The Christmas Newsletter I Would Have Sent

Christmas newsletters are very hard to get right.

Every year around this time, I get a handful of Christmas newsletters tucked inside of Christmas cards.  I am excited each time I get one - it's fun to read a little bit about what my friends and family are up to, what they thought was worth noting about their year.

To the people I know who send a newsletter each year, I give major props, because I also recognize that newsletters are hard to write!  You have to come up with something to say about each family member, and keep it within a reasonable length, insert some personality to make it interesting to read, and do it all without crossing the line into "braggy" territory.  I think all the newsletters I've received this year were able to strike this balance well, but I've never really attempted a Christmas newsletter because I wasn't sure I could do a good job of it.

However, I read a newsletter blog post on Michelle's blog last week, and it was fun to read!  I thought she really nailed the art of the newsletter, and it made me want to try one.  So I wrote up a newsletter for our family over the weekend.  I don't hate how it turned out, but it's too late to send it in my cards, so I'm just going to share it here instead.  Pretend this is printed on Christmas-y paper and showing up in your mailbox!

Note: This is actually a little long for a Christmas newsletter, but in my defense, there are seven people in this family on which to write an update.


Dear Friends and Family,

I have never sent out a Christmas newsletter, but now that we are exiting the too-tired-to-floss, new-baby phase, which has encompassed the last 9 (!) years, I thought I’d give it a go.

Don’t people usually say something like “this year has been one for the books” to start out a newsletter? I think every year could be considered one for the “books”, but in the general sense of the phrase, this has not been a “big” year. It’s been an ordinary, slow-growing year. But there is something wonderful about those restful, quiet years that I think is worth celebrating too.

For Derek, much of 2019 has involved home improvement projects. We bought a new house late in 2018, and  I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I cried the first night we spent in our new house, telling Derek that it just didn’t feel like “us”.  He has gradually been making that statement untrue.  In the last year he has remodeled the kitchen and master bathroom, installed new flooring, changed out light fixtures, built a fireplace and (halfway) installed a wood stove, and started on the kids’ new play structure (still in the blueprint stage).  I was going to say that it feels like slow going, but thought better of it - seeing it all typed out makes that statement feel silly.  That is a lot of work! I’m grateful for all the hours and care Derek has put into making this place home.

Wyatt, to my horror, is nearing 9 years old. I say “horror”, because I came to the realization this fall that once he reaches 9, we will be halfway through his childhood. Let that sit a minute.  He is a delightful kid, a little shy around new people, but ask him what his favorite animal or bird is, and he can talk your ear off. He knows more about animals than me, is better at identifying birds than me, and remembers interesting facts we read much longer than I do. Needless to say, it’s pretty easy to homeschool him when we break out the science textbooks (maybe not as much when I bring out the writing book, his least favorite subject).  Bike lights and an “adventure kit” (including binoculars, compass, and flashlight) are on his Christmas list.

Gwendolyn will be 7 years old “two days after Christmas, the same birthday as Daddy’s!”, as she likes to tell anyone who will listen.  She is fun-loving and easy to like, and tends to make friends wherever she goes. She is reading, but is desperate to get further in her reading curriculum so she can learn to read chapter books.  While I have become less of a planner the older I get, Gwen picks up where I slack off. She recently wrote out a detailed plan for Christmas morning that made me chuckle and melt a little.  Nail polish and Barbies are on her Christmas list.

Aren’t you supposed to include a paragraph about the family vacation in a Christmas newsletter?  Clyde’s paragraph might make more sense if I do. We went to Florida this year, mostly because it is the cheapest place to fly in August. Hurricane season and all.  We got home a mere week before the hurricane, crossed the Everglades off our National Park bucket list, and while we feel grateful that we can now say we took the kids to Disney World once in their childhood, our one day there taught us that we are not hardcore Disney people. Our favorite part of the trip was visiting NASA and seeing the Saturn V rocket and moon capsule, and it has launched (ha!) an interest in space for our whole family (except Derek, he was always a space guy).

