Tag Archives: budget

Stitch Fix (Fail!)

20 Jul

Ok so I know I haven’t written anything in over 2 years, but we will just gloss right over that.

There have been a few changes in my life – the biggest is my change in jobs. I still have my coffee shop, but my dad is running it. Just this past January, I became an elementary school librarian. I will be writing about this in detail later, but today my main focus will be my experience with Stitch Fix.

For those of you who are not familiar, Stitch Fix is a personal styling service online. You go to their website, put in your information about your sizes, styles, budget, etc and they send you out a box with 5 pieces that are based on the info you provided. You can even link your Pinterest to them so they can go through and get a sense of what your style is.  Sounds good right? Yes, in theory. At least for me.

With my new job, I’ve had to add to my wardrobe. Most of the clothes I had were jeans and t-shirts that I wore to the coffee shop and dresses that I accumulated to wear to special events. Neither were appropriate for the business casual dress code I need to adhere to. So before I started work, I frantically flew through some of our local stores and tried to put some outfits together. I mostly picked casual dresses and skirts that I could wear with tights and boots because a. It was winter and b. That was the easiest thing for me to throw together with limited time. I did pretty ok on my own and ended up getting a few pieces that I liked and wore often.

Fast forward to now. I have 3 weeks until I have to go back to work, it is summer and I don’t have a lot of clothes that will work for the warmer months. I kept seeing and hearing people talk about Stitch Fix and I was curious. I went on to their website, filled out their style & size questionnaires and then put in my price point. Which by the way is CHEAP! I don’t like to pay a lot for clothes, especially on my salary. So I clicked the “as cheap as possible” option. This service costs $20 per “fix” and if you keep any of the items, they will apply that $20 to it. I figured I would keep at least one item so the risk was minimal. You keep and pay for what you want and you send whatever you don’t want within 3 days.

After I was done, they told me my box would be there about a week later. To me, that was a pretty good time frame and I was excited to see what they would send. Also, there is a place to put a note to your stylist so you can tell them what you are looking for specifically and give them a better sense of what you need. I filled my note out and told the stylist what my job was and that I was looking for dresses with pockets (my obsession) that would be work appropriate and that I needed a pair of mint green jeans in my life. I linked my Pinterest board named “My Style” with outfits and pieces that I was either looking for or just really liked. I was confident that my stylist would get a sense of what I wanted and my box would be filled with things I would love.

Wrong. I was so wrong. When the box came, I opened it right away and the first thing I saw was mint green jeans. I was excited! Thats where it ended. I then pulled out 2 tank tops, 1 dress and a necklace. I guess I should’ve been more specific about the fact that I didn’t really want accessories.  Anyway, the 2 tank tops they sent were $44 a piece!!! They were ok in style, but definitely something I could pick up at my local TJMaxx or Marshalls. Or even JCPenney for a fraction of that cost. So then came the dress. It was ok and it fit pretty good, but it wasn’t appropriate for work! It was a long maxi dress that had short sleeves and a surplice neckline that was lower. If I put a tank top under I guess it would have been ok, but not for $78!! So my only hope left was the jeans. I tried them on. They fit and by fit I mean that they went over my hips and buttoned. But they were super skinny jeans with a lot of stretch & thinner material so again, not appropriate for work!! Oh and did I mention that they were $88? I’m not even going to add the exclamation point….I believe its implied.

Now, they do tell you that if you love everything in your box and want to keep it all, they will give you a 25% discount. My box totaled $282 so that means if I kept it, the cost would be about $211. For 5 items. That I can’t wear to work. Which was the purpose of trying them out in the first place. So basically I just wasted $20 and about an hour of my time. I considered keeping at least one item so I could put my $20 toward it and I would at least come out of it with something, but I didn’t like any of it enough to spend any more money.

So I sent everything back and did what I’ve always done…..shopped for myself. I went to ModCloth, ThredUp, The Limited & NewYork and Company and was able to find:

5 Shirts, 3 Skirts, 5 Dresses, 9 Pairs of Pants, 2 purses, 2 pairs of boots, 1 belt and 1 pair of shorts for less than what the 5 pieces of clothing from Stitch Fix originally cost. Now, I will preface this by saying that I got some fantastic deals, used promo codes and shopped the clearance racks online. None of the stuff has arrived yet so I can’t comment on the fit or quality but I will do a follow up post. I’m sure some of the stuff will have to be returned or exchanged, but to me it is worth it if I come out of it with almost a full wardrobe I can wear to work and on the weekends. I wish I would have taken pictures of my Stitch Fix so I could give a visual reference, but I wasn’t thinking before I sent it back. But I will take pictures of my “haul” just in case anyone wants to give advice on different pieces that would go together or suggestions of other pieces that might work.

I’m also linking my Pinterest “My Style” page in case anyone wants to take a look. I will be getting ready to go back to work so my next posts will be about library centers, organization, etc. Or pretty much anything I want to yap about at the time. My Style Pinterest Board

 

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Porch Before and Afters

13 Jun

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Omg the before is so so bad! And of course the kids had to work their way into the after. 🙂

All I did was put a coat of paint on, add some flowers and moved a shelf because I thought it would look pretty good outside. All together the total cost was about $100. 

