Stitch Fix #4

Stitch Fix time!

I took a short break from Stitch Fix, I felt like I’d shopped enough for the summer and decided to save my money for fall. So I’ll get right to it!

Possibly my favorite box so far!

I’ll start with the easy one. I say that because I got the box, tried it on and immediately cut the tags off and wore it out. LOVE. IT.

It’s a Colourworks Thompson Boat Neck Sweater in a pretty deep purple.

Colourworks Thompson Boat Neck Sweater

I NEVER pick out purple for myself. There’s nothing purple in my closet. Nothing at all. And this is why I love Stitch Fix. They send me things I wouldn’t have chosen for myself and I never would have thought I’d like, and yet I do!

The sweater is so soft, and so comfy. It’s a wool blend, so it’s warm, but not too warm (I’m in South Carolina after all). The shape is flattering., and it’s the kind of sweater that I can dress down with jeans and boots, or dress up with trousers and jewelry. So happy they sent it!

I’ll leave the sweater on for the next one. They sent me jeans! These are Just Black Connely Skinny Jeans in black.

Just Black Connely Skinny Jean

Love these jeans, they fit better than any of the skinnies I have so far, and they’re so comfy. They’re more like jeggings than skinnies, in my opinion, but I like them like that.

Just Black Connely Skinny Jean - back

Only problem is, I already have black skinnies, and black leggings, and black pants. Even though these are nicer than my current black skinnies, I don’t know that I can justify them.

Next is another sweater! This is an Under Skies Tuckerman Airy Knit Sweater in pretty rosy pink!

Under Skies Tuckerman Airy Knit Sweater

While I love the color, and I love the “airy knit” aspect of the sweater… I’m not in love with the shape.

Under Skies Tuckerman Airy Knit Sweater

That slit up the side is what ruins it for me. It gives it this boxy, shapeless fit that’s not flattering on me. I feel like I have to constantly adjust it to keep it straight. I think if it were longer, I could tolerate the slits? Like if it were more tunic-like?

Under Skies Tuckerman Airy Knit Sweater

I tried putting a button-down under it to see if that helped, but nope. I think it needs to go back.

When I saw this next one in the box, I wasn’t so sure. It’s a Lily Marieta Geo Print Jersey Skirt in black and white.

Lily Marieta Geo Print Jersey Skirt

I never ever go for prints like this, but I think I love it! The shape is perfectly me with the swingy ruffle on the bottom. It has black lining so that when the skirt swings, it doesn’t show too much leg, and the ruffle has a sweet hint of black edging on it.

Lily Marieta Geo Print Skirt

I put a white ruffled top with it and I think it’s ok. I could wear a black cardigan or maybe even a blazer on a chilly evening. (I also have a black ruched top that would look good, but it’s in the laundry.) I really think a pop of color would be fun, though. Something like this in a silky material? Maybe red for the holidays, and some hot black pumps and dangle earnings?

Lily Marieta Geo Print Jersey Skirt

Speaking of earrings, Stitch Fix sent me some!

These are Bay to Baubles Tear Frame & Stone Earrings. I don’t have a large earring collection. In fact, I just have 3 pairs that I wear (two if you count that I lost a diamond stud earring last month somewhere in the house and I still haven’t found it). I could use earrings. I used to only wear studs or very small hoops and dangles. I’m trying to be adventurous and wear more statement pieces occasionally. I think I like these, but I’m not used to seeing myself wearing something like it so I don’t know!

Bay to Baubles Tear Frame & Stone Earrings

So that’s my fourth Stitch Fix! What do you think? I think they came very close to nailing it! Should I keep the earrings? Any suggestions on how to wear the skirt?

If you’d like to see my past Stitch Fix boxes, click on the Stitch Fix tag below the post, or click here.

One more thing! If you decide to try Stitch Fix, would you mind using my referral link? I get a $25 credit if you do, and I’d be so appreciative!

Family Room Redux

I haven’t shared anything house related in almost a year! Has it really been that long? Wow!