Having said that, our 5.5 year old Clyde has latched on to space transportation as an interest.  When I ask him lately what he wants to learn about, the answer is always “rocket ships!”  If I picked an adjective for Clyde, it would be “charming”.  The kid can get away with saying the “darndest” things, just because of the charming little way he says them.  When he gets one-on-one time with me he always has a lot to talk about, and I learn such interesting things about him (like the fact that he wants to have eight kids someday - he said it so seriously, I knew it was well thought-out).  Rocket ship Legos and a model space shuttle are on his Christmas list.

Clarice turned 4 years old this fall, and while she has always had a big personality, especially for being so quiet, I’ve seen it developing more recently. She is my most imaginative child, declaring how fun it would be if the world were made of fudge, and excitedly informing me that the moon is following us home because “ he’s hungry!”  Her blue eyes and dimpled smile would probably melt the iciest heart, but when I pull out my camera she frequently takes that as her cue to try out every expression in her arsenal.  A Little Mermaid princess doll and a Barbie are on her Christmas list.

Our littlest one, Georgiana, just turned 2 years old, and I’m not sure I’ve met a more easy-going toddler. Redirection is a breeze, and is often accompanied by an enthusiastic “OH-KAY!”  Aside from the occasional flirtation with the “terrible twos” (which thankfully never lasts too long), she is very agreeable. She mainly just cries when she is thirsty or cold or within 20 feet of a moving vehicle (a healthy fear).  She is my most social child so far (that’s saying something, because Gwen was hard to beat). When we walk through a store or parking lot, she is usually holding my hand, and the other hand is waving at strangers as she shouts “HI!” She is usually rewarded with a grin.  On her Christmas list is whatever we decide to get her, and a new bunny-bear, which was her most prized possession before she lost it four months ago.

This letter wouldn’t be complete without including our protector-dog, Harvey.  He is mainly a teddy bear, following me around the house and settling in for a nap wherever I happen to be.  But he can break out his scary bark when he feels it necessary, which is usually when the poor mailman is trying to drop off a package.  He had a tumor earlier this year which briefly made our hearts sink into our feet, until we thankfully found out it was benign. He wants a rawhide bone for Christmas.

I (Callie) have been keeping busy homeschooling the kids, reading a lot of books, and figuring out how to keep this place clean (a never-ending, and possibly losing, battle).  While I occasionally miss working as a dental hygienist, settling into these homeschooling years has been very fulfilling (and also very insecurity-inducing, but we won’t get into that). The greatest joy of homeschooling to me so far is the freedom to point my kids to Jesus throughout their education, and getting a front row seat as I watch them grow academically and in their knowledge and love for the Lord. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Oh, and also I’ve been taking too many pictures.  I notice an occasional eye roll from a passerby when I whip out my camera, but most people get it. I’ve been told many, many times by the older generation that “it goes by so fast”. I take so many pictures because I believe the white-haired ladies who stop me in the grocery store to wistfully remind me of that.

Merry Christmas, friends!  We pray that  you each know the peace with God that comes through trusting Jesus, Who was born to pay for our sins on the cross, that we may live.  He is our greatest gift. 

Also praying as we approach 2020 that it is a restful, quiet year “for the books” for you too.  That may be a tall order in an election year, but nothing is impossible with God!  (Joking, but also kind of not.) Hoping for a peaceful New Year for you all!


Our Little Family

"And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life." (1 John 5:20, ESV)

All About The Christmas Gifts

Do you find Christmas shopping stressful or fun?  For me, it is usually both.  It can be stressful because I am working with a budget, and no matter how hard I try I always seem to find a way to mess the budget up.  I forget a gift for someone, or as is the case this year, I lay out all the gifts I bought for the kids and realize that there was a hole in my planning, and I need to buy one more thing to even out everyone's presents.

And then don't even get me started on the stress of wrapping.  We're usually those parents that are finishing up at 11 PM on Christmas Eve.

