hey pretty mama: nursing style/stitch fix

Since having Claire, I've had issues spending money on myself.  I'm pretty sure I"m not the only mom who could say that - every time I go online to buy much needed clothes, I end up finding something I could buy for Claire instead and rarely complete the mission.  

Add to that the task of finding cute clothes in my size that facilitate nursing, wrangling my baby that HATES the stroller and only wants to worn into letting me try on clothes in a dressing room and well, the entire thing is basically a nightmare.  

I'm picky, so when I initially had heard of Stitch Fix I wrote it off as something for people who didn't have opinions or a clearly defined personal style.  However, I was so wrong!  I'm pretty sure it was designed with moms in mind.  They even have maternity clothes now, which is pretty fantastic.  

Here's how it works: you fill out a style profile when you sign up, including your sizes, visual examples of styles you like, and even linking to a Pinterest board if you have one for clothes.  You pay a $20 "styling fee" which goes towards anything in your fix that you keep.  I've received two boxes so far and kept items from both, so I've never really paid for the service, only the clothes. 

I have one important tip - definitely do Stitch Fix at least twice before deciding if you like it or not.  Feedback makes all the difference, and you'll also want to get a feel for how their brands run.  Personally, most of what I received in my first box ran quite large, so I changed my sizes down in my style profile after receiving it.  I also made note of why I did or didn't like the items and my stylist improved my next box by leaps and bounds.

Here's what I got in my "fix" this month, and I'll tell you what I kept and why!

1.  Polka Dotted Chiffon Dress

 I told my stylist that I was breastfeeding & mostly looking for separates, but I also said that if a really special dress she thought I'd like came through to include it.  I think this fits the bill - I tried it on and immediately Darrell said he loved it, so it's a keeper.  It was $74, and when you see the fabric in person and feel it, it feels well priced.  I'll wear this to work or out on date night, mostly likely when we aren't with Claire because it's so covered up.  But, the shape is great for a postpartum mama - soft and flowy but waist defining.  

2.  Button Down Popover Blouse

I almost never choose a button down because they always gape in front of my boobs, which I hate, HOWEVER this ended up being my favorite item in this fix.  I actually realized that if I just unbutton the top button it's not too scandalously low, so I decided to keep it, with the obvious benefit that it's a fantastic top for nursing.  It was also about $40 which I found very reasonable.  I wore it later that day to a friend's birthday, which is where the top photo was taken! 

3.  Crochet trimmed sheer tank. 

 This was a totally epic fail!  I'm not sure why I was sent this item, it's impossible to wear a bra with it (unless it were one of those flimsy, lacy, "meant to be seen" numbers that I clearly don't wear) so it went back.  Easy choice! Don't hate me, but I can't remember what the price was! 

4. Printed keyhole blouse. 

I really WANTED to love this top, but it just wasn't flattering on me!  Aside from the fit, it's 100% the type of thing I would have picked out for myself.  Sadly, it's cut at a weird length, and it kind of tented out from my chest.  So it went back!  Also making that an easy choice was the price tag, I think this was $58. 

5.  Drop earrings. 

 Truth be told, I asked them to stop sending me accessories.  I got a scarf last time that I also didn't like, and these earrings really didn't do anything for me, plus they were $28.  I just don't think they looked any better than what I would find at Forever 21 for $4, so they went back!  

For reference, all the tops in this fix are size small, and the dress is a medium.   I also told my stylist I didn't need bottoms at the moment, only tops & a dress or two. 

If you're thinking 2/5 isn't a great record, know that the two pieces I kept I LOVE and I know I'll wear them a ton.  Also, I only kept one item from my first fix so this is an improvement!  I have high hopes for the next one.  If you keep all 5 items from your fix, you get a 25% discount on all of them, and of course Stitch Fix wants you to buy everything so they really do make an effort to keep improving.  Aside from being a practical way to shop if you're busy, getting a surprise box of clothes to try on in the mail is always really fun.  I would totally recommend it if you need a little spring reset in your wardrobe.  

(A little side note - I'm not being paid or endorsed by Stitch Fix in anyway!  I just thought it was a great service for moms, and I've really been enjoying it.) 

