Life Lately – August 2015 Edition

Tomorrow the first day of September will be upon us, which means we will be subjected to “I just love fall. I’m so quirky. Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin” in almost every facet of our lives along with pumpkin spice lattes and cider donuts (which are admittedly sweet morsels of heaven). Doesn’t everybody love fall? When it did it become cool to label yourself a dork/nerd/etc… for liking a season that literally arrives every year? I don’t think I’ve ever come across a person who is even indifferent to fall, let alone antagonistic toward the harvest season.

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On our way to the Commandant Reception last week.

We’re ready for summer to fade into fall here in Kansas. August came and went with little fanfare  – we’re settling into a routine and having fun exploring Kansas and Missouri.

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While I was relatively active this summer, I wasn’t disciplined with my workouts or eating habits, which means there’s a little more of me to love as fall quickly approaches. I’m stepping up my fitness regime and curbing some of the not-so-great eating habits that developed during the warmer months (who knew that eating gourmet ice cream nightly would have such an effect?). I’ve since participated in a couple of group work-outs and were they ever humbling – it’s good to get knocked down a couple of notches every so often…it keeps me on my toes!

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Likely related to the current state of my physique, I am thoroughly unimpressed with 91% my closet (I calculated!). I think it’s time for a complete wardrobe overhaul because I’m afraid that I am slipping into frumpy territory with the majority of my fashion choices of late. I may be a mom in my thirties but I’d like to avoid elastic waists until I’m well into my seventies. And then, I will rock the #$*& out of some Alfred Dunner sweatsuits.

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We both played in our neighborhood softball game. Our street won!

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Going for a stroll in Weston, Missouri.

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Don’t mind if we do!

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Weston’s new favorite car.

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We bought bikes. Nice bikes. Ever since we were first married, we’ve been wanting to get bikes. Over 10 years later (!!!), we finally did it. If you’re ever at Fort Leavenworth, check out Santa Fe Trails Bicycle and Coffee Shop and shop local.

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We have yet to purchase a toddler seat or a bike trailer (any recommendations?) so we’re limited to short little family trips or solo rides. We hope to have a day-date soon and go for a long ride together and maybe even end up at a winery or brewery. Until then, we’ll continue to practice shifting gears and prepping our legs for the massive hills in the area.

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My Very First Stitch Fix Box – An Honest Review

I have never been on the cutting edge of trends, which is probably why it took me so long to finally jump on the Stitch Fix bandwagon. A personal styling service, Stitch Fix sends five items of clothing (or accessories) for you to try on in the comfort of your own home. The cost of the service is $20, but if you purchase anything in the box the $20 styling fee goes toward the cost of the item(s). Furthermore, if you purchase all five items, you receive a 25% discount.

Why?

Truth be told, I’ve side-eyed Stitch Fix since I first read/heard about it a couple of years ago. While I enjoyed reading box reviews on various blogs, the price-point of the clothes seemed a little high and I wasn’t sold on the need for a stylist. But recently, I’ve been trying to make an effort to dress beyond workout clothes during the week. And since I don’t particularly enjoy shopping for clothes with my kids in tow (or let’s face it, just shopping for clothes period), this seemed like as good of a time as any to see what the fuss was about.

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I went to stitchfix.com, filled out an online profile, created a Pinterest Style board, and eagerly awaited my inaugural box. About a week later, it arrived via USPS.

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Inside were my five articles of clothing, a detailed style guide, an invoice, and a personal note from my ‘stylist’. Note – stylist is Stitch Fix’s term, not mine. I get the impression that the Stitch Fix stylist/customer relationship is pretty impersonal, despite their insistence otherwise, and I am 100% convinced that a human stylist did not put much thought, if any, into my order.

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 The clothes are wrapped in tissue paper so they must be classy!

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I tried on my items while Clay was out for a run so I used the self-timer on my phone while it was propped up against a mug of coffee, hence the sub-par quality. But since low-resolution pictures tend to hide cellulite and wrinkles, I consider it a win.

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Le Sample Cresta Crew Neck Blouse – $48

I loved this fabric when I first spotted it in the stack of folded clothes. Unfortunately, I knew it wouldn’t work before I tried it on. I am not self-consious about my stomach and work hard to keep it flat so I tend to stay away from blouses that make my stomach look bigger. And I don’t really care to encourage the general public to guess if I’m pregnant or not. It also doesn’t help that it falls on the widest part of my hips. And since I have child-bearing hips that would make a feudal peasant weep, I rely on more figure-skimming shirts to help keep things proportional. As mentioned, I do love the fabric, as well as the neckline and sleeve situation (or the lack there of). If this blouse skimmed my waist rather than float away from it, I would have kept it in a heartbeat.

Verdict? Return.

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 Sweet Grey Eveleigh Knit Top – $64

Interestingly enough, this top has dark grey stripes (not blue, not black – as it would appear in the pictures above). The minute I held it up, I knew I would hate it. It is a thick knit and very short. I am not a dainty lady who glows – I sweat. So I will never willingly wear a sleeveless sweater in 90+ heat because I’m not a sadist. And seriously – what is the point of a sleeveless sweater? Make up your damn mind!

