Stitch Fix #2 Review: The Big Blue Box

It’s here! My second Stitch Fix box! In case you don’t know, Stitch Fix is this great service for those of us who don’t care for shopping (or even those who do!) and love a good surprise! You fill out an online style profile, and a stylist chooses five amazing items of clothing that come straight to your door. You then try everything on at home, and within three days, return anything you don’t want! You pay for what you like, and if you don’t want any of it, you’re only out a $20 styling fee (that fee goes toward anything you purchase, though!).

So if you missed my last post, I recently fell in love with this service and the skirt I got from my last fix! Check it out here …

That’s why I got so excited to see this box in my office today, and I couldn’t wait to open it … but I did! It didn’t last long once I got home.

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With each fix, they include a sheet with all the items and their prices, including how much it would be if you bought the whole box (since you also get a 25% discount if you keep all five items!). You might notice on the left side of the page, though, that this box happened to be very, very heavy on the color blue. I like navy blue, but I also like a bit of variety. I’m much less likely to buy 4-5 items of the same color than a variety in the same box.

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And the items:

1) 41Hawthorn Red Toulouse Collared Wrap Dress – $68

2) 41Hawthorn Cabochon Flower Necklace – $38

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(I don’t know why my husband/photographer took my photo with my hair doing those acrobatics, but I didn’t notice it till I uploaded it, so there ya go.)

This dress was the PERFECT length. The fabric was phenomenal. The color was gorgeous. The sleeves were 3/4, which is amazing for me. So many things right about this dress.

But, also a couple of issues. One is the boob pockets again. I had left feedback last time that I didn’t like pockets on the front of a shirt and I wish that had been applied to this dress. That wouldn’t have been a breaking point, though. The kicker was that the dress simply didn’t fit in the shoulders — it was a little big. And the wrap part didn’t wrap around quite far enough for me to feel safe in a slight breeze.

The necklace was pretty, but I don’t think I can ever see myself paying $38 for a necklace in almost any situation.

Status: BOTH RETURNED.

3) Mak Jaclynn 3/4 Sleeve Button-Up Cardigan – $38

4) Milo Bird Print Pleated Detail Skirt – $48

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I actually discovered I already have this cardigan in another color that I bought at a boutique last year. I love the one I have and it gets a lot of wear. It has held up well, although it’s not the best quality cardigan I’ve ever owned. At $38, it’s more than I would normally spend on a cardigan. However, I know it’s an item I’ll wear a LOT, and 3/4 sleeve makes it a year-round staple for me.

STATUS: KEPT!

From the moment I saw I was getting a bird skirt, I knew I was going to keep it. It’s a bird print skirt! In navy! What more could I ask for? Unfortunately, I didn’t fall in love with it, and I’m not going to spend $48 on something I don’t absolutely love or that I won’t get lots of wear out of. It was also a little small in the waist, and although I have gained a few pounds and it will fit fine pretty soon, I decided to let it go this time.

STATUS: RETURNED

5) Mystree Phoebe Dot & Stripe Mix Print Cardigan – $58
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This was the hardest decision of the box. I wanted to love this cardigan. I love navy blue, I love polka dots, I love stripes! I love cardigans. And this is seriously one of the most comfortable cardigans I have ever put on my body. It is so incredibly soft. It is so, so well-made. Seriously. And if I had more months of the year where long sleeves were needed, I probably would have bought it. But $58 had to be a “love” item, and it was just shy of “love” with the pattern. For some reason, the combination of stripes and dots in this arrangement just didn’t quite work. Can I get the same sweater in a different color or pattern, Stitch Fix?!?

STATUS: RETURNED

So this time I only kept the one cardigan. There weren’t any “love” pieces in this box like the houndstooth skirt in the last Fix, I’m afraid. However, Laurie is still getting my general style right on! They just haven’t been quite the right pieces. And again, a whole box of blue made me much less likely to keep multiples.

I highly recommend Stitch Fix — even if you don’t keep everything or anything, it’s such a fun process! If you want to try it, please use my referral link so that I can feed my addiction! :)

What do you think? Should I have kept the stripe and dot cardigan??

