Archives for May 2013

Stitch Fix #5

2013-05-30

 

My latest fix from Stitch Fix came Thursday while it’s still SO exciting to get, I admit my expectations were a tad lower going in this time. 

By the last fix, I was disappointed that I hadn’t yet hit the Stitch Fix jackpot and wanted to keep all five items.  But I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this fix. 

This is first fix where I legitimately could see see all of these items in my closet.  The color and style were spot on and it’s buoyed my hopes for future fixes.

Let’s get to it!

 

3/4 Sleeve Blouse

First up was this red 3/4 sleeve blouse.  The color is even more gorgeous in person.  I was instantly drawn to this first.

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The style and color are just perfect but the problem is I got completely lost in it.  It’s even more prominent straight on but basically it looks super boxy.  I’d belt it but I look horrible in belts.  I’ve had so many people try to say I should do belts but no.  Belted shirts just do not work on me. 

I usually love blouses like this and even have one or two similar in style but I don’t know, something just isn’t working.

 

Pink Pointelle Shirt

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Next up is this pink pointelle shirt.  It has this great tribal pattern and is perfect for spring.  I like the style and the fit is great. 

But listen up, it is already summer here in the Carolinas and I just wouldn’t get any use out of this for months.  Certainly a contender but maybe not what I’m looking to spend my money on right now.

 

Bubble Necklace

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I admit I was disappointed at first to see a jewelry box in my fix as I’m more the $5- jewelry-at-Forever 21 kind of girl but I have to admit, this bubble necklace is just gorgeous.  I suppose it is NOT gorgeous with this shirt but the jewels are so pretty in person and the color would be really versatile.  I like this a lot even if it is more than I would spend. And oh look, my earring is about to fall out.

 

Striped Maxi

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Stripes and maxis.  Sigh.  I love them.  And this one with the detail at the neckline is just gorgeous.  I wish you could see the neckline better but it is REALLY cute in person.

This is one of the priciest item of the bunch so I’m going to super picky here.  First, I already have a striped maxi so that doesn’t help.  I think the horizontal lines are a bit droopy from the front and it’s not entirely flattering but I think that might just be this picture too.  We didn’t get any great ones from the front.

I also feel like it’s a tad short.  I wouldn’t be able to wear any heeled sandals.

 

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But if you look at this picture you can see it has a cute racer back and I think the stripes are fine from the side.  My other issue is I feel like it might be too fitting around the middle. Scott really loves it though (imagine that) and my friend even took a look and assured me it was not too tight.

 

Skinny Jeans

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And finally, the last item was a pair of skinny jeans.  These jeans are hard to get on but are super stretchy and comfy when you do.  The color is great and the length is perfect for flats or would work well with boots.  As far as jeans go, I think these are a winner. But again, I’m not sure if I want to drop any money on jeans at the start of summer.

 

So, the jeans and red blouse are out but I’m really considering between the other three.  I basically have enough credit to cover one of them.  Is the maxi or necklace worth the cost or should I pick up the pink shirt and just wait to wear it?

 

If you’d like to try out Stitch Fix, I’d love for you to hop over with my affiliate link where I get $25.  If you’d like to see my other fixes, here ya go:

Stitch Fix #1

Stitch Fix #2

Stitch Fix #3

Stitch Fix #4

Defining Hospitality in the Age of Pinterest

Today’s guest post is by Jacey from The Balanced Wife.  Jacey hasn’t been blogging for long but she has a great writing style, a great heart and she’s another Carolina girl to boot.

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In college, when I moved into my own apartment for the first time, I loved the idea of inviting people into it. My roommates and I hosted game nights and birthday parties.

We invited friends and boyfriends for lunch or dinner, cookie baking or popcorn and movie night. I’m surprised we didn’t all gain weight that year, between daily Ranch dressing consumption and frequent baked goods.

As much as I liked inviting people, perfectionist tendencies drove me to try to control every variable. I struggled to enjoy these orchestrated events, my head swimming with details.

I may have been a control freak, but I had a near delusional confidence in my entertaining and cooking skills. Sometimes my recipes didn’t turn out, or they took hours longer than expected, but I somehow maintained the belief that I excelled at all things domestic.

As I’ve ventured into an adulthood filled with talented friends and Pinterest boards, my confidence has wavered. When I frost a cupcake, it looks like a toddler did the job with finger paint.

I cannot see a room and picture furniture in it. I had a near meltdown picking paint colors when we moved into our current apartment.

That’s the other thing: we live in an apartment. An old apartment, with no central air conditioning and dingy, grey linoleum in the kitchen, a corner of which is missing since our dog ate it. We have IKEA furniture, some damaged by the move, and our house was damaged by a water leak there was in the ceiling, but luckily we fixed it with a great home improvement company, learn more here. I have avoided decorating due to budget constraints and general ineptitude.

I still invite people over, but only after clearing about 18 mental hurdles. The good news is, I’m having a breakthrough of sorts. And I’ll share it with you: my domestic insecurity stems from the premise that entertaining is a performance instead of an act of service. I feel uptight because I make entertaining more about me than about my guests.

The common theme among parties and gatherings I’ve enjoyed most is that I’ve felt honored, like the person who invited me was really glad I was there. Sometimes, the honor is extended by a handmade place card, sometimes by a slice of frozen pizza, sometimes by a last minute request that I bring something.

Universally, people crave inclusion and validation. When people come into my home, am I treating them like the guests of honor they truly are, or am I too afraid of their imaginary judgment to make them comfortable?

