All posts by chasingsantee

Wool& Camellia & Axis Cropped Leggings Review & Photo Shoot

I waited so long for this dress by Wool&! I was looking for a classic, basic, soft, and comfortable black tank dress that would really stand up to my busy summer lifestyle and the Camellia by Wool& turned out to be the perfect solution. Besides the comfort factor, this dress relies on a blend of merino wool & nylon which means it has all the MAGIC of wool including durability, odor-resistance, temperature-regulating, and sustainable awesomeness! I truly love my Mara dress, so I couldn’t wait to try a warm-weather option.

If you’d like to check these products out in detail, I appreciate you using my affiliate links:

Click here to check out the whole selection from Wool& (Wooland). 
Want to jump right to the Camellia? Click here!
Don’t forget to grab your Wool& Axis Cropped Leggings. 

If you make a purchase, I might receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

I loved this dress from the moment I tried it on! I am 5’5.5″ and about 160 lbs. I decided to size DOWN and go with a Small Long. I wanted this dress comfortably long and it fits me just how I hoped!

Let’s get the elephant out of the room. For some one who typically shops at thrift stores, this dress is quite an investment at $128, I admit it. Here are my reasons for sharing a product that is on the high end with my followers:

  1. Durability. Did you know that hundreds of women have worn Wool& dresses for 100 days in a row? It’s such a cool challenge and really proves that these dresses are super durable. If you are going to invest in a pricier clothing item, make sure it will last!
  2. Versatility. Many of us stick to lower end purchases for every day wear, but might “splash out” on a special occasion dress or outfit for a night out. I’m starting to think the exact opposite! Let’s invest in versatile pieces that can fit into our daily lifestyle year round and find deals on the one-wear items that we won’t be re-wearing again and again.
  3. Wonderful Woolly-ness. Back to the first paragraph in this post, remember all those features that make wool magical? Sustainability, Temperature-regulating, Easy-care, Odor-resistant, breathable and soft? Yes, those features are what make wool worth the investment and will make these items last so much longer!

I love the way the Camellia fits, looks, and feels! It’s a great every day look for my closet, and I think I could safely dress it up for a night out with some heals and the right accessories! Want to see it a little better? Check out my video review here. 

The best part about this dress is that I know it can be worn all year round! I plan to layer it up with sweaters, and boots, but for now I love pairing it with my favorite jean jacket. 

Many thanks to Wool& for sending me the dress and leggings for my review. I love working with small companies and this one is truly a gem!


Have you tried Wool yet? I’d love to hear your experience!

Stella Tee Review: https://youtu.be/AeU1rzWVw88
Wool& Mara Dress Review: https://youtu.be/4Kutkja7KHw

My outfits include Birkenstock Mayari, Birkenstock Pappillio Namica, and Buffalo Jean Jacket. My blue kimono and druzy necklace were thrifted. My fedora hat is from Shoppe 3130.

Thanks for shopping with me!

Wool& Stella Tee Review: I wore the same shirt for seven days in a row!

Woohoo! I’m happy to share this honest review of the Stella Scoop Neck Tee by Wool&. First of all, I am so grateful when a brand is willing to work with me as a small influencer; it truly means a lot. As you know, I choose my affiliate partnerships very carefully, since it’s very important to me that I only represent brands I use and love myself. I want my followers to trust that I’ll always be honest and only share links for products that I’m 100% using myself in my own home. Wool& sent me this shirt as a gift for my review, so thank you so much, Wool&!

This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission on purchases with no additional cost to you. Thanks for shopping with me!

Live Simply. Consume Carefully. Do Good.

When I was two years old, I famously told my grandparents, “Fashion is everything”.  I am not sure what the context was for this preposterous statement, but for the next thirty-some-odd years I have gone back and forth on the topic. I have maintained a love/ hate relationship with fashion, and altogether spent WAY too much time on my wardrobe in general ever since.

As a teen, I vividly remember a fairly long stretch of time when I would record my outfits every day so that I would never repeat a combination! Fast forward to now, as a busy homeschooling mom, I never thought I would wear the same thing for a week in a row. And yet here we are.

After following the crowd into the “fast fashion” machine and getting burned by tshirts that pill after one wear and styles that are out of date before the receipt cools, I definitely became disillusioned by the status quo for clothing. There has to be something better, right? My wardrobe had become revolving door for items that didn’t fit well or weren’t particularly flattering or comfortable. I was shopping as unintentionally as I could without putting much thought into the situation. I realized this was very much contradictory to my commitment to a minimalist lifestyle. 

That’s when I began exploring a more sustainable model for my shopping habits which has included second hand shopping as a first option and taking a more intentional approach to new purchases.  Click here to read my blog post on Sustainable Fashion.

Even focusing on sustainable fashion, I still didn’t think that Wool fabric would find it’s place in my wardrobe! Honestly, it sounded like something that would never work for my Deep South climate and my initial thought was, “it’s scratchy, right?” At that point, I discovered the company Wool& and started to learn the truth about wool and what makes this fabric special. I realized it is NOT scratchy and in fact there is a lot more to love about it! Did you know that Wool has incredible natural properties making it:

*Antimicrobial
*Temperature Regulating
*Quick Dry
*Odor Resistant
*Ecological Sustainable
*Strong & Durable

For me the very best part of wool is that it is Antimicrobial & Odor Resistant. This translates into LESS laundry and less wear to the fabric. What if your favorite tshirt could be worn again and again before it needed washing and last for so much longer because of it? That’s what I discovered with the Wool& Stella Scoop Neck Tee. 

