Friday, March 29, 2013

My First Stitch Fix!

Hello! I am so excited that I received my very first Stitch Fix box today and I had to try everything on right away and blog about it. I have been reading about Stitch Fix on a lot of blogs lately and wanted to check it out for myself. So, what is Stitch Fix?

Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that delivers a truly personalized Fixof accessibly priced items directly to doors across the United States. Stitch Fix hand picks pieces for each client, to ultimately help them look and feel their best.
I actually love to go shopping but with two kids and limited time, it's usually a rush and hurry situation. Basically, what you do to sign up is fill out a Style Profile (sizing, body shape, likes and dislikes, etc.) and pay a $20 styling fee when you schedule your Stitch Fix. The styling fee allows Stitch Fix to choose 5 items for you and shipping is included. You try on the items, buy or return anything you want within 3 days (in a prepaid envelope) and the $20 styling fee goes toward anything you buy. The items are mostly ones that you could find in boutique stores and the quality is definitely better than what you might find at Gap, Loft, Old Navy, etc. I have definitely become pickier about what items I want in my closet and the whole idea is just FUN to me!

So let's get to the good stuff. What did I get????!!!!

I should also mention each item comes with a tag that shows two ways to style like this:


1) Kensie Lola Ankle Length Skinny Jeans ($88) - My first thought was "Wow!...white jeans. Wonder how that will work with two kids?!" I had asked for a pair of skinny jeans to try on and this is what my stylist sent.

2) THML Pollock Bow Back Sheer Blouse ($48) - I mentioned that I love romantic styles of clothing so this sheer somewhat floral blouse definitely fit the bill.
And here the items are on: I paired them together for the heck of it. I really like the blouse a lot. I usually wear more form-fitting tops but I just like this one. I put a tank underneath (not necessarily the one I would wear. And I'm kind of torn on the jeans...I like the fit for the most part but I'm just not sure if off-white would suit me. Maybe if they were in black?

3) dRa Casius Contrast Collar Sheer Top ($68) -  First of all, I have a hard time paying $68 for a blouse. Secondly, I am pretty fair skinned so white tops are not necessarily something I wear. Maybe if it was in another color?

And then I tried it on. Um. Yeah. So not feeling the nun maternity top look. What do you think? But I paired it with cute polka dot pants I just bought. 

4) Tulle Delanie Floral Print Self Tie Dress ($78) -  First thought was that I LOVE it. I had asked for a red dress in my style profile and I mentioned I had found one Stitch Fix pinned on instagram. But they didn't send me that exact dress.

Here is a look at the print close-up. The tag says the dress is red but it almost has an orange hue to it.

When I put it on though, I really LOVE it even more. It is very comfortable and I feel it fits really well. So I am torn on this one too!

5) Pretty Persuasions Space Dye Infinity Scarf ($38) - And I was also sent this scarf as my accessory. It's a burgundy and cream color. I wasn't a fan.

But of course, I tried it on. I just threw it on over the dress. Nope, not keeping this one. I don't think I am much of a scarf person - they make me feel claustrophobic.

Right now I am deciding between the sheer blouse and the dress. What is your favorite?

I'm going to think on it over the weekend and decide Monday when I return the items.

I would love it if you want to try out Stitch Fix. It was such a fun experience and it was a way to try on and potentially purchase items for myself that I might not give a second glance or even have the opportunity to buy. If you use my referral link, I can earn a $25 credit if you sign up. Note: I am not in anyway affiliated with Stitch Fix and used my own money for the styling fee and items.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Scrapbook Circle: A Rainy Day Today

Good morning! Today I have a two-page layout to share with you using the Charmed Life kit from Scrapbook Circle I love creating two-page layouts because it's a great place to tell a story using a lot of photos. For this layout, I printed photos of a day in the rain almost a year ago. The girls had a lot of fun splashing outside until they discovered a worm.


I was able to highlight Mr. Worm on one such photo using a Maya Road wood veneer in the kit.



I also used one of the Webster's Pages file folders to highlight one of the photos. The My Mind's Eye stickers are great for adding little captions to photos as well.


This layout was so quick and easy to create by mixing and matching the patterns in the kit!

