Stitch Fix August 2016

The end of the summer is nearing already! We’ll be taking our daughter off to college in about a week. I’m really excited for her and all the new experiences she’s going to have, but I’m sad, too, because our little girl has turned into a young woman. It’s a busy, busy, month, and I wanted to squeeze in one last summer Stitch Fix. I didn’t specify very much this time, I thought I’d have the fun of surprise. Although this post contains affiliate links, these are my honest-to-goodness opinions. Stitch Fix offers a $25 Referral Credit if a new account is opened and a Fix ordered. You can earn referral credits, too!

Shaylin Ponte Dress by Adrianna Papell ($98)
Shaylin Ponte Dress by Adrianna Papell
Shaylin Ponte Dress by Adrianna Papell

One thing I did mention was that I could use a new “little black dress” that would be suitable for a variety of occasions. My stylist, Cindy, sent this Shaylin Ponte Dress by Adrianna Papell. We had a hard time getting a good picture of it. I usually like to take my pictures in front of the fireplace, but the black didn’t stand out against it. Our den has lots of windows and natural light, but today was overcast and stormy, so I tried standing in front of this solid door (I dislike our old wallpaper). This dress is a good quality, thick knit. If I were about twenty years younger I might have kept it, but the knit was too clingy in certain places and I didn’t feel good in it. There is a short slit in the back that was basted closed, so it didn’t show up in the photos. It has nice details, so I think a lot of ladies would like it, but it wasn’t the right style for me, so it will be returned.

Curran Split Neck Blouse by Pixley ($44)
Curran Split Neck Blouse by Pixley
Curran Split Neck Blouse by Pixley

This blouse seemed meant to be since we share the name “Curran,” although mine is spelled with an “e.” In her note, Cindy said that she had noticed lots of polka dots on my Pinterest board and thought that I would like it. She was right! I love the classic color (navy) and pattern. I tried it on with some jeans, since that’s what I wear most often, but it would go well with other things, too. The earrings I happened to be wearing went well with it, too. It’s a keeper!

Sharipova Lace Back Top by Market & Spruce ($58)

When I first pulled this top out, I thought it was really cute and unique. It’s a pretty light pink, and I would describe the front fabric as poplin. Then the back has a really pretty lace that I bet would be good for air-circulation on these hot summer days. I think it runs a little small. I tried to get a good picture of the back of it, but it “pulled.” Although I thought it was really cute, I decided it didn’t fit well enough. It will be returned.

Winston Open Cardigan by Bobeau ($58)
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Winston Open Cardigan by Bobeau in Light Pink

Cindy recommended trying this cardigan on with the Sharipova Lace Back Top, so that is what is under it. The colors do work well together. I have a few other pink pieces that I bought in previous Fixes that I can wear under it. I really liked this cardigan. It was soft and comfy, and would be great for transitioning in the Fall and Spring. I tried it on with these cute shoes I got in my June Fix – Mazzota Cut-Out Flats by Nine West in Rose Gold. They go great together! (Don’t mind my goofy tan)

Nine West Mazzota Cut-Out Flats
Nine West Mazzota Cut-Out Flats in Rose Gold

The cardigan is a little wrinkled from its trip in the box, but a quick ironing or steaming would Fix that. I’ve got plans for this little cardigan to take a trip to my closet. (Keeping!)

Bano Lace Knit Top by Loveappella ($54)
Bano Lace Knit Top by Loveappella
Bano Lace Knit Top by Loveappella

In choosing this top, Cindy noted all the feminine pieces and lace I had on my Pinterest board, so I know she’s paying attention to my preferences and styling especially for me. I do like the pretty, bright pink color and lace, and the fabric is soft. Again, if I were younger, I might keep this piece, but the fabric is a little too thin and clingy for me to feel my best, so I’m sending it back.

How Stitch Fix Works

In case you are new to Stitch Fix, I want to give you a quick run-down on how it works. You can get an even fuller understanding from reading my previous posts about Stitch Fix, as well as see other things I have received from them.

