Thursday, April 23, 2015

Online Thrift Stores

Have you ever heard of online thrift store shopping? I hadn't until a few weeks ago when my good friend, Amy Roberts, decided to do an experiment of sorts, and was kind enough to let me in on it!

So, Amy shopped and shopped on three online clothing sites (2 thrift store, and 1 personal shopping website). And here are some of the results we found:

The Lot of Clothes
The first site I'd like to introduce is one called Stitch Fix. (It's the line of clothes on the far left. To access their website, go to: www.stitchfix.com.) This site is not a thrift site, but a personal shopper site. You get on the site, and answer questions about yourself, and then the site somehow chooses "your style" and sends the clothes to you. The initial fee for submitting your style is $20. If you don't like any of the clothes, you can send them all back, but you lose the $20. But, if you buy all 5 items they send, a discount is applied. According to Amy's receipt, she would have gotten a 33% discount, but I do not know if this is standard or not.

 So, the total for all five tops: $292.00
 subtract the $20.00 initial set up fee
And if you buy all 5 items: -$68.00
And the total comes to: $204.00

Some Pics of the items sent by Stitch Fix. Prices are located in the captions.
Blue Jacket by Market & Spruce - $68.00 (unzipped)

Same Jacket, But Zipped

Dark Green Market and Spruce Knit Top - $58.00

Teal Green Market and Spruce Tee - $44.00

Grey Staccato Draped Front Cardigan - $48.00
 Amy, and I (And our other committee member, Kayla) decided that the gray cardigan in the pic above was super cute.
Light Grey Market and Spruce Terry Moto Jacket - $74.00 (Zipped)
 Our committee also loved the look and feel of this jacket, but in the end, Amy decided not to purchase it. $74.00 is a little steep. We decided to keep our eyes open for a similar jacket elsewhere (like at an outlet store on online thrift shop.)
Same Jacket, Unzipped
In the end, Amy decided to buy only one item from stitch fix. She purchased the gray and white Staccato Draped Front Cardigan. It was super flattering, and by spending just $28, she didn't have to lose the initial $20 she originally invested. She sent the other 4 items back. Stitch Fix was a good experience for her, but I don't think she will reinvest in the "styling fee" again. (But never say never, right?)

Now to the middle block of clothes. This block was purchased from an online thrift store called ThredUP. To access their website, go to www.thredup.com. (Or to get $10 off while adding $10 to my shopping cart, shop by clicking here.) You can also download a free app for your shopping convenience. Here is what a lot of scrolling time on the ThredUP website earned Amy:

 Gap Sleeveless Silk Top - $14.49

Lida Baday Jacket - $20.49

H&M Sleeveless Top - $12.99
Amy bought this top.
Navy J. Crew Cardigan - $29.49
Coral J. Crew Cardigan - $14.99 (Not the dress)

Amy bought this sweater. It's a beautiful color!
Juicy Couture Wool Blazer - $31.49
The rest of the items from the ThredUP lot were sent back. Either they didn't fit right, or they just weren't Amy's style. The neat thing about ThredUP is that you can share their site with others, and if the people you send the site to order using the link you sent, you both get $10 off. (That's why I shared the link above). Neat huh? I like them.

The last online thrift store Amy checked out was Twice. It is the block of clothes on the far right in the very first picture. You can access their account by going to www.liketwice.com. They have an App too. You can also find online coupons on Twice. For Amy's order, she applied a 40% coupon to her entire order. Awesome!

Here is what she ordered from their store:
Pink Sweater by New York and Company - $12.95 (plus a 40% off coupon.)

Pink Sweater by Ann Taylor - $14.95 (plus a 40% off coupon.)
 Amy kept this darker pink sweater and sent the coral one above back. She liked both, but the committee voted the coral sweater from ThredUP was more flattering.
Striped Gray Long Sleeve Sweater by Ann Taylor Loft - $15.95 (plus a 40% discount.)
 Amy didn't feel that this sweater was her style, but I felt like it was mine! She didn't send it back, and I bought it from her.
Long Sleeve Blue Jacket by Ann Taylor Loft - $16.95 (plus a 40% discount.)
 The same scenario applies to this jacket. I bought this from Amy. Love it!
Blue Striped Sheath Dress by Ann Taylor Loft Outlet - $18.95 (plus a 40% discount)
 Amy looks so cute in this little dress. She kept it! Yay!
Purple T-shirt by Under Armour - $14.95 (plus a 40% discount)
 Amy didn't keep this one.
Pay no attention to the greenish top...this pic is for the blank tank underneath. Black Tank Top by Coldwater Creek - $7.95 (plus a 40% discount.)
 I forgot to get a picture of just the black tank! Amy wore it under all the other clothes she tried on. She did not send the black tank back. It's just too cute and practical!
Grey Striped Cardigan by American Eagle Outfitters - $12.95 (plus a 40% discount)
Amy liked this sweater, but felt like it was too short on her midriff. So it went back.

