Stitch Fix #2 [Review]

My second Stitch Fix has arrived! 

Here’s the lowdown on how Stitch Fix works, in case you missed my last blog post:

1.  You complete a fairly thorough style profile online.

2.  Your stylist personally chooses 5 items to send to you based on your style profile, your Pinterest board, and any other information you may have provided in the comments section on your profile.  A $20 styling fee is charged when the product ships.

3.  Once you receive the items, you get 3 days to decide if you want to keep any (or all) of the items.  

4.  You decide what you want to keep and what you want to send back.  Check-out is easy-peasy online, and you are able to provide feedback on all items, whether or not you send them back.  If you keep at least one item, the $20 styling fee is credited towards that item.  If you keep all 5 items, you receive a 25% discount on the entire Fix.  A pre-paid envelope is provided for any items you may want to return; just drop off at any USPS mailbox.

Stitch Fix Review #2… When I opened this box, the first thing I read was the note from my stylist, Laurie. Laurie styled my last fix, so I was very hopeful that she’d taken my feedback, reviewed my blog and Pinterest board… and she had!  This is the note she sent along with my Fix.

 

Item #1:  Evelyn Sequin Chevron Stripe Top [$68] … I was excited about this top when I opened the box.  I don’t own anything sparkly, and I thought it would be a fun top to wear during the holiday season.  I tried it on, and I was disappointed.  I loved the style, but the fit just seemed off.  It was not made for a petite woman, and it hung too low on my chest, to the point my bra showed.  I originally tried it on with a cream cardigan sweater from my closet, as the style card suggested, and I just felt frumpy.  I also tried it on with a blazer, and that was better… but not great.  I put it in the box to go back.  Yet, I kept thinking about it.  I knew if I returned it, I would probably regret it. So I tried it on the next day with a green cardigan.  Holy moly, it made a difference!  I fell in love, mostly because the picture makes it look like I’ve lost 15lbs.!  However, there are still problems.  It hangs too low, is generally too big and, upon further review, its see-through in the front and needs a more opapue lining.  If I were to keep it, I’d need to alter it down in size in order to wear it, and at $68, I don’t want to invest more money in a piece that I won’t wear very often.  I’m super sad.  Status: [RETURNED]

Item #2:  Cassandra Printed Floral Scarf [$48] …  Nope.  I just didn’t like it.  It was a very pretty teal color with a floral design, but I just didn’t like the frayed edges or something.  I don’t know if I can even put my finger on it.  I think I need to make a note to not include scarves.  I think they look good on others, but maybe I’m just not a scarf-wearing type of gal.  Status: [RETURNED] 

Item #3:  Selfridge Cowl Neck Long Sleeve Top [$48]  … The color was amazing.  I love bright pink, and I’m not afraid of color.  I have something similar in my closet, so I was torn.  How many cowl neck tops does one woman need?  After thinking on this one, I decided to keep it.  The color is perfect on me, and its a top that I can wear to work or out-and-about.  Its also different enough from my other cowl neck (pictured with gray blazer below).  Status: [KEPT]

 

Item #4:  Alivia Ankle Length Pant [$98]:  This was a much stronger effort than the pants I received in my last fix.  However, the “ankle” length pants were still 2″ too long on me.  If I rolled them, they were fine.  But they were too skinny of a fit and too tight around my ankles to do much else.  They were ultra-comfy, but nothing special for the price.  Status: [RETURNED]

Item #5:  Marina French Terry Blazer [$78]:  This is the most comfortable blazer I have ever had the privilege to wear.  Oh my, it feels like I’m wearing a big ol’ sweatshirt from my “wake up and go” college days, only it looks like I’m headed to the office all gussied up for Friday casual. LOVE.  The button does seem to be too low, causing the fabric to lay a bit odd on my chest (another sign this wasn’t meant for a petite woman), but the coziness and versatility of this piece outweighs the button placement.  I love this so much, I wore it to work the very next day, paired with a teal cown neck top, jeans and heels.  Of course, it happened to be casual Friday.  Perfect timing, right?!  Status: [KEPT]

So all in all, I kept two pieces that will add some versatility to my closet, and they will mix and match easily. 