My First Stitch Fix: A Review

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So a few weeks ago I discovered a really interesting website called Stitch Fix. I have recently come to accept the fact that I really love clothes. I don’t want to; I try not to; but I do.

The reason that this has not completely eradicated our family budget, however, is that I really don’t enjoy shopping. I feel like I need to see everything to be sure I haven’t missed anything, and I also hate trying things on in dressing rooms. This fact has saved us, because I am usually way too tired to take the kind of time I need to shop.

My favorite time of year is Christmas, when my wonderful mother-in-law chooses to significantly enhance my wardrobe. She has done the shopping, and I get to try everything on. What I don’t like, we return and usually swap out for something else, and what I love, I keep! SO much of my favorite wardrobe items have come from her. (I’m also addicted to Modcloth, but that’s a different story.)

So when I found out about Stitch Fix, I was elated. Basically, it can be Christmas all year long. Someone else gets to know my style, picks a few things out for me, and what I like, I keep! What I don’t like, I send back. And none of this involves a store or dressing rooms!

The idea just seemed absolutely incredible, and I just about jumped for joy when I saw a Stitch Fix box sitting in my office today! I opened it up, and there was a personal note from my stylist, Laurie! She very clearly had looked at my Pinterest board and read my profile, and she even made recommendations about how to style each of the pieces. Each piece also came with a tag that showed two ways to style it. You really are paying for more than just clothes here!

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MB was REALLY excited to see what was in the Stitch Fix box!

I couldn’t wait to get home to try everything on, so when I went home for lunch I made sure to have a fashion show to check everything out! So here are the reviews:

Item #1: Jacquard Skirt 

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 This was the most expensive item in the fix and probably my least favorite. It was a little youthful for me, and a little short as well. Something I might pick up for fun at a thrift store, but nothing I would choose for myself. Sometimes when I wouldn’t choose something for myself, it works out. This wasn’t it.

VERDICT: RETURNED.

Item #2: Blue Swan Print Top

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This top caught my eye immediately with the super cute swan print and 3/4 sleeves! When I first put it on, I was very disappointed. It was really baggy, and as a curvy girl that’s never a good look. Then, I belted it:

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MUCH superior with the belt! It turned out to be a pretty cute top, but I just didn’t see myself wearing it all that often.

VERDICT: RETURNED.

Item #3: Polka Dot Sheer Top

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The photo makes this top look WAY better than it did on me. I was SO Excited about polka dots and navy blue! And then, the boxiness. Just not so great for someone with curves. A belt helped, but alas, the giant pockets on the chest really pushed it over the edge and I will definitely NOT be keeping this one.

VERDICT: RETURNED.

Item #4: Striped Sweater

photo 3This was one of the best items in the bunch — super comfortable, it fit great, 3/4 sleeves are my jam. I just didn’t love the colors. Living in Florida, fall and winter colors really don’t have a lot of time to be worn. Will really liked it, but the final choice is mine, and I decided not to keep it.

VERDICT: RETURNED.

Item #5: Houndstooth Skirt

photo 4 (1)This skirt is so adorable, exactly my style, the perfect length, the cutest pattern … I could go on. This skirt is amazing. It’s crazy comfortable too. The photo doesn’t begin to do it justice. It’s the perfect A-line on my body. Laurie did AMAZING on this one.

VERDICT: KEPT!

Overall Review

So out of my first Fix, I loved 1 item, liked 2 OK, and really didn’t care for 2 at all. It was super easy just to pop the items I was returning in the postage-paid bag and drop it in the mail on my way back to work.

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MB didn’t want me to return any of them!

I would say that for someone who based her picks on a Pinterest page and a form I filled out online, Laurie did a great job the first time around! I can’t wait for future fixes to see what she comes up with next!

If you’re interested, it’s a really low-risk thing to try out at least once! For $20, you will get a personal stylist and shipping both ways. Plus, if you like anything in the Fix, that $20 goes toward the item! And I’m looking forward to one day cashing in on the 25% discount you get if you buy all 5 items!

Please use my referral link so I can also get credit toward my next fix!

