Beach Friends Are the Best Friends.

Well hello again. Did you miss me? Or maybe you didn’t notice I was even away. That’s okay, too. I’ve been known to not notice that my husband got a haircut for days on end, so who am I to judge?

Beach selfie

I spent a few days at the beach with some of my dearest girlfriends. For awhile there, the entire trip looked like it was in jeopardy of falling apart. Two out of the five of us couldn’t go this year. I opted out last year, as we were just moving, but I decided come hell or high water I would be there. And so the three of us found a way to make it happen.

I find it amazing that in some way, shape or form, the five of us have been getting away together every year since 2007. We started out as women thrown together by the simple fact that we were first-time mothers, living in the same neighborhood, wondering what the hell we’d gotten ourselves into. We saw each other multiple times a week, whenever we were desperate for something to do and another adult to talk to.

Also known as: This Way To The Beach.

By the time the children were 4, none of us lived in the neighborhood anymore. Some of us didn’t even live in the same state. Today our kids would barely recognize each other. They got us started, but our friendship is the glue that holds us together despite the miles apart. We don’t really talk much during the year. A text or a call on your birthday, an email or a Facebook message here and there. We don’t have to. I know that if I really need something, I can call any of them and they’ll drop everything to help. And when we find each other again in person every spring, we slip back into conversations as easily as we slide into our flip-flops.

Everyone needs the kind of friends you can do this with. The kind of friends that don’t need constant maintenance to know that everything’s okay. The kind of friends that can lie on the beach together and talk for hours or be content to sit side by side in blessed silence. It doesn’t matter if you’re vacationing together or hanging out at the park a mile from your house. You need a few good girlfriends like this.

 Beach Still Life

I have other groups of friends that always talk about getting away together, but we’ve never made it happen. Perhaps because we see each other often enough, the urgency isn’t there. I do wonder if we stopped meeting up every year, what would happen to us? Would we drift apart, just as our kids did? After seven years, though, I don’t think we would let it happen. We may be bound together loosely, but we are bound together nonetheless. We’re proof that friendships don’t have to be conventional to work. And for that, I raise my styrofoam daiquiri cup in a toast to girlfriends of all kinds, in every corner of the world.

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Insta-March

Instagram Collage March Angie Six

1.  You know how you can see your kids every day, and they seem exactly the same, then one day you look at them and they’ve aged overnight? That’s happening to me with Eli. I swear he woke up the other morning and he’d grown a full inch. And then this particular day, he got off the bus, slung his backpack just so, and I had visions of him as a teenager. To which I say I DON’T THINK SO. NO SIR.

2.  Exciting news from the site I write for, Bedtime Math. Their second book was released last month. Our local bookstore hosted a special story time to celebrate, which included making some 3D shapes with glow sticks and styrofoam balls. Eli shoved a few extra balls in my purse that night. I got a good chuckle the next morning when he asked me if his balls were in my purse.

3.  Elena and I are so incredibly excited for The Fault In Our Stars movie to come out in June. Can’t get here soon enough! Have you read the book? We’re both John Green fangirls, not-so-shamelessly stalking his Instagram feed and hoping one of these days we run into him somewhere in Indianapolis.

4.  Sunshine plus an entire can of shaving cream mixed with cornstarch equals one happy (and very messy) boy.

5.  A portion of a meal I shared with friends at Thunderbird, a new bar and restaurant in Fountain Square. A couple of times a year I have the pleasure of getting together with these friends. It’s an interesting cast of characters: a writer/graphic designer I first met on a couples’ blind date, a restaurant review blogger, a food blogger, and a Master Food Preserver, and a fellow blogger. We share a love of really good food, and I happily tag along so I can eat at all the restaurants Mike would never want to set foot in. (The photo, by the way, depicts the pickle plate and ham croquettes.)

6.  Look at me! Interviewing Clinton Kelly like I know what I’m doing!

7.  For a couple of weeks in March, Eli had a little laundry basket obsession. He asked to read stories on the couch, and this is how I found him. He also spent several nights sleeping in the laundry basket. Just add it to the list of things that will make him awesome in college: prefers to be shirtless, loves a good frozen waffle, oblivious to bad smells, and can easily sleep in small spaces such as bathtubs (the grownup equivalent of the laundry basket).

8.  The kids’ passports arrived! We also purchased our airline tickets this month as well. Spain will be here before we know it!

9.  Over Spring Break the kids and I paid a visit to my niece, who lives near Fort Wayne. Ivanhoe’s, the Taylor University student favorite, is right off the interstate, about halfway between Fort Wayne and Indy. They serve food, but they’re famous for the ridiculous menu of treats: 100 varieties of shakes and 100 varieties of sundaes. We’ve tried to stop several times on weekends, but it’s always been too packed. On this trip we were finally able to get in the doors. In case you can’t tell, Eli has a deep (and potentially infectious) love of ice cream.

If you’re not already following me on Instagram already, please do! You can find me there as (the one and only) AngieSix.

 

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Stitch Fix: What Is It and Why Might You Want It?

Stitch Fix Review - Just Like The Number

I like cute clothes. I like keeping up with fashion trends and putting together pieces that suit my current lifestyle. I love it when I get it just right – something that’s stylish, comfortable, and within my budget. Bonus points if it feels like I’m wearing pajamas. You know what I don’t love? The actual act of shopping for said clothing.

Every once in a while I’m in the mood to shop, but it’s very brief. Brief as in won’t-even-last-through-a-major-department-store brief. I can handle your small-ish department stores (think Von Maur or Nordstrom), but even those can be overwhelming. I do better in small stores, like Gap or Athleta. I’ve been known to just grab something that looks kind of cute in Target, because Lord knows nothing goes together like high fashion, paper towels, and Go-gurt tubes.

