Thursday, July 30, 2015

Relish Clothing Accessories Mystery Box Spoiler + Coupon Code

Spoiler alert for one of my favorite places to shop online, Relish Clothing!

Relish just announced a new accessories mystery box!
Save 20% off your order now through 8/3 with coupon code SHINEON

Buy it here:

What's in the box?

"A surprise box filled with Relish taste and style. Premium + luxe accessories such as leather belts, artisan jewelry, sterling silver, handmade, socially conscious, leather clutches, small handbags, silk scarves, sunglasses, hats, precious stones and  more!"

For more spoilers be sure to join the Relish Clothing Trading Group on Facebook and follow the Relish Box board on Pinterest.

Have a stylish day!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Reusing Your Silhouette Mat and More Money Saving Tips

Reusing Your Silhouette Mat and More Money Saving Tips

Today I'm working on a big cutting project with my Silhouette Cameo and I am going to need to use all of my cutting mats. As you may recall from my first money saving tips blog post, rather than buying new mats at $10 a piece (on Amazon, $5 cheaper than the Silhouette site), I reuse them! Here's a step-by-step picture tutorial to help save you time and money!

All you need to get started is your old Silhouette mat(s), a squeegee, masking tape and Krylon Easy-Tack Repositionable Adhesive Spray. The can is about $8 at the craft store or $13 online, but I always use a 40-50% off coupon, which most craft stores have available on their app and/or send out in weekly emails. I can spray approximately 20-25 mats per can.

Prepare Your Mats

You want to start out by scraping off any little bits and pieces or paper that are stuck to the mat. I use this squeegee my husband picked up from a sign supply shop that has a roller on one side which I like to use to press fancy papers down to the mat without scratching them.

If you find yourself having difficulty removing paper bits, you might want to reconsider the type of paper you are using with your Silhouette. Cheap, thin paper does tend to stick to the mat, rip, and overall works poorly for most projects. Your paper should be 60 lb minimum, in my humble opinion.

Apply Masking Tape to the Mat Border

When the mats are free of debris, apply the masking tape to the outside of the mat, making sure to cover all of the area outside of the 12 inch square. I use 1.5 inch wide tape and it works perfectly, covering the outside area while having enough extra tape to stick it on my spray board.

Hang Your Mats Outside

Carefully hang all of your mats outside on an old piece of wood or a big cardboard box. I say carefully because the tape can start sticking to the mat or the tape on other mats and the whole thing can turn into a disaster in seconds. Just kidding, relax. If they stick together just pull them apart. Remember, it's repositionable adhesive and temporary tape.

Spray Your Mats

Read the directions on the Krylon Easy-Tack. In short, shake the can for 2 minutes and then spray the mats from about 8-10 inches away for about 20 seconds per mat, making sure to cover it completely.

Air Dry

I let mine dry for at least 30 minutes before use. Since they are pretty sticky, rather than stack them up I stick them to the wall above my work station. When people come over they always ask what they are, it makes for great conversation.

See how great these old mats still work?

This whole process took me a total of maybe 10 minutes. I'd say I can cut about 40 sheets of paper per application of Easy-Tack. But of course, I use my old trick of repositioning papers on the mat, and turning the mat upside around to maximize use.

Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear about what you are doing to save money and time using your Silhouette.

Happy cutting!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Stitch Fix Sneak Peek

Hey ladies, thought I'd share a little sneak peek at my latest Stitch Fix.
Who wants to guess what's in this month's box?

Yes, I bumped up my fix by a few weeks...and, I just might have some REALLY exciting news to share with you soon...

Here's what I wrote to my personal stylist (Hint, Hint) :

"Lately the only things I'm getting that are working out are dressy tops. Unfortunately, I really need casual tops and jeans, I'm a sahm. I need tees and tanks that work with a regular bra. I'm jealous of the great fitting jeans people get, but I only want straight cut. Last, I actually have an interview to be a Stitch Fix stylist! Maybe something to pair with what I already have from Stitch Fix?"

I don't know what's more exciting, the news, or getting a Stitch Fix in the mail!

If you are new here and want to see what Stitch Fix is all about, here's a link:

Happy Styling :)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Relish Clothing Mystery Box Review + Coupon Code July 2015

I'm ecstatic to share my latest obsession with you, Relish Clothing! You are going to love this service offering unique brands and high quality items at bargain prices. And I am happy to share a coupon so that you can enjoy it, too! First, check out this amazing new business:

I was thinking about how to explain the happenstance that lead to me stumbling upon Relish Clothing, and it's really quite a mind bender. Months ago I heard about Golden Tote while researching Stitch Fix. Through the Golden Tote Trading Group I got to know some amazing women, including the very stylish owner of Relish Clothing, Ms. Harper Noel. Harper is well known for her amazing sense of style. By some miracle I found out that Harper started her very own online boutique, Relish Clothing.