Verdict? Return. Fast.

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41 Hawthorn Renesme Dress – $78

Now I love a good wrap dress but this print is pretty horrendous. And it doesn’t help that the waistline/bustline totally does not flatter my body. And since I’m not one to purchase clothes that add 10 pounds, I quickly gave this one a hard no. I am also not a huge fan of the faux wrap detail on my chest…but maybe people are into a stitched line going over their left breast – what do I know? However, I do love the length of this dress and the sleeves.

Verdict? Return.

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Loveappella Maxie Open Cardigan – $58

Me and cardigans are tight.  But the minute I saw this one I knew I would be sending it back. Why? Because I’m not (the ever so fabulous) Stevie Nicks. I may have starting singing ‘Edge of Seventeen‘ as soon as I put it on and fluttered around the dining room. LOOK at those insane sleeves! I felt like I should have been living on an artist commune.

Verdict? Return.

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Dear John Marson Wide Leg Jean – $78

I’ll admit that my first thought when seeing these was “Ugh – wide leg jeans?” but my tune quickly changed as soon as I put them on. The fit was amazing, and the length was perfect. Sold!

Verdict? Keep.

Final Thoughts

Despite only keeping one item from my inaugural Stitch Fix box, I plan on using the service again in the near future. There were some duds, for sure. But the article of clothing I ended up choosing was something I never would have picked to try on myself. There is also something to be said about trying on clothes in the comfort of your own home and not in some store with a teenage shop-girl knocking on your door asking if you need anything. All while your two-year-old is screaming. And let’s face it, aren’t most fitting rooms just fancy fluorescent-lit kill rooms?

I would recommend trying Stitch Fix, if anything, for the experience. If any of the five items don’t work for you, then you’re only out the $20 styling free. However, I’ve heard decent things about Stitch Fix’s customer service so if you’re aren’t happy with all the items in your first box, it may be worth contacting them and letting them know (in the nicest way possible, of course). If you’re so inclined, go to Stitch Fix and check it out for yourself (if you end up signing up via that link, I’ll get credit for a referral. So if that bothers you, just type it out in the address bar).

Better Than Ezra and Egg Sandwiches

When I think about the life I want for our little family, I often dream of adventures – big and small. While we’re not jet-setting around the world (e.g. Entre Family Travels) or traveling full-time across the country in an RV (e.g. Newschool Nomads), we do try and make the most of our time together. And since a life isn’t lived by sitting in front of a television for indeterminate amount of time and we’re happiest when together, we’re constantly seeking opportunities to try new things as a family. This past weekend was everything a weekend should be – filled with pizza, strikes, test-drives, bike rides, playgrounds, french toast, hikes, river views, and even a date-night.

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Pizza and bowling bowls were the name of the game Friday night. We figured that since rental shoes were available in Violet’s size that we’d check out the bowling alley on post. If you were wondering what it is like to bowl with Violet, check out this video I posted on Instagram. Let me tell you, bowling with a five-year-old and a two-year-old is not for the faint of heart. That being said, we’re still laughing about our experience that night so I’d call it a success. After the kids went to bed, we watched A Fish Called Wanda and debated politics while eating late-night egg sandwiches. Just one of the many ways we have a blast together.

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Our low-key Friday night was in perfect juxtaposition with our Saturday night. Clay and I went Kansas City Live! at the Power and Light District in downtown Kansas City to attend a concert featuring one of our favorite bands – Better Than Ezra. Unfortunately, there were part of the Under the Sun Tour and the last to hit the stage so we had to endure Sugar Ray and Uncle Kracker sets before getting to see the main event. Nothing that beer couldn’t alleviate. On a positive note – Eve 6 opened the show and while we aren’t familiar with their most recent work, we were able to sing along with every word of Inside Out and Here’s to the Night. No surprise – Better than Ezra were amazing and as much as we love their albums, they sound even better live. I even managed to catch a pick after Desperately Wanting, which was a concert first for me. 

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Sunday afternoon involved a late morning/early afternoon hike along the Missouri River. We checked out Weston Bend State Park, which is only about 10 minutes from Fort Leavenworth. We walked up and down a forested ravine and along an old logging road. While it wasn’t near as wild of a trail that Clay and I would choose if we were hiking on our own – it was a nice hike for our family with just the right amount of challenge for a five-year-old.

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We encountered so many butterflies on our hike – the kids loved taking note of the different types of butterflies and squealed when their laughter scared the butterflies away. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend a gorgeous day.

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I am often in wonder of the life Clay and I have created together. 14 years ago, we were two smitten teenagers who married just a few years later. And now we have two kids who challenge us daily and encourage us to be the best versions of ourselves.

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{A train came through near where we were taking this picture, scaring Violet}

As Kurt Vonnegut said…

“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you`ll look back and realize they were the big things.”

Sounds about right.