days when I’m outside in the Florida sun, but it is comfortable and I have no doubt I will live in this shirt this fall. I kept it and the Bancroft Kate Stone & Pave Disc Layering Necklace, which I love for its classic, feminine style.

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I slipped the returns into the provided envelope and dropped it off at the post office. I filled out the online survey to complete my order and give feedback to the stylists. Easy peasy!

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Now I’m really looking forward to my second Fix!

Stitch Fix provided a positive first experience. I spent about $60 on my order, and the convenience and styling suggestions were worth the price. That’s more than I would have paid at Target or Old Navy, but the quality of items appears to be better, as well. It’s a good thing to get out of your comfort zone and try new things, especially for those of us who are moms or anyone who is stuck in a fashion rut. Here’s to Stitch Fix and happy, little splurges for me!

Get happy, little splurges for you, too! If you want to try Stitch Fix, I’d appreciate your signing up with this link, as I will receive a referral credit toward a future purchase. Thank you, and I’d love to know what you think of Stitch Fix, too!