But there is a part of Christmas shopping that is really fun to me too, and that is anticipating how excited the gift-ee will be when they open their present!  This is more and more fun as my kids get older.  When kids are little, I feel like they are just happy about everything on Christmas morning.  I don't really know what my two year old wants for Christmas, I just grab a couple things that look good, and she'll be excited no matter what is under the wrapping paper.  As my big kids are getting older though, their presents are more specific to their interests, and that makes me more excited to give them!

Anyway, I thought I'd share the present I am most looking forward to giving each kid, and Derek!  Just for fun.  I also got some good deals on a couple "gifts" for myself - does anyone else do that? - so I'll share those too.

Wyatt, 8.75 years old.

If you know Wyatt for more than two minutes, you'll know that his favorite subject is birds.  He likes to observe them, and he knows so much about them.  At this point I fully expect him to be a world-class birder/bird photographer someday.  I am quite excited to give him this book I found - the kid can never have too many books about birds, but this one comes with programmed bird calls for 75 species of birds!  Now he will be able to identify them not just by their appearance, but by their sounds too.

Gwendolyn, nearly 7 years old.

Gwen is getting to such a fun and girly age, and I think we have finally reached the age where she is old enough to play with Barbies.  I am thrilled about this.  My sister and I used to play Barbies for hours, and we had elaborate plots worked out, and distinct personalities for each of our Barbies.  Clarice probably isn't quite big enough to play Barbies like that with Gwen yet, but she will be soon, and in the meantime I'll show Gwen how it's done!  I found this astrophysicist Barbie and thought it was pretty cool - I know there is probably some sort of feminist message being attempted with the "career" Barbie line (and I am not a feminist), but I do think the career Barbies open up whole new possibilities for Barbie storylines, so I'm here for it.

Clyde, 5.5 years old.

Clyde's interests are starting to differentiate from the other kids, and I'd say they revolve mostly around transportation.  He is into cars, trains, airplanes, and to my delight, rocket ships.  We went to the science museum last week, and he spotted a toy space shuttle in the gift shop.  He actually cried because we couldn't get it - it wasn't "I'm throwing a fit" crying, but just a genuine, heartbroken crying because he didn't think he'd ever get the toy he wanted so badly.  It melted my heart a little bit.  I am loving his interest in space-related transportation right now, and I think he is going to be really excited to open this space shuttle lego set!

Clarice, 4 years old.

Clarice is still little enough that she will be enthusiastic about anything she opens.  However, in preparation for Christmas shopping, I had all the kids go through the toy catalogs we received in the mail and circle the things they wanted.  It was very enlightening.  There was a theme to the things Clarice circled - every time Ariel (of The Little Mermaid) came up in the catalog, Clarice circled it.  We haven't even watched the original Little Mermaid, but I did let the kids watch the prequel (go rent it from the library, I like it better than the actual Little Mermaid movie).  Apparently it made an impression, so an Ariel doll she will have!  I liked this one because it wasn't a Barbie-style Ariel doll (which I'm not sure would get much play time yet), and I also like that she's wearing the glittery blue dress instead of the mermaid bikini.  Modesty and all that.

Georgiana, 2 years old.

Georgie really doesn't care very much what her presents are yet, and I'm pretty sure she is going to love everything I got.  But I am personally rather excited about one of the items I bought for her stocking.  I found these rock crayons online, and they look like so much fun!  Georgie is just now getting into drawing, and these look like a fun tool for little hands.  I can't wait to let her try them out!

(Derek, if you are reading this post, stop right this minute!  Love you.)

Family Gift

Excuse the warning above, but this is a family gift and Derek doesn't know I got it!  This fall we have been studying space, and we've done a couple star-gazing trips as a family.  Derek has always been a space nerd, and I've been getting more into space subjects too after the 50th anniversary of the moon landing this summer.  The kids have caught some of the enthusiasm too, so I decided to take $20 from each person's Christmas budget, and I put it toward a telescope!  I'm not going to include a picture here, just in case Derek does scroll through this post briefly, but this is the one I got.  I'm sure it's not the best telescope in the world because it didn't cost thousands of dollars, but you are supposed to be able to see galaxies with it.  I can't wait to use it the next time we go stargazing!