Next thing I know I'm talking to Harper about my blog and she sent me a medium mystery box from Relish for review! I was completely humbled and thrilled to discover a box full of goodies on my doorstep middle of last week, and have worn an item from the box every day since!

Here's what Harper had to say about herself and Relish Clothing:
"I am a mother to 5 and a wife to 1.  We live in the Atlanta area where I am a professional wedding photographer on the weekends.  I love fashion and I am a serial entrepreneur (starting my first business when I was 14)  I was searching for another business that was product based and that I could do in conjunction with photography and Relish Clothing was born.  I really put a personal touch into the curating of my mystery boxes and want my customers to feel heard and feel like they are opening a gift instead of just something they purchased on the internet."

If you've been following my blog for awhile, you know how much I love to support a fellow momtreprenuer! This lady is truly talented, as you are about to see shortly. With just my clothing size and a few other details, Harper picked out some amazing clothes for me.

Here's what I told Harper I was looking for:
"I am a pear shape, even though I normally wear 8 on top and bottom. I am a smedium, when in doubt size up! I am a work from home mom of 4, the littlest one is 6 months. I avoid tops that require special bras, elastic waist dresses, and pale colors. My tummy, hips and thighs are my problem areas. I'm a conservative dresser, mostly jeans and tops. "

I shared my Pinterest "Style" board where I post clothes that catch my eye, and my Pinterest "Clothes I Own" board where I keep track of the clothes I've purchased. And I mentioned a few items I'd spotted in her shop that were calling my name. She totally delivered! Here's what she sent:

Harper knows how to start things off right, she sent a sweet note and a Ring Pop! I'm guessing the candy is to either distract your kids, or to tide you over since you likely skipped a meal to hurry up and try on the clothes! In my case the former, as you'll see later on. First, look at all these lovelies!

So...Harper straight up sent me my unicorn. This is a term used across many groups I've joined for that surprise item you see somewhere on the internet or in someone's box reveal and desperately hope to receive in your own box one day. I thought I'd seen the Chris & Carol floral baseball tee I'd been eyeing for awhile on the Relish website and sure enough, there it was in my box!

Deep down, I really just want to wear boy clothes and play a pick up game of baseball. But I still want to look like a girl. I own another dressed up raglan, and I'm happy to have another to add to my wardrobe. It's a baseball mom must have!

Here's my little ball player, trying to steal the show.

Don't I look happy? When I showed my Mom the clothes in the box she said, "You must have been pretty pleased!" Why yes, yes I was. This next piece probably prompted the statement. She knows I'm a sucker for a good sweater.

This Staccato Striped Asymmetrical Cardigan in navy is just my style. I'm always cold, even on summer evenings after a long hot day. I've worn this for 3 days straight, and I may never take it off.

Several other ladies in my group received this, too, and we are all in love. It's the perfect weight for summer, and it goes with everything!

I paired it with this next surprise item from the box for a 4th of July party, this really unique Le Lis embroidered asymmetrical tank.

This tank is like the unicorn I never knew I had. It's everything I want in a top. It's dressed up casual, interesting detail, fun but not over the top colors, and easy to wear.

Isn't it perfect with the cardigan? 

Here's a close up on the detail.

I also asked for this sleeveless tank from Bear Dance. Thanks Harper for fulfilling so many requests! You're like Santa, only prettier and way better dressed!

She even threw in a little gold feather necklace, which is like "the relish on top" so to speak!

I'm sure I'll wear this with jeans, but I sort of played with it a bit to see if I could wear it with a maxi, too. What do you think?

Gold is something you never would have seen me wear 5 years ago, but I think it adds a little something to otherwise ordinary clothes, don't you? I especially love gold on black.

Can you see the cute little double hoop necklace on the hanger? Another great surprise which I really, really love! I couldn't get a good close up of it, but here it is with the next surprise from the box, this fun little Staccato sleeveless shirtdress.

It comes with a black braided belt and has pretty opalescent buttons. It wasn't my favorite thing out of the box but I was surprised that absolutely everything fit me. I mean, when does that ever happen, even in the store?!

By the way, my room was like a 3 ring circus during this photoshoot, as you can see in this next pic.

Harper, next time you might have to send 3 Ring Pops...

