January Reads

At the request of several I decided that this year I’d recap my books each month [likely with a top ten post to still come at the end of the year] but this way you can get an idea of the books I’m reading throughout the year.

In January, I read:

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

This was on all sorts of top ten lists for 2017 and was a September 2017 Book of the Month* Club book.

The story follows Mia and her daughter, Pearl, who are living a nontraditional life in a very traditional neighborhood.The story delves into transracial adoption, surrogacy and abortion. It was really good- I could hardly put it down.

The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

The story goes between 1986 and 2016 as the main character, Eddie, looks back on some mysterious happenings in 1986. Now an adult looking back, strange things start happening again that include some of the same chalk drawings from his childhood and he slowly tries to put the pieces of his memory and what really happened together. This was my December Book of the Month* book.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

This is a classic book that I had never read and Henry was gifted for Christmas. With the movie coming out this spring I knew I wanted to read it and am so glad I did. The book mostly follows Meg and her adventure to find her father and ultimately keep herself, her brother and her friend Calvin, out of harms way. I wouldn’t call it science fiction but it’s along that line. The story has so many messages and an ending that will make you want more [there are four more books following this one]. It’s a Newberry Medal Award winning book and aimed at young readers – I would say late elementary and middle school would be best. This would be a great book to read aloud to kids.


The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

This was another December Book of the Month Club* book. This book was a thriller and once you start you won’t want to stop reading. It follows “Nellie” and her relationship with Richard. The beginning of the book is a lot of back and forth between the past and the present but by the time you start Part Two, you’ll be fully invested in finding out where the story will go. It’s hard to say much without giving a lot of the story away. The book definitely went in directions I was not expecting. 

Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan

I’ve long been a fan of Kelly Corrigan and this book did not disappoint. It’s written in the style of a memoir going through 12 important things we need to say like: I’m Sorry, I Was Wrong, Tell Me More, I Don’t Know, I Know and more. She writes in a conversational and real way about her life, her marriage, her family of origin and raising her daughters. I’ll likely go back to this one many times over.

Currently Reading:

Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional 

Dance Stand Run by Jess Connolly

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry 

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*Book of the Month Club is a monthly subscription service. Each month, you choose one of five books and it is shipped directly to you. You can get your first month free by using code: MYBOTM

 

Things to Know Before You Go to The Wiz at Children’s Theatre Company

This past weekend, I was able to attend one of the opening weekend shows for Children’s Theatre Company and Penumbra Theatre’s production of The Wiz.

The modern day twist of the classic story was very well done by a star studded cast and deserved the standing ovation it received at the end.

Here’s a few things to know before you go:

1. This is the first time CTC and Penumbra Theatre have collaborated but I have a feeling it won’t be the last. For those not familiar, Penumbra Theatre was founded in 1976 by Lou Bellamy to create a forum for African American voices in the Twin Cities theatre community. Penumbra has achieved national recognition for its quality productions and role in launching the career of many respected playwrights, including two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson. Today, Penumbra Theatre is Minnesota’s only professional African American theatre, and is one of only three professional African American theatres in the nation that offer a full season of performances.

2. The Wiz is best enjoyed by older kids and adults. I would say older elementary. There are some scary parts, strobe lights and magical concepts that young children might find overwhelming and also frightening. I would not bring my 4 year old. You can read all of the content advisories on their website.

3. The Wiz runs about two hours with a 15 minute intermission.

4. Paris Bennett, who plays Dorothy, was a top 5 American Idol contestant. That girl can sing!

5. This is the most diverse play I’ve ever seen at CTC, not just because of the cast but the audience as well. It’s inspiring to see the Twin Cities come together and celebrate this diversity.

The Wiz is playing on the United Health Stage through March 18 and tickets are still available online.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I am so thankful to work with CTC as one of their influencer partners. All opinions expressed above are mine and mine alone. 

My Favorite Podcasts

If 2016 was the year I [re]-discovered reading, 2017 was the year I discovered podcasts.

Call me late to the party but I really, really didn’t understand the whole podcast thing for a long time. But it’s actually super easy [especially on iPhone] and there are quite a few podcasts I enjoyed or ended up subscribing too this past year.

