Published September 17, 2014 by

Disclosure: none.  I’m writing this post without any compensation or incentive.  Simply because I want to.

I tried StitchFix twice.  I got a Klout perk that gave me a $20 credit (which was clearly expressed would cover my first month’s styling fee).  I was so excited to try out this subscription clothing service that (what seemed like) all the bloggers were raving about.

Brief explanation of how it works: You pay $20 for styling fee, fill out what seems to be a very thorough questionnaire for StitchFix to assess your “style,” then schedule a shipment.  The $20 is nonrefundable, but can be used towards purchasing any of the five items they ship in your box.  You can buy as much or as little from the box as you like and you are required to return the box (they provide pre-paid return packaging for you) within three days.  Read more about it from their FAQ page here.

My Style Profile

StitchFix does a fabulous job trying to gather as much information as possible in order to get an idea what your style preferences and tastes are for clothing and accessories.  They even give you a collage of outfits for you to rank.  I prefer to dress more business professional in life and tend to trend on the side of heels, flats, blouses, non jean pants, dresses, and skirts.  So, I naturally hated anything that included more relaxed items simply because I wanted to just avoid sending them to me.  They had some inspiration styling boards that I absolutely loved, and then some I selected “Don’t really like” or “Like.”

The questionnaire asked me how often I wear certain items, what items I absolutely did not want to be sent (for which I checked scarves and rings), and they even asked what body parts I prefer to flaunt or hide.  With such a thorough questionnaire, I felt like I was guaranteed to get at least one item that I would love.

StitchFix tells you that the average price per item is $55 and you can provide how much you are willing to spend on each category of clothing and they are supposed to stick to that.  So, I selected the following price point preferences per category:

  • “The cheaper, the better” for accessories, bottoms, jewelry, and tops.  Simply because these items just don’t get worn too often so why spend a lot on them?
  • “$50 – $100″ for dresses and outer layers.  Because I am more than willing to pay this price point for a higher quality dress or coat.

Shipment One

I wish I had taken pictures because I can’t remember for the life of me all the items that were sent, but two were dresses and one was a necklace.  The dresses were priced between $60-80 each and were quite literally the quality of something I would get at Old Navy or the Gap, two stores I rarely shop at to begin with because it’s not really my style.  They were very casual dresses, not at all the business professional/date night category I thought I had clearly expressed wanting.  I mean this is the style board I absolutely loved (the rest were either “Like” or “Don’t really like,” with two “Hate It”):

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 5.20.53 PM

 

Anyways, I purchased the necklace because, even though it was $32, I wanted to take advantage of the fee $20 credit I had making the very simple necklace (a gold chain with a gold circle) $12.  I also thought I would give StitchFix one more try.  I gave very clear feedback, also understanding that they were still trying to discern my style and what to send me.  I did, however, mention that I felt the price point for the items sent to me was incredibly unsatisfactory considering the quality and style.

Shipment Two

I took pictures! (This was very early in my pregnancy).

StitchFix review

Let’s just break this down.

  • Those two tops (on the left and center right) were each in the $50 price range.  The one on the left (“Dicaprio Layered Mixed Material Knit Shirt”) was cute, but it was essentially a tee that was sewn over a tank.  I can style that myself for $15.  The flow-y orange top (entitled, “Shawn Box Pleat Detail Blouse” which thankfully did come with a camisole to put underneath), was just “fine.”
  • Then there is that dress.  Or tunic.  Or something entitled “Darcy Weave Jersey T-Shirt Dress” really gives it away that it’s not for me.  A “jersey” material “t-shirt” dress doesn’t quite fall into that style board of what I love, does it? Also, green and black are bad colors to coordinate together.  It reminds me of when my husband had an Xbox 360 or something out of The Matrix trilogy.  It was just a very casual type of dress/tunic and I think it would be something I would throw over leggings and boots when I was having an errand day in the middle of winter.  Not something I’d ever be proud of and flaunt around.  It was in the $60 price range itself.  For that price, I could go to Gap/Old Navy and get something for $20.  And, it would still be a knock around outfit.
  • Now, I did love that jacket.  Though, it technically didn’t fall under any of my criteria.  It is entitled “Chaplin Hooded Anorak Cargo Jacket.”  Yes, a cargo jacket was sent to me.  Did you see that style board I sent before?  Can you explain to me how that style board would ever turn up a “cargo jacket”?  Also, keep in mind, I was sent this particular StitchFix box in May (regardless of the fact that I live in Georgia not Maine, it is still going into summer in the US of A).  This was in the $90 price range.
  • I received a bracelet that was like a big bangle wrap looking thing.  I kept it, sorry, don’t have a picture dedicated to it (but its that bracelet I’m wearing in that left picture).  I have yet to wear it though, and technically spent $38 on it just because I didn’t want to waste that $20 styling fee that could be used towards an item (because, remember, my second month I did have to pay for).  I settled.