I did size down with this tee and am glad that I did. I’m about 5’6″ and currently 160 lbs (*COVID weight gain, hopefully temporary*). I’m normally solidly in a Medium, but I chose a Small for this shirt. The generous length and swing style made small the best size for me! I love the scoop neck and longer swing-style plus the light weight wool blend is super comfortable. I love my Stella tee and totally recommend it!

I didn’t plan to wear this shirt for seven days in a row. But after a couple days I realized the shirt still had no odor and was totally fresh and ready to go. Plus a black tshirt can basically be paired with anything right? So what was stopping me from putting it on again and again? NOTHING WAS STOPPING ME!

After a week in the Stella Scoop neck tee, I felt like I needed to wash it. It did NOT have an odor but I’m a messy cook and had spot cleaned it a couple times so I felt like it needed it at last. I loved the fact that it could go from wear to wear without washing. I can’t wait to travel with this tshirt year round!

Thanks for checking out my review! Interested in the video version of it? Click here for my YouTube review! 

My Kitchen Makeover (New Product Share!)

 

I wanted to share a new product that I am really enjoying! Since getting into minimalism, I have tried to be very, very intentional about purchases. That often means I go for a long time waiting to find the right thing. Years ago I eliminated plastic from my kitchen and I’ve been also trying to eliminate lead and other toxins. We have a family history of some complicated health issues which make it difficult for our bodies to detox, so this is a little more on my radar. I recently found #sweese and they were kind enough to send me a beautiful set of mugs. Sweese is made from a type of premium LEAD-FREE and NON-TOXIC ceramic, chip-resistant and more sturdy than stoneware. I love the design of these, the beautiful colors and the fact that they are really sturdy which is a must for my clumsy mornings. Most important, I trust the company to be SAFE for my family, so we have ditched our random collection of mugs from here and there. Sweese also makes stackable mugs (LOVE!), beautiful butter dishes, serving platters and more. Check them out here (and thanks for shopping through my affiliate links)!

Want this beautiful Mug Set for yourself? Click here to check it out!

Best Price Ever on my Secret Weapon for Cleaning!

$38!!! This is not a drill! 50% off Force of Nature, for two days only.

use code wowsave50

This price includes the generator and 25 refills, really awesome deal. I’ve been an affiliate for several years and never seen such a low price. The bundle is only $38 and includes 25 refills….AMAZING deal. Am thinking about buying a second for backup, really!  If you have any questions, let me know!

Thanks for shopping with me!

Shhhhh! (A Skeptic Spills Stitch Fix Secrets!) How I built an almost-free customized wardrobe plus maxxed out my yearly credit in January!

I’ve been working on this post for SO long, you guys! Thank your lucky stars that you stumbled onto this blog, because I’m about to share ALL of my Stitch Fix Secrets with you, from getting the best possible boxes from your Stylist to earning the max credit (which means totally free clothes!). Grab a coffee, a cozy blanket, and a pencil because you may just want to take some notes on all these tips together in one place!

I admit it, I was a Stitch Fix Skeptic. I always enjoyed shopping and felt pretty good about making clothing choices in the store, so why would I need a shopping service? Also, I just knew the options would be pricey, and I was used to thrift store prices maxxing out at $10 for a “splurge”. I also considered myself an expert bargain shopper, so there was no way I would be interested in an online stylist at a premium price. I know going with Stitch Fix would be a paradigm shift for me and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there.

However, a friend shared an awesome $100 code with me so I figured, “What do I have to lose?” That was in the winter of 2020 and in the last 12 months I have earned a total of $1300 in free clothing! I have spent a little “real money” here and there but I’m about to share my very best tips and strategies for getting awesome boxes that will work for you, maximizing your spending by being smart with purchases, and sharing your code with others to earn the MOST possible credit! I’ve discovered these tips through scouring tons of YouTube vidoes, online forums, facebook groups and blogs plus experimenting myself with trial and error. I honestly think you will love the results if you approach Stitch Fix with careful strategy! Let’s break it down:

Get the Most from Every Stitch Fix Box:

First and foremost, be sure to sign up with a generous coupon code, ideally $100. Here are a few places you can find those codes: Reddit, YouTube, and Facebook Groups, such as Stitch Fix Referral Codes. Like I said, I have maxxed out my referral credit, so I don’t have a code to share! The codes are generally good for 48 hours, so just keep searching until you find one that is fresh. All you’ll do is click through one of those links and create your profile. I recommend downloading the Stitch Fix app for the most convenient accessibility. You will then want to build your profile and set up your first Stitch Fix. Don’t rush through this step! Make sure you give as many details as possible on your size, shape, and style preferences. Think about what you are hoping to achieve through using the service, and be sure to specify items you DON’T want as well. For me, I knew I have very picky feet and don’t like standard shoes in general, so I specified “No shoes” in my profile. Also, I feel it’s easy to find nice costume jewelry pretty much anywhere (with no size constraints) so I also added, “No Jewelry”. I mentioned that I rarely need office ware, typically wear casual outfits, frequently need  “night out” attire, and rarely have reasons to dress up for special events (it is what it is, am I right?)