I mostly have listened to podcasts in the car when driving. When I have my kids I tend to use one of my earbuds because most of them aren’t necessarily meant for kids, though I have heard there are some good kids podcasts I might look into this year because if anyone knows us at all they know we spend a fair amount of time in the car. So feel free to leave any suggestions.

Here’s my list:

In the Dark: This was my first podcast and I was drawn to it because it is Minnesota based and about the Jacob Wetterling case. There is SO much information in this podcast that I’d never heard before. Season Two is coming out this spring and I’m anxious to hear it.

S-Town: Oh my word. If you can get past the insane Southern accent, this story will draw you in. It’s investigative journalism at it’s best as Brian Reed from NPR and Serial meets and follows John, a man who hates his Southern Alabama town and has suspicions about an unsolved murder from years earlier.

Serial Seasons 1 & 2: Neither season is related to the other but both story’s keep you captivated. Season one tells the story of Adnan Syed, who is currently serving time for the murder of his girlfriend in 1999. It’s an eye opening look at the justice system and you’ll be left with lots of questions on if he did it or didn’t do it. Season 2 tells the story of Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl who was held captive by the Taliban for five years. You’ll hear in depth conversation about his experience in the Army and his life experience and again, you’ll be left wondering what really happened.

Sorta Awesome Show: Such a cheesy name but such a good show. I started listening to this show over the summer on long walks. There’s a new episode each week/ Four women talk about just about everything under the sun- from parenting to ethical shopping to social media boundaries to friendship. Most shows have made me laugh.

Smartest Person in the Room: This podcast is done by Laura Tremaine, she’s also been a part of Sorta Awesome show up until the new year. I haven’t listened to a ton of her episodes but each episode includes an interview with someone “smart” on the subject at hand. A couple of my favorites: Mind Body Series- Eating Disorders and Viral Series- Professional Bridesmaid. This podcast has also inspired a few of the books on my To Read list.

Parent Cue: This was another podcast I discovered over the summer and would dive into on long walks. With a Christian focus, Carlos Whittaker and Kristen Ivy delve into various parenting topics and issues with eternal significance.

Honorable Mention podcasts

For the Love with Jen Hatmaker

The Shauna Niequist Podcast

Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel [Not for little ears!]

 

Are you into podcasts? What podcasts are you listening to? 

 

 

 

 

 

Books I’m Gifting This Season

Several people I know have been looking for book suggestions for Christmas. I love gifting good books. And if they are pretty to look at, even better. Here’s a few of my favorites this season for gifting:

[You can click on the images to go directly to Amazon for more information or to order.]

Little People Big Dreams series

There are several of these books about different powerful women- from Amelia Earhart to Maya Angelou to Frida Kahlo to Rosa Parks and more. These books are BEAUTIFULLY made and the perfect bedtime story for preschoolers. Frannie is getting a couple of these for Christmas and I can’t wait to read them.

If I had a Little Dream

This is one of Joanna Gaines’ favorite children books and it’s no wonder- it’s got a beautiful, empowering message and again- it’s GORGEOUS. Gifting this to a sweet little three year old in our life this Christmas.

Uni the Unicorn

You really can’t go wrong with any of Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s children’s books and this one is our newest favorite. Rosenthal passed away this past spring and all of her books are now a beloved treasure to me. Her stories are creative and fun and kids and adults both love them.

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls


This one is a little spendy buuuut I think worth it. Each page is devoted a story and picture of an extraordinary woman. Evie’s getting this one for Christmas.

 Q&A a day for Kids

Evie has been asking for this book for months. If you’ve got a little journaler in your family, you want this book. Each page has space for three years of answering the same question. So fun to look back and see how answers change and some stay the same. They also have an adults version of this book.

365 Days of Wonder

Wonder was one of my favorite books of 2017 and I’m so glad to see that momentum continuing with this book of Mr. Browne’s precepts- a quote for every day of the year about courage, friendship, love and kindness.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 

I do NOT understand the allure of the Wimpy Kid books but alas both Henry and Evie love them. Henry devoured the newest book in the series, The Getaway, within a couple hours last week and Evie just finished it up too. Any of the Wimpy Kid books are sure to be a hit for those late elementary schoolers.