Thanks for stopping by today! :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Emma's Paperie: I Ran, I Won

Good morning! Recently the design team at Emma's Paperie focused on confetti for one of our monthly projects and for the big birthday bash at Emma's. I created this layout with the Soleil collection by Basic Grey. Last summer, I ran in my very first race ever. Granted this might not seem like a big deal to some but it was to me. My family has never been a family of runners and I heard a lot of laughing about how they would wait for me to haul me off to the doctor's office. Ha. Such jokesters. :) Nevertheless, I ran the race and ended up winning my age bracket for women. I would love to work myself up to running a longer distance race but we'll see how that goes with my calf injury. I have until July so hopefully I will be much better and back to myself by then.

I create a confetti pocket with vellum that I machine stitched and then placed behind an instagram photo of my medal. 

Basic Grey has such a great collection of embellishments so I love that I am able to add a lot of details here and there.

For a complete supply list, please visit the Emma's Paperie blog here.

Thanks for visiting me today! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

American Crafts: My Girl Projects

Happy Friday! So much has happened within the last two weeks (when I last blogged) that I am finally getting a chance to catch up on here. I'll share a little bit about it all at the end of this post. Today I have a couple of projects to share that were on the American Crafts blog. I love the new "My Girl" collection. The colors and patterns are so pretty, pastel and girly. I was inspired to create a collage of detail photos from the girls' birthday party last year.

Love that sweet little rosette with the glitter strips. 

I also created a card with the new collection and did a little stamping and heat embossing. I rounded the corners to keep everything soft with the butterfly. 

Last Wednesday morning I went to the gym as usual and about 10 minutes into class, I injured my calf. I hobbled out of there (fighting back tears until I got to my car) and managed to drive myself home. Glen had taken the day off to work on taxes (which he never got to do) and my mother-in-law was watching the girls. We went to urgent care where the doctor thought it was a tendon and was able to get into see an orthopedic surgeon right away. He determined that I tore my calf muscle and I was given a boot and crutches. I went back to the doctor on Wednesday and have to keep my boot on for another week and then start physical therapy. I have been pretty frustrated with the situation as I am not used to sitting around doing nothing. The first three days or so I kept off my feet as much as I could. The girls have been a great help and so has my wonderful husband. I haven't been able to drive either so that has been difficult. But I know that things could be much worse so I am thankful for that.

Also on Wednesday night, my Grandpa Gene passed away. He had been in poor health but it was still unexpected and shocking. I have been so, so sad and have also been grieving my grandma all over again too (she died 4 years ago). So, I have also been out of town to be with my family. My Grandpa was the kindest, gentlest, sweetest man I have known. The girls loved their "Papa Gene" so much and he adored them. This has been our first experience talking to the girls about what it means to die and go to heaven with Jesus. The two of them are just so smart and intuitive and have said the sweetest things that have made us all smile.

That's where I have been the past two weeks. I also wanted to thank you for your comments about my post on sugar. I have managed to do pretty well while I have not been able to exercise. The key has been to have healthy food choices around me. We have been eating out (actually having take-out) more often the past two weeks but I am still eating better and having a lot of salads and soups.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 08, 2013

A long time coming... 10 Tips to a Healthier Me!

This blog post has been one I've been thinking about doing for awhile. The past couple months have been somewhat of an adventure for me in several ways. I have been feeling pretty awful for a long, long time. Around Christmas time, you might recall I made all this:

Looks pretty yummy, right? I baked a lot at Christmas. I was fairly good myself but I always like to take plates to my neighbors, with Glen to work and for family gatherings, etc. I have always enjoyed baking. Looking at this photo now makes me feel physically ill.

I have always had a sweet tooth. ALWAYS. My sweet of choice is chocolate but I would eat just about anything including sour/sweet candy. I always used to keep some sort of candy in my house. It was never really out in the open but hidden away so I could have a little of it at a time. My weight has yo-yo'ed back and forth over the last several years but I don't want this blog post to focus on weight. I try not to be too concerned about numbers but rather how I feel physically and how my clothes feel on me. I have worked out quite regularly the past few years but have not done the best job watching what I was eating.

In the past year and a half, I started doing a lot more scrapbooking at night and I liked to have something to snack on while I was working. My snack of choice, unfortunately, was definitely sweet. I very blindly could sit and work and pop anything in my mouth - M & M's, Runts, chocolate covered peanuts - seemed to be my favorites. I could blow through a bag of M & M's like they were nothing. I was staying up really late too so it wasn't like I was burning these calories off. And because I was up so late, I was drinking a lot of coffee and would treat myself to lattes now and then. I had a sugar addiction and I was also using (what I thought) was good food as a reward.

