Outfits of the Week: March 28-April 3

It’s time to show you my outfits of the week! We’re officially in April now and I’m very ready for spring. Also, starting this week, I’ll be telling you the style challenge I’m dressing for, as created by a Facebook Outfit of the Day group I’m in. It adds a whole new level of fun to putting outfits together! (I’ll leave it to you to decide how well I completed each challenge…)

Monday, March 28 challenge: Mini, midi, or maxi dress.

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Dress: London Times (Stitch Fix; same brand/style) | Cardigan: Loft (similar) | Flats: Oka-B in cobalt (here)

Tuesday, March 29 challenge: White bottoms and pastel top.

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Top: Simply Reese (similar) | Jeans: DL1961 (here) | Shoes: Toms (here)

Wednesday, March 30 challenge: Pinspiration (inspired by something you found on Pinterest – my inspiration here).

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Top: Market & Spruce (Stitch Fix; similar) | Cords: Loft (similar) | Flats: Comfy Soles (similar)

Thursday, March 31 challenge: All About Audrey (inspired by Audrey Hepburn – my inspiration was the first pic here).

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Top: Market & Spruce (Stitch Fix; similar) | Necklace: A mall in Reims, France (similar) | Jeans: Target (here) | Flats: Oka-B in sapphire (here)

Friday, April 1 challenge: April Fool’s Gold Day.

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Top: 19 Cooper (Stitch Fix; similar) | Cardigan: Target (similar) | Jeans: Target (here) | Flats: Oka-B in licorice (here)

Saturday, April 2 challenge: Bring Out the Blue (autism and child abuse awareness).

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Top: Collective Concepts (Stitch Fix; similar) | Jeans: DL1961 (here) | Flats: FFC New York (Stitch Fix; same brand)

Sunday, April 3 challenge: “Tweeding” Rainbow (tweed, lots of color, or book inspired).

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Top: Loft (similar) | Cardigan: Loft (similar) | Crops: Lila Ryan (Stitch Fix; similar) | Flats: Comfy Soles (similar)

Outfits of the Week: March 21-27

It’s time to show off the outfits I put together this past week. It was a particularly fun one, especially with Easter!

Monday, March 21: Work, musical tech rehearsal, and Bible study

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Top: Downeast (here) | Jacket: Just USA (Stitch Fix; same brand) | Jeans: Target (here) | Flats: Oka-B in kelly green (here)

Tuesday, March 22: Work and musical tech rehearsal

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Top: Loft (similar) | Earrings: Charlotte Russe (similar) | Scarf: (similar) | Jeans: DL1961 (here) | Shoes: Toms (here)

Wednesday, March 23: Work, musical tech rehearsal, and church choir rehearsal

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Top: Collective Concepts (Stitch Fix; similar) | Blazer: Market & Spruce (Stitch Fix; similar) | Necklace: Tiffany (here) | Pants: Margaret M (Stitch Fix; similar) | Flats: Oka-B in licorice (here)

Thursday, March 24: Work and Maundy Thursday

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Top: H&M (similar) | Jeans: Target (here) | Wedges: Clarks (here)

Friday, March 25: Work and Good Friday

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Top: Downeast (here) | Jacket: Just USA (Stitch Fix; same brand) | Necklace: Loft (similar) | Jeans: DL1961 (here) | Flats: Comfy Soles (similar)

Saturday, March 26: Lazy day and seeing the musical at school

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Top: Pixley (Stitch Fix; similar) | Jeans: Target (here) | Flats: Oka-B in orchid (here)

Sunday, March 27: Easter Sunday (He is risen!)

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Dress: 41 Hawthorn (Stitch Fix; similar) | Cardigan: Trio Boutique (similar) | Necklace: Tiffany (here) | Wedges: Clarks (here)

Outfits of the Week: March 14-20

It’s time to show off my outfits from the past week! Check out what I put together each day and for each occasion.

