Our 1st Disneyland Trip: Part 1

If I don’t sit down and write this now, it won’t happen. And I need it to happen. This was a very special and memorable trip and I must document it in¬†as many ways possible ūüôā So I’ll recap it, share some photos/videos and some lessons learned/tips for future trips. Because I tend to ramble and I know most blog readers have a short attention span, I will probably break this up into several parts (with separate posts). Because there’s just SO much to share.

Let’s start with a history…

Going¬†to Disneyland wasn’t really on my radar until very recently. I always said to myself “maybe when the kids are much older so they remember/enjoy it more.” However, in February I took Gwen to see Frozen on Ice as a mommy/daughter date and early birthday present. Frozen is one of her favorite movies of all time (like 2397429 other little girls), so I figured she would enjoy this. And I wanted to see how she’d do at her first “show”. Well, to say she loved it would be an understatement.¬†Her face was lit up the whole time. She sang. She danced. She clapped at the appropriate times. She excitedly exclaimed “MOMMY, LOOK! IT’S _______!” (fill in the blank with every character she saw). I texted Ivor during the show and told him how much she was enjoying it and said something like “We are SO going to Disneyland!” Of course I wasn’t expecting to do it anytime soon, but then he responded with a comment about trying to book it before the baby comes. So let it be known, while I may have been the one to put the bug in his ear at that Frozen show, it was my husband who suggested actually going¬†before Baby #3 comes. So¬†of course, I ran with it ūüėČ

I then¬†started doing research, asking friends for advice, reading blogs, etc. about going¬†to Disneyland (where to stay, when to go, what rides to go on, where to eat etc.) Since we live in California, almost everyone we know who has kids ¬†has been there and it’s a very popular place to visit. So there is no shortage of Disneyland experts/veterans to seek advice from! We ended up booking it fairly last minute, during a peak time of year (spring break/Easter). I’m thankful we got a room at all, let alone at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels (places were selling out quickly during the dates we wanted, but we wanted to be able to go while Ivor’s mom was still here). While staying on property (at 1 of the 3 resort hotels) is definitely more expensive than staying off-property, we decided the convenience¬†was worth it for us right now. When you stay at one of those hotels you get the advantage of the “Extra Magic Hour” every day of your stay. That means you get into the park an hour before it’s open to the general public. The 2 parks (Disneyland Park and California Adventure) alternate which one has the magic hour each day. With 2 small kids (and a husband who LOATHES crowds), this was extremely appealing to us. Other advantages of staying on property is the convenience of the location- everything within walking distance, really nice pools, restaurants, etc. and that little bit of¬†“Disney magic” that each of the hotels have. I wanted to truly feel like I was on vacation and staying somewhere where everything is right there, helps me feel like I’m really on vacation. Maybe that’s just me. But I loved it! The Disneyland Hotel¬†is the one we stayed at.

Anyway, we stayed for 6 nights- but only purchased 3-day park hopper tickets. So we had 2 days of rest, which I highly recommend. 3 days in the park(s) was about perfect. ¬†We arrived on a Wednesday. We did Disneyland Park on the first day, Thursday (because it had the extra magic hour that day), California Adventure on the 2nd day- Friday, then had 2 rest days (Saturday and Sunday- which is when the park was probably more crowded) Then on Monday, our final day in the park,¬†we went to California Adventure first (for the magic hour) and then “hopped” over to Disneyland park for the rest of the day. Drove¬†home on Tuesday.

Here’s a quick breakdown/summary of each day (and by “quick” I probably mean “detailed”):

Day 1 (Disneyland Park): If I had to rate each day in the park, this was probably the worst. We didn’t get in line as early as we (my husband) wanted to, even for the magic hour- the line was already crazy long when we got there. So the crowds were there early, lines for rides had already started, blah blah whatever. Despite all of that, Day 1 was always going to be the “break-in/warming-up” day, no matter what. The kids have never¬†really been to any amusement park and have never seen characters up close and personal. So it¬†was a little overwhelming for both of them at first (understandably). It took Gwen some time to really get into the rides. And that’s ok. I expected that to happen. It was also really really hot, which didn’t help things. But we still managed to go on a decent amount of rides before noon, which is when we planned to go back to the hotel for lunch/naps. The ride highlights from this morning: the carousel (which ended up being Gwen’s absolute favorite) and the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage ride (very cool). We went on more rides obviously, but those were the best (most enjoyed by all). After lunch, naps (which didn’t actually happen, so let’s just call it a “rest” period) and dinner, we went back to the park for the Paint The Night parade and the Fireworks show, both of which kind of redeemed the whole day for me. Because they were AMAZING. We let the kids stay up and watch both of them, which was a little rough- but they were troopers. For¬†their first full day at the park for the first time ever, they were EXHAUSTED by that point. But it’s vacation…bedtime shmedtime.

