Sunday, April 27, 2014

Stitch Fix

Sorry about the heaviness of my last post.  I think it came across a little whiny.  The last thing I want anyone to think is that I don't appreciate what I have.  It's like I said, it's all worth it, even if I feel a bit stalled in my career, because I love living in Charlotte, my friends, my daughter, my husband, our house...  We have a good life here and overall I'm very happy with where we are, it's just that I wish that my career was progressing a little more and if I had to do it over, I'd make some different decisions about my career along the way, but overall, life is good.

ANYWAY!  Totally shifting gears here, I recently hopped on the Stitch Fix bandwagon.  I had been thinking about it for a while and decided to give it a try since I never have time to shop for clothing for myself now and even when I do have the chance, I usually end up shopping for Allie instead.  I thought it would be fun to see what someone else picked out for me.

If you're not familiar with Stitch Fix, it's an online service that allows you to customize preferences and styles and have a stylist pick clothing and accessories for you.  You also give them all your sizes and you can tell them if there's anything specific you want or don't want each time.  They ship you a box of items and you try them on and decide what you like and don't like and send back the items you don't wish to keep in a prepaid envelope.  For the items you keep, you can apply the $20 styling fee towards them, and you just go online to your account and check out.

In my first box, I received a pair of pants, two shirts, a blazer, and a purse.  The items come with a styling card, which is awesome.  It gives you ideas of ways to wear each item included.

The first item I tried on were the pants.  They were coral colored and slightly cropped.  I liked the material a lot, very soft, and the color is similar to one of my favorite pairs of shorts.

I was not a fan of the fit or the price though.  Cropped pants are tricky for me since I'm only 5'3".  I feel like I either need long pants or capris that are more cropped than this or it looks like I'm wearing pants that are too short.  Also, I felt like they tapered in an unflattering way, since I'm kind of pear shaped...  And they were the most expensive item at $128 (I almost never spend that much on a single clothing item). These were returned.

The second item I tried, you can see in the above picture.  It's a t-shirt with stripes on the front, a blue and white print on the back, and a floral pocket.  I am a sucker for any fun shirt, because I feel like they are so versatile and can be worn with jeans, shorts, etc...

I liked it with jeans or shorts.

The top was a little more than I usually spend on a t-shirt at $44, but it's so much more fun and interesting than most of my t-shirts, that I decided to keep it.

The third item was a coral plaid shirt.  At first glance, I thought I would be returning it because I actually have a plaid shirt that is sort of similar from Ralph Lauren.

Oh, hi Clyde!
I tried it anyway on though.

Cute with shorts...  and with jeans.

What actually sold me though, was the style card.  The material is sort of dressy, and the style card suggested pairing it with a pencil shirt for work, something I couldn't do with my cotton shirt from RL.

I decided I loved the feel, the fit, the pattern, and the versatility of the coral plaid shirt and kept it.  It was also in the $48, which isn't bad.

The next item was a striped blazer.  I liked the idea of a striped blazer, but the biggest problem with this item for me was the material.  It was too soft and not structured enough.  It looked like I'd have to iron it to get it to hold it's shape.  It was too casual for work and I didn't think I'd use it outside of work either, so it didn't really work for me.  I didn't love it, and it was $72, so I sent this one back.

It actually looks better in pictures than I feel like it did in person, but I stand by my decision.

The last item was a crossbody purse/bag.  I have actually been curious about these for a while, so it was not a bad thing that they sent me one to try.  

The two things I liked least about this were that it has gold hardware (I prefer silver) and snakeskin texture.  And I'm at this weird point where I'm not that into bags/purses because I usually just use my standby black purse, which is on the small side, or the diaper bag.  I think if I weren't a mom and were more purses right now, I could have found this more fun and playful, but I didn't feel like it was entirely practical for my needs right now.  A smaller version a crossbody bag could be fun to replace my boring black purse though.  The price was $52, which I thought was pretty reasonable (non-leather), but I just didn't love it.

So in the end, I kept the two tops and sent the rest back.  

I think Stitch Fix did pretty good for my first try though!  Everything they sent fit well and all were items I feel like I wouldn't easily find shopping myself, which is pretty cool!  I actually already scheduled my second fix for a few weeks from now.  We have a family trip to Hilton Head coming up and I asked for some fun vacation pieces for the trip!  Can't wait to see what I get!

