my first stitch fix box!

“I’ve been wanting to try that.” Every time the personal styling service Stitch Fix comes up, I hear that comment. Until recently, it has been my own response. It seems every woman I know is itching to have a professional inject some life into their closet. (Not to mention avoiding shopping malls and getting a fun treat in the mail!)

After giving it a try, I am impressed with the ease and thoroughness of process, the quality of the items, and the presentation of the box. I won’t go in to the details of how it works, because their website does a great job of explaining it. They seem to have thought of everything, considering not only your style preferences but also your daily lifestyle and current wardrobe needs. You can even link to your fashion-themed Pinterest board to give your stylist a good idea of how you like to dress! I could tell my comments and pins were really considered. The only drawback is waiting for your first box. You get to pick your ship date, but for some reason the first available opening was four weeks away when I signed up.

So, without further ado, here is my first round of personal styling with Stitch Fix:

When I opened the box I immediately looked for the necklace my stylist, Jessica, had mentioned in her note…no, that’s not true. I went right for the invoice, first. Frugality is in my core, and I knew that this investment would mean stretching outside my normal supersale buying habits in order to get quality clothing that I actually like (for the style and not just the price). I was pleased to see that if I purchased every item in the box it would only set me back $200 (after the keep-all discount). Not bad. You can indicate budget preferences on your profile, but—as I understand it—the stylists are choosing from higher-end clothing brands.

stitch fic box

Included with the clothing items are perforated inspiration cards that show examples of each piece styled two different ways. This is a huge bonus for me. Not only has someone with fashion sense hand-picked clothing for me, but they’ve also shown me how to wear it! Yes! I tried to match the looks as closely as I could to get the best feel for if I liked the items.

In my “Fix” were two tops, two bottoms, and a piece of jewelry. The necklace didn’t have a card with photos, but Jessica mentioned in her note that she thought it could add interest to any outfit. At first it seemed a little dainty and unremarkable, but as soon as I put it on, I realized it is the necklace I never knew I always wanted. There are so many times that I can’t decide if I want to wear a neckline-skimming necklace or a long pendant—and this is both! I put it on with the t-shirt I was already wearing, and loved it immediately.

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 9.19.25 PM

stitch fix_triangle necklace

tee from Shop Good

The two tops are a similar style—both sleeveless and flowy—which might’ve been disappointing if I hadn’t asked for clothing that would be cool in the oppressive summer heat. The shirts are different enough in the cut that I don’t think they’ll be redundant in my closet if I keep them both.

First up is a silky shirt in a pretty red and grey print. There are some nice details that are difficult to see in the photos, like gathering at the shoulders and the tuxedo collar.

stitch fix_abstract print blouse cardThe casual look pairs the blouse with wide-leg drawstring pants and gladiator sandals, while the dressier style incorporates a white skirt and statement necklace. My take:

Yes, those are the same shoes and purse from my first style post three years ago. This is why I need Stitch Fix! I really like both outfits, here, even though I had to substitute pinstriped seersucker shorts for the skirt in the second look. As we’ve established, my wardrobe has its limitations. :)  Ironically, that linen skirt I got rid of would’ve done nicely. Always listen to your mother!

Next is a gauzy blouse in a gorgeous jade color. The angled hem, front pleat, and pockets really upgrade this from your average solid-color shirt.

stitch fix_natasha blouse cardThe casual look puts the blouse with cuffed straight-leg jeans and some chunky jewelry. The dressed-up look used the shirt to top a pale pencil skirt and delicate accessories. My take:

Don’t mind the awkward photo on the left. That is not a filter, something went wrong with the white balance and I couldn’t fix it in the editor. Also, I guess that facial expression is my “blue steel” look. Or, the timer on the camera ran out too fast. 😉 And as long as I’m apologizing for my unprofessional photos, several of these are tilted a bit because my Joby GorillaPod kept slipping. Oh well, you get the idea.

So I like both of these looks, as well, but the blouse is just a smidge too big. Enough that my bra shows through the armhole, and bending over to help a toddler all day would mean flashing some cleavage. If I keep it, I would probably have to always have a cami underneath.