Here’s an example of some more details I added to help my stylist get to know me: “I don’t like cropped shirts, but do like ruffles, texture, & patterns. I am a winter with very dark hair, brown eyes and pale skin. My style is more casual, soft, and feminine NOT tailored or overly-structured. I do not like menswear (no button-up shirts, please, they look terrible on me). No hand wash, dry clean only or high maintenance items, no jewelry and no shoes.”

You can also leave your stylist a Note for each fix, with special requests, feedback from past fixes, or any general ideas you might have, ie “I’m going on a business trip, any smart casual pieces would be appreciated” or “I have a big anniversary, can you send me some options for date night?” or “I’m ready for SPRING, can you send some warm-weather options my way?”

If you are really thorough filling out your details, you’ll have a MUCH better chance at getting a box full of items that will really blow you away! But sometimes you will still get a “dud” box. If that happens, don’t hesitate to change stylists and be sure to add specific feedback on items that you are returning. Sometimes they just aren’t a good fit, and there’s no problem in trying someone new.  Don’t forget to play the “Style Shuffle”. It just takes maybe 2 minutes a day and involves giving items a “Thumb’s up” or Thumb’s Down” to further clarify your preferences. I play the style shuffle almost every day and it’s a fun quick way of upping your chance at great Stitch Fix boxes. Stitch Fix bases your boxes on an online algorithm, an actual stylist’s choices for you, and the stock available in your size, so the more info the stylist and computer have about you, the better.

Note: If you aren’t sure how Stitch Fix works with the styling fee and credits, here is a link for more details.

Maximize your Spending
My first tip for Stitch Fix in regard to really maximizing your dollars (whether they are virtual or actual) is to teach yourself to be a little pickier. Make sure you REALLY love items in your fix before keeping them. Don’t be tempted to say “yes” just because the item is in your home and it’s too easy to pop those tags! Try them on, mix them with other items in your wardrobe, take selfies (this REALLY helps) and ask yourself some “tough” questions. “Where will I wear this?” “When will I wear this?” “Is it filling a true wardrobe hole for me?” “Will it be a significant upgrade for my closet?” and “Am I excited to put it on RIGHT NOW?” Some of those questions have really helped me make the hard choices even when it means sending back something super gorgeous that I actually really loved (but realistically wasn’t going to wear).

Note: Stitch Fix has an invite only program called Style Pass which costs $49 per year and waives ALL styling fees for 12 months! In addition, the $49 goes RIGHT back into your account and can be spent immediately on clothes from your fix or Shop Your Looks items, so if you ask me, it’s a no-brainer. Since you aren’t paying the styling fee, you can have no qualms about sending all of your items back and trying agin. So if you get an invite, I highly recommend it. It makes it easy to be “picky” like we talked about above.

Rack up TONS of Credit

I have racked up nearly $1300 worth of credit in only about a year, and this January I maxxed out my 2021 credit limit ($599 per year). When you checkout with Stitch Fix (after you receive your box, you choose what you want to keep and “check out” via the app or website) you might receive a $100 code (or even $75 or $50). Supposedly, it’s random but people have been getting them a LOT lately. If you do get one, share it immediately on Reddit in the Stich Fix group on the Referral Megathread, on your own Facebook page, and in this facebook group (ask to join now because it takes awhile to be approved). Also feel free to share your $100 code in the comments here! Remember, your code will only be active for 48 hours so it’s helpful to have a plan in place before you even get it. For example, I create Stitch Fix unboxing videos for YouTube and even go so far as to create graphics with “Free $100 code” for the video….it’s all prepped and ready to go before I checkout with my fix. Then, if I get that golden $100 code, I have a click-baity video ready to post. After posting my $100 code a few weeks ago, I got at least 18 people joining, easily racking up the max credit within days of posting. I can’t help thinking that this influx of $100 codes won’t last for long, so definitely take advantage of it if you receive one! A few other ideas for sharing your link is creating outfit pins for pinterest with your link, sharing try-ons to Instagram, or asking for feedback on items (keep or don’t keep) on your personal Facebook feed.

That’s just about it for now! I have really enjoyed my Stitch Fix boxes and I hope you have fun with Stitch Fix also!

Wooland (Wool&) Mara Dress Review & Styling Tips

I’m really excited to bring you this honest review of the Mara Dress by Wool&. First of all, I am so grateful when a brand is willing to work with me as a small influencer; it truly means a lot. As you know, I choose my affiliate partnerships very carefully, since it’s very important to me that I only represent brands I use and love myself. I want my followers to trust that I’ll always be honest and only share links for products that I’m 100% using myself in my own home. Wool& sent me this dress as a gift for my review, so thank you so much, Wool&!

Look at this lovely minimal packaging! No plastic to be found. 

This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission on purchases with no additional cost to you. Thanks for shopping with me!

Outfit #1 (see footnotes for outfit details)

In my last post, I talked about Sustainable Fashion. It’s something I have really wanted to learn more about for awhile. Wool& works hard to make sustainability a core value of their brand. In fact the company’s motto is: live simply, consume carefully, do good. I absolutey love that!

