Friday, October 30, 2015

Five on Friday {Volume Seven} My Podcast Recommendations

Hey hey it's FRIDAY!  We made it through the cold and gloomy week here in Minnesota.  We had our first *snow* on Wednesday and it's still pretty chilly around these parts.  With some outdoor plans this weekend and deer hunting next weekend, I'm crossing my fingers for some sunshine. 
But for now, I'm cuddled up indoors and trying to get the number to decrease on my Podcast app.  I hate when apps have the little number notification on them.  It drives me crazy!  Anyone else find this annoying?!  Anyway, while considering myself homebound, I've spent some time blogging in our library room, and today I've ventured out to a coffee shop nearby.  Still INDOORS though. Did I mention I miss Texas?  It was in the 70s there yesterday.  Jealous!

For this edition of Five on Friday, I'm going to give you FIVE MORE podcast recommendations.  This will be the third in my little podcast series.  Check out the first two here and here.  I am focusing on recommending podcasts for women, as I feel that sometimes it can be a little harder to find something that's not related to tech (for example).  

This American Life - This podcast is a radio show that is broadcast all over the country and is {apparently} a really popular podcast with over a million downloads per episode.  Everyone's favorite podcast, SERIAL, is an offshoot of this show.  (I also highly recommend that one, but if you haven't listened to it yet, you must be living in a hermit house.  So download it and prepare to be amazed.)  One strange thing about this podcast is that episodes are only available for a week after airing...sort of frustrating for me who likes to binge on episodes.  It appears as though you can listen to the archives online, though :)

This American Life is a super fun podcast that chooses a theme for each episode and gives you several different stories within the theme.  This podcast tackles all sorts of subjects from political to historical to just plain strange.  Pick an episode to start you off and I promise that after that, you'll be interested in whatever comes along the next week!  The topics are all over the place and always contain something new and interesting.


Dear Sugar Radio - This podcast contains the one and only Cheryl Strayed (author of WILD) and Steve Almond.  Dear Sugar was a relationship advice column on TheRumpus.Net.  They have now adapted it to be a podcast where Steve and Cheryl answer tough relationship questions.  They often call on a friend or colleague for help with at least one of the questions during the podcast.  Some of the questions they get are very serious - cheating, death, cross-country moves, etc.

This podcast can be a little heavy, and I have to be in the right mood for it to listen to an episode.  I do enjoy it!  It is always good to hear some relationship stories to keep your own going strong and steady.  It's sort of like counseling you didn't sign up for, and you don't have to pay for it!  In addition, hearing Cheryl Strayed talk about life is an experience in itself.  Definitely worth a listen!!


Hidden Brain - This is a brand new podcast from NPR.  It is hosted by Shankar Vedantam, who has such a smooth voice, it makes you want to learn about anything.  This podcast is technically listed as "science and medicine", but is really interesting for anyone to listen to.  He guides you through different topics dealing with the brain and how people act, react, and learn.  

He also does this fun bit called "stopwatch science" where he and another gentleman each have 60 seconds to address a study/finding.  It is a quick and easy way to learn new tidbits for casual conversation.  I like this podcast because it is intelligent and current.  It gives me something totally different to think about - as I am not a huge science person.  I love that the episodes are shorter, around 20 minutes, so you can squeeze one in at any time.  


Naturally Nicole - Since we're focusing on ladies here, and this post has been a little serious so far, let's throw in a FUN one!  Don't ask me how I even came across this, as I'm not a Snooki fan or anything, but it's pretty entertaining.  This is definitely one that they hubby will NOT listen along to, so make sure you're having some "you" time when you dive in to this.  She does this podcast with her friend Joey and talks about everything from her babies, to her friends, to celebrity gossip.  She also has celebrity guests sometimes, although I haven't heard one yet.  

If you know Nicole's insane attitude and fun demeanor, you're bound to have a good time listening to her banter with her bestie.  It is totally off the cuff, honest, and usually hilarious.  This would be a good one to kill time with while showering, driving, or cleaning.  You won't learn anything, but you will probably get a few good laughs!  The only thing I do not like about this podcast is that sometimes it's not done in a studio, so the sound quality isn't the best, but it's not a big deal...just being picky ;)


StoryCorps - This is another podcast supported by NPR.  The idea with StoryCorps is that anyone can record their story/interview and have it stored forever in the Library of Congress.  They get stunning stories of war, old memories, Hurricane Katrina, and heart breaking interviews such as a mother interviewing the person who murdered her son.  There are also fun stories, don't worry! 

Thanks to the founder winning the TED Prize this year, they have launched a new app where ANYONE can record their own interview and submit their story.  A project they are working on right now is The Great Thanksgiving Listen, where they are encouraging high school students to interview an elder over the holiday.  What a wonderful way to start chronicling a generation!  This can all be done through their app, so check it out for yourself!  They also have booths and mobile booths that tour the country collecting stories, you can schedule an interview here

I like this podcast because they are shorter episodes and the topics are all over the place.  You can pick and choose what to listen to, it's not a huge commitment, and you will learn a little empathy along the way.  The stories have such variety, really anyone can enjoy this podcast.  
There we have it, another week of fun!!  Let me know what you're thinking of all the podcasts I've been sending your way.  I like to have them to listen to while killing time around the house, and especially while driving.  Why not learn something while you're not even trying? Or just numb your mind and get in a few giggles?  I have come to love podcasts!!  How about you?