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Day 2 (California Adventure):¬†Best day ever. We got in line early for the extra magic hour (and the lines weren’t nearly as long as they were at DP the day before), so we got in right at the start of it and went straight to Anna & Elsa. (I had planned out all of our stops in advance and knew exactly where they were in the park). There was hardly any line at all. We were maybe 3rd or 4th in line to meet them that day. Gwen was dressed as Elsa and she was SO excited but SO nervous. We walked into this royal room where they were meeting and greeting and there was a quiet “awe” sort of vibe¬†in the room. Like the feeling you get when seeing a bride right after she puts on her wedding dress for the first time on her wedding day. That’s the best way I can describe it. Obviously, I know Anna and Elsa aren’t real, but Gwen doesn’t. And it was magical to her. And so it was magical for me (and Ivor). I may have teared-up a bit (and I wasn’t the only adult in the room who did ;-). Gwen was really shy but gave them her Frozen sticker book that she made for them to sign. They were so good with her (and Ivor Baby too- who took to Anna right away). We didn’t feel rushed. They took their time talking to¬†her and taking pictures with us, etc. It was such a great way to start our day. I think that was the turning point moment for Gwen, and¬†she really started getting¬†into this whole “Disneyland” thing and wanted to go on rides and fully embrace all that the parks had to offer. The rest of the morning was just as wonderful. It wasn’t very crowded at all (compared to the other park) and we didn’t have to wait very long at all to go on all the rides we wanted to. Even the longest line¬†(for the Toy Story ride) moved quickly. Also, we got to meet Olaf that morning too. We may have actually been the first ones to meet him that day, there was no line at all. Poor Olaf lol. Anyway, Gwen was actually a little afraid of him up close but Ivor Baby LOOOOOVED him. He was full of smiles and giggles ūüôā Definitely the highlight for him I think. We saw the Frozen Sing-A-Long show¬†before, once again,¬†¬†heading back to the hotel for lunch and “rest”, and I think I finally showered after several days (highlight for me). We came back later in the afternoon for the Pixar Play Parade, went on the carousel a few more times (Gwen preferred the one in this park because it was¬†sea-themed with underwater sea creatures. She liked those better than the horses), checked out the Mad-T Party thing (cover band), then Ivor’s mom took Ivor Baby back to the hotel and the¬†3 of us (Gwen, Ivor and myself) headed to Cars¬†Land, went on more rides, then waited around for the World of Color show, which was also INCREDIBLE. Then back to the hotel for Zzzz’s….

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To be Continued…. because this is getting way too long….

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Stitch Fix Maternity Review (#2 and #3)

Long time, no blog! Sorry. Pregnancy with 2 toddlers running around has made me¬†lazy. Er, just…tired. So I’ve slacked on my blog writing… majorly. To catch you up, I’ve received 2 more Stitch Fix maternity fixes since my last one and they’ve just been knocking it out of the park with this maternity thing! So, I pulled myself together today and took some pictures to show all of you. Also, they just started offering SHOES. And I got a pair. You must read¬†on…

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If a purchase is made using one of my links, I receive a small commission which helps support this blog. That said, all opinions are 100% my own! I love sharing my experience with services I love for all you lovely readers ūüôā¬†

Stitch Fix Maternity Shoes Review

I’ll start with my 2nd maternity fix (which is not the one pictured above). I’ve been asking for MOSTLY non-maternity items that I can wear post-baby too, because I want to be able to get a lot of use out of these items (since this is baby #3 and all). They’ve been doing a great job of satisfying that request while still including a few necessary actual maternity items (which I also requested). And my stylist has been nailing it.

Spoiler for maternity fix #2: I kept EVERYTHING.

{Oh, and bump status for all these photos: 24 weeks pregnant.}

Item #1: Sina V-Neck Printed Maxi Dress $78

Stitch Fix Maternity Sina V-Neck Printed Maxi Dress Stitch Fix Maternity Sina V-Neck Printed Maxi Dress Stitch Fix Maternity Sina V-Neck Printed Maxi Dress

I looooooooove this dress so much. I’ve worn it several times now. It’s not actually a maternity dress so I’ll get plenty of use out of it after the baby comes too. It’s comfortable, lightweight, and I love the print and colors (the top is navy blue).¬†Not sure what else to say about it. It’s a winner.

Item #2: Blaire Maternity Dress $68

Stitch Fix Maternity Blaire Maternity Dress Stitch Fix Maternity Blaire Maternity Dress Stitch Fix Maternity Blaire Maternity Dress

I immediately loved this dress too! I’ve worn this with my white chucks, a cardigan and a long pendant necklace. ¬†These knit maternity dresses are super flattering, comfy and casual. If you’ve been following my Stitch Fix posts for awhile, you’ll notice a pattern: I love “comfy and casual”. ¬†However, this one is starting to get a bit snug on me these days. Which I’m hoping means I’ll get to wear it more post-baby once the bump goes down (despite this one being an actual maternity dress, I think I’ll still be able to wear it a lot in the future).