If you’d like to try Stitch Fix yourself, click here!  Not only do I love the concept, I love the business model.  Click here to read a great article that was published in Business News Daily this past October.

Please note:  I was not compensated for this post, and my opinions are my own.  If you do sign up using one of my links, I will receive a referral credit.  Let’s spread the Stitch Fix love!

 

 

 

Stitch Fix #1 [Review]

I hate shopping, I always have.  Don’t get me wrong – I love clothes, and I love fashion.  I just don’t have the patience to wander the malls and try on clothes, only to be disappointed in the harsh, glaring flourescent spotlight of a tiny changing room.  I always thought it would be nice to have my own personal stylist… and a hairstylist, a maid, a personal chef, and driver, as well… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  One step at a time!  When I found out about Stitch Fix, I was so excited!  Someone who knows my body type, my style preferences and delivers items to my doorstep?  Having items delivered to my doorstep is my ideal shopping experience; its like receiving presents!

Here’s how Stitch Fix works:

1.  You complete a fairly thorough style profile online. The profile asks several questions, including your height, weight, general measurements (long legs, short arms, etc.), your dress size and what size you usually buy in shirts and pants. You answer several questions about your style (classic, preppy, bohemian, romantic, etc.), and you can even include a link to a board on Pinterest so they can visually see what styles and clothing you like.  They also ask the price-points you’re comfortable with.  For most items, I selected “the cheaper, the better” option, but for bottoms, I chose $50 to $100.  I have a harder time finding pants that work, and I often pay more for these items.  They say the average price-point is $65.  Since I chose the less expensive option, my average price-point (if purchased individually) was only $54. 

2.  Your stylist personally chooses 5 items to send to you based on your style profile, your Pinterest board, and any other information you may have provided in the comments section on your profile.  If you’d like something in particular, such as a dress for an upcoming vacation or holiday party, make sure to mention that.  A shipping notice is sent when your package is sent and a $20 styling fee is charged.

3.  Once you receive the items, you get 3 days to decide if you want to keep any (or all) of the items.  You have the opportunity to try the items on at home, with other items in your closet.  Stitch Fix also provides a style card with each item.  This is one of my favorite features - it helps you visualize how to pair the item with what you may already own.

4.  You decide what you want to keep and what you want to send back.  Check-out is easy-peasy online, and you are able to provide feedback on all items, whether or not you send them back.  If you keep at least one item, the $20 styling fee is credited towards that item.  If you keep all 5 items, you receive a 25% discount on the entire Fix.  A pre-paid envelope is provided for any items you may want to return; just drop off at any USPS mailbox.

My Fix was set to arrive on Oct. 30, and on Oct.28, I finally received the shipping notice via e-mail.  I must admit that I cheated…as soon as they sent me the shipping notice, I was online Googling the items in my Fix!  No colors were listed on the packing slip, so I figured that it would still be a surprise.  And it was!  It finally arrived on Oct. 31, just before I packed my bags for a long weekend trip to California’s wine country.

 

 

I must say I was pleasantly surprised with my first fix. These are the items they sent:

Item #1:  Anastasia Confetti Lines Wrap Scarf [$38] …  I had pinned a lot of scarves.  I think they look cool, but I’m never sure how to wear them.  When I took it out of the box, I knew immediately that it was going back.  It was just too bulky.  I was looking for a scarf that I would wear to work, not one that I’d wear out in one of our famous Minnesota snowstorms.  [Status: RETURNED]

 

Item #2:  Rowson Shoulder Button Striped Shirt [$38] …  I had become a Stitch Fix review hound while anxiously waiting for my fix, and I had seen this in someone else’s review.  I liked it, and it reminded me of a sweater I had in years past.  When I opened up the box and saw that it came in teal, I was so excited!  However, it was just too snug.  In the arms, bust, stomach… just not flattering on me.  It was a nice fabric, however, and had it been a size larger, I might have kept it.  [Status: RETURNED]