The Lego Ideas Book

We gifted this book to Henry years ago and it still sits upon our shelf. Even though kids are so creative at coming up with their own buildings and creations, it’s fun to have an ideas book too. This is perfect for any lego-lover in your life.
The Dangerous Book for Boys

This isn’t necessarily a new one but it’s a new one to me. This book is for boys of all ages and has all sorts of neat info- from how to make a slip knot, learning how to really fish, discovering magnetism, exploring the various wars and more. Lots of opportunities for dads and boys to create projects together. This one’s already under the tree for Henry this year.

Tell Me More

This is out for pre-order right now but I already love it. [Also, local friends, she’s coming to MN in January!] I’ve loved every Kelly Corrigan book I’ve ever read and any of her books would make a great gift.

Lift

This is my required day before the first day of school reading every. single. year. This book is perfect for a mom in your life as she becomes a mom, sends one off to preschool or kindergarten or even college.

Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional

A sweet new friend of mine co-wrote this book and I bought it right when it came out. A simple page a day and chalk full of so much wisdom on living a kind life. It’s the PERFECT gift for a sweet friend in your life.

Of Mess and Moxie

The best Jen Hatmaker book ever. This book is perfect for a friend with moxie. This book is guaranteed to make her laugh and laugh some more.

Bread and Wine

I’m a big huge fan of Shauna Niequist and this is the perfect book for someone in your live who loves entertaining and gathering. Full of recipes [some of our family favorites have come from this book.] and full of life giving truth.

Present over Perfect

Maybe a gift for you. If you’re ending the year feeling tired of running and doing and over scheduling, this might be the perfect read to catch your breath and remember the importance of being present versus being perfect.

Extra Good News Amazon is currently having a book sale- use BOOKGIFT17 for $5 off a book purchase of $15 or more!

Disclosure: Affiliate links were used in this post. 

Related link: My Best Reads of 2017 

Ten Years Gone

On Thursday, December 13th, 2007 at 1:05 a.m. my mother, my mumsy, passed away. She left the pain and the illness she’d been living with and fighting seven months and went home to her heavenly home.

Ten years ago today my mom left us and in so many ways she left us prepared for her death. Details already attended to, instructions taken care of. Even as death came closer to her, she took care of her family, because that is what she always did.

She died just twelve days before Christmas but don’t you worry, that tree was trimmed, the cookies were baked [mostly thanks to aunt Janet] and there were presents for all wrapped under that tree.

So many things in the world have changed in ten years- the first iPhone had JUST come out when she got sick and NOW LOOK AT US ALL.

Even our family has changed [and grown] since she left us.

Sometimes I hear her voice and other times I wonder, would I even still recognize it? Every once in awhile I’ll see a look, a photo, or mannerism that reminds me of her, yet again sometimes I wonder if my mind is playing tricks on me- seeing the things I want to see.

Ten years is a long time to be a mother without a mother and there are so many times I have longed for her. So many times I have wanted to scream about the unfairness of it all and so many things she has missed.

Kelly Corrigan explains that perfectly in The Middle Place:

“…”Your mom had a good life. She had a lot of happiness. She was so uncomfortable. Now she’s at peace.”

Well, yeah, okay, good for your mom. But what about you? What about your peace? Your comfort? Who’s going to remember what you were for Halloween that year or the name of your fifth grade teacher? Who’s going to cry when your baby is born? Who’s going to sit in the front row of your play?

Look mom! This is the scene where we get engaged. Oh! You’re gonna love this part! Look at me in my white dress…And in this next scene, we get pregnant! …Isn’t this a good play? Don’t you love it? Wait! There’s more…My husband gets promoted in the third act! Don’t go yet! My son starts kindergarten next year! Wait til you see my daughters first swim meet! Don’t leave- it gets so good!”

Don’t leave mom, it gets so good.

*****

I think it’s pretty common to idealize someone after they’ve passed away but I’m not going to do that, instead I will tell you just how she was.

She was loving and beautiful and funny and smart. She was honest and tactful and knew how to present herself in any and every situation. She was strong.

