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A few weeks ago the Golden Tote team contacted me asking if I would be interested in trying out their personal shopping service. I had seen posts about Golden Tote on a few different blogs that I love, so I jumped at the chance to try it out myself.

For those of your unfamiliar with the service, here’s how it works:

1. Fill out a style profile on their website outlining your likes, dislikes and sizes.
2. Decide on the type of tote you would like to purchase. You can purchase a tote for $49 that includes 2 to 3 items or a tote for $149 that includes 5 to 7 items. You get to pick a few of the items in your tote, and the Golden Tote team surprises you with the rest!

I picked out two items (the two swing dresses pictured below) and the Golden Tote team sent the other items. Here’s a sampling of what I received:

Golden Tote Comp 2

What I loved about Golden Tote:
-It was so fun to get a little surprise in the mail filled with clothes selected just for me. I appreciated the pretty tote that the items arrived in and the team’s attention to little details.
-It was nice having some say in what was in my tote. It felt like part surprise, part traditional shopping experience. Setting it up this way guarantees that you’re going to get at least a couple items that you really love.
-It was easy, stress-free and I loved being able to try the clothes on at home in the comfort of my own home with other items I already own.
-The quality of the clothes was really top-notch and the two swing dresses I got are perfect for pregnancy! They’re pretty much the most comfortable dresses I own right now.

What I didn’t love about Golden Tote:
-I think their system could use a little work in terms of the style profile you create. I didn’t feel like there were enough questions to really understand my style.
-You’re paying for your items ahead of time. This was a positive and a negative. I liked that the price was fixed, unlike other styling services, but you’re committing to buy items you’re not even sure you want, sight unseen.
-Being pregnant, there were a few items that didn’t work well for my ever-expanding body type. Not the Golden Tote team’s fault, but it made it difficult for me to get a true feel for the service.

Madison

*Golden Tote provided me these items free of charge. The opinions are strictly my own. If you would like to sign up for Golden Tote and try it out yourself, you can do so here

photo (41)It’s that time again! Another Stitch Fix review. I’ve been a bit delayed in getting this review up, but I’m excited to share what I received in last month’s box. I had a pretty off-base fix for the month of September, and I was happy to see that this month they matched me back up with the same stylist I’ve had for a while.

I was also super excited to hear that Stitch Fix now carries a limited amount of maternity clothing, and I got a few maternity items in my box. It’s nice to know that it’s an option, especially since dressing while pregnant can be a challenge. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone else pick out items for you.

Let’s look at what Stitch Fix sent me in my most recent fix:

Cream Sweater | Espresso and Cream
Item #1: RD Style Ridge Zipper Detail Cowl Neck Sweater 

Price: $74
Review: I LOVED this sweater from the moment I put it on. It isn’t a maternity sweater, but it was loose and long enough that it worked. I found it to be super flattering with black pants and leggings and the thinner material is a bonus for this pregnant woman who goes from being cold to hot in a matter of minutes. Verdict? I decided to keep it!

Update: After wearing this sweater only twice, I noticed a series of snags/small holes on one side under the arm. Since I had hardly worn the sweater, I was pretty bummed. I contacted Stitch Fix customer service and let them know about the issue. They were super helpful. Although they didn’t have any more of the sweater in stock in my size, they offered to refund me the cost, which was much appreciated. I love great customer service!

Pink Vest | Espresso and Cream
Item #2: Pomelo Wilco Solid Quilted Vest

Price: $68
Review: I have been searching for a vest like this for a while! I love the vests from J. Crew but haven’t purchased one yet. Although I really loved the style of this vest and the light-weight material, I just couldn’t see myself wearing something so bright and colorful regularly. In my mind, a vest like this should be a basic you can throw on with almost anything. Verdict? Return.

Henley | Espresso and Cream

Item #3: La Made Maternity Mavin Hooded Henley Maternity Thermal
Price: $84
Review: First, I thought the price of this thermal shirt was ridiculous. I really dislike when brands think that just because an item is maternity they can charge a ridiculous amount more than it’s worth. Aside from that, I really disliked almost everything about this shirt. It wasn’t super flattering when I put it on, and it was too casual for me to ever wear it at work. I wasn’t a huge fan of the purple color, either. Overall it felt like something I would have paid $15 for and worn in high school years ago. Verdict? Return!