Outfit #2 (see footnotes for outfit details)

I have never worn wool in my South Carolina climate and honestly didn’t know much about  its benefits. I’m actually blown away to learn how versatile this fabric is (yes, even for a Southern girl like me)! The Mara dress is a Merino Wool blend ( 75% merino wool / 22% nylon / 3% spandex, a midweight french terry fabric) and is super soft and comfy (not itchy in the slightest, and my skin is extremely picky about texture). It does seem to warm up to your body and become even softer after a couple wears!

Outfit #3 (see footnotes for outfit details)

Did you know that Wool is naturally antimicrobial, moisture wicking, and temperature regulating? I had a vague idea about some “magical” properties of Wool based on recommendations I had read for SmartWool socks, but the extent of the benefits really surprised and impressed me. The most appealing feature of this dress for me is that it can be washed very infrequently! As someone who is CONSTANTLY doing laundry (three kids + two adults + puppy), the idea of a garment that rarely needs to be washed is pretty much the best idea ever. In fact, I’m already wondering how we can fit more wool into the laundry rotation to keep washing to a minimum. Want to learn more about Wool& clothing? Click here!

Outfit #4 (see footnotes for outfit details)

Let’s get to the specifics of the Mara dress. It’s a soft French terry fabric with patch pockets, a funnel neck (I’d call it a mock neck) and drop shoulders. This dress retails for $158. (See the footnotes for my size info). The fabric on the neck and wrists is double-thick, giving it a chunky, comfy feel. It also adds a little visual interest to the design along with the seam across the pockets. I don’t usually prefer the tightness of turtlenecks but this style gives a similar look without the constricting neckline. The fabric is soft but not thick like a sweatshirt, more of a substantial, sturdy jersey.

Outfit #5 (see footnotes for outfit details)

I have worn it four days in a row and I am in love with how comfortable the Mara style is! So far, I’ve worn it while cleaning, cooking, shopping, walking the dog and I can’t help thinking it would be a great work-from-home uniform for anyone with Zoom meetings to participate in. At first I was nervous about wearing it to teach preschool, but I think next week I will give it a try. The benefits definitely outweigh my fear that it will get a little stray paint or playdough on it. I have read that the best way to treat stains on wool is to spot clean immediately, which shouldn’t be a problem.

Outfit #6 (see footnotes for outfit details)

A Wool& dress would be the perfect item to take traveling. In fact, I imagine my bag will be a lot lighter on my next trip since this dress can make it through days of wear without washing. Now that I have tried it, I think this dress would safely be a three season staple for me since it is temperature-regulating and I won’t get too hot in our temperature-erratic Springs and Falls.  I would love to try a few of the other Wool& styles like the Brooklyn Wrap Dress or the Sierra Tank Dress. There are also several new styles coming in the Spring! I am sure I’ll be wearing my Mara dress for years to come.

Is a wool a part of your wardrobe? Let me know in the comments!


Outfit Details
Outfit #1:
My Wool& Mara dress is size Medium (my true size). For your reference, I am a hair under 5’6” and a hair over 150 lbs. I’ve paired this with my favorite black flats by Fitflop. My scarf is from a previous season by Alison & Aubrey, but here is a similar style that is currently available on Amazon.

Outfit #2:
For this look, I’m wearing my favorite Jean Jacket that I blogged about here. I love that the trim sleeves of the dress work great for layers (so many of my cold-weather dresses are too thick for layering, which is inconvenient!). I’ve paired it with some of my Favorite boots from Target from years and years ago (Kamischel style), but I found a couple similar links to share for boots: Option 1, Option 2, or Option 3. Finally, I’m wearing a retired necklace from Bauble Bar, but here is a really pretty one that would stand out beautifully against the neckline of this dress!

Outfit #3:
I love this combo! I’m wearing the same boots from Outfit #2, but I threw on this drapey Olive vest from Time & Tru. It’s currently OOS, but here is another option from Amazon. My necklace is a gifted bird’s nest style that looks just like this.

Outfit #4:
I thrifted this Lucky Brand wool pullover poncho (such a fun find), but you might find a similar style here. My Frye Melissa Boots are an old favorite that work with so many outfits.

Outfit #5:
Checkout how comfy those big pockets are! You can easily fit keys, phone, and even a wallet in there in a pinch! This outfit is just showing the Mara on it’s own with my Frye boots. I love it! I also wore it with my Target boots and some purple knee high socks. I had never found a good use for those socks before, but I thought was a fun look to go shopping. I don’t usually go barelegged in the winter but I think it works with Mara’s silhouette.

Outfit #6
Mara works great for walking the dog also! For this outfit, I wore my trusty Naturalizer Carly Sneakers, favorite Columbia Women’s Mighty Lite Hooded Coat, Tortoiseshell Sunglasses, and Furtalk Beanie. For the cutest pet ever, I have to recommend a Bernedoodle!

Thank you for shopping through my affiliate links! Please subscribe for more product reviews and upcoming posts featuring Wool&!