No, ladies, I'm not going to give the baby a Ring Pop. The 3rd one would be for me :)

The last surprise was this Millibon racerback tank in a very California appropriate palm tree print. I wore this to the park with my family the day after I got the box and it was just perfect for a scorching hot day! I have the sunburn to prove it.

I'd love to try this with my white jeans, too, but I just threw it on with what I was already wearing so you could see how it looks on.

Perfect for this California girl!

I'm having a hard time believing you can get all this goodness for just $149!
A dress, 4 tops, a cardigan and 2 necklaces?! And let's not forget the Ring Pop, hehe.

If you're considering a Relish Clothing Mystery Box, here's what they have to offer:

*Small box -$99  includes 4-5 items clothing + accessories with a retail value over $300
*Medium box - $149  includes 6-8 items clothing + accessories with a retail value over $500
*Large box - $199  includes 9-10 items clothing + accessories with a retail value over $700

Occasionally you'll find beautiful clothes and accessories at bargain prices in the Relish Boutique, such this lovely dress, but the mystery boxes are by far the best deal. To get a better idea of what's in the boxes, be sure to join the Relish Clothing Trading Group on Facebook.

All orders ship for $7.50 flat rate USPS in the US, $12.50 to Canada, and $25 international!
And everything is returnable, should you need to send your boutique items or mystery box back.

Well, you've been ever so patient, so here's what you were waiting for!

Just kidding, here's the discount (coupon) code for 10% off any mystery box purchase, now through July 30th at midnight EST:


The turnaround on these orders is fantastic so I expect you to head right back here and show me what you got! I have to know what to request in my next mystery box ;)

Have a relishy day!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

10 Ideas to Get Your Kids Outside this Summer

After years and years of working part time and dropping my kids off at daycare I finally have the summer off! Well, sort of. If you are a work from home or stay at home mom, you know you really never stop working. But this year instead of watching my productivity, I'm creating it! Because, let's face it. If I don't plan anything fun my kids are going to drive me crazy!

Deciding not to work means I also have to do a lot less spending.
We did sign up for free summer bowling, and will likely hit the dollar theater. And I've got a whole other list of free activities. But number 4 is really big on naps, and I think it's pretty grand when he takes one. And really, the best way to save money is to stay home. 

Bottom line, my kids need to play outside. We had this great idea last year that we would invest in a playset and the kids would spend hours outdoors. Turns out they bore easily. Getting them out there requires a little bit of creativity and planning, but once you get them out there you are golden. If you are looking for a few ideas, I've put together a list of what's working for me and a few new things to try. I'd love to hear your ideas, too! Don't my kids look excited? Let's do this!

1. Water Balloon Target Practice

I think I know what you are thinking: That means I have to fill and tie a million water balloons! If there's one thing you should invest in this summer, it's this amazing water balloon apparatus!

Click on the picture to find it on Amazon

My sister and my mom both have these, they are a totally genius design. Any kid over 5 can use it without any help. Our 4 year old hasn't gotten the hang of it yet, but big brother is happy to fill up balloons for everyone.

All you need to make targets is some dollar store chalk, which you can use for other things as well! Trust me on this one, make targets. Otherwise your kids will throw them at each other which often results in tears. If they get tired of targets, throw them at a bucket, or a small swimming pool.

This activity is kid approved.

2. Backyard Scavenger Hunt

A few weeks ago my kids were restless and I had this brilliant idea. I googled "backyard scavenger hunt" and found this cute little checklist with easy to find yard stuff. My 6 year old could read a little, but I drew little objects next to the words to help him and the 4 year old out. It probably only took them about 15 minutes to find everything, but they ended up playing outside for a long time looking for other things and exploring. You know you've found a worthwhile project when it sparks creativity and exploration. This is a keeper. Here's a picture of my sons making their own checklists after they finished the scavenger hunt I gave them.

I decided to create a scavenger hunt checklist with visuals for next time and thought I'd share it with you! I left a few empty spots at the end so you or your child can add a few things that are unique to your yard or were found along the way.

Click on the image to go to the download page

3. Build Your Own Obstacle Course

So I mentioned the playset we got last summer and how my kids don't want to play on it? There's one exception, a challenge. At least once a week I take my kids in the backyard and we create an obstacle course. We use our playset, but you can easily do it with outdoor furniture and toys. Our tiny trampoline seems to always be the starting point, and some sort of trail of toys to wind around. My son made this cute little finish line with paper, string and tape. He was so proud of himself.

