Thursday, August 18, 2016

One of the things I absolutely love about getting my monthly Stitch Fix are the sweet notes I get from my stylist.  Tiffany is my current stylist.  The first two fixes were 0 for 2. I knew the best way to receive better fixes was to update my Pinterest Boards.  I spent some time updating my boards and the next two fixes were fabulous!  While I really liked this fix, I also stuck to my budget and only kept one item.

What is Stitch Fix?
Stitch Fix is a monthly service where you receive a stylist and he/she sends you "Fixes."   You sign up, fill out the Style Profile, and then pay $20 as a styling fee. Stitch Fix sends you clothes that match up with your profile.  Within the profile there is a place to link your Pinterest account. This helps the stylist see what styles you like.  If you purchase something, the $20 is applied against your purchase. If you do not purchase anything, then the $20 is forfeited as a "styling fee."

This month's Stitch Fix!

CeCe by Cynthia Steffe
Mieko Dress - $128

The colors in this dress are absolutely stunning.  The teal, corals and orange simply made the dress incredible beautiful.  The dress was lightweight and very comfortable.  What I did not like about the dress was that it really hung on me and did not do a lot for my shape.  I also could not get over the price of $128. It was out of the budget. I have a lot of dresses and since I didn't love this one, I could not keep it.  Verdict: Returned

41 Hawthorn
Sugar Dot Print Dress - $74

When I went on my Pinterest Pinning frenzy, this is one of the dresses I pinned for my stylist to find for me.  The gal that I pinned wore this dress so well. I unfortunately did not have the same luck.  Since I am a little bigger chested the top fit very tight on me. The polka dots were not as cute as I had hoped.  However, this dress is very versatile. I do like that it is work friendly, great for weddings or even Sunday church. Unfortunately, because of the fit it was not a keeper for me. Verdict: Returned

Daniel Rainn
Kurkova Crochet Detail Blouse -$64

I am an absolute sucker for anything sheer and floral. I usually get something like this top in nearly every one of my Stitch Fix boxes.  The crochet detail on the neckline is gorgeous.  The darts on the side are also crocheted and created an illusion of a smaller waist line. (Of course I LOVED that!).  The top is definitely my style and something I would wear on a daily basis. However, last month I kept a sheer floral blouse.  Plus with a $64 price tag, I gave this one back to Stitch Fix.  Verdict: Returned

Collective Concepts
Elisa Faux Wrap Dress - $78

When I first saw this and it had a little elastic in the waist, I knew this would NEVER fit.  Then I tried it on and fell madly in love with it.  It is a little shorter dress, so I grabbed a pair of my favorite black leggings and bam!  This outfit is perfection. The colors are goregous, very fall like.  I really like the way the waist fits and how it has the "faux wrap" but also has a snap closure so I stay professional but put together.  Verdict: KEEP!

Sweet Grey
Carlisle Mixed Material Top - $78
Confession. I peeked!  When you receive your shipping notification you can essentially "peek" to see what is in your fix. (The App is even better as it shows pictures of the clothes!).  When I saw this top, I immediately thought, no way. Tacky. Ugly. Not me at all.  Then I pulled it out of the box and started warming up to it.  Next, I put it on and felt how soft it was paired with my leggings.  I felt like I was in my PJs but entirely put together.  I immediately put this on the "maybe" list.  "Maybe" because you never know with Stitch Fix pricing.  And then I saw it. $78 for what feel like a fancy long sleeve t-shirt.  I could not justify it.   
Verdict: Returned.

I think the element of surprise (okay even if I peek) is always the most exciting part of Stitch Fix.  Someone else is picking what they think you will love and what may look great on you. It's fun to step outside of the box and try something different.  While I may only keep one or two things each fix, I still enjoy having (new) clothes and those that are different from everyone else.  Consider giving Stitch Fix a try!!

Stitch Fix carries sizes XS-XL and 0-14 as well as both maternity and petite.  (They have shoes now too!).  It's not age or body specific, they do try to meet your tastes and likes! If you're interested, here is my referral link. I receive a $25 credit for you signing up and once you sign up you can have other friends sign up under your personal link. (The credit isn't applied until the first box ships!)


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Exploring: Afton, MN

One of my favorite small towns to visit is Afton, MN.  Just across the river (and a little ways down the road) from Hudson is another great little river town! 

Most of my day trips are spent doing one of two things, eating or shopping.  My trip to Afton is no different.  What started as an innocent afternoon outing earlier this Spring, has turned into a complete crush on a small town.  

My current go to shop in Hastings, Eye Candy (see Hastings Exploring), has a sister shop in Afton. I set out to photograph the crap out of it because I love the place and the owner is completely badass.   I think everyone I know should go support local businesses like Eye Candy.  EXCEPT, I found out after I photographed but before I posted, that Eye Candy is closing its doors in Afton.  So bittersweet!  While I'm super pumped that these awesome ladies are going to continue to do great things with their Hastings store, I'm so bummed they won't be open in Afton anymore!! 

Just across the street tucked behind Baglio's (clothing/chocolate) is The Foundry.  We stumbled upon the Foundry on one of our many trips to Afton.   The porch outside of the shop is SO inviting!  I just adore this store.  Whenever you walk in, the lovely ladies are always so kind and helpful.  I am still trying to convince them to come to my house and stage it.  You will find industrial/modern/french/farmhouse style home goods in the store. Some things are new, some are home made, some are upcycled.  The store is so well put together!  Oneof my favorite items are their picture frames!  Their unique sizes make for a perfect addition to a gallery wall!.  Stop in and check them out.  You will love it!!

