Category: Daily Life

What I’m Into {Feb/March 2017}

 

It’s 1:00pm and I’m sitting at my desk in a very quiet house.

Normally I’m at work right now, but after a grueling couple weeks, I gifted myself a vacation day.

When I woke up this morning I named this day Sit-In-Bed-And-Read. I have a gloriously tall stack of books on my nightstand and today was going to be THE DAY.

Apparently I have an inability to enjoy a lazy day. After dropping the kids off at school, I decided to do just one thing from my to-do list. You probably can guess the rest of the story. It quickly became obvious I had misnamed this day. It renamed itself Catch-Up-On-Life. It’s morphed into a day that I am doing all of the things that “I’ll just do tomorrow.” Grocery shopping. Making dr. and dentist appointments. Fixing things. And a whole lot of internet errands.

But now I take a break in completing my to-do list to share all the things I’ve been LOVING this month.

First things first.

Books

We don’t purchase books very often, but this month we decided to grab each book in the Ordinary People Change the World series. In each book, kids learn about some ordinary person who has changed the world in a big way. They are well-written and the illustrations are on-spot.

Our book club launched this month, and we read Threading My Prayer Rug, a story about a Pakistani Muslim who moves to America and begins her adult life. It’s both eye-opening and funny, a rare mix. I’m learning about arranged marriages, Muslim faith practices, and what it looks like to move to America from a very different culture.

I finished up a couple books this month that I didn’t enjoy, and I even quit a book in the middle (gasp!).  No need to fear though- I have some other promising ones on the horizon. (more…)

What a bus driver taught me on the way to the Women’s March on Madison

As we waited at the bus stop, a woman slowed her car to a stop, rolled down her window and shouted, “Hey! Are you going to the march?”

Jake and I had the three girls with us, and before either of us could respond, the girls happily told the lady we were. “Thank you!” she yelled. “I’m so proud of you all!”

A few minutes later, the bus turns onto the street and we were relieved. It was well overdue and we were nervous we weren’t going to make it in time. Then we saw that it was full. To the brim. The message flashing on the bus’ front sign “Drop offs only.”  My heart sank. There was no way we were getting downtown by car. The bus was our only option at that point.

As I was giving Jake the “what do we do now?” look, the bus driver stops, opens the door and yells- “Hey! Do you guys want to squeeze in?”

“Oh, uh, are you sure?”

“We are very full, but it breaks my heart to leave your girls out in the cold. We can make room. Come on in.” (more…)

Stitch Fix #3: The Leaves are Changing….

Alright, so before I start in on showing you all the goods from this Stitch Fix, I confess. This is not related to my #write31days them. at all. But, I’m using it as today’s post anyway, so whatever. Writing is writing, right? 🙂 If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click on my #blessed: ordinary days image in the sidebar to see what I’ve been writing about this month!

Now, onto the Fix.

For this month’s box, I requested one pair of skinny pants and the rest shirts. My stylist, Kayla, totally delivered.

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Lizzy Colorblock Striped Sweater

I had been pinning a lot of shirts that had 2 different designs on them, so I can see why Kayla picked this one for me. The sweater is super soft (and warm!) and the arms were only a tad bit too long.

Dayna Skinny Jean

Perfect pair of jeans AGAIN! We’re 3 for 3 in the jeans department! I have spent hours and hours of my life looking for jeans that fit me, and never have I found pairs that fit as well as these last 3. It’s amazing that a stylist who doesn’t even know me can use the measurements I gave her and get ones that fit like a glove. This alone makes Stitch Fix 100% worth it to me.

 

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Lodi Crew Neck Blouse

I asked Kayla to send me some petite shirts if she found them, and this is one of them. It fit really well, and while I still have a bit of a plaid hangover from the years 1994-1996, I told Kayla I was ready to experiment with some plaid after seeing my sister-in-law’s way cute stitch fix from earlier this summer. The shirt fit me SO WELL, but, it’s pretty thin, and Wisconsin winter is a-comin’. Sending it back.

Martina Slub Knit Open Cardigan

I have been searching high and low for cardigans that I like. I have a bunch of the shorter cardigans that button up, but I’m looking for open, longer cardigans with no buttons. This black one fits the bill, but I haven’t decided if I’m keeping it or not. It’s long, which I love, and soft, which I also love. But it might just a wee bit too big- the sleeves are super long. I wish it came in petite!

 

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Cotulla Button Back Sweater

Lastly, I had practically begged Kayla to send me something, anything(!), with patches on the elbows. I love, love this style and was so excited that she sent me a warm soft sweater in a great color with the patches AND bonus buttons down the back (I think I have a sweater liked this pinned to my Style board!). Sadly, it’s too big– the patches fall on my forearms. Why, oh why do my arms have to be so short? Sending it back reluctantly.

So that’s it, my friends! I just love how responsive my stylist has been to my requests, and she’s worked really hard to find things that match the styles of the board. Because I’m so short, I’m sure I make her job harder than normal :).

My next box comes in January (I do it 4x per year- one with each changing of the seasons). If you’d like to try Stitch Fix out in the meantime, feel free to use my referral link! 🙂 

 

How to Make Personalized Back-to-School Photos

Families around the country have been snapping pictures of their kids on the first day of school for years. 90% of these photos seem to happen on the home’s front stoop.

In our family, it’s no different. Fifteen minutes before departure time, we line the kids up and snap pictures of their sweet faces in front of our door.

