State Recap

Whew, what a weekend!

I played three matches (12:30 Friday, 12:30 Saturday and 3:00 Sunday) and now I am a tad sunburnt, my hands and feet are blistered up and I am just worn out in general. My team ended up in third place, but we were actually tied with the second place team and it came down to individual sets won and they had more. If we had gotten second, we would have gotten a wildcard entry to the sectional tournament next month. So close!

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My first match Friday was my longest match of the weekend I think. Our first game alone lasted almost thirty minutes. We were back and forth the entire first set and I ended up losing the first set in a tiebreaker. My spirit was crushed and I didn’t win another game after that set. I got to watch my opponent from that match play again yesterday, and I am actually very proud that I was able to get 6 games off of her. She was good!

I didn’t play Saturday morning, so I headed down to Running Wild for our usual Saturday morning run. We had a good turnout and everyone did between 8 and 12 miles. The half and full marathon training groups start in just a few weeks and I am getting excited about that!

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Saturday afternoon I headed back out on the courts hoping that things would go a little better. I got 6 games this time as well, but lost again. I was up 4-2 in the second set and thought that I was going to maybe pull that one out, but she rallied and came back strong.

The weather started going downhill Saturday afternoon and one of our doubles courts didn’t get to finish until about 7:30 Saturday evening. As a team, we won both of our matches on Saturday and we knew we were in the running for the wildcard at this point. Unfortunately, Sunday morning brought more rain and more rain delays. Our 8 am match didn’t go on until around 11:30 and we ended up losing all five courts.

We had one final match Sunday afternoon at 3. Everyone was feeling pretty beat up at this point, but we managed to put together a lineup and head back out there. I lost my match this time as well, but as a team we somehow came away with the win. My hands and feet were extremely blistered by this point, so I kind of changed my strategy and went for more winners that I would’ve typically gone for. Consistency is usually my key, which means that I end up playing some long matches, but I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to do that this time. I don’t remember ever getting blisters on my hands, but for whatever reason, I definitely did this year.

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I had such a #bloggerfail this weekend. I got zero pictures of my team or of me playing and so I took a picture of my blisters on the way home to share with you. I will spare you the feet blisters though. Lucky, lucky readers you are 🙂

Sunday evening when I got home, Daniel and I teamed up to make another Blue Apron meal. Y’all, let me tell you … that is the secret to actually making the meals in the alloted cooking time that is given on the recipe. You just need some extra hands.

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We made seared salmon with red quinoa and pea shoot salad. Salmon and quinoa are probably two of my favorite foods anyway, so I thought this one was fabulous!

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And we had an amazing sunset to close out the weekend (taken on Daniel’s phone, no effects added)!

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I had fun playing tennis these last few weeks and I really do enjoy the competition of the state tournament, especially at the 4.5 level. A lot of the players are former collegiate players and so you get to play and watch some really good tennis! But, running is still my main passion at the moment, so it will be back to the regularly scheduled programming around here for a while. I have a tempo run, a mile repeat workout and an 18 mile long run on the schedule this week! I love it.

Gotta run!

 

 

State Eve

Hey guys!

I just got back from my final practice match for the USTA state tennis tournament, which starts tomorrow. Last year was my first year playing singles at state and it went pretty well. I only lost to one lady (two times) and I won my other two matches, so overall I was pleased. I’m really excited to play again this year. It seems like I have prepared a little bit more this year, so hopefully that will pay off some. My first match is tomorrow at 12:30. It’s gonna be super hot! There is no shade on the courts whatsoever, which means that the heat index out there is unreal. I’ve got all my supplies ready to go though, don’t worry.

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They include lots of things to help me grip the racket once my hands get sweaty (that was my main problem last year), a cooler to put all my drinks in, a cooling towel to wet and wrap around my neck and shoulders between games, a new YETI stainless steel tumbler that I am super excited about (it is supposed to keep ice twice as long as plastic tumblers and it works just as well for hot beverages), and lots of good nutrition and hydration.