All in all, the experiment was a lot of fun! We enjoyed taking pictures and I'm thankful Amy let me buy some of the sweaters from her, because as I'm sure you know, thrift store shopping can be time consuming! And, it can also save a lot of money! I asked Amy which store she liked best overall, and she had to go with ThredUP. They seemed to have the best deals without needing to find an online coupon. (I'm also thankful I wasn't the one sending merchandise back. Amy said it wasn't too difficult though.)

Please let me know if you've tried any of these stores, and if you have, how did you feel your experience went? Have you consigned to either of the thrift stores? I am by no means advocating or advertising any of these stores, but I just wanted to share our findings and hope you got something out of it. We had fun. I would love any tips or other good online stores that you've come across.

Thanks Shopper, Amy! Thanks Committee member, Kayla! Thanks readers! Love, Amber

Monday, April 20, 2015

Daddy Daughter Dance!

My girls are so blessed. I got to help them primp and get ready for the date of a life time...a date with their daddy. We curled their hair, put some make-up on them and got them all dressed up!

Julia and Lydia got to go with their dad, and Saige got to go on a date with me. Saige and I went and had froyo, and then picked up friends to come over and watch a movie with us. It was a good time. :)

Although, from the pictures and videos Dave took on his phone, the big girls and he had an even better time than we had. They really boogied down!

Big Girl Julia
Just look at these precious pics:

 I took these pics on our neighbor's porch because the lighting was better. Don't they look gorgeous?!?
A Bun with Curls
 This was as close to the requested hairdo as I could get!

 The girls danced so hard that the flower in Julia's hair fell right off the clip.

Lyd wanted her hair down
 She looked so gorgeous!

 How are my girls so big?

Sisters!
 Oh course Saige had to get in on the action! I wished I would have dressed her up a little more to take these pictures, but she's adorable anyway.
Saige and her baby blues
 Saige is my kid who always recognizes other people's eye colors. She comments on the colors of people eyes all the time. (I always notice people's lips.) I know that what you notice about others features is supposed to say something about your personality....noticing people's eyes must = mischievousness!
Daddy and his Dates
 The big girls were so excited about their date. They counted down the days for weeks. When they got to the dance, they got to sit by friends for their chicken with all the fixins dinner. They came home with glow sticks and flowery head bands. Everything was fancy and fun. The father-daughter dance is no small event here in Dickinson!
My Sweet and Beautiful Fam!

Just to Prove I Was There Too!
What a sweet way to spend a Friday evening!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope Monday is heavenly!

Love, Amber

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter 2015

I'm sorry I've stayed away from blogging lately. Leaving for a little over a month wasn't my intention! But, I'm here now and ready to share a little bit about our Easter weekend! Because we way up North, we didn't get to see Dave's or my parents or siblings. But, we still had a great time with our little family of five! On Friday we shared the Easter story and went to a Good Friday service at church. Saturday was filled with Easter egg dyeing.
Here are a few of the ones we dyed.

Trying to Fit in the Five of Us
Julia Coloring Her Egg

Lydia Coloring Her Egg

Saige Colored Her Eggs Extremely Fast
One of Saige's Eggs
Another Family Shot
 
The Easter Bunny magically appeared and brought goodies for our girls. :) They loved everything they got, and then promptly forgot everything that was given.
Julia Showing Dave her new Judy Bloom Book
 The weird things in the girls hair are rags. I put them in their hair to hopefully curl it over night. It sort of worked. Sort of didn't. Julia's worked better because I put the blow dryer on her curls. But Lydia took her rags out before I could put the dryer on it. I curled the hair that the rags didn't.