Items #3 and #4: Sollas Long Sleeve Shirred Cuffs Maternity Knit Top $48, and Mira Skinny Jean  $78

Stitch Fix Maternity Sollas Long Sleeve Shirred Cuffs Maternity Knit Top Stitch Fix Maternity Sollas Long Sleeve Shirred Cuffs Maternity Knit Top Stitch Fix Maternity Mira Skinny Jean Stitch Fix Maternity Mira Skinny Jean

Two more easy winners! The shirt is rather plain and boring, yes. But it’s unbelievably comfy and stretchy and it’s sort of a blank canvas- so I always add a necklace. And it’s a great layering piece. The pants are actually NOT maternity. But they’re slip-on, jeggings basically. So they worked beautifully for early pregnancy and will be great post-baby too. These are¬†also getting quite snug on me now (around the belly area) which¬†makes my belly bump silhouette look lumpy. And nobody wants that. I’ll be looking forward to wearing these again more often post-baby ūüôā

Item #5: Genevieve Stacked Chevron Pendant Necklace $28

Stitch Fix Genevieve Stacked Chevron Pendant Necklace

This immediately became my favorite go-to necklace. I wore it almost every day. And then my lovely daughter accidentally broke it ūüôĀ I am sad. I need to look into a jewelry repair place…because I miss it so much. It’s a great pendant necklace at a great length (though still adjustable of course). It went with everything and added that something extra to every outfit. Sigh….

As I mentioned earlier: this was a home-run 5/5 fix! So I got 25% off, plus some referral credit to put toward it. Woot!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Moving on to my latest fix, with the SHOES!

In fact, I’ll just start there.

Item #1: Yippee T-Strap Sandal (NINE WEST) $89

Stitch Fix Shoes Yippee T-Strap Sandal Stitch Fix Shoes Yippee T-Strap Sandal Stitch Fix Shoes Yippee T-Strap Sandal

I was really on the fence with these. They’re not typically my style or like anything I usually wear. What I DID like a lot, was the leopard print. I have leopard print flats pinned on¬†my Pinterest Board, so kudos to my stylist for noticing that. I also love the ankle straps from the back view. But I wasn’t crazy about the little mini-heel (which I just realized I didn’t take a¬†very good picture of)¬†or the overall strap placement and how it looked on my feet. I also determined that I probably wouldn’t get a lot of use out of them anyway. So ultimately, these got: RETURNED.

Item #2: Gemma Maternity Dress (TART) $88

Stitch Fix Maternity Gemma Maternity Dress Stitch Fix Maternity Gemma Maternity Dress Stitch Fix Maternity Gemma Maternity Dress

I really love this dress! It’s crazy soft and comfortable and very flattering. The only reason I didn’t keep it is because I have basically the exact same dress from Old Navy, that a friend passed along to me for free ūüôā Therefore, RETURNED. Also, I’m wearing the shoes in these pics too, so you can get a better idea of what they looked like on.

Item #3: Char Geo Print Maxi Skirt (MARKET & SPRUCE) $58

Stitch Fix Maternity Char Geo Print Maxi Skirt Stitch Fix Maternity Char Geo Print Maxi Skirt

I love the print and the colors on this maxi skirt (it has some yellow and pink in it). It’s not maternity but clearly works during pregnancy and beyond. However, I have a few printed maxi skirts and I’ve come to realize that I don’t have many tops to wear with them and they end up just sitting in my closet. So sadly, RETURNED.

Items #4 and #5: Charlote Ruched Side Maternity Knit Top (LOVEAPPELLA) $48 and Taylor Maternity Cuffed Demin Short (LIVERPOOL) $54

Stitch Fix Maternity Charlote Ruched Side Maternity Knit Top Stitch Fix Maternity Charlote Ruched Side Maternity Knit Top Stitch Fix Maternity Charlote Ruched Side Maternity Knit Top Stitch Fix Maternity Taylor Maternity Cuffed Denim Short

And finally, the winners from this fix! I’ll start with the shirt. It was a no-brainer keeper. It’s cute, casual, comfortable (see…the pattern). It’s long and stretchy enough to last throughout the rest of my pregnancy. It’s soft and lightweight. It’s mine. And the shorts were a specific request. I have (well, had) zero maternity shorts…and I’ll be spending¬†the majority of my¬†3rd trimester in the summer. That’s just unacceptable. Shorts were a must-have. These fit perfectly. They’re my style. The panel is so soft and not at all tight. I barely even notice it’s there, which is a big deal for me (a lot of maternity bottoms with full panels make my belly itch like CRAZY). There will be no belly itching going on with these shorts. Verdict for both: KEEP!

Well, that’s that. What did you think of the items I received? Would you have kept those sandals?! I can’t to wait to see some other shoe options in my next fixes.