While I was at the courts this morning, I noticed a new sign hanging and thought it was pretty interesting. Tennis is bringing lots of people and having a huge economic impact in Mobile. Pretty cool! While I was standing there the guy that did all the research for the sign actually walked up and so we chatted about it for a few minutes. He seemed to be really appreciative that someone was interested in his work. I told him I’d put it up on my blog 🙂

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Let’s see, so what else has been going on? Well, my mom and I had a nice long walk yesterday morning. We walked six miles. While I wouldn’t necessarily classify six miles as a long way (to run), it definitely felt like a long walk. We have always enjoyed walking and talking, it’s kind of our thing.

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I think that walking is a wonderful way to add in some cross training, so to speak, to get a break from the repetitive nature of running. Running is obviously a high impact exercise, which can cause injury to the hip, knee and ankle joints. Walking is a low impact activity and is potentially less damaging to the joints. Walking also burns more fat for fuel than running because while exercising at a lower intensity, fat is being used as fuel. As you increase your exercise intensity from walking into a run, more carbohydrates from your body are used to fuel the exercise. I always end up being pretty sore after the day after a long walk, and I am hardly ever sore after running, so I know walking is working out some different muscle groups, which is another plus.

When we got back from our walk, I was seriously craving some granola, which is very odd. I can’t even remember the last time I had that, but alas I went in search of some granola and ended up at Fresh Market. I have a love hate relationship with that place. I love all of the variety that they have in the store, it’s definitely different brands than your typical grocery store, and their fresh produce and meats are amazing, but the prices are high and I always end up leaving with more than I go in there for (so basically it’s like Target). I went in for granola and left with granola, a bunch of yogurt and two things of trail mix. Le sigh (that is a french sigh in case you weren’t following).

Brooks was feeling somewhat left out and wanted to help me display my granola, which resulted in that you can’t even actually see the granola … but it is Little Red Wagon cranberry orange granola and it is really good. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice until I got home that it says on the back “enjoy by 06/14/15,” so ironically not all that fresh. I was really excited to see that they had a variety of noosa yogurt flavors. Noosa is a really thick, Australian-style yogurt. It is kind of similar to Greek yogurt in that it is thick and has a good bit of protein in it, but it is creamier in my opinion. One of Daniel’s co-workers introduced us to it and we hadn’t been able to find it at any of the local grocery stores. They have it at Target, but only in one flavor, strawberry rhubarb. This was the first time I had seen it anywhere else, so naturally I had to buy one of each flavor. It only makes sense.

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Daniel and I went for an easy 5 mile run when he got home from work.

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And later I whipped up our third Blue Apron dinner, which was seared steaks and mashed potatoes with sautéed radishes and snap peas. I know I mentioned that the last recipe felt like a lot more work than the first one, but clearly I hadn’t gotten to this one yet … one of the steps was to trim off the ends of the snap peas and pull off the strings that run the length of each pod. I mean really. So basically they just asked me to perform surgery on each one of the peas. Another step had you peel the rind of the lemon and mince to get two teaspoons of zest. I think if I had a peeler or a zester, this step wouldn’t have been that bad, but I am working with a plain, old-fashioned knife so this felt like surgical procedure number two.

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All kidding aside, it turned out really well.

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If the weather holds up, I’m heading over the Robertsdale later for the Robertsdale Summer Track Series that Rebecca is putting on to raise money for her XC team. Tonight’s events are the 400, 3200 and 4 X 800 relay. Typically if I do a 400 or an 800 on the track it is part of a much longer workout, so I am curious to see what times I will be able to run in this type of setting, while still saving something for the other events. Should be interesting!

Other than that, I’ll just be tennis-ing it up for the next few days. Gotta run!

Supplements for Runners

Hey y’all! Today I want to share a little bit of information about a few supplements that are important for distance runners (and athletes in general). I just recently learned some of this information, so I want to pass it along in case anyone else needs to hear it as well.