Item #3:  Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan [$48] … I actually pinned this item on my Pinterest board in turquoise, so this is how I know they did, in fact, check my board.  My stylist’s note mentioned that it would be cute to pair with a polka-dotted shirt, and since I had one in my closet, I tried it on … and instantly fell in love.  It came in a beautiful red color, which is a color I don’t typically buy.  But I loved it.  It is gorgeous and so, so comfortable.   Instant hit!  [Status: KEPT]

 

 

Item #4:  Geena Tab-Sleeve Belted Tunic  $48] … This is very similar to an item that I had pinned – another long, belted tunic with ruffle detail. I liked it immediately.  The only issue is that the sleeves are a good two-inches long.  However, its easy enough to roll up the sleeves and tab it up.  My stylist mentioned that I could use the belt on other items in my closet. [Status: KEPT]

 

Item #5:  Malin Bootcut Jean [$98] … My first impression was that these jeans would not fit because I generally have a hard time finding jeans that fit.  I have a curvy frame and my legs (for lack of a better term) are thick.  I often have the “gap” in the back of the waist, and that further frustrates me when it comes to jeans.  I also think the most I’ve spent on jeans [ever] is $50 from Gap.  I tend to invest more in pieces I can wear to work.  And I was right.  The jeans fit, with the exception that they were at least 5″ too long.  Even with heels, there is no way I can pull it off.  [Status: RETURNED]

As mentioned earlier, if you do decide to keep all five items, you get a 25% discount.  If I had chosen to keep all of the items sent to me, it would have cost me $202.50.  Considering you can’t find most of these items at your local department store, I didn’t think an average of $40 was too expensive for the pieces. 

I can’t wait to see what comes in my next package, which will arrive in another 5 weeks.  I LOVE the Stitch Fix experience so far. I will update you next month when my second Fix arrives! 

Disclosure: I was not compensated for my review.  I chose to sign up for this service on my own, but I do get credit for referrals.  If you choose to try Stitch Fix yourself, please sign up from the links I’ve provided in my post so I can get credit.  Happy Shopping!

Weight Loss Journey: Week 1

My plan of attack:

  1. TRACK my eating
  2. BRING lunch to work
  3. COOK dinner at home
  4. Drink more WATER

I did not “exercise” any day this week, but I did go to the zoo with my family so our daughter could feed the goats. 

It’s really all she talks about, and if you say hi to her, she immediately tells you “I feed da goats!”  I put a good hour in walking all the way to the farm area of the zoo and back, so I figure that counts for something.

 

My objective for the week was to eat more protein and less carbs.  I was shooting for a ratio of {40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat}. As it turned out, I ate less carbs than my goal, but I ate way too much fat.  I find it hard to find lean-protein sources for snacks that I enjoy.  They often come with a lot of fat or too many carbs.  I wasn’t focused on overall calories this week, mostly just on hitting the ratio. 

This is the breakdown of {WEEK ONE}: 

Breakfasts:  I continued to make a morning smoothie, but instead of adding Greek yogurt, which is just too darn tangy for me, I focused on whey protein, peanut butter and cocoa powder.  Chocolate and peanut butter.  Enough said.

Mid-Morning Snacks:  I kept it easy and simple.  An apple and a string cheese.  So far, I’ve kept the doctor away.

Lunches:  I brought my lunch to work every single day my first week.  Good for me!  I ate my  salads in a jar that I put together on Sunday night to prep for the week.  Easy peasy rotisserie chicken and Sweet Kale Vegetable salad.  Yum.

Afternoon Snacks:  For the most part, I ate another apple and a string cheese.  I really need to find a new snack, as this is going to get old real quick if I continue to eat this for every snack.  One day, I subbed my apple for a peach.  Crazy!

Dinners:  Overall, I did well at dinner.  I did break down and get a take-and-bake pizza one night, but old habits die hard.  I was busy, and it was an easy option.  For the most part, we ate a lot of grilled meats and green vegetables.