Monday, March 14: Early morning at work after returning from Anaheim the night before

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Top: Loft (similar) | Vest: Loft (similar) | Jeans: DL1961 (here) | Flats: Oka-B in licorice (here)

Tuesday, March 15: The ides of March! (and work)

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Top: Skies Are Blue (Stitch Fix; similar) | Jeans: DL1961 (here) | Flats: Comfy Soles (similar, so cute with the scallops!)

Wednesday, March 16: A day of work, followed by a band/choir concert

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Top: Downeast (here) | Blazer: Market & Spruce (Stitch Fix; similar) | Necklace: Tiffany (here) | Pants: Margaret M (Stitch Fix; similar) | Flats: Oka-B in licorice (here)

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Top: Collective Concepts (Stitch Fix; similar) | Blazer: Market & Spruce (Stitch Fix; similar) | Pants: Target (here) | Wedges: Clarks (here)

Thursday, March 17: St. Patrick’s Day! Work, apartment hunting, and out to dinner

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Dress: Pixley (Stitch Fix; similar) | Necklace: Trio Boutique (similar) | Flats: Oka-B in kelly green (here)

Friday, March 18: Work (actually movie day for most of my classes)

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Top: Alice Blue (Stitch Fix; similar) | Jeans: Target (here) | Wedges: Clarks (here)

Saturday, March 19: Church choir rehearsal and lunch with friends

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Top: Papermoon (Stitch Fix; similar) | Jeans: Target (here) | Shoes: Toms (here)

Sunday, March 20: Palm Sunday

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Dress: Nine West (similar) | Jacket: Just USA (Stitch Fix; same brand) | Necklace: Francesca’s (similar) | Flats: Comfy Soles (similar)

Outfits of the Week: March 7-13

Last week I launched a new blog series where I post my outfits from the previous week every Monday morning. Here are last week’s outfits, as well as what events I was dressing for.

Monday, March 7: Work and an evening rehearsal with my Wind Ensemble students

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Top: Loft (similar) | Necklace: Tiffany (here) | Pants: Margaret M (Stitch Fix; same brand) | Flats: Oka-B in mist (here)

Tuesday, March 8: Work

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Top: Kut From the Kloth (Stitch Fix; same brand) | Jeans: Target (here) | Flats: Oka-B in licorice (here)

Wednesday, March 9: Work and last-minute prep for our band trip to Anaheim (I was very stressed and needed some pops of color!)

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Top: Pixley (Stitch Fix; similar) | Jeans: Target (here) | Flats: Oka-B in orchid (here)

Thursday, March 10: Travel day to Anaheim with 85 middle and high school band students

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Top: Market & Spruce (Stitch Fix; similar) | Jeans: Level 99 (same style here) | Flats: Oka-B in licorice (here)

Friday, March 11: Conducting my groups at a band festival

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Top: H&M (similar) | Cardigan: Target (similar) | Pants: Target (here) | Wedges: Clarks (here)

Saturday, March 12: Day at Disneyland!

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Top: Daniel Rainn (Stitch Fix; similar) | Jacket: School staff jacket | Jeans: DL1961 (here) | Flats: Oka-B in licorice (here)

Sunday, March 13: Travel home from Anaheim

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Top: Downeast (here) | Cardigan: Target (similar) | Jeans: DL1961 (here) | Flats: Oka-B in licorice (here)

Stay tuned next week to see what I can put together for another school week, including St. Patrick’s Day and a band/choir concert on Wednesday!

Outfits of the Week: February 29-March 6

In addition to learning how to teach (obviously), one of the things I have been working on in my first year as a high school teacher has been developing my adult/teacher wardrobe. If you’ve been following along recently, you know that I love receiving my monthly Stitch Fix, which has been helping a lot. (By the way, if you’re interested in checking out Stitch Fix for the first time, please use my referral link!)

I’ve also joined an Outfit of the Day group on Facebook, which has inspired me to up my style game quite a bit. Since spending a little bit more time planning my outfits in advance and putting them together with care, I get compliments almost every day from students and teachers alike. I’m not the most fashionable person there ever was, but it’s a big confidence boost to know that the clothes I wear are not only flattering, but also expressive of my personality in many ways.