How to Make (easy) Amazing Back-to-School Photos

Each year, I like to add a little extra information to help me remember what they were into (and what they weren’t). For fun I even sometimes make one for my husband who is a PhD student ;). 

To create these great memories, I use the free online editing tool- PicMonkey.

1. I upload the photo by going to “edit” and then “computer.”

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2. After choosing the photo I want to edit, I’m ready to add some text. (more…)

The Family Reading List {Summer 2016}

The Family Reading List

Welcome to the Family Reading List!

Each month I’ll be sharing a list of recommended books for kids. This carefully curated list will come straight from our bookshelves and will answer the question I get asked all the time- What are my kids reading and loving? I’ll not only feature one book from each kid’s list per month, but I’ll also give a short list of other books we highly recommend. Some of these books will be ones the kids read on their own. Others will be ones we listen to in the car or read aloud at night before bed.

I’m circling the kids into this series of fun monthly posts, and they’re already excited about sharing their recommendations. Who knows, they may even show up in some video recommendations in the future!

And of course, please feel free to leave book recommendations in the comments! We often find our next books to read through the recommendations of other families.

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What I’m Reading {Summer 2016}

What I'm Reading (summer)

For many readers, summer is the time to put a dent in the reading list. The pace of life is a bit slower, and who doesn’t love the opportunity to sit on the beach or lay in a hammock, enjoying the beautiful weather while taking in a good book?

This summer wasn’t really like that for me. I spent most of my days inside working. And my weekends were spent out and about with the family sans books.

Weirdly enough, TV-watching played a big part in my night-time routine, crowding out my normal reading rhythm. Between American Ninja Warrior, the Olympics, and re-watching Gilmore Girls, I found myself not having energy to read more than a chapter before lights out each night. BUT. But. but. In spite of Netflix trying to ruin my life, I did manage to get through a few books that I highly recommend. 


Evicted

Matthew Desmond

Evicted is a book that our city is reading and discussing this fall; author Matthew Desmond is an alum of the UW. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I picked this one up, but it didn’t take me long to get hooked into the stories of Scott and Arleen and several other families whose lives have been deeply affected by the ever-present reality of eviction. Desmond is a master storyteller- he helps readers to see the heartbreaking and surprisingly complex situations that many of these families who have been evicted have gone through. I don’t think I’ll ever think about poverty and housing the same. My recommendation, if you pick up this book, be sure to read through the About This Project portion at the end. Reading about how Matthew did the research, and also his ideas for helping to solve the housing crisis in America, is well worth the read.

 

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Stitch Fix #2: Summer Lovin’

In April I took the plunge into the Stitch Fix world and had an overall positive experience. I was surprised how much I liked it, and how the clothes fit my petite frame so well! I kept a perfect pair of jeans and a super cute dress – both of which I wear often.

This month I received Stitch Fix #2. Here’s what was in my box:

OneMarket Toree Maxi Dress

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Abdella Stone Layering Necklace

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Papermoon Wayland Racerback Top

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Market & Spruce Colibri Polka Dot Print Top

polka dot

 

Kut from the Kloth Kate Distressed Boyfriend Jean

Scan 1

 

What I loved:

 

The Boyfriend Jean.DSC_5886

I wasn’t sure about the boyfriend jean style. I’m not a big fan of super baggy pants (generally super baggy doesnt look awesome on short people, but instead makes us look shorter, if that’s even possible). BUT, after a little research on the boyfriend jean, I decided that this guy has a place in my closet :). I wouldn’t want another pair, but I think the jean will serve my style needs well. The length is great, they aren’t TOO baggy, and if I really want to, I can just leave the legs rolled down because I think it looks totally fine!

The Polka Dot Print Top.

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I love, love, love, the length. I’m a fan of polka dots, and my wardrobe can certainly benefit from a bit of navy. I think I’d like to pair it with some navy leggings at some point for a comfy around the house casual outfit. I can also dress it up with the jeans I received from Stitch Fix #1 (in the picture) and wear them to work!

The necklace.DSC_5888

I’m not a huge gold fan, but I liked the turquoise necklace. However, I just don’t have a whole lot to wear with this necklace. Since it was meant to go with the racerback top that I decided not to keep, I figured I should probably return the necklace too.

 

What I didn’t love:

The racerback topDSC_5886

This top was a little too big, and the cut seemed a bit crooked at the bottom (which was probably intentional but it would have driven me crazy). Plus, the top background color of the shirt didn’t look great with my fair skin tone. Back to Stitch Fix it went.

The dress.

DSC_5900Ick. The color totally washed me out. The dress was much too long (even though it was a petite version!). On a positive note, I decided to give a maxi dress/skirt a try at the store the next time I shopped. I originally thought a maxi skirt was a giant fashion mistake because of my height, but I don’t think it made me look any shorter!

 

What I’m doing now to help make my next Stitch Fix even better:

In my style profile, I had said that I only wanted petite-fit bottoms and not petite-fit tops. After receiving this fix, I went in and changed it to include petite tops as well. Hopefully that will give me better luck!

My next fix won’t be until October (I’m scheduling them for 4x per year- once for each season), so I’ll be sure to update my Pinterest style board with fall styles I love, as well as make sure that I tell my styler what I’m looking for. This time around I didn’t give her any requests beyond my Pinterest board because I didnt really have anything in mind. However, I LOVE fall and winter clothes, so I’m more excited about particular pieces to ask for!

If you’d like to give it a try, feel free to use my referral link— for each person who schedules a fix, I get a $25 credit!