Running long distances can place an extra demand on various minerals and vitamins in our diet, so we need to make sure we are getting in enough calcium and iron, and taking supplements, if needed, to make sure we maintain the proper levels. I try to make it a habit to take these supplements daily.

Calcium

This may be the most important nutrient for an athlete. The stress of running can increase the demand for calcium in the body. Calcium is essential for strong bones and many people do not get enough of it in their regular diet. All athletes should make sure they get 1,200 to 1,500 mg of calcium daily from food or supplements. Insufficient calcium intake can lead to stress fractures, growth problems, osteoporosis and other skeletal problems.

I have been taking a calcium supplement for a while now. I have been taking 1,000 mg per day. However, what I didn’t realize was that your body can only absorb up to 500 mg of calcium at a time, so you have to spread it out if you are taking more than 500 mg. Here are the ones I take (and yes, they are gummies and yes, they are delicious).

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The great thing about these is that they are also high in Vitamin D, which is important in order for your body to be able to absorb calcium. Many distance runners develop stress fractures that they are later able to trace back to vitamin D deficiencies, which kept their bodies from fully absorbing the calcium they took in.

Iron

Athletes who train for six or more hours per week often have iron-deficiency anemia and should be checked yearly for the condition. Athletes use iron stores more quickly than non-athletes and many distance runners, especially women and those who log high mileage, find they are low in iron. Iron is important for the production of red blood cells which is a key component in distance running. The recommended daily amount of iron ranges from 10 to 15 mg per day, which is an amount that can be easily acquired from food. In the absence of anemia, athletes shouldn’t take any supplemental iron because it raises the risk of heart disease and colon cancer.

When I started back to marathon-specific training last winter, I had my iron levels checked. My iron was 15.8 and while the “normal” range listed on the test results is 13 – 400, I needed to be much higher than where I was, so I started taking an iron supplement. I take two of these per day and I take it with Vitamin C, as Vitamin C helps the absorption of iron.

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However, what I didn’t know until recently was that calcium blocks the absorption of iron, so you can’t take your calcium supplement at the same time as you take your iron. Also, don’t take the iron supplement on an empty stomach! It doesn’t sit well. So, basically what I do now is 500 mg of calcium in the morning with breakfast, 130 mg of iron and 500 mg of Vitamin C mid-day with lunch, and 500 mg of calcium in the evening with dinner.

Here are some handy charts that I found, showing what foods are high in different vitamins and minerals:

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Last night, I made our second Blue Apron meal and it seemed to be more “work” that the first one, but it was really good and well worth the extra effort. This one was hoison-glazed chicken meatballs with zucchini and brown rice. I had never heard of hoison sauce before, but it is a Chinese staple used as a meat glaze and usually includes soy, red chillies and garlic. Vinegar and sugar are also commonly added, giving it a sweet and salty taste.

Here are the fresh ingredients: zucchini, scallions, garlic and ginger.

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And here is the finished product!

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I wasn’t a big fan of actually forming the meatballs, something about touching raw meat is extremely unappealing to me, and of course and soon as I got the nerve up to dig my hands in, I got an important call from work that I had to take! Our signal is horrible so I had to scramble out to the front porch to answer the call … which meant that I talked on the phone for over thirty minutes with the phone between my ear and shoulder and raw food all over my hands. Lovely.

I was definitely over it by the time I finished cooking this one. But then when Daniel got home and we finally ate it, it was absolutely wonderful and he LOVED it and that made it all worth it!

Cooking, I still don’t love you, but I’m not giving up on you yet.

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That’s it for now. Gotta run!

 

Father’s Day Fun

Happy Father’s Day!

