28 July 2014


I like to keep things real around here. And things aren't always awesome. This past week has been a really tough one for my family. I'm thinking that it's just that annoying adjustment period after getting back from a trip. You know, where you have to resume adult responsibilities and tedious repetitive schedules. I'm sure that my cramping and exhaustion thanks to Aunt Flo (sorry TMI) doesn't help matters at all. But seriously, we have all been in the biggest funk ever. Even the kids have turned into monsters since being home.
And my Mothering skills this past week? Definitely leave something to be desired.

I know that people have bad days, weeks... heck, even bad months. But when I go through these phases and my patience is paper thin -- I catch my self wondering "What the heck business do I have being a Mother right now?" My poor kids need me and I am just going through the motions, as opposed to actually wanting to be there. And like I said, they've been total hellions since we've been home. Not sure if they are just feeding off my negative energy, or I'm feeding off theirs. Either way, it's been a challenge.

I have found myself just sitting on the couch, dreading having to get up to make lunches, help my child go to the bathroom, or break up one of the sixty seven fights they've had that day. I've had no energy, no motivation, and just feel down in the dumps. I HATE this feeling, because usually, I'm pretty quick to snap out of these kinds of mood swings, but this time, it's gone on way too long.

Truth is, I'm not sure what to do to get out of this funk. I've tried working out, taking the kids out to the park, I even went to the hospital and met my good friend's brand new baby. But, no luck. Still come home feeling just icky.

I think I've decided that I'll try the "fake it till you make it" method and hope that snaps me out of it.


 Maybe you all have some advise for me? Or can at least commiserate with me. ;-)

25 July 2014

2nd July Stitch Fix Review!!

Wait, what?! TWO Stitch Fixes in one month? I told ya I changed my subscription to come every 2-3 weeks. Can't stop, won't stop. 

I have been in some kind of crazy funk since getting back from our trip and not much has been able to snap me out of it. But let me tell you, this little box of clothing totally brightened my day. It's the little things sometimes.

If you need the details about Stitch Fix, here's the details:

First, go to stitchfix.com and you create your style profile. Also, create a Stitch Fix Style pinboard and link it to your profile so that your stylists can get a feel for your clothing tastes and preferences. Then schedule your fix!! The stylists will hand pick 5 items for you to try on. They send the clothing pieces directly to your house, you try them on and decide what to keep (if anything) and then you send back what you don't want. Super easy and convenient!
  • There's a $20 styling fee, which you can use toward your order. (that's awesome!!)
  • If you keep all 5 items you receive 25% off your order.
  • You choose your price range.
  • The more feedback you give on the pieces sent to you, the better they get over time. So be sure to be very specific to your stylists so that they can send you things you'll love.
I was pretty excited about this fix, actually. I was really loving the bright, summery colors and patterns. There are several things I want to keep this time around! And I even got off my lazy butt and took some better pictures again this time. I mean, I'm sure you're really missing my awesome in-the-mirror-iphone-selfies, though, right? ;-)

Item # 1 - Filbert 3/4 Sleeve Popover Blouse
I actually don't have anything like this... and the color is really pretty. My reservation is that I'm not sure how often I would wear it! You know?? And I think the wrinkling would drive me nuts.

Item #2 - Downing Striped Knit Shirt
Yellow, stripes, comfortable cotton... this is kind of right up my alley. I'm a little torn on the neckline, though, not in love with the shape. But I can't deny that the shirt is comfortable and I would most definitely wear it.

Item #3 - Denova Mixed Material Floral Print Blouse
Loving the colors and the feminine pattern. Again, I don't really have anything like this so it would be awesome to add it to my closet. I'm wondering why the sleeves are a solid navy color, though, as opposed to just following the same fabric as the shirt. It doesn't bother me enough not to buy it, though. I think I might keep this just for something different!

Item # 4 - Abrianna Lightweight Knit Cardigan
I really like this lightweight caridgan. I actually got a teal/white striped one just like this (same fabric and everything) from Stitch Fix 4-5 months ago and I love it & kept it. However, I think I'm going to send this one back. As much as I love a good cardi, I don't need anymore lightweight ones for Summer.

Item # 5 - Leigh Chevron Canvas Hobo

This bag?? WINNER. It's exactly what I wanted. I had mentioned in the notes that I wouldn't mind another bag, and that I loved hobo bags. My stylist totally listened. It's super roomy inside and it's made SO well. I will get a ridiculous amount of use out of this. I'm keeping. In fact, I had already torn off the tags and loaded it up with my stuff before I took this photo. lol.

As always, I'm loving this service. There is always at least one item in my fix that I keep and that alone, makes it worth it. I love getting a box full of surprise goodies, and I love stepping outside my comfort zone a little with the pieces they send me!!

What about you? Have you tried Stitch Fix?? Do you have any questions about how it works? Leave a comment or send me a quick e-mail! mandychiappini@gmail.com!


