Slow Down and Simplify

Ever since we moved, life has been incredibly simple.

All of my commitments and activities and play dates have come to an (almost) screeching halt.  In so many ways, it makes me antsy.  But if I were being honest, it’s also kind of nice.  I couldn’t really call my life relaxing, because being a mom of two young kids is anything but, however the lack of going here and there or to and fro is somewhat easier.

Stickers + Markers=Enough busy work for me to get a meal on the table.  As long as I take frequent 30 second breaks to scribble a few shapes on the paper at times!

Stickers + Markers = Enough busy work for me to get a meal on the table. As long as I take frequent 30 second breaks to scribble a few shapes on the paper at times!

The day is a bust if it doesn't include pigtails and tutus.

The day is a bust if it doesn’t include pigtails and tutus.

Since I don’t wake up every day and go to the gym, I’m actually waking up and getting dressed in “real clothes” almost every day.  I have to admit that it feels good to have clean hair and blue jeans on a few times a week, as opposed to just rotating the same few pairs of gym pants every two days.  I’m doing fun little crafts with Poppyseed to avoid her climbing the walls now that she isn’t going to preschool.  I’m spending more time outside, as I try really hard to take her to the park daily.

Living within 1 mile of three parks has its perks.

Living within 1 mile of three parks has its perks.

We are eating so well because Oatmeal is now home for every meal.  Sometimes he even makes breakfast in the mornings.  It’s just much easier to get a good meal on the table now that he is home more often keeping the kids entertained.

This was our lunch today.  I used to just wing lunch every day, but now I'm actually motivated to prepare something decent.  Plus, the lack of time I spend doing other things means I can't make the excuse that I "didn't have time."

This was our lunch today.   Salad with citrus and avocado, roasted salmon, blackberries, and plantain chips.  I would have never roasted salmon for lunch before!  I’d have been doing good to feed Poppyseed some lunch meat and fruit.

We've barely thrown a bite of food away since moving.  Crock pot chicken for dinner means leftover chicken for a salad the next day at lunchtime.

We’ve barely thrown a bite of food away since moving. Crock pot chicken for dinner means leftover chicken for a salad the next day at lunchtime.  No waste!

It is definitely easier on the baby to be at home more often.  I’ve been really focusing on his naps and sleep schedule lately (more on that later), and being at home has helped me to time his naps perfectly.  Plus, I don’t have to feel guilty that he spends all day in his car seat!

You know you have a big sister when you get stuck with a purple hand-me-down bumbo.

You know you have a big sister when you get stuck with a purple hand-me-down bumbo.

"I FINALLY got both of my feet, Mom!"

“I FINALLY got both of my feet, Mom!”

Speaking of that little bear, I found myself walking around the house today with him on my hip.  When did he get old enough to just sit on my hip that well?   Wahhh…

4 months old and already stable enough to be held with one arm.

4 months old and already stable enough to be held with one arm.

We certainly haven’t made as much progress on the house as I would have liked, but it is safe to say that we are 100% comfortable.  One day we will hang all of the pictures and unpack our decorative things, but for now it’s just easier to leave all of the boxes in closets and just live.   And I’m being surprisingly laid back about some things, such as allowing the picnic table in the house.  It’s actually ideal for all of the crafts we have been doing as of late that involve paint, glue, and playdoh.  Plus, she loves it, and some battles ain’t worth fighting.

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While I do somewhat appreciate the slower pace, I am looking forward to January.  I *hope* that Middle’s naps will have panned out by then so that I can feel good about planning some fun things during the day.  I would love to get Poppyseed enrolled in a gymnastics class nearby.  I’m hoping to join a local Crossfit gym.  And I was so excited to receive an email from the local MOPS group that I’ve been moved up the wait list and can join at the end of January!  So, somewhat of a social life is on the horizon!

So while we are on the topic of simplicity, I wanted to talk about something that has made my life much more fun and easy!  I have blogged about StitchFix before, but I continue to enjoy this service.

So basically StitchFix is an online shopping service that is personalized for each person.  By filling out an online style profile and giving your personal sizes and/or measurements, a personal stylist is able to send you five clothing and accessory items to fit your taste, budget, and lifestyle.  Other than a $20 styling fee (that is applied to your purchase when you buy something), it is absolutely free.

It works like this.

Once you log on and create a profile here, you can schedule your first “fix.”  You will get an email when your fix ships, and it will arrive all nicely packaged in a distinct little box!

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In addition to the five items of clothing and/or accessories, there is a note from your personal stylist, and a print-out of each item.  I personally LOVE the printout.  I have kept every single one, even for items I have not purchased, because it helps me decide how to wear my clothes.  (I’m definitely not “styling” myself.  It’s just not something that I have an eye for.  I’ve always just copied mannequins or worn jeans and solids!)