We’ve been busy living life and taking our house projects one baby step at a time, so nothing major has been completed in the last year, but there have been some things that are share worthy. I’ll try to get those up on the blog this summer!

In the meantime, I took one of those baby steps today that I want to share! Last I posted about the family room, it looked like this:

closer look family room July 2012

 

Had my curtains up, had my sand colored paint up, and I had the new Louis style chairs. I don’t know why the TV wasn’t on the bookcase here, I must have taken this picture after we painted and before we set the TV back up.

There have been some changes since then, this was the family room this morning:

family room in July 2013

 

I ended up not loving the Louis style chairs in this room, they weren’t big enough, so I moved them into other rooms. I found a wonderful consignment furniture store in my town and scored these two gorgeous wing back chairs and ottoman! The chairs are covered in a pale blue and white greek key patterned fabric, and the ottoman in a wheat colored linen (scroll down to see a better picture of them). The mirror on the mantel was actually the first thing we bought for the mantel at our last house, it was silver then. I used a combination of gold and oil-rubbed bronze spray paints to give it an antiqued gold finish and now it fits this room perfectly! The white plaques on the wall to the right were clearance finds at Ballard Designs.

Back to that baby step today: I painted the inside of the built-in bookcases! This has been on my list of ideas for several months. Today has been a rainy day and the kids have been entertaining themselves with a combo of board games and movies, so I found myself with a little free time. I figured why not? :-)

family room july 2013 with painted bookcases

 

I used a medium caramel brown and I really think it adds depth and a little richness to the room. Well worth the 2 hours of work! Of course, now I want all new tchotchkes. Happens every time I change something! ;-)

family room chair painted bookcase july 2013

 

Here’s a better look one of the chairs and the ottoman. I really do feel like I’ve hit the jackpot with my local furniture consignment store, they always have something I want to bring home!

Still on the list is to replace the green tile around the fireplace, and oh that TV! I think I might have to hire someone to come in and hang it over the mantel, hubby is a little nervous about drilling into the trim work on that wall so it may be better that we leave it to a pro.

More later, y’all! Laundry is calling!

Sparkling Sangria Recipe

If you know me AT ALL, you know I love my adult beverages. I’m mostly a beer girl (none of that Bud Light stuff, give me a good hoppy IPA any day of the week!), but I love my wine too. Something I’m not too experienced with is sangria, and I’ve decided to fix that. This summer I’m determined to try several sangria recipes, at least enough so that I can justify a sangria section in my recipe binder. :-)

I experimented with my first sangria this week and I LOVED IT! It’s a sparkling sangria with cucumbers, radishes, fresh ginger and grapefruit juice. Not too sweet, but sweet enough, and oh so refreshing with the cucumbers! It was light, but still full flavored. Very satisfying on a hot summer evening. I want to share this recipe because I just know there are some of you out there that will enjoy this as much as I did.

sparkling sangria

 

(Never mind the iPhone photo. I’ll take better photos in the future. I wasn’t prepared to love it as much as I did and by the time I thought to take a better picture with the big camera, I’d already drank most of it.)

I purposely didn’t choose a recipe that required liquor; I’m not a liquor girl so I don’t usually keep any in the house and I didn’t want to spend the money just for a pitcher of sangria. Maybe later in the summer I’ll go in that direction.

I can’t take credit for creating this recipe, I found it on the Better Homes and Gardens website, but I have a few small notes I’ll add.

Sparkling Sangria

Ingredients:

(1) large English cucumber, thinly sliced on the bias (approximately 3.5 cups)

(1) 4-6 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

(6) large radishes, thinly sliced (approximately 1 cup)

1 cup grapefruit juice

(1) 750 milliliter bottle brut (dry) champagne or sparkling wine, chilled

Directions:

In a large pitcher, combine cucumber, ginger and radishes. Add grapefruit juice. Cover; chill for 2 to 24 hours. To serve, add ice cubes to pitcher. Add champagne and stir gently.