  • When you set up your account, you will fill out your “Style Profile.” It doesn’t cost anything to do this, so I encourage you to check it out. The Style Profile is how your stylist gets to know you, everything from your sizing to your style preferences. Tip: You are able to include a link to a Pinterest board where you can pin pictures of clothing and accessories, whether from Stitch Fix, or not, for your stylist to study in preparing your Fix. Take advantage of this for the best Fix possible! You are welcome to pin photos from my blog if there is something you’d like to try.
  • When you schedule a Fix, you are charged a $20 Styling Fee. Your stylist will choose five items from among clothing, shoes, bags, and jewelry. If there are any categories that you don’t want things from, you can specify that in your Profile. If you keep at least one item, the Styling Fee is deducted from your total.
  • Once you receive your Fix, you have three business days to try everything on and make your decisions. Even if your first impression of something isn’t good, go ahead and try it on. That’s part of the fun, to let your stylist help you get a little out of your comfort zone, and choose things you wouldn’t choose for yourself. I would further advise you to have someone take pictures of you. It has really helped me make decisions and I’ve changed my mind several times because of them. You also have time to “sleep on it,” and make sure of your decisions.
  • Stitch Fix sends a pre-addressed and pre-paid return envelope, so all you have to do is put the unwanted items into it, seal it, and drop it in a mailbox. Extremely fast and easy!!
  • Go on line to your Stitch Fix account to check out. Here each item will be listed and you specify whether you are keeping or returning. There is also a box for you to type notes to your stylist about what you did or didn’t like about it. Please take advantage of this opportunity to give them feedback. It helps you get the best Fixes possible.
  • If you choose to keep all five items, you receive a 25% discount. Sometimes ladies buy all five pieces for the discount and then sell the ones they don’t want in Facebook Stitch Fix groups, so there’s another option.

I hope you’ve had fun peeking at my Fix! If you’re ready to try it for yourself, I would really appreciate it if you would use one of my affiliate links! And let me know what you get! Fashion shows are always fun!


Stitch Fix August 2016
Stitch Fix August 2016

Let’s Go Flea Marketing!

Who wants to go with me? Flea marketing knows no bounds when it comes to age or gender. Since they are typically made up of many vendors with different niches, everyone can find something to suit their interests. Just the other day I saw a young man of about ten shopping with his grandpa, oohing and aahing over vintage toys. I’ve also seen three generations of family members strolling the walkways and sharing memories that were recalled by things they encountered.

Timeless Treasures

Filled to their brims with timeless treasures just waiting to be discovered, flea markets are never boring. It’s like walking back through time and revisiting grandma’s house, or other comforting memories.

Save Money
Let's Go Flea Marketing! Depression Glass at a Flea Market
Depression-era Fire King Peach Luster Dishes

You can save money by shopping flea markets to furnish your home. Whether you need furniture, dishes, pictures, or textiles, they can all be found there. I find it fun to hunt for things I need. If you buy something new, it typically loses value, but with vintage items it’s possible for them to increase in value over time. Some older things were made better to begin with.

Save money by buying books at a flea market
Save Money on Books at a Flea Market
Collecting

Whether salt and pepper shakers, antique fishing lures, or depression glass, lots of people enjoy collecting something that “speaks” to them. Some things I’m drawn to are pitchers, vases, depression glass (clear or green), lamps, and kitchenware. I prefer things that are actually useable.

McCoy Pottery - Let's Go Flea Marketing!
McCoy Pottery
Antique Fishing Lures and Equipment
Vignettes

I have a little booth myself, but I’m fairly new at it and still learning. I study other booths that appeal to me, trying to analyze why so I can improve on my own. I have a Pinterest board called “Vignettes” where I save pictures of attractive groupings that I can refer to for ideas. It’s just another little hobby that I have.

A Fun and Unique Idea for Christmas

One year my family decided to do something different for Christmas and shop for each other at flea markets and garage sales. It was a real hoot! As we opened our gifts we’d brag about how little we paid for them. We definitely spent less that year and had a lot of laughs.

All of these pictures were taken at Bella Vista Flea Market in Bella Vista, Arkansas.

Do you enjoy flea marketing, too? What are your favorite things to hunt for?

Helpful Links:

Bella Vista Flea Market Facebook Page

My “Vignettes” Pinterest Board

Let's Go Flea Marketing! By Mid-Life Blogger
Let’s Go Flea Marketing!

Be Still

Occasionally we lose electricity for no apparent reason. I’m sure there is one, we just never find out what it is. One day this past May that happened. It was a beautiful Spring afternoon and the electricity suddenly went out. These occasions are a stark reminder of how dependent I’ve become on electricity. The only thing I could think of to do housework-wise was sweep, so I did that, but just about everything else was dependent on electricity. We have a well, so without electricity we have no water, either. So no laundry, no vacuuming, no cleaning. Okay, well now I’m thinking I could have dusted, but that day I decided not to overheat my brain trying to think of housework I could do and to instead take the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful afternoon. I made a cold drink, grabbed some gardening magazines, and went to sit at a table in my front yard in the shade of a huge oak tree. The soft breeze made the flowers nod and surround me with their sweet scents. Sitting beside the hummingbird feeder, I got to enjoy the whirring of hummingbird wings as they flitted around, visiting the feeder, nearby flowers, and defending their territory. Other birds sang from surrounding trees. To say it was delightful would be an understatement.

