Thursday, August 29, 2013

It's like Netflix, for clothes!

A month or so ago I stumbled across an ad online that caught my attention. It said something like "get clothing without commitment" and I'm pretty sure it was on Facebook, where I never click ads, but this time I did. And I'm so glad I did!

The ad was for Gwynnie Bee, a service that, like my title says, works like Netflix for clothes! You pay a monthly subscription fee and fill up your "closet" with the items you like and they send them to you. You can keep it as long as you want and when you're done with it you just drop it (unwashed!!) in the stamped envelope they provide and mail it back. A few days later, your next item arrives.

They have plans with as few as 1 item out at a time up to 5 at a time and there is no limit on how many items you can get in a month. Sizes start at 10 and go up to 28 and there is a wide variety of designers, many I wasn't familiar with before and some that I know, but would have never thought to browse (Lands End for example has been the source of my favorite dress so far - one I'm buying, from Gwynnie Bee for 45% off retail price!!).

I know I sound like an infomercial, but it's really been a fun thing to try and I'm totally loving it. My work wardrobe tends to be very black, gray and dark purple. Neutral, neutral, neutral with the occasional fun print thrown in during the summer, but generally I'm a fairly understated dresser.

But with this, I'll throw things in my "closet" that I'd likely never buy, but figure there's no harm in trying them out. I've ended up actually liking and wearing a little more than half the things I've gotten. The ones that have gone straight back in the envelope have been for different reasons - some too big, some too small and some patterns just so not at all me when I saw them in person.

A lot of the things I've worn have been beyond my usual style, but I've really ended up being quite happy with them, and gotten a ton of compliments at work and from friends.

Here are a few of the items I've gotten:

Super cute, huh?

They offer a free one month trial, with three items out at a time. That's what got me hooked. Then when I signed on, they gave me a bonus item for the first month, so I've been spoiled with a constant stream of clothes coming and going in the mail and several coworkers commenting that I must have been doing some shopping lately or where were the end of summer sales I was obviously hitting up.

If you dress up for work, or have an actual social life to dress up for, and you're clothes run larger than a size 10 I'd definitely suggestion you give Gwynnie Bee a shot - at least for the free month!

* This post isn't sponsored, I really just had to tell the world about this cool new service. But, if you do use my link and end up signing up I get a free month, which would be an added perk and much appreciated! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Music Monday: Throwback Edition

Yesterday I woke up with the idea of a song stuck in my head. It was one that used to be a favorite, a song I'd blast loudly, sing along with and play on repeat. 

The problem - I could not for the life of me remember what it was.


The idea of the song wouldn't not leave me alone, but I couldn't come up with the song I was thinking of. I texted a friend with a very cryptic message asking for help. He couldn't figure it out either. 

I knew it was a punk pop song from the early 2000's so I turned to Wikipedia's list of punk pop bands, hoping to find the band name. It only took til the L's to get it. 

So, please enjoy the song I worked so hard to rediscover, Fred Astaire by Lucky Boy's Confusion.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Behold Cuteness

This weekend I went to Richmond to visit Stompers and meet his new baby brother, Patches! 

Stompers alternates between being completely disinterested with his baby brother and loving him lots.  

While it sorta looks like a choke hold I promise, it was a sweet hug. 

While my weekend was largely focused on bottles, diapers, burp clothes and cartoons it was a lot of fun and I'm so glad I got to go spend time with them (and their mom!)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Check another one off the list - Eastern Market

I could have picked a better day to visit Eastern Market for the first time, but... I didn't.

It was a dreary, rainy Sunday morning and I thought about switching my plan to go to one of the museums on my list, but I wasn't in a museum mood.

It wasn't totally pouring, more like one step up from a drizzle. A steady rain, but not the kind that actually gets you drenched, so I headed downtown and found parking a few blocks from the Market.

Compared to other Markets I've been to in Philly and Baltimore, Eastern Market was fairly unimpressive. I figured it would be filled with restaurants and I could get breakfast there, but... it wasn't. There was one bakery that had bagels and one full service restaurant that had a LONG line and otherwise, some fruit stands, deli stands, a place with lots of yummy looking pasta and an abundance of butchers. If I lived in the neighborhood I could see myself stopping in there as my Farmer's Market, but it wasn't really worth the drive over.

Outside, along side the market and in a lot across the street were other vendors - jewelry, clothes, handbags, cards and more fruits and veggies. I'm guessing on a nicer day those areas are packed with more vendors.

So, my visit wasn't a waste of time, I checked something off the 'to-do' list and found a new option for gift shopping, I'll just make sure my next visit is on a nicer day!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Pentagon Memorial

Back in January I created a DC "to-do" list for 2013 - eight events or places in the city that I wanted to experience before the end of 2013.

We're now 8 1/2 months into the year and I had only crossed one off my list (Embassy Tour Day) and my number of weekends in town doesn't really go up dramatically as the year winds down, so I needed to use this weekend to knock a few more things off the list!

On Saturday afternoon I visited the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial.

I drive by the Pentagon often these days, but didn't in 2001 or the years immediately following. Which is likely why I was completely confused about what side the plane hit. I don't know why I always thought it was the east side, the side I commonly pass on when driving into the city on 395. Of course it makes sense, the plane coming in from the west, hit on the west side.

Once I got over that surprise, I was really impressed by the memorial. So much thought went into every detail. I listened to the audio tour, which I recommend if you go, as there aren't many signs explaining things, but the audio tour gives you all of the details you need. You can either download it as an mp3 or call into a phone number to listen.

There is a bench for each of the 184 people who were killed that day at the Pentagon. They are organized in rows, based on the year the person was born and each has their name, and if they were on the plane with family members, the names of their family as well.