What was the result?  I lost 3.0 lbs!

What worked?  I planned ahead.  I tracked my food.  I drank more water throughout the week.  And apparently I inspired my next door neighbor to get on the treadmill!  :)

What didn’t work?  I ate ice cream mid-week.  I rarely eat ice cream, by the way… it’s just not my thing.  But I had a headache, it was in the freezer, and my old mentality of “feed the headache” kicked in.  Surprisingly, the ice cream did not make my headache go away.  I need to remember that.

What did I learn?  I need to have dinner defrosting and ready to go.  If I don’t, I lean on old habits and pick up a pizza.  I also need to find new protein-packed snacks.

What did I change? I thought about my food choices instead of grabbing the first thing. Except, of course, when I ate the ice cream and pizza.  But hey, no one’s perfect, right?

Thanks for reading and helping me stay accountable on this journey.  –Decluttered Mama

Weight Loss Journey

It’s been nearly three years since my beautiful daughter was born… and three years that I’ve been carrying around an extra 21.6 pounds. Before Little Missy was born, I had achieved my goal weight.  It took a lot of hard work, but I got it done!

For three years, I’ve been too busy, too tired, and too lazy to care that my pants don’t fit.  But enough is enough, and now is the time to get this done.

Here’s my plan of attack:

  1. TRACK my eating
  2. BRING lunch to work
  3. COOK dinner at home
  4. Drink more WATER

You’ll notice that exercise isn’t on the list.  I agree that it should be, but let’s be honest… it’s not going to happen.  I know that my eating habits are a big challenge for me.  We own a treadmill, a recumbent exercise bike, core workout ball, resistance bands, etc.  When I want to add working out to my routine, I can.  But right now, I’m focusing on my eating.  Baby steps!

This is the breakdown of {DAY ONE}:

Breakfast:  I made a protein mixed berry smoothie for breakfast.  One of my major challenges is not eating enough protein.  For breakfast, I often rely on frozen waffles, and I’m hungry soon after.  I’m not a big fan of eggs, but I love smoothies.  So this is a perfect option.  The smoothie I made wasn’t my favorite {read: I had to choke it down}, but I’ll tweak the recipe and figure it out.

Mid-Morning Snack:  To be honest, I have to eat several times a day.  I’m not a “three squares” type of gal.  I get hungry; I need to eat.  So I packed a Pink Lady apple {my favorite!} and a string cheese for my morning snack.

Lunch:  I brought a {Mason Jar Salad} to work.  I made it easy.  I went to Costco the day before and bought their Sweet Kale Vegetable Salad and a rotisserie chicken.  Ten minutes later, I had four salads prepped for the week. 

Afternoon Snack:  This was an easy one.  I would have preferred some protein, but I harvested my first broccoli and cherry tomatoes out of my organic garden.  Perfect snack for {Day One}… fresh, organic and home-grown.  YUM.

Dinner:  My parents were in town and wanted to make it easy {read: takeout}.  We love Chinese food and got three dishes to share between the four of us.  I limited my rice, ate more vegetables and tried to choose meat that wasn’t heavily coated in sauce.  I ate less than I would have liked, but I drank more water.  It wasn’t about the food, it was about the company.  That is something I need to remember!

What worked?  I planned ahead.  I tracked my food.

What didn’t work?  We didn’t cook dinner, and we relied on takeout because it was easy.  However, I did know this was the plan for dinner, so I made sure to compensate by eating healthier throughout the day.  I also didn’t drink as much water as I should have.

What did I learn?  Preparing my lunches ahead of time is the key to my success during the work week.  My mornings are chaotic with a toddler in the house, and if I don’t have lunch ready to go, I’ll run through the nearest drive-thru at lunch time.  Not only does the drive-thru hurt my waistline, it also makes a dent in the good ol’ budget.   In addition, I need to make an effort to drink more water throughout the day. 

