26 August 2015

School Is Just Around the Corner, For BOTH Of My Kids!

Starting in just a little over a week, I will have not one, but TWO kids in school. Granted, they are both only going half days, but still. Bennett is starting Kindergarten, and Easton is going into his first year of Preschool. It's all just a little too much to handle. Mostly because I am just having a rough time with how quickly time is going. I feel like Easton was just a baby, I feel like that was yesterday. Well he is most certainly not a baby, and in fact, I think he is really going to love preschool. He does really well with direction, and more structured settings. So as much as I don't want to let go of my "baby", I'm also very excited for him.

And Bennett. My sweet, oldest son. I actually have a lot to say about this. If you have been following around here for a while, then you will know that Bennett has been struggling with a variety of developmental delays. And for the past 2 years, we have been trying to find some answers as to what is really going on. We've recently (finally!!) had several appointments with not only a pediatric psychologist, but also a neuropsychologist. And Philip and I will be going in next week to go over the results of all of the many assessments and evaluations Bennett has been through. Cross your fingers we'll get some answers! I will try to update here on the blog after the appointment and fill y'all in.

Okay onto a lighter subject! I have been stocking up their closets with new clothing, because man, these kids grow like weeds. They literally don't stop growing. Especially Bennett, he doesn't fit into a single pair of jeans he wore last year. What the heck is that about? So we went to H&M and I bought him 5 new pairs. So that should do it in the pants department. As for Easton, well, he gets a lot of hand me downs. But the thing that isn't being handed down very much, is shoes. Not only do Bennett's old shoes not fit Easton very well (the kid has some fatty feet!), but my boys tend to destroy their shoes. Especially in the Summer time. 

So new shoes for everyone! 

I was provided these pairs of shoes c/o Rack Room Shoes, for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own.

Outfit info:
Bennett - Pants: H&M, Long sleeved Tee: H&M 
Easton - Pants: H&M, Tee: H&M, Cardigan: Zulily
Mandy - Top: Stitch Fix, Jeans: Walmart. 
Guys real quick, this pair of jeans are amazing!! They were $15 from Walmart and they are one of my favorite pairs of pants!! I was so stoked when I scored them! 

All of our shoes are from Rack Room Shoes

Let's talk about these shoes for a minute, is that okay?? I mean, of course they are all grey, I'm super addicted to grey. I'm trying to step outside of my little grey bubble a little bit, they it's just such a versatile color. You know??

Bennett is sporting the Converse Chuck Taylor Allstar Street Ox shoes. Every little boy needs a pair of Chucks. It's true. 

And because I wanted to get a little bit matchy matchy, I decided to go with a pair of Chuck's myself. 

And for Easton, since he's pickier about what goes on his feet, I decided he needed something a little bit more sporty. So these Nike Flex's were perfect for him. 

I will never get tired of picking out clothes and shoes for these guys. I'm going to be sad when they stop letting me choose their wardrobe. lol But I know that day is coming. In the meantime, though, I'm going to take full advantage!

So my recommendations for back to school gear? H&M for clothing, and Rack Room Shoes for all of your footwear. Rack Room Shoes will be hosting it's annual Shoes That Fit campaign, which empowers customers to give back to their local community. Customers can add a donation at the register in-store, or online to provide at-risk children in their own community with new shoes for the upcoming school year. I think that's pretty neat, and something we should all consider while doing our back-to-school shopping! :-)

25 August 2015

Golden Tote - Review!

Well guys, I am very vocal about much I love and am addicted to Stitch Fix. There are just so many awesome benefits to having someone else shop & style me, and then send the clothes directly to me. After subscribing to an online styling service, I truly do not enjoy going into stores anymore. It's all a little too overwhelming for me. Too many choices, too many people. I would much rather take the hassle out of shopping, and have someone else help me out with things.

So because I am a clothing subscription box junkie, when I was introduced to a service called Golden Tote, I was absolutely intrigued. So yes, it is a clothing service, and yes it's similar to Stitch Fix. BUT, there are also plenty of differences! But before I dive into that, first let me tell you a little about the company!

Golden Tote was started by clothing designers and personal stylists, Sarah Sweeney And Sarah Becker. In 2003, they launched a clothing line called Puella (sold at stores like Anthropologie). At one of the Puella sales events, they offered surprise grab bags with several items of clothing at 80% off. And because people loved it so much, Golden Tote was born!