For Derek

I got Derek a few things he has been mentioning, but I am actually really excited to give him a "together" gift this year.  Every year I try to buy our family one new game for Christmas, and Derek and I usually end up playing it in the afternoon on Christmas Day.  We drink wassail, eat snacks, and play our game while we listen to Christmas music, and it's lovely.  We especially like strategy board games, and I ran across this one when I was shopping this year.  It looks like alot of fun!  I think Derek will be surprised that there is such a thing as a Jurassic Park board game.

For Me

I did find some good prices on a couple things for me while I was Christmas shopping this year.  I know, I know.  But yes, I "Christmas shopped" for myself.  Anyway, if you've been reading for a while, you know that I am an advocate for wearing nice, non-frumpy pajamas.  For the last few months I have been breaking my own rule and making do with ratty pajamas, so I was overdue for a new set.  On Cyber Monday, I grabbed these from Target:

They are soft, cozy, and cute, and also cool and breathable so I don't get too hot, which is important for me.  Much better than the items I was wearing, trust me.

This summer I also discovered ColourPop eyeshadow palettes, and I have to say, I really like them.  The colors are pretty, and they apply well for being so inexpensive!  They re-stocked this palette that looked like a great neutral eyeshadow palette, so I wanted to grab it before it sells out:

I'm excited to play with it a little more!

So those are a few of the presents that will be waiting under our tree this year.  Minus the "presents" for me, which I'll be wearing.

What present are you most excited to give this year?

Are You Feeling The Christmas Stress Yet?

The Christmas stress is starting to set in a little bit.

I used to get overly stressed around Christmas time, after I had kids.  I just wanted everything to go perfectly and be fun and memorable.  But I also didn't realize just how much moms shoulder the burden of Christmas until I had kids.  It took me a while to figure out how to balance the Christmas season better, without letting the stress totally overwhelm me.

But clearly I'm still susceptible.  Christmas is basically two weeks away guys, two weeks.  And I have barely started any wrapping, and half the Christmas cards have yet to be sent.  Thankfully last week was the busiest week on our December calendar, and the next couple weeks will hopefully be much calmer and more joy-filled.

All that to say, I have a post up on about simplifying Christmas.  I'm talking about focusing on what...and really important this time of year.  I hope you'll go check it out, and then come back and please give me your best tips for navigating the Christmas season gracefully!  It's something I'm still trying to practice.

I've also actually written alot about Christmas and stress in the past, so obviously it's been an issue around here in the past, ha!  You can check out some of those posts below.

When Christmas Stresses You Out

Six Christmas Stressors (And What To Do About Them)

Five Ways To De-Stress During The Christmas Season

Four Ways To Recognize Advent As A Mom

My No-Stress Christmas To-Do List

Three Ways I'm Preparing For Christmas Before Thanksgiving

Bible Verses To Write In Your Christmas Cards (+ Printable!)

I think this might be the latest I've ever gone without sending my Christmas cards.

I am very fond of Christmas cards.  December is the only time of year when my mailbox (I almost said "inbox" - sheesh) is flooded with happy mail, and it cheers me up every time I receive a new card to open.  I like thinking that by sending out our cards, I can give a little bit of that cheer to people I care about too.

This year I am trying to personalize our cards a bit more.  I love photo cards, and usually that's the route I go with our Christmas cards, but I also realize that it's not as personal.  It's a printed card and photo, and unless someone leaves room to write on the photo card, everyone gets the same one.

I had a bunch of old-school Christmas cards lying around and decided to use them this year.  I'm going to tuck our photo inside with a handwritten note.  I can't guarantee that the notes are all going to be particularly meaningful, but they'l be written in my own hand, and I think that's something.

Another thing I love about Christmas cards is that they can also be a chance to encourage other believers by pointing them back to Christ during this hectic Christmas season.  It is so easy for the true meaning of why we are celebrating Christmas as believers to be lost in all the festivities.  Handwriting my cards gives me a chance to give a little Christian encouragement.  These are a few of the verses that I think are wonderful to tuck inside your Christmas card.