What did I change?  I packed a to-go bottle of carbonated water from my SodaStream in my lunch bag today.  I’m not a fan of plain old water, but I do love my sparkling water.  For tonight, a healthy dinner of jerk-spiced tilapia is defrosting in the fridge. 

Thanks for reading and helping me stay accountable on this journey.  –Decluttered Mama

2014 Master Plan

 

 

 

The Decluttered Mama [2014 Master Plan] is coming in October!

There will be a few options to choose from – keep reading for more information…

 

 

 

 1.  Standard SPIRAL BOUND [2014 Master Plan]

  • 12-month planner (January to December 2014)
  • Monthly calendar pages, notes and lists for goals
  • Weekly planner format (Monday to Sunday) to plan your week and weekend at a glance
  • Weekly pages include a two-page spread with a weekly to do list.  The week-at-a-glance format includes space for all your appointments and activities, as well as additional space to keep track of whatever you choose, from dinner plans to your daily workout. 
  • List for special dates and a gift planner
  • Note pages to keep track of “Me Time”, including books to read, movies to watch and things to do
  • Printed on high-quality, 28# paper so your pens won’t bleed through the pages
  • Heaving duty cover and backing
  • Spiral-bound to allow planner to lay flat or fold over
  • Reinforced tabs
  • Personalized cover with your name
  • 7″ x 8.5″ page size
  • BONUS!  Laminated meal planner and grocery list.  Can be used week after week!

2.  Standard PAGE PACK [2014 Master Plan] 

  • Electronic PDF file to download and print on your own
  • Available in 2 page sizes:  5.5″ x 8.5″ or 8.5″ x 11

3.  Standard PRE-PRINTED PAGES [2014 Master Plan]

  • Pre-printed complete planner, pre-punched and ready to be inserted into any disc-bound system (Levenger, Arc, Martha Stewart, Rollabind, etc.)
  • Available in 5.5″ x 8.5″ page size only

4.  Custom Options [2014 Master Plan] - I’ll work with you to create your own customized planner.  Will be offered as a downloadable PDF file.

Pricing options for 12-month [2014 Master Plan]:

  • 7″ x 8.5″ spiral-bound [weekly] planner $50
  • 5.5″ x 8.5″ page pack PDF downloadable file $25
  • 8.5″ x 11″  PDF downloadable file $25
  • 5.5″ x 8.5″ pre-printed pages punched for disc-bound systems $40
  • Custom Planners – price will depend on number of pages and level of customization.  Please contact me for pricing [declutteredmama@gmail.com]

 

My free printables will still be offered, but in a more limited capacity in 2014.  Please check back for updates on availability, additional items (exercise+nutrition tracker, quarterly planners …) and more photos!  Thanks for reading!  –Decluttered Mama

Recipe Pins

Favorite {RECIPE} Pins – tested and Decluttered Mama approved!

  • Dutch Oven Bread
  • One Pot Mac & Cheese
  • Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches

 

Child Routines

To help streamline my mornings, I solicited the help of a friend of mine.  She has two kids – a 4 year old and a 5 month old – and works outside the home full-time, so she has to be on top of things.  She uses a version of these charts with her daughter, and she has found them incredibly useful.  Not only does it help her get out the door faster, her daughter is very excited to help and check the box by each task. 

I like these charts so much, I thought I’d share.  {I revised my friend’s charts to make them a bit more universal.}  I have found them to be very useful myself, as I try to keep my very independent 2 year old on a schedule.  She loves to help, and this makes it easy on me… because let me tell you, the definition for “help” is not the same for a 2 year old as it is for a 38 year old!

There are two charts - one for morning to help get your child off to school, and an evening checklist to prep for bedtime.

 

 Morning Chart

 

 

 

 

Evening Chart

 

 

 

 

I hope these child routine checklists help you as much as they’ve helped me.  Thanks for reading!  –Decluttered Mama

Pillow Bed

I bought a {very} simple sewing machine on Black Friday two years ago, thinking that it would be nice to have one around for quick fixes.  It seemed to me that if I have a child, I need one of those things.  Halloween costumes, anyone?  So I picked one up for super cheap at good ol’ Tar-ghay… and its been sitting in my closet ever since.