*I received this tote in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 
Okay now let me get on to how it works! First you fill out your style profile so that they can get an idea about what you like (and don't like!) What's next? Well, new totes go on sale the first Monday of every month, and you have two options:

Small Tote | $49
  • 2-3 pieces of clothing
  • You choose one piece from the boutique
  • Golden Tote stylists surprise you with the rest! 
Large Tote | $149
  • 5-6 pieces of clothing
  • You choose two pieces from the boutique
  • Golden Tote Stylists surprise you with the rest!
Okay so once you choose which Tote you want, and the items of your choice, you wait for it to ship! The waiting game always stinks... because I don't know about you, but I'm impatient. But here are a few other need-to-know things about Golden Tote.
  • All items you will find in your tote are 50% off retail price. So it ends up being roughly $26 per item. My thoughts? That's a screamin' deal! This is where there is a huge difference between Stitch Fix and Golden Tote. Stitch Fix, you are always paying full MSRP on all of the clothing pieces. 
  • Golden Tote is an ALL or NOTHING deal. You either keep it all, or you send it all back. I actually understand why this is the case, especially since you are getting such a great deal for all of the items. However, I could see why it would also be frustrating if you only like a few items in your tote. Or if not everything fits right.

    But the good news is, Golden Tote has a Facebook group set up for subscribers to go and discuss their totes, as well as make trades if they want. So, that part is pretty cool, and I think it could be fun as well. 
So are you ready to see what I got in my Golden Tote?? The first two things were the pieces that I chose:

1) My Pick #1 - Daydreamer Believer Dress
Okay so when I saw this in their boutique, I instantly fell in love. Like, I knew I had to have it. The thing is, I'm a size medium in almost everything. So naturally, I ordered a medium. However, when I tried it on, it was definitely too big. I can't express to you how extremely bummed I am about it. I could EASILY have fit into a small, and in that case, I would have been over the moon about this dress. Because the dress itself?? It's awesome and gets a huge gold star. But, unfortunately, given how big this dress is on me, I don't think I will ever wear it.

2) My pick 2 - Relaxed Tassel Top 
This was another item I chose. It looked so so so cute on the model on the website, but when I tried it on? Not so much. I felt like it was too small, maybe? Or maybe I just don't have the right figure for it. So, I'm a little disappointed. Not in the shirt necessarily, or in the stylist, but in my own judgement. I wish I would have chosen something else.

3) Surprise item #1 
This isn't really something I would have picked out for myself. But I actually kinda like it when it's on! The detailing around the bottom is very pretty!! The color white scares me a little, I'm a sloppy eater, and you know, two small boys. lol. But overall, I think this is really pretty!

4) Surprise item #2 - 
Well well well. This was a nice surprise! This dress is so pretty, but a little long for me. That's to be expected, though. It's super hard to find things that are the right length for me!

5) Surprise item #3 - 
Hello beautiful, feminine, floral tank!! I adore this. I tried it on with my white pants and I feel like they go together fabulously. This top would also look great with dark denim, too. Well done, Golden Tote, well done!! :-)

6) Surprise item #4.
When I pulled this out of the tote, I was a little bit underwhelmed with it. Definitely not something I would pick out myself. But I'm always willing to give things a fair shot, so when I tried it on, I realized I liked it a little bit more than I thought. But ultimately, if I had the chance, I would send this back.

Okay so as you can see, I received six items in the large Golden Tote. If you break it down, that's about $25 per item. Assuming I loved all of these items, I'd say that's pretty dang good, price-wise. But since this is an all or nothin' deal, I would have to decide whether to keep it all, or send it all back. Waaaaaa. Honestly that's a tough decision to make. The good news, is that if I decided to keep everything, despite not loving everything in my tote -- Golden Tote has a Facebook group where subscribers can go and sell and/or trade items. So, with that in mind, I would probably keep this tote.

I think overall, this is a really great service if you are looking for clothing on a budget. I mean $25/item is pretty affordable. And the clothing is really cute and well made, in my opinion. Plus, I'm sure you all love surprises, yes?? Plus, I think it's really cool that you get to choose some of the items you receive in your tote!

Really, the only downside is that you cannot pick and choose what you keep. You keep it all, or you don't.