I’m pretty sure I’ve killed half those flowers already, but thats for another post. Next project: Paint the deck red!

 

 

Its porch painting day! Aren’t you excited?

1 Jun

Ok, I know I haven’t been on here forever but we are going to move past that because its time to paint! Yes, again. This time I’m taking it outside to my front porch. Now, lately I’ve been bitching up a storm about my house….its not in the neighborhood I want, too many things to fix, blah blah blah. I’ve decided to put my big girl panties on, suck it up and make some improvements. 

First up: the front porch! The front of my house has bothered me for as long as I can remember. Does that mean I’ve done anything about it? No. No it does not. But that changes today. It not only needs a new coat of paint, but a new color. The color on the steps and porch now is kind of a hunter green and although that color is ok, I’m so sick of it. It is also the color of every exterior door we have as well as the color of the back deck.

The two colors I’ve been seriously debating for the porch and steps are a dark brick red or a charcoal gray. If I did the charcoal gray, I would paint the door red. It would be nicer if the door faced the street instead of being off to the side, but oh well. I was all set with the red, but then realized that there is a lot of brick around the steps and the brick red with the reddish brick is throwing me off. So I guess dark gray it is! The siding is tan so pretty much anything goes. I’m planning on adding some flowers and signs to make up for the lack of color.

I know what you are going to say….before and after pics! Yes, you know I will post them. I almost included a before pic with this post but I’m kind of too lazy right now to go snap a pic. 

I’ll be back with pictures…I promise!

New York in a month…

3 May

Next month is my husband’s 40th birthday and I wanted to do something special with him. We never really had a honeymoon or celebrated our 10th anniversary and I didn’t really want another milestone to go by without marking the occasion. Plus, I’m really looking forward to having almost two days of just “us” time. So a few months ago, I bought plane tickets for NYC. I’ve never been there before and I knew that my husband would love to go. Unfortunately right after I bought the tickets, we got a $3000 bill from the mechanic which wiped out my trip money….and then some.

We are still going, but just on a more limited budget. The good thing is that our plane tickets and hotel room are taken care of so we just need to figure out food and entertainment. I looked up food and there are tons of food carts, little restaurants, etc that are budget friendly and  supposed to be really good. And I can’t go to New York without buying a hot dog from a truck or finding a place for great cheesecake.

I also found a site that sells  day passes at a reasonable rate and they are supposed to be good for many of the things we may want to see……museums, Empire State building, etc etc. We are going to be there less than two days so I’m planning on making the most of our time. When I get back there will likely be a post about visiting New York on an extreme budget and I’m sure there will also be a post about packing light for a two day trip. That will be a little harder for me than my husband, but I think I can handle it. I’m only taking one carry on so I have to fit my clothes, makeup, camera, and whatever else I will need in it. This also means I pack one(yes I said one!) outfit. I will already be wearing clothes for the first day so I just need something for our 2nd day. I’ve never packed without bringing tons of different outfits and shoes, just in case. 

If anyone lives in New York, visits there or is a pro at packing please chime in. I can use all the help and advice you have to offer. I would love to hear about great places to eat or visit or what I shouldn’t leave without seeing! I promise to take lots of pictures and will definitely post about all the places we visit. 

I’m really excited…..hopefully this month flies by!

Upping the crazy

31 Jan

I just realized its been almost three weeks since my last post. Lets see whats new in my life….I got a new puppy, painted the walls in the upstairs bathroom chalkboard and have decided to move rooms around in the house. There are five people in our house and everyone except one, are getting a different bedroom.

This is the layout we have now: Upstairs has 3 bedrooms and 1 bath. My teenage daughter is in one room, my 8 yr old son is in 1 room and the other room is being used as a playroom. Then downstairs we have 2 bedrooms….my husband and I are in one room and my 2 yr old daughter is in the other.

New layout: Do away with the playroom and that would now be the parents bedroom. My teenager moves into where our bedroom was. My 2 yr old moves up where the teenager was. That leaves an empty room downstairs which will be turned into an office. Whew that sounds like a lot of work!! 

I also need to get a twin bed and new bedding for my 2 yr old, new bedding for my bedroom and I need to rip up carpet, paint my bedroom and office and maybe get a couple pieces of furniture. I’m going to attempt to do this on a very strict budget. Except for my duvet because I already kind of have it picked out 🙂 

This is Leonard…he gets along very well with our other puppy, Penny.

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These are some before and almost after pics from my chalkboard bathroom project ….I’ve had a few people ask why chalkboard a bathroom and to that I say why not?

As you can see, I painted and then “seasoned” the walls with chalk and then cleared a spot to test out but I haven’t gotten around to taking a picture of the walls all done. I will put that on my to do list.