She loved the Lord but she was not a Bible-thumper. She had a quiet, personal faith and she prayed me through many days.

She loved her husband, my dad, and even after thirty years of marriage and thirty-six years together was still madly in love. When people asked if she was married, her response was always, “Happily.”

She was such a good mother. She wanted the best for us in every way possible, I’ve seen that more now that I’ve myself been a mother for so long, all of the thankless tasks she did. Sometimes I wish I had treated her better when I was growing up. She worked hard and made sacrifices so that we could have every experience and everything we ever needed and more. Most of all, when we needed someone in our corner and we often did, she was there.

Mom and Henry- 2006

She loved her grandchildren and made each one feel special in their own way. The joy she had for Henry, my only baby she was alive to meet, was indescribable. She would have found so much delight in my girls.

She was a good friend, always up for a chat around the table with a cup of black coffee.

She may have had her faults, we all do- she was stubborn as heck and Jeff and I often laugh about a particular “meatloaf” incident. But she was my mom- irreplaceable and imperfectly perfect.

I am so glad she was mine.

My Best Reads of 2017

At the end of 2016, I decided to challenge myself to read 52 books in 2017. It had seemed that throughout 2016 I had fallen back in love with reading and really wanted to spend more time discovering great books and new authors and just find time doing something I loved. [This meant for most of the year I didn’t have the Facebook app on my phone because when I would have a few minutes here and there I decided I’d rather read books than mindlessly scroll.]

I finished my 52nd book this morning and it’s been an amazing year for me and books. I have read SO many great books. Yes, there’s been a few that have been so-so or even a few that I would have rather not finished but those have been the exception and not the rule.

I’ve had so much fun swapping books with friends and talking about the plots and the endings and the ones that have kept us engaged and the others that we’re disappointed in. Even though reading is an individual activity and I took no part in any book clubs this past year, reading and books has very much been a connection with others for me.

My T0-Read list is almost 10 deep already even as I’ve finished this challenge so I plan on continuing in 2018 and would love any book suggestions you’ve got. [Thinking I may even do a post on books I want to read next year in the coming weeks…]

A few people have asked me what my favorite book has been this year and I can’t imagine choosing just one but there are several stand outs so I thought I’d share, in no particular order, my best reads of 2017:

[All images can be clicked on to bring you to Amazon for more info or to order the book]

The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood

I kept hearing about this book and had learned that it was going to be a series on Hulu so even though it seemed like a book that I wouldn’t like I took the plunge and bought it. I’m not one for dystopian novels but this one kept my attention the whole way through. It’s a disturbing storyline of a future world of declining births and discriminatory hierarchy. Handmaids are to provide children to the commanders and their wives. While the book was written in the 80’s, there were fascinating real world parallels to parts of the story. Once I read the book, J and I also watched the Hulu series and it was very well done.

At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider

This non-fiction story of how one family sold everything and took their children across the globe for 9 months totally wrecked me. It led to so many fascinating conversations between J and I as we talked about the kind of life we want for our kids and it left me inspired to own less so that we can see more. Tsh writes so beautifully but yet doesn’t make all of the hard parts of traveling with three kids sound easy- she realistically shared the struggles, the expense and even some of the moments they too questioned what they were doing.

Wonder by RJ Palacio

I actually ordered this book for H initially but when it arrived I decided I’d read it first and I devoured it. Written for middle elementary to middle school level readers, the book follows August Pullman, a boy who was born with severe facial deformities. The story gives his perspective as a 5th grader going to school for the first time and also shares his sister and friends’ experiences too. The overwhelming message of the book [and now the movie] is to choose kindness. I’d recommend this to EVERYONE, adults and kids alike.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

While the book is fiction, it spells out some very real issues in race relations in our country as it follows three main characters- Ruth, a black nurse, Kennedy, her public defender and Turk, a white supremacist. Turk and his wife have a baby at the hospital Ruth works at and they don’t want her touching or caring for their baby because of her race. When something critical happens to the baby and Ruth is the only one around, does she step in and help or does she obey their wishes? I thought Picoult did a great job spelling out the privilege some of us receive the day we are born because of the color of our skin.