Linking up with:
Friday Favorites at Momfessionals
Oh, Hey Friday at September F A R M
High Five for Friday at Bright on a Budget
Friday Favorites at The Diary of a Real Housewife
Friday Favorites at Life in Leggings
Friday Favorites at Meet @ the Barre

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Stitch Fix How-To

Alright ladies, you've been hearing me sing the praises of Stitch Fix for a few weeks now.  My last post has almost 2,000 views.  Why haven't you signed up?!  

Some of you have decided to take the plunge.  Some of you have wavered.  Some of you are curious.
So I'm going to lay it all out in one place for you.  What, How, Pricing, Why...Let's GO!

What is Stitch Fix?  

Stitch Fix is a "personal styling service" for women of all types and shapes.  The carry sizes XS to XL (14).  It is for anyone from moms, to business women, to little-old-me's just looking for a change and some fun inspiration (AKA - ME).  You pay a $20 "styling fee" to get a box of five items shipped directly to your door.  BUT, if you purchase ANY item, the $20 goes toward that purchase. And I guarantee you'll like at least one item.  So really, it's free.  And shipping and returns are FREE as well!  

Sound too fancy for you? WRONG!  {Not a fancy person right here!}

This service is for everyone, and hello...who even likes shopping anyway?!  I know you get stressed, frustrated, and weary when you're out there.  With this service, you can try the items on in your own home, with your own mirrors and lighting, and your other clothes right there!  It makes it easier to decide if you have a need for the item, if you have other items that can compliment it, etc.  You can also wear the items around the house to see how they truly fit!  

You have three days to decide what you'd like to keep and return.  Then you do a quick checkout online and simply put what you don't want in a prepaid envelope and send it back.  (You can also do size exchanges if they have other sizes in stock, but exchanges are final so be sure!)  So EASY!

How Do They Know What to Send You?  

When you sign up, you will complete a style profile.  You will submit your sizes, bra size, inseam, and a description of the way your body is distributed (large shoulders, small waist, etc.).  You will also see some outfit collections and state how you feel about them (love/hate).  They are pretty thorough in finding out what things you like, despise, and how you like things to fit your body. Here are some examples of what you'll come across when you sign up!

You also have the option of creating a Pinterest board to specifically show the type of clothing YOU love and even find SF specific items to request.  Your stylist will look at this to get an even better idea of what you're looking for or new trends you'd like to try.  You can see my Stitch Fix Style board HERE.  Give me a follow while you're there!  

Another place to fine-tune your style is in your note to your stylist.   Each time you schedule a fix, you can write an individual note to your stylist to guide their choices.  You can request certain items, say you want all sweaters, thank them for your last fix, or do the ever risky "Surprise Me!".  Here is an example of my note for my fix arriving December 2nd:

Speaking of December, one of the things I LOVE about this service is that you can select exactly when to have them delivered.  Yes, you can do a monthly subscription, but if you would only like to do it every few months or for special occasions, you can do that, too!  It is so nice to have the flexibility to choose.  

How Much Does It Cost?

This is the question I get asked all the time.  "Is it expensive?"  Good news, it can be as extravagant as you would like it to be.  When you sign up, you will be given the option to choose a price range for each of the items they send (jackets, scarves, jeans, etc).  Being cheapy me, I choose the smallest price range for every item.  

The items I received last time were definitely more than I normally spend.  You're talking to the queen of nothing over $14.99 right here!!  But when I took in to account the time I DIDN'T waste shopping around, the convenience of the service, how well the items fit me, AND the fact that I got 25% OFF for keeping all five items (a perk), I had to go for it.  With keeping all five items and receiving the discount, I paid an average of $40 per item.  Again, still more than I would normally spend, but when it fits, GO FOR IT!  And remember, you are paying for convenience!! 

One of my friends has already gotten her first fix! I asked if I could share her photos to give you another peek at some items they have.  Here you go!

Why Am I Doing This?

Of all people to start blogging and writing about fashion, you definitely would not pick me.  But that in itself sort of tells you how awesome Stitch Fix is.  It is for anyone.  It is a fun way to try new things you would never pick up off of a rack.  It is a fun way to try new accessories (they just started testing SHOES)!  And keep in mind that you don't HAVE to keep everything.  You might not love everything, something might not fit right, etc.  Try to remember that it is not a foolproof process, but they more you try, the better it will go.  I am very anxious to see my next fix!

**I also got a pro-tip from a friend that there are several Facebook groups for buying, selling, and trading Stitch Fix branded items.  A lot of people will like three items for themselves, and sell the other two in the groups to get the discount.  It's a fun little community, AND you get to see tons of Stitch Fix items.  You can check out one group here.  