I'm thinking with the weather warming up we might try and incorporate a sprinkler into the course. To draw out this activity, have the kids count to 10 or 20 for several of the stations. For instance, 20 jumps on the trampoline, 5 times around the basketball hoop, and 20 swings.

If you have a gaggle of kids like I do, DO NOT send them on the course at the same time. Time them with your phone or do it follow-the-leader style, with each child taking turns building the course or leading the way. As with any activity, you will likely have to show them how to do it, but once they get the idea they can do it on their own.

4. Paint Pinecones and Rocks

Sometimes it too hot to run around, and my kids just want to sit in the shade. A few weeks ago I got out some pine cones I'd saved from a trip to Big Bear and let the kids paint them. These are a centerpiece on our patio table now. If you don't have pine cones, let your kids paint rocks, sticks or leaves. I may take it a step further this summer and cut up fruit to use like stamps. That reminds me, I need to buy more paint. I just pinned some DIY sidewalk chalk paint, I wonder if that would work as well?

5. Dinosaur Dig

I haven't done this in awhile so I know the kids are going to be excited, especially the little one. I usually get new sand in the summer and this time I'm going to throw some plastic dinosaurs and egss in the bottom of the sandbox and sand/water table before filling them up. Who doesn't love a dinosaur dig?! We got these a few years back at Muzeo and they are just perfect for this activity.

Click on the picture to find these on Amazon

Digging for dinosaurs has that "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie" affect. Suddenly digging is a brilliant idea.

On a side note, sometimes the boys don't want to go outside because it's hot. Today I threw a sunbrella over their digging area and they played for a long while.

6. Grow Your Own Garden

Okay, maybe your first inclination was...I'll just scroll right past this one. Ain't nobody got time for that! But I'm not talking about some huge project, unless you're into that. I personally have 2 brown thumbs.

For Easter my friend gave our kids these cute little grass planters and my kids just loved them! A month later, our sons Kindergarten teacher sent home a 2 liter container with a sunflower plant growing (you can see it in the picture of the sunbrella). If you can't get your kids to take that first step to getting outside, send them out to water! You don't necessarily have to plant something new, they can water flowers or trees in your yard, but they really do enjoy watching those plants grow! I haven't decided what else we will plant, but we are definitely going to do more gardening this summer.

7. Photo Journal

I know my kids are going to love this project! If you have a smartphone and your dumb like me and let your kids play with it, chances are you have a file full of pictures of the backs of people's heads and selfies of your kids. Kids LOVE to take pictures. This summer I'm sending them out into the yard to take pictures. I'll probably give them a couple of old cell phones.

This is a project that can be stretched out all summer. They can take photos of the garden as it grows, fruits as they get bigger on trees, the pinecones and rocks they paint, their brothers and sister doing the other activities we planned.

I'm thinking once a week we will print out a few pictures and make a collage, and at the end of the summer punch a few holes in the edges and tie them up with yarn. Boom, a pretty keepsake of the summer! This project could easily be adapted to make a gift for a family birthday, or a photo calendar to give at Christmas!

I JUST remembered my son's Kindergarten teacher sent home a summer journal! It would be perfect for this! She included a list of summer words.

After I pulled this out to take a picture I gave it to my son and he wrote about the baby mockingbird living in our yard. He drew a picture, and took a picture, too. Isn't it snuggly (in other words not cute)?

8. Wall Water Painting

If you are having a particularly hot day, this is the perfect activity. My mom used to do this with my daughter all the time. All you need is a few old paint brushes and a bucket of water. You simply let the kids paint the walls or sidewalks with water, and see where it takes them!

I remember being fascinated as a kid to see the water dry up, and I always tried to write out my whole name before the first few letters disappeared. Here's another application for the DIY chalkboard paint, I've got to try out that recipe!

I don't have a picture yet because I'm saving this one up for a really hot day and want to buy a few more brushes and sponges from the dollar store.

9. Bug Hunt

Speaking of bargains, I can't get enough of the dollar section at Target. We picked up a few butterfly nets and a bug container in the spring and my kids have caught so many interesting things! Lately it's beetles, and on slow days rollie pollies. Someday they will catch the elusive butterfly! Either way, these toys have accounted for endless hours of outdoor fun and were the best $5 ever spent! I'm thinking I'll dig up the old magnifying glass this summer to add to the fun. There are a couple of old logs and stepping stones I know are hiding all kinds of creepy crawlies.

10. Camp Out

I personally would have glazed over this one if I were reading my blog. I HATE camping, and have absolutely no intention of sleeping in my backyard with my bed just 20 feet away. But I do own the equipment, thanks to my poor husband who will probably not get to camp again for years. It's been awhile since we threw the tent in the backyard and let the kids play in it and I know it will make for hours of fun.