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch

This one really hit me square between the eyeballs and the heart. This book was about way more than just stuff [though there is a lot about stuff too]. But the premise was how do we raise kids who are content, grateful and responsible. How do we as parents make intentional choices versus just going with the flow or giving in to emotions and allowing things because that’s what our friends/neighbors/strangers do/say/give/allow. This book really impacted me and I’d recommend it to all parents at any stage of parenting.

Final Girls by Riley Sager

Confession: the cover of this book totally turned me off and I assumed it would be a book I would not like yet here I am including it in my best reads list, go figure. This was a Book of the Month Clubbook and it was really so good. It was a thriller that followed three girls who had all survived brutal tragedies ten years earlier. I could NOT put this one down once I started because I had to find out what happened.

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

This was another Book of the Month Club* book. Emma and her sister Cass go missing and one sister returns three years later but all is not how it seems as the FBI and her parents piece together what exactly happened and where she’s been. This book was a true psychological thriller and another one that was hard to put down.

How To Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims

After hearing the author, a former Stanford University dean, on a KQED podcast I ordered the book and again was really impacted. I recommend this book to all parents at any stage of parenting- there are some major truth bombs about the way in which WE as parents are sometimes our kids biggest hurdles as we try to make their lives easier instead of actually teaching them responsibility, independence, accountability before they become adults.

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner

This nonfiction book was a fascinating, yet heartbreaking account of growing up in a polygamist cult. Ruth was the 39th of her father’s 42 children and grew up in rural Mexico. Throughout the book I had to remind myself that this is a true story and that she actually LIVED this. I so admire Ruth and her courage and her overall belief that there was better life out there.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This story follows a black teenage girl who witnesses her childhood friend get shot and killed by a white police officer. Pretty relevant for 2017. The author totally brought Starr, the main character, and her family to life and also taught me some important lessons like the fact that I’ve never had to teach my kids how to interact with a police officer. There’s a lot of swearing in the book so I’d recommend it to high school and above but I think most readers will walk away with a healthy dose of empathy towards race relations in our country.

For more information or to order any of the above books simply click on the image. 

As you can see I really read a gamut of different books from fiction to nonfiction and by a variety of different authors. To see all 52 books I read this year you can check out #SamaraReads2017 on Instagram and all 52 books should appear.

 

*Book of the Month Club was new for me this year and introduced me to some new authors and books I wouldn’t otherwise have read. You can join for $5 for your first month with code: FIVE and my link. Each month you get to choose which book of the five curated books you’d like and it’s shipped right to you. You can add additional books each month for just $9.99 a title.

Disclosure: Affiliate links were used on this post. 

The Allstate Foundation and WE Day Remind Us That Good Starts Young

This post was sponsored by The Allstate Foundation. All opinions are mine.

When it seems as though every day news headlines are more and more depressing, it can be easy to become frustrated with the status of this world in which we live and many of us are raising children. But I am finding that there is a lot of good out there that many of us just don’t know about.

Last week Maddie and I had the opportunity to attend WE Day Minnesota on behalf of The Allstate Foundation with a few other local moms and some of our youth. I’d never been to WE Day and while I’d heard of it in the past, I had a very vague understanding of what it was and what it entailed and who actually attended the event.

WE Day was started by two brothers, Craig and Marc Kielburger and is an international series of stadium-sized, life changing events that bring together world renowned sparkers and performers all in the name of empowering youth. WE Day Minnesota had an amazing lineup that included Ann Curry, Lizzie Greene, Allstate Foundation Good Starts Young Ambassador Alyson Stoner, Margaret Trudeau, Grace VanderWaal and more.

The premise of WE Day is to celebrate and also inspire this generation’s shift from me thinking to we acting by building a better world where everyone has the power to speak out and make choices that have a positive impact, whether they are 12, 22 or 50.

From promoting school recycling to fundraising to build a school, the stories that we heard were awe inspiring and when you see such young kids devoted to so much good, you wonder why we as a world aren’t spending more time talking about this.

The energy and emotion throughout the Xcel Energy Center was palpable. These youth are excited and inspired to do good. And why wouldn’t they be, they all know what we adults need to do a better job at remembering — – Good Starts Young.

