A BLOG ABOUT A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING

Friday, October 30, 2015

October 2015 Stitch Fix Review

Greetings from the end of our super busy work week.

So much happened this week. In addition to all my normal work week stuff, somehow, I managed to:
a.) grade all American Literature midterms, essays, and a discussion board
b.) grade all of my Composition I midterms
c.) prep a comma workshop and teach two sessions of the workshop to a total of a 160 students
d.) train seven new tutors to work in the writing center
e.) mostly finish my conference paper (keyword: mostly),
and f.) prep my substitute for my Monday classes since we will be at the conference in Nashville, TN.

Did I mention I was tired?

When I came home today, I was excited to see a Stitch Fix package on my doorstep. For those of you that do not know what Stitch Fix is, you can read my first review of it here. If you decide to schedule a fix based on my review, please use my personal referral link to do so, and I will much appreciate the referral credit.

 This was my 7th Stitch Fix since I started using the service in February 2014.


My fix looked really promising this time, and I was excited to get to trying things on.

Up first was the Bryant top:


I thought this top was really cute, and Brendan said I looked skinny in it, so it was an obvious win! This was a keeper.

Next up was the Corinna Stripped Dolman Top:


My reaction to this was that it fits me nicely, but it is nothing special. I already have so much navy in my wardrobe too. I would have kept it if all my other items worked out nicely, just to get the 25% keep all discount, but that didn't end up happening, so this was a return for me.

Next was the Lauderdale Knit Cardigan:


Oh, Stitch Fix. They really want me to love oversize cardigans, but I just don't. The color is pretty, but this cardigan is the kind that you can't button, and I feel like it just hangs awkwardly and isn't as figure flattering as it could be. As soft as it was, it was still a return. 

I was so excited to try on this Juniper Dress because I loved the pattern when I saw it, and the dress is uber soft: 


But, no. I swear this dress has some kind of defect because the bottom and top are sewn to make that yellow stripe out of alignment. It's also pretty darn baggy for a small. This was a definite return. Too bad. At least I learned to write "No elastic waist dresses" on my style profile. They seem to just cinch in the wrong places on me. 

Finally, could the Thea Printed Dress be a success for me? 


You know, it's cute, but it's not amazing. The elastic waistband is still hitting at an awkward place on my body. Plus, this dress just kind of looks like something I would find at Target in the summer. I buy clothes at Target all the time, so I'm not dissing Target. I'm just saying that the dress looks really mainstream and not like anything special. The colors also remind me of summer, not fall. It was a return. 

So, in the end, I only kept one item, but it was a free item thanks to your referral credits :) I scheduled another fix for before Thanksgiving, so we'll see if the stylist does a better job next time. The service is fun, but it can be hit or miss. If I had once piece of advice for Stitch Fix, I would make it to let stylists stick with their customers fix after fix. If I had once piece of advice for you, it would be to make a Pinterest board and link to it from your style profile. Also, make sure all of your measurements stay super up to date. 

Have you tried a Stitch Fix this month? Did you like what you received? 

We are off to Nashville bright and early tomorrow. Please wish us safe travels! 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Erin Condren 2016 Life Planner Review + Coupon

Greetings from the most exhausting week of my semester. How tired am I? Two examples: 1.) Last night, I filled my contact case with solution, but I left my right eye contact on the counter where it dried up and was ruined. 2.) My 2016 Erin Condren life planner, which I spent nine days obsessively tracking, arrived yesterday afternoon, but I was too tired to even open it until I took a nap.

(Note: I purchased my life planner, and my opinion is not solicited by EC. If you decide to purchase products based on reading my review, use my referral link to save $10.00, and I will much appreciate the $10 referral credit).

Everyone that knows me knows my life planner is a BIG DEAL. Why? Because I hardly shut up about it. Seriously, I tell anyone that will listen all about this thing. On paper organization is my jam, and I don't care for the world of technology based organization. I love to do lists, colored pens, and stickers; basically, I am a seven year old at heart. When my 2014-2015 life planner arrived, I felt like I had found my organization solution, and I was right. I have been using my planner for a year, and I can highly recommend it to anyone that prefers checking off a to do list and needs to see a spacial visual of each week.

A 12 month planner from EC is $50 while remaining months of 2015 added to the planner is $55. They are running a special for 25% off everything right now (code: FRIENDS25), so, using the code + $10 discount, you could nab a 2016 planner for $27.50 + $7.95 for shipping. Not bad!
Without further delay, here is a peak of my 2016 planner.

First, I love how EC always packages my orders like a gift.