Building a Sustainable Wardrobe

You guys know that I’m a thrifter at heart. I was raised by thrifty parents and I just love the thrill of the hunt when it comes to shopping.  I’m a pretty easy size to fit (right in the middle of the road) so I tend to build my wardrobe with new pieces almost from scratch each year (with some exceptions of course). It’s worked well for me, but I have been wanting to be more deliberate about my wardrobe and choose pieces that will stand the test of time rather than serving me for just a season. In addition, I have been learning more about sustainable brands and have really wanted to focus on a middle ground between sustainability/quality/affordability. That spot will often fall at the thrift store for me, but I’m also exploring brands that stand out with sustainability as a core value.

Before we go any further, let’s define sustainability! What is it and why should we use it as a guide when buying clothing?

In my own words, sustainable fashion focuses on measured and deliberate movement towards more eco-friendly and socially-responsible practices within the entire framework of the business, from manufacturing, to production, to distribution and sales. Want more ideas on moving towards sustainability in your closet? Click here to read up on the topic!

Fast fashion hurts the earth and hurts people. There’s really no two ways about it. Sustainable fashion, on the other hand, seeks to right those wrongs and take the process in a more positive sustainable direction. So we should all be happy to see more steps taken in that direction, right? The problem is, sometimes we aren’t quite willing (or able) to pay for it, which I 100% understand since our budget for clothing is pretty low. Which is why shopping second hand kills about three birds with one stone (without bringing animal cruelty into the mix). You are saving money, saving the earth, and preventing over-consumption by not feeding the fast fashion monster.

At the same time, second-hand shopping can be hit-or-miss, time-consuming or simply unavailable depending on location. I’m also aware that many sizes are difficult if not impossible to purchase second hand. Online options for second hand clothing are becoming more and more prevalent (thredup, poshmark, ebay), but second-hand shopping still won’t solve all of our clothing needs all the time.

Fortunately, there are more sustainable brands stepping into the clothing arena, giving us more options for high quality clothing that won’t wind up in the landfill (at least any time soon). Higher standards for materials, packaging, labor and advertising will give us better options going forward. My next post will be a review of one of those brands that I’m really excited to share about! (Click here to read it!)

 

My Favorites for February: Part 1

I don’t know about you, but I am happy to say goodbye to January and get going with the rest of 2021. This month has been a doozy for our family (Click here for our COVID experience)  and I’m pretty much ready for Spring. Heck, I’m already ready for summer for that matter (yesterday I was looking at summer pool memberships).  Anyone else?

I thought I would create this post with a bit of a life-update and also share my current favorites, becuase it’s been awhile since I’ve done a “Friday Favorites” post. These are some of my favorite posts to write (although they take forever) because, minimalist or not, I still really love sharing favorite products with my followers!

Thank you for shopping through my links! Some of them are affiliate links, so I might get a small commission at no extra cost to you!

Family Addition
My first favorite may be a surprise (it certainly surprises me) but we have had such an incredible experience with our Bernedoodle, Elphie! I didn’t know much about the breed but she has exceeded our expectations. She is really calm and mellow for a doodle and she sheds less than me….really! She is just really sweet and the perfect addition to our family. We brought her home last March and it has made our year so much more joyful. The kids adore her! I’m so glad we got to surprise them with a puppy. Here are some of my recs for puppy essentials!


Kitchen Stuff
This year we haven’t added much to our kitchen which totally makes me happy! However, we have had our Air Fryer/Toaster Oven combo for a year now and really love it. The best part about it was that it replaced our microwave and does SO much more than a microwave ever could. I honestly haven’t even scratched the surface of what it can do, but I love the convenience and speed. You also aren’t heating up the whole kitchen!

Another nice upgrade from this year, is switching to Duralex Picardie for all of our glassware. I love these glasses! None of them have chipped or cracked and we are pretty rough on them. They feel great in your hand, can handle hot beverages, are dishwasher and microwave safe and best of all are LEAD FREE! Here’s my video review for more specifics. Did I mention they are stackable?

Early this year my coffeemaker died and we replaced it with this Cuisinart 14 Cup Brew Central , I’ve been really happy with it. We got ours from Costco, but there are similar models on Amazon. One of the features I was looking for (and couldn’t seem to find) was the ability to set the coffeemaker ahead of time but TURN OFF the beep function because it kept waking up my son! This is the only coffeemaker I have found where you can turn off the sound. It also makes good coffee and has all the features I wanted (programmable, large capacity, auto shut off) and looks great on our cart.

The last kitchen item we added was this Trinity Kitchen Cart that we made into a beverage station, also from Costco (have I mentioned how much we love Costco). Our exact cart seems to be OOS, but here is a similar model from Amazon.  We have still loved our Alexapure water filter and recently replaced the filters with Berkey brand replacements. I’m happy to share that they work perfectly, so this was a more affordable way for us to get Berkey-quality water at a discounted price! (When I bought my Alexapure, it was about $100 on Amazon. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen it discounted recently).


I can’t wrap up the kitchen topic without mentioning some of the things I *still* love even after owning them for years! My Instant Pots still get used nearly daily! If you haven’t quite gotten into using yours, just push through the intimidation and I really think you will love it!

I guess the next category is one that gets used in our kitchen a ton also, so it’s time to talk about…

Cleaning

It’s been awesome to have a cleaning product I can trust without worrying about toxins, respiratory risk, or low stock. I still use Force of Nature all over my home and I absolutely love it. I also use it in my preschool classroom. Right now, you can save BIG on Force of Nature’s Extra Value Bundle, just click here and use coupon code BUNDLEUP30.