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; And the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince Of Peace." Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)

"And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:1 (ESV)

"And the angel said to them 'Fear not, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'" Luke 2:10-11 (ESV)

"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." Luke 1:46b-47 (ESV)

"...And they will call His name Immanuel, which means 'God With Us'." Matthew 1:23 (ESV)

"And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, that we may know Him who is true...He is the true God and eternal life." 1 John 5:20 (ESV)

"This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him." 1 John 4:9

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15 (NIV)

These verses are wonderful ones to write or type on your Christmas cards and newsletters, but I've also been working on something else...

A couple years ago I opened an Etsy shop to sell Bible verse card printable for labor and for new moms, but I have been really wanting to make a printable set with Bible verses for the Christmas season.  Something that can be tucked into a Christmas card as a little extra, something that can be attached to a present as a tag, something that will point back to Jesus.  Cards that can be used as a bookmark, or used as a tool to memorize Scripture around the Christmas season.

I finally made these Christmas Bible verse cards this year, and I'm really happy with how it turned out!  I used an app to create some watercolor "winter woodland" illustrations - each card has a unique watercolor image on it, along with a Bible verse.

These come in a full size set, which are 4.5 inches wide, and a smaller set with are 2.75 inches wide.  I think the large set would be a nice addition to a Christmas present, and the mini set are perfect for tags, bookmarks, or tucking inside a Christmas card!

You can buy these sets of eight printable Bible verse cards in my Etsy shop for $3!

Happy Christmas, friends!

I hope these little cards will be an encouragement to you to look to Christ for your Christmas joy this season!

Printable Bible Verse Cards For Christmas!  Perfect for Christmas cards, tags, or bookmarks!

Printable Bible Verse Cards For Christmas!  Perfect for Christmas cards, tags, or bookmarks!

Printable Bible Verse Cards For Christmas!  Perfect for Christmas cards, tags, or bookmarks!

Currently | December 2019

We had a lovely Thanksgiving last week.  We went to my parents' house and Derek's mom came with us.  We ate a lot of food and too much pie, played the A Christmas Story game (you know, like the movie?), and laughed and enjoyed each other's company. And now we have apparently charged full-speed ahead in the countdown for Christmas.  I'm still trying to get my bearings.  No matter how hard I try to plan ahead, Christmas always manages to catch me a little by surprise each year.

Speaking of surprises, I'm working on a freebie for all of you who are regular readers of my blog (hopefully will be up tomorrow), so I'm going to keep this "currently" short and sweet.

Wrapping...nothing.  All the presents arrived in the mail this week, so now I just need to buckle down and get them wrapped!  I actually don't enjoy wrapping presents very much.  I wish I did, but there are just so many to wrap, it gets overwhelming.  I'm going to be recruiting Derek to help me tonight while we watch a Hallmark Christmas movie.

Lighting...Christmas candles.  Weirdly, my favorite ones this year are not from Yankee Candle, as per the norm, but instead I'm really enjoying some that I found at TJ Maxx.  They have some great scents, and the candles are cheaper than Yankee, so that's a plus!  Anything pine scented is my favorite this time of year.

Baking...also nothing, but I am hoping to start on ginger cookies this week.  I've learned over the years to keep my Christmas baking to a minimum.  I'm always tempted to try a bunch of new recipes, but when I do that I tend to just get overwhelmed.  I may bring one new recipe into the rotation though, if things ever slow down enough.  I'm thinking some sort of candy recipe.

Sending...a present to my lifelong penpal, Felicia.  Keep an eye out, friend!  I'm also waiting for photos to arrive in the mail so I can start sending Christmas cards in earnest.  I decided this year to just use the boxes of Christmas cards I have collected over the years with a photo tucked inside, instead of our usual photo Christmas card.  It's actually been less complicated and stressful this way, not to mention less expensive since I'm using cards I already have!