In the meantime, I started having physical symptoms - feeling lethargic, insomnia and heart palpitations among other things. I would also get "bored" and walk around my house looking for something to eat. I would get shaky and light headed like I

I decided at the end of December that I was sick of feeling sick all the time and I wanted to do something about it. I decided that I wanted to do a cleanse to hopefully break myself cold turkey from this sugar addiction. I did a lot of research and went with a cleanse that was supposed to be cellular and gentle and one that I knew had worked for several other people. But, I had a horrible, horrible, horrible reaction when I started the cleanse. It made me soooooooo sick. I had cramping so bad that I had to have Glen take me to the ER. I followed the cleanse to a "T" but it did not work for me. I suspect it was because the shakes were milk-based and I think I might have trouble with lactose. I was definitely "cleansed" but not exactly in the manner I was hoping. :)

I went forward from that experience by completely stopping sugar and caffeine. For over two months, I have been almost completely sugar free and I have almost completely stopped eating processed foods. And I feel AMAZING! I do not have crazy blood sugar crashes. I am not lightheaded, lethargic, dizzy or any of that. I do not have headaches like I used to. I do not have aches and pains like I used to. (Knock on wood) but I have not been severely sick like so many other people with flu, colds, etc. I have had a couple of days where I felt like I had a mild cold coming on but nothing major. I have so much more energy. I decided to blog about it because I wanted to share some specifics of what I am doing. I love reading suggestions from other people so maybe you can use some of mine...

1) Monitoring - I have using the My Fitness Pal app on my iPhone. I love that I can look up so many different foods or scan the UPC code to monitor what I am putting into my body. I can also record any exercise. It's a free app too so that's a plus!

2) Exercise - I am continuing the consistency and type of exercise I have always been doing. On Mondays I do a bosu class at the Y, Tuesdays I go to yoga at the Y, Wednesday or Thursday is a day off or I go to the gym again for the treadmill or do circuit training off my Pinterest board or do Ripped in 30 from Jillian Michaels, and Fridays I do cardio conditioning at the Y. Saturday and Sunday I either take off or do something I listed for Wednesday or Thursday. When it gets nicer out, I am going to run outside.

3) Breakfast - I have never been a big breakfast eater but I always try to eat something. Often, I will have a dried fruit and nut granola bar so I get some protein and a banana. But my new favorite find is this... Kashi Go Lean Crisp! Toasted Berry Crumble. It is absolutely delicious and it has as much protein in it as an egg. I eat this and I am not hungry until lunch.

4) Lunch/Dinner - I always have cooked a lot of our meals from scratch but I wasn't that good about including a lot of vegetables unless I made a homemade soup or we had salads. My family has always been a big meat and potatoes kind of family. And I'm working to change that - at least we're trying to do sweet potatoes - instead of white potatoes. I'm doing a lot of meals that are either soups, salads, or a meat with vegetables. I don't always steam but try to cook in a little healthy fat such as olive oil. A favorite find: Turkey Burgers from Trader Joe's. They are only $2.99 for four burgers and taste awesome!


5) Grocery shopping - I have been buying a lot and I mean a lot of our food at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. I still shop a lot at Hy-Vee but my bill is mostly produce and meat. I hardly ever go down the chips, cookies, etc. aisle. Is it expensive to be eating healthier? Yes, but I'm trying to live by this phrase "Pay the grocery bill NOW or pay the doctor bill LATER." My family has a history of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. If I do what I can now, my chances of having health problems as I age will diminish.

6) Reading labels - I have been really focused on reading labels since the girls were diagnosed with severe food allergies at 7 months old. They are extremely allergic to wheat, eggs, peas, peanuts and tree nuts. So I have been in this habit for awhile but I am now looking at labels a lot more to see what is in our food and to see how much sugar is added. 

7) Snacks - this one has always been a struggle for me but here is what I am reaching for these days - an apple with peanut butter (and I'm eating natural peanut butter NOT Jif like I used to when I realized how much sugar was in it), a few crackers with sharp cheddar cheese, a handful of nuts (I like pecans or almonds) and popcorn. 


8) Beverages - I am not drinking any pop whatsoever. I used to have a couple of them a week but I have had nothing in the past two months. Originally, I completely cut out caffeine and was drinking a lot of decaf herbal teas. My favorite is this ginger peach decaf from Republic of Tea. In the last couple weeks though, I have started drinking a half a cup of coffee again in the mornings. I just adore the taste of coffee and if I let myself have just a little I don't feel as bad about the caffeine. I have also started drinking half-caf skinny cinnamon dolce lattes at Starbuck's every now and then. (I feel like a total coffee snob when I order them - ha!) But the skinny means no sugar, no whip and skim milk and I love the taste!