Let's end with a cute photo of Claire & Darrell for good measure, okay?  


hey pretty mama: nursing style/1

Today I'm really excited to start a new series on the blog about style & beauty specifically for moms called "Hey Pretty Mama."  We'll cover hair, skincare, makeup, and clothing but since I wanted to start with the most requested, we're kicking it off with nursing style!  

I've received several requests from readers & friends wanting to know how they can maintain their style while they're nursing a baby, and having been nursing Claire for the past 9 months (losing the baby weight while doing it) I have some insight.  Of course, this is just what has worked for me.  I obviously have a specific body type and my tips may not work for everyone but I'm going to do my best to keep these ideas pretty general!  

First of all, I just want to say that before I had Claire my style leaned towards kind of the preppy, very put together look - I leaned heavily on shift dresses and things with a nipped in waist.  I rarely wore items with low cut necklines because I didn't like to highlight my disproportionately large chest.  Those styles did not work for me once I was nursing!  I was looking forward to getting back into my pre-baby clothes after I had Claire but I soon learned that even if they fit, they weren't practical. 

My old clothes didn't make "the girls" easily accessible.  I'm not one to go search out a private space every single time we nurse.  If you are, then this series probably isn't something that you need to follow as a guideline!  If I were seeking a closet or restroom to feed Claire in whenever she ate, I could simply unzip my shift dress and halfway undress to feed her, no big deal.  If that's your jam, great!  The most important thing is that you and your baby are comfortable.  

Personally, I like to nurse my baby everywhere.  If I'm in the midst of a conversation, I would rather nurse Claire and go on with it - it's sort of a personal mission of mine to normalize nursing in public and make it less shocking.  I want to encourage other moms to feed their babies without fear, moms who might otherwise be deterred from nursing because they worry it will inhibit their everyday interactions and daily life.  I want nursing in public to be a common, natural thing to see.

I also want to do that without telling you that you have to purchase specific clothes "for nursing" because I searched high and low for cute "nursing" clothes and well.....they don't seem to exist yet! 
That said - I had to rearrange my personal style to make this work.  Today's outfit is one that I wear very frequently.  It's comfortable for playing with Claire all day but put together enough that I still feel cute.  To make my point, I'll just let you know that I wore this outfit the entire day starting at 7 am, and we didn't take these pictures until 6:30 at night.  That's nearly 12 hours of stretching the neckline down for nursing, playing, having a baby wipe snot on me and my shirt is still looking pretty good! 

To clarify the difference between this and just "jeans and a tee shirt" - this is just a base for you to inject your style.  You've got to add 3-5 of the following: 

A floppy brimmed fedora.  
Some funky flat sandals or tennis shoes.  
Great big sunglasses.  
A personal piece of jewelry.  
An oversized, classic leather handbag.  
A men's watch.  
A patterned scarf. 

I've stepped out of the "style blogging" game for quite some time because I was feeling a little bit disconnected from it, but this has really reinvigorated my interest - if I can encourage moms and moms-to-be that you can nurse your baby for as long as you both wish to and look good doing it, then all the better.  


the weekender/easter egg-citement at eckert's farms

As a parent, you get told a lot (especially when you have a baby) "enjoy these moments!  These days go by so fast!"  And sometimes, it's hard to take that advice to heart - like when you're grocery shopping and the cart is filled in the checkout line and suddenly you realize your baby's diaper has leaked in the carrier (yes, that happened to me last week) and really you have nothing else to do but let the checkout worker finish up and wait until you get out to the car to change the baby.  Bonus, you're covered in poo, the whole drive home.  
Moments like those I sometimes want to smack the well-meaning older ladies who say "enjoy this time!  Don't blink!"  

But then, THEN there are magical days like yesterday where I remember their advice and I truly get it.  Yesterday we woke up early to get dressed in some springy clothes, head out into the sunshine and drive to Eckert's Farm not far outside the city for Easter Egg-citement, and it was one of those days I know I'll be siphoning happiness from for a long time.  When Claire is 12 and sassing me I'll be thinking of yesterday, these memories, and how good that day was.  I must have taken 500 photos in an attempt to capture everything, every sweet smile, but I'll refrain (reluctantly) from posting ALL of them here.  These are a few of my favorites!  