The Allstate Foundation Good Starts Young initiative began back in 2005 when the CDC reported that teen deaths in car crashes had reached epidemic levels. For 10 years, Allstate worked to reduce deaths through advocacy, education, federal and state legislation and even some campaigns making it “uncool” for teens to text and drive. By 2015, teen deaths had dropped by 50 percent.

Today  The Allstate Foundation Good Starts Young initiative is about increasing the likelihood that young people will have success in life- whatever their dreams may be and is now based on the research that says the strength of a child’s social emotional and learning skills is a better predictor of success in life than academic achievement.

Chew on that for a minute.

We all like to talk about giving our kids the academic skills to succeed but rarely am I hearing enough conversation about emotional and social development, especially in an ever-changing world of social media.

Because of this initiative, the next generation of leaders and history makers are inspired to reach their full potential by serving causes greater than themselves and making the world around them a better place.

In 2017, more than 5.2 million youth have participated in programming sponsored by The Allstate Foundation Good Starts Young initiative, including WE programs like WE Day and WE Schools.

Thanks in large part to The Allstate Foundation as Title sponsor of WE Day MN, thousands of local youth are able to participate in WE Day. Students aren’t able to just sign up and buy a ticket to attend, simply because there are no tickets to buy. All of the students who attend, attend for free because of their service and volunteering efforts.

It was eye opening to me to see so many youth gathered in one place all devoted to various areas of service and leadership and it made me excited for our future. I’m grateful for the time I was able to spend with Maddie learning, listening and just being inspired by all of the good that is happening by young people.

For more information:

Learn how to impact change and get involved with sponsored programs by The Allstate Foundation Good Starts Young.

You can also find opportunities to rally together and take action within your community by checking out the We Volunteer Now program.

From Left: Tracy Morrison, Meghan Yancy, Craig Kielburger, myself and Missy Voronyak

This post was sponsored by The Allstate Foundation. All opinions are mine.

 

How The Grinch Stole Christmas Now Open at Children’s Theatre Company

This past weekend, Miss F and I went on a date to the Children’s Theatre Company to see this year’s holiday productions- How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Photo by Kaitlyn Randolph

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is one of Children’s Theatre Company’s [CTC] trademark shows. It premiered at CTC in 1994 and is the only Minnesota theatre that can perform the show.

In that time, Reed Sigmund, one of CTC’s company actors [this is his 18th season] has played a couple different roles in the show. He played Max the dog several years back but this year is his third time playing the Grinch.

Photo by Kaitlin Randolph

If you’ve seen Sigmund in action in the past, you won’t be surprised by the way he captures the true essence and complete character of the Grinch. His loud, boisterous voice and his ever-physical acting takes the stage by storm. He is a force in any role but especially THIS role.

Photo by Kaitlin Randolph

A few weeks before opening night we were invited to see the transformation from man to Grinch and the fact that he’ll do that transformation close to 100 times before the show closes January 7 makes me tired thinking about it.

You’ll recognize some other CTC regulars in the show- including Natalie Tran as young Max. She played Cindy Lou Who in both the 2012 and 2014 Grinch productions.

Photo by Kaitlin Randolph

How the Grinch Stole Christmas runs through January 7 and tickets are still available but plan ahead and buy now before the show sells out. [Holiday productions are known to sell out.]

You can save 20% by using THIS link to purchase your tickets.

The production runs an hour and 50 minutes and that includes a 15 minute intermission. Don’t spend your entire intermission in line, pre-order your intermission snack [cookies by Patrick’s anyone?] and they will have it waiting for you when you come out.

Make a new tradition this year and bring the whole family. This is a show that is good for all ages. If you’re worried about content, check out this guide CTC put together to determine if this show is a good fit for your family. [Spoiler alert: it’s good for your whole family.]

Stay tuned to my Instagram as I’ll be giving one follower a set of tickets to see How the Grinch Stole Christmas later this week!

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I am so thankful to work with CTC as one of their influencer partners. All opinions expressed above are mine and mine alone. 

 

Cars.com Helps Choose the Right Vehicle for your Carseat

This is a sponsored post.