Along with Force of Nature, I absolutely love ecloth for all of my cleaning ALL over my home. Here’s my video review where I talk about some of my favorite ecloth products. This is probably a whole post on its own, but some of my favorite items are the Home Cleaning Set, the Mini Mop,  the Cleaning Pad, the Kitchen Dynamo, and the Window Genie. 

Finally, I have upgraded my spray bottles to these Flairosol bottles and I LOVE them. They spray a nice even light mist and they look so much nicer than any I have owned in the past. The mist is so fine that I really don’t have to wipe up the droplets which is nice for disinfecting with Force of Nature.

 

It’s nice to NEVER have to pick up cleaning items at the store, because the above items cover all of our cleaning needs!

Closet

This year has been my first year to try Stitch Fix. I’ve really had fun with it and found some pieces I really love! I signed up for the Style Pass, so I don’t have to pay for my boxes for the rest of the year and I have racked up tons of referral credit which means FREE CLOTHES. If you are interested in trying Stitch Fix for the first time, my friend has a $75 credit that should work for another day or so. If you want to check out some of the clothes I’ve gotten from Stitch Fix, I have a playlist on my channel with some of my unboxings + try ons. Of course, thrifting is still my main jam, so if you are interested in some of my Thrifted Finds, click here!Oh yes, and if you haven’t checked out my post on the Magical Barefoot Dreams Knock-off sweaters, I wear them ALL the time. SOOO COMFY and comfy is my holy grail when it comes to clothing.

Shoes
Not much to share here, but I still wear Fitflops 90% of the time, unless I am home when I wear Oofos clogs (too ugly for the real world). This combo seems to be the best for my picky feet. When I am cold or going out in the cold, I still wear my Uggs. No one can stop me. I don’t care.

Purse
I never thought I would stick with one brand and style of Purse, but here I am years later, still wearing my Sash bags every day, every where. I haven’t looked at any other purse since I first tried them, I could not possibly love them more. This is one of my favorite products of all time, so if you haven’t checked out the Sash Bag, you are missing out, for real. Want more details? Check out this video review or this one!

Makeup & Hair

When I started watching my own YouTube channel, I realized it was time to get some new Makeup. I’ve kept my collection pretty minimal, but I have found a few new products that I have LOVED.

I found a whole line of minimal makeup called Subtl Beauty. It’s really amazing and I absolutely love the design of it, so easy to travel or grab and go. The quality is excellent and it blends beautifully!

The rest of the time, I still wear Bare Minerals because it’s just so dang easy for someone who isn’t necessarily gifted at applying makeup (I’m just not interested in spending more than a couple minutes on my face).

This year’s favorite lip gloss is this natural shade by Pacifica.

I‘m really excited to have found a mascara that doesn’t irritate my EXTREMELY sensitive eyes, and that is Physicians Formula Organic Wear Natural Origin Mascara. The coverage is just ok, but my eyes can tolerate it, so that’s a win!

For hair, I’ve become completely obsessed with the Revlon One Step Dryer & Volumizer. I only wash my hair about once a week, then let it mostly air dry, then dry it with the Revlon Dryer. I love it so much I got rid of my regular hair dryer! The rest of the week, I just style it with a little bit of Batiste Dry Shampoo (this is basically my only toxic indulgence at this point…if you have a natural alternative please let me know. Not cocoa powder with cornstarch. Nuh uh.). Also, my friend introduced me to Large Hairpins (weird that these make me happy but they are SO much easier and more comfortable), so that’s what I use for styling my hair up.

Looks like this is going to be followed up with Part 2, because I’m not done sharing my favorites!

 

Cook Once Eat All Week Cookbook Review: Week One!

 

This post was created using Amazon Affiliate links. I appreciate every click as it helps to make my work-from-home dream a reality (at no extra cost to you). So, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.

A week ago, I could’ve sworn I would never buy another cookbook again. After 17 years of cooking, I’ve streamlined my recipe collection, simplified my routine, and gotten into a reasonable grove. My problem is, I am super disorganized and still haven’t figured out a great meal-planning method! And, even more frustrating, it’s so hard to manage the perishables and I absolutely hate when food is wasted due to my disorganized cooking style. So I enjoy cooking, but I find kitchen-management rather stressful and exhausting.

So when I heard about this cookbook, Cook Once Eat All Week, I thought it was too good to be true. It contains 26 weeks of recipes including organized grocery lists and utilizes the same major ingredients for each week, plus it is Instant Pot-friendly, Gluten Free, and adaptable for paleo, dairy-free, and low-carb…..doesn’t that sound unbelievable???

Although I could have sworn I would never purchase another cookbook, I ordered this one from Amazon the first day I heard about it (shout out to the Minimal Mom, whose vidoes are absolutely always helpful).

This was my first week using the cookbook, so I don’t have a ton of feedback yet, but I wanted to go ahead and create this review so that I could share photos and feedback on the meals as we eat them. First of all, here’s a peek at a couple pages to show you how it is laid out.
I realy love the minimalist illustrations. It’s extremely straight forward and contains detailed step-by-step instructions for each part of cooking. I actually think the layout will be great for my teens who have a lot of basic cooking skills and are great at following recipes. This book is really not about batch cooking and reheating, but about shopping and prepping ahead for several meals at a time. Which is totally what I was hoping it would be!