This year, I went with the life in little squares design. I was able to get a lot of my favorite people and memories on my cover. For me, it evokes calm and happy feelings.


My current planner has 15 months (18 month planners debut every July), and I was actually excited to get a smaller 12 month option. It made the planner a little less bulky. The only downside is that I'm so excited about the new one, but I have to wait to start using it.

Here is a comparison photo, with the new planner on the left and the old planner on the right.


The same color coded months tabs are still in place. Side note: a snap in bookmark is still included, I just didn't get a photo of it. 


Inside, the new design has a vellum overlay and room to write name and contact information on the first page. In my opinion, this was an upgrade from last year's inside the front cover space, since my sharpie writing smeared and rubbed off as time went on last year. 


Next, July 2015-December 2016 at a glance: 


Followed by this new addition. Cheesey? Yes, but I will probably use this space to write my goals at the start of each month. 


Also new, each month now begins with a page for notes and a quote page. The notes section at the back is smaller now. I'll probably use these pages to write notes that are month specific/not notes I will need to refer to after the month is over. 


The calendar looks basically the same. I'm actually going to be replacing each "Goal" segment on the side with check boxes for monthly bills. 


The weekly views are the heart of the planner for me. The squares no longer say "morning," "afternoon," and "evening," so now, people could write things like "home," "work," and "school," or whatever they want. Still, I use my boxes to represent before noon, noon-5pm, and after 5pm. This system works great for me. On the left hand side, I make a big long weekly to do list (which I usually write out every Sunday evening). At the bottom, I usually just make notes, but you could use those spaces for meal plans, tracking exercise, or whatever. New this year is the "thankful thought" box in the top left corner. I really like the idea of filling one in every week! 

New this year, customers have the option of buying a horizontal design, which gives a lot more space for writing. This isn't something I find myself needing, but I think I'd use the horizontal design if I were a student writing down homework assignments and such. 


As mentioned earlier, the notes section is smaller this year, but I honestly never filled last year's section completely anyway. It also includes graph paper this year, which I'm a little too excited for. I want to use this to track participation in my online class. Yes, I can get this information from the computer, but it will actually make me see faster who is falling behind (rather than having to click and scroll). 


Lined and black pages complete the notes section. I plan to use these for work notes, frequently called extensions, and a professional development log + reminders like gift ideas and book, music, and movie recommendations.



The 2017 at a glance calendar is in the back. I find myself referencing the next year's calendar pretty frequently. For example, when I find out about weddings that are in the next year, I like to circle the dates and make a little note to myself. 


The four pages of stickers are back. I like the addition of the "Vote" sticker. I also like this year's color selection better than last year's. After these stickers, there are two pages of black stickers, one in each set of the colors shown. 



This year's folder is more high quality than last year's. 


The perpetual calendar was included again. I still have last year's, so I might use these pages in a different way. Not sure yet, but I'm excited to ponder it. 


I liked this year's freebies better too (a coil clip, dot stickers, and compliment cards). They are all included in the clear pouch at the back. I like to use the pouch for carrying business cards and hair ties (two things I don't like to find myself without!). I had some issues ordering this year (my pictures wouldn't align correctly), so the company also sent me a package of three dry erase dividers for free. I think I'll use them to write meal plans, grocery lists, and student accommodations on. When I no longer need the info, I can just use rubbing alcohol to erase the sharpie. 


I also ordered some stickers and a set of colored pens: 


Later, I found out there are entire Etsy shops dedicated to planner stickers. Um, our entire savings account was in jeopardy (just kidding...sort of). Another post about stickers later (I promise, Stephen). 

Anyway, now that I have my life planner, I'm going to enjoy writing down all my 2016 plans. I hope that however you choose to organize your life, you have as much fun doing it as I do! 
<3 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Half Time + Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

Happy Sunday Funday, everyone! This weekend marks our "half time," as we are exactly halfway through the semester. My flex course (8 week course) is finished, and final grades were submitted on Friday. It seems impossible to believe, but I'm starting a new class tomorrow morning and giving a midterm in my 16 week class. This past week, I have graded: 62 essays, 53 quizzes, 20 discussion board submissions, and 32 lab assignments; I'm also 7 pages into writing a paper of my own. Brendan spent about 30 hours designing an online course and graded 20 essays this week. Needless to say, we are mentally exhausted.

