Thursday, March 27, 2014

Gwynnie Bee review


I am not fashionable and never have been.  I have often joked with my sister (who, unlike me, dresses quite well and has a good eye for clothing) that I've dressed like someone's mom since long before I *was* someone's mom.  In spite of my lack of fashion sense, I would like to dress better.

Like anyone, I know what I like, but I am not good at putting outfits together or even, really, at knowing what looks good on me.  Additionally, I work in a field where dress is generally expected to be fairly conservative (law).  So I don't really have the freedom to "take chances" with what I buy to wear on a daily basis.

I also hate to shop.  When I do shop, I shop like a man: I know what I want/need, and I want to find it, buy it and leave the store.  Browsing is tedious to me, and I don't shop for fun, like most women.  (I will, on rare occasions, go shopping with friends, but I do it because they want to and am then in it purely for the social aspect and because it is the friend's chosen activity, not mine.)  The phrase "retail therapy" is lost on me because shopping causes me more anxiety than it relieves.

My dislike of shopping was present before I had twin toddlers and no time to shop for myself.  That desire to avoid shopping for myself has only increased since my sons were born.

As a consequence of these facts, I generally end up wearing the same few basic pieces over and over for work.  And I have almost no clothes for casual wear.  On the infrequent occasion when MM and I go out on a date, or that I go out with friends, I find myself wearing jeans and the same two or three shirts I've had for years over and over.  Most of my wardrobe essentially consists of lounge-around-the-house clothes (T-shirts, shorts, sweats and the like) and work/court appropriate attire, with very little in-between.

I had recently read about Stitch Fix on a few blogs, and the service sounded ideal for someone like me who needs to improve her wardrobe but doesn't enjoy, or have time for, shopping.  Alas, when I visited their website, I learned that they only style women up to size 14/XL.  I have been wearing a size 16 for quite some time--with no realistic plans for significant weight loss in the foreseeable future--so that ruled them out for me.  Too bad.

I then learned of a somewhat similar service called Gwynnie Bee for "plus size" women (I put the words "plus size" in quotes because their website indicates they serve sizes 10-32, and I personally would not consider sizes 10-14 "plus size.")  They offer a free 30-day trial, so I decided to give it a try for a month.

My thoughts so far:


  • No commitment.  If you don't like the item when it arrives at your house, or after you've worn it, just ship it back, postage-paid.  You don't have to launder it or anything.

  • Convenient.  You just select garments to place in your "closet" on their website, and packages with clothing arrive at your doorstep in 2-3 days.

  • You get to try clothes and brands you might not otherwise pick.


  • They don't tell you when you put an item in your "closet" whether or not it is available to be sent to you, and apparently there is no way of knowing when (or if) it ever will be.  Personally, I found this a little misleading, as I thought it would be more similar to shopping online.  Also, Gwynnie Bee decides which of the items in your closet to send to you; you aren't really "ordering" from the website.

  • Although each item lists the fabric(s) from which it is made, there are no washing/care instructions included in the product description. This is something I ALWAYS consider before buying an item, and especially so now that I have small children.  The fact that something is dry clean only or requires ironing would be enough to convince me not to buy it, even if I love everything else about it.  I will only buy things that are machine washable, no iron these days, so I would prefer to know upfront the care that is required of the garments I might order. . . because why bother ordering them if there is zero chance I will buy them?
  • The purchase price of the items is also not made available to you until the item arrives at your house.  Their stated rationale for this is that they "want to make sure that you love the style and fit of that particular garment before deciding to purchase it."  Um, OK.  No matter how much I love the style and fit of a garment, I won't pay more than a certain amount for a dress, blouse, etc., no matter how much I love it, so I would prefer to know before I even try it out what it would cost, rather than waste my time trying out (and potentially falling in love with) something I would never realistically buy and keep.

So those are my thoughts at this point.  So far I have received four items, and there has only been one that I would consider keeping (I have returned two of the garments after just trying them on).  I am still on the fence about whether or not I will continue as a paid member when my 30-day trial ends.  

Anyway, if you happen to wear sizes 10-32 and think you'd like to try it out, feel free to use my referral link.  (Full disclosure: I will get a free garment for one month if you do.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014



I've often felt that my life is full of many things I "should" do but that I do not do.  As a few examples: I should eat better, exercise more, keep a cleaner/more organized house, give more time and money to charity, etc.