Week One Prep

Week one prep involved cooking and shredding chicken, cooking bacon, chopping various veggies and ricing broccoli. A few notes from our experience. I would have gotten very tired of this process without my instant pot. Cooking the chicken and rice was a breeze and if you do not have an Instant Pot, I cannot rave enough. You won’t regret it!

In addition, I do not have a food processor, so I was ricing my broccoli in tiny batches in my teeny-tiny food chopper, which was not ideal. I’ll check the necessary tools in the future before I jump into prepping! This doesn’t seem to be a batch cooking and reheating book at all, so I’m very happy about that. Instead you are planning and prepping for three unique recipes per week, and then doing the last few (quick) steps when it’s time to cook and serve.

Meal One: BBQ Broccoli & Rice
Last night’s meal was a success. My husband didn’t love it but he ate it. The rest of the family really liked it. I think he was less of a fan because the BBQ sauce I chose was a little on the sweeter side than he prefers. Next time, I’ll go with a milder sauce and maybe he can spice his up on his plate to taste. It was amazing to me how much broccoli was packed into this dish, so I was really happy with the health quotient of this meal.

I am (like I have said) kind of a messy cook and tend to measure less often than advised. So I’m not sure what happened here, probably from years of doubling subconsciously, I ended up with a massive amount of this dish. I may or may not run out of chicken and rice for the next two meals! I’m not too worried about the other two dishes, because I’m sure they can be adapted. I just find it tiresome to measure, but apparently I’m terrible at guessing.

I really wanted to learn some new healthy cooking techniques so I am excited that I now know how to rice broccoli (and am seriously considering investing in a food processor). Also, I am thrilled to have learned to shred my chicken with a hand mixer. I know lots of people like to use their stand mixer for shredding chicken, but I didn’t realize the hand mixer would work. It turns out, it was incredibly easy and quick. I will absolutely utilize this method in the future!

Meal 2: White Chicken Chili

This was easy to throw together with all of the prep done ahead of time. I’ve never made White Chili but I will absolutely make this recipe again. I loved the savory bacon, beans, and chicken but it was the fresh cilantro, lime, avocado, and green onions on top that really made this recipe cravable. It wasn’t as spicy as expected but we added some lime cilantro hot sauce for those who wanted a little extra kick. My husband loved this soup, in contrast to recipe 1 which wasn’t his favorite. Everyone enjoyed it! Recipe 1 and Recipe 2 felt totally different and really didn’t feel like a repeat at all; so far, so good!

Meal 3: Chicken & Broccoli Fried Rice

This meal was also quite easy to put together which was great because I walked into the house about 5:15. Everyone ate it but it was not the hit that the soup was and was probably my least favorite of the three meals this week. However, it could certainly be easily tweaked to taste and throwing leftovers into a stir fry is definitely right up my alley, cooking style-wise. So I think this week is certainly repeatedable because it’s got a lot of flexibility.

I’ll continue to update this post as I work my way through the Cook Once Eat All Week Cookbook. Let me know if you have tried it!

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Barefoot Dreams Knock-off Circle Cardigan Dupe Photos + Outfit Formulas!


This post was created using Amazon Affiliate links. I appreciate every click as it helps to make my work-from-home dream a reality (at no extra cost to you). So, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.

Last year’s post about the Barefoot Dreams Knock Off Cardigan from Costco (and the Update Post here) has been one of my most popular posts to date! Today I’m excited to update that post with this year’s version of the cardigan (it’s AMAZING!) along with TONS of photos plus some great OUTFIT formulas that will be perfect whether you have the Barefoot Dreams Circle Cardigan, the Max & Mia Dupe, or any similar cozy cardigan of your choice. These outfits would be perfect options for comfortable travel, working from home, or cozy holiday mornings with your family!

First, let’s get started with this year’s version of the Costco Max & Mia Cardigan! Unfortunately, this cardigan is sold out online (and Costco pulls their items when they are OOS so I can’t grab a link) but you should definitely check your local Costco for the sweaters. They might even be available on sale! (I picked up these two colors for $19.99 last weekend). Black was also available, but I still have black from before. .Here is a link to the green on Amazon.

Is this year’s version as comfy, plush, and flattering as last year’s version? YES! For size reference, I purchased size small in both the olive green and rust colors. I’m almost 5’6″ and about 145 lbs. The green fit a bit smaller on me, while the red was a smidge longer and looser. The differences were NOT dramatic and both are a good fit (I would call them generous sizing). I love that they are curved in the front, but cut longer in the back to cover your tush, making them a great cozy topper for leggings. Here’s a side view so you can see how they fit!


Just to re-iterate what I’ve said in the previous posts, this cardigan is soft like BUTTER! It’s so comfortable and comfort has always been a top priority to me. But in 2020 (and looking forward to 2021) with so many people working from home, I think this cardigan would really help round out your wardrobe and give you something absolutely lucious to cuddle up in! I totally recommend it.

What can you wear these cardigans with? Pretty much anything! But here are a few of my favorite ideas, pulled right from my closet this morning. I’ll share links when I can but I think a lot of these are probably already hiding in your closet!

