Thursday, April 10, 2014

My First Experience With Stitch Fix: Review April 2014 (Prices Included)


My friend Natalie recently posted on Facebook about a service called Stitch Fix where a stylist would select clothes, suited JUST for you, and mail them to your doorstep.

Wha???  What is this anomaly of heaven that I have just been shown?  And how could this change my life forever?  I was just getting ready to beg for a friend or two to go out and do some shopping for me.  I need to dress up more (meaning change out of my yoga pants) when sharing about Young Living essential oils.


Let me give you some history:  I loathe shopping for clothes.  (With my children in tow.)  There.  I said it.  It's in parenthesis so that makes it not so bad, right?  Who LOVES shopping with their two small children??  No one.  Exactly.  When I'm in the dressing room, mine always talk LOUDLY about my boobs/bra and try to crawl underneath the dividers and make friends.  Every time, guaranteed.

This Stitch Fix service means I don't have to leave my home, try on clothing with awful lighting highlighting every dimple all while I play goalie while my children try to headbutt me to get out of the dressing room.  I was ready to sign up. Right then and there.

OK, maybe I didn't sign up that quickly, but I was genuinely curious!  I followed my friend's referral link to Stitch Fix, and read the FAQ.  A $20 stylist fee would be charged, but you'd get it back if you bought anything in your Fix.  If you keep your whole Fix, you'd get 25% off the total.  Once your Fix arrives, you have three business days to make your decision.  Whatever you don't want goes back in a pre-paid envelope.  This sounded like a program I would love!


I filled out my profile, so my stylist could see what I would like.  I went through my size, my preferences, rated photos of outfits to my liking and gave specific instructions to my stylist. 

My specific instructions were something along these lines:

  • I'm not into accessories - I can buy those cheaper elsewhere.
  • No skirts/dresses. My closet overfloweth with ankle-length hippie skirts and I hate shaving.  And it's cold outside all the time.
  • Long or 3/4 sleeve tops required.  I live in MN so nine months out of the year I wear long sleeve shirts.
  • I need all clothing to be nursing-friendly.  
  • I'm cheap, so please be economical with my Fix.  In the last year, I spent more than $20 on one item only: my drug rug sweater that I wear everyday.
  • I teach classes on essential oils and I'm a birth doula. Are you getting my laid-back, hippie vibe yet??  I'm a simple gal.  PLEASE don't send me a pencil skirt with a ruffled, patterned blouse!

I waited patiently until I saw IT had arrived at my doorstep on a snowy, Thursday, APRIL afternoon!


I got home from work and saw a cute, little box sitting in my doorway.  I shuffled my kids out of their car seats and into the house and without even taking off my wet, snowy shoes I was ripping open that box!   I was greeted instantly by a photo that made my heart sink a little bit: 

I'm not into patterned shirts; they make me nervous.  Ew.  However, as I unfolded my style guide, I was a little more at peace. 





These little fashion cards are like gold to the fashion-challenged!  I would never pair some of these items together, because I'm a jeans and a plain, ol' shirt type of gal.  Or, on a fancy day, a hippie skirt with a plain shirt. 

I even got a little note from my stylist, Lana, whom I picture to be petite, with chunky glasses and dark hair.  She also works behind her Macbook Pro like an overachieving champ. (Lana, if you ever read this, I'm sorry if 1. You are really a man and 2. You are the opposite of what I describe. Please continue to send me amazing clothes.)
Aww, thanks, Lana!  I feel like we could be BFFs if we just got to know each other a little more!


The photos of the Stitch Fix items just didn't do the five items in my box any justice because once I opened that box, I was in love!!

Item #1: Renee C Malcolm Heathered Dolman Sleeve Knit Shirt $48
I knew instantly this shirt was a winner because slouched style works well with me.  And heather grey in color?  Mmm, Lana, you know my favorite color is sweatpants! The shirt was a wee bit tight in my arms, which is weird because my arms are fairly thin.  Overall, it was very slimming!  The shirt was wrinkle-proof, but lost a point in easy-mom-ness because it's LAY FLAT TO DRY.  Who does that?  Apparently, I've moved up in the world because I now have clothing that says LAY FLAT TO DRY. 