Just down the street from the Foundry is a little Red house.   When you first drive by (as you'll see in the photos) you may simply think this is a residence.  Let me assure you, this is not a normal house!  Open the last weekend of the month and during special Vintage Crawl weekends, this house comes to life and is called Dwell!  Vendors take up on the front lawn, and turn this house into a gorgeous shop.  Inside you will find furniture, photos, lights, pictures, desks, knick-knacks, globes, maps, jewelry, candles and son on!  During the Vintage Crawl weekends there are food trucks. It's quite the site to see and a great reason to travel to Afton!! 


Vintage Lights/Rake/Shelving

Handcrafted Table and Rehabbed chairs

If after shopping you are starving or simply need a cocktail, Afton also has several restaurants where you can sit down and relax.  What makes them even better is most of them have great little outdoor patios!  Nothing beats sitting outside on a great summer day here in the MN/WI area!

Restaurants in Afton: 


Lumberyard Pub


And by FAR the best reason to come to Afton?  Selma's.  Selma's Ice Cream has been a staple in Afton for years (they were closed for a while, but reopened in 2012).

George and I took advantage of a little afternoon sunshine and stopped and picked up some ice cream and then headed over to the park.

I love getting to venture out to small towns close to home!  It has been so great exploring towns both new and old, meeting new people and finding some great little shops and restaurants along the way.  Where should we go next??




Monday, August 1, 2016

August Goals

I always admire other bloggers who post their "goals" for the month. I did the ONCE. Yes. one time and it was like 2 years ago - and who knows if I even remotely came close to accomplishing them. Let's just go with probably not.  I've been really trying to push myself with writing so why not set some goals, right? 

My goals.. For August... 

This is the dirt pile in our front yard...

1. Landscaping.   We have been working on this landscaping since we moved in.  Last summer I pulled a ton of pavers out of the front yard with the hopes to plant grass by fall.  That never happened and this is what our front yard looks like now.  (I cannot wait for another year to show the ENTIRE progression of start to finish!).

2.  Running.  My running has been so limited because of my back injury. However, I can start running again (slowly) by adding some biking and other low impact activities.  I only have 1 race scheduled for August and it's a 5K this weekend (Gopher to Badger).  Last year I was in top shape and ran a great 1/2. This year I'll be cheering on all the runners looking forward to my next one! (Which I swore last year was my last... but hoping to do Grandma's in 2018 and MAYBE gopher to badger 2017?!)

3.  Cleaning/Organizing/eBaying. I am a clothes hoarder.  This has been a bit of a revelation as I've gained and lost (and gained) weight. I cover up with new clothes.  So I'm slowly paring down my closet and selling my shit high quality clothes (several with tags) that I couldn't live without and have never worn :)  Typical, right?

4. Weddings.  Not mine. HA HA HA.  Two of them.  One which happens to be on my favorite weekend of the year.  Adam is in one so we'll be doing wedding festivities all weekend the last weekend in August.  They will both be fun :)

5.  Pub Crawling.  Erin Adams's Hargrove's 10th Annual Polar Pub Crawl (North St Paul, MN) is this upcoming weekend.  I can't even handle that it's been 10 years since she started her pub crawl.  There have been a lot of fun memories, and some not so fun memories (headstands and card cheaters) okay that fits in both columns :)   We haven't made it to all 10 but are really excited about making it this year.  

6.  Pepper Fest See #4.  My favorite weekend of the ENTIRE year is in North Hudson, WI.  I grew up down the street from Pepper Fest and L-O-V-E going every single year!!  This year will be cut short by a wedding ...ahem... please be considerate and check a calendar next year folks... j/k.  Parades, Italian Food, Beer, Music, and old friends!  What more could you ask for?  (Pepper Eating Contest, Spaghetti eating contest, a 5k/10K race, rides for the kids, bags tournaments... ) Seriously, one of the best summer get togethers around!! 

7. Help Dad.  Dad is having knee replacement surgery August 15th.. So while he's pretty humble about his health and what's going on, he is going to need his army behind him for this one!  While I'll be covering most days and a few nights, the rest of the family will be helping as well.  So grateful for all that he has done for us and am so happy to be able to give back and help him :)  

Grandpa and George taking Sam for a walk

8. Unpack.  Seriously.  We STILL have boxes at Adam's parents... and we STILL have several unpacked boxes in our basement.  I think until we actually paint and get each room the way we like it, we will have boxes of stuff just waiting to make its debut!

9. Go to Church.  I am baptized and confirmed Catholic but have never felt as connected as I once was in Arizona (99-01).  I recently went to a funeral (good time to think about your Faith) and admired how connected the Pastor is to the community.  The following Sunday George and I went to service and the minute we sat down, the pastor walked over and introduced himself. I felt welcomed and knew that was where I needed to be.  George and I have been going to church the past few weekends there and plan to continue going. 

10.  Be in the moment.  That was last week's church message.  Just appreciate where you are when you are there.  Put the phone down. Put your tablet down.  Put any and all distractions aside and simply live in that moment.  How often do we meet a friend for coffee, or take our kids to the park only to find ourselves with our heads buried in our phones or thinking about something else?  I AM SO GUILTY!!!   I am trying to simply put my phone down and enjoy a few minutes of whatever it is I'm doing. Simply be.  

11. Live in front of the Camera.  I read a blog post another woman wrote, where she recognized that she was capturing all of her children's milestone moments but was never visible in any of them. She was behind the camera.  There was nothing to show that while the child blew out his birthday candles and opened presents she was there.  She was taking the pictures.  This hit home with me. I was looking for a recent picture of myself with George and my storage is maxed out but none of them have me in them.  So when I stumbled upon this it truly spoke to me. My goal is to post one picture a day for the next 365 on my Instagram Account.   Go check out my Instagram (shameless plug) @upnorthmama1 for my daily post of in front of the camera!

Dinner selfie - no filter, unedited.