Interested in trying out Golden Tote for yourself?? Hop over to their website and get started! :)

21 August 2015

August FabKids

I am in absolute disbelief that August is already nearing it's end. That basically means that it's just about time for school to start, and that's like a punch in the gut. I mean, as much as I do love routine, I love Summer even more. Having the freedom to just get outside and do whatever the heck we want. But you can bet that we're going to soak up every last warm day that we have!

Okay, so even though I'm whining, one thing I do like... is Fall fashion! There are some really awesome boys clothes available through FabKids right now!! I think I've mentioned this in the past, but FabKids clothing fits Bennett so well!! He's so tall and slender, I have a really hard time finding things that are long enough for him, but at the same time, fit him around the waist. And the quality is fantastic, so all of our FabKids outfits will most definitely be passed down to Easton! Huge thumbs up.

This outfit was PERFECT for him. I really like layering, and the mix and match of colors. OH! And FabKids also has shoes now! We got these shoes to go with this outfit, and they make the whole ensemble I think.

Outfit: Moto Cool Outfit
Shoes: Blue Velcro Sneaker
*This outfit was provided for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Let's talk about FabKids for a minute!

FabKids is JustFab's newest fashion club, started by a team of parents, including mom and actress, Christina Applegate. FabKids makes it super easy & convenient for parents to shop because you get monthly selections of affordable, high-quality fashions that are personalized just for your kids.

You can order through their website at anytime with a regular membership, but the awesome VIP Memberships include tons of perks! Such as:
  • First outfit is 20% off, plus free shipping!
  • Save up to 50% off retail prices
  • Skip any month you want
  • Exclusive VIP pricing
  • Earn FabKids rewards points
  • Cancel anytime!
So now all you need to do is head over to the FabKids website and take a style profile quiz about your kiddo, so that they can get to know your child. And then based on those results, FabKids will give you outfit suggestions. You can buy an outfit, or not. Or just shop around the site. But I dare you not to buy something.

And currently, FabKids is having an awesome promo with school deals under $20! Dresses from $15, Leggings are 3 for $19, Tutus from $8, Boys tops & tees from $6.... and so much more! Be sure to hop over and check them out for all of your kids' back to school clothing! :)

13 August 2015

I Cannot Do It All, And I Don't Want To

I've realized something very simple, but very important recently.

I can not do it all.

Okay wait, let me sort of rephrase that, because I think I've always known I can't do it all. But the most significant thing, is realizing that not only am I incapable of doing everything and pleasing everyone all the time -- I don't want to. I do not want to.  I feel selfish saying that out loud. But it's the truth.

Just think about it for a minute. How often to do we put pressure on ourselves to multi-task and be oh-so-productive all of the time. And in fact, we feel guilty when we don't get to cross off everything on our to-do lists, or help everyone who needs help with something. It's enough to make us feel like big fat failures, if you ask me.

I find myself trying to be a people pleaser sometimes. And not just with other people, with myself, too. I don't ever want to let myself down... if that makes sense. It can get to be overwhelming, though, because I will start to feel pulled into a million different directions. But I have literally just started accepting that I can't do everything. I can't be there for everyone, or make everyone happy. I feel like, now, I know my limits and only take on what I can truly handle. If not, my happiness & my families happiness suffers a lot. So in recent months, I have learned to say "no." Which I think is really really important. It's not always easy, but it's necessary.

And on top of that, there is never going to be enough time in the day, and I know that. I don't want to spend every waking hour trying to be productive, staying clean and organized, and driving myself batty with the ever growing list of crap to do. It just isn't realistic. Obviously, I think there is a balance to be found. But mostly, I find that I'm missing out on so much by trying to do it all. I'm slowly learning to live for me. To do with makes me happy and to follow my heart.

I've learned to prioritize better. I put in the effort where it needs to be at the time, and just try and let everything else go for the moment. I really have no other choice, because when I start to consider all of the things or people I've been neglecting -- that's when the guilt pours in. And that just isn't fair. With the exception of our family (and sometimes not even them)... it's not okay for us to put everything and everyone before ourselves. WE need to be healthy and happy, before we can be any good to anyone else.

I really really feel like instead of letting the pressure and the guilt drive us nuts, we just need to say "I can't, and I won't take that on right now", whatever that might be.

And because I can't hit "publish" on a post without a photo. Here is one from a much needed Mom's Night Out I had with some friends a few nights ago! :-)