Since it was father’s day and we were heading to my grandmother’s for lunch, we skipped our Sunday morning long run and caught an earlier than usual church service. This week was the third week of our study on Ephesians. We looked at the second half of chapter 2 today. Here are a few of my takeaways from the sermon:

  • Finding our identity in Christ is crucial. If not, we will elevate distinguishing characteristics about ourselves to the state of an identity. I don’t know about y’all, but this one hit home for me. It is so easy to think of our identities in worldly terms, “I am a wife, a runner, an accountant, etc.” and forget that our true identity is found only in Jesus.
  • Ephesians 2:13 says “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” In the Old Testament, the act of making sacrifices brought you nearer to God, but in the New Testament, one sacrifice brings you completely to God.
  • When Jesus died on the cross for us, the ultimate sacrifice was made, our debts were paid and our atonement was sealed, forever signifying that there was no more division between God and man. Not only was there no more division between God and man, but not longer any division among men. This is the unity of the body of Christ. When you are in Christ, you are not separated from other men by “distinguishing characteristics,” not by social status, culture, skin color, etc., but rather the color of red, signifying the blood of Christ, is what binds us all together.
  • Jesus is our access to the Father. An access is the position of someone who brings something to someone else, similar to a representative. John 14:6 says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” We have total access to the Father in Christ. Total access. Complete, not partial. Forever, not temporary.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:18 says, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” We are called to be Jesus to those who don’t know Him.

We all have scars, wounds and brokenness that we need God to heal. Once we are healed, we use our story to bring others to Christ. We should embrace our brokenness and go find others that are broken. Let your story be a story of reconciliation, redemption, hope, love and grace.

After church, we headed down to my grandmother’s for lunch. Family selfie headed to lunch 🙂

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It was really nice to hang out with the family for a few hours. After lunch, we hit the water again. First up on the agenda was a little father’s day project I had been scheming in my ‘lil brain for a while. I always love seeing those then and now pictures that are retaken years later. For some reason they all crack. me. up.

I had the perfect picture in mind for me and my dad. I love how it turned out! The top picture was taken in 1987 and the bottom picture was today. And yes, I have on swimmies and yes, I did a major belly buster.

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After that we loaded up the dog and the paddleboards and headed up Fly Creek. The creek was beautiful today.

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I am so thankful that I was able to spend the day with my dad. He is an amazing dad and I am very blessed to be his daughter. He truly lives His life like Jesus and is a wonderful witness to everyone that he meets. He is selfless and fun-loving. We have had a lot of fun over the years. He taught me to do so many things and taught me to never be scared to try anything. That is such an important life lesson to learn and truly put into practice.

Our own experiences can lead us to believe that the world is somewhat of a danger zone and that it would be best to just live a simple, safe, “protected” life. Our instincts tell us that there is safety in a life that is lived without taking chances or stepping outside of our comfort zone. That message, reinforced through experiences, can trigger changes to our anatomy and brain chemistry that is called encoded memory. This coding, can raise our baseline sensitivity so that it takes progressively less and less stress to trigger feelings of anxiety. Eventually you are in a constant state of high alert. I can tell you first-hand that this is a miserable place to live. I have really been thinking about this a lot lately and I am doing my best to live life to the fullest, knowing who I am and whose I am.

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I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! See ya later 🙂

 

Race Recap: Hot Trot 5K

This is my first official “race recap” post, so get excited! Today was the LuLu’s Hot Trot for ARC 5K. The race definitely lives up to its name, as it is extremely hot and ends up being more of a trot than a race. The course is flat and is an out and back with a little side loop added on. The race starts at 7:30 at LuLu’s in Gulf Shores, AL. This is probably one of my favorite races of the year, mainly because of the location and time of year. This race usually falls on father’s day weekend, so my parents are typically in town and we go out on the boat after the race. Today was no exception.

After a two-ish mile warmup, we returned to the start line just in time to line up. I was already absolutely drenched in sweat. The temperature was in the mid-to-high eighties and the humidity was out of control as well. We all knew we were in for a real treat at that point.

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This wasn’t necessarily a goal race for me, and coach said that I should try to keep a low 6 minute pace. With that in mind, the race started and everyone took off. The first mile was 6:15. I felt pretty good and felt like I was going to be able to hold somewhere around this pace. There is a turnaround just past mile one and then you run about at half mile back and turn right onto an approximately one mile side loop. This side loop is by far the toughest part of the race. The second mile was 6:20. I still felt okay, but knew that I was not going to be keeping that pace for the remainder of the race. There is zero shade at this point and I was really starting to feel the heat. It felt like a wave of heat washed over my body somewhere in that second mile and once that happens it is really difficult for me to maintain the pace. The third mile was 6:45 and the last .25 was 1:30, for a total time was 20:50.