 This is how excited Claire was when I told her we were going to Eckert's!  Actually, she just learned how to clap and so EVERYTHING gets a standing ovation from Claire!  She's our biggest (tiny) fan!


around here lately - it's spring!

How good is that feeling on the first warm day?  When you have totally forgotten (completely!) how it even feels to be that warm, how delicious it is.  We fairly lived outside this weekend, brunching, lunching and walking all over St. Louis for as long as Claire would stand it.  

 We are ALL about the bonnets for summer to protect this baby head, although we really need to get better about sun-screening her sweet face because dodging to stay shaded once she fell asleep and hung her head wasn't really working for us! 

(I just thought this ^ picture was cute!) 

 Back napper in our sling at iTap in Soulard!  This sweet face just kills me.  

Some daddy/daughter selfies while they waited for me to pick up ice cream!  I know, I'm a terrible blogger for not getting pictures of this, but she looooooooved it.  Although not the solid frozen bites - baby brain freeze! - she licked up every drop of the melty spoonfuls we fed her.  

Mommy/daughter selfies just to even things out - this little one has fallen a bit in love with her own reflection lately!  She practically launches herself at the mirror, and it's not hard to get her to smile for a baby selfie.  

 Look at that teeny tiny ponytail!!!

And a few more sweet smiles just because.  I'm so thrilled for baby sundress weather!   (Claire's here is from Old Navy.) 


everything's coming up daffodils

Life had really thrown us some curveballs lately in the form of some financial roadblocks (of our own making maybe, but still) health crises, and just a serious lack of time + sleep deprivation.  Being a parent is hard, didn't they tell you?  But there's so much joy in the hard (SO MUCH JOY!)  I'm a firm believer in life coming in waves - they crash down showing you how good the good times are, and how bad the bad times are.  Eventually it all adds up to a lot of beauty, but you have to come to the surface to see it sometimes, you know?  

Friends, I think we have broken through to the surface - come out on top into that warm spring sunshine place, where the days are longer and the flowers start blooming.  See, all the "ick" we wade through has shown me how to really pay attention to the good stuff.  The potential of something happening to my baby rattled me to my core, but it taught me to put my damn iPhone down when I'm feeding her and pay attention.  To how she twiddles her fingers in her shirt hem, and what she looks around at distractedly.  To take joy in those 4 am feedings when she's heavy in my arms after filling up her little tank, and feel that deep satisfying weight of a baby just on the precipice of no longer being a baby, but a toddler.  

I'm scooting closer to my husband on the couch during our weekend Netflix marathons, and holding his hand while we go on after dinner walks once the baby falls asleep in her sling, talking about the houses we'll never buy and the newly blooming daffodils we've been desperate to spot for months. 

On a much less serious note, I'm finding some joy in getting dressed and ready again - I was so sick of my winter clothes, a half jumbled closet mess of things that fit me when I was losing the baby weight and things that sort of fit now, but not in the way you need them to fit while breastfeeding if you know what I mean...

There's a little more color in my skin, my hair finally getting long again, a loose tank top and light cardigan sweater with the most perfectly perfect jeans I've ever found.  Some delicate jewelry with Claire's name in cursive now that she's finally old enough to understand the word no, regardless of how many times I've got to repeat it - usually upwards of 20.  Some coral lipstick and braided hair, moving forward into the season where we all feel the most alive. 

I'm looking forward to outdoor yoga again, feeling the sun hit my face when I raise my arms up in salutation, and remembering what it feels like to really be in my body (and work on improving it, because swimsuit season and weekends at the lake aren't far off - although one-pieces are the suit of the season!  huzzah!)  Soon we will eat dinner on the patio, I'll start picking up bottles of rose wine and bundles of peonies & ranunculus at Trader Joe's.  I'm going to start reading again, don't laugh, I really am!!! Something that isn't a parenting book maybe?  I've heard good things about this one?  

So okay dreamers, have a good week.  Take stock of all the good in your life.  Do some spring cleaning.  Hold your babies for their naps.  Buy some flowers - that's an order! 

And in case you need a little Friday distraction, here are a few of my favorite links lately:

Why "bro country" is offensive and "Girl in a Country Song" is genius.   I have to admit, country is almost worse than rap lately as far as misogyny goes.