Black and White Shirt | Espresso and Cream
Item #4: Eight Sixty Mariana Maternity Empire Waist Stripe Knit Top

Price: $84
Review: This was actually pretty cute when I tried it on. I liked the neutral colors and the fact that it was made for maternity wear. However, I couldn’t really see myself wearing this top much as we go into winter. I guess I could wear it with a blazer or another jacket, but for the most part I try to steer clear of tops that I have to wear with a cardigan or blazer because I find that it complicates getting dressed and makes the piece less versatile (hence it ends up not getting worn much!) Plus, it was a little pricey for a maternity top. Verdict? Return!

Item #5: Mavi Leia Maternity Tall Length Jean (Not pictured)
Price: $98
Review: I only have one pair of maternity jeans right now (a skinny jean from Gap that I love!) and was looking forward to trying on another pair. Unfortunately, these jeans weren’t a great fit on me. They were more “jegging” than jean and made of a super thin material that I didn’t find very flattering. Additionally, I didn’t really care for the full panel on the jeans. I know some people love the full panel, and perhaps when my belly gets larger I will, too, but for now I prefer the shorter, under-belly panel. Verdict? Return!

So overall, I would say I was pleased with my fix, despite the fact that I only kept one piece. The one piece that I did like and keep I really loved, and the other items weren’t super off-base in terms of my style, just not the right fit. I’m interested to see what my next fix is like and whether or not all the maternity pieces they  now stock are as pricey as the items I got in this fix. I hope they have a few items that are more affordable and reasonably priced for pregnancy.

If you want to sign up for Stitch Fix, you can do so here (affiliate link used!)

Madison

 

 

 

Sketchers Shoes (1)

My family, like a lot of families, has been touched deeply by cancer. I don’t think I’ve ever really mentioned it on this site, but when I was in middle school I lost my grandmother to bone cancer and a few years later my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Thankfully, my dad is many years post-surgery and cancer-free. Skin cancer also runs in my family and I have an aunt who had breast cancer, and all there really is to say on the topic is that cancer sucks.

Any time I can partner with a company to talk about cancer awareness, I jump at the chance. So when Skechers asked if I would be willing to partner with them to raise awareness about breast cancer in the month of October I said “yes” without hesitation. They sent me a pair of their Skechers Performance GOwalk 2 Flash shoes to work out in and share my motivations for staying healthy and active.

Honestly, before this campaign I wasn’t even aware that Skechers had a performance line of shoes for working out, but I was blown away by how comfortable and cute the shoes are. The weather was beautiful yesterday, so I took full advantage after work and went on a long walk in my new kicks.

Sketchers Shoes (3)

Since becoming pregnant, my workouts have changed quite a bit. I’ve been focusing more on staying active in the form of walking, Pilates and exercise videos geared toward pregnancy. That’s not to say that being active isn’t still extremely important to me! In fact, I think eating healthfully and staying fit is even more important now that I’m doing everything for me and our little one. When I’m lacking motivation, it’s easy to remind myself that I’m doing this not just to look good but to do good for my baby. If that isn’t enough motivation, I’m not really sure what is!

Sketchers Shoes (2)

PS: If you’re looking for a great shoe (seriously!) that benefits an amazing cause, I would highly recommend the GOwalk shoe from Skechers.With a few workouts in them under my belt, I can honestly say that I was super impressed by the comfort and quality.

Madison

Thank you to Skechers for supporting today’s post! The shoes were provided to me free of charge, but opinions are strictly my own. 

prAna clothing shoot | espresso and cream

You guys, let’s get honest for a minute. No one told me that when you get pregnant it’s not just your stomach that gets bigger; everything gets bigger! Honestly, I’m working every day at embracing those changes and loving my growing body, but putting on old clothing that doesn’t fit the same way anymore doesn’t do much for my self confidence.

This has been especially true when working out. I immediately went out a bought a size up in some of my favorite workout shorts and purchased a few looser tops for working out, because nothing zaps my motivation at the gym like feeling gross and uncomfortable. I’ve been trying to stick to a fairly consistent workout routine lately, mainly consisting of lots of long walks, my beloved Tracy Anderson Pregnancy Project videos and my friend Robin’s “Balanced Beginnings” Pilates videos in addition to light weight lifting.