My notes:

I personally think this is better closer to the 2 hour mark than 24 hours. The longer it sat, the more I could taste the radish. I like radishes, but I preferred the stronger flavors of the cucumber and ginger earlier on. Either that, or maybe next time I’ll use half the radishes.

I used a sparkling Pinot Grigio, by Barefoot Wine specifically. I was afraid to spend too much during my experimental phase! ;-) Next time I might get something a little nicer, but honestly I thought this was pretty good!

Also, I used a store brand, bottled grapefruit juice. Next time I plan to try it with freshly squeezed (I usually have a couple of grapefruit sitting around for my smoothies anyhow), I know it will only make it better!

 

If you try this recipe, I’d love to know what you think and what kinds of changes you made to your taste!

What’s For Dinner: Kale and Basil Pesto

Planning our meal for this evening and I thought, hey! Since I’m on a roll with the blogging, maybe I’ll take a few minutes while the baby naps to share one of our favorite recipes.

One of the best parts about summer for me is growing my own herbs. And I love to cook with them!

My basil is looking so good right now, y’all!

my home grown organic basil

 

We use basil a lot. We tear it over pasta dishes, into salads and onto fruits, over pizza when it comes out of the oven, and I love my strawberry basil scones! I also make my own basil vinaigrette. Even with all our basil use, there’s still LOTS there to be snipped and enjoyed. Perfect excuse to make a pesto!

Here’s a pesto recipe we love: Kale and Basil Pesto I love this recipe because not only is it healthy, but it’s totally delicious and the kids go crazy for it!

Tonight we’ll be enjoying our kale and basil pesto over pasta, and topped with grilled chicken, grilled yellow squash, and some fresh diced tomato. And maybe a good IPA for the grownups.

I can’t wait for dinner! I better go thaw the chicken!

Stitch Fix #3

Another Stitch Fix box already! I don’t know that my clothing budget can support 2 boxes a month every month, but it sure is fun!

If this is the first time you’re hearing about Stitch Fix, I explain a little more in-depth here. But basically it’s a personal styling service by mail. You sign up, fill out a questionnaire about your likes and dislikes, sizes, etc and then you get a box of hand-picked clothing and accessories in the mail! As a mom of 4, this is such a great service. And fun. Have I mentioned it’s fun yet? ;-)

After the last box, I asked for no more green. Ha! And I also specified more preppy, and mentioned that I love blue and pink. They listened! This is definitely my favorite box so far!

Here’s what I got:

1. First out of the box was a really pretty, really soft royal blue 41Hawthorn Calafia Jersey Wrap Dress.

41Hawthorn Calafia Jersey Wrap Dress

Okay, so I love the color, and I think it’s cute on (although a little short). I don’t have a huge need for dresses, but I only have one right now so another wouldn’t hurt. I WANT to keep it, but I don’t know that I can justify it. Also, what kind of shoes? The styling card showed it with both heels and flats. I don’t have many heels at all, I threw on some black ones just for the sake of seeing the dress with heels.

41Hawthorn Calafia Jersey Wrap Dress with heels

41Hawthorn Calafia Jersey Wrap Dress with flats

And then I put my trusty coral flats with it (and a coral necklace that I’ll get to later). Meh. I don’t love either, so if I keep it, I need suggestions!

2. Okay, so that necklace. It came in the box too! Again, I’m so glad to get some jewelry in these boxes because as I’ve mentioned before, it hasn’t always been a priority for me when shopping. It’s a Whats In Store Multi-Chain Layered Short Necklace. The description says pink, but it’s most definitely coral. It matches all my coral pieces perfectly!

Whats In Store Multi Chain Layered Short Necklace

I love it. I’m keeping it. (And you’ll see it pictured again with the next clothing item.)

3. Next is a Tulle Bain Cinch-Waist Textured Cotton Tank. Another color discrepancy. They’re calling it red, and I’m calling coral again.

