Stitch Fix: May Edition

If you're just joining this blog and wondering "What the heck is Stitch Fix?", every month I share what's in my box in order to show you how not only awesome, but how non-scary trusting someone else to do your shopping for you can be. (Last month I received my box the day I left for outdoor school and after frantically trying on the clothes before I headed out the door in order to send them back on time, I forgot to take pictures. I kept a pair of red colored jeans except they stretched out a lot when I wore them the first time, so I sent them back. Stitch Fix has awesome customer service and a great return policy, btw!!)

Stitch Fix is a personal styling company based out of San Francisco where virtual personal stylists (yes, they're real people!) get to know you individually in order to put together five pieces and outfits for you every month. They follow your Pinterest style boards, Instagram accounts, and even check you out through LinkedIn in order to see what you need personal for work, life, going out, weekends, etc. You create thorough "style profiles," by selecting which colors, patterns, sizes, etc. best represent you and what you're looking for.

Some months, all pieces are a hit, some months, I just choose one, and a couple of times I haven't chosen anything. Stitch Fix is a free service, minus a $20 styling fee that gets credited back to you if you make a purchase. (This makes a ton of sense-- so people aren't just having clothes shipped, wearing them on the weekends, and sending them all back.)


So... what was in my box this month?

Item #1 Pomelo Downing Striped Knit Shirt




I loved that this shirt was yellow! I own nothing yellow, and it's also such a perfect, comfy, casual shirt for teaching or the weekends. Definitely "me" and I definitely kept it. 


Item #2 41 Hawthorn Hilton 3/4 Sleeve Lace Blouse






I was reaaaaaaallllyyy torn with this shirt. I mean, how beautiful is this?! I adore the cobalt blue color and it looks great with white jeans and/or black skinnies. I would definitely have worn this out on the town. However, it was $80 and knowing me, I would snag it. It is super fragile with the lace and delicate nature and I am just kind of a klutz sometimes, as graceful as I try to appear. I didn't even want to chance it, nor did I want it to just be hanging in my closet for special occasions. Better to send it back now before I have a chance to change my mind...


Item #3 Kut from the Kloth Somerville Printed Short Sleeve Top





Something that was kind of a bummer about this shipment was that the sizing was off this time. Totally not their fault, as different brands have different sizing. However, even though I LOVED this top, it was way too big and felt very boxy. I don't have a petite frame, so boxy tops make me look really big and it wasn't very flattering. Maybe next time-- I am crossing my fingers for the perfect Aztec top!


Item #4 Tart Jacobsen Striped Knit Tank



I don't know... I just felt very "meh" about this top. It was really thick but kind of tight, and I don't look that great in coral. So, I did not keep it. 


Item #5 Just Black Nolan Ankle Skinny Jeans



This is just a boring, basic iPhone pic because I couldn't even get these jeans up my legs! I think this is another example of pants ranging in fit and why I loathe jean shopping. However, the material was stretchy and awesome and I really really really want a pair of thick white jeans. Since I couldn't even get them halfway up, I opted not to keep them. ;)



Even though I ended up with just one piece from this month's shipment, that is totally fine with me! Stitch Fix is now allowing for shipments every 2 - 3 weeks which is awesome, instead of having to wait a whole month. Like I have said in previous posts, I haven't been to the mall since Christmas and rarely do I spend even close to $100 on clothes a month. That is a record for me. 

The quality of clothing items Stitch Fix sends are not only durable but the pieces are also unique and you cannot get them in stores. That's what I loved about it, so if you're interested in trying Stitch Fix for yourself, click this link and head on over! 

What I've gained (and lost) from taking a risk

I used to be someone who loved the comfort of a predictable and safe life. In fact, anything beyond that caused me to be fearful. From sticking with tried-and-true chicken strips and macaroni and cheese while eating out, to staying close to home in college, I felt like I needed stability through predictability, because it was something I could control.

I've learned something about myself: When I feel like I can control things, I'm more comfortable. When my routine is stable, I'm relaxed. But as much security I might feel through controlling my surroundings, a complacent life is boring to me.

I've come to discover that by taking risks, life is that much richer, that much exciting, that much more adventurous and definitely more rewarding. Because if I hid behind all of the "what ifs," and "buts" and "I'm not sure I can do this," and "it's probably too late," I wouldn't be where I am today and have what I do.