Enjoying...quiet days at home, especially if it's snowing like it is today.  So far the first week of December has been chaotic and a little stressful, but today we have the whole day stretched out ahead of us.  We might read some Christmas picture books or bake something or do a Christmas craft.  It feels like the world is my oyster when I have a quiet day at home to work with.

(Wyatt took these photos for me a couple weeks ago - not too shabby, right?  He's getting better at using the big camera!)

Linking up here!

The Wednesday Five | Vol. 7

A Quote

"I make myself rich by making my wants few." - Henry David Thoreau

"He is richest who is content with the least." - Socrates

"Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” -Hebrews 13:5

I was thinking about the Thoreau quote, and then found the Socrates quote by accident, so you get two for one, plus a Bible verse.  I don't know why, but contentment was on my mind this morning, perhaps because it is Thanksgiving week.  I think contentment and thankfulness go hand in hand - it's hard to have one without the other.  The Bible exhorts us over and over to be content, and the secret for the believer to contentment is that we have everything we truly need in Christ.  When we focus our hearts on what He has done to save us, how can we not be thankful?  Just some things I was mulling over this morning.

A Book

It's hard to come up with a book recommendation this morning, because I'm still working through the same old ones.  I'm going to throw out Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens as a suggestion.  My goal is to finish it before the end of my social media break.  Dickens can be really dense reading, but also, no one can turn a sentence quite like him!  I read A Christmas Carol last December, and loved it so much that I've been wanting to tackle one of his other books ever since.  They are just so long though.  Have you read any Dickens?

A Bit Of Nature

You also get two pictures, one because it snowed and it's gorgeous, and another one because the sunrise this morning was so striking.  I feel blessed to live somewhere now where I can see the sunrise!

A Recommendation

Yesterday, I spent most of the day finishing my Christmas shopping online, and I got 80% of the kids' presents from Rainbow Resource.  It's actually a homeschooling curriculum website, but they recently sent us their toy catalog.  I had the kids circle all the things they liked in it, and I was so impressed with their choices!  The toys Rainbow Resource carries are geared more toward imaginative play and creativity, and they carry good quality items (I didn't find many...or maybe not plastic items).  Anyway, you should check out their toy section on the website.  I got so many ideas for the kids it was hard to choose!

A Moment Of Happiness

Last night I asked Derek if he would string up some Christmas lights in our room.  He was tired after a long day of work, but he was sweet enough to do one more thing for me anyway.  I put out some Christmas pillows on our couch and bed, and after he was finished we enjoyed our festive room, sparkling lights, and eggnog while we laughed through an episode of The Middle.  Our nightly routine is pretty simple, and may not seem exciting.  But I think it's a special thing to cuddle next to my husband and laugh a little together before we go to sleep.

What I Really Thought Of Stitchfix

I have always liked shopping for clothes.  I like trying out different styles in a dressing room, and I like finding a good deal.  

However, since having kids I find myself enjoying clothes shopping much less than I used to.  It's just not as fun to try on new jeans while reminding my kids to "sit right outside the dressing room door", and "please don't pick on your sister", and "it's your brother's turn to play a game on my phone now."  So I find myself ordering a lot more things online.

When Stitchfix came on the scene a couple years ago, it felt like every blogger was trying it.  I thought it looked interesting, but I still ended up shopping for myself most of the time.  Last year for my birthday though, my sweet friend Ashley gave me a gift card to try Stitchfix!  I put it off for quite a while because I was still not feeling like my figure had equalized after having Georgie, but finally this fall I created an account.

What Stitchfix Is

In case you've been living under a rock (or just don't follow any fashion bloggers), the way Stitchfix works is that you pay a $20 "styling fee", they send you a box of clothes that they think you will like, and then you choose what you want to keep and send the rest back.  If you keep something, that $20 styling fee applies toward your purchase. 

Worth noting here is that if you choose to keep nothing, you lose the $20 styling fee, and the fee is also charged per box they send you.  I did not realize the fee was charged per box at first and was confused when my gift card balance dropped by $20.  I contacted customer service though, and they refunded me the $20 because of the confusion, which was really great of them.