I would describe my personal style as “teacher preppy;” that is, I think of myself as a very classic dresser with a little bit of a colorful/creative/fun twist. My outfits aren’t sensational or outrageous, but that’s also not who I am. I’m fairly mellow and conservative in personality, but at the same time I’m extroverted and I like to laugh and have fun. My life is about having a balance of both of those things, and so are my outfits.

With all that said, I am excited to be launching a new series called “Outfits of the Week.” My plan is to post every Monday morning with the outfits from the past week, including photos as well as information about where to find the pieces I’m wearing, or similar pieces that are available. I’m not claiming to be a revolutionary dresser or a fashion master, but if my style sounds like it lines up with yours, I hope that my ideas inspire you!

Monday, February 29

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Dolman top: Jane.com (Exact style sold out; similar) | Necklace: Loft (similar) | Jeans: DL1961 (here) | Flats: Oka-B in cobalt (here)

Tuesday, March 1

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T-shirt: H&M (similar) | Denim jacket: Just USA (Stitch Fix; same brand) | Necklace: Tiffany (here) | Skirt: Pixley (Stitch Fix; similar) | Flats: Comfy Soles (similar)

Wednesday, March 2

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Top: Target (similar) | Skirt: Downeast (here) | Flats: Steve Madden (similar)

Thursday, March 3

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Top: Papermoon (Stitch Fix; similar) | Necklace: Loft (similar colors) | Jeans: DL1961 (here) | Flats: Oka-B in orchid (here)

Friday, March 4

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Top: Downeast (here) | Cardigan: Target (similar; similar) | Necklace: Tiffany (here) | Jeans: DL1961 (here) | Flats: Oka-B in licorice (here)

Saturday, March 5

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T-shirt: Youth group houseboats 2015 t-shirt | Jeans: DL1961 (here)

Sunday, March 6

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T-shirt: H&M (similar) | Jacket: Just USA (Stitch Fix; same brand) | Pants: Margaret M (Stitch Fix; same brand) | Flats: Oka-B in licorice (here)

Check back next Monday morning for this week’s outfits!

Stitch Fix Review #11

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am so ready for spring! For this month’s Stitch Fix, I asked my stylist, Allisha, for spring colors and styles, especially mint and coral. I also asked for a maxi dress, since they can transition from the end of winter into spring and summer.

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Margaret M Emer Printed Straight Leg Pant

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This is my fourth pair of Emers, because I just love them that much. They pull on instead of having a button/zipper, which makes them way more comfortable than jeans or other dress pants. They are also incredibly flattering. As soon as I saw these in my fix preview, I knew I would be keeping them, especially in this color!

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Verdict: Kept!

Market & Spruce Evella Boatneck Top

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How cute are the chambray details on this top? I’ve been looking for a chambray top for a while and haven’t found any that I love, but this is an adorable gateway. It’s also surprisingly flattering despite the horizontal stripes.

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Verdict: Kept!

Papermoon Marisol Mixed Material 3/4 Sleeve Knit Top

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The front of this shirt is super soft and casual, while the back is one big polka dot party. Need I say more?

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Verdict: Kept!

Skies Are Blue Gelsey Crochet Blouse

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This is the only piece in my fix that I wasn’t 100% in love with, since it seemed a little bit sheer in a couple of places. However, since I kept everything else, I kept this too and got the 25% discount, which basically means I got this top for free. Besides, I did actually like it and I plan to wear it.

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Verdict: Kept!

London Times Maebe Jersey Maxi Dress

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I’m a big fan of this dress. The material feels great, the colors are vibrant, and the cut is very flattering. I can’t wear a regular bra with it, but hey, you gotta make some sacrifices. I can already see myself wearing this for a bunch of events this spring and summer.

Verdict: Kept!

So there you have it… I kept all 5 pieces! Allisha continues to be an amazing stylist who can obviously read my mind.

Also, this month I am participating in a link-up with one of my favorite Stitch Fix bloggers, Maria from Crazy Together. Click the image below to head over to her blog and check out all her amazing fixes!