Summary

In the two boxes that I received, each box had between $150-200 worth of product in five items.  The jewelry pieces were the cheapest in the $30 range and the most expensive item was the jacket.  I honestly, could go to TJ Maxx and probably walk away with at least one of those outfits from the style board that I loved for that price range versus getting a bunch of overpriced stuff from the Gap (I truly am not knocking the Gap, that place is great for what it sells).  Then, I ran into this article about how StitchFix sent a customer shorts and priced them way higher than what the customer found at Nordstrom Rack.  StitchFix’s response was not something that should make anyone feel any better about not getting ripped off in the future from them.

Needless to say, I will not ever be a StitchFix customer again and I’m kind of apprehensive to sign up for another subscription service again.

My husband tried one for men (Five Four Club) and it was actually worse than StitchFix because it was $60 a month, you didn’t get to return anything, and he got a pair of sunglasses in a case, flat shorts, and essentially a nice quality black tee (this tee was also deemed a “bonus item”).  Yes, you’d probably spend that much on those items anyways, but they totally didn’t work at all for him and he couldn’t return them (all they could do was exchange the size).  They also had a style profile that wasn’t as thorough as StitchFix so it could be argued that at least they have that (weak) excuse.  Also, they value the items in their box at $120, so a pair of shorts, an undershirt, and sunglasses for $120.  Yep, we immediately canceled and are now stuck with unused shorts, unused sunglasses, and an undershirt.

Maybe I’m a disgruntled ex-customer, but I just pride myself in honest reviews whether on Yelp, TripAdvisor, or my blog.  After all, we’re all in this together, right?

Reviews Shopping

Published September 16, 2014 by

Pre-Fall Wardrobe-1

 

Top from Nordstrom Rack // Jeans from Motherhood Maternity // Flats from H&M // Purse from Kate Spade

I picked up this sweater from Nordstrom Rack and fell in love.  It’s such a soft, breathable fabric and I love the print.  However, I am now very reminiscent of the Kim Kardashian couch disaster (you can find a picture simply by typing in Kim Kardashian couch… or clicking here).  I simply look like a cow, in my opinion, and will officially be storing this top for next fall.  But, this is how I’m transitioning from summer to fall.  Some days I’m still in shorts here in Atlanta and braving the horrid heat.  But we seemed to have a small cold front that led me to believe my soft, breathable sweater and pants would do the trick.

In other news, we went to our only required class for the hospital last week so that is a huge weight off my shoulders!  I’m really stressing on how much we have left to do but my schedule is awful up until the baby arrives so it’s impossible to schedule anything.  I work any of the 7 days a week and because I’m still in the training program, my schedule is not my own.  I work when my precepter/trainer works and sometimes not if there is a mandatory class.  There are weeks where I have no idea what my life looks like beyond Saturday (because the work week is Sunday-Saturday and I could work Sunday and not find out until Friday that I’m working Sunday).  It’s frustrating, but it’s no one’s fault.  This is how it is.  My midwife says I should “request off,” but I really can’t.  If my preceptor switches days, I have to switch days with her, irregardless of what I already have scheduled that day.  So, I’m doing what I can, even if I’m the only second trimester new mom in a hospital class filled with third trimester moms who are popping.  Oh, well.  Enough venting, right?  Having the most vital class behind me is enough for me to feel like everything else will just happen when it happens now…. though, I need to be a little more proactive on the stuff that doesn’t require scheduling…

ON TO BABY!!

Pre-Fall Wardrobe-4

A growing baby!  The ring on my forefinger is a Kate Spade pave bow ring.
It was a gift to myself on behalf of my daughter.
I also got husband a little something that will do the same as the ring for me:
reminds him of her/us whenever he looks at it.
I’m still waiting on it to arrive as I ordered it on Etsy, but I’ll show it to you when I get it.

How far along? 25 weeks today

How big is baby? Size of a head of cauliflower!  Officially over one foot in length and about a 1.5-2 pounds!

Important baby milestones this week: I can see her moving!  It’s both mildly creepy and officially the best thing that has ever happened in my life thus far.  It really genuinely looks like a little alien creature inside of my just moving around, but I can’t help but get so emotional seeing it.  It reminds me of the movie Tremors, if any of you have seen that.  Husband has only had the chance to witness a few visible movements because even though she moves, I she’s still got a lot of room in there so sometimes she hasn’t “surfaced.”  Yep, I refer to her as an alien, some type of underground monster, and a whale that needs to surface.  But these are my best descriptions, and I live for them.  It doesn’t feel necessarily creepy, though, as someone asked me recently if it did.  It doesn’t look creepy to me, either.  It just is kind of like some creepy experience if you think about it.  Anyways, this week, she’s just fattening up!