I’ve been wanting to try a peplum top this season, but haven’t had an opportunity to try one on in store yet. This isn’t exactly a peplum, but it’s close enough. I think it’s super cute! It’s indeed textured, from a distance it almost looks like eyelet.

Tulle Bain Cinch-Waist Textured Cotton Tank front

I love it with my new white skinnies and my coral flats!

It has buttons down the back, you know how I love my little details!

Tulle Bain Cinch-Waist Textured Cotton Tank back

I added the multi-chain necklace and some gold on my wrist…

Tulle Bain Cinch-Waist Textured Cotton Tank with jewelry

Keeping it!

4. Another dress! It’s an Angie Nick Printed Shoulder Cutout Dress.

Angie Nick Printed Shoulder Cutout Dress front

I really think some black sandals or even black espadrilles would be best, but the closest I have (aside from the dressy black heels) are black patent leather and leopard sandals. Not a good match, but best of what I have. I’m not concerned, because I really think the color of this dress wash me out and I don’t plan to keep it.

Angie Nick Printed Shoulder Cutout Dress back

I like this style and fit on me. I like the cutouts on the shoulder, I like the back and the keyhole closure. It’s just the color! It’s listed in the description as yellow, but in some light it looks more beige. I wish it were a more flattering color, I think I could actually get a lot of use from a dress like this. It feels tropical-ish, like I could wear it to dinner on the beach (or on the lake here in Columbia). And because of the length and higher neckline, it could easily be worn on an outing with the kids. Just bummer on the color.

5. Last, but not least! A Willow and Clay Bev Gingham Tabsleeve Button Up.

Willow and Clay Bev Gingham Tabsleeve Button Up

Oh, how I love this! But long sleeves? In the south? In May? It’s lightweight, though (almost gauzy), and with the sleeves rolled up, it’s almost like short sleeve.

I put it with aqua skinnies (I really need to go shopping for new shorts) and navy topsiders. Liked that!

Willow and Clay Bev Gingham Tabsleeve Button Up with topsiders

And then with white sandals. Liked that too!

Willow and Clay Bev Gingham Tabsleeve Button Up with sandals

Love this shirt. Love love love. But the fact that it’s long sleeve… even with them rolled up… I want to keep it, but I’m wondering how much use I’ll get from it this summer. It’d be cute with shorts!

So those are the contents of my third Stitch Fix box! What do you think? Should I keep the blue dress? The gingham top?

One more thing! If you decide to try Stitch Fix, would you mind using my referral link? I get a $25 credit if you do, and I’d be so appreciative! :-)

Stitch Fix!

I’m not sure I’ve posted here on the blog about this (I haven’t actually posted about much of anything in a long while, oops!), but I started busting my rear last summer with diet and exercise, and by the end of November 2012 I’d lost 47 pounds!  I’ve kept all those pounds off, too!

With that kind of weight loss there comes sacrifice. Like, old clothes. I cleaned out everything from my closet that no longer fit, and not surprisingly, there wasn’t anything left. Literally, nothing. So this spring I’ve started my warm weather wardrobe from scratch, and for a mom of 4 littles, that’s not easy. I don’t have time to scour the mall, nor to duck into cute little boutiques full of pretty dresses and tops. I’ve always done most of my clothes shopping online because I can do it at the kitchen counter while I feed the kids breakfast. No strollers, no snacks to pack, no toddlers melting down while mommy tries on “just one more pair of jeans, sweetpea!”

I’m finding, though, that shopping online with my “new body” (that seems like a dopey thing to say, but it’s kinda true! I haven’t been this weight since before I got married) isn’t working out like it did before. All my favorite styles don’t look like they used to, and I’m finding styles I avoided in the past actually look good now!