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When God Closes a Door

The past couple of years of my life have been one long exercise in taking leaps of faith, both big and small. I took a leap when it was clearly time to quit pursuing a singing career. I took a leap when God called me into teaching high school. And most recently, I took a leap when I very reluctantly climbed in the driver’s seat of an 11-passenger van and drove to an orphanage in rural Mexico for a week. In reality, these leaps were more like being pushed, but the truth is that all of them have ended with me falling straight into God’s will for my life.

That's me driving Van 2.

That’s me driving Van 2.

After T went on our church’s Mexico mission trip last year, he couldn’t wait to go back and take me with him. Having been on mission trips before, I thought it would be no big deal, so I agreed. Indeed, it wasn’t a big deal until the last month or so before the trip, when I started to really dread it. First of all, it was over my winter break from school, which I could have spent relaxing and getting some prep work done. I also knew that most of the projects at the orphanage would involve a lot of manual labor and skills which I do not possess. And of course there were the 15-hour-one-way drives to look forward to, and knowing I would have to do a good chunk of the driving wasn’t terribly appealing. About three weeks before the trip, T, in all his good intentions, made the mistake of saying, “Why aren’t you more excited to go?” He was clearly not expecting the litany of reasons I unleashed on him, which included, but were not limited to, those listed above.

Part of the ranch, where some members of our group helped prep the foundation for a new house.

Part of the ranch, where some members of our group helped prep the foundation for a new house.

As the trip approached, my excitement never really built. Even when the drivers headed out to pick up the rental vans the afternoon before leaving, I was only looking forward to a week of not having to think about work. Rolling out of bed at 2:30 the next morning didn’t particularly help, and neither did the flurry of last-minute activity and logistical checks that needed to happen before the sun had even thought about rising. But as soon as I climbed into that driver’s seat and swung the door shut with T, our youth leader friend J, and seven teenagers inside, I was ready. Not excited, but ready.

It turned out to be an awesome week. I was able to find a project that could use my artistic eye while requiring just the right amount of physical labor, and while it wasn’t at all relaxing, I was mentally refreshed after spending a week putting others before myself and not thinking about work. It was also really fun to see my mom, who was on her first mission trip ever, build relationships with the students that T and I pour our hearts into every week in youth ministry.

Youth leaders, college kids, high school kids, and middle school kids visiting a local mission.

Youth leaders, college kids, high school kids, and middle school kids visiting a local mission.

Some lovely teammates standing on the floor we tiled.

Some lovely teammates standing on the floor we tiled.

Back at church the following Sunday, T was asked to speak about his project, which involved a lot of internet set-up and computer repair. Instead, he talked about me and my experience. He summed it up better than I could have by saying this:

“I don’t really like the saying, ‘When God closes a door, he opens a window.’ It implies that God will always give you a way out of any situation. In reality, sometimes God closes the van door and you’re on your way to Mexico for the next fifteen hours, but what he does do is give you the strength and the tools you need to handle it.”

He was right. When God closed the van door on me, he closed the door on all of my doubts and negative feelings. He closed the door on my opportunity to take the easy way out and not go to Mexico. He closed the door on my not trusting him to take care of me. And then he did exactly that: he took care of me and used me to serve him in a productive way. Now that we’re home and I’m back to regular daily life, I can and will hold on to that week as a reminder of how faithful God is to fulfill his promises.

Our whole group on the ranch.

Our whole group on the ranch.

The sun setting over the ranch.

The sun setting over the ranch.

Have you ever been on a mission trip? What was your experience like?

Stitch Fix Review #10

My tenth fix came at the end of a very, shall we say, challenging Friday. It was just the “fix” I needed for a long day and week, and I loved seeing how my stylist, Allisha, fulfilled all of my requests.

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This time around, I asked for a neutral-colored jacket that could be dressed up or down, a little black dress, and a particular casual top that has been taking the Stitch Fix community by storm.

Skies Are Blue Rawlin Embellished Back Detail Blouse

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In theory, I loved this top. I’m always looking for neutral-colored tops that I can wear with fun colored pants or skirts. I also really liked the beading on this top. However, it was a very boxy fit on me, and cut-out back was so low that I wouldn’t be able to wear a regular bra.