Total weight gain: Omg.  I’ve gained weight.  So much so that I worried I gained too much weight.  Fortunately, I actually haven’t gained anywhere close to too much weight that I’m starting to think I need to up my eating game.  I’ve entered the 150s and it looks like by 40 weeks I should/could be in the 170s.  As a short girl, these numbers are a wee petrifying because there is only so many places for weight to go and I don’t want to be swelling all over and barely able to do my job at work.  C’est la vie, cause I know it’s all about a healthy baby.  But still, a girl thinks about these things…

Symptoms: itchiness, hunger.  Starting to have leg cramps.  I woke my husband up at 5am in the other week in the middle of a charlie horse and he was worried, in his half asleep state, that I was in labor… It was cute.  Started taking Magnesium and I learned a trick to prevent one if I feel them coming on.  Also, back pain.  But we expect that, right?  Getting comfortable is a thing of the past, my friends, but really only at the end of the day.  I hate sitting on the couch now.  If we are watching TV or hanging out, I request to do so upstairs in bed.

Maternity clothes? Recently purchased a few more items when I went shopping with a fellow pregnant friend.  I shouldn’t have, but I totally did.  A girl needs clothes to wear and I simply have been wearing the same half a dozen items as it is because they are my only maternity clothes.

Exercise?  Same as before: I work 13 hour days on my feet.  My off days are now my off days completely.  As least for now.

Sleep? Ack.  I fortunately sleep.  I mean, I’ve had sleeping problems for years and as uncomfortable as it is to sleep because of being pregnant, I’m just blessed that I can still somehow fall asleep… most days it’s even without Melatonin or Tylenol PM.  Somedays it’s with those two and chamomile tea, though.

Movement? At this point, I get worried when I don’t feel movement.  My midwife says I still have awhile to go before I should be “counting kicks.”  But apparently baby girl can feel my body sway if I’m like, you know, dancing in the kitchen to T. Swift’s “Shake It Off” (not a huge TS fan, but goodness that song is addicting).

Food Still the same.  Occasional mega-cravings, but for the most part I’m lucky to eat cereal.  I will make entire meals and then serve it to my husband while I grab a bowl of cereal.  Cravings to date: gushers, Taco Bell, cinnamon toast crunch, Strawberry milkshakes, fruit popsicles, vegetable soup, and the canned Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli.  Some of these things I haven’t had since maybe high school.  This girl has bad taste… I’m going to need to go through some kind of cleanse when she pops out.

What I miss: comfort.  Having a massage without the stress of causing preterm labor (re: reflexology) or having to go through extra steps because it would be a prenatal massage and I can’t just lay on my belly.

What I’m looking forward to: Baby.  Everything else is just a distraction.  A very lame one.

Milestones: No new milestones.

Say What? People have officially started wanting to touch my belly.  I was in Ulta when an associate asked if she can do it.  I feel weird saying “no.”  So I just let them, whatever.  She’s not kicking and if she hasn’t “surfaced” (aka she’s more towards the back of the uterus), my stomach kind of just feels like a beer belly.

Sweet Moments: any time we think, feel, see, or talk about baby.

Make Room for BabyWe still have a few house projects.  We had all labor day weekend off together and I asked husband what he wanted to do.  Of the options, he wanted to decorate her room.  I thought that was sweet.  It wasn’t necessarily fun because it was hanging up shelves and pictures (ergo, somewhat tedious), but that’s what he wanted to do.

Baby Charming Fashion Lookbook My Life Pregnancy The Charmings

Published September 15, 2014 by

Let’s Love Mondays! 

Ah, Mondays. The day of the week that we love to hate. The start of the workweek and the end of the weekend we’ve waited so long to enjoy. Only for it to go by too quickly and grumbly drag ourselves to work or school on Monday morning.

But, Wait— does it have to be this way?

Personally, I think Monday’s get a bad rep. It’s the start of a fresh, new day and work week and another day to do something cool in your own life, or someone else’s.

Let’s face it, it’s not really Monday’s that you hate—so, what is it? Is it the time you have to wake up in the morning? The people you have to be around, your job or class?

Let’s flip it around and love Mondays and simply change what it is that makes us hate them so much. If it’s the time that you wake up in the morning, get as much done as you can the night before so that you can sleep in a little later. If it’s class, realize that it’s all for a bigger purpose, a diploma or a degree! If it’s your job or the people you have to be around, look at the glass as half-full and find those things about your job or those people that you really like.

If your job is just too much to bear every Monday morning, pray about a career change. Maybe there could be one in your future, but in the meantime, try to find the good in each and everyday (yes, even a big Monday.)

Joel Osteen wrote a book about this same topic called “Every day’s a Friday”, which I highly recommend!