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The course was .15 long. Apparently there are two different certified courses that run basically the same location and so we started from one start location and the turnaround was set up at the other course location. Although it doesn’t sound like much, this extra .15 definitely makes a difference in a 5K. I was hoping to run just under twenty minutes and I think that I would’ve been pretty close to that without the extra distance. Luckily, we all ran the same course out there and I managed to come away with the overall win for the females. No complaints here. The race was hot, challenging and fun. Exactly what I hoped for 🙂

Daniel had a good race too! His first mile was 6:02, second mile was 6:06, third mile was 6:07 and last .25 was 1:08, for a total time of 19:23. He was fourth overall.

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Running Wild was very well represented today, with first and second overall female and top 10 male. Team Cheetah!

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The post-race party is always so much fun. Everyone just hangs out at the restaurant before it opens. It is a relaxed, fun beach atmosphere and is very family friendly.

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Lizzie and I with our awards. We also both won door prizes as well and Daniel’s good buddy, Kenny, who was third overall also won the grand prize giveaway of a free weekend stay at the gulf. Everyone racked up on the prizes 🙂

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I was a tad bummed that I didn’t get a coffee mug this year. I have a couple from prior year races and they are the best. I use them every day at work. Thankfully, Daniel got one and he doesn’t even really drink coffee …

After the awards, we headed out on the boat for a fun afternoon on the water. Dad put the boat in at Weeks Bay and came to meet us at LuLu’s. We headed down towards the Pirates Cove and Perdido Bay area and explored Josephine and Soldier’s Creek before heading back to to Weeks Bay. Then we went about as far as humanly possible up the Magnolia River, about a half mile past the Cold Hole.

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Mom and Daniel (accidentally matching in their coral and navy).

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Dad and I on the boat. He is our fearless captain.

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Brooks, aka the happiest dog in the world. He loves the boat and the water oh. so. much.

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Whew. I am officially worn out now. We had a wonderful day and are planning to do it all over again tomorrow (minus the 5K part) to celebrate father’s day the only way my dad would have it, on the water!

I hope y’all had a great Saturday. Happy father’s day to all the dads out there! Gotta run!

 

Blue Apron Box #1

Daniel and I woke up early this morning and headed to Running Wild for the new (summer) Thursday morning group run. There was a good turnout and everyone kind of did their own thing, distance wise. After that Lizzie and I hit the tennis courts for a little bit, continuing my efforts to “cram” for the state tennis tournament next week. I am making some good progress on that!

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I am obsessed with my new coffee cup. Do more of what makes you happy. I think this shall be my new motto 🙂

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I mentioned this in my previous post, but we recently decided to sign up for Blue Apron, which is a meal delivery service that delivers fresh ingredients and recipes directly to your home.

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I am extremely lazy when it comes to food preparation, but this is something that I am really trying to work on. In the past, I have blamed my lack of time as the reason for said laziness, but now since I have more time on my hands I have decided to try to make some healthy changes!

Blue Apron comes highly recommended and seemed like a wonderful start for me. My goal is to be intentional about making “cooking” a priority now in hopes that when I am back working more it will just come naturally. What is it they say?

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I hadn’t heard about Blue Apron until recently, and so for those others of you that haven’t heard much about it, here is how it works …

First you go online to sign up. You can choose between a 2 person or family plan. The two person plan is 3 meals per week and the cost is $9.99 per person/per meal. The family plan is for four people, can be 2 or 4 meals per week, and the cost is $8.74 per person/per meal.

Then you schedule your delivery. You can choose a delivery day that works best for your schedule and you can skip any week that you don’t want to receive a box, as long as you do it 7 days in advance.