I'm also physically exhausted. I have been faithful to my current workout plan of working out 5-6 times a week, every week, for 11 weeks now (though I missed one week back when I was sick in week 2 of the semester). As a result, I am sore every day, but I feel great. I'm proud of myself for sticking with it, even when work gets busy and stressful. Overall, I'm really loving my current routine, and I'm appreciating my body for all it can do. I've definitely found this regular routine to be a key to my happiness.

As a result of my increased workouts, I'm really working on increasing my protein (which is hard in a mostly vegetarian diet). Brendan made us breakfast today around 10am, and at lunchtime, we were both grading, so I blended us Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothies. At 261 calories and 23 grams of protein per smoothie, they make for a good and easy meal replacement.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie 
Here is the recipe for 1 serving:
1 cup 1% milk
1/2 scoop protein powder (we use Bluebonnet Chocolate Whey Protein)
1/2 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 frozen banana
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup ice
Blend until smooth.
It takes 5 minutes to make, and it tastes like a chocolate peanut butter milkshake. In other words, it's amazing.

Here is the breakfast Brendan made:


And here are my grading buddies: 

I've actually had good grading luck lately: all of my flex students can move into 1301 (which has NEVER happened), and my latest round of papers revealed no late work, no plagiarism, and all grades of C or higher. I told you guys I had a good feeling about this semester, and I guess my instincts were right. Sometimes, you just get lucky! 

In other weekend news, we went to the drive in last night to see Crimson Peak. It wasn't Guillermo del Toro's best ever movie, but we both really enjoyed it. It has a gothic, fun setting, and the actors did exceptional work, (especially Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain). I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars. We stayed late for The Intern, which was so terrible it was entertaining. None of the characters felt like real people, but rather just representations of ideas. The screenwriting led to some cringe worthy "no one really acts this way" dialogue, and only two scenes of the entire movie were even funny. I don't know what went wrong here--Robert De Niro is cute and likable, but Anne Hathaway is just, once again, playing Anne Hathaway. With the exception of her performance in Les Miserables, I haven't seen her show any range, and this one is no exception. I give it 1.5 out of 5 stars. At least we only paid the price of one movie ticket and got to enjoy the swings!



Friday night (I'm going backwards here), Brendan made BBQ Tofu with potatoes and beans, and we shared a bottle of my favorite wine and watched Shark Tank and 20/20. 


Lately, all this stuff (cooking, drive in movies, work, and cleaning up around the house) is basically our weekend routine, but I honestly love it. The weeks are crazy, so it's nice to just slow down a little. We took a walk today, and it dawned on me that fall is really here. We did have highs of 90/91 this past week, but I think it's pretty safe to say that will be the last of the 90s. Today, it was 79 degrees and sunny. It was fun to get out in the neighborhood and see all of the changes and progress that the builders have made. Our subdivision looks so big now!

Well, I'm off to help Brendan with dinner and enjoy the last of the weekend (it goes too fast!) Wish me luck tomorrow as I start the new class; if it goes as fast as the first 8 weeks, I may need prayers too!

<3

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My Second Fabletics Review + Chocolate Cherry Protein Smoothie

I'm definitely enjoying my Fabletics (Kate Hudson's workout clothing line) membership. For those of you that missed my first review back in May, here is the deal:

Fabletics is a membership program. On the first of every month, the company releases a line of new workout outfits, priced between $49.95  and $69.95. You take a short survey, and they make recommendations based on how you typically workout (yoga, running, gym, etc.), but you will be able to see all the options. If you select an outfit, you will be billed for the price of the outfit. You also have the option to skip the month, not receive an outfit, and not be billed, but you must do so by the 5th of the month. If you make no selection by the 5th of the month, they will automatically charge your credit card $49.95 and you will have a "credit" to use on outfits. I write these dates down in my planner, and I haven't had any trouble keeping up with the system, but I know some people find this annoying. Of course, you can call the company and cancel at any time. 



If you read my review and decide to sign up, you can get 1/2 off your first outfit by using this referral link.  I am not being paid or offered freebies to write this review, but I would get a $10 referral credit if you use my personal link to sign up. 

This month, I picked the Kokako outfit. It came with a top and compression capris. I've basically been wearing the same three pairs of capris that I own to barre and yoga five times a week, so I was really happy to add another pair to my wardrobe. 




I really love this outfit. It is comfortable and performs perfectly in my barre class. Because the pants were labeled "maximum compression," I decided to size up to a medium, and I'm glad that I did. I love the colors, the side detail in the pants, and how soft the shirt is. I was also able to use points that I earned from past purchases and writing reviews to order a pair of yoga socks for free. I felt that this was a really good value for $49.95, and as I have said before, the clothing is in line with the same quality that you would get from Athleta or similar stores, but it truly is a better deal (at Athleta, on sale capris run between $36-$51, and that would be for capris only). 