Outfit Formula #1: Plaid shirt + Skinny jeans + Cardigan

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*This plaid shirt was thrifted (of course! it’s Gibson + Latimer brand for reference) but here’s one from Amazon that I think would be super cute!

*My Jeans are NYDJ Ami Skinny Ankle jeans and I love them! You definitely need to size down with this brand, but they don’t sag like so many other jeans I’ve owned. Another great spot for NYDJ deals is Nordstrom Rack.

Outfit Formula #2: Striped Shirt + Skinny Jeans + Cardigan

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*This striped shirt was also thrifted (it’s Madewell brand) but here’s one from Amazon that looks similar. If you don’t have a striped tee in your closet, I think you’ll wear it a lot!

*I’m wearing the same Skinny jeans in these as the first formula but here is the same style in black; I love them!

Outfit Formula #3: Dressy Tank + Black Leggings + Cardigan

 

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*This dressy black tank is Fortune + Ivy brand from Stitch Fix but here’s a similar top from Amazon!

*My leggings are HUE for Costco from a few years ago, but here are some awesome HUE leggings on Amazon. 

Outfit Formula #4: T-shirt + Black Leggings + Cardigan + Black Vest

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For this look, I tried something totally different and tried to think like a Insta-Influencer (haha!). Layers, layers, layers!

*For your first layer, throw on any T-shirt that will be comfy (or the black tank from the previous formula). For extra warmth, you might try a thermal base, but I just wore a comfy graphic tee. My shirt is from Crazy Comfy Tees but here’s a similar style available on Amazon currently with the same phrase. 

*Same Leggings as before, HUE brand from Costco.

*Next layer is the quilted black vest. Mine was thrifted (from Old Navy) but here are several similar vests on Amazon!

Outfit Formula #5: T-shirt + Black Leggings + Cardigan + Black Vest + Circle Scarf

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*This outfit is the same as the previous one, I just threw on a couple of infinity scarves from the 2 for $5 Walmart section a few years ago! I actually really like how this turned out, especially with some chunky boots to complete the look. Here are some similar infinity scarves on Amazon. 

Outfit Formula #6: Print Blouse + Black Leggings + Cardigan

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This is my style for sure! I love feminine and floral prints and loose drapey cardigans. This is a great way to “dress up” the cardigan and you could also pair it with some dressy pants to make it more work-appropriate.

*The gingham print blouse is LOFT (but it was, you guessed it, thrifted) but here is a similar one that looks beautiful!

*The animal print blouse is Lush Warren Split Neck Blouse from Stitch Fix but here is a similar look for less!

*The floral print blouse is Papermoon Mixed Material Top from Stitch Fix, but here’s an option that might also work. 

*Same Leggings as before, HUE brand from Costco.

Outfit Formula #7: Dress + Cardigan OR Jumpsuit + Cardigan

This is the easiest look of the bunch. Toss your cardigan over a dress and pair it with your favorite boots for a casual fall look everyone will love! Here are a couple examples and I’ve linked similar dresses for you to check out on Amazon!

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*Floral wrap dress is Kaileigh Arnett Faux Wrap Knit Dress from Stitch Fix but here is a similar style at a great price!

*My embroidered dress was handed down to me but is by Altr’d State. Here’s one with the same boho vibe!

*One last style that is comfier than any PJs ever! Throw your cardigan over a comfy jumpsuit like this one from Old Navy. Mine is a little more fitted, but this one still looks really comfy: here’s Amazon’s closest option to give you that comfy casual look! 

Have you spotted the Max & Mia Cardigan this year? Let us know what you think about it in the comments!

One of our favorites: Deal Alert Today on Marpac Sound Machine!

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These are 100% a daily necessity in our home. We leave them on pretty much all the time to mask the noises of life in a small house with loud people plus we are all addicted to sleeping with the white noise they produce. If you have tried sound machines in the past, many of them are recordings that play on a loop. This mean there is variation of sound and an audible “seam” in the audio which is MUCH less restful. With the Marpac, you are getting an actual mechanical fan within the device so the sound is more like a box fan than a recording and it can be adjusted to allow more or less volume. This is the best price I’ve seen at only $31.47 today so don’t miss out!

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Holiday Deals on Amazon!

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I’m loving Amazon’s latest Epic Daily Deal pages! There are some pretty great prices and some awesome gift ideas popping up each day! Today’s batch is totally tempting for every member of the family.

Ultimate Mom gift (at least in my mind) , the iRobot Roomba i6+ (6550) $599.99 today only!
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I’ve never really gotten into bread making, but this looks like the way to do it!
Elite Gourmet Maxi-Matic $49.99 today. This thing does EVERYTHING. #affiliatelink

And……the Ultimate Guy Gift, Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill, 18 inch, Blaze Red!
This is pricey but I can’t help imagining all the cooking I WOULDN’T have to do with this baby!

One Night Ultimate Werewolf (my kids love this one) is only $16.99. 

Finally, save up to 40% off Fisher-Price toys!

This Fisher-Price Little People Nativity is only $17.99 and it is SO PRECIOUS! (These kinds of things make me sad my kids are so big now).

The Revlon One Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer is only $29.39 right now. This is one of my favorite items! 

Thanks for shopping with me! Let me know what items are on your Christmas list and I’ll keep my eyes open for deals!