After each box you give them feedback so they can try to send you items you will like better the next time.

My Experience

I requested three boxes from Stitchfix before I spent all of my gift card money.  The pictures in this post are with items from my first box (I ran out of time to take photos of the second and third boxes).  I thought the first box was pretty close to my usual style.  The red top was really "me", the sweater and shirt were super soft, and the earrings were gorgeous!

(Items: red shirt and jeans.  Shoes are mine.)

The only thing that I didn't like were the jeans.  Every pair of jeans they sent me, in all three boxes, were too loose in the waist, so I probably should have sized down.

I ended up not keeping anything from that first box, even though I liked the items they sent me.  It was mostly fit and price issues.  Some of them fit fine, but didn't "wow" me enough to spend the moneyon them.  The sweaters and shirts ranged from around $40-50, the pants were probably around $50, and the earrings were $30.  (I should have kept the packing slips they sent me so I could have given you exact prices - I'm sorry about that.)

The second box they sent was filled with half hits, half misses.  I received a shirt (around $40), a dress (around $55), jeans ($50), a pair of green ponte pants ($45), and a short-sleeve sweater ($40).  I liked the green pants and the sweater, but once again - they didn't "wow" me enough to pay that much.  Thankfully I had requested an "extra" with this box, a pretty bralette with thin straps that would work well under a lot of my own sweaters, so I ended up keeping that.

The last box was by far the best!  I received a cute pair of leopard print duck boots ($70), a yellow sweater ($40), a black shirt with pretty details ($40), another pair of jeans ($50), and a black quilted moto jacket ($80).  I loved every item in this box, except the jeans because of fit issues again.  The detail on the black shirt was cute, the boots were fun, and I loved the jacket.  But as I sat there trying to decide what to do, I realized I would never pay that much for these particular items in a store.  I would wait for a sale, or see if I could find a similar item elsewhere for cheaper.  In the end I decided to send everything back.  Thankfully I had ordered another "extra" bralette with the last box, so I purchased that and didn't lose my last $20 on the styling fee.

(I might have enjoyed playing "fashion blogger" for a day, ha!  Derek took these photos for me, so I guess he got to play "fashion photographer" too.  Items: cardigan and earrings.  Dress and boots are mine.)

Are You Noticing A Theme?

Overall, I was impressed with the fact that most of the pieces they sent me did actually fit my style pretty well!  I really liked almost everything they sent me.  I was very skeptical that they were going to be able to pinpoint my style with only a few questions on their site, but they did a pretty good job!  How can I get a job as a stylist?  I think that would be super fun.

(Item: gray shirt.  Pants and shoes are mine.)

When I filled out the questionnaire, for most items (except jeans and outerwear), when asked the price I was willing to spend, I selected "the cheaper the better".  I had heard Stitchfix items were a little pricier than what you might find at Target or JC Penny, and I found that to be true.  Even with selecting "the cheaper the better", I still found that most of the items were more than I would usually spend.  I shop clearance quite alot, and I shop at less expensive stores, so I'm used to lower prices for items like the ones they sent me.  I probably won't request another box unless I decide I want another bralette, just because my style description should probably include the phrase "won't spend more than $30 on a top, because she knows she can get a cute sweater for $15 at Walmart".

However, there is the convenience aspect to consider as well.  For people who don't like to shop for themselves, or for whom shopping is very difficult, or people who don't like to spend a lot of time browsing online, I think paying a little more than normal for the service would probably be worth it.

And it's worth it to try it if you're curious too!  I had so much fun filling out my style profile, and when they sent me a box it was exciting to open it.  It felt like a present since I didn't know what would be in the box!  I'm so glad my friend gave me a gift card, because I probably never would have tried it on my own, and it was a fun experience!  

My advice if you try Stitchfix would be to always include an extra that you know you could purchase with the $20 fee if you end up not wanting to purchase any of the other items they send.  I recommend trying the Free People barrettes, obviously.  I have two of them now, and I really like them!

Have you ever tried Stitchfix? What did you think of it?

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