I’ve linked up with Maria at Crazy Together- so be sure to check out her latest fix and a bunch of other awesome bloggers and their latest fixes too! CLICK HERE ūüôā

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BG3 (Fiona) Pregnancy Update!

We recently found out that little BG3 is a GIRL! Woohoo ūüôā It was fun watching her on the ultrasound. She was very active but not cooperative at times. The tech already saw the gender when she was doing her initial measurements and capturing the images, but when it came time to show mommy and daddy,¬†baby¬†was very modest…legs crossed, thighs closed lol….cause she’s a lady, after all. But we saw the girl¬†parts eventually. We’re thrilled for another sweet little girl to join our family. Miss Fiona Joy Griffiths is her name ūüôā

So, here’s the latest update (and if you missed the 1st one, you can read it here):

Due Date: July¬†23, 2016 (nothing’s changed here)

How Far Along: 19 Weeks

Next Appointment: March 10th

Gender: GIRL!

Total Weight Gain/Loss: About +10 lbs now (my appetite came back lol…and I’m lifting weights, so I’d like to think some of those lbs are from muscle)

Exercise: Yes! Now that I’m not miserable and puking all the time, I’ve started lifting weights with my husband, as I just mentioned. I’d like to start going for more walks too, especially now that the weather is getting nicer.

Stretch Marks: No

Swelling: No

Maternity Clothes: Yep, all the maternity clothes.

Belly Button: In, but changing shape a bit.

Sleep: What’s that? I have 2 toddlers.

Food Cravings: I can eat most things again which is wonderful. Still love my sweets and a good pizza. Newest craving though is Indian food.

Food Aversions:¬†Still not a big fan of chicken, but depends on how it’s prepared. Last night the hubby made a pesto chicken pasta and that was wonderful. I can also eat chicken in Indian food (like butter chicken for example), but chicken noodle soup? No thanks.

Symptoms:¬†Nausea/vomiting has subsided, but I’m still a crazy emotional mess, with acid reflux, fatigue, gas/bloating, various body aches, etc.

Movement:¬†Yes! I’ve been feeling the occasional little kick and jab for the past 2-3 weeks or so ūüôā

Labor Signs: Nope

What I Miss: The ability to sneeze without peeing myself a little.

What I’m Loving:¬†Feeling the baby move

What I’m Looking Forward To:¬†Her birth! Seeing what she looks like and what her little personality will be, how alike/different she’ll be from her big sister and brother, blue eyes or brown eyes, etc.

Best Moment This Week: Obviously finding out the gender and seeing her move all around on the ultrasound.

Words of Wisdom:¬†You’d think after this long I would’ve learned my lesson about Googling things. After the ultrasound I was concerned about what I THOUGHT looked like a very low fluid level (amniotic fluid) despite not being told that by anyone. Some of the images on the ultrasound just looked like Fiona’s poor face was right up against the placenta with little to no fluid in there. So I Googled it….bad idea. Turns out, I’m just a crazy person and everything was totally normal. GOOGLE IS THE ENEMY when you’re a concerned parent. (Yes, I know my husband works there). Just don’t do it, friends. Until you’ve heard something from your own doctor, you are NOT the expert…and neither are the people of the Interwebs. That is all.

Until next time, here’s Fiona saying “Hello from the inside!”

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The big gender reveal for the kiddos (and everyone else when we posted it) ūüôā

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Proud Wifey

I don’t talk about it much on the blog, but in addition to my husband’s day job at Google, he (we)¬†runs a production company called “Bitwise Productions“. It’s basically your “one stop shop” for live events. We do sound and lights (set-up and live mixing/audio engineering),¬†live music (The Duvets), photography (me!), etc. It’s a pretty fun industry and we’re in a prime location for it in the Bay Area. People love events and going “all out” with this sort of thing. We do weddings, corporate parties, speaking engagements and some bigger stuff like expos and conventions.

The most recent one we did this past weekend was at the Santa Clara Convention Center for AOD 2016 (Animation on Display). We produced everything going on at the “main stage”. It was a 2-day event filled with quite the variety of performances (metal/rock, jazz/funk, rap, etc.) I might be biased, but I was pretty impressed with how everything sounded and looked. But I especially loved hearing so many people compliment my husband. One of the bands in particular, who play all over the world and work with the “best and highest-paid” sound engineers told him that his mix was the best¬†and that¬†they want him to run sound at their future shows¬†(whenever they’re allowed to bring their own sound engineer). That’s a pretty huge compliment…and I am one proud wifey ūüôā

It’s a testament to how hard-working my husband is and how he pursues everything he does with excellence. He does not settle for mediocrity. He doesn’t just want our company to be “decent” or¬†semi-successful, he wants to be the best at what we do. Is it worth all the time and effort to do it any other way? (Colossians 3:23, Ephesians 6:7, and one of his favorites that inspires his hard work, Ephesians 4:28-¬†working hard so that he can provide for others).