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The next pictures are ideas for my new bedroom. I’ve already decided I want the walls a dark gray – I picked out a color from Valspar….its called Gotham Gray. I also picked out a few duvet covers I like and I’m pretty sure I’ve narrowed it in on my favorite. I wonder if there will ever be a time where I’m not painting, moving or rearranging something. I hope not because I’m starting to think I enjoy it.

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Braided Spaghetti Bread

25 Sep

When I was a kid  whenever I would eat spaghetti I would pile it on my bread and eat it like a sandwich. So delicious! As I was looking through Pinterest, I found a recipe that bakes spaghetti into the bread and I knew I had to try this.

Now, there is an easy way and then there is my way to do this. The original recipe I followed uses ready made bread dough and sauce in a jar.  I had already made sauce and froze it as part of my budget dinner plan so I used that. I didn’t have any ready made dough and figured it couldn’t be that hard to make my own….sometimes I wish I could go back and smack myself.

Its not that making bread is horribly difficult, but I had a hard time getting it to rise the right way. If you are used to making your own bread, this won’t be a problem for you.

Anyway, this is my attempt at braided spaghetti bread. It was really good…..In fact, I almost didn’t get a picture of it sliced because my husband kept going back for more. I will hopefully get the “recipe” posted for my spaghetti sauce by tomorrow ….its definitely worth the effort to make it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRAIDED SPAGHETTI BREAD

Loaf of Bread Dough

About 1/2 box of spaghetti

Jar of Sauce

Mozzarella Cheese

Egg

Parsley

Parmesan Cheese

I recommend that you go here (with step by step pics)if you want to see how to do this the easier way. Just a few tips….I’m sure she probably mentions these too:

1. I found it easier to mix the sauce and spaghetti together before putting it on the dough. Make sure you add plenty of sauce….you don’t want it drying out in the oven. My spaghetti was a bit too warm though and it made the dough a bit soggy…..so I would let it cool a bit before putting it on the dough.

2. I almost had a disaster because I rolled the dough onto my cutting board and then assembled the spaghetti bread and tried to move it…..big mistake. Big, big mistake. It took me, my husband, a cookie sheet and spatula to get it onto the pan. A few pieces were harmed in the process. I highly suggest you roll the dough onto parchment paper, assemble and then lift the bread with the paper to get on to the pan.

3. This was really fun to make and came out good despite my mistakes, so don’t try to be perfect with it.

I have kitchen ADD

20 Sep

Yesterday I spent my whole day in the kitchen……and not in the fun way (eating cookies and drinking coffee) – the whole day!!  I guess it will be worth it…hopefully. I wanted to make dinners for a week ahead of time so I opened the fridge and cue horror music.

So this is how my thought process went: Have to make food….can’t make food because fridge is gross….have to clean fridge….can’t clean fridge out because dirty dishes in sink…..have to do dishes….put them away….clean counters…..then clean fridge, put it back and organize. Now I can make food….I wish I had a bigger fridge.

Trust me, it was worse than it looks. Never mind…it looks pretty bad.

Don’t judge me. 🙂

See how easy it is to get to the margaritas now?

I was finally ready so I found a recipe for spaghetti sauce and went to work….about 5 minutes in, I remembered that I hated recipes and measuring and just started throwing stuff in. I highly encourage you guys to do this…..cooking is so much more fun when there aren’t restrictions and you can just be creative. I find that doing it this way helps you figure out what works in a recipe and what doesn’t. I know that this way of cooking isn’t for everyone, but you should give it a try just once. Oh and I just want to add that I NEVER make my own sauce…..if we want spaghetti I go to the store, buy a jar , add some diced tomatoes and spices and I’m done. But since I’m trying to cook ahead , homemade just made more sense. Ok so sauce on the stove and then its time to get the meat out.

Let me start by saying that I had this great plan…..I saved all these recipes on Pinterest for freezer meals and the plan was to put meals together in the freezer bags. Again, this did not work for me….it was way to confusing to figure out what you could freeze and how, and putting the raw meat with the veggies kinda of freaked me out. So I decided to separate the meat I bought into different freezer bags so I can just pull them out, defrost and stick in crock pot or oven. I put BBQ in with some of the meat and the rest I left unseasoned because I’m not sure how I will use it yet.  I bought pork chops, country style ribs and chicken drumsticks. I have no idea how to pick out meat but I’m learning. I really tried to plan meals ahead of time and make a grocery list, but I didn’t like that. I went to the store, found the meat that looked good and was a decent price and then planned around that. From the meat, I was able to get 6 dinners for 5-7 people (sometimes my sis and nephew eat with us) for $30….not too bad. Much better than eating out, thats for sure.

I’m sure there are better ways of freezing and stacking, but right now I’m just glad its done!

The rest of the week I will post recipes for spaghetti sauce, baked mac and cheese(no Velveeta! ), waffle mix from scratch and some sort of cookie- if I can get it together to make them!

I almost forgot, here is a site you guys HAVE to check out….she has everything from recipes to homemade laundry detergent to crafts to everything! I promise that you will thank me later……there are some really great ideas on there. In fact that’s what motivated me to clean my fridge(other than the nastiness).