When my friend told me about Stitch Fix, it seemed like the perfect idea for someone like me. Someone who needs to try new things, but doesn’t have time to access them. Basically, it’s a personal styling service – by mail! Brilliant! I went to the site and filled out a personal style questionnaire so the stylists could get to know me a little. I even made a Pinterest board pinning some of my favorite looks to help the stylists understand my likes a little better. There was a waiting list. I waited 8 days. Once I got in, I scheduled my first box of clothes. There’s no subscription. You get a box only when you want one. There’s a $20 styling fee. If you buy anything they send you, that $20 is deducted from your total. If not, well you lose the $20. Haven’t had that problem yet. You try on the clothes they send, keep what you want and send back the rest in the postage-paid envelope included in the package. If you keep it all, you get a 25% discount!

The best part of this for me is having the chance to try on things someone else chooses for me. It forces me to be more adventurous with what I try, something I’ve never been good at! (I’m the girl who likes something and buys 5 of it in different colors, as evident by my current Old Navy skinny jean collection.)

I’m on my second Stitch Fix box now. My first box was in April, I documented it on Facebook, but from now on I’m going to try to keep it to the blog for easier sharing.

Anyway, enough of that – let’s get down to the clothes!

Stitch Fix packages everything up so pretty! And believe it or not, that rope is actually a belt that goes with one of the garments!

Stitch Fix packaging

I was a little caught off guard by all the GREEN in this box! I’m not usually a green person, but then… that’s the point, right? To try new things!

The first item I tried was a THML Millay Striped Shoulder Button Shirt.

THML Millay Striped Shoulder Button Shirt

I’m a sucker for nautical, so I immediately loved it. The styling tag (yes! They include tags with ideas on how to style the items they send!) showed this top with white jeans, and with denim shorts. I have neither (although I have white jeans on a UPS truck, due to arrive next week), so I put it with my navy sailboat print shorts and I think it makes a cute outfit! It’s hard to see, but the top has gold buttons where the sleeves meet the shoulders, a detail I love! I think I’ll keep it! I need a new belt though. All I have is this wide brown belt and a skinny brown belt. What do you think would go better? Gold? Red? I have a navy pair of Sperry Topsiders that I think would finish this look off well, or maybe I’ll shop for some gold metallic sandals.

Next was an RD Style Freddy Sleeveless Chiffon Dress.

RD Style Freddy Sleeveless Chiffon Dress

I think this dress is adorable, even if it is wrinkly from packaging! Definitely not something I would have picked out for myself, it surprised me how much I like it! It has a little keyhole closure in the back, which is cute.

RD Style Freddy Sleeveless Chiffon Dress - back

The styling tag showed it with a blue striped blazer and blue pumps, and also with black leggings and black flats. I styled it with coral flats (best buy this spring, marked down to $20 at Belk!) and a coral cardigan.

RD Style Freddy Sleeveless Chiffon Dress with coral

And then I changed it up a little with a skinny brown belt and brown heels, which I think looks okay too.

RD Style Freddy Sleeveless Chiffon Dress with belt and heels

The dress is a little short. It’s shorter than I’d usually be comfortable with. This is not a Chase the Kids at the Playground kind of dress. Definitely more of a flirty date night dress, don’t you think? I think it’s a keeper!

Next was a DownEast Jocelyn Ikat Print Belted Dress.

DownEast Jocelyn Ikat Print Belted Dress

If you know me, you know I’m obsessed with ikat! I have ikat curtains in my study, and if I could do it tastefully, I’d have ikat in every room! So an ikat print dress? Sounds great! Wish it wasn’t this green, though. I’m not sure it’s the most flattering color for me. I also think it fits just a little big up top.

DownEast Jocelyn Ikat Print Belted Dress back

I think the rope belt is a fun detail. I wish the dress was a bright pink or blue ikat, I’d probably try a little harder to make it work. I didn’t even bother trying it on with shoes and accessories because I’m pretty sure it’s going back.

One more top… a Lasome Anton Chevron Cowl Neck Tank.