VERDICT:  YES. $48 is more than what I would ever pay for a shirt.  Even if it was woven out of the hair of a magical unicorn.  However, this shirt is cute, can be paired with two of the other items in my Fix AND I had some discounts (more on that later).

Item #2: Kensie Jeans Malin Bootcut Jean $98
Jeans make me more anxious than patterned shirts.  WHO can understand my booty and it's spunk compared to the rest of my body??  I'm also going to come right out and say these were $98, which made me almost not try them on.  Obviously, I couldn't leave beautiful, new jeans to sit in a box and the pictures below show I did try them on and I did really enjoy them!  (Please, have grace on my curvy backside - these are hard photos to post!)



Booty side.

VERDICT:  YES.  Gulp.  I spent $50-some dollars on a pair of jeans when I was pregnant with India.  It was the best $50 I've ever spent because they were good quality and fit me well.  I know Merona jeans DO NOT work with the junk in my trunk and I need to spend more money for jeans that fit me.  If I buy cheap jeans, they always gap on my backside - seriously, you could drive a tour bus in all that space.  These jeans match every top in my Fix.

Item #3: 41Hawthorn Longsleeve Knit Cardigan in Navy $48
I don't DO navy.  It's waaaaayyyyyy to much of a commitment because then I have to think beyond my black boots or faux UGGS.  That means more shoes and boots and I just can't go down that road.  When I saw this cardigan, I was intrigued because it HAS NO BUTTONS!!!  It has lost its library-lady likeness and can be casual or dressed up and super cool!  Every other cardigan I've tried on (OK, so only Target brands) have had awkward buttons and they aren't long enough on me. 
When looking for items that land at my upper thigh length, I sometimes have to get larger sizes, which looks bulky and awkward. This cardigan also matches EVERY item in my Fix!!!  Lana, now you're talking my practical, let-me-brew-you-some-fair-trade-tea language.
VERDICT: YES.  Do I even need to answer that question?

Item #4: Caramela Mallorie Geo Print Tie-Neck Blouse $28
Lana really went out on a limb here, including this patterned blouse.  Blouses are for old ladies.  But, this shirt blouse ended up being very alluring.  I NEVER would've picked this shirt off the rack.  Never.  It truly is a classic shirt, that needs no accessories and will work well when I need to look a little more dressed up. It was slightly tight on my arms as well (what's up with that?).  

VERDICT: YES. I'm not sure I would've kept this shirt, had it not been for the discounts I had.  Even though it is charming, I was reaching my budget limit with the first three items.

Item #5: Fun2Fun Hanna Plaid Tab-Sleeve Henley Top $48

When I saw this shirt in the box, I loved it instantly!  It was smooth feeling and the bright colors were calling my name after a long winter.  But, with my long torso, it was a little short on the sides, which was very disappointing.  It came super wrinkly, but I've since ironed it and it was fine after that.  It is adorable on and I love the adjustable sleeve length!  
VERDICT: YES.  I don't think I would have kept this shirt if it wasn't for the discounts I got because of the shortness on the sides.  I'm way over the days of showing any part of my midriff.  While I always were a tank top under my shirts, it'd be nice to have a shirt or two that was long enough on me.


The GOOD and the BAD and my relationship status with Stitch Fix:

GOOD:
  • In the weirdest way, Lana GOT me.  She kept things simple and Midwestern and avoided the corporate America or high fashion look.
  • My wishes for longer-sleeved shirts, nursing-friendly tops and avoiding accessories were met!
  • I got several referral credits from friends that signed up as well AND I got 25% off my total for buying all five items.
  • I tried clothes I never would have and they actually looked good on me!
  • Very easy process - I even changed something in my profile a couple days before my Fix was to ship with no issues  
BAD:
  • It was hard for me to spend that much money on clothes for myself. 
  • Several shirts were LAY FLAT TO DRY or hang to dry.  Ain't nobody got time for that!
  • I cannot see who used my referral code!!! I would really love to send them a thank you! 