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So the best thing about this service is that you can shop at home.  I used to enjoy going to the mall or boutique and perusing the racks, but with two kids there is just simply no way for me to put much thought into my clothing.  I quickly found that shopping with kids meant that I sometimes made quick or impulse decisions.  This often lead to my spending money on clothes that either did not fit very well or were just not good choices.  For example, a trip to a department store with my children will mean that I make a beeline to what I think I need, try it on as quickly as possible, and find the nearest cashier.  This process doesn’t give me much time to really think about how I would wear the item or get an idea of how comfortable the item was.  After a few failed trips, I had basically succumbed to just shopping at the same stores as my kids.  Show me a mom who hasn’t swiped a few t-shirts off of the Target or Old Navy shelf even though she didn’t actually love the clothes.  We’ve all done it – it’s just easier that way!

With StitchFix, you have three entire days to try on every piece and make your choice.  Generally I am so excited to receive my fix that I immediately open the box and lie all of the clothes on my bed.  If I have time, I will try them on right then and there.  Then I just fold them up nicely and think about it for a day or so.

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It’s always so nice to be able to do this without stressing about keeping my children contained in a public place!

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Poppyseed has noticed that this box arrives every month or so and LOVES it.  She oohs and aahs at each new “look,” and of course she always joins in by retrieving her tutus or skirts and trying them on, too.

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Again, I cannot stress how nice it is to have the freedom to try on the clothes in a relaxed atmosphere!  I almost always send all of these selfies to my friends to ask for their opinion, and I have time to wait for their responses before I purchase anything.

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Usually by the second day or so, I have an idea of what I want to keep and how I would wear each piece.  It’s usually a pretty tough decision, because the stylists have learned my likes and dislikes.  It seems that they always send something that I would have never chosen for myself, and yet that is exactly what I will like the most.

That’s where Oatmeal comes in.   I usually try everything on for him before I decide what stays and what goes.  In all honesty, he typically likes everything, but it always surprises me to hear what his favorites are.  He usually makes me laugh with his straightforward, honest comments.  To me, this is a much better scenario than walking out of a dressing room in a store and showing him a potential outfit and having strangers or salespeople nearby.

This month, for example, I expected him to hate the blazer and tank top combination but he actually really liked it.  We still decided against it, only because it was a little pricey for something I would rarely have the opportunity to wear.

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Speaking of price, there are different price ranges you can choose when you sign up.  $50 and under, $50-$100, $100-$200, and up.  I stay in the lower range, but I am curious to see what they have in stock that is more high end.  Maybe for my birthday I’ll order a more, shall we say “high quality” fix.

But back to Oatmeal and his opinions.  Sometimes we don’t agree on the clothing.  He really liked this top.  I found it to be pretty boring.

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It certainly makes for guilt-free shopping when I try something on that we each really like and he says, “That looks good honey, I think you should get it.”  For example, I wanted this shirt from the moment I saw it, but it made it even better that he liked it, too.  This is something I might have passed up in a store, but because it was chosen for me and I was able to try it on with my own jewelry and pants, I ended up buying it.

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I bought the shirt and the pants in this Fix.  I would have probably passed on the pants, but Oatmeal convinced me that I needed to keep them.  (I don’t know about your husband, but I’ve learned that if I go shopping on my own he will inevitably gripe about the money I spent.  Whereas if he is there and gets to weigh in on the options before I buy them, he is all on board.  Win-win!)

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Don’t you love my little helper in all of the photos, by the way?  This kid cracks me up!

So what happens to the reject clothes, you ask?

StitchFix sends a pre-addressed mail bag with each fix.  All you have to do is put the clothing that you don’t want inside, seal it, and put it back into your mailbox for pickup.

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Simple.

Now it’s time to “check out.”  At this point in the process, your credit card has only been charged the $20 styling fee.  So you simply log into your account and select the items you want to keep.  The $20 styling fee goes toward your purchase, so as long as you buy one thing it does not cost anything to use the service.

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The stylists use your comments to style you for your next fix, so it’s definitely worth it to take a few moments and tell them why you liked or did not care for something.

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So overall, I wanted to share how much I have enjoyed using StitchFix.  I think it’s totally convenient, affordable, and fun!  And most importantly, it just makes it easy to shop with littles.  It sure beats driving to a store, throwing a few basic tops on the sales counter and praying that I don’t have to load my kids up in the car and return it a few days later!

Well, it’s almost 8pm so I think I’m going to hit the sack.  Praying that my nugget sleeps for maybe 2-3 hours at a time tonight.

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