Thursday, August 21, 2014

Stitch Fix July and August: My Fourth and Fifth Fixes

First things first, have you heard about Stitch Fix
Stitch Fix is a site that pairs you with  your own personal stylist. 
You schedule a box to come to your door, insert your style likes and dislikes, and wait patiently (or not so patiently if you're like me) for your first five items to arrive at your door. 
There is a $20 styling fee, but if you keep even one item, that $20 is applied to your total.
Don't like anything? No problem. Just send all five items back in the prepaid envelope. 
Love it all? Keep it and take 25% off of your total. 

Okay, so now that we've covered the bases, let's cover the fixes, as in fix 4 and fix 5. 

Confession:  I didn't love fix 4. In fact, I almost didn't post it with you. 
I was in a funk the day we took these pics, and I'm just not loving them. 
But, for the sake of being transparent with you, I'm sharing them nonetheless. 

For this fix, I was pretty vague in my requests. 
I'm usually pretty specific, directing my stylist in terms of what I'm hoping for. 
But, since this was my fourth fix, I felt like they had a pretty good handle on my style and wanted to give them a little more freedom, so I just told them I was really digging the Boho look and loving all things Anthropologie (I mean, aren't we all?). 

Let's see what Katie, my stylist for this fix, came up with:

Item #1: PIXLEY brand Indianan Chevron Print Mixed Material Tee {$44}

So I really do like this shirt. 
It's cute and fun and fits well. 
However, you may recall that they sent me almost an identical top in my second fix
So, while I really did like this one, I just didn't feel like I needed two of them, you know? 
So, this one went back.  

Item #2: TART brand Noell 3/4 Sleeve French Terry Shift Dress {$88}

I liked the colors and stripes on this one, but I felt like it was too short and unflattering. 
The cut of the arms was off....and so was the price. 
While I didn't hate this one, I didn't like it nearly enough to keep it. 
Needless to say, this one went back.

Item #3: RENEE C brand Rosenberg Dip-Dye Cross-Front Top {$54}

This was another I didn't hate. 
I liked fit and felt like it was flattering for the most part. 
I loved the sleeve length (we all know that 3/4 sleeves are my all-time favorite). 
It was very soft and obviously very well made. 
Unfortunately, I just wasn't a fan of the tie-dye look, 
and I just couldn't say for sure that this would be a piece I'd gravitate towards in my closet. 
Unfortunately, this one went back as well. 

Item #4: JUST BLACK brand Dean Ankle Zip Skinny Jean {$78}

Stitch Fix, enough with the ankle zip. 
Please no. 
And white jeans? 
This mom doesn't think so....neither do my thighs, 
which would barely fit into these suckers. 
Back they went. 

Item #5: LA MADE brand Lou Striped Hi-Lo Dress {$138}

A few things to mention about this one:

1. Try not to be jealous of my killer tan; I know it's a bit intimidating. 

2. I did mention in my note to my stylist for this fix that I'd like to try something hi-lo, so I was excited to see this one in my box.

Now about this dress---
the bottom line is twenty pounds ago, I would have loved it. 
However, this curvy post-baby body of mine is just not rocking it. 

It was super comfortable and the cut was great,
 it was just a little too clingy around my mid-section for me to commit to it. 

Do I even need to tell you that I sent this one back too? 
Because I did. 

Overall thoughts? 

This fix just wasn't my favorite. 
While it was good in theory, the prints and cuts just weren't working for me. 
There's no denying that the pieces were all very well-made and would work great for someone else. This is the first fix where I've sent everything back, which means I lost my $20 styling fee that is normally deducted from your total when you check out.
 Can we all agree that that's not cool? 
However, since Stitch Fix credit is the only way I shop these days, 
I just couldn't justify applying it to something I didn't love, didn't feel comfortable in,
 and wouldn't wear often.
However, I still believe in Stitch Fix and made a few changes when requesting fix #5. 

For the fix, I took a totally different approach when writing my notes to my stylist. 
For this one, I requested five specific items I've seen on other people's blogs or Instagram: 

Embroidered top (I actually requested just anything embroidered, but I secretly had this top in mind)

I made sure to tell my stylist that while I'd love for her to actually include these specific items in my fix, this was really more of a generalization of what my ideal fix would look like. 
I also requested Jinnah to style this fix. 
I'd heard that you can request certain stylist, and I loved the fix she put together for me in June, so I decided to request her and just see what happens. 