What I've gained from taking a risk:


  • My husband, because of confiding in him on a night when we were just beginning to date. It was a transforming conversation between us that ultimately bonded us together through God's redeeming love.
  • My job. I completely quit my previous field of work cold turkey to take a leap of faith down the path God has called me to, and I haven't looked back since. 
  • Traveling the world. Flying absolutely terrifies me. Unsanitary foods terrify me. Getting mugged terrifies me. But none of those fears are strong enough to hold me back from the intense bliss that wandering through a foreign country, halfway around the world, that my soul experiences. 
  • Our experience with hosting an exchange student. Would you believe that we received more, "Don't do it!"'s than we did "Go for it!"'s? We strongly considered not hosting and what a sorry mistake that would have been. Hosting an exchange student for a year has been such an enriching experience for us and has taught us so much about each other, family, and cultures around the world.
  • An unforgettable trip to Costa Rica. In the jungle. Sleeping near cockroaches and poisonous snakes. Soaring 3,000 feet in the sky on a zip line. Kayaking in shark-infested waters. Memories to last a lifetime: Enough said. 
  • A successful and growing photography business, soon to become nationally featured. {!!!} If I was told five years ago that I would be operating a strong and successful photography business on my own, I would have laughed. I always dreamt of that, but didn't have enough confidence in myself to think it would ever happen to me. But then a few years ago, I thought, "Why not?" Why can't I become a photographer and do what I love the rest of the year when I'm not teaching?" I walked through open door after open door, when the enemy tried to tell me otherwise, and took huge risks upon risks when doing so. What I've gained is experience, confidence, a niche, a solid business, new friends, partners, memories, and so much more. {and in a competitive, artsy city filled with thousands of creative geniuses, nonetheless...}
  • A home that we love. It wasn't easy for us to purchase our first home, but we didn't give up. Adversity was in our way, but we stood our ground, committed for several months until it finally happened. We adore it, we're thankful and blessed, and we know that we had a lot at stake if this risk fell through. 

What I've lost from taking a risk:

  • Money. When I quit marketing, I took a huge pay cut. Everyone knows that teaching barely pays the bills, but the intrinsic reward I gain is far greater than any paycheck I'll ever receive. So I'll probably never own a $500,000 home, a boat, or a Lexus... but I will be investing my life into something with purpose and meaning. 
  • Money. Because traveling is expensive, but oh so worth it. 
  • Money. You can't make money without spending money! I have to invest in my business and so start-up costs were heavy early on when I started my company. 
  • Money. Down payments on our home, monthly expenses, maintenance, etc. That stuff can all add up. 
  • Money. Children cost money, too. :) 

Considering the only real thing I've "lost" in taking the risks above was money, I'm reminded of the parable of the buried talents in which the three men take different approaches towards stewarding their money. Two invested their talents and gained even more, and one man buried it away because he was afraid of losing it. The master rewarded the men who were good stewards of their money, but scorned the man who hid it away and did nothing with it. Timothy and I have always had the philosophy of praying for wisdom over our finances, but also not being afraid to invest it into meaningful things-- and many of those things are risks. 

In our lives, the risks have far outweighed the rewards. In every circumstance above, I could have turned into fear or complacency or "I can't do this," or "I don't know how," and instead lost out on some incredible blessings. Instead, I chose to face some fears head-on and choose to live in faith towards the path God called us to and believe that what lied behind those doors was something bigger and greater than what we could imagine. 

Food.

I deleted a few titles before settling on the simplicity of this post. Food. 

I thought about the following:

"What I really wanted to call this post was 'Help! My head is spinning because of everything I'm doing wrong,'"

or,

"Food is not my enemy."

or,

"How to survive feeling like a failure when it comes to food."

None of them seemed to fit the entire message of this article, so I'll stick with "Food" for now. 


In the great Pinterest world of "Everything you're not doing well enough and someone is doing a lot better," I have discovered that in fact, I am eating all wrong. 

No matter what I do, I'm doing it wrong. 

Whole 30 says I'm not supposed to eat beans, alcohol, grains, potatoes or sugar.

Gluten-free says I'm not supposed to eat any wheat products. 

Vegan says I'm not supposed to eat any dairy, eggs or meat. 

Paleo says I'm supposed to eat meat and eggs. 

Dr. Oz says I'm supposed to eat all of the above and more... 

Then I see the "31 Healthiest Foods I Should be Eating Now"... and they're all on the do-not-eat lists above. 