True hospitality is less performance, more service. As Shauna Niequist writes beautifully in Bread and Wine, “the heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved.” My culinary, decorating and baking skills may not be anything special, but I can still make people feel special.

The love which says, “Come in, as you are; you belong here,” can feel far off when it’s clouded by our brokenness. If a good host can give the gift of true belonging, even if for one evening, then she has embodied the love of God.

 

 

jacey Jacey loves good books and deep conversations. You can find her on her blog, The Balanced Wife, where she pursues exceptional living. She lives with her husband, Michael, and dog, Jack, in Charleston, SC.

 

Photo credit: Photo Credit: jenny downing via Compfight cc

Repurpose a T-shirt for a Dog Pull Toy

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but dog toys are expensive.  And the really aggravating thing is within minutes, the entire thing is usually destroyed.  I may as well just throw $5 bills in the backyard and tell them to have at it.

After making my own T-shirt scarf and then reading Reuse, Refresh, Repurpose I was inspired to use several of the kids’ T-shirts they had outgrown to help solve this problem.

 

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I started with a small T-shirt of Lexi’s.

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I began by cutting 1” strips from the base of the T-shirt up to the arm hole level.

 

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Here I am doing just that. 

Just seconds after taking this picture, my cousin who was in the pool playing in our canoe cut is foot trying to get in the canoe and we had to do some major first aid. 

It was so bad even a few band-aids wouldn’t cover it.  I had to use paper towels to cover the bleeding and then use medical tape from the girls’ play doctor kit to tape it down. 

I’ve now marked gathering a first aid kit high on priority list.

When you’re done with the first aid emergency, return to the cutting until you’ve cut strips all the way around the T-shirt.

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Then, gather 3 strands at a time and braid the strips. 

When you get to the bottom of the braid, tie two strips together and then tie to other strips together to keep the braid in.

The finished product looks like this.

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And then, you just hand it to the dogs and they figure out what’s next.

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Tucker wins!

The whole project, first aid interruption withholding, should only take you about 5 minutes.

Works for me!

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

What I’m Into – May 2013

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I’ve loved Fast and Furious from the beginning but admittedly, I haven’t watched every single movie. But still, Dom, Brian and the crew are sort of ingrained as part of my pop culture life. And let’s just be honest with each other–cute boys and fast cars are hard to resist.

It’s hard to believe 5 sequels in they could deliver all the goods. A solid storyline, riveting car scenes, nail-biting fights and characters you can’t help but love.

This particular sequel boasted strong themes of love and family that hearken back to the original and if you’ve ever loved the franchise, this is a must-see.

If you’ve seen it, let’s hit the comments because there were a few things I was confused about.

 

ranch dip

So, Hidden Valley ranch dip isn’t new and it probably is on a bunch of people’s bad list (including my own) but I have not been able to find a ranch dip recipe to make at home that tasted good. So I buckled and got the ranch dip mix and we loved it. So yeah, good or bad, I’ve been into it.

 

canon lens

After taking the Shoot Fly Shoot Photography 102 class (see sidebar), I was convinced I needed a new lens and Scott got me one for Mother’s Day. And I think the guys were right–I have been LOVING my new 50mm lens. It’s been perfect for my WIWW posts and would be great for anyone wanting to take portraits. I’m sure it’s good for other stuff to but I feel woefully unqualified to tell you. Hit Josh or Kevin up on Twitter or email, I’m very sure they’d love to answer any questions you have.

 

remote

To go along with the new 50mm, I picked up a lens remote and holy cow does this make my life easier. Now I can pop my camera on my stand and snap as many photos as I want without annoying my family. It’d be great if you want to try your hand at family photos and you want to be IN the photos and not have to get up and down to keep setting the timer.

 

I’m linked up to What I’m Into at Leigh Kramer’s blog

Summer Garden 2013 – 6 Week Update

I was really beginning to think that last year’s garden was a fluke.  Maybe just beginner’s luck.  I am happy to report though that after 6 weeks (ish), the plants in the garden are in fact GROWING.  Yahoo!!

Here are the beds the day we planted in mid April:

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And here it is now:

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We have been getting drenched with rain shower after rain shower here in the Carolinas and the garden has been literally soaking it up.  It’s green and happy and I think everything has at least tripled in size, if not more.

The squash and cucumber plants all have blooms on them.

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Green peppers have popped out which is much earlier than last year.  I think my tomato plants last year overshadowed my pepper plants so I was sure to give it plenty of space this year.

 

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The jalapenos have popped out too.  I always think they are so adorable when they’re tiny like that.

 

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This is our first grape tomato plan—the first one I’ve ever seen, actually–and that top right tomato turning red is our first tomato of the year.

I’ve found this particular tomato plant downright fascinating.  The way the stems are holding the tomatoes, how each stem alternates, evenly space down to the tomato capping the end, to me just screams of its ultimate Creator. 

I mean, how is it that one little tiny seed has all the information in it to know how to do that?  How??  How does it know what leaves to have and how to align these stems and how to make these oval shaped tomatoes that turn to red with so many nutrients inside?  I just can’t get over it.

Insert dumb-founded picture of me here because that’s how I feel.  I keep walking out and looking at this little bunch of tomatoes in complete awe.  If there ever was a time I’d call God awesome, this would be one of them.

 

Talk to me about your garden if you planted one or your favorite vegetable to eat in the summer.