What are you waiting for?
Get out there and enjoy your Monday, readers!
Tell me something good that happened on your Monday morning!

 photo India.jpg

Bloggers Guest Posts Inspiration Monday Inspiration

Published September 12, 2014 by

Hi everyone! My name’s Kiersten, and I usually blog over at She is Fierce, but today Amy was nice enough to let me talk to you guys for a bit.

I always struggle with introducing my blog, because there’s not quite a category I fit into.  I don’t know the first thing about fashion or makeup, my DIY’s aren’t anything anyone would want to duplicate, I can’t cook much more than mac n’ cheese and bang bang cauliflower, and HTML is a foreign language I don’t even know how to say “hello” in.

Generally speaking, I guess you’d call me a lifestyle blogger, but  I try not to write too much about my life just for the sake of writing about it.  You’ll probably never find an “if we had coffee” post on She is Fierce, but what you will find are feminist articles, personal essays, creative writing, and thoughtful discussions about inspiration and current events.  And if this mixed bunch of writing that I don’t know how to classify says anything about blogging, it’s that there’s room for everyone in the blogging world.  So today, what I want to talk to you about is how to break the blogging mold that we all worry our blogs have to fit into.

Be Yourself

This is advice you hear a lot in the blogging community, but that’s because it’s important.  Most of us ended up here, writing a blog, because it’s something we wanted to do; whether because we love writing, want to connect with other people, or because we feel we have something to share.  Don’t forget about that once you’ve been blogging for a while and have found a ton of really successful blogs out there.  Don’t let your reasons for being here change because someone else’s reasons have gotten results.

Blog What You Know

If you aren’t into fashion, and cooking a delicious three-course meal is the last thing on your mind, don’t blog about those things just because other bloggers do.  Blog about what makes sense to you, and what you enjoy talking about – I bet there are other people out there who like the same things, and would love to read a blog post about them.
If what you know is how to take care of birds, then that’s what you should blog about.  Or if you’re more well-versed in politics, then there are plenty of uninformed voters out there who would love to hear what you have to say about the candidates.  Maybe what you know the most about is something we’ve never even heard of, and that’s all the more reason you should write about it!

We Don’t All Fit Into a Mold

There are all kinds of blogs out there: fashion, design, travel, marriage, gourmet cooking… But we don’t all fit into those specific categories.  Even “lifestyle” can be restrictive if what you have to offer isn’t funny stories about your day-to-day life.

But the great thing about blogging is that you don’t have to fit into a mold.  There’s space for everyone, and if what you have to say doesn’t fit into a category, then make your own and figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it!

Get Good at Knowing What You Write

If you don’t fit into a category that most people know, that makes it harder to tell potential new readers why they should stop by.  Know what it is that you love talking about, and get good at telling people about that!  If you were talking to your best friend or your mom, what would you tell them your blog is about?  How would you describe it?  Figure that out, and remember it for the next time you get asked what your blog is about!

So what type of blog do you write?  And if there isn’t a specific category for what you have to say, how do you break that mold?


Bloggers Blogging Guest Posts

Published September 11, 2014 by

Decorative outdoor lighting ideas for your next Backyard Party Zone
Submitted for The Charming readers by Frugaa

When it comes to entertaining your guests outdoor, nothing can set the mood better than the festive lighting. Whether you plan to host a summer dinner or family reunion, decorative lightings alone can set the perfect mood and vibes for the party. You can transform the outdoor space by using some repurposed materials and illuminating it by using flickering candles or lanterns or string lights to turn it into an unexpected memorable party venue. Wondering what lighting options you can try? Here is the list for your convenience:

  1. String Light: Try adding the string light above the bar counter to brighten up the area. If you have decided to place a cocktail menu, written on the chalkboard with which your child plays, don’t forget to add the small white lighting at the ground level to illuminate it. This will lend the bar an interesting look.
  2. Hula Hoop chandelier: There is no harm in being little creative. Paint a hula hoop or stick some nice decorative balloon on it. Then add some icicle lights to make a magnificent center lighting piece. It is a perfect decoration for summer nights or family reunion get-together.
  3. Cupcake lights: If you have cupcake liners lying in your kitchen, it is time to use them for the outdoor decorative lighting. Just make a small hole in the liners and secure the bulbs of the string lights. This will make it look lovely and creative. In case you don’t have the liners, you can always get them online at affordable prices by using exclusive coupon codes from Frugaa. This is the best website to find the latest deals from all the major brands.
  4. Starry hanging Jars: It is a great idea to hang mason jars and use them as lanterns. To make the handle, use the craft wire. Place the votive candle inside and place them in the outdoor for little glow. But, if you want to go a step further, add a fun twist. Spatter the glow-in-the-dark spray in the mason jar for the magical lighting.

With some of these creative lighting ideas and re-purposed materials lying around the house, you can transform the outdoor space into a venue that has a rustic charm with festive ambience.

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