Anyway! Here are a some photos from the weekend. And if you know anyone looking for sound/lights/etc. for an event, please do contact us (klg@bitwiseproductions.com) ūüôā

Bitwise Productions AOD 2016 Animation On Display Bitwise Productions AOD 2016 Animation On Display AOD 2016 Animation On Display Bitwise Productions AOD 2016 Animation On Display Bitwise Productions Super Soul Bros AOD 2016 Animation On Display Super Soul Bros AOD 2016 Animation On Display Lotus Juice AOD 2016 Animation On Display Lotus Juice AOD 2016 Animation On Display Lotus Juice AOD 2016 Animation On Display Lotus Juice AOD 2016 Animation On Display

Valentine’s Day Stitch Fix Giveaway!!

Well Stitch Fix lovers, it’s happening again. I’ve collaborated with a lovely group of¬†bloggers for yet another giveaway. And this one is even BIGGER than the last one. Are you ready? We are giving away one $500 Stitch Fix Gift Card (FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!) This is huge. I’m so excited for whoever wins this!

Stitch Fix 500 Horizontal

You enter below by following each of us on our various social media pages (for a total of 22 entries!) That’s it! Super easy. The giveaway ends at 11:59pm (Eastern time) on February 12th. The winner will be announced soon¬†after. Good luck!

Be sure to check out all the beautiful bloggers who made this giveaway possible (you’ll see their faces at the bottom) ūüôā

 

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My Closet Purge!

I posted a BEFORE/AFTER picture of my closet yesterday on Facebook and it seemed to be quite popular! So I thought I’d talk a bit more about it here. There’s a book called “The Magic Art of Tidying Up” that seems to be sweeping the nation (that’s probably an overstatement but it’s at least sweeping MY¬†circles: MOPS, Facebook friends, fellow Stitch Fix lovers, etc.)

To be clear, I haven’t actually read the book. So I don’t know all the “rules” of the method. But I know a few (and enough to get started). My friend Denise HAS read the book and explained the main “rules” to me a few months ago, and she’s the one who helped me out with the closet purge yesterday. She even took everything to Good Will for me after we were done!! She’s awesome ūüôā

Anyway! The main/most important things you should know if you want to do this:

  1. Do it by category
  2. Do it all at once (not a little at a time)
  3. Determine if each item “sparks joy”. If it doesn’t, it goes away.

So the first category I started with is clothing/shoes. Specifically MY clothing. I’ll get to my husband’s and the kid’s next.

We did it all at once, by gathering every single article of clothing I own and every pair of shoes…from all over the house…closets, dresser drawers, laundry, downstairs by the door, etc. and laid everything out on the bed. ¬†This was the most overwhelming part for me. The phrase “it’s going to get worse before it gets better” comes to mind. Had Denise not been there with me, I would’ve panicked and talked myself out of it because there was just SO¬†much stuff lol.

To determine if an item “sparks joy”, you go through each thing 1-by-1, physically hold it in your hands and ask yourself that question. To elaborate a bit more about¬†what did NOT spark joy for me, here are the types of things that got tossed/donated: Clothes/shoes that were falling apart/gross/missing buttons, ripped seams, etc. Clothes/shoes that did not¬†fit. Clothes/shoes that I’ve had since college and was¬†just sick of looking at. Clothes/shoes that didn’t make me feel confident/cute/sexy/etc. If I had to hesitate and¬†try to convince myself why I should keep it, then it was a “no”.

I had a bit of an advantage I think. For the last year and a half I’ve been replacing my wardrobe with new clothes from Stitch Fix and Trunk Club. So I already knew that I had a solid wardrobe of¬†clothes that fit me, and made me feel good wearing them. So saying goodbye to everything else was pretty easy. It was just finally setting aside the time to tackle it all at once that was holding me back.

That’s where Denise came in! She’s super passionate about helping other people de-clutter so when I told her about my disaster of a closet and how I couldn’t even walk into my “walk-in” closet, she couldn’t wait to help me ūüôā

Really, my whole house is a disaster. We have a lot of stuff. And my husband and I both HATE clutter. We just have a hard time actually doing anything about it. Some people might not mind it, but it stresses us out and gives us anxiety. I don’t feel like I can relax and enjoy my home when I’m surrounded by STUFF everywhere lol. It causes tension and unnecessary stupid spats between me and my husband. Once the de-cluttering is finished, I happen to have another MOPS friend who’s a professional organizer and we are SO hiring her. It’s cheaper than marriage counseling ūüėČ

Anyway- here are¬†some more photos from yesterday’s project. I can’t¬†wait to share more with you all as we continue with the rest of the house! There’s still A LOT of work left to do. NOTE: this wasn’t even a full closet clean-out, as you can see I have a lot more than just clothes in my closet. But now that the clothing is out of the way, I can actually take care of the other stuff ūüôā

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Stitch Fix #18- Holiday Party Fix: Take 2

Last month, I received a “holiday party” themed fix (from Stitch Fix)¬†that sadly didn’t work out for me. Great dresses, just didn’t fit me well¬†or weren’t what I was looking for. So I decided to give them one more chance. Unfortunately, I STILL¬†didn’t find what I was looking for in this one ūüôĀ However, I did get a¬†statement necklace and I LOVE it!¬†So it’s not a total bust ūüôā¬†As with the previous fix, these are all really great dresses (and they actually fit well), but they just were¬†not what I wanted to wear to the party.