Car seats have always been very important to me because we drive a lot. We live in an area that to get most anywhere we have to get in the car so from the time my kids were infants to now, rarely a day goes by that they don’t get in the car.

But when you have your first baby choosing a car seat, knowing how to install it properly and making sure your child is safe in it can be really overwhelming.

Nevermind the fact that going to your local baby store has more options that most of our brains can compute.

Photo from Cars.Com

Cars.com is trying to help families by scoring cars and giving them car seat ratings and ultimately creating an honor roll of vehicles. This means that they install a rear facing convertible seat, a forward facing convertible seat, an infant seat and a booster into vehicles and then rate them for space, the LATCH system and how well it works and the ease of installation.

It’s super helpful to know where your car stands as far as carseat installation because every car is different and what might fit perfectly in a minivan might not fit so perfectly in a compact car.

You can watch a quick video over on cars.com for Cars.Com’s Car Seat Honor Roll for 2017.

Have you ever car shopped with a car seat in mind? What kind of car works best for your family? 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of cars.com. All opinions expressed are mine. 

My 14th Stitch Fix

A few weeks back I got a mailer in the mail from Stitch Fix offering me a FREE fix. Meaning no $20 styling fee. It had been several months since my last fix and I wasn’t really sure I wanted to do another.

As I’ve been cleaning out my closet, I’ve noticed sometimes I impulsively choose to keep Stitch Fix items, wear them once or twice and then leave them hanging for months on end until they make it to the donate pile so as I looked at this fix I wanted to be intentional with anything that I would keep. Meaning I wanted to keep items that make sense long term in my closet and not just for an occasional wear.

Truth be told it’s been a long time since I’ve been this disappointed with a fix.

Here’s what I got:

Q&A Marsala Split Neck Blouse $64

I thought this top was adorable and could absolutely see myself wearing it for a night out or even Thanksgiving. That said- $64!! Too much to justify keeping it.

Decision: RETURN

41Hawthorn Zoe Ankle Zip Skinny Pant $88

I actually really like the 41Hawthorn brand and maybe even would have been interested in these pants if my Stitch Fix profile didn’t say “No pants, please.”

Decision: RETURN

Le Lis Covington One Pocket Top $58

This was a cute, fun, flannel that’s very much in style but I couldn’t find any reason it would be different than a flannel I could buy at Old Navy or Target for much less.

Decision: RETURN

Evolution by Cyrus Leesa Hooded Cardigan $88

I actually LOVE this sweater. It is totally my style, so much so that I already have one very similar. If I didn’t, I’d be tempted to keep it, though again, the price point is much higher than I’d want to spend.

Decision: RETURN

Olive and Oak Marsella Star Print Pullover Sweater $58

It’s just not me.

Decision: RETURN

All in all, I was disappointed. Not because they didn’t send me nice items but because none of the items were things I either preferred or requested and also, I felt like the price points were high. I felt like the stylist quickly did a once over on my profile and threw things together without really taking the time to look at my profile, what I’ve bought in the past and also what I’ve pinned on pinterest.

I may give Evereve’s Trendsend program another whirl but I think this might be it for me and Stitch Fix for awhile.

Related Posts:

My First Stitch Fix
My Second Stitch Fix
My Third Stitch Fix
My Fourth Stitch Fix

My 5th Stitch Fix
My 6th Stitch Fix
My 7th Stitch Fix
My 8th Stitch Fix
My 9th Stitch Fix
My 10th Stitch Fix
My 11th Stitch Fix
My 12th Stitch Fix
My 13th Stitch Fix

Have you tried Stitch Fix out yet? What have you liked or not liked? If you haven’t signed up yet what are you waiting for?

For a $20 styling fee, you fill out a questionnaire and all of your likes/dislikes when it comes to clothing, style, price points etc and a stylist puts together five pieces they think you might like. Hate it all? The only cost is the style fee. Love it?  Your $20 style fee goes towards your purchase and if you buy all five items you receive a 25% discount.

If you sign up and use my link I receive referral credit {it costs you nothing more or less by using my link, I’m just disclosing that I will receive credit}.