9) Smoothies - This one gets a point of its own. I have been making smoothies in our blender for a snack. I use blueberry or mango greek yogurt from Trader Joe's and throw in their frozen fruit - mango, pineapple, blueberries, strawberries and peaches - add several handfuls of spinach - and then some 100% apple juice (I like Simply Apple) and blend. Soooo good and the greek yogurt adds protein and then I get more veggies in with the spinach. And the girls just gobble them up too!

10) Baking - I'm still experimenting here. I bought some Stevia to bake with and I also have agave and honey. I do not feel comfortable using products with aspartame or Splenda in them. I have to be careful in my baking for the girls' sake so I hope to expand on this in the near future.

A confession - Dairy Queen sent me a coupon for my birthday for BOGO blizzards so Glen and I got blizzards one night in late January. (It was my birthday so I deserved it, right?) I took a few bites and I was seriously in HEAVEN eating this blizzard. I had been denying myself "treats" like this for so long. I ate a few more bites and I literally started to feel sick. Sick to my stomach. I could not eat any more. Crazy how sugar can affect our bodies like this, isn't it? Am I perfect when it comes to cutting out sugar? No, but I am trying!

The bottom line - I really feel like not eating sugar and processed foods is working great for me. I feel so much better. I'm not 100% where I want to be yet. I'm thinking about going to gluten-free pasta for myself. I already do it for my kids but I might head that direction for me, too. We have done a lot of experimenting for the girls with pasta and our favorites are corn-based or corn and rice together. Straight rice pasta is NOT good. I found this one at Trader Joe's that we like and it is only $1.39 or so plus they make it in a penne pasta too.


My ideas are definitely not the end-all, be-all. But this is what has worked for me to feel better. I have done a lot of research about sugar and what I have found is scary. Check out this article "141 Reasons Sugar Ruins Your Health" if you want to see the health effects sugar can have on our bodies.

You can find book after book on sugar at Amazon. Here are just a few examples of what I found: Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us;


Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease;


And I'll probably never, ever put myself out there like this again, but here I am today after my workout. I have really never felt better. If you have any questions or comments about anything I've shared, feel free to drop me a line! 

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Scrapbook Circle: Hello Sunshine

Just before Valentine's Day, we had a couple days in a row that were absolutely beautiful in fact, that we were able to get out the girls' tricycles and ride up and down the driveway with just a sweatshirt on. I caught a couple photos of them on my phone having a great time - the one of them with their backs to the camera just made my heart so happy! I used the new "Charmed Life" kit from Scrapbook Circle. This one has a lot of great American Crafts products in it and I had the opportunity to focus on the Amy Tangerine stitching templates for my layout.

The kit had some grey twine in it that I used for the clouds and the happy yellow was in the embroidery kit. It was rather relaxing stitching this up! The "Hello Sunshine" card was a perfect title. I just backed it with the Scrapbook Circle exclusive printable that I printed twice so it would fit across the card and then outlined the letters with a black pen to help them stand out more.

And here, I stitched the arrow with turquoise floss and then trimmed a couple notches from the Dear Lizzy patterned paper to fit inside.

Here are more bits from the Scrapbook Circle exclusive... the "Let's Go" and "We are" tags are included.

Thanks for stopping by today! Have a wonderful day! And be sure to pick up a "Charmed Life" kit and add-on from Scrapbook Circle!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Simple Stories: We Love the Merry-go-round!

Good morning! Today I have a layout to share using the new Vintage Bliss collection from Simple Stories. My girls would go on the merry-go-round over and over again if we let them and we had the opportunity to go on their favorite ride several times last spring and summer. This is one of my favorite photos of them with their daddy on it - I just love their happy faces!

I did a little handstitching on this layout with the heart where I added another heart sticker on foam adhesive.


And here I split up the chevron block and did some handstitching on the cardstock in between the stripes.


Thanks for visiting me today! :)

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Scrapbook Circle: Day of Love

Good morning! Today I have my first layout to share with the "Charmed Life" kit for March from Scrapbook Circle. I lifted one of our members, Jenni, for this layout of my two cuties on Valentine's Day.

This kit has a lot of great American Crafts products in it and one of the items in the add-on is the Amy Tangerine embroidery kit (here I added the heart and arrow). 

The gold doilies are not in the kit but I added a few bits and pieces here and there.

Scrapbook Circle includes exclusive tags each the journaling one!

Thanks for stopping by today! :)
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