Also, I have to apologize…this has been a very crazy, chaotic week and I threw these pictures together really fast, didn’t have time to actually take pictures of them ON me, and the lighting is terrible because it was dark and gloomy outside during the¬†only time I had to take pics. I know that seeing a dress on the hanger is not the same as seeing it on an actual person. So, I’m sorry ūüôĀ But… this is still better than nothing!

I’ll start with my one keeper:

Item #1:  Jania Hammered Plate Necklace (BANCROFT)

Stitch Fix Review Jania Hammered Plate Necklace

This is definitely my kind of necklace. I love the “hammered” look. I love the gold. It goes with just about everything. Keeper!

Item #2: Talisa Dress (PIXLEY)

Pixley Talisa Dress Stitch Fix Jania Hammered Plate Necklace Pixley Talisa Dress Stitch Fix

This is the only solid colored dress I received. And the only one with lace detail. Both of which are a good thing. I had several solid-colored, lace detailed dresses pinned on my Pinterest board. But I didn’t like the shape of this one, particularly at the top. The top is very narrow which somehow gave it a less-feminine look in the shoulder area. Also, I don’t like this¬†particular lace detail and how it fringes on the end….like it’s falling apart. Not really the look I wanted. The necklace paired really well with it though!

Item 3: Lynnette Dress (MAGGY LONDON)

Maggy London Lynnette Dress Stitch Fix Maggy London Lynnette Dress Stitch Fix

I want to start off by saying, I really loved this dress! But I was on a mission to find the perfect dress for a Christmas party, and this wasn’t it. If I was just looking for a cute dress to wear on other occasions, this probably would’ve been a keeper. It was a soft, heavier material that flattered my figure well (of course it was a petite size- they listened!), and the print is really cool. I’d wear this with tights and boots and a cardigan and it would be super cute to wear in cooler weather. Or in the summer with black strappy sandals. Now I’m regretting sending this back… Let’s move on! Highly recommend this dress though.

Item #4: Caela Dress (PAPERMOON) 

Papermoon Caela Dress Stitch Fix Papermoon Caela Dress Stitch Fix

This dress didn’t really do much for me. It fit really well, that wasn’t the issue. Just wasn’t crazy about the style. The color is a pink-peach-nude sort of color and the black is a fish-net material. Overall, a little unremarkable. Nothing special.

Item #5: Donie Dress (PIXLEY)

Pixley Donie Dress Stitch Fix Pixley Donie Dress Stitch Fix

This is another dress that I might keep if I was just looking for dresses in general. I love the print and the color. But it definitely BEGS for a belt to give it more shape once it’s on. And that’s exactly what I’d do if I kept it. Like the Lynnette Dress, I’d wear this with tights, boots and a cardigan (and a belt of some sort like I just mentioned). The material on this one is light and blousy and just sort of hangs there, instead of hugging your figure…so, needs help with the shape.

So what¬†did you think? Some great dresses, right? You might be wondering….so what WERE you looking for exactly then? If 2 fixes worth of dresses didn’t make the cut?! Well…I went with a classic little black dress! The first store I walked into (Macy’s), on the first rack I saw…was this dress.¬†I tried it on with a few other LBD options, but this was by far the best. I paired it with leopard print heels and sparkly earrings. I felt great in it! It was exactly what I was hoping for ūüôā

Sorry for the bad pics, but this is the best I got:

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Also, don’t forget about the Stitch Fix Holiday Giveaway I’m participating in with some other bloggers. Click the image below to check it out if you haven’t already entered. There are¬†2 days left!

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Stitch Fix Gift Card Giveaway!!!

Hi Friends! You all know by now how much I love Stitch Fix. They’ve taken my worn-out, juniors-style wardrobe and transformed it into an age-appropriate, trendy and sophisticated one. The best part, is that I didn’t need to shop for any of it myself! Personal stylists for the win, people! Okay, so let me get to the point of this post now (which you’ve probably already figured out by the title). I’m excited to announce that I have collaborated with other Stitch Fix bloggers to offer YOU (my readers)¬†a chance to win a $300 Stitch Fix gift card! $300!! Woohoo!