Vegan tells me I should be drinking soy, and now supposedly there are health problems linked to soy


I seriously. can't. keep. up. 

Colon cleanses? Detox diets? Probiotics? Where do I even start?!


So, maybe you're like me. Maybe you're overwhelmed with which "eat this instead of flour" aisle to start at when shopping at Whole Foods and secretly wish that Pop-Tarts were healthy because life would be so much simpler if they were. (I mean seriously, have you seen the choices for flour substitutes that Bob's Red Mill offers? I mean, really...)

If in fact you are like me and wrestle with feeling a mix of guilt over your DiGiornio pizza you snuck in your fridge and the desire to truly make a positive choice in the nutrition of your family, I'm here to offer you a little bit of solace. 



I've decided that it's all okay. 


Did you hear that? I mean obviously I'm not a doctor, but when I look at my healthy and vibrant 90 year old grandparents who eat from their garden but also eat bologna and Franz white bread and mayonnaise, they must be doing something right. 


Therefore, I have decided the following for myself and my family:

1) Shop for organic produce whenever possible. I do believe in the "dirty dozen."

2) Shop farmer's markets whenever possible as well. We are so fortunate to have the abundance of produce that we do 6 months out of the year here in the Northwest, and in the off-season, I shop where I trust they're critically eyeing their sources at places like New Seasons and Whole Foods. That is important to me, 

3) Rotating what meat & fish I eat all week. I do buy organic free-range and grass fed beef, organic and free range eggs and chickens, and wild-caught salmon and shrimp. (Cause' have you see the cow pens in California?!)

4) If I don't know what it is, I don't eat it. I am a huge label-reader when it comes to processed foods and when there are some fake ingredients or the list is 10+ lines long, I skip it. It's not worth it. 

5) I skip the additives and preservatives whenever possible. 

6) I eat black beans, pork, chicken, cheese, milk, whole-grain bagels, flax crackers, popcorn, chips and salsa, eggs, fruits + veggies, pasta, etc. I just really refuse to be the food police to myself. 

7) I scour labels to be non-GMO. 

8) I tend to shop more at New Seasons or Whole Paycheck simply because I know they offer what I'm looking for. Organic and whole-ingredient products can be found all over the place, but in my busy life I just don't have the time to grocery-store-hop for the best prices. If I lived closer to a Fred Meyer, I probably would go there over the others. :)


Really, I'm all about two things: Natural and Whole. I don't want to be ingesting anything fake, and I would love for what I eat to be wholly occurring from nature. Because let's be real: If God designed it for our bodies, I know He knew what He was doing. 



So, go on with your bad self and indulge in that Breyer's all-natural vanilla ice cream and pulled-pork sandwich for dinner tonight and feel no shame. 

Where have I been?

I dip in and out of the blog-o-sphere from time to time because to be honest, I really didn't like my old blog layout. It didn't feel like me, and it was pretty boring. So, I didn't feel like writing. 

I am kind of a compulsive-neurotic writer in that I take joy in curling up and writing when the following things are in order:

1) I have fresh thin-tipped sharpies or a fresh black fine point pen
2) I have a crisp hardcover Moleskine or composition book
3) The setting is just right and I can rest for several minutes to think


If those things aren't in place, I don't write. 

Kind of like my old blog layout. I felt like I was writing on the back of a McDonalds wrapper with it. Sure, it got the writing job done, but it wasn't enjoyable and it was kinda weird. 


Am I alone in this type of neurotic writing-materials-control thing? 

Say it isn't so...



So now that my pages are fresh and my blog has received a face-lift, the writing can commence again. (Thank you 17thavenuedesigns!!)


As far as where I've been these past months...

1) Coaching Track (middle school-- woohoo!)

2) Attending Outdoor School 

3) Teaching (double woohoo!!)

4) Photographing + booking photographing sessions (triple woohoo!!)

5) Summer-travel planning (okay, the woohoos are permanent now...)

6) Hanging out with my awesome fam

7) Enjoying the gorgeous weather (thank you Oregon!)

8) Meal-planning and budgeting to keep up with my 2014 resolutions (winning!)

9) Dating my husband

10) Reading books and loading my Pinterest with recipes I've been cooking


I'm excited to be back now that I have more free time to write on my fresh new paper and loving the moments that make up my life on a daily basis. 



 
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