Well, it was an ask and you shall receive kind of fix, complete with Jinnah as my stylist. 

Here's what she put together for me: 

Item #1: RENEE C brand Magdalena 3/4 Sleeve Elastic Waist Print Dress {$68}

This dress was light and airy, had a fully lined skirt, and fit great. 
I just didn't love the print. 
Call me picky if you will, but I only buy things I LOVE, whether I'm paying via credit or not.
And this was just a little too busy for my simple style. 
This one is headed back to Stitch Fix. 

Item #2: COLLECTIVE CONCEPTS Denova Mixed Material Floral Print Blouse {$44}

Look familiar? 
It's the exact blouse I requested. 
Just like I thought, I loved the fit and cut of the one. 
Loved the soft, jersey sleeves. 
BUT, I didn't realize in the other picture that this top has a metallic sheen to it that I just couldn't embrace. 
So, while I'm glad I tried this one on and would love to get something like it in a future fix, I sent this one back too. 

Item #3: RD STYLE brand Analisa Twisted Seam Mixed Knit Sweater {$68}

Can I get some bonus points for trying this sweater on yesterday in the sweltering heat that is Mississippi in August? 
Liked the print. 
Like the cut of the front. 
Just found it a little too bulky for my body.
This one went back as well. 

Have you given up hope yet? 
Well, don't. 
I actually loved these next two pieces. 

Item #4: MARKET AND SPRUCE BRAND Xander Short Sleeve Woven Back Sweatshirt {$54}
Item #5: KUT FROM THE KLOTH Danny 5-Pocket Knit Pants {$68}

These are in fact, the exact black pants I requested, and I love them. 
While I realize you can't see too much of them here, trust me when I say they're about as good as pants can get. They have the cut of jeans and feel like leggings. 
Yes, please. 
These are staying with me. 

And this top? 
I was a little skeptical when I peeked at my receipt before my box came and saw the word 'sweatshirt', but it's all kinds of comfortable, feminine, and fun. 
This one is mine. 

Like I've said before, I'm not so much looking for a fix with five things I can't live without. 
If I can get just one or two items I love in each box, I'm a happy girl. 
These two items made this fix well worth it, and I still have some credit to spend thanks to those of you who have signed on using my referral link
THANK YOU BEYOND THANK YOU for that, by the way!
And if you've blogged about your fix, please share a link in the comments. 
I'd love to take a look at your post!

Overall thoughts? 

Jinnah is where it's at for me, so I've requested her again for my next fix. 
I look forward to my fixes and really love trying things on at home. 
I've already scheduled my next fix, and can't wait to see what Jinnah (hopefully) picks out!

And if you made it to the end of this post, a high five is headed your way.
 Way to hang in there, buddy.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Smiling {nine reasons I'm doing it today}

1. Have you seen Taylor Swift's new video? I might have sprayed coffee all over my computer screen this morning while watching it for the fifth third time. Maybe. Possibly. I'll never tell. 

2. I'm missing Rwanda terribly these days. That trip. Those girls. That beautiful place. It was one step away from unicorns, I tell ya. I may or may not be secretly planning to go back and daydreaming daily about the land of a thousand hills. 

3. Have you checked out Dot yet? Keep your eyes on Instagram. Big things are coming. 

4. This book. It was awesome. If you love dystopian young adult fiction (which I do. And I feel no shame about it. ), then I highly recommend it. 

5. The She Reads Truth ap. Have you downloaded it yet? It's free, you know. And their study on justice? Can't possibly say enough good things about it. 

6. The hubs. It's almost his birthday. I can't believe he's about to be twenty-seven....again. 

7. These friends-- there's a visit being planned. Get excited. We sure are. 

8. Today is Stitch Fix day! Let's hope this fix is packing something fierce. 

9. Have you heard about our big plans for September? 
Looks like we'll be burying our faces in books for days....literally. 

What's making you smile these days? 
Do tell. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Turning Pages for Emily

Children belong in families.
That's what we believe.