I don't have any cute pictures of us doing a campout because it's always too dark to get good photos. But the kids love anything that resembles a tent, as you can see here. Besides, I know you all wanted to see number 4.

Camping is really just an excuse to eat smores, if nothing else. I have the ingredients and they are calling my name!

Now it's your turn. What do you think I should do to get my kids outside this summer? What are your kids up to? I hope you had fun looking through my list and found something new to try. If you'd like to save these ideas for later, here's a photo to pin!

Thanks for stoppin' by. Have an outdoor kinda summer!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Stitch Fix Review #7 July 2015

 This Stitch Fix came just in time for a very patriotic, 4th of July reveal!
I asked for some red, white & blue and I received a boxful. So much so that when my husband saw it sprawled out on the bed he asked if they'd sent me Nancy Reagan's wardrobe, hahahahaha.

Isn't this a lovely combination? I really love the care that goes into the Stitch Fix packaging.
I feel like I'm opening up a Christmas present every time.

I also love seeing the style cards with recommendations for how to wear every item.

It's nice to be able and request items for special occasions, too.
I requested red, white and blue for a patriotic concert.

I think I always try my favorite thing out of the box on first, so naturally I reached for this lovely Daniel Rainn Croft Button Down Blouse I'd pinned. I'd spotted this on the Stitch Fix blog and loved the floral print and cut of the top. It has a great texture, and is super soft. It's also fully lined, and added bonus.

Here's the pin:

I really love to wear white, but solid white tops wash me out. This print is the perfect answer to that dilemma. Trying florals is completely new to me, and this one is feminine and sweet, not bold and trendy, keeping it in my comfort zone. Is has quite a few of my favorite colors to wear in it, too.

Here's a close up of the material. See the chevron pattern in the fabric behind the print? It's subtle, adding a little dimension. This feels like an expensive shirt.  I was going to send it back because it's too small (some Daniel Rainn runs on the smaller side), but Stitch Fix for the win, they sent me a medium! I couldn't let this one go, I knew I'd regret it.

I also requested another pair of jeans. My personal stylist knows I'm a dark wash kind of gal, and I am totally wearing out my go to Loft modern straight jeans. These are the DL1961 Saira Straight Leg Jeans, $98.

Unfortunately, these were more skinny than they were straight. I know a lot of women these days are wearing skinny jeans but I don't think they flatter my pear shape. Here they are with my next item, the Daniel Rainn Hal Crew Neck Blouse in Cobalt, $68.

That photo just didn't capture the color well, both the jeans and the top have a lot more indigo to them. Here's a close up of the top.

Can you see the unusual neckline on the back of this top? I've never seen it before, and I've done a lot of shopping! This top is also textured. One thing I really appreciate about this top is that you can wear it without a camisole or any special undergarments.

As much as I love blue, I sometimes find it difficult to wear. I considered wearing this for a patriotic concert but couldn't decide on pants or a skirt to go with it. I decided to send it back and save my money for my next fix.

The next top I tried on was the 19 Cooper Camio Wrap Tie Blouse in red, $58.

I really love red, I think it looks good on almost everyone. I think my wintery completion does well in primary colors. Unfortunately, I don't have the figure to fill this top out.

On the right person, I think this blouse would be great with a pencil skirt or some high waisted denim. But there was just way too much material for me to pull it off. 

I LOVE this fabric and I'd love to see more from this brand.
However, I think for the summer I'm going to need to focus more on casual pieces.

The last item is the most patriotic of all.
It is the Pixley Alston Bow Strap Blouse in red, white and blue, $48.

Unfortunately, this tank didn't work for all the same reasons a very similar top didn't work in my last fix. It's sheer, which I have no problem with because I always wear a camisole. But finding undergarments is difficult for the narrow cut on the shoulders on this one. Also, the wide stripes aren't flattering on my shape.

Even though I am sending back most of the box, I am very happy to have another great Stitch Fix top to add to my wardrobe. Stitch Fix makes returning really easy, I just threw the items I wasn't keeping in the prepaid envelope and put it in my mailbox. 

The Croft top I kept was $68, but because a friend signed up for Stitch Fix I received a $25 credit so I spent $48 after taxes. I think this is a great price for a name brand piece I know is going to last.

If you think you'd like to try Stitch Fix I would love it if you used my referral. I receive a small commission which allows me to keep trying out new subscription box services. Here's the link:

Let me know if you try it, I hope you love it as much as I do!

Have a glorious 4th of July!