Here are the girls all gussied up for Easter Sunday:
I Love Coral for Spring

Another Attempt at Getting Everyone Looking at Me

Beautiful Lydia at Church
Beautiful Julia at Church
I meant to get a family picture on Easter, but I didn't get to. :( We had our traditional Easter lunch of grilled pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, salad, and roasted asparagus after church and it was late but wonderful. Before lunch, the girls had a small Easter egg hunt. Saige couldn't hang through lunch, and had to go down for a nap before we had the lemon poppy seed pound cake.

We had a fabulous Easter! The only thing that could have made it better would have been to have spent it with family. Maybe that will be a possibility in 2016!

Thanks for coming by! I hope your Easter was fabulous as you celebrated the Risen King! -Amber



Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cheer Camp

I've tried to upload the videos from the girls' cheer camp upteenth times, and the videos just refuse to sync with my blog. So, for now, I've decided that it is time to skip the videos, that I should tell you a blurb about the cheer camp, and that blog life should move on. I'm going to do that now.

The girls loved cheer camp last month. They got to practice with real high school cheerleaders, and then got to perform at a real high school basketball game. They looked so cute mimicking their high school heroes, and I loved watching them. My favorite part of the whole cheer camp was at the end of every cheer when they are supposed to yell, and kick like a cheer leader. Watching a first grader (Lydia) and second grader (Julia) uncoordinatedly kick and yell like mini cheerleaders makes said first and second graders look like babies again. So cute. Because the girls were on opposite sides of the gym, and too far away for a good picture, Just got a bunch of weird pictures looking like this:
 I don't have any pictures of Lydia like this one of Julia. I just have a great up close video. I wish I could show it to you. Maybe sometime.

Anyway, I wish I could say we were less busy these days, but I guess that's not the way our Stewart family chooses to live. We jump from one event to the next. Last week, Dave and I spent the week in Houston, while my girls stayed with my sister at her house in Wyoming. Dave had a training, and I decided to help plan an event for the brokerage I used to work at. Driving to and from Wyoming, flying out of the Denver airport, visiting family and as many friends as possible, and working while in Houston made for a whirlwind of a week.

Saige was potty trained before our trip, but decided while we were gone that going to the bathroom in her diaper is much more convenient. So, re-training my toddler this week has been exciting to say the least. It's a battle of the wills at times.

Julia and Lydia are looking forward to summer, and with today's temperatures, so am I! They are ready to be out of school, and I am ready for my face not to hurt when my skin collides with North Dakota wind.

Dave is planning to hold down our fort this weekend while I go on a women's retreat with the ladies from our church. I believe he has a video game night with friends tentatively planned. (This reminds me of a movie I watched recently: "A Mom's Night Out". I'm sure it won't turn out like the movie did though.) And, I hope he has a good time with our girlies and his friends.

Anyway, I plan to get blogs posted more regularly, so please come back. Thanks for reading! -Amber

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Yesterday

Yesterday was one of the craziest days we've had in a while. The girls had a field trip in Bismarck at a little ski hill there. My friend, Amy, and I followed the bus of kids from Dickinson to Bismarck, and enjoyed visiting while our kids watched a movie. I wouldn't have made it to Bismarck without her. (Thank you Jesus for friends.)

Once we got to the ski lodge, I paid for the girls to ski, rented some skis for them, got them to the bunny hill, helped them get on the bunny hill lift, and watched and helped them get down the hill a few times. My friend, Amy, watched her little kids and Saige while I helped Julia and Lydia, and her older boys get comfortable skiing for the first time. One of the other moms at the girls' school let me know that a ski instructor would be coming shortly to help our kids learn more about skiing. (And I kept thinking...MAN! Field trips are in North Dakota are really different than the field trips my girls went on in Houston. Really different.)
Ski Julia
 I didn't see the teen behind Julia until now. Photo bombed!

Sweet Lydia Skier

Stick your booty out and GO! Yay!

Up the Bunny Hill
After the bigger kids were well situated, Amy and I went back to the lodge and started to give our littles some lunch. After a short while, I went to check on my girls. And as I was finishing up with checking on my bigger girls, I saw Amy coming towards me with the smaller kids. Saige was crying, and I assumed she was just missing her mama. But, then Amy told me that the dog that was running around at the lodge had nipped my poor Saige on the nose.

My Poor Sad Saige
(Did you notice she's still wearing pajamas? Yes, I was still getting around to getting her dressed.)