RELATIONSHIP STATUS:
I am most definitely keeping my relationship with Stitch Fix and Lana!  My total for all five items came to $107.50, after discounts (referrals and 25% off discount for buying them all) which is a little over $20 per item.  I know, that's pretty good, but I needed convincing!  We live in a small town and driving to a nearby town that's an hour away would easily cost over $60 in gas and eating out.  Plus the cost of whatever clothes I bought AND the cost of all the Stress Away essential oil I'd have to use on me to combat the stress of shopping with my precious children and husband.  I plan on getting at least one more Fix soon with a focus on half of the items being more suited for summer! 
 
Next time around, I'm asking Lana to make these considerations:
  • No weird washing/drying instructions
  • Mind my long torso
  • Stay thrifty
  • Keep rockin' it! 
 If you're interested in getting your own Fix, you are more than welcome to use my referral code! ;)  I highly recommend the process but I also recommend being VERY specific in your needs and wants as you go through your profile.
Let me know if YOU try Stitch Fix and what your thoughts are! 


PS: Yes, I get a discount if you sign up for Stitch Fix with my referral code, but I have given you my 100% honest opinion.  I'm doing this again, whether or not I get any discount (although a discount sure does make it nicer).  These same opinions will be sent to my darling and soon to be BFF, Lana, so she knows completely how I feel and how to best suit me next time around! 



Sunday, March 2, 2014

How I Changed My Mind About Essential Oils

Surprisingly, this is a difficult issue for me to write about because, for one, it took quite a bit of pride-surrendering gall and secondly, I talked the opposite of the conclusion I finally came to during this process.  Here's how it all began...

How I Got Started


I got into essential oils years ago.  Like any good crunchy frugalista, I wanted to jump on board, but with minimal financial commitment.  First, I bought essential oils online and I'm 100% convinced they were fake.  They were in plastic bottles and one smelled like Lysol!  Hello!

After more reading, I went on to buy some good ones I could find from reputable sources.  I had questions from the beginning.  Unfortunately, many of them didn't allow for topical use without consultation from an aromatherapist, so I was unsure of using them for much besides cleaning or occasionally, aromatically.  None of them were acceptable for ingestion, which I can understand, since not all are. However, only a few were labeled as safe for topical use and that didn't make sense to me.  Was I only to smell them and use them for scrubbing my toilet?  And the ones that were maybe safe for topical use: why would I put something on my skin that isn't marked to be SAFE for my skin?  That's been one thing I've been working on for years: watching what goes on my skin and therefore, what enters my body, since skin is the largest organ in the body.  Even more alarming, why would the FDA, an organization that isn't really into alternative options, put many essential oils on their Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) list, meaning they are acceptable for human consumption and why wouldn't these companies stand behind their essential oils for, at the BARE minimum, topical use if they were generally recommended as safe for ingestion by the FDA?


I used my other brand oils cautiously, never advocating their use because I didn't have many positive experiences with them.  You all that know me, either in this blog or in person, know that I WILL advocate for things I find useful and beneficial.  My feelings on essential oils were neutral and even somewhat negative compared to other natural or herbal remedies I'd tried and had success with.  In spite of pressure to share on this blog about essential oils, I just couldn't because I hadn't found them that useful.


                                           

My "other" brand essential oils that I didn't have much luck with.                                           
The Beginning of Change
One weekend, while staying at a hotel with my family and my parents, I got sick from eating at restaurants while traveling and couldn't leave the bathroom.  Since we were visiting my Grandma, I wanted to take part in the weekend's events and decided to ask my Mom if she had anything for my stomachache.  Mustering all my strength, I went to her room and she suggested Young Living peppermint essential oil.  A skeptic, but still desperate nonetheless, I applied a drop of the peppermint oil, diluted with coconut oil, to my stomach as instructed per the bottle's instructions. Within minutes the cramping stopped! Guess who enjoyed the rest of the evening, without one more trip to the bathroom and not ONE more stomach cramp?  This girl!!  I was thrilled but I still highly entertained the placebo effect.  After all, the mind is a powerful thing.