I saw a great Pin on Pinterest for a pillow bed.  Easy enough, the caption said “5 pillow cases sewn together, insert pillows”  Easy peasy!  It can’t get any easier than that, right?

So off I went again to Tar-ghay.  I found two pillowcase sets on clearance for $6.94 each.  I ran home and set up the sewing machine.  Now, I’m generally not one for directions; I can figure it out on my own.  Easy peasy, right?

 

 

I quickly got to work sewing the four pillowcases together.   I thought that if I sewed the pillowcases from the inside out, the seams wouldn’t show… and it would be a cleaner look.  It was a great idea until I tried to flip the pillowcases to the right side out.  It wasn’t going to happen.  So out same the seams. Plus, I figure Little Missy is two.  She’s probably not going to judge my work.

 

I decided to refer to the link I had pinned over a year ago for instructions on how to make this thing, but when I clicked on the link, up came a site from the UK selling a pillow bed for 95 Pounds.  Yikes, isn’t that over $150?!  Mine cost less than $15.  

So clearly no instructions on this project were available… but once again, I’m really not one for instructions anyway.  I just needed to think for a minute and take another look at this.  I did get some learnings from the first attempt, so it wasn’t a complete loss.  I originally sewed four pillowcases together.  Each pillowcase measures 20-inches wide, for a total of 80-inches.  Way too big for Little Missy.  She’s two.  She’s not even 3 feet tall these days. So after I ripped out the seams, I decided that three pillow cases would suffice.

My second attempt went much better {until I had issues with the sewing machine}.  But once I got past that, I had a great pillow bed!  I sewed three cases together, stuffed with pillows I had previously tried to bring to Goodwill {BTW, who knew that Goodwill doesn’t accept used bed pillows?!}, and sewed the ends together.  I figure I can throw the whole thing in the wash, if need be, but the pillows should be sewn in for easy carrying {and/or hauling around.}

It was late at night when I finally got this pillow bed put together.  I brought it up to Little Missy’s room and put it next to her crib.  I figured it could do double-duty… just in case today is the day she decides to escape from her crib.  When she woke up the next morning, she saw the pillow bed and got so excited!  She jumped all over it, laid down on it for a while, and it took me some time to get her to move on!  It was a fun moment.  To think that I could make a pillow bed from scratch was a cool thing for me.  :)

Thanks for reading.  Trust me, if I can make a pillow bed for my little girl, than you can make one too!  Happy sewing!  –Decluttered Mama

{the de-clutter challenge} continued…

I’m a little behind in my posts, and I’m sorry for that.  Unfortunately, the “winter uckies” have hit our household.  Little Missy, me and the dog are all under the weather. 

Week 2 was the final week in the kitchen.  Did you finish everything you wanted?  I tackled the freezer, updated my recipe book and posted many of our favorite freezer meal recipes in the “recipe box.”  Look for an updated post soon.  

 

Next up is the Family Room!  Download my Family Room Checklist to help you get started.

 

 

 

Salisbury Steaks

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 packet onion soup mix
  • 1 ½ c. bread crumbs
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2/3 c. water
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. flour or olive oil
  • 2 c. beef stock

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine the first 8 ingredients well in a large mixing bowl.  Portion the meat-mixture into 8 balls, and shape each ball into an oval patty. Brown patties in a skillet for 4 minutes on each side until juices run clear.
  2. {TO FREEZE}:  Once cool, put 4 patties each in 2 gallon-sized plastic storage bags.  Label and freeze flat. 
  3. {TO THAW & RE-HEAT}:  Thaw overnight in fridge.  When ready to prepare, melt 2 T. butter or olive oil in a skillet; add 2 T. flour and stir for one minute.  Add 2 c. beef stock and simmer until thickened.  Add thawed patties and simmer until patties are heated through. Serve over mashed potatoes, rice or noodles.

Source:  Adapted from www.30DayGourmet.com