It’s a great service, and I’m going to have to resist putting myself on a monthly plan … but we’ll see! I’ve already requested my second Fix which should come in at the end of this month!

Good Christians don’t have strong feelings.

I recently ran across this article on Facebook. I was only one sentence into it when red flags began to fly like fireworks:

There’s one item on my list of Christian parenting tips that you will want to put into practice as early as possible: Teach your kids to control their emotions.

Do what? This is something we want to do? And it’s something we want to do as early as possible? I read on, hoping I had grossly misunderstood the writer’s intention.

Instead of being controlled by our feelings, God wants us to learn self-control over them.

No Drama

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, that’s not exactly how I’d put it. No, we shouldn’t be controlled BY our feelings … but I’m not entirely sure what “self-control over them” looks like … and I don’t think I like it. The article continues with an illustration comparing strong emotions to an elevated body temperature — something indicative of sickness, of disease, of infection.

Emotions are your feelings. If you are feeling calm and happy, you do not have an emotional fever. You might get a slight case of irritation or get mad about something for a minute or two and then get over it. You might cry about something and then it is all right again. That happens.

If, however, you get very angry, and your emotional temperature continues to build, that’s not good … You need to do something to get it lowered. You need to talk about what’s making you feel bad. You need to solve the problem. You need to get your feelings under control.

Again, kind of. I could make this into something I support, but the tone is all wrong. It’s incomplete. The message seems to be “If you feel something, cry if you have to, but not for too long. Move on.” Again, not how I would put it; slightly problematic.

But then, it takes a really ugly turn when we move to Scripture:

Solomon provides us with numerous gems of insight regarding the types of things that give rise to different kinds of emotions. Talk to your child about some of these points.

• Those who make a habit of living in righteousness typically enjoy a life characterized by joy and gladness (Proverbs 10:28; 29:6).
• Those who promote peace have joy in their lives (Proverbs 12:20).
• A key to contentment is maintaining a continual reverence for God (Proverbs 19:23).
• Jealousy can virtually consume a person and, if unchecked, can lead him or her to get out of control (Proverbs 6:34-35, 27:4).
As you share these insights with your child, try to provide real-life examples that illustrate them.

Basically, if you’re a Christ follower, if you read the Bible enough, if you pray enough, if you’re close enough to God, your life will be happy. It will be peaceful.

And, evidently, you won’t have any feelings.

I can only imagine we are reading a different Bible, or at least I seem to be reading more of it. Proverbs 29:6 reads, “Evil people are trapped by sin, but the righteous escape, shouting for joy.” (NLT). Joy for the righteous, certainly. But then, verse 7: “The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all.”

I have to admit, Proverbs is one of my least favorite books: it’s the easiest of the entire Bible to use for prooftexting, because it is, in fact, a series of pithy sayings easily recited each on their own, making the speaker believe by quoting them they sound wise. I know, I know, it’s one of the “wisdom” books; but there is still context, and we must still take into account our whole canon and not focus only on one part that helps us prove a point.

Sure, kids who “control” their feelings are easier to deal with; temper tantrums are hard. But kids are humans, and humans experience feelings. To ask them to deny feelings is to deny their humanity, their being made in God’s image. 

God does not only feel joy. God is not always calm. God is not neutral.

Instead of asking them to bottle up emotions and only cry “a little,” let’s teach our kids why we were created with emotions, why we feel so deeply: because we are God’s children.

Let’s teach our kids about deep sadness, the kind of sadness we see God experience throughout Scripture as Creation fails to live up to the perfection in which it was made. Let’s teach them to mourn with those who mourn, to hurt with those who hurt, to feel so, so deeply that they can do nothing but cry out — and then act to make the world a place where fewer people mourn and hurt.

Let’s teach our kids about righteous anger, crying out against injustice, greed, and violence. Let’s teach them why God gets angry — because we hurt each other, with our words and our weapons. Because we hurt the Earth. But we can also teach them that God’s anger is not poured out on us as we deserve because of Grace, and that we can also offer Grace when we are angry.

Let’s not teach our kids that a sign of our faith is our neutrality; let’s help them feel. Let’s help them experience deep sadness, righteous anger, and exuberant joy.

