Browse Tag by Review
What I Learn

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

It’s been fun rediscovering a love for reading these past few months. I told you already about my beloved new library card, and it still makes me so excited. If you’re in a reading slump or on the hunt for some fresh options, dive into one of these five:

She Reads Truth: Holding Tight to Permanent in a World That’s Passing Away
Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams

I read this book after hearing one of the authors on my favorite podcast. Myers and Williams share their stories in alternating chapters and weave them together beautifully by showing that even though our circumstances are all very different and constantly changing, there is ultimately “One Hero and one Story” that does not change. This was a life-shaping read for me. Also, I was 7 weeks pregnant and bawled a whole lot.

Whether you are on a mountain or in a valley in your life right now, this book is for you. I’m not usually a repeat reader but I want to read this again soon.

The Magnolia Story
Chip and Joanna Gaines

Be still my heart. I wouldn’t call myself a die-hard “Fixer Upper” fan, mostly because I don’t have a TV, but I’ve walked my fair share of miles on the treadmill in the gym just so I could catch Chip and Joanna work their magic in Waco.

After reading their story, I have so much respect and love for the Gaines family. Their faith and philosophy on family and home life is sweet and inspiring. If you read this, you may feel less sad about the end of “Fixer Upper.” Maybe.  I hear that the audible version of this book with Chip and Jo narrating is really wonderful.  

Harry Potter
J. K. Rowling

I didn’t start the Harry Potter series until I was a junior in high school, soon before the 7th and final book was published. I loved them then and now. It doesn’t matter if you’re 10 or 100; the series is full of whimsy, suspense, and fun! So far I’ve re-read the first five and am taking a break to read more adult-y books. Oh, I will return.

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes
Shauna Niequist

At the risk of sounding bossy, READ THIS BOOK if you’re at all interested in food, hospitality, or friendship. I love how each tiny chapter tells a meaningful story from Niequist’s life, and most are followed by a recipe. This read came at the perfect time. I’m so interested in hospitality and want to make every recipe in the book. So far I’ve made Blueberry Crisp, Breakfast Quinoa, Green Well Salad, and White Chicken Chili.

I also adored Niequist’s book Present Over Perfect, another memoir-style that deeply challenged me on what’s important in life and how being less busy can help us “accomplish” more.

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
Pamela Druckerman

This was an interesting read. The author compares American and French parenting when it comes to things like meals, child care, crying babies, and bending – or not bending – to a child’s every whim. It’s not a “how-to” book on parenting but provides a glimpse into Druckerman’s experience of French culture, which I appreciated.

The downside: I felt like she made sweeping generalizations about both cultures. (French people simply don’t snack between meals? French babies sleep through the night earlier than American babies? French children aren’t picky eaters?) I took those with a grain of salt. The book as a whole provided some techniques to chew on, and I liked her quirky writing. Two out of five stars.

Now I’m reading Steadfast Love by Lauren Chandler and Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and enjoying them both so far. What are you currently reading? Comment below. I’d love to hear!

What I See

My Stitch Fix Experience

Gone are the days I enjoyed clothes shopping. What happened?! Maybe it’s that I feel clueless on what’s trendy or that I’d rather spend extra money on a date night or books or décor. Before I started my job in Houston in 2012, my sweet Aunt Tammy took me on a hunt for professional things – cardigans and belts and skirts.  I still wear a few tried and true items from high school (Is that terrible??), and any new clothes are deals my mom finds at T.J. Maxx.

After considering my last 10 years of clothing sources, it’s clear: I need a personal shopper. Enter Stitch Fix, an online styling service that mails five clothing and accessory items per order directly to your home. Translation: No shopping malls, no sifting through piles for hours, no dressing rooms. {And this is not a paid advertisement. J}

I received two Stitch Fix gift cards for Christmas and as of last month hadn’t used them. When I found out that Stitch Fix offers maternity wear, I placed my order earlier this month to see what they could do, knowing I’d soon need some maternity shorts and pants especially.

How It Works

After creating an account, you fill out a Style Profile, which not only includes clothing sizes but everything from what type of fit you prefer to your ideal price point to types of clothing you don’t want in your shipment.

Then, you select a delivery date. When your stylist puts together your box, Stitch Fix charges your account a $20 “styling fee.” But the $20 is credited back to you when you make a purchase.

The fun comes of course when the box comes and you get to try everything on! You have three days to buy what you want to keep and send back what you don’t in a prepaid envelope. Lastly, you provide feedback on what you kept or returned and why. If you choose to keep all five items, they give you 25% off your total.

My box arrived 3 days earlier than expected. Here’s what came:

  1. Fossil Crossbody– Oh how I loved this bag. It was priced at $138 though. I entertained the thought of keeping it, but then the practical side of my won over. There’s no place for a diaper, lady.
  2. Campton Maternity Knit Top – Fun shirt, great fit. I’m definitely a pink, black, and white girl but the combo and design was something different, and I liked it a lot. Priced at $48.
  3. Coretta Maternity Cuffed Shorts – This was the only item that didn’t fit perfectly; they seemed a little big and bunched a bit in the front. Still, they weren’t awful, and while I’d never seek out yellow shorts, I really liked the color. Priced at $58.
  4. Worley Maternity Skinny Jeans – These fit like a glove and were so comfy. I loved the dark wash, the skinny feel, and the cute, rough cut at the bottom. And of course, that hidden panel is everything. Priced at $88. That’s a price I usually wouldn’t go for – especially knowing it’s an item I’ll wear short-term. But this was hands down my favorite item and the one I knew I’d wear most into fall and winter.
  5. Kwenuke Short Sleeve Maternity Knit Top – With a solid navy front and a pretty floral back, this maternity top was as cute as could be! Priced at $48.

What I Loved

  1. I could “trust” the items. Again, trends aren’t really on my radar. It took the pressure off to know that every item was not only stylish but also personalized.
  2. I loved trying items that were out of the box for me like pattered shirts, as I tend to wear a lot of solids. And I never would have picked out yellow shorts, but they were so fun!
  3. The prepaid envelope made the return process super convenient. Free shipping always makes me happy.
  4. You don’t have to keep a monthly subscription going. You can simply place an order whenever you want.

What I Didn’t Like

Ultimately, the cost of these items prohibited me from purchasing more. My gift cards totaled $70 and I wanted to stay under $100 total. In the style profile, you can answer how much you’re willing to pay for each item. Price points range from “The cheaper, the better!” to $200+. I requested “The cheaper, the better!” for each category. I felt like my stylist sabotaged my 25% off potential by including that $138 bag. No hard feelings, though. I still love you, Quencie. In a perfect world, I would have purchased every item.

Would I recommend StitchFix? Absolutely, if for no other reason than it is so much fun to try on things that a stylist picked out specifically for you! And Stitch Fix is truly as close to effortless as shopping can be. I’d love to save up and try it one more time with a maternity clothes box.

Have you tried Stitch Fix? Did you like it?