On to dressing the bottom half! At first I thought these dark skinny jeans were black, but upon closer inspection, they are actually a deep blue. I was skeptical that they would fit perfectly, because jeans are so tricky. Imagine my surprise when this pair felt like a cozy second skin! They have just enough stretch and are actually the perfect length for my short legs! I rarely find pants that I don’t need to hem.

stitch fix_skinny jeans cardThe casual look was classic stripes and denim with flats, and the dressier option matched the jeans with a lacy scalloped sleeveless top and heels. Here is my take:

Both of those shirts came from my favorite local boutique, The Pocket Shop. And for those of you from the OK/TX area, that purse is from Harold’s! That is how long things stay in my possession! (I still carry it, it looks great!) So what can you say about classic skinny jeans? They are good quality, a good fit, a reasonable price, but I don’t know if I really need them. I do remember indicating on my style profile that I would be interested in staple items, though, and Jessica delivered. Both of the bottoms she picked are very versatile.

The last piece in my first Fix is a comfy black skirt in a thick & smooth rayon. The fabric has a good weight to it, and is so soft. And scoring bonus points right out of the box—pockets!

stitch fix_ponte skirt cardOne look combines a ruched shirt and long striped cardigan with a scarf and booties, and the other layers the skirt with a long-sleeve tunic and chic jewelry. My take:

Neither outfit on the inspiration card has a shirt intended to be tucked in to this skirt, but that is the only way it looks good to me. It may just be that I hate everything about the second outfit I put together. (Except my Titu‘s bracelet.) That cardi went straight into the consignment pile. I could’ve improved the whole look with some color in the shoes and necklace, as shown on the card. Note to self: buy lilac flats! I love purple as an alternative “neutral.” But back to the skirt—I did like how the gathering gave me a boost in the caboose. I went fairly flat back there when I started breastfeeding. 😉 Here’s a rear-view.

stitch fix_ponte skirt casual back

The skirt is a little pricier than I would usually like to spend for an item like this, but I can also see myself wearing it all summer with fitted tanks and all winter with colorful tights.

So that’s my first Stitch Fix Box! I would love your opinion on these items and which ones you think I should keep. I’ll send any unwanted items back tomorrow. If you decide to give the service a try, use my referral link and I’ll get a credit toward my next box! :)

Get Your Fix!

Friday nights in OKC are never dull

original image via travelok.com

original image via travelok.com

I love my city. Oklahoma City, that is. I think fifteen years living and working and playing in the metro area earns us the right to claim it as our own, even though we reside a hundred miles away, now.

Our small town is great—really great. I love our church, our friends, our neighborhood, and being close to grandpa. But while there are certainly interesting and worthwhile cultural and business developments happening here, we miss being a part of the exciting community growth that is happening in the heart of the capital.

Oklahoma City has so much going for it, and a lot to be proud of. You don’t have to look hard to find the myriad of impressive, entertaining, beautiful, fascinating, unique attractions and organizations, so I won’t recount all of them here.

But the thing that has me missing my city right now—other than the electric NBA playoff atmosphere (get it, Thunder fans?! ;)) and a handful of shopping errands that are now out of reach—is the wonderful collaboration of several midtown districts to create fun and free street festivals every Friday of the month.

Each event is a stand-alone production, but the good neighbors have created magic by coordinating and cross-promoting rather than competing. There has been widespread restoration in once-neglected nooks of the city, and these districts are among those transforming their neighborhood into something special.

While searching for the details of each event, I was surprised that no single site had complete information including all four. Which seems impossible, since there are plenty of news outlets and blogs enthusiastic about OKC goings-on. But if I couldn’t easily find it, then it might take some extra browsing for you, too. So, for my own reference and yours, here is the scheduled monthly rotation of OKC street festivals:

First Friday: Paseo Gallery Walk , 6-10pm year-round (NW 28th & Walker Ave to NW 30th & Dewey Ave)

The arts district presents this monthly showcase of the new work of studio owners or guest artists. More than 60 artists are represented in 17 galleries along the curve of Paseo Street.

Second Friday: LIVE on the Plaza, 7-11pm year-round (along 16th St. between Penn & Classen Blvd)

There’s a block party every month in the Plaza District, featuring live music, featured artists, special events, and local shopping.

Third Friday: Premier on Film Row, 6-9pm year-round (along W Sheridan between Dewey & Shartel)

The businesses on Historic Film Row invite families to enjoy an evening featuring film screenings, live music, art exhibitions, kid’s activities, and good eats.

Fourth Friday: H&8th Night Market, 7-11pm May-Sept (along Hudson Ave between NW 7th & NW 8th St)

This family- and pet-friendly food market is built around a lineup of more than thirty of the city’s top gourmet food trucks (all in one block!) plus fresh Oklahoma craft beer.

The first Night Market of the season is this Friday (April 25th), and if we weren’t attending a fun benefit event right around the corner from our house, I might consider extending my planned day-trip to The City so I could include a visit to H&8th. If you’re looking for something to do, or just a delicious solution for dinner, you should check it out!