And our little girl is in Africa still waiting to come home.

Still waiting for a family.

Still waiting.

It's been almost a year since we first saw her face.
We still have a long way to go until she's home.
But, we aren't wasting any time.

There are changes coming to the Congolese adoption process.
And we want to be ready.

These changes could mean any number of things,
including a possible trip to Africa this Fall
and an unexpected timeline in terms of when Emily will come home.

Being a mom to a waiting child is tough.
I want to do EVERYTHING for her, and yet there are so few things I can do.

And while I can't tuck her in or hold her when she's scared or take care of her when she's sick,
I CAN work to raise the rest of the funds we'll need to bring her home.

Unexpected timelines mean unexpected expenses.
Documents expire.
Forms need updating.
You know the drill.

And we still need to raise the funds we'll need to cover our travel expenses
and a little bit of what we'll owe when we pass court.

But don't worry;
we have a plan.

Turning Pages for Emily from McCall Aldridge on Vimeo.

Will YOU join us in turning pages for Emily in September? 

We LOVE the idea of families working together to give our girl a family.

Want to be a part of Emily's story? 

Send us an email at,
 and we'll send you a printable page to record your pledges and the book you read.
Ask your friends, family, and neighbors to sponsor you for each book you read next month.
Choose your books and turn as many pages as you can for Emily!
Our hope is that this will get families reading and talking about adoption.

And at the end of  September,
go to
and make your donation.

It's as simple as that.

Reading's not your thing but still want to help? 

You can choose to sponsor us.
Just pick an amount to donate for every book we read.
We promise to keep you posted on our progress!
You can leave your pledge in the comments on this post or send it to us in an email.
You can also help by sharing this post and our video on your blog, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.

Don't want to wait to make a difference? 

You can go to any time between now
 and October 10th and make a donation in any amount you choose.
Every penny will be used to bring our girl to her forever home.
And no amount is too small; every dollar is one dollar closer to our girl!

We're praying God will use this fundraiser in a big way.
The minute we're done fundraising is the minute we're sitting on go to bring our girl home.

Adoption is costly,
but God is bigger than all the dollars, no matter how many zeros there are at the end of the number.
And we completely believe that He'll give us what we need to bring Emily home to her family.

Thank you in advance.
Thank you for loving our girl and us so very well.
Thank you for sacrificing for her.
Thank you for sharing your hard-earned dollars with our family.
Thank you for answering God's call to care for the orphans and those in need,
even when that looks like trips to the library and possible paper cuts.


Friday, August 15, 2014

The Life of a Waiting Mom

In a little over a month, it will be a year since we first saw Emily's face. 
A year-- a full year. 
As in 365 days. 
And I've missed her on each and every one of those. 
I've felt that weight that year. 

That's 365 bedtimes we missed. 
That's 365 days with no hugs. 
That's 365 days with no story time. 
That's 365 with no big sisters. 
That's 365 days with no 'I love you"s. 

That's 365 days we can never get back
And it's 365 days that our little girl lived without a family.

You know how when your kid goes to camp or to Grandma's or to spend the night with a friend? 
And when he or she comes home, you're so ready to see each other because your home just wasn't the same without your whole family under the same roof? 
Well, it's like that except with no come home date in sight. 
It's also filled with fears. 

Congo isn't exactly the safest place on Earth. 
And even if it was, I'd still worry. 

Did she eat today? 
Was her water safe? 
Did she get any nutrition in her diet? 
Did she cry? 
Did she feel well? 
Did anyone love her today? 
Was she hugged and kissed? 
Did anyone tell her that she matters-- that she's smart and pretty and funny? 
Did anyone read to her or sing her the ABC's?
Did someone play with her? 
Did she brush her teeth? 
Did she take a bath?
Did she take a nap?
Was anyone there to tuck her in? 

Emily is two and a half, and these are the things she'd do if she had a family. 
Except that she doesn't, at least not in the daily sense of the word. 

We're here, and we love her. 
We're desperately waiting for her to come home. 
And yet she's spent the past year growing up without us,
 not to mention the year and a half she lived before we saw her face.