The benches alternate in direction, if you are facing the Pentagon when you are reading the name the person died in the building, if your back is to the Pentagon and you are facing the sky, then they were on the plane.

It's beautiful and sad. Peaceful and thought provoking.

And definitely worth seeing in person.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Playing in the Sandbox and Shoveling the Ocean

I mentioned in my last post that I spent much of the past month with weekly out of town trips. What I didn't mention is the focus of those trips were the kiddos in my life.

Two beach trips, a kids gym, a little kid amusement park and a children's museum were the destinations of choice with Wiggles, Bug & Little Man.

While there's more to say about the rest, I'm starting this retrospective with the beach!

First up with Wiggles first trip to the beach and despite A LOT of rain, she still had a great time at "the sandbox."

I think one of the best and worst things about a two year old is that they have no real sense of time. It's a bad thing when any one activity only holds their attention for a few minutes before they are zooming full speed ahead into something new.

It's a great thing when 30 minutes after you arrive at the beach the skies open up into a complete and total downpour and you can pack up quickly and talk about how much fun you had at the beach without them whining "but we jusuuut got here"

Nope, instead we had a happy toddler running through the, in her words, "almost rain."

Luckily we got some beach time in the day before, and things eventually cleared up enough for an evening on the boardwalk that didn't require wet suits.

The beach involves running. And falling. And snacking. 

Rides & candy. Nothing better in the life of a two year old!
 Less than two weeks after leaving the beach with Wiggles, I returned with Bug & Little Man (and their parents, but we know they aren't the focus of this post).

Luckily our weather was perfect. Which is a good thing, because this is our fourth year of beach trips and there is a routine and expectations in place, all of which require good weather!

Rides + sand is the recipe for success with this crew!

On any given day Little Man strikes a perfect balance between being
the most serious 2 year old you've ever met and being totally silly.  

So, on this second trip rain wasn't an issue. But that pesky ocean was. We got to the beach Sunday morning with several hours to go before high tide and thought we'd be ok sitting about 20 feet back from the life guard stand. We set Bug to work digging a 'just in case' trench in front of our stuff, but I really thought that we'd be long gone before the tide came in.

I was wrong. 

We never did end up getting washed out. Our, by then, multiple layers of trenches did their job and kept our stuff nice and dry. But it was a very, very close call. The area in front of us filled in like a kiddie pool, great for Little Man who was not a fan of the ocean and would continually tell the waves to "Stop It!" when he was standing in the surf with his mom. 

But while he just told the ocean to stop, his sister had a different idea of how to keep the water away... 

Summer fun at its best!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Catching Up & Slowing Down

This is my first weekend at home in a month.

I've had a lot of fun over the past few weeks for sure, but it certainly was nice to wake up this morning in my bed, with no place to go.

I woke up at 8:30, but grabbed a book and didn't actually get out of bed until 11:30 and didn't make it out of my apartment until around 2.

So very nice.


The walking challenge is still in full swing. I hit a bit of a slump a few weeks back, only wracking up 40-50k steps a week, but I seem to be back on track. This week it's looking like I'll hit 80k steps! (I'm at 71,000 with one day to go). 

I've gotten so focused on getting my steps in I've even been going on a walk before work on Mondays and Wednesdays. 

Craziness. I know. 


Speaking of challenges, my competitive streak came out this week when Words With Friends introduced a new feature - a Leaderboard. It shows you where you rank compared to all of your friends playing the game, based on number of points you earned that week. As soon as I saw that I needed to get to the top of the board. 

It really wasn't a want. It was a pretty compelling need. So I started playing more and more games so I could earn more and more points. At the moment I have 14 games going. At the high point of the week it was probably more like 20 or so. 

Totally ridiculous. 

But, I am at the top of my leaderboard, so at least the effort is worthwhile. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Mid-Year Book Review

Please excuse the fact that we are a month beyond "mid-year" and accept a mini update on the books I've enjoyed the most thus far in 2013.

I've read a lot. To date I'm on book 77 of the year. 

I know. It's ridiculous. 

Of those 77 books, beyond what I've already written about this year here and here, I'd have to say the best I've read is Sisterland, by Curtis Sittenfeld. I didn't know much about it going into the story, I had read her books before and liked them so I just got this one without even reading the description and dove in. I ended up listening to this one as an audio book (so I could be entertained while walking, walking, walking) and that definitely drew out how long it took me to finish it, but I think also had me focus on the story and what was going on in a different way than when I am holding the book in hand. 

Either way, I liked this one. A lot.

The other one, that was an unexpected winner in my book was The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. I say Unexpected because the book was released in 2005 and both the title and authors name are really familiar to me, but I think I had only heard of her and her books and never read one before. This took a bit of getting into for me, the style is one I'm not normally a fan of (first person story teller, telling the story of the past from the present with tons of foreshadowing and "but we didn't know that yet" type lines), but, I really liked this book. 

Another author who has been around for years that I've just discovered is Leah Stewart. I've read two of her books so far this summer and the other two are just waiting for me to get through my library stack to them. I liked both that I read so far, but the one that stands out is the The History of Us. It's told from the perspectives of four different members of the family - the aunt who ended up raising her nieces and nephew and the adult nieces and nephew - at a time of transition and turmoil for all of them. Stewart did a really good job of capturing the struggle of living up to expectations - your own as well as those you perceive others have for you. 

So there you go, if you are looking to round out your summer reading list here are three good fictional options to add to the pile. Nothing super heavy, but by no means total fluff. Just good books waiting to be enjoyed!

ps. Yes, the hiatus is over. I'll be back to my regular, if not sometimes sporadic, posting schedule.