Once you are all signed up, then you get a box of fresh, pres-measured, pre-proportioned ingredients. All of the ingredients are labeled well which is really nice since Blue Apron often uses some new, exotic ingredients in their recipes. You may not know what a certain ingredient is, but if it is labeled it makes it easier. I love that the ingredients are pre-measured so that there is no waste. I always seem to have too much of something when I cook, so Blue Apron is helping me to keep the cost per meal down since I am only paying for exactly what we use.

There are detailed recipe cards (made out of sturdy card stock) in the box. On the front they have the ingredients laid out in a picture, the final product, and a list of the ingredients with the nutritional breakdown of your meal. On the back there are step-by-step pictures with directions. The recipes are seasonal and are never repeated in the same year. As someone who hasn’t done a lot of cooking over the years, the process was not intimidating at all and I was able to follow the recipe cards very easily.

Tonight we cooked our first meal and it was really good! We made seared cod with spring vegetables and lemon-mustard vinaigrette.

Here are the fresh ingredients …

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And the cooked veggies …

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Final product …

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And we had a nice sunset to go along with our meal.

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Our first Blue Apron experience was wonderful! I am excited to cook the other two meals now as well. Our next two meals will be seared steaks with mashed potatoes and hoisin-glazed chicken meatballs with zucchini and brown rice. If they are as good as tonight’s meal, we are definitely in for a treat.

Anyone else out there tried Blue Apron? What have your experiences been like?

 

June Stitch Fix!

Hey guys! I came home from my run to find this.

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My June stitch fix and my FIRST blue apron delivery came on the same day!

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I absolutely love getting my box in the mail and have had really good luck with the things that they have sent me so far! I haven’t tried blue apron before, but I will definitely let y’all know how that goes after I cook up some delicious meals 🙂

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Stitch Fix is a new way to shop online. Their tag line is “hand-picked styles delivered to your door” and that’s exactly what it is. Totally convenient and so much fun! I wanted to share a little bit about the process in general, for those of you that may not have heard much about it.

Here is how it works …

First you go online to get started with a personalized style quiz. You will create a style profile so that your personal stylist can get to know you and your preferences. You answer a series of questions related to your age, measurements, sizes, etc. and then go through a series of other questions more geared toward that types of styles that you prefer. For example, it asks you the following:

  • How do you prefer clothes to fit the top and bottom half of your body?
  • How would you characterize your proportions?
  • How much do you want your Fix selections to focus on the following occasions?  Choices include business casual / work, cocktail / wedding /special, laid back casual and date night / night out.
  • What do you like to flaunt? What would you rather keep covered?
  • How much would you ideally spend on items in each of the following categories? Choices include the cheaper, the better, $50 – $100, $100 – $150, $150 – $200 and $200+.
  • Should we avoid any specific fabrics or materials in your shipments?

Once you complete your profile and sign up, you will begin receiving your “fixes.” Each fix will include five personalized pieces and they are delivered right to your front door. You can subscribe to receive a shipment either once every other week, once a month, once every other month or every three months. You can also sign up without a subscription and just manually schedule a shipment whenever you want it.

Once you get your fix, you can try on everything in the comfort of your own home and then you keep what you want and send back the rest within a week. You only pay for what you keep. A prepackaged shipping label and bag are included, so all you have to do is stick it back in your mailbox. You go online to checkout and you can leave feedback for your stylist about why you liked or didn’t like various pieces. The more feedback that you give the better the next fixes will be.

Here is what I got! I still don’t know what I’m going to keep, but I like all of it.

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I don’t know about y’all, but I really despise trying on clothes when I am out shopping. Having the freedom to try the stuff on whenever you have time or feel like it is really a major plus for me. I have been doing Stitch Fix for just over 6 months and I absolutely love it! I hardly ever even shop for real clothes anymore. Now running clothes is a totally different story. I still shop for those all the time!

Who all does Stitch Fix? Do y’all love it as much as I do? If you don’t do it yet, but want to try, use this referral link to let you know you heard about it here (shameless plug).