And let’s start that as early as possible.

The Goose moves as She will: Pt. 3, My Marriage

photo (5)Seldom will I write entire posts about my personal life; that’s not what I created this forum to share. However, the Wild Goose Festival has played an incredible part in strengthening my marriage over the last year.

You see, I’ve been personally and academically interested in the emerging church movement for many years now. I’ve absorbed as much as I can from Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Phyllis Tickle, and others who have both journeyed as emergents and studied them. Somewhere along the way, although I myself don’t come from an oppressive evangelical background, I found myself identifying as emergent in addition to being staunchly Methodist. The texts and theologies attached to the emergent community became very important to me; those stories became part of my story, and they shaped my journey and my ministry.

The challenge was that, as I developed theologically, I was doing so by reading book after book on the subject, lurking in online forums, and following theologians on Twitter and Facebook. My loving husband, however, doesn’t read a lot and spends very little time on social media. He appreciates theology and can carry on a killer theological discussion, but he’s not the theo-nerd I am. As I tried to share my excitement and learnings with him, it soon became apparent that I was going on and on and he had stopped listening. It’s only interesting for so long to hear someone go on and on incoherently about things you have no context for.

The same happened after Wild Goose 2011. I came home energized and fascinated by the experience, the speakers, the experiences I had had that week. But alas, my husband hadn’t shared them; he couldn’t fully understand (as you may not fully understand my last couple of posts here).

So in 2012, he decided he would make the trek with me, especially since the trip would be significantly longer now that we were no longer living in North Carolina. He wasn’t exceptionally excited about it, but he has always been more than happy to support me and at least try to understand what feeds my soul. So, we embarked together to Shakori Hills in June 2012. Continue reading

The Goose moves as She will: Pt. 2, The People

WGF13 Campsite

This was the first year I participated in the Wild Goose Festival as a volunteer. My husband, our two friends and I arrived Monday afternoon, three days before the festival would begin, to be a part of the setup crew, and to help create the space in which so many would experience the thing that is the Goose. Most of all, though, we wanted to go for cheap, and volunteers pay almost nothing. (Plus I can’t resist a free t-shirt.)

I had heard from friends that volunteering is one of the best ways to experience the festival. We even were pre-festival volunteers, so we worked for 3 days before the festival and were able to fully enjoy the festival as participants, and an extra couple of nights sleeping inches away from the French Broad River wasn’t too shabby.

It was incredible to get to know more of the folks who put their blood, sweat and tears into this event. Our volunteer coordinator and setup crew chief were amazing, and as we met others on the crew, we discovered that one of them was a Florida Methodist. That was just the beginning of my encountering numerous other incredible folks, including more UMC mainliners than you can shake a stick at!

Two years ago at the first Goose I stuck out like a sore thumb attached to the hand of the institutional church. I hesitated to share my denominational affiliation, much less my status as clergy, for fear of coming under immediate suspicion as “one of them.” (I don’t think that ever happened, but I felt it.) Continue reading

The Goose moves as She will: Pt. 1, The Place

I’ve recently returned from the Wild Goose Festival, and I’ll cut to the chase: this is one of the most important things happening in the Christian world right now. I have been blessed to attend all three of the North Carolina events, each year becoming more amazed at the fact that this event even exists.

All around us, popular Christianity takes a distinctly Neo-Calvinist/Hipster/Evangelical image. No matter what your denominational affiliation, it seems as though the most popular and common material popping up in Bible studies and across my Facebook feed is whatever is put on the Lifeway shelves or the latest release from Beth Moore.

There are plenty of churches and individuals for which that material is appropriate, even inspiring. I don’t happen to be one of them, and I’m not alone.

Wild Goose is a place where those of us for whom a simple, literal faith simply and literally doesn’t suffice can gather to discover that we’re not alone, and hear speakers and musicians who are also wrestling with a God who will not be known as simple in new and innovative and ancient ways.

If that doesn’t make sense, then I’ve probably said it well. It is so difficult to truly capture the experience of the Goose in words, though I, like many others, will try. Continue reading