Story after story was told about these Young Living essential oils and their benefits.  Except, not from me - all stories about my Mom, Dad, siblings and friends.  I couldn't justify the price of Young Living essential oils because I had just bought some essential oils from another brand (again, you'll find this is a recurring theme in my life for years), so I wanted to desperately use those and have the same results. 
 

At the same time, I was reading some blog posts about how all essential oils are the same: lavender oil is lavender oil is lavender oil.  I even shared openly my critiques with my Mom and others.  I had a toenail fungus and while trying MANY remedies for it I came across a remedy using essential oils.  I ordered more of my "other" brand essential oils specifically said to help remedy this issue, used them, but nothing happened.  I was bummed.  This was also disheartening to me because I was STILL hearing stories of people (like, my Mom, who by this point had used a Young Living essential oil blend to manage her hypothyroidism and lose weight for the first time in 25+ years!) using essential oils and having great outcomes.  And if all essential oils, when bought from reputable sources, are the same, why are my oils, including my homemade version of these oils blends, not working like my Mom's oils work??  Why wouldn't these other companies stand by their products with usage instructions?  I posed many of these questions to my mom and she was patient and gave me space to explore and learn.

The Skeptic Changes Her Mind

You have to understand something: I was DETERMINED to make all these other oils work.  I also am a VERY slow decision maker and I am very stubborn.  I read and process and read and process and then consider my own personal experience. We are on a limited income and I hate being wasteful, so I was going to get my money's worth and dangit, these oils WERE going to work.  I was frustrated because I'd spent a good amount of money on my other oils, had very little positive effects with them and had wasted many months, in my pride, refusing to give into a multi-level market. 


I was having some stomach issues again so this time I bought another, higher quality, organic brand of peppermint essential oil.  This one had 'therapeutic grade' written right on the label and was recommended by many as THE brand of oils to buy if you want to avoid multi-level market oils.  Nothing happened again. (I'm not naming brands because I'm sure there are other decent brands of essential oils, but I just didn't have luck with them...and I tried EIGHT different brands. Many of these other companies do have good intentions, I believe, but are at the mercy of others.)
My mind had changed and I knew way deep down that I needed to make the switch to Young Living essential oils.  It was time to lay my pride about all essential oils being the same and take a chance.

And boy am I glad I had the guts to step out and take that chance!  I have not regretted ONE moment since switching to Young Living essential oils!!!  

My, How Things Have Changed

A year after using my Mom's Young Living peppermint oil, and having positive results, we visited the same hotel to see my Grandma again.  I had an awful canker sore, made worse by dental work.  I decided to apply some Thieves oil to it and by the morning it was completely GONE.  My daughter got a chlorine rash from the over-chlorinated hotel swimming pool and FREAKED out screaming in pain.  I doused her with lavender oil and coconut oil and she instantly calmed.  I couldn't help but think that a year earlier, I was skeptical, critical and pretty insistent that you would never find me singing the praises of Young Living essential oils.

From there, I've stopped facial bruising, healed up diaper rash, completely avoided every cold with Thieves and NingXia Red, used Stress Away to help a very busy and stressed (and oil-skeptical) husband, lemon oil for zits, Peace & Calming to avoid lidocaine while get two permanent crowns put on, Thieves topically instead of OTC painkillers to deal with pain after having two crowns put on, PanAway for chronic foot pain and so much more!  Oh, and that toenail fungus that made me really question my "other" oils?  After a ONE week of using Young Living Purification oil, I started seeing results and I anticipate a brand new toe nail before flip-flop season! 

I went from ambivalent in my feelings towards essential oils to ecstatic about Young Living essential oils! 

If you're curious about learning more, please join my Facebook group, Happy Healthy Essential Oils 101 and learn more about the oils, ask questions and hear about giveaways!


What I'm Doing Now (aka, Obligatory "How To Order" - skip right on by here if this doesn't interest you!)

I'm so pleased with the results of these essential oils that I have started distributing them.  If this is something that interests you, Young Living has an excellent offer on a Premium Starter Kit to give you an easy introduction into the oils (really, I'm not just saying this - I buy these things as well because they're a GREAT deal).  By purchasing the starter kit, you get a membership, which offers you 24% off future purchases.
 