Oh, and here's my referral link if you want to try it!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

On Sacrifice

My friend Victoria did a post recently that I could have written (well except that I'm not an attorney).  I have said her exact words over and over throughout the last year since having Allie, I feel mediocre at everything.  As much as I'd like to think I have figured out balance in my life, I have to admit that never truly feel like I am giving 100% to any part of my life anymore, which is incredibly frustrating.  It's the age old debate about whether a woman can have it all, and in my experience, the answer is kind of no.  Even though I do pretty much have everything I could ask for, I feel like all the tanks are sort of half full because I can't dedicate my full energy or time to any one area.  If I am excelling at one thing, it might be at the expense of something else.  I feel that constantly.  Certain areas are definitely lacking because sacrifices were made.

In my mid 20's, while living in the DC area, I got hired at a place where it seemed that there were unlimited possibilities in which direction I could go with my career and only six months after I started, I was promoted, so this reinforced to me the notion that I would love working at this place and would have plenty of growth opportunity.  Then my husband's career took a nose dive (no aviation pun intended) and we decided to relocate to Charlotte.  I actually fought the move for the very reason that I knew it would probably hurt my career and any growth opportunity I had hoped for, but in the end I caved and agreed to it, feeling that it was a sacrifice I would have to make for US, and our future family.  I dreamed of our future kids, being closer distance to my parents, getting out of the DC traffic and "rat race" and decided it was worth the sacrifice when I weighed it all.

When I got to Charlotte, I did a lot to try to position myself to move up, but with few opportunities and a hiring freeze, I kind of had to just coast where I was, I didn't really have a choice for a while.  I got focused on having a baby and cultivating my life outside of work, and things just kind of stayed as they were with my career and I found a way to be okay with that.  Now I've been in my current job seven years, the longest I've been in any job, and while I like it, I am thinking long term and know that I'd like to do something else in my life and don't see myself retiring in this same job- the thought of that bothers the ambitious 20 something girl I used to be.  I want to feel like I'm utilizing more of myself and learning new things, and not just stagnant.

Recently, out of nowhere, an opportunity came up at work for a job I have been interested in for a while.  I spent over a week reworking my resume to apply before the job closed, talked to people about the job, and all the sudden it was something I really wanted, which is something I didn't see coming since I've been more focused on my growing family more than work for the past couple years.  The resume re-working paid off.  I got an interview.  The interview was something I did NOT adequately prepare for though, and found myself fumbling through it.  I did not get the job and I really have to stop myself from slapping myself upside the head, because I really think I could have gotten the job if my interview had gone better.  I can't blame my family, or Allie, or anyone but myself, but at the same time, I know if I didn't have so much going on, I think I would have been able to focus better on preparing for the interview.  I also think I would have been more focused on career in general.

It's stuff like this that makes you question what you are doing.  Like, should I bother working if I'm not even doing what I really am capable of, but don't have the energy/time to put towards getting promoted since I'm so busy with my family and don't have time for further schooling/learning, etc..?  If I'm not getting further with my career anyway, should I just be staying home with my daughter?  It's hard to know.  I know that I do feel like I was right when I thought I should go back to work because I would need the "break" I get when I go to work, since I am the only parent with my daughter for days at a time because of my husband being away.  Even though it makes life busy, I feel like it's good for Allie and I to have that time apart.  Allie is already so dependent on me, since I'm the parent that's there every day, that if we spent even more time together with no other people around, I feel like she'd freak out when she was left with anyone.  So in that respect, I know daycare is good for her, to get used to other caregivers and have interaction with other kids.  And likewise, I need the adult interaction and different challenges I get at work.  But back to my point.  I just feel like if I don't feel like I'm really excelling at my career, it makes all this feel like a little bit of a waste, which sucks.

The other day though, I was talking to someone about what happened with this job.  It's been said to me many times lately in conversations about it, that I could get promoted if I were willing to move.  I know that's true.  And actually, I know Greg would move if it's what I really wanted, because we're not in the place we were in 8 years ago when we felt like we needed to move mainly for financial reasons.  There are a couple places we could move where he could commute as easily from or we could even move to Houston if an opportunity came up for me there, but when I weigh everything I'd have to sacrifice FOR my career, I realize it's not worth it to me.  Even though I sacrificed my career to be in Charlotte, have a family, live somewhere with a lower cost of living, be near my parents...  these things are all more important to me than a promotion.  I imagine moving for a job and starting over making friends, being far away from my parents, missing Charlotte and the life I created here, and I know it wouldn't be worth it if I were in a different job if I were unhappy with the rest of my life outside of work, which is a definite possibility if we moved.  So basically it's worth it for me to be here, where I am now in life, but it doesn't mean that I don't ache when I don't get a promotion and think that if I hadn't had to make certain sacrifices, I could be further along in my career.

Also, read this.  I feel like this reinforces why it's worth it.
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