How to make vegetarian dishes *pop* with umami flavor. 

Completely obsessed with this shop's bonnets for summertime. 

I've heard amazing things about this book and am hoping to start it this weekend. 

This is a genius product - need it! 

So obsessed with these sandals from Madewell (although admittedly waiting for them to go on sale, because yikes!) 


around here lately

 I'll preface this post by saying that last week, Claire had an accident that resulted in a trip to the hospital, so thing have been a bit jumbled in our lives.  Not going into any more detail than that because I just really don't want to, but I was home last week with her to keep an extra close eye on things.  Super, incredibly grateful that she is okay, and that I have a job flexible enough to give allowances for when things like that happen in life.  

 She is recovering really well - as evidenced by all these photos, which were all taken in the past week while I was home! 

 We drug our mattress into her room to sleep on the floor for a bit - this was probably more for me than for her, but it also served as a wonderfully cushy play mat for the week.  

However, it also meant claire sleeping very strangely - she's normally solidly asleep (save one wake up to quickly nurse) from about 7pm to 6:30 am.  Here you can see how dim the room is - I'm pretty sure it was about 5:30 am.  She just couldn't stay asleep with us so close, tempting her to get up and play!  

Just twinning with her, watching a movie - she was extra snuggly for a couple of days, which suited me just fine.  

Although mostly just super happy!  Seriously, we have never played so much and she was way spoiled having me home 24/7.  

 We have enough hair for clips!! Which is good because her bangs are verging on being actually in front of her eyes.  

 As you can see, she refused to be slowed down.  My life is now basically that of a human-catch net.  I almost wish (cue tears) that she would just learn to walk so that she could be more stable!  Right now she's of teetering on the edge of it, although nothing will stop her from climbing onto the changing table and pulling all the diapers from their organized bins.  

 Claire "I heart fluff" Hayes.  

We took long walks both days this weekend, because the sunshine & 60 degree weather was just too good to resist - really it was so warm!  And the pretty black wrap is on loan from a friend, we're just using it as much as we can before we send it home.  

Sorry for the super short post, I just wanted to get these photos out there but I have SO much work too catch up on!  Have a great week everyone!  


five spring styles

Doing a complete 180 from this blog's usual stream of baby-centric posts, I thought I'd bring back a little bit of style this week.  

To be totally frank, I've been uninspired on the style front for the past year or so.  I had so much fun getting dressed while I was pregnant - really!  look! - but after the baby was born, well things got awkward.  Nursing boobs, that post-baby bump, the utter lack of clothing that fit.  Not fun!  And then all of a sudden it was winter, and leggings + a hoodie became my uniform.  

Finally, I'm back in my pre-baby size in almost every type of clothing and just in time for spring, I'm more excited than ever for this upcoming season.  I thought I would highlight a few of the trends I'm excited about for the next few months....

(Psst - these are "trends" I've found on Pinterest that will work for my life!  I'm not paying much attention to runway trends any more.) 

1) Cloth pom shorts!!! I think these are so stinking cute, not to mention extremely practical for my life - they look like the perfect thing for playing with Claire, no fuss, cute with a t shirt and the hot St. Louis summers.  I could dress them up with a blouse & some wedges for date night - easy peasy.  

2) Off the shoulder tops.  You might think that sounds impractical, but there's a certain amount of obvious convenient here with them being implicitly breastfeeding friendly!  Plus, so pretty.  

3) Straw hats!  It's been well documented that I love a good hat, and I have a pretty solid collection I look forward to breaking out - if only for the overly frequent days when I haven't gotten around to doing my hair because my tiny human required a bit too much attention.  

4) Midi dresses and skirts!  As someone with only 5 feet four inches south of my hair, I haven't traditionally been that drawn to midi length dresses, but when a baby is on your hip you run the risk of a mini becoming a non-existent covering at any moment, so I figure some extra length won't hurt!  I love the look of these styles, as well.  

5)  Clogs!  Truly, I wouldn't call this a trend, but rather a shoe I just love love love every spring and summer.  

(I'd also gladly take everything she's wearing in the above photo, thank you!)  

What are some things you're looking forward to wearing this spring?  


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