Overall, I would recommend Fabletics. Like Stitch Fix, it isn't something that I want to order every single month, but I've been really dedicated to my workouts since August, so it was nice to reward myself with a nice workout outfit. 

If you do decide to sign up using the link, I highly recommend waiting until November 1st. You will have a better selection to pick from, since none of the outfits will be sold out yet. 

And now, The Chocolate Cherry Protein Smoothie Recipe 
In a blender, blend: 
1 cup of low fat milk 
1/2 cup frozen dark cherries 
1/2 frozen banana 
1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder (I use bluebonnet) 
1/2 cup ice



How good is it? It is SO good. Both of us agree: 5 out of 5 stars, and it takes all of 5 minutes to make. It was my pre-yoga snack today, and I loved it. 

Happy hump day everyone! 
<3 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Amanda & Matt's Wedding Weekend

New Orleans provided the perfect backdrop for Matt and Amanda's wedding weekend. As expected, there was great food and music and a big ole' party! After 8.5 years of knowing and loving Matt, it was awesome for him to officially become part of the family. The love these two have for one another is adorable and inspiring. I love them both, and I was so happy to be a part of their wedding. They have amazing professional pictures, which I'm sure they will share on their own blog later (after they finish conquering Italy for two weeks), but what I have is memories and some snapshots from my phone.

This first photo is one of my favorites. We were getting ready for the wedding rehearsal at Amanda's house, and it occurred to me that we had many great memories here from growing up. I remember making "do it yourself" facials out of random kitchen ingredients. Now, here we were sharing make-up and getting ready for Amanda's wedding rehearsal. I was surprised by how emotional I felt. When did we grow up?!


The wedding rehearsal was at Amanda's church and the dinner was hosted by Matt's mom Sandy and her husband Chris. It was such a wonderful event, and I loved all the Pinterest inspired details.




The food was delicious (both Louisiana and Texas inspired), but I also loved hearing all the toasts. I captured some of the best Amanda expressions ever.


Amanda and Matt were surrounded by love and well wishes for a happy marriage. Everyone in attendance was emotional. Well, Ana (the flower girl) seemed mostly excited!


At the end of the evening, we all got the best surprise. New Orleans style snowballs! I got chocolate, Brendan got coffee, and we mixed our flavors together. They were so good! I was on Instagram all night. These two thought of the best hashtags ever! #addingananthony and #hepickedafig, which both play on their last names.



I don't have any photos from the ceremony because well, I was in it! But I will say it was one of the loveliest I ever attended. Amanda's sister and maid of honor, Elena, sang beautifully. I loved the readings that they selected, and they had people from both of their church communities involved in the ceremony. The church is absolutely gorgeous; I felt so safe and peaceful there. I really could feel the protection and love that was enveloping Matt and Amanda. It was very sacred and special. Here is a photo that my mom took before the ceremony began:


I got my little cousin to snap this photo of Brendan and I after the ceremony.


Then my mom took a few of us with the "little" cousins. They are all getting so tall and grown up.



My mom snapped this picture during formal photography, but I love it because it shows how happy Amanda and Matt looked right after their ceremony:


After the ceremony, all the family got to ride in a special private streetcar.


Fancy times!
I took a video during Amanda and Matt's first dance, so I didn't get a photo, but here is the father daughter dance:


After all the dances, Amanda's girlfriends participated in a "cake pull" tradition. We each pulled a different charm out of her cake, and it was a surprise which charm we would get and what it would represent.


I drew a cute little house charm, and the fortune said a move was in my future. I hope not since we just bought a house in January! The cake pull was a really fun tradition though. I love my charm and can add it to my bracelet! Up next, Amanda and Matt cut their beautiful cake. It was a DELICIOUS wedding cake.


After this, there were toasts and then lots of dancing. Even the boys danced and serenaded Amanda. I mean, was I still singing some of the songs played at the wedding today at the grocery store? Yes, yes I was. It was a darn good party. So good that I didn't have time to take many photos.


After the reception, we went to the afterparty at the Hotel Roosevelt. We were there pretty late and caught an early flight out of New Orleans the next morning.


Needless to say, we were quite tired yesterday (and students are always happy to point out when we "look tired." Thanks guys!)

Anyway, I'm signing off to get some rest, but we're wishing Amanda and Matt a happy honeymoon in Italy! Keep them in your thoughts for safe travels and a most memorable trip.

<3

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