Lasome Anton Chevron Stripe Cowl Neck Tank

This one’s bright, y’all! I’m going to cut to the chase, I don’t love it. Three reasons – first, those colors. Oy. Second, it’s a poly/spandex blend that is not very forgiving on the mid-section of a mom of 4 (think thin bathing suit material). And third, cowl neck. I love the look of cowl neck, but as a mom of small ones, I bend over a lot and cowl shows the boobies.  The styling tag had it paired with white pants and then with a beige skirt. I don’t love it with these white shorts and I honestly can’t think of any better pairings. Back it goes!

My last item was a pair of Marjorie Baer Triangular Spear Dangler earrings.

Marjorie Baer Triangular Spear Dangler earrings

Jewelry is always an after thought for me, so it’s nice to get a little something like this in the box. These are something else I wouldn’t choose for myself, but I really like them on! I’m still undecided if I’ll keep them though, because even though I like them, I’m not sure I want to actually BUY them. Haha! I have the weekend to decide.

So that’s my Stitch Fix #2! Look for #3 soon! :-)

(If you decide to try Stitch Fix, would you consider using my referral link? I get a $25 credit when you do, and it’d be greatly appreciated! And be sure to come back and let me know what you think about your first box!)

Menu Plan Monday 08.13.2012

Menu Plan Monday… on Tuesday! ;-P

I got busy yesterday and didn’t get around to typing it all out, but better late than never, right?

I’ll get right to it and then follow up on last week’s new recipes. Also, we had a few things come up last week and we needed to change our menu around, so 2 meals from last week were pushed to this week. Remember my plan starts on Sundays…

Sunday: Sesame-Ginger Pork Patties with Grilled Pineapple, served with long grain wild rice. This was very good, and very easy to put together. The kids ate theirs on buns, the hubby and I ate ours on beds of spinach and arugula because I couldn’t find watercress at the grocery. Low cal, even with the rice on the side!

Monday: Warm Tortellini and Cherry Tomato Salad, served with crusty italian bread. Yum! You could pretty much add any veggies you liked, and in the reviews some mentioned roasting the veggies first rather than tossing them in raw. I think it’d be delicious either way. The kids surprisingly LOVED the artichokes, they were eating them straight from the can and I had to shoo them away. They picked around the onion, though. This is a really great weekday meal, the longest part of prep time was chopping the veggies. Actual execution was super quick. We had olive oil and freshly ground pepper to dip the bread in, but I thought the dressing in the bottom of my bowl was even better!

Tuesday: Leek, Potato and Chicken Pies (this is one of those pushed from last week).

Wednesday: Apple, brie and ham grilled cheese sandwiches, served with roasted potato salad. No recipe – just something we’ve thrown together before and liked. We went apple picking over the weekend so we have an over-abundance of Honeycrisp apples at the moment. I think this is a perfect way to eat them up! Melted brie, crisp fresh apple, some sweet sliced ham on toastie bread. Yum!

Thursday: (quick and easy meal day) Grilled hot dogs and baked fries. The kids have school orientation that night, so I wanted to keep it super quick and easy. Let’s pretend there’s a veggie on that plate, mmmkay?

Friday: Pizza Friday! Hubby and I are going to try a new wood-fired pizza place in town after the kids go to bed. Can’t wait!

Saturday: Sesame-Soy Meatballs, served with long grain wild rice and green beans. (the other meal pushed to this week) I made these in advance and froze them. Of course, I sampled them as I made them and they are so good! Can’t wait to eat the rest!

As for last week’s new recipes, there was only one and it was the Pesto Lasagna with Spinach and Mushrooms. HUGE hit with the family, in fact my husband happily ate on the leftovers for 2 days afterwards and he’s not a big leftover fan. My only complaint is the prep time is long and leaves a big mess in the kitchen as it requires lots of bowls and measuring cups, etc. And I’m not sure cooking it in the slow cooker was helpful. I’ll definitely make it again (on a weekend, when everyone’s home to help with cleanup) and I’ll bake it in the oven. By the time the dishes are washed, it’ll be done!

Happy eating this week, y’all!