So when prAna asked if I would like to partner together, I jumped at the chance. The prAna Minneapolis store is only minutes away from my house and I’ll admit that until this project rolled around I had never stepped foot into the store. It was so fun getting to shop at the store and pick out the pieces I thought would transition well with me throughout the fall.

I was really impressed with the quality of all of prAna’s clothing as well as the comfort of all the clothes I tried on. They’re so soft! In the photos above I’m wearing the Eliza Jacket in coal and the Gabi Legging in black. The leggings are some of the softest I’ve ever worn, perfect for my body right now when comfort is king. And I can easily see this jacket being worn much of the fall as temperatures get a little cooler.

prAna clothing | espresso and creamWhat are your favorite active wear brands? I’m always dying to find new favorites! 

Madison

*The clothing in this post was provided to me by prAna. Opinions are 100% my own and always geared toward the best interest of E&C readers. 

Stitch Fix White Blouse | Espresso and Cream
Another month, another Stitch Fix review! Stitch Fix has really upped their game for my last two fixes and I’ve been super pleased with the items in the boxes that arrived at my doorstep. Since I’ve been sticking to a more scaled-back “unfancy” wardrobe, I’ve been trying to be super selective with the pieces I do keep from my fixes, only adding items I consider to be staples and things I can see myself wearing for years to come. Check out what I got in my latest fix and what I decided to keep:

Item #1: Sasha Embroidery Detail Button Up Tank ($48)
This top was adorable and on first glance I really thought it would be a keeper. It fit really well and was light and airy, but perhaps a little too light and airy. The material was very thin so you could easily see my bra underneath. I know that some people can pull off that look with a pretty bra, but I am not that person. Return!

Stitch Fix White Dress 1 | Espresso and Cream

Stitch Fix White Dress 2 | Espresso and Cream

Item #2: Bellatrix Embroidered Detail Maxi Dress ($88)
I peeked online and saw that they had sent me this dress. I fell in love immediately, but I was worried that my expectations would be so high that I would be disappointed. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed in the last bit. I’ve been looking for another maxi dress that I could wear this summer and this dress was perfect. My favorite part is the unique cut in the back and the fact it’s plenty long. Keep!

Stitch Fix Sleeveless Blouse

Item #3: Ginsberg Metal Bib Striped Tank ($68)
Usually I steer clear of tops that are crew neck and sleeveless because I think they accentuate my already broad shoulders. But when I tried on this tank, I really loved the way it looked. It’s plenty long in the front and the back and the material was a really nice thick and stretchy cotton. I realized I didn’t have a single sleeveless top in my capsule wardrobe for summer so it was a needed item. Keep!

Stitch Fix Drop Waist Dress | Espresso and Cream

Item #4: Joe 3/4 Tab Sleeve Shirt Dress ($68)
I wanted so badly to like this dress. It had 3/4 length sleeves, was a great length and a nice material for summer. But the drop waist just didn’t flatter my figure in the least bit. Return!

Stitch Fix White Jeans | Espresso and Cream
Item #5: Kut from the Kloth Skinny Jeans in White ($78)
Oh, white jeans. I swore I would never wear white jeans because I was sure they would be super unflattering and accentuate my thighs in an unfortunate way. These jeans changed my mind. They fit like a dream (the same brand as the boyfriend jeans in my last fix) and I was shocked at how versatile they ended up being, as I tried them on with things in my closet. I had no idea how badly I needed white jeans in my closet, but now that I’ve found a great pair I’m totally eating my words. Keep!

As you can tell, my fix this time around was a huge success! I have been so pleased with the items that have been sent my way the last two times, and since I liked my stylist so much last time, I requested her again for this fix. I feel like I finally found someone who gets what I’m looking for and understands my style.

I’m not sure what changed, but I am really happy that Stitch Fix has been doing a better job these last couple times of listening to my feedback and giving me items that fit that feedback and specific requests. I’ve since asked for no accessories and have continued to update my Pinterest board regularly so my stylist has new inspiration each month.

Madison

PS: Want to try Stitch Fix? Do so here.
*Affiliate links used, opinions are strictly my own.

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