What this means for me is that I end up with a pretty limited wardrobe. Not wanting to invest the time into searching for clothing and accessories that will expand my closet choices means that one day I’m looking for a cute outfit only to realize all I have is jeans, yoga pants, and plain or striped t-shirts (of which I apparently have an obsession). I buy what I know, what takes the least amount of time to shop for, and what’s “safe.” It works, but it’s boring.

I heard about Stitch Fix a few months ago, and since then various people I know and like have become fans. Stitch Fix is a personal styling service for women, all done online. You fill out a very thorough questionnaire that guides the stylists into curating clothing and accessories just for you. The stylists take into consideration your lifestyle, your budget, as well as the styles you identify with, and put together 5 clothing and accessory items for you. Your personal Stitch Fix is mailed to you, and you have 3 days to decide what you’ll keep.

Each Stitch Fix will cost you a $20 Styling Fee initially. If you choose to purchase anything, that $20 is deducted from the price of the items you keep. If you purchase everything in your Stitch Fix, you get 25% off. If you send everything back, they keep the Styling Fee. Unlike a monthly subscription such as Birchbox, you can choose when to schedule a Stitch Fix. You can certainly opt for a monthly Fix, but you can also do it at your convenience.

Now that I’ve done all this talking, would you like to see what an actual Stitch Fix looks like? My first Fix came last month, and here’s what was in it:

Stitch Fix April 2014

My Stitch Fix contained a pair of jeans, two tops, a dress and a scarf. Each Fix also comes with Style Cards showing items from your Fix with ideas and inspiration on how to wear them. I tried each item on with Elena as my trusty photographer and official thumbs-up-or-down-er.

Stitch Fix Blouse and Jeans

This is the Daniel Rainn Kieraly Heart Print short-sleeve blouse ($68) in navy paired with Kut From The Cloth Guiliana Bootcut Jeans ($88). I really liked the blouse, and it’s clothing like this that is exactly why I love the idea of Stitch Fix in the first place. This isn’t something I would ever pick up and try on in a store for myself, but I liked it on me. I thought long and hard about keeping it, but in the end it didn’t make the cut. The back hem of the shirt hit me right around the widest part of my rear, making it a little snug. I also couldn’t quite justify the price for a shirt I’d probably save for date nights and evenings out with girlfriends. The jeans were a boost of confidence in my stylist and in Stitch Fix’s inventory, as Kut From The Cloth is my absolute favorite brand of jeans. I own several pairs in different cuts and I love them all. I didn’t, however, care for this particular cut. I’m kind of over the bootcut. I don’t really need any jeans right now, and I’ve been able to score several pairs of this brand at Nordstrom Rack for $60 or less, so the jeans went back as well.

Stitch Fix Striped Dolman Top

Next up is the Pomelo Corinna Striped Dolman Top in Light Green ($48). I’m wearing it with my own jeans. (They’re Levi’s Skinny Legging Jeans that I discovered thanks to Emily of DesignHER Momma. You need yourself a pair of these jeans! They’re like pajama jeans you can proudly wear in public.) Okay, so I SWORE myself to a ban on any more stripes, but I just couldn’t resist this shirt. In my defense, I don’t own any stripes in this particular shade. It’s a heavier knit, which is nice for late winter/early spring, and it feels like you’re wearing a sweatshirt. That’s what I aim for, folks … as close to fancy as I can get without feeling like I’ve left my pajamas. I kept this shirt and have worn it several times already.

Stitch Fix Dress

I so wanted to love this pink Under Skies Leona Tonal Chevron Print dress ($68). We have a wedding coming up this May and momma needs a new dress. It just didn’t fit quite right. The lining kept wanting to bunch up on my rear, which is probably more of my butt’s fault that the dress’ fault, but the butt always wins that battle. Again, I never would’ve picked something like this off the rack, but you can bet I’ll be scoping out this color when I do shop for myself.

Stitch Fix Scarf

This little number is the Betty Chevron Infinity Scarf from Rikka ($32). Accessories are one of the main reasons I wanted to try Stitch Fix. I love the idea of them, but I hate shopping for them. Even if I find something I think I like, I always feel guilty about spending money on them. This is why I’ve been wearing the same necklaces and earrings since Elena was in diapers. I waffled on this one, too, as I’ve gone all crazy and actually purchased more than one scarf in the last decade. It goes with several things I already own, and I felt 110% more put together whenever I threw it on over something, so it stayed. Would I have ever purchased it off the rack? Probably not. Have I worn it several times every week for the last month? Yes.

Returning the items you don’t want to keep is a cinch. You simply put them in the pre-paid mailing bag that comes with your Fix and pop it in the mail box. Once you’ve decided what you’ll keep and/or send back, you log into your Stitch Fix account and pay for anything you’ve kept. At the same time you can provide feedback on your Fix. It gives you the option to be very detailed, and the more information you provide, the better the stylists are prepared to send you successful Fixes in the future.

I scheduled another Fix for mid-May. I like how you have the option to add notes to your upcoming Fix. I let them know that I was looking for casual yet stylish summer pieces, especially skirts and dresses. I also made note that we’d be traveling to Europe this summer, so clothes that packed well and were suited to travel would be especially appreciated. Once that Stitch Fix arrives I’ll happily share the contents with you.

I haven’t been paid or asked by Stitch Fix to share anything about them with you. It’s an interesting concept, and something I thought some of you might want to try out as well. If you are interested, Stitch Fix does offer a referral service. This means that if you sign up and order a Fix using my referral link, I will get a credit to use towards my own Fixes.

What do you think? Would something like this be a fun and helpful service for you? Or are you happy to do your own shopping? I can see myself using Stitch Fix a few times a year, simply to have a fun package in the mail with a few cute things to add some oompf to my sad, grey, striped pajama-like wardrobe!

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