And her pictures-- she looks so good and so big.
And while that makes me happy because it means she's being fed and looks healthy, it also makes me sad. These pictures serve as a reminder of all the little moments she's spent as an orphan.

To put it mildly, life as a waiting mom isn't fun. 
I may smile and carry on, 
but don't for one second think that I'm not thinking of my daughter, 
the one I haven't met yet but already love like crazy. 

This year has been hard. 
I've learned a lot and cried a lot and been frustrated a lot. 
Waiting is not my gift, especially when it means that every day we wait is one day longer that my daughter spends without a family. 

And while I feel so alone in this phase of life and amid all the waiting, I'm not alone. 
There are so many other waiting moms out there, watching their littles grow up in pictures and praying that someone takes time to care for them until they can come to their forever homes. 
We spend our days hoping the phone will ring and being terrified that it will ring all at the same time. 
Sometimes no news is good news, especially when a phone call could mean sickness or much, much worse. 

I knew it'd be hard, but I had no idea what this would do to my heart. 
The worst part? 
We still have no idea when she'll come home. 
It could easily be another year. 

Waiting game, round two.
Here we come. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Women are women are women {a Noonday Collection giveaway}

Friends, meet Esperanza. 
She couldn't be more beautiful if she tried. 
She's twenty-four and lives at home with her parents and her younger siblings. 
And she works for Noonday

She's gracious and filled with joy and was so happy to welcome us into her home. 

Her mother was so filled with life. 
The first thing she did was ask us all if we know Jesus. 
She wasn't letting us leave until she was sure we all did. 

And her little sisters-- so much hope for things to come.

Esperanza is a girl just like you and me. 
She hopes to find a cute boy to marry one day. 
She dreams of being a mother. 
She wants her own home and a family.

She sounds like every single twenty-four year old I know. 

It's so easy to believe that we are different. 
What could we possibly have in common? 
So many things in our lives show such a stark contrast. 
But really, we're all just women who want to use our gifts, make our parents happy,
 and live the best lives possible. 

Esperanza and our time together was such a beautiful reminder to me that women are women are women. 
And I couldn't possibly love that more.  

I want you to know our artisans. 
I want you to think of them as friends you simply haven't met yet. 
I want you to invite them into your homes via their stories and their products that they've made and are sharing with all of us. 
What a wonderful celebration of women. 

Have YOU checked out the new Noonday line? 
There are so many stories represented there that I can't wait to share with you this season. 

Here are a few of the pieces I can't seem to get enough of: 

 What are YOU loving? 
Do tell. 
And to help spread the Noonday love, I'm partnering up with some of my fellow ambassadors on this season's blog train. 

You can check the post from this morning by Brooke and tomorrow's post by my sweet friend Elizabeth.

So, to help spread the Noonday love and connect us even more with our artisans around the world, how about a little giveaway? 

Happy shopping and story-sharing to you and you and you! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

My Happy Place.

I want to go back. 
I NEED to go back. 

It's my happiest of happy places. 

That's such a funny thing to say. 
Africa is hard. 
The things I see, the things I hear; life in Africa is far from easy. 
And yet, I am the happiest version of myself when I'm there. 

Life since falling in love with this land far, far away has been tough. 
It's meant sacrificing, giving, lots of tears, many sleepless nights, 
and lots of moments feeling alone and totally misunderstood. 
Africa has changed me from the inside out. 
And I couldn't be happier about it. 

Africa has helped me to see what's really important in life. 
It's not things. 
It's not recognition. 
It's not accomplishing great things. 
It's about serving God and loving others. 

The people in Africa know what it means to love their neighbors. 
They know what it means to take care of one another. 
Children are treasured, and families are everything. 
I have learned so much from these beautiful people and this beautiful place. 

And yet, I know I still have so much left to learn. 

I think I could travel to Africa a hundred more times and still be aching for just one more trip, just one more day, just one more moment. 

Today, I'm missing everything there is to miss about Africa-- 
the smells, the sounds, the way the sun feels on my face, the food, and the people. 

But most of all, I'm  missing the person I am when I'm there
 and the overwhelmingly joy it brings to my heart. 

Will I go back? 
You can bet it. 
Will it be soon enough? 
No way; no how.