Be Still by Mid-Life Blogger

I spend as much time as I can in my front yard garden, planting and tending flowering plants, but I hardly let myself enjoy it. Oh, I try. I sit on my front porch fully intending to relax and take it all in, but it doesn’t take long before my eyes see faded flowers that need to be deadheaded, or weeds that need to be pulled, so I either have to get to work or go back in the house. This particular afternoon was like a gift, like God was telling me to just “be still” and know that He is God.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  Psalm 46:10 NIV

I can’t be outside in this beautiful country and not be aware of how God provides for me, both for practical needs such as food and shelter, but also spiritual needs such as peace and relaxation. Sometimes I wonder what heaven is like. Scripture speaks of pearly gates and golden streets, but I hope He also has beautiful trees, gardens, and birds. Gardens were His idea, afterall.

Country life is simpler, and being further from city services we sometimes go without power, water, or travel for longer periods than city folk. It can be an inconvenience, but it can also be an opportunity to just Be Still.

 

Open Windows

Open windows are another simple pleasure. Normally, I only get to enjoy them in Spring and Fall when the weather is pleasant, but right now our air conditioning is out and it looks like it may be awhile until we can get a new system installed, so even though it’s mid-July and steamy, we have our windows (and doors) open, trying to keep our home as comfy as possible. (I’m also making use of another simple pleasure, the clothesline to keep my dryer from heating up the house further.)

Night Air

I especially like sleeping with fresh night air. It seems more oxygen-rich, and the mixed symphony of locusts, tree frogs, whippoorwills, and who-knows-what-else, lulls me to sleep. I don’t usually get to sleep with the windows open because my husband is more sensitive to sounds and light than I am, so I’m trying to enjoy this rare treat. Focusing on this glass-half-full part helps me deal with the I’m-hot-and-sweaty part. In doing a quick search, I found the following research that supports my own feelings: The Effects of Bedroom Air Quality on Sleep and Next-Day Performance. It’s conclusion states that the lower carbon dioxide levels of fresh air are more conducive to a good night’s sleep, and that next-day performance is better. It seems to me that if the carbon dioxide was lower that the oxygen would be higher, but I’m not a scientist. I just know I sleep better.

Home Freshening

Have you ever been gone from home a little while and when you return and walk in the door you become acutely aware that your home has a stale, musty odor? (I know you have, LOL) Out with the old and in with the new. Open the windows and invite in the fresh air!

Special Circumstances

There are times, such as mine now, that it’s nice to be able to open the windows. In past times homes were designed to take advantage of cross-breezes for cooling but with air conditioning becoming so widespread we’ve become dependent on it. Our home really wasn’t designed with cross-breezes in mind. We have plans to do some remodeling, and at least my plans, include some new doors and windows. We need some that are easier to open for when we lose our air conditioning for one reason or another and need fall back on the old ways.

Memories

I remember being about five and waking up to the sound and smell of my dad mowing the lawn first thing on a summer morning. Another fond memory I have is of spending the night at my grandparents’ farm during the summer and sleeping in one of the upstairs bedrooms with the window open for the cool air. Both of those experiences are anchored in my memory because of an open window.

Plan Ahead

If you’re thinking of building a new home or remodeling you might want to think about natural circulation and plan types and placement of windows accordingly. Whether you just want to enjoy this simple pleasure, or have the occasion to actually need it, you’ll be glad you did.

Do you have any memories involving open windows?

Seek and Ye Shall Find

One of the ladies at the rehab facility where I volunteer was distraught because her chronological Bible was lost when she was transferred there. I made a mental note, planning to go to the thrift store to check for one when our Bible study was over.

I went, fully expecting to find that exact Bible. I felt sure that God would want her to have it. I started by looking on the “Bible” shelves. When I didn’t see one there I started looking in the more general “Religious Books” section, thinking that possibly someone had misplaced it. I was so sure, that I spent 15-20 minutes searching and searching again. I even asked a volunteer to check in the back. At last, I had to admit that it wasn’t there.