*I created an interactive google map that includes all four locations for those unfamiliar with the area.


View OKC Friday Street Festivals in a larger map

[Holy Week] Tell Me a Story

Today I’m taking a break from my Holy Week response to the series of teachings on Jesus’ last week of earthly ministry. Partly because Russ Ramsey’s next message covers events that likely occurred on Ash Wednesday, and I want to maintain a reflection that is close to real-time. And partly because I want to take a moment to discuss why looking at the story of this historic week is so important to me.

tell me a story

“Stories are necessary–just as necessary as food and love. It’s how we make meaning of our lives. Stories matter…stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.”   ~ Chimamanda Adiche, writer

As a child, I would finish most chapter books in one sitting, because I was too impatient to wait and see how the plot resolved. In college, I achieved remarkable results at one of my first jobs, thanks to–without question–my relentless and genuine desire to dig deeper in dialogue with new contacts. Personal histories are just so interesting!

In conversation with a new friend, I am embarrassingly obsessed with details and timeline when listening to their back-story. (“So, did you move to Maine before or after you started selling your prints online?”) Not because it’s any of my business, but because it matters.

I have always been driven by story. I think on some level all humans are. But for me it’s more than an affinity for narrative, more than the tugging curiosity for the next turn of plot or the engaging aspect of a well-told tale. When I think of story, I think of life. THE story of everything, and how all the pieces are connected. Your story to my story to all of history. To HIS story.

Which is why I don’t want to look at individual anecdotes of Jesus’ ministry in isolation. Especially this week, His final days on earth–when all of His actions are deliberately building to a purposeful climax and conclusion of His mission on earth (and the beginning of the story for all His followers).

The significance of any part of a story hinges on its relationship with all the other bits. If I don’t know where everything fits, how can I really appreciate the path or know the person? And that is the main goal of this Holy Week exercise: to know Jesus better and to deeply comprehend the meaning of His sacrifice for me.


*original image by protonsforbreakfast.wordpress.com

one word 2014: story

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a whole week of the new year swept past me while i was distracted with a wedding, family, and a sick baby :( , but i’ve known my one word for the coming 12 months since the end of november. as usual, it just became clear without much thought. this will only be the third year that i’ve participated with the one word 365 community, but i’ve been pleased–and a little surprised–at how my previous focus words truly became an inspiring guide that didn’t fade (much) over the course of the year.

In 2012, share helped me restore the participatory part of me that withdrew when mom died. and last year’s word, grace, proved to be more useful than i could have known. when i predicted i would need to “adapt to what will surely be a year of rapid changes and unexpected detours,” i was thinking of my newly acquired role of mommy. i had no idea how many unexpected changes i was in for. 

this year, i want to start connecting the detached phases of my life and pick a single word that will steer me toward reflection on the whole.

my one word for 2014 is STORY.

at first i was unsure about choosing a word that is not a verb. a motivating word should imply action, no? but this word was so insistent on being my one word for 2014 that i could not refuse.

we all know that a story is made up of many plot developments, big and small. some seem insignificant, but turn out to be pivotal. some seem monumental, but quickly fade into irrelevance. and some are exactly what they seem. but they are each an irreplaceable part of the narrative. without any one moment or event, the story would be…a different story.

if i can view each day–and whatever it brings–as a part of a greater storyline, i think it will color my response to whatever i encounter. fleeting frustrations can be easily excused when i can see that they are nothing in the grand scheme. small pleasures might be more meaningful if i view them in light of the story they are building. big setbacks will become mere hurdles along the scenic path, and i won’t have to hold so tightly to the glorious good times as they glide further into the past, because they are still an integral part of the whole plot.

as i write all this out, i am realizing that i’ve heard the advice to “look at the big picture” a zillion times before, and this all sounds very derivative. but in my mind, this idea of story is different. even if i can’t quite explain the subtle shift in my brain, i know that this approach is more than just a measure to help me not sweat the small stuff or prioritize the important things in life. it’s about crafting a legacy.

it’s also about more than my personal story–it’s about how the panels on my storyboard intersect with those of my family, friends, and anyone else i interact with. it’s about how my days appear in The Story God has been writing since the beginning of time. right now i need the daily reminder that i’m not just drifting; i want the gentle nudge to be more observant.

my hope is that filtering everything through this lens will challenge me to live my life with purpose and perspective, and make me a better contributor to the narrative. 2014 is the year i think broader, in an effort to affect in each small decision. it’s time to really recognize the story i am living.

photo via http://jakebova.files.wordpress.com