So, after drying Saige's tears, and asking the ladies at the lodge to put the dog up, Amy and I sat with our kids and visited. Then, we lost Saige. While we were doing our thing, she decided to wander off and lay on her blankets in the snack bar of the floor. She often lays on her blankets on the floor at home, but she also usually answers me when I call her name. I was looking everywhere for her, inside the lodge and out, calling for her and trying to remain calm. God answered my prayers, and I found that girl. Whew. Another bullet dodged.

Unfortunately, there were a few more bullets to go for the day. After Julia and Lydia ate a little bit of lunch, they were ready to take on the big hill. (There are only two hills to ski on at this little slope.) So, Amy's son, Connor, and Lydia headed to the top of the hill. We waited for quite a long time, and then saw Connor come down the slope. But still no Lydia. Julia went up soon after, and then Connor went up again. After another long wait, Connor came back down the hill. We still had no Julia or Lydia. I asked several people about where Julia and Lydia were, and everyone continued to tell me that Julia and Lydia were fine, that they weren't crying and they should be down the mountain/hill soon. Finally, finally, finally, I saw Julia come down, and I was relieved. But then I remembered Lydia was still up there. Were was she? What was she doing? About two minutes later, just as I was about to alert ski patrol, one of the older boys in our group came snowboarding down the hill holding Lydia in his arms. I was so excited!!!! Thank you!!! (I made this guy cookies today to be delivered tomorrow as a thank you. He really saved us.) Evidently, Lydia was up at the top of the hill. And everyone who told me they saw Lydia (including Julia), failed to mention that she hadn't started skiing down the hill yet. She was just standing at the top looking down for probably a good 30 minutes. Don't kids know that moms worry?

Lydia was sent back to the bunny hill to ski. Julia was too, but she didn't end up staying there for long. She decided to take on the big hill again, and went up and down several times. She did great! And Lydia did great on the bunny hill. I checked on them periodically while trying to keep track of our ever-defiant toddler. I was really ready for a nap. And a burger.

Just about the time we were wrapping up to go home for the day, one of the teachers at our school told me that Lydia had been hurt. So, I asked Amy to watch Saige and I dashed out to check on my Lyd. She was cold and shaking and her leg hurt. And the ski medic was assisting her and telling me they needed to check her leg for a hairline fracture right above her ski boot. Good grief. That wasn't fun to hear. I could tell that Lydia was being really brave. But I could also sense that she was going to be alright. God gave me some great peace. I think I may have come unglued otherwise.

As I sat on the snow, allowing a cold wet to seep into my jeans, I stroked Lydia and talked to her about how she got hurt until the other ski medics came and carried her off the bunny hill. (She hurt herself on the lift. As she was being pulled up, one foot went one way, and the other leg went the other way. Her little injury occurred when her right leg twisted and her ski pulled her right root in the wrong direction.)
Buckled Up and Ready to Ride
 Doesn't this picture make everything look so serious? Like her leg is really busted up?

Chillin' in the Medics Office

Her Temporary Cast

The ski medics got a lot of information from me and instructed me to take Lydia right to the E.R. But, it was already 5 pm and I knew that trying to find the E.R. in Bismarck, and then waiting to be seen would leave us in Bismarck over night. I could tell that if she was really hurt, that she would be crying and showing a lot more signs of pain. Sure her leg was little hurt, but I didn't think it was rush to the E.R. hurt. I could tell.

So, I left Lydia with the medics for a bit, and Amy and I rounded up our kids and their gear and got in the van. We planned to pull around to pick Lydia up at the back of the medics office. And we did. But first, we got stuck on the side of the mountain. Thankfully Amy was with me to help me navigate the icy/slushy roads. And thankfully I didn't panic. And thankfully we didn't slide down the hill. And thankfully we got unstuck, and got back to where Lydia was. We loaded her up, started a DVD in the mini and drove straight to a drive thru. Thankfully, Saige and Amy's younger kids instantly fell asleep as we drove. Thankfully, they all three slept through the drive thru experience, and thru me filling up my gas tank. (I have a lot to be thankful for.)

But, I was most thankful that we got back to Dickinson in one peice. We had a few bumps and bruises, but we survived. And I was...thankful. I realized after we got out of the van that Saige peed herself and her car seat while sleeping in the car, but oh well. We lived.

Lydia's leg is totally fine. We carried her around last night and she had to miss gymnastics practice, but she was up and walking around this morning. She has no lingering pain. Her leg isn't swollen, and she even went to cheer camp this evening. (More on cheer camp, more back-up blogging and new re-purposing tips are to come.) Please stay tuned and thanks for coming by!!! -Amber