24 July 2014

6 Back To School Teacher Gift Ideas + A Chance To Win Your School Supply List!

*Many thanks to Great Clips for sponsoring today's discussion and inspiring my family to support teachers!

Bennett is starting Pre-K in the fall, which totally baffles me. But clearly, time won't slow down so I'd just better get used to it. I've written in the past about how Bennett has been attending a the special education preschool so that he could get a little extra help with his developmental delays. While at preschool, he get's pulled out for several hours a week to receive speech, physical and occupational therapy. A just in this past year alone, we've seen a huge improvement with his development.  At our last teacher conference back in June, his teachers recommended that this year he join to the general ed pre-k class. He will still be receiving speech/occupational services every week, but I'm really excited for him and hoping he really thrives in that environment.

With September creeping up on me, I've been pondering what we can do or make for Bennett's teachers so show them how grateful we are for all they do for our son. I've scoured around the interwebs for ideas and these are the 5 I've narrowed it down to.

 ONE // Back To School Sharpie Teacher Gift

TWO // A Berry Special Teacher
via Skip To My Lou

THREE // Mason Jar Teacher Gift
via 'Lil Luna

FOUR // First Week Of School Survival Kit

FIVE // "Flips That You're My Teacher" Gift
via Simply This & That

SIX // Mason Jar Cookie Teacher Gift & Printable

I think a lot of times, we forget just how much work goes into being a teacher. Aside from all of the time and effort they put it, the average teacher spends roughly $1,000 of their own money just to make sure that their students have the resources they need to learn. That's a LOT when you think about it.

I was so thrilled to find out that Great Clips has joined forces with Adopt A Classroom to not only help out teachers, but to give families a chance to win all of their back-to-school supplies. With every download of their Online App, Great Clips will contribute to Adopt A Class (up to $20,000!) to help continue to support teachers and students.

Great Clips has already fulfilled several teachers wish lists! Watch this video to get a little more insight into how they are helping teachers makeover their classrooms!



Great Clips is also running a #GREATLIST contest, running through September 9th!
Contest Prize: The winners' school supply list.
Prize Value: Up to $100

All you have to do is create your school supply list, upload it and upload it here! Daily winners will be chosen, and their supply list will be shipped right to your front door for free!! Pretty stinkin' awesome if you ask me!

*#GREATLIST contest entrants receive a $2-off coupon with their confirmation email the first time they submit a supply list. One coupon per customer.

23 July 2014

Finding the place where we belong.

Every time I visit my Husband's hometown, I leave wondering what it would be like to live there. Or somewhere near there. It's actually pretty predictable, I always come home feeling like I want to move. Just ask my friends and family.

The morning we left, as we were packing the car and getting the kids ready, Bennett realized what was going on and that we were leaving. He had a break down. He started crying and telling us that he didn't want to go home. It was absolutely heart-breaking to watch. He grew so close to not only his family there, but the way of life. It's so hard to tear him away, so many tears.

Bennett, especially, would really thrive living somewhere smaller and more slow-paced. He loves nothing more than to be able to roam free and explore -- wide open spaces suit him well. My Husband and I both agreed that seeing him there, in a completely different environment, it's like he was a totally different kid. More aware, more relaxed... happier. Whereas, I feel like the faster pace lifestyle of the Seattle area can be too overwhelming for him (and me, if I'm being totally honest). Easton? Well he would be fine anywhere I think, he's pretty chill.

While I think that you can find joy and be content anywhere (because home is where the heart is, or should I say "home is where my family is"), I truly believe that where you live has a HUGE impact on your every day life and perspective. There's a lot, like a lot of outside influence that we don't usually take into account when we choose where we live. And it's important for me to remember what kind of influence I want the culture/community to have on my kids.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate & respect variety and diversity. It's just that if I look down to the core of who I am, and what I envision for our family, it doesn't really jive well with Seattle (or surrounding areas). We live a conservative lifestyle, and our values and beliefs are much different than most that live in the Pacific Northwest. Could we be happy here forever? Yes. But it's hard to ignore that we just might be happier and more fulfilled somewhere with a more like-minded community. There would also be the benefit of our kids being close to my Husbands side of the family. I feel SO strongly about them having a close relationship with them. But then again, could I ever leave my friends and family here?  

 I feel like I am constantly battling with myself about what would be best for our family. I mean, obviously, it's not just my decision. My Husband sort of has a say in things, too. And I know that right now, he's happy in his career. He's ambitious and always needs to be able to "climb the ladder" so to speak, so I feel like he would be unhappy somewhere with so little demand for his line of work.

So that's kind of a big deal. And one of the major reasons why moving to Idaho hasn't been a realistic option for us.

I don't know, I'm just sort of thinking out loud. And I'm feeling kind of moody, so who knows how long these feelings will last.

What about you??? Do you live in the city? country? suburbs? Where do you feel you "fit in" the most? And are you happy where you live?