Enter below by following all of us on our various social media sites (for a total of 14 entries!) and then be sure to check out the other wonderful bloggers in the Stitch Fix community who made this giveaway possible! You’ll see their beautiful faces at the bottom of the post, which will direct you¬†to their blog.

Merry Christmas and good luck ūüôā

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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A Blue Apron Review & Recipe

Back in July, after¬†Ivor’s accident and our miscarriage, we had a mealtrain account¬†set up for us for about a month. So for¬†a month I didn’t have to worry about meal planning, cooking or the usual amount of dishes to clean up in the kitchen afterward. It was wonderful. ¬†But at some point, the mealtrain ended and we still quite weren’t¬†ready for things to go back to normal. Cue all the wonderful convenient silicon valley services (though I realize¬†not all of them are exclusive to this area). Instacart. Door Dash. Google Express. Molly Maid. Freshly. Blue Apron. All things¬†I could arrange¬†from home, quickly on the computer, and have delivered to my door…I was all over it. As a mom, I love that sort of thing anyway, but¬†we became pretty reliant on it during this rough recovery period,¬†when all I had the energy and brain-capacity to manage was caring for my husband and kids. Food? No. Cleaning? No. Shopping? No. It was survival mode over here. I could write (and likely will) reviews for all of the services I just mentioned, but this post in particular is all about¬†Blue Apron.

What is Blue Apron?

Blue Apron is a meal delivery service that sends you all the ingredients necessary to cook a specific meal, which¬†is already planned and “perfectly” portioned to the serving size. I put “perfectly” in quotations because we thought it was a bit off once or twice¬†(more on that later). You choose either the 2-person or 4-person (family) plan, for either 2 meals/week or 4/week. You can skip deliveries at any time and schedule them for whenever is convenient for you. We chose the 4-person/4 meals per week plan¬†($8.74 per¬†serving).

Here’s a great overview video you can watch and then I’ll get into my¬†review of the service and an example recipe for you:

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*NOTE: it figures that the box I decided to use for this post got a little beat-up in transit. That is not the norm, and all the ingredients were totally fine. Moving on.

My¬†review in a nutshell is this: This service is great for someone who actually likes to cook and spend time in the kitchen, but might¬†just be stuck in a meal-planning rut or doesn’t have time to shop. I heard¬†some negative reviews complaining that the prep time is just too long, so that’s something you should take into consideration before trying it out. It’s not a fast-food delivery service. It’s basically someone planning a meal for you, shopping for all the ingredients for you and then dropping it off at your house with instructions on how to cook it. It helps if you already have some culinary chops. I am blessed to have a husband with said chops. The prep time for him was usually less than they estimated. For the average home-chef, like me, I’d say the prep time was fairly accurate (only longer if¬†I got¬†distracted by my kiddos).

PROS: We enjoyed the variety of meals we received and thought the majority of them were really delicious (just a few duds that were kind of “meh”). Serving size was *mostly* accurate. There were a few times that the side salad was definitely not enough for 4 people, at least not in my opinion. But since we weren’t giving our 2 toddlers the salad anyway, it wasn’t much of an issue. For me, it made me enjoy the cooking process more and improve my skills. I loved having everything already portioned for me, in neat little baggies or containers, etc. with step-by-step instructions and photos. They even¬†have a few “how-to” videos if you need to work on some of your culinary skills.¬†Not having to meal-plan was also a huge bonus for me. I can browse recipes online all day and not see a single thing that looks good or that I want to spend the time to cook. With Blue Apron, I didn’t even have to think about it. And it might just be because someone else came up with it and it was being delivered to my house, but all their recipes sounded dang good to me!

CONS: Our only negative is specific to us and our lifestyle. Some of the ingredients are not things we usually buy (i.e. white rice, white pasta, white flour, white sugar, etc.) We do brown rice, whole wheat pasta/flour, sweet potatoes only (not white) ..and rarely, if ever, do we eat corn (and we got A LOT of corn in our Blue Apron meals for awhile). ¬†Granted, this service can’t cater to everyone in that way and some of you are probably rolling your eyes at me right now (“ugh, one of those health food snobs”). Yes, we try to eat healthy, is that so wrong? ūüėõ We¬†still ate it and enjoyed it, but for the most part, in our kitchen, we don’t do processed. Not a “deal breaker”¬†between us and Blue Apron,¬†but not something we want to do on a regular basis, that’s all. We’re currently “on a break” with them right now but still use some of their recipes, and make substitutions when we can. For example, we made their Shepherd’s pie recipe with sweet potatoes instead of regular (yes, we broke tradition). But it¬†was¬†delicious and I felt better about the overall nutritional value of the meal.

Ok, so here’s a quick photo-sample of one of the recipes: Stuffed shells!¬†Since the recipe is in that link and pictured below, I’m not going to write it all out. You can just¬†enjoy the photos to see¬†what making a Blue Apron recipe looks like in real life ūüôā

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If Blue Apron sounds like something that might work for you and your family, please let me know,¬†because I have 5 free meals to give away (meaning 1 free meal for 5 different people)! First come, first served ūüôā *UPDATE*- all free meals have been claimed. I will post again in the future if I receive more!