If you have ANY questions, please feel free to comment below and I will certainly answer them!  I would greatly appreciate if you used my referral link to sign up!  I have a personal goal to get one more referral credit before my fix arrives in December.  I can't wait to see what you all have to say!

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Our Love Story {Since 2007}

Eight years.  Eight years of fantastic memories with my amazing husband.  Sometimes it feels like we've done it all.  Sometimes it feels like there's so much more (which there is, duh).  I cannot wait to see what the future brings for us!  I have an excellent partner that has never let me down. 

So how did we get here?  Here's the abridged and non-juicy version:

On October 12th, 2007 - I wasn't even two months in to my college career when my brother came to town to visit his girlfriend.  They took me to my first fraternity party at my brother's fraternity (he was an alum, and she was good friends with lots of the guys there).

That was the first time I met my Mikey!  It was brief, but we both remember it  :)  My brother's exact words were "This is Mike, you should date him".  Okay...  Mike says he remembers my curly hair the most and that it was intriguing.  Thanks for something, crazy curls!!

Two days later, we went out to eat for a birthday dinner.  He sat by me (I had my fingers crossed that he would) and that's where it all started.  I like to say I was "in love at second sight".  Everyone else saw it, too.  By March 17th, we were officially official.

Over the next four years of my college career, we lived in different cities, states, and countries.  We moved in together in the fall of 2009, spent our summers in corporate housing while Mike interned, and even rented two apartments at once since Mike graduated before me.  I also studied abroad in 2010 in Oslo, Norway.  Mike visited me and we were lucky to travel to Paris, France as well!

I graduated college in 2011 and by the end of the summer, I was ready to be a wife.  Mike got the hint and proposed on October 19th, 2011, just over four years after we met.  We basked in the glow of engagement for a few months and then planned our wedding for June of 2012.

June 2, 2012 - we said our vows and had an amazing time celebrating with family and friends.  A few days later, we flew off to Costa Rica and enjoyed ten days of warm and humid newlywed bliss!  We just celebrated three years of marriage this June.  We are so happy!

Our relationship started when we both weren't looking (like, really not looking), and worked out with some persistence and patience from both of us.  We've moved many times, each had a few jobs, traveled to some fun places, and taken too many pictures along the way.  Oops!

I feel so lucky to have met my guy at the young age of 18.  We have really grown up together over the last few years and it has been so nice having Mike by my side through everything.  "Adulting" has been a lot easier with a partner and built in best friend.  Wait to find the guy (or girl) that will carry you through everything with you needing to ask.  Thanks for all for all of the memories, my love!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Podcast Recommendations for Women {Volume Two}

This summer I wrote a post about what I was listening to during the day.  I had a few podcast recommendations as well as other mobile listening options such as radio apps and Audible.  Now that I have a few more podcasts in my repertoire, I want to share some with you again!
Totally Married & Totally Mommy - These two come from the dynamic duo of Elizabeth Laime & Andy Rosen.  They are a married couple and have several podcasts between the two of them.  They are HILARIOUS and totally real.  They start out with some good banter including personal stories, frustrations, and dreams, and then they move on to listener questions.  Some questions are silly, some are super serious, and they even do some episodes where they take questions from teens.  You usually don't see that, but it's important to acknowledge that with technology, people of all ages are hearing your work! These are fun podcasts to listen to while working around the house, on projects, etc.  The hubby even approves of Totally Married!  Start with one of these and then expand in to their other podcasts.  

The Chalene Show - This podcast comes from the famous Chalene Johnson.  She started as a fitness guru and has evolved in to an empowering personal development businesswoman.  Her episodes will teach you anything from how to sleep better, how to set goals, how to improve your relationships, how to manage you time...SO MUCH!  She is all over the place but in a good way.  Her enthusiasm makes it feel like she's sitting right in front of you.  I will listen to one of these while I'm out walking, in the shower, or if I need some energy put in to my day.  You will definitely feel inspired after listening to one of these!
Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert - If you don't know my obsession with Elizabeth Gilbert, then you haven't been here long enough.  Check out my review of her book Committed.  Also, follow me on Instagram for more inspiration :)  Anywho...  
The only thing I didn't like about this podcast is that it was TOO SHORT!  I was always wanting more, as the episodes are shorter.  Luckily for you, this season is over and you can binge listen to the whole thing and then order her book.  The reason she did this podcast was to inspire creators to CREATE and also to promote her book with the same goal. She calls fans and gives each of them their own personal "magic lesson" on how to pursue their creative dreams.  She also gives them each little assignments.  Then the following episode, she consults with one of her famous friends and garners the lucky listener even more advice.  It is inspiring and fun to listen to. You can definitely use this as your daily personal development!
That's all I'm going to give you for now!  GO CHECK THESE OUT!  I will have another recommendation post coming soon.  Until then, download at least one of these and let me know what you think.  I love listening to all of these women.  Each of them serves a different purpose in my day and all of them definitely make it a big more tolerable.  
What are you listening to??
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