There was another thrift store in town that I considered. They didn’t usually have much in the way of books, especially Bibles, but it wasn’t too far so I decided to run by and look anyway. Once there I went straight to the bookshelves and they were just as I had remembered. The book section was small and there didn’t appear to be any Bibles. Regardless, I slowed my eyes down and started to look more carefully. Suddenly, they caught exactly what I was searching for. There was the exact chronological Bible that I had in mind. It was brand new, still wrapped in plastic and with the original store’s price sticker of $21.99. However, there wasn’t a price for the thrift store. Suppressing my excitement, I took it to the front counter and asked how much it was.

“One dollar,” said the sales lady.

I keep wanting to write that I couldn’t believe it, but I could.

I couldn’t wait to take the Bible to its intended recipient and tell her how God had provided it especially for her. I was hoping that she would know how much she was loved and that He had not forgotten about her.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

A Gentle Breeze

The term “God-incidence” first entered my vocabulary about twenty years ago, and through the years I’ve learned to see God at work in everyday occurrences. Many of them have become treasured memories. I’m afraid that oftentimes people write things off as “co-incidences,” when it is really God at work, thereby robbing themselves of a faith-strengthening event. It might be hard to believe in air since it can’t be seen, but then it moves, causing leaves to flutter or water to ripple, making its presence known. If one were struggling to believe in God, then being aware of a God-incidence might be just what their faith needs. I have been in the company of people like that – I’ve heard them question God’s existence and say that they feel separated from Him.

A few times a week I volunteer at an addiction recovery facility where I help lead a voluntary Bible study. I’m very much aware of the spiritual battle that is going on, so it’s my practice to pray before entering the facility, and again when I enter the room where we meet, asking the Holy Spirit to come fill the room with His presence. Today I went to teach on the topic of “prayer,” and in the middle of class one of the ladies began to have breathing problems. She said that she was having an anxiety attack and that she might need to go to the hospital. Someone went to get a nurse, who came quickly to get her. When they had left, the remaining ladies asked me to lead them in prayer for her. When we finished, I asked them if they wanted to finish our Bible study, to which they said that they did. My eyes sought out where we had left off, and amazed, I asked one of the women to read:

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:13-16 NIV)

One of the ladies remarked, “Wow! I’m floored!” The next verse was:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

This God-incidence was not lost on the group, the ladies excitedly chattered about it. Let’s just say that I appreciated the Holy Spirit’s help with my lesson, for bringing it alive as only He can.

I try to be watchful for God at work and careful not to dismiss it as coincidence. I don’t want to be robbed of God’s awesome presence. Do you have a God-incidence that you’d like to share?

The Clothesline

Country life is full of simple pleasures. Things that often go unnoticed, or seem mundane to some. Hanging laundry on the clothesline is one of my simple pleasures. The first Valentine’s Day after we moved to our farm, I asked my husband for a clothesline. Checking Craig’s List, he found someone a few hours away that made and sold them, so one afternoon we made the drive down back roads that wound through small towns and hamlets (which is another simple pleasure). They were very sturdy and well-made, just what I wanted. Back at home, my husband set them in concrete and stretched the lines between them. I took on the task of painting them and I chose a shade of green (my favorite color) so that they would blend with the grass and trees. My mother-in-law made me a clothes pin bag, reusing a frame and fabric remnant that she had on hand. img_0648I love seeing the laundry gently swaying in the breeze, and knowing that the sunlight naturally kills bacteria while imparting a wonderful fragrance that you can only get outdoors. While reaching to pin or unpin I’m getting a dose of fresh air and sunshine, as well as some good stretching. I’m often serenaded by birds in the nearby trees, and I enjoy the cacophony of our geese, ducks, guineas, chickens, and turkeys. Occasionally one of our dogs or cats appears to keep me company. My favorite thing to line-dry is bedding. I’ve been hanging out every layer from the mattress pad to the bedspread, so I’m already looking forward to climbing into bed tonight. Sometimes while driving I’ll see a clothesline full of fluttering textiles and have a sudden urge to go home and do laundry.

Once we had a few men doing masonry work near the clothesline and I was doing laundry that day. When I went out to retrieve it one of the men said, “We sure are enjoying the smell of your laundry drying.” Wow, would you ever think you’d hear a man say something like that?! He went on to say that he sure wished his wife would hang their laundry on a clothesline. His comments were so unexpected that I still chuckle when I remember them. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one that appreciates this simple pleasure.

Note: Regarding sunlight killing bacteria, I found an article by a scientist/mother done on this exact subject here.