The list of things I "should" do has only grown since I have become a mother.  Now I have another whole list of things I should be doing for my sons in addition to all the things I should have already been doing for myself and for my community.  And now I have less time and energy to do all the things I *should* have been doing before, but often wasn't.

I sometimes I ask myself why so many people seem to have more self-discipline than I.  I'm not quite sure of the answer to this question.  (I suppose if I knew the "why," I would be more than halfway to solving this problem.)  I seem to be almost incapable of sticking to anything that requires a regular, particularly a daily commitment, and I have been like this for as long as I can remember.

This characteristic has held me back from doing many things I have wanted to do.  Thinking back as far as junior high school, I had difficulty practicing my clarinet consistently.  I believe I had some real musical talent, based on the opinions expressed by music educators outside my small hometown at various summer music camps I attended.  But I never did much with it, primarily because I only practiced sporadically, never daily (unless I had a competition in a week or so, ha ha).

I know that I didn't earn the grades I could have in college had I formed better study habits.  The fact that my earned grades were inconsistent with the potential revealed by my college entrance testing scores was pointed out to me by two different academic advisers.  My lack of reliable study habits were one factor (though not the only, or even the determining, factor) in my decision not attend medical school.

I think it goes without saying that my failure to exercise regularly has certainly contributed to my being overweight for my entire adult life.  Eventually that failure will have real health consequences as well.  I know this intellectually, and yet I find myself somehow incapable of forming healthier habits long-term.

I have done the things I have been able to accomplish in my life not because of any self-discipline I possess, but rather, in spite of a glaring lack of self-discipline.  I really believe I could do and be so much more, if I just weren't so lazy.  But I haven't the first clue where to start to change.

I recently read an interesting book related to this topic that was recommended to me by my BFF:  It's called The Power of Habit, and it talks about the neuroscientific explanations of how habits form and how to change them.  Really interesting stuff.

I don't really have a point here.  I just thought that getting my thoughts out of my head might help me stop "should"-ing all over myself.  We all have our struggles, and this is one of mine.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Five Years Ago Today

I was posting about MM's struggles with getting a semen sample to the RE's office for testing.  (You can read that post here.)

Ah, the early days of infertility, when we thought we'd just "need a little help."  So naive, so ignorant.  Good times. . .

Monday, March 10, 2014

10 Days

Ten days into this month, and I have yet to write a post.  So I will share just a few quick thoughts.

  • I got to watch the Oscars last weekend and actually stayed awake for the entire broadcast.  Unlike last year's Oscars, when I had seen none of the Best Picture nominees, I had at least seen one of the Best Picture nominees.  Progress. . . 
  • We had such a fun weekend with the boys this past weekend.  They are healthy again and were very active and feisty at Saturday's Lit.tle Gym class and had a great time at the zoo on Sunday.  (Although it was a little hard for MJ to understand why it was OK to be in the enclosure with, and petting, the goats but not the other animals.  I guess that kind of logic is difficult to grasp at 2.)
  • We continue to have beautiful weather here and must enjoy it while we can, as it will probably start getting hot in a little over a month here.
  • My inlaws were in a fairly serious car accident last Wednesday.  My FIL has three fractured ribs and had to spend two nights at a local trauma center for observation due to concerns for possible internal injuries/bleeding, and my MIL, although she suffered no serious injuries, has been in severe pain with her back, which was already giving her problems prior to the accident.  MM had to spend a couple of days and nights with his mother, helping her while she could barely get around, and they are both still having a difficult time of it.
  • My mom is still in town and has been a help with the boys and with my inlaws after their recent accident.
  • I woke up with a mig.raine today and am very, very tired as a result.  I have a lot to do this week and am not feeling very focused due to my headache and fatigue.  
  • I somehow managed to scratch my cornea last Thursday night/Friday morning and woke up with a very red and inflamed eye.  I am now forced to apply antibiotic ointment four times a day and wear my (not-current-prescription, broken-and-taped-back-together) glasses until it heals.
  • I still feel like I need a vacation.  Happily, I am going to be getting one in a few weeks: I will be off work from March 31 through April 4, and during that week, we are going to spend a few days in Las Vegas visiting with my sister and her family.  
  • Back to the grind. . . .