NOTE: This post contains referral links.

Trunk Club (Mens)

You probably know by now that I’m a loyal¬†Stitch Fix¬†customer and recently started Trunk Club as well (for the SHOES!) I’ve already shared the¬†first 2 reviews of MY Trunk Club experience so far, but I wanted to give you a peek at what they offer for men too (since they’ve been doing the mens things for awhile). Ivor has been a Trunk Club customer for several months now and has received some pretty awesome items. Shoes, button-downs, jeans, even special socks to wear with his shoes ūüôā

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Here’s¬†a general overview of how the service works:

  1. Sign up and complete your style survey
  2. A stylist will connect with you and  hand-select items for you based on your style, sizes, preferences, requests, etc.
  3. You’ll get a preview of all the items before they ship (with a chance to say “don’t send” a particular item, if you so choose).
  4. After the “preview” period is over, your items will ship to your door (for free!)
  5. You have 10 days to try everything on and decide what you want to keep. Send back whatever you don’t (free shipping!)
  6. Request a new trunk whenever you’d like!

You have one stylist assigned to you every time, and you can communicate with them via email (or even phone!). Your online profile can include a photo of yourself, in addition to all your measurements. There’s no styling fee, no minimum purchase! The average trunk includes 12-15 items and there’s no incentive to keep every item (no additional discount). However, since they send so many items you’d probably go broke if you kept everything, so I’m glad they don’t dangle a “keep all” discount! I think the point is to have a lot of options to choose from.

So here’s a peek into my husband’s most recent trunk:

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Each trunk includes a personal note from your stylist, item/price list, return label and 2 packing strips (to seal the box back up for return).

This particular trunk seemed to have a color scheme to it: blues and greys! I liked that.

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Here’s my handsome, bearded husband modeling all the items:

Items 1, 2 and 3: Perfect Oxford Shirt (J. Press), Graduate Jeans (A.G.), Otto Canvas Shoes (Tretorn)

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Item 4: Jacob Henley (Slate & Stone)

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Item 5: Classic V-Neck Tee (Vince)

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Item 6: Tournament Crew Sweater (Life After Denim)

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Item 7: French Terry Long Sleeve Crew Neck (Velvetmen)

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Item 8: Crinkled Stretch Box Check Sportcoat (JKT)

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Item 9: Long Sleeve Modal Henley (Vince)

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Item 10: Skene Two Tone Long Sleeve Crew (Theory)

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Item 11: Iker Cashmere Full Zip Sweater (Theory)

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Close-up of the pants, sport-coat and the special socks, which is Item 12 and 13: 2-pack Liner Socks (Tommy John)

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It’s interesting that he’s wearing the grey pants in some of the photos above and they look brown, but really…they are grey.

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There was nice detail on the inside of the Sportcoat, which he really loved but was quite expensive (the most expensive item in the trunk). The socks are special “no-show” socks to wear with the¬†shoes he got (but he already has a few of those already). He¬†ended up keeping the grey pants and the shoes.¬†The grey pants because he doesn’t have anything like that in ¬†his wardrobe yet and they’ll go with a lot of different tops he has.¬†The shoes he already has in navy blue and they’re his favorite ever, so he was pretty excited to get them in a different color.

There were other items he really liked in this trunk (specifically the “Life After Denim” sweater), but it wasn’t in the budget this month to keep anything else.

I’ve been really impressed with every he’s received thus far. Some if it is pretty expensive but his stylist works with our budget and does her best to keep the cost down. But overall, everything he¬†receives is high quality, well-made and looks amazing on him. He sometimes gets¬†a lot of t-shirts and seemingly “basic” items,¬†but the fabrics are INSANELY soft it’s ridiculous. Like I mentioned before, this trunk had a similar color scheme going on, but normally there’s a good variety. Over the summer he got shorts, polos, tees, button-downs, etc. in a variety of colors and styles. If I can convince him, I’ll get him to model some of the other items he’s received. But let it be known, that getting him to do just this one blog post is HUGE ūüôā

This service has been a life-saver for him (and me). He lost a lot of weight so he needed new clothes, but he hates shopping. And we have 2 small kids, so family shopping trips would just end disastrous. The convenience of a styling service has been the perfect solution for us. He looks dang good in his new clothes, and it requires very little time/effort on his part (or mine!)

Let me know if you have any other questions about¬†how everything works! And if you’re ready to try it yourself,¬†Sign up here!

 

*Disclaimer: this post¬†contains referral links. If you sign up and order a trunk (or a fix) using the link, we’ll get some credit- which is always appreciated! But other than that, we receive nothing for writing these reviews. It’s just fun!