The Premium Starter Kit contains 11 well-loved oils, a room diffuser (which is GREAT for children's bodies which can be more sensitive to topical application of some oils), some samples of essential oils, samples of NingXia Red and informational material.  This is an almost $300 value for only $150!  The diffuser, which is a must-have for any family, is valued at almost $100.  Like I mentioned earlier, we are on a tight budget and $150 is quite a bit of money for us.  I then changed my perspective: it's way less than a trip to the doctor or a few days of missed work, so what did I have to lose?

And How Would One Use These Oils?

Below is just the beginning of how my family has used the 11 essential oils in the Premium Starter Kit!

              


If you want to become a member:

   1. Click this link and select "Sign up online".  By signing up as a member, you are eligible for wholesale pricing, 24% off any future orders.  You commit to buying $50 more in product a year.  Easy peasy.

   2. Add my member number, 1617086, as the Sponsor ID and Enroller ID.

   3. Fill out all your personal information and remember to save your username, password and PIN.

   4. Select the Premium Starter Kit.  (I promise you, the Premium Starter Kit is the way to go.  I've already heard from SO many that they wished they would've just got the premium kit instead of one of the basic kits). 

   5. Skip past the “Essential Rewards Kits”  and click “No, thank you”.  Essential Rewards is a great program that gives you discounted shipping and allows for you to earn points back on purchases, but I like for people to try the oils first and then chat with me before they are ready to order more products.

  
6. Browse the product list and see if you would like to order any other products.  Now would be the time to get additional products and save on shipping.  I always recommend Ningxia Red and some Thieves samples - for you to carry with you or to give to friends as samples!  Both of those items are worth every penny!  If you spend 190 PV (normally PV is equivalent to dollars) you qualify for free bonus oils!  Nothing like getting rewarded immediately AND saving on shipping!

   7. Checkout and wait patiently for your starter kit to be delivered right to your door!

   8.  If you sign up as a member with me, I will send you some informational material on safe usage (yes, essential oils need to be used safely), possible uses and further explanation on Young Living.

~~If you don't want to sign up as a wholesale member, but just want to purchase one or two products, you can follow the same instructions above but instead of Wholesale Member, select Retail Customer and follow the prompts.  If at any point you wish to become a wholesale member, you can easily do that.~~


I have no doubt that Young Living essential oils can be useful for MANY things and I wouldn't share this information if I didn't believe it wholeheartedly.  I'd love to chat more and help you answer any questions you have regarding Young Living's products!  These simple items have enhanced our lives so much and I know they'll do the same for you! 

Hugs,
Genevieve


Message me with questions: happyhealthyessentials (at) gmail (dot) com
Visit my FB page: www.facebook.com/HappyHealthyEssentials
  

*I am not a medical professional and this is shared for informational purposes only.  It's not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

 



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Joyful Girl


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Fun with Mylo


Friday, February 22, 2013

Weekend Reading! 2/22/13

Hey there!  Genevieve here.  You know, the person that used to do Weekend Reading regularly but has been slacking?  Yep, that's me! :)  I've been reading some good stuff lately and would LOVE to share with you.  But I decided to give you a little more than just what I'm reading...let me know what you think!


What I'm reading:

Excellent article on Newborn Procedures to Reconsider.  If you or someone you know is having a baby soon, read this!
 

Sarah shares her failures and triumphs as a parent, ultimately deciding that gentleness makes her children great.

ImprovingBirth shares statistics of "routine" maternity care and evidence-base care.

A true frustration on mine, "Why is Everyone Always Giving My Kids Junk Food?"


What I'm listening to and watching:

The Glorious Unseen- Close to Your Heart


Breaking Bad...not entirely sure I like this show.  It's a little too intense for me.

What I'm eating:


Melt-In-Your Mouth Chuck Roast 





                                       Happy Weekend!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Who Do I See?


Monday, February 18, 2013

Onesie Surprise!

Onesie Surprise!
Hahaha!  This has happened to me FAR too many times!  Love it!
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