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Verdict: Returned.

Market & Spruce Corinna Striped Dolman Top

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This is THE top in the world of sought-after tops from Stitch Fix. I thought it would be fitting to ask for it in my tenth fix, and it’s kind of a small miracle that I got it, given that everyone asks for it.

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I really, really want to love this top. I’m slowly talking myself into it, but I’m not 100% sold on the fit of it. Even though it’s an XS, it’s still pretty loose and drapey. On the other hand, I could wear it as either a casual weekend shirt with leggings or a work top with colored jeans and a statement necklace.

Verdict: Kept, I think!

RD Style Rhonda Faux Leather Jacket

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I had this jacket pinned, and Allisha sent it as the answer to my request for a neutral, dress-up-or-down jacket. I’m completely in love with it!

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It’s a little tight in the arms, so I emailed Stitch Fix customer service to see if I could exchange it for one size up. Even if they can’t exchange it though, I will probably still keep it.

Verdict: Kept!

Brixon Ivy Bonita Dress

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Allisha knows I love Brixon Ivy dresses, so she sent this one in black, and it’s perfect. It fits great and it has the cutest eyelet details all over. It’ll be perfect for anything from regular school days to concerts to church to special events, since it can dress up or down easily.

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Verdict: Kept!

Papermoon Brianna Aline Skirt

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This is definitely more of a pencil skirt than an a-line skirt. I don’t normally like pencil skirts, but I actually almost kept this one…

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…until I realized how high that front slit went when I sat down. Yikes. Not good for sitting at the piano while teaching.

Verdict: Returned.

I love how Allisha always takes the time to read my notes and look at my Pinterest board. It makes the service feel so much more personalized, which is exactly the point. She is awesome!

Have you ever tried Stitch Fix?

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

In case you haven’t heard, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo has been taking the world by storm. For people like myself who love cleaning and organizing, this book is on a whole new level. The KonMari method, which Kondo named after herself, essentially involves systematically going through every item that you own, deciding which items “spark joy” and which don’t, and discarding the ones that don’t.

While it may sound like just another self-help book for professed hoarders, the KonMari method actually differs from most other methods of organizing. For one thing, Kondo suggests tidying by category as opposed to room. You’re supposed to go through your house, collect all the items in one category, put them all in the same place, and work through them all at once. When that category is done, you move on to the next category. Kondo also recommends having a tidying marathon as opposed to doing a little bit at a time, though she admits that even the marathon method can take up to six months depending on how much stuff you own.

When followed to the letter, the KonMari method is pretty ruthless and inflexible. I’ve seen people in various KonMari Facebook groups get in verbal (typing?) sparring matches over whether or not any given person was modifying the system or not, which is supposed to be taboo. According to Marie Kondo, her real-life clients, and lots of people on the internet, abiding by every rule is the key to having a truly tidy home and, subsequently, a more fulfilling life.

Now, I consider myself a fairly tidy person. I’ve always enjoyed organizing, and I regularly get rid of things that are no longer necessary for my life, whether that be clothes, papers, or just miscellaneous items. I definitely see the value in the spirit of the KonMari method; after all, why have things in your house that you don’t want or like? However. I have a few concerns with some of the implications and suggestions (or in some cases, the lack thereof) in the book. Allow me to explain.

  1. The book, and the overall system, seems mainly geared toward people who a) live in a much larger house than I do, and b) have been living in said house for at least ten years. That doesn’t mean I can’t gain anything from following the method or that I don’t have anything unnecessary in my house, but I do have to remind myself constantly that the clients she describes in the book (and people I see posting online) actually have more stuff than it is physically possible to cram inside our 500-square-foot apartment.
  2. At several points in the book, Kondo says essentially, “I did it this way once and it worked for me, so this is the gold standard,” or conversely, “I personally don’t like doing this, so you shouldn’t do it either.” For example, she advises against keeping any papers whatsoever, and if you absolutely have to have paper in your home, don’t categorize it. While we don’t hang on to a lot of paper, it would be a disaster for us not to categorize what we do keep. I could understand this system for people with boxes or drawers full of irrelevant papers, but one 12″ x 12″ hanging file crate seems completely reasonable (and in some ways necessary) to me. It bothers me a little that there is no room for personal flexibility or adaptation.
  3. Kondo encourages discarding items that don’t “spark joy” for you, but never once does she offer any advice as to what to do with those items. One would think that in a book devoted to purging your home of well over half your possessions, you might be able to find some ideas for how to remove them from your life without being wasteful. It would be nice to see a chapter or section devoted to how and where to “discard” perfectly useable items so that someone else can find joy in them.

I think the KonMari method’s basic premise is good: surround yourself only with items that make you feel good. No one wants to come home to a place they hate or that raises their stress level. However, I’m not totally sold on the ins and outs of her system.

What are your thoughts, if any, on the KonMari method of tidying up? Would you be brave enough to do it?

Stitch Fix Review #9

As a fun start to 2016, I received my 9th fix on January 2nd. T gave me a withering look when it came to our door and didn’t believe me when I swore I only get them once a month. Sigh. Anywho, here’s what came in fix #9!

Margaret M Emer Jacquard Print High Waisted Cropped Pant

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I received a pair of solid black cropped Emers several fixes ago, and they are so amazing that I requested a pair of full-length colored ones for this fix. As you can see, these pants don’t have buttons or zippers; they just pull on and look super flattering. That is, they look super flattering if they fit right. For some reason, I received these Emers in a medium, which is a size larger than I normally wear, so they are a little loose and baggy. Luckily, I was able to contact customer service and get them exchanged for a small.

Verdict: Kept!

Papermoon Myrtle Crochet Back Top

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I love everything about this top. I asked Allisha, my stylist, to send tops in neutral colors that I can wear with colorful bottoms and accessories, and this definitely fits the bill. It looks super flattering on me, which isn’t always the case with flowy tops like this. And the crochet back is beautiful.

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Papermoon top paired with the Emers.

Pretty back detail.

Pretty back detail.

Verdict: Kept!

Dear John Macie Bootcut Jean

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I requested a pair of dark wash bootcut jeans for this fix, as bootcut jeans are coming back in style and the only pair I have are light wash ones from Old Navy (and I plan on them getting wrecked on our upcoming Mexico mission trip). These would be cute with heels or wedges for a slightly dressier work look. However, for the price ($88) I was hoping for jeans a little softer/less stiff that would retain their shape, and after wearing these for a few hours they felt a little loose. I managed to find a pair of jeans at Target with a feel I liked better for 1/4 of the price, so these are going back.

Verdict: Returned.

RD Style Analisa Twisted Seam Mixed Knit Sweater

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I have to admit that as soon as I peeked at my fix when it shipped, I decided against keeping this sweater. When it arrived, I tried it on anyway, knowing that making snap judgments from phone pictures isn’t always a great idea. Unfortunately, it still didn’t work for me. The sweater is pretty loose and boxy, and I knew I wouldn’t reach for it, even on weekends.

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RD Style sweater and Dear John jeans.

Pixley Kathy Striped Fit & Flare Dress

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Once again, this dress came in answer to a request I made to Allisha for dresses with sleeves that I could wear to work. I’d seen this dress on other Stitch Fixers and had thought about requesting it specifically, but it turns out I didn’t have to.

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This was T’s favorite item in my fix, and I’m a fan as well. It would be especially cute with a colored cardigan, scarf, statement necklace, or denim jacket, or even colorful flats.

Verdict: Kept!

So fix #9 is a 3/5, which is fantastic. By the way, in case you need a refresher, Stitch Fix is a subscription box that allows you to decide when you want to get your next one. You fill out an extensive style profile, link up your Pinterest style board for inspiration, and a stylist compiles a box of five items for you based on your size and style preferences. The styling fee is $20, but that applies toward any items you end up keeping. If you keep all five, you get another 25% off the total. (And if you do want to sign